Since assuming the role of ILGA Oceania Co-Chair, now in the second month, it has proved rather challenging, as there was no hand-over or communication from the previous Co-Chairs. However, with the support help of current Co-Chair (Vanessa Lee-AhMat), the ILGA Oceania Secretary (Rawa Karetai) and ILGA Oceania Treasurer (Simon Margan), and some very good consultation with ILGA World (Tuisina Ymania Brown, Luz Elena Aranda, André du Plessis, and Daniele Paletta), we are able to find some direction to steer this ship on course. No doubt we will weather a lot of other storms and obstacles! It is important that we look at the bigger picture and ensure that ILGA Oceania achieves its objectives and adheres to its mission statement, to support the rights and provide a voice for all people, either lesbian, gay, intersex, bisexual, sistergirls, brotherboys, queer, gender queer, trans, whakawahine, tangata ira tane, mahu, vakasalewalewa, palopa,fakaleiti, akavaine,fa’afafine, fakaf-ifine, rere etc, of Australia, New Zealand (Aotearoa) and the Pacific. I originally hail from the Islands of Samoa (Pacific), and now I am resident in Queensland (Australia). I share with my peers an interesting history with 30 years of LBGTIQ activism under my belt. I am committed to sharing the leadership role and doing the hard yards, so that the Pacific Region that I represent maintains its mana and dignity and that our voices are heard in this regional space.
As Sub Committee Chair of the Elder Portfolio, I am currently part of the LGBTI Royal Commission Advisory Group (National LGBTI Health Alliance) working on the “Voluntary Industry Code of Practice” for the aged care workforce. Owing to Covid 19, I have resumed communication with the New Zealand Counterpart “Silver Rainbow”, to revisit the “Pacific LGBTIQ Elder and Aging” model. On that note, I paid a special tribute to Moefa’auouo Tanya Toomalatai (Samoa), a Faafafine (Transgender) Pioneer, upon whose shoulders I stand, who passed-away this week. May she rest in Peace!
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to expose the vulnerability and fragility of the Pacific islands region, exacerbated by the related issues of poverty, domestic violence, mental health, discrimination, and stigma. This situation and the stories of the impacted Pacific Island people were elaborated upon in our first ILGA Oceania newsletter (no 13) for the year.
ILGA Oceania Submissions to oppose Mark Latham’s Bills
The ILGA Oceania Co-Chairs were invited by the ILGA World Co-Secretary General [Tuisina Ymania Brown] to attend the briefing and also workshops, by the LGBTIQ Organisations in NSW (Australia) on Mark Latham’s initial bill [Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020 (NSW)]. We were duly acknowledged, and made a submission to the NSW State Parliament from an indigenous and religious perspective. Since that prior bill, Mark Latham has introduced yet another bill that again directly attacks LGBTIQ+ people. Mark Latham’s latest bill [Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 (NSW)] harms trans and gender diverse students by denying their existence and preventing teachers and counsellors from supporting them. Again, we will offer our assistance to the campaign against these proposed provisions whenever we can!
ILGA Oceania Conference
Preparations are well under way for ILGA Oceania’s virtual regional conference and AGM [22 & 24 October 2020]. We ask that all our ILGA Oceania members support the Board and Steering Committee in any way that they can. Please contact me [KenMoala[AT]hotmail.com] or Vanessa Lee-AhMat [BlackLorikeet[AT]outlook.com] via the Co-Chairs’ email address [CoChair[AT]ilgaoceania.org].
Have a wonderful week.
A constitutional proposal has been submitted for consideration at this virtual ILGA Oceania AGM [Saturday, 24 October 2020] to add an ILGA Oceania Disability Subcommittee Chair position into the ILGA Oceania constitution. If this "Disability Subcommittee Chair Addition" proposal is passed, the change will take effect when all the constitutional changes from that AGM are registered with the NSW Department of Fair Trading.
However, the recent news is that, at the last ILGA Oceania board meeting [Monday, 07 September 2020], we decided to run the first election for the ILGA Oceania Disability Subcommittee Chair at this coming virtual ILGA Oceania regional conference [Thursday & Saturday, 22 & 24 October 2020] in a months’ time. The winning candidate will be co-opted into the position by the newly-elected ILGA Oceania board, when the changes from the ILGA Oceania AGM are ratified. If you are interested in running as a candidate for this ILGA Oceania subcommittee chair position, we recommend registering for this virtual 2020 regional conference and getting your ILGA member (the LGBTI organisation you represent) to support your nomination.
Loomio Platform Invitation
Most of you will have received an invitation recently to register with Loomio. We have set up the "ILGA Oceania AGM" Loomio platform in advance of the event, to encourage those interested in participating in the ILGA Oceania AGM and Conference to initially register with Loomio ahead of time. The Loomio platform will be just one part of the multi-faceted multimedia platforms we will be setting up to facilitate ILGA member organisations, and their representatives, to participate in this virtual conference, especially the AGM part of that event. There will be more details on this multimedia platform closer to the date of the ILGA Oceania regional conference.
If your organisation has have not registered with Loomio, do so ASAP! Let us know if you need the invitation sent out again [Conference[AT]ilgaoceania.org].
Due to the unusual nature of this virtual ILGA Oceania regional conference/AGM, and as a result of our response to the extraordinary conditions of the pandemic that we all find ourselves in, a number of one-off grants have been organised to facilitate participation in this event. The participation grant is one of them! A grant from the LGBTI Language Exchange is available for indigenous delegates of LGBTI organisations of the Pacific Islands and Australia to pay their ILGA membership fees for this year (2020) and any outstanding prior years that prevent such organisations participating fully in the conference. Delegates who fit that category from the pacific islands and Australia, whose organisations are not represented on the ILGA World board or ILGA Oceania executive are encouraged to apply.
There will be a few conferences occurring over the next month, all of which are virtual forums due to the restraints of the Covid-19 pandemic:-
Bi+ organisations across Australia and New Zealand have come together for this Bi+ Visibility Day event, because it is such an important day for our communities. Visibility goes a long way towards raising awareness of Bi+ specific challenges and dispelling stereotypes. This conference is also an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in our communities since Bi+ Visibility Day began in 1999 and to celebrate the fabulous, diverse and awesomely talented ‘bicons’ that make up our international community. Our Bi+ Conference celebrates community, visibility, and expression, across Australia and New Zealand, including virtual and in-person (where safe, legal and possible) workshops, panels, discussions, groups and even a party. Bi+ is inclusive of all multi-gender-attracted folk, including pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, biromantic, queer and questioning…
GIN started from a meeting in Sweden (2012) and has become a major network for an expression of faith for people of all sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. GIN is now organising a Virtual General Members' Meeting (GMM) 14th and 24th October 2020 [#GMM2020], with an online vote planned for the 21 - 24 October 2020. This will be an opportunity for you as a member to feed into the direction that GIN is taking and to review any amendments to our Constitution or By-laws. It is also an opportunity for you to interact with other members, online. Contact GIN via their at the Secretariat for more details: Info[AT]gin-ssogie.org
Remember, if you have anything to contribute to the newsletter just send us an email and we will happily share your contribution.