Advocates praise Perth Theatre Trust for rejecting Australian Christian Lobby

Western Australian LGBTQIA+ advocates have announced their support for the Perth Theatre Trust (PTT) over their decision not to allow the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) to make use of their venues.

It was revealed this week that the PTT had denied the ACL’s attempt to book the Albany Entertainment Centre this August as part of their ‘The Truth Of It – Live’ tour, featuring ACL director Martyn Iles.

Misty Farquhar, steering committee member for LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Rainbow Futures WA, says the organisation welcomes the PTT’s decision in this matter.

“There are laws that protect certain vulnerable groups from discrimination, because of the harm it causes. There’s plenty of research that demonstrates the impacts on LGBTIQA+ communities health and well-being (see Private Lives 3, for example),” Farquhar said.

“The ACL has a long history of discrimination against LGBTIQA+ communities, and so Rainbow Futures WA is pleased to hear that the PTT has made this operational decision.”

“This kind of allyship goes beyond the visible rainbow displays, to actively standing up against harmful practices directed at our communities.”

Regional LGBTQIA+ support organisation Albany Pride have also shared their thoughts on the PTT’s decision, highlighting the ACL’s support of suspected conversion practices in the area back in May.

“The Australian Christian Lobby have a long history of opposing and speaking out against any kind of advancement in LGBTQIA+ rights and freedoms, often demonising and misrepresenting LGBTQIA+ people and groups in the process, and continue to do so,” the group posted to Facebook.

“We would expect that the Perth Theatre Trust would not agree to allow a group that sought to demonise and restrict the rights and freedoms of any other demographic (such as on the basis of ethnicity, ability, age, etc.) to host an event, and as such, Albany Pride fails to see why this is any different.”

“Indeed, were the Perth Theatre Trust to reject an event by a group wanting to restrict the rights of Christians specifically to social institutions such as marriage, to parenting and adoption, to specifically ban Christianity from being learnt about in schools, or to promote or protect discrimination against Christians in schools or businesses (as the Australian Christian Lobby have long campaigned for in regards to LGBTQIA+ people), Albany Pride would support that decision too,” the statement continues.

“The Australian Christian Lobby are trying to claim this is an issue of ‘religious freedom’, but ‘religious freedom’ is not a justifiable excuse for any other kind of discrimination or prejudice, and we fail to see why it should be a justifiable excuse for LGBTQIA+ discrimination and prejudice.”

“It is misleading of the Australian Christian Lobby to suggest that the relative inconvenience of not being able to easily express misinformation and damaging rhetoric is in any way comparable to the proven trauma and potential damage to sexual and gender diverse people from events such as this.”

Rainbow Futures WA and Albany Pride join OUT South West in their chorus of support.

“While there is no description of the issues of the day and what the bible has to say about them, from the history of the ACL it will probably be anti-LGBTQI focused on the transgender community with a mention of the benefits of conversion therapy,” OUT South West co-chair Cassandra Hymers said.

“The last thing we need in the South West is more hate being spread around the south west aimed at some of the most vulnerable people in our community, LGBTQI youth.”

Support for the venue hire ban also came from Pride in Peel.

“Religion can not be an excuse to demoralize, demean, discriminate, restrict or condemn other peoples rights to freedom of choice in society. Especially when that restriction and prejudice cause severe mental health duress for a minority group as well as entice hatred, judgement, anger and violence towards said group.” Pride in Peel posted on social media.

State Director for the Australian Christian Lobby, Peter Abetz, claims the venue has broken the law by refusing their booking.

“They’re saying we can’t have him there because of his political religious beliefs – hang on – this is a venue which is refusing to provide a service for because of his views, that’s in breach of section 62 of the Equal Opportunity Act,” Abetz told 6PR on Wednesday.

“It’s basically cancel culture, if we don’t think we’ll like what you may say, we won’t let you air your views.”

Leigh Andrew Hill


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