My Gay Agenda – Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe

My Gay Agenda is not only about what I think the National or the State Government should do, but also what I think members of the LGBTIQ communities need to do – before we can expect anyone else to do anything more than they’ve already done.

My opinions are developed after five years of involvement in LGBTIQ life in Victoria through Midsumma Festival Inc.  An arts and cultural perspective, specifically from which there were always, and most likely still are those who question “Is Midsumma still relevant?”, “Is actively promoting an LGBTIQ arts festival actually perpetuating any remaining stigma and isolation of LGBTIQ communities rather than bringing about the end of such?”.

What I think is – yes – eventually it should be unnecessary to have something like Midsumma, or Pride March as ‘Demonstrative’ activities on behalf of the LGBTIQ communities.  They should only need to be ‘Celebrative and Affirmative’.  Just like the “Italian Festival” or “Moomba Festival”, or the ‘Sustainable Living Festival’.

What needs to change?

Today, I have made my own choice to use the word “Communities” when referring to LGBTIQ people.  We are not one community, we are several, and we continue to sub-divide and evolve, and I don’t see that ever not being the case.

My early observation of LGBTIQ communities remains unchanged today.  Too many organisations, not working together well enough to effectively achieve their common goals, whilst draining the capacity of their respective stakeholders.

We are not building our communities’ governance to eradicate this problem, and that is hampering our ability to engage with our existing governments.  Even though our existing governments have their own flaws.

Initially we need to structure our communities’ governance to mirror that of the nation. (National, State and Local).  We need a national peak body, which operates sub branches and sets the agenda from the top down.  But!  In the longer term, we need to simplify the country’s governance structure too! We are over governed, so, if we’re contemplating constitutional change lets get rid of one tier of government, not just redefine marriage.

Then with a National LGBTIQ Peak Body setting the agenda and as the point of contact for Government, with lower tier branches working to implement, whilst guiding and reviewing the performance of the peak body, we will be better able to tackle the one thing, that remains our adversary today:

Discrimination. (The Lack of Marriage Equality, Transphobia, Biphobia, The Stigmas of HIV, Adoption, Homophobia in Sport, etc. etc.)

After all, that’s what all these arguments are.  They are human rights arguments about the right to be, the right to make personal choice, and to be or do so without discrimination from anyone or anywhere.

Who should this government listen too…Australian Marriage Equality or Equal Love – two different factions, arguing for the same outcome, but who’s in charge here, who does Julia listen too?  Currently nobody.

These two factions should be dealing with Government through the two-tiered structure of a peak body. – National and Regional.

We need government commitment to funding this two-tiered National Peak Body.  Much like we have peak bodies for multiculturalism or indigenous affairs.

At the very least this body needs to;

  • Be structured such that is has representative pipelines to each of our communities  – the G, the L, the B, the T, the I and the Q.
  • From time to time, have the capacity to respond to communities’ wide issues such as the marriage debate.
  • Advise Government across all agencies at both (new) tiers of government

Then, we need to let go.

We need to allow some of our organisations to cease their work, and have it absorbed by other, stronger organisations.  It is a consolidation process, concentrating the energy and commitment rather than diluting it across too many like organisations.

Then we need more people actively working within and supporting the work of the resultant communities’ organisations, with strong connection to the peak body and its regional representative offices as the clearly defined point of communication with government, steering the bureaucratic communication process.

In summary, major structural changes in governance of the nation, and more importantly our communities, allowing improved and clearer internal communication will provide a more united and powerful approach.  There is much will be gained from my old school motto – Viribus Unitus, or Strength Through Unity.

If, in the last 30 years, we’ve improved the general perception in mainstream society of our communities as valuable, rightful members and contributors then we now need to improve their perception of our ability to work together, as an organised collective communities with strong leadership and solid wide spread representation, that works together.

About the author

Adam Lowe is a Melbourne based arts and entertainment Producer, with projects and experience across a broad range of artistic and cultural endeavour. From international multi-sport tournaments to community arts and the not-for-profit sector, he is a former CEO of Midsumma Festival and today is the Sub-Committee Chair for Strategy & Planning at Pride March Victoria Inc.