The coming months will be exciting, so watch out for news on the following:
1. Beyond Priscilla being turned into a touring play for regional, rural and remote Australia by one of Australia’s most established playwrights.
2. Daniel Witthaus performing a one-man show for Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival; to be performed at Hares & Hyenas on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th January 2015. All proceeds will go to the National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE).
3. With the help of pro bono assistance of law firm, King & Wood Mallesons, the National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE) has completed its registration as a not-for-profit company, and to (hopefully) get charity status to continue its important work across regional, rural and remote Australia.
4. Daniel is currently collecting rural LGBTI stories for a new coffeetable (i.e. CuppaTable) book on everyday LGBTI stories from rural Australia. If you can think of great characters, please let him know on e-mail: email@example.com x
On Tuesday 21st October, Daniel travelled to the Gold Coast to co-keynote an LGBTI conference organised by Ohana Youth Services.
The conference was well-attended by local teachers, health professionals and homophobia-curious others, as well as LGBTI young people themselves. In the afternoon, Daniel co-facilitated a young people’s workshop on taking action with the Queensland Young Person of the Year.
Stay tuned for great work in and out of local schools in the coming months. Congrats to Ohana for bringing this together.
On Friday 17th October, Daniel was honoured to attend the first GLOBE Community Awards night at Myer Mural Hall.
Nominated by several people, Daniel was named as one of three finalists for the Victorian LGBTI Person of the Year award. The Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby’s Anna Brown took out the award for her great work in advocating for the LGBTI communities.
On Tuesday 14th October, Daniel delivered two lectures on LGBTI issues for students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, studying to work across the Department of Justice.
Noting the gap in current curriculum, this lecture is hoped by administrators to be the beginning of LGBTI inclusion for future years.
On Monday 13th October, Daniel attended the first of a series of meetings with Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to discuss the possibility of a partnership to make schools safer for LGBTI students. There was much interest in Daniel’s Pride & Prejudice educational package, still the only formally-evaluated challenging homophobia program shown to work across both metropolitan and non-metropolitan schools, and both religious and non-religious schools.
Daniel shared his experiences in Australia, as well as internationally when he worked with the Dutch government-funded Global Alliance for LGBT Education (GALE), particularly the limitations of funding third party organisations to create safer educational settings for LGBTI students.
Stay tuned for news about meetings in late November.
On Wednesday 8th October, Daniel facilitated a follow-up workshop for Moonee Valley City Council called ‘The Next Step’. Following on from their successful forum for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in May this year, a group of Councillors, Council staff and local LGBTI residents came together to talk about what positive change could occur. A range of actions were prioritised by the group, with Moonee Valley excited to put these into action and to continue the conversation.
On Monday 6th October, Daniel braved some stormy weather and travelled back to his hometown of Geelong for a screening of The Case Against 8. The well-attended screening would be the first screening of the documentary in regional Australia; congrats to the team of Sharyn Faulkner and co for making it possible. The documentary is a powerful account of the marriage equality movement in the United States, and follows some of the key players throughout (I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the house by the end).
Over recent months Daniel has been asked to deliver workshops across regional federal electorates for Australian Marriage Equality. The aim of these workshops is to give locals the skills to share their story with local MPs and media, as well as some tips on how to deal with everyday resistance.
So far Daniel has travelled to the seats of Corangamite (Geelong, Colac VIC), Ferrer, (Albury NSW), McPherson (Gold Coast QLD) and Wills (Brunswick, Coburg VIC).
Stay tuned for more visits in the coming months.