JCCV Contributes to Government Crackdown on Homophobic Intolerance
22 March 2011
JCCV president John Searle today applauded the Victorian Government for its intended introduction of legislation this week, providing for $7,000 fines for adults who misinform children that homosexuality is wrong.
Searle had met with new Attorney-General Robert Clark soon after Clark’s appointment and had proposed this very innovation. He noted that he was extremely gratified with the hearing he had received and delighted that the Government was on the same page and that prompt action has been taken.
According to Searle, the significance of this legislation is that it will educate the community about appropriate behaviour and encourage adults to consider their actions and their duty of care to others.
Searle stated, “It is well established that homophobic intolerance can cause serious harm to developing brains. It is incumbent on older people, particularly those in roles of responsibility, to educate children about human sexuality and also to act as role models in regard to their own behaviour. If we expect young people to change their attitudes, we really need to focus on adults.”
“According to Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA), gay, lesbian and bisexual people attempt suicide at rates of up to 14 times those of their heterosexual peers,” Searle added. “This groundbreaking research announced in 2009 sets a benchmark for understanding the extent of this grave problem, all too prevalent in our community, perpetuated by too many adults.”
“SPA cautions that those belonging to religious faiths that promulgate negative discourses about homosexuality are particularly vulnerable to suicide and self-harm. They also warn that conflicts between spiritual or religious beliefs and sexuality can result in significant psychological dissonance as well as division and exclusion from family, friends and community.”
The JCCV established a GLBT Reference Group some two years ago that has focused on revealing the issues affecting GLBT people in the Jewish community in response to pressure that the JCCV was directly contributing to this problem. This Reference Group has been seen as a whitewash and smokescreen to date but if taken seriously by the JCCV has the potential to actually achieve some useful outcomes.
For further information, contact John Searle, JCCV President, on 0412251344.