Western Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith has been named an ambassador for the Perth branch of Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG).
Volunteers from the group met at Senator Smith’s office over the weekend and Smith acknowledged the decades of work the organisation has done for the LGBTIQ community, Out in Perth reported.
“Western Australians who support marriage equality can be very proud of the success we’ve had here, but that was in part, a large part, because of the great work of PFLAG,” he said.
Smith, whose same-sex marriage bill passed the parliament in December, said that despite a raft of LGBTIQ law reform, conversations between queer people and their families are still difficult.
PFLAG offers peer support for families of LGBTI people over the phone and at support group meetings which they hold every second month. The Western Australian branch has of the group is celebrating its 27th anniversary.
Denise Taylor from PFLAG paid tribute to members of the group who had campaigned tirelessly for a “yes” vote last year and thanked Smith and his colleagues for their work in legalising marriage equality.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Senator Dean Smith as our new ambassador for PFLAG,” she said.
Labor senator Louise Pratt also praised PFLAG for its decades of work, including towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality, equalising the age of the consent, and equal access to reproductive technology.
“You were incredibly important to me when I first came out in the ’80s and early ’90s as an activist,” Pratt said, via Out in Perth.
“When you’re having that personal struggle, generally in terms of coming out, one of the ways of dealing with internalised homophobia is to be an activist and to get involved.
“Having PFLAG in terms of supportive parents, where your identity was not stigmatised in any way was an incredible support to me, in order to show courage in debates that are things that were now done a long time ago.”
For more information about PFLAG Perth, visit their website here.
(Photo by PFLAG Perth/Facebook)