Senator Dean Smith takes up role as ambassador for PFLAG Perth

The Western Australian branch of PFLAG, the Parent and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, marked their 28th anniversary over the weekend as committee members from across the group’s long history met at Senator Dean Smith’s West Perth office.

PFLAG announced that Senator Smith had agreed to take on an Ambassador role for the organisation.

Denise Taylor thanked Senator Smith, along with all those who had worked on the recent marriage equality campaign. Taylor also highlighted the contribution of PFLAG’s Vice President Michele Davis who spoke at many rallies, appeared before a senate committee, and worked tirelessly for change.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Senator Dean Smith as our new ambassador for PFLAG.” Taylor said, noting that the Senator had been a great help in raising awareness of the organisation’s work.

Senator Smith said the organisation had done important work over almost three decades, but had been particularly helpful during the last 18 months as the nation debated marriage equality.

“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.” Senator Smith said.

Senator Smith said that while there had been great legal changes in favour of LGBTI people, the conversations that people have with themselves, and with their families to be able to be their authentic selves did not become any easier.

Labor Senator Louise Pratt praised the work of PFLAG’s founders and elder members.

“You were incredibly important to me when I first came out in the ’80s and early ’90s as an activist, and 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.” Senator Pratt said.

“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.”

Senator Pratt said PFLAG had stood strong during many campaigns including the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the equalising of the age of the consent, and allowing access to reproductive technology.

For more info on PFLAG and other local groups head to our Community Groups page.    

Graeme Watson

Corrections: This article originally incorrectly attributed the anniversary as their 27th. It is actually their 28th year. 

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