Bring Them Here: ACT Greens call for Gay and Queer refugees to be welcomed to Canberra

In marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT Day), today I’m calling for the government to resettle LGBTQI refugees in the nation’s ‘rainbow capital’.

While LGBTIQ rights have made much progress across the world, there are still 74 countries where it is illegal to be gay and in some countries it is punishable by life imprisonment or even death. Often these people are subject to persecution by their families, their communities and their governments, simply for being who they are.

The Federal Government has mandatorily detained gay asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. Many are now told to consider their options and make a decision to return to their home countries, as though facing persecution and possible death in their home countries were a real ‘choice’.

The Greens believe that seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue that obliges us all to treat those seeking asylum with compassion and dignity.

Canberra is a Refugee Welcome Zone and Canberra is an LGBTIQ-friendly city, and one of Australia’s most progressive jurisdictions. Today we are calling on the Australian Government to bring them here, to Canberra, where they will be welcomed by our Canberra community.

As Australia’s most progressive jurisdiction on LGBTIQ rights, it’s the least we can do.