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The Australian State of Victoria Officially Apologizes for Past Homophobic Laws

(Blogmensgo, gay blog of May 26, 2016) On May 24, 2016, Daniel Andrews, Prime Minister of Victoria, formally apologized personally and in the name of the government and parliament of Victoria for past homophobic behavior of the authorities. He referred to the homophobic laws that were effective until 1991.

Andrews held his speech in the Victorian parliament, which was flying a rainbow flag. Also, opposition leader Matthew Guy apologized in the name of the opposition. During the ceremony, gays were present who had previously served jail time for their homosexuality.

Here is Prime Minister Andrews’ complete speech:

This was the first time that an Australian state officially apologized for its homophobic behavior.

The states of Australia legalized homosexuality at various times between 1975 and 1997.

Victoria used to punish homosexual behavior with imprisonment of up to 15 year.

Since September 2015, condemned gays have been entitled to request an official annulation of their past punishments. “These condemnations should never have happened,” said the Prime Minister, and “they were simply an expression of homophobia by the government.”
Daniel Andrews did more than just apologize:

“On behalf of the parliament, the government and the people of Victoria, for the laws we passed and the lives we ruined, and the standards we set, we are so sorry. Humbly, deeply sorry.”
Daniel Andrews, Prime Minister of Victoria

Moreover, he asked all LGBT persons to no longer hide in public:

“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. […] Do it with pride. And defiance.”

All LGBT organizations of Victoria and Australia have welcomed these official apologies.

Additionally, the Victorian government will now completely fund the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria project after the Australian federal government has completely withdrawn from it. The goal of this initiative is to make schools more inclusive, inform students about sexual and gender diversity as well as, fight against homophobia and bullying of homo- and transsexuals.

Frank-S / MensGo
(Via Straight Times and ABC of May 24, 2016)

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