17 May 2018

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism & Transphobia

Today, our offices go rainbow to acknowledge and commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

IDAHOBIT commemorates 17 May 1990: the day that the World Health Organisation officially removed homosexuality from its classification as a medical disease. In the 28 years since then, slow but significant progress has been made in promoting the human rights of LGBTIQ people in Australia and worldwide. Homosexuality was fully decriminalised in Australia in 1997, and just this year it became legal for same-sex couples to adopt children and marry across Australia.

However, IDAHOBIT is also a day to recognise the challenges still faced by the LGBTIQ community. The most recent Writing Themselves In survey indicated that 3 out of 4 LGBTIQ young people have experienced discrimination, and 1 in 5 experience physical bullying. In addition, transgender people are five times more likely to experience depression than other Australians, and transgender identity is still listed as a medical disease by the WHO. Today and every day, LGBTIQ people and allies continue to press for rights, recognition and respect.

Hall & Wilcox recognises LGBTIQ inclusion as a key aspect of its broader commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion. Since May last year, we have supported and celebrated the LGBTIQ community in the following ways:

  • We publicly announced our position in support of the ‘YES’ vote for marriage equality.
  • We provided ongoing pro bono and secretarial support to our major pro bono partner, the Victorian Pride Centre Ltd.
  • We participated in the Midsumma Carnival and Pride March by providing volunteer assistance to the Pride Centre.
  • We held our first inaugural Inclusion Series seminar with Stand Up Events, the Victorian Pride Centre and the Commissioner of Gender and Sexuality.
  • We hosted LGBTIQ interfirm networking drinks to coincide with Trans Awareness Week and the eve of the marriage equality postal survey result and have also had strong attendance at other LGBTIQ Interfirm Networking Events.
  • We attended the Pride in Practice Conference, the only national conference dedicated to LGBTI inclusion across workplaces.

We are also proud of our people who passionately advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community in their own time:

During my time at Melbourne Law School, I served as Queer Officer on the Law Students’ Society (LSS). In this role, I ran various LGBTIQ+ internal and external mixers and networking events, helped organise the annual Queer Lecture (presented by Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Ro Allen), assisted in reviewing LSS policy wordings and did general advocacy and liaison work between students and faculty.

The role allowed me the opportunity to contribute to developing a stronger and more visible LGBTIQ+ community at the Law School, as well as acting as a voice and creating a support network for fellow queer students in an often unwelcoming environment.

Alexandra Partington, Litigation and dispute resolution


I believe that everyone has a role to play when it comes combatting discrimination, in all its forms.  Sometimes we need to take a moment to reflect on our experiences to identify situations where discrimination may be taking place and how we can go about making a change, both in our work and personal life.

Through the Inclusion Series, I had the opportunity to meet with Ange Greene the CEO of Stand Up Events and hear about the CGU Move IN May event. From this, I have been able to launch a Community Program thanks to my role as President of North Melbourne Athletic Football Club which has so far:

  • hosted Angie and Stand Up Events as a guest speaker for our season launch
  • designed and produced a jersey in support of sexual and gender equality
  • challenged and empowered our players and members to make a stand if they witness or hear instances of homophobia and
  • had more than 20 players sign up to take part in the CGU Move IN May event.

Ross Burnett, Banking and finance


I am all too aware that coming out as LGBTIQ+ identifying is a difficult experience for many people and finding a strong network of supports and like-minded friends after having done so can be as well.

It has therefore been a wonderful experience being appointed as Secretary of the Victorian Pride Centre and having the opportunity to help progress an initiative which will create a home/hub/safe-space to connect, support and celebrate LGBTIQ+ individuals and organisations. Liaising with the various stakeholders of this project has also helped me to better understand the diversity of identities and experiences within my community.

Francesca Lai, Litigation and dispute resolution


We are grateful to Minus18 for helping us to strive to be champions in supporting, advocating for, and celebrating our LGBTIQ+ colleagues, clients and families. Thanks to them, today our offices have been brought to life by rainbow ribbons worn by our staff and we will also shortly be running a Gender & Sexuality Professional Development workshop.