Victorian Premier Apologises To Gay Men For Criminalisation, Urges PDFs

Gay rights activists at Victoria parliament for apology

Gay rights activists on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament ahead of an apology. Image – ABC News: Stephanie Anderson

In Australia, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, speaking in parliament yesterday (24 May) apologised for the state’s history of ‘abominable’ laws under which homosexuality could be punished with jail time.

“For decades, we were obsessed with the private mysteries of men. And so we jailed them, we harmed them, and in turn, they harmed themselves”

said Andrews.

He noted that while those laws haven’t been in force since the 1980s, many still have criminal records because of them. Many are trying to clear their records; so far, six have completed the process.

Mr Andrews also urged PDFs:

“If you’re a member of the LGBTI community, and there’s someone in your life that you love, a partner or a friend, then do me a favour: next time you’re on a tram in Melbourne, hold their hand,” he said.

“Do it with pride. And defiance.”

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, eleven in 100 Australians identify as being a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community. They have triple the general population’s rate of depression, and six in ten admit they have been verbally abused.

Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy said earlier:

“Australia post-war was a very, very intolerant place towards gay people, particularly gay men, and today we’re going to apologise for that.”

His apology follows one earlier this year by the New South Wales parliament to the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras marchers in 1978, that apology led by the member for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith.

Video footage of the Victoria apology HERE

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