Live Wire for Refugees

Jennifer Zhao 3CR “Queering the Air” gave a presentation addressing issues affecting LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) refugees last Saturday. This talk was held around 6pm that day followed by a phone interview with Dr. Kidd as part of the “Live Wire for Refugees”. “Live Wire for Refugees”, a 24-hour non-stop community speak-out for refugee rights at Federation Square last weekend seeking to reclaim the conversation around refugees and bring some warmth in the lead up to the election.  “Health Services discriminate against LGBTIQ people and there are only two services providers do not hold discrimination,” one of the 3CR presenters said.  PNG’s anti-gay laws dictate that LGBTIQ people are to be jailed for up to 14 years for gay sex and high risks of HIV.  Sadly, healthcare is not the only unfair issue concerning LGBTIQ group.  Most available jobs for refugees involve heavy laborious work and operation of construction machinery. Being fired from one’s job is an everyday anxiety, especially for this group of refugees due to their gender orientation. Thus, this causes the high rise of crime coming from refugee camps. Some of them even committed suicide.  Australian Medical Association (AMA) is also involved in the protest for refugee rights.  Dr. Kidd is the former AMA president, a member of “Doctors for Refugees”. He gave the audience a run-down over the phone around 7pm that day on this newly founded group aiming to improve the treatment for refugees and asylum seekers.   He said “Doctors for Refugees” in Australia is a new group dedicated to badly traumatized people, who normally hold “critical anger” towards Australia when seeking asylum. Their mental health is a very pressing problem that needs to be addressed “properly and timely”.  Most audience attending to the talk expressed Australia as a compassionate and “fair-minded” country, treating refugees inhumanely only because their different identity labels cannot be tolerated.  With over 100 speakers from diverse community groups ensuring the microphone was never silent for 24 hours, a great number of ordinary Australians came down to Fed Square last weekend to show support and solidarity in public sphere.

September 8th 2013
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