Acting Commissioner Karen Toohey, from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission congratulated the Midsumma organisers on playing a key role in promoting sexual and gender diversity through the three-week long festival, culminating in the annual Pride March on February 3rd 2013.
"Each year, Midsumma is a highlight on Victoria's arts and culture calendar. It is an exuberant and inclusive celebration of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) community," Ms Toohey said.
Ms Toohey said the Festival was also an opportunity to remind people that despite 30 years of equal opportunity law in Victoria, the GLBTI community still faced discrimination, exclusion and victimisation.
"It is wonderful to see so many people showing their support by attending the many activities on offer during Midsumma, however, we must not forget that discrimination, exclusion and victimisation still occurs for some members of this community.
"Almost 100 complaints relating to sexual orientation and gender identity were received by the Commission in 2011-2012, mostly in the area of employment.
"This a significant increase on the previous year and indicates more GLBTI Victorians are aware of their rights and are taking action to stand up for them.
"We all have the right to be who we want to be and to be treated fairly and with respect without fear of discrimination or harassment.
The Commission will continue to protect and promote the rights of the Victorian GLBTIQ community," Ms Toohey said.
Commission staff hosted a stall at the Midsumma Carnival on Sunday and will be marching with No to Homophobia at the Pride March on Sunday, 3 February - anyone is welcome to join us.