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Introducing Giz Watson: our Pride Festival 2024 Patron! | Albany Pride Festival
Introducing Giz Watson: our Pride Festival 2024 Patron!
It's our pleasure to announce Giz Watson as our Pride Patron for 2024!

Albany Pride are delighted to welcome Giz Watson as our Pride Festival 2024 Patron.

Hi my name is Giz Watson and I am the patron of Albany Pride Festival 2024. I am delighted to support Albany Pride in 2024. 

I have lived in the Albany region on and off since the mid seventies and I’m very proud and excited that Albany has its very own Pride group and annual festival! Growing up gay, lesbian, trans or questioning your sexuality and/or gender can be hard anywhere but particularly outside of the bigger cities. For members of the Albany community to have recognised this and used it as the impetus to form the Albany Pride group is a huge credit to them and a big part of these younger folk (and we older folk too!) feeling supported and welcome in Albany. GLBTI+ visibility and pride is essential for our health, well-being and to protect and advocate for our rights.

I was a member of Parliament for the Greens for 16 years and I was the first out lesbian in any Australian Parliament! I am proud to have been a leader, back in 2001/2, in changing the laws in WA to provide equal rights for LGBTI+ people. Together the Greens and ALP created some of Australia’s most progressive laws, however, we need to remember there is still more work needed to protect the rights of Transfolk.

In particular I always look forward to Pride Fairday – it’s a wonderful, inclusive event that allows us to showcase all we do and all we are in our rainbow diversity. It draws people from far and wide to celebrate with us and enjoy our beautiful and precious south coast.

Giz Watson

Giz Watson’s background is in environmental science, building, activism, and politics.

Giz has lived and worked in the Albany region at various times since the mid-seventies. In the eighties she ran her own building business, studied at Abany TAFE and played a lot of hockey in the rain!

Giz was a Member of Parliament in WA Legislative Council for the Greens from 1997 to 2013 having amongst her portfolios social justice; health; LGBTI issues; housing and criminal law.

She was the first openly lesbian member of any Australian Parliament.

In 2002, Attorney-General Jim McGinty of the ALP and Greens (WA) MP Giz Watson introduced a package of comprehensive LGBTI law reform, which included allowing same-sex adoption, parentage rights for lesbian couples with children, allowing same-sex couples to access the more cost-effective Family Court of Western Australia to resolve their disputes and equalising the age of consent at 16 years for both heterosexual and LGBTI people.  As a result, Western Australia became the first Australian state to allow LGBTI adoption and the first place in Australia where, in 2007, a same-sex couple adopted a child.

In 2015 she was awarded an honorary degree from Murdoch University for her work in human rights and helping to bring about glbti equality in WA.

Since leaving Parliament she remains active in campaigning for LGBTI+ rights, social justice and the environment.

GIZ WATSON BSc; DUni (hon causa) Murdoch University Western Australia.