Tag - legal advice

“Like Love” – Stop Hate Speech

The LGBTI Legal Service is running the Like Love project to address vilification during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey period.

Vilification is a public act or statement that incites others to hate a person or their group because of their gender identity or sexuality. A public act includes publication on the internet. Vilification is UNLAWFUL in Queensland. If you live in Queensland and hear or see something in your neighbourhood, post box, or on social media that incites hatred on the basis of gender identity or sexuality, we advise you to record or screen capture it (including the date and time) and seek legal advice.

Comments saying that, for example, gay people are more likely to be rapists or paedophiles have been found to be unlawful vilification in other legal cases. These kind of comments are not excused by the right to free speech.

The LGBTI Legal Service acknowledges that this time is particularly difficult for many members of our community – if you would benefit from mental health assistance you may want to access one of the services listed on the website of our friends at QuAC.

Have you encountered vilifying material?

If you encounter vilifying material, you may wish to:

  1. Take legal action yourself – in this case we recommend initially seeking legal advice through our free service. Please complete an intake form and send it to us along with the vilifying material. Please be aware that time limitations for seeking legal advice apply.

OR

  1. Submit the offensive material to the LGBTI Legal Service for possible use as part of a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission at the end of the campaign period.

In both cases please contact the LGBTI Legal Service on likelove@lgbtilegalservice.org with the vilifying material attached.

About vilification laws

You can find more general information about vilification on Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commission website at:

Some examples of vilification on the basis of sexuality or gender identity include:

  • a radio host using highly offensive homophobic language, laughing at and belittling gay and bisexual men on the air;
  • posters that say that lesbian mothers are damaging their children because they are exposed to their mothers’ sexuality; or
  • adverse comments inciting hatred towards all gay men written on a gay man’s publicly accessible social media page for his business.

There may also be other options you can consider such as making an application to the Commonwealth Attorney General under the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017 (Cth).

Please note that merely advocating for either the “Vote YES” or “Vote NO” campaigns does not automatically mean that a legal issue arises. The law endeavours to strike a balance between the right to freedom of political communications and the prohibiting of discriminatory speech.

Are you from outside Queensland?

Please note that anti-discrimination and vilification laws vary in each state and territory. If you are located outside Queensland, you can seek legal advice from your local community legal centre. Find your local community legal centre at the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

Have a “Vote NO” enquiry?

Whilst the LGBTI Legal Service actively advocates for the rights and liberties of LGBTI people, including the “Vote YES” campaign, we do not condone unlawful discriminatory or vilifying acts of any person(s). Our service believes in legal equality for all.

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LGBTI Queenslanders welcome inaugural funding for legal help

For additional background, please see Media Release: Inaugural Funding (PDF, 155.8 KB).

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Queenslanders have welcomed today’s announcement that the volunteer-run LGBTI Legal Service will receive funding from the Queensland Government, meaning more LGBTI Queenslanders will be able to get legal help.

‘There are many LGBTI people with legal issues which are hidden and closeted, but they show a portrait of disadvantage, including mental illness and drug use, employment problems, homelessness and poverty, and generally lower health outcomes,’ said Matilda Alexander, President of the LGBTI Legal Service. ‘Research shows that LGBTI people are also less likely to access to legal remedies and health and community services.’

‘LGBTI Legal Service has been providing free legal services for over six years without funding, and is the only standalone community legal centre in Australia specialising in helping LGBTI people with legal problems,’ said Ms Alexander. ‘An increasing number of clients have been reaching out, and without government funding, the Service has had no capacity to do any ongoing casework. It is common to have to turn away clients because of the restricted capacity of our volunteer lawyers who can only accomplish a limited amount in the time available.’

‘Over the past two years, Yvette D’Ath has introduced significant legislative changes to fix outdated laws that stigmatised and marginalised members of our community. She has taken historic action to address this structural discrimination and sent a clear message to all Queenslanders of equality, safety and fairness. We have called this a legislative rainbow revolution.’

We applaud and celebrate this next groundbreaking step: providing the inaugural funding to the LGBTI Legal Service. With this money, we will be able to support LGBTI people experiencing domestic violence, to assist victims of crime, to provide specialist family law advice service, to support transgender people to transition and to eliminate discrimination in our workplaces. We now have the capacity to pursue justice and to make equality a reality for Queenslanders.’

‘LGBTI Queenslanders face the same legal problems as everyone else, as well as issues that are specific to people with diverse sexuality and gender identity,’ said Scott McDougall from Caxton Legal Service. ‘We join with other LGBTI Queenslanders to welcome today’s announcement that the LGBTI Legal Service will receive funding to provide more legal help across the state. This funding will allow the Service to do important work, and we’re pleased that the Queensland Government is supporting these vital services.’

‘With six years’ experience of providing quality legal help to people facing legal problems, it’s great to see the Queensland Government recognize the value of LGBTI Legal Service and the work they do,’ said James Farrell, Director of Community Legal Centres Queensland. ‘Sadly, this announcement comes as community legal centres across the state face a significant funding cut from the federal government. While funding for services like this one are welcome and important, we again call on Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis to reverse the funding cuts to community legal centres, to ensure all Queenslanders can access the legal help they need and the justice they deserve.’

Find out more about LGBTI Legal Service at https://www.lgbtilegalservice.org.au/.

Media Contacts:

Matilda Alexander, LGBTI Legal Service 0421 201 951 | president@lgbtilegalservice.org

Scott McDougall, Caxton Legal Service T (07) 3214 6333 | scott@caxton.org.au

James Farrell, Community Legal Centres Queensland 0411 206 835 | director@communitylegalqld.org.au

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