Tasmania has elected its first openly lesbian member of Parliament
The Australian state of Tasmania has made history by electing its first openly lesbian MP into office.
Alison Standen was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament last week after standing for a seat for the Australian Labour Party.
Whilst on the campaign trail, Standen campaigned with her partner and son and often spoke out about issues of equality.
“Leadership to me is about connection to values; and about courage to stand up for the things that matter most to me – including LGBTIQ rights and addressing social inequality in general,” she said, during the campaign.
“I haven’t always dreamt of being a politician or a gay activist. But this campaign has given me and my family the opportunity to stand up and contribute as advocates.”
After her election last week, Standen wrote to voters to thank them for their support.
Writing on Facebook, the incoming MP wrote: “I am honoured and humbled to receive the support of the people of Franklin to represent them.
“Thank you to my family and all who have supported and encouraged me over this long campaign.
“Together we share core values of service to the community, hard work and compassion…and today I share my success with you.”
Tasmania was the last Australian state to get rid of its law criminalising gay sex, and did so two decades ago.
Last year, Tasmania introduced legislation to remove historic gay sex convictions from the criminal records of LGBT people who had been prosecuted under the previous laws.
Speaking to Star Observer, spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, said that Standen’s win showed the people of Australia how far Tasmania had come.
Spokesperson Rodney Croome said: “I congratulate Alison on her election because she is strongly committed to the values of inclusion and equality.
“Her election confirms that being gay is not a barrier to holding high elected office in Tasmania.”
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He continued: “It also confirms just how far Tasmania has come since it was the last state to decriminalise homosexuality twenty years ago.”
“Although there were some anti-LGBTI leaflets distributed in northern electorates by the Australian Christian Lobby, there were no locally-based attacks against the positive record on LGBTI human rights of any candidate or party,” Croome said.
“This is the first time this has happened since LGBTI human rights became a public issue in Tasmania in the 1980s.
“I have no doubt that it was due in large part to growing public awareness of Tasmania’s strong and comprehensive hate-speech laws.
“I think I speak for many Tasmanians when I say I hope the 2018 election sets a positive precedent for future state elections being free of anti-LGBTI hate.”