NSW Parliament supports trans and gender diverse communities

Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich (holding Trans Pride Flag, right) at the NSW Parliament with colleagues and supporters. Photo: Alex Greenwich/Facebook.

The NSW Parliament has unanimously passed a motion from Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich in support of the state’s trans and gender diverse communities.

The motion, passed yesterday, noted the contribution made to NSW by trans and gender diverse communities, and commended organisations which support those communities, such as The Gender Centre, Trans Pride Australia, the Inner City Legal Centre, Equality Australia, Twenty10 and ACON.

In his parliamentary speech commending the motion, Greenwich said it aligned with a long history of NSW Parliament taking a progressive approach to LGBTIQ issues.

“The Parliament of NSW has long worked together when it comes to matters of equality for LGBTIQ communities. We got behind marriage equality, apologised to the ’78ers, removed past homosexual convictions, worked through tensions with police and continue to support the Mardi Gras,” Greenwich said.

“There is still a long way to go and we urgently need to focus on the trans and gender diverse communities, whose basic health and welfare are overlooked and who are regularly subject to discrimination, stigma, isolation and exclusion,” he said. 

“Trans and gender diverse communities have been under increased attack lately, including in this parliament where their very right to exist is subject of discussion.”

The reference to parliamentary attacks on trans and gender diverse communities comes as NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham seeks to curtail the rights of trans and gender diverse people and those who support them.

A private member’s bill by Latham, introduced to NSW Parliament in August, seeks to amend the Education Act 1990, the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 and the Education Standards Authority Act 2013 to ban schools from teaching that trans and gender diverse people exist and should be treated with respect.

If passed, it would prohibit school counsellors from supporting trans and gender diverse students, allow parents to withdraw their children from classes affirming LGBTQI students, and put teachers at risk of losing their jobs if they support said students.

A protest on 10 October in Taylor Square saw 300 people rally against Latham’s bill, widely known as the ‘Trans Erasure Bill’, in defiance of a NSW Supreme Court order banning the demonstration, purportedly on Covid-19 safety grounds. 

Last month, in an exclusive piece for the Sentinel, international queer rights hero Peter Tatchell compared the bill to Britain’s infamous Section 28, which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by British schools and local councils from the late 1980s to early 2000s.

A number of politicians from across the political spectrum spoke in support of Greenwich’s motion yesterday, including Minister for Transport Andrew Constance, Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen, Member for Newtown Jenny Leong, and Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch. 

In his speech, Greenwich called on the NSW to abandon the requirement for trans people to have “sex affirmation procedures”.

“This out-of-date requirement does not reflect the reality of the vast majority of transgender people who transition without surgery,” he said.

“Most other states and territories and the Commonwealth have removed these archaic obligations and NSW should finally give trans and gender diverse people the security of a registered record to help them engage with employment, health and life like everyone else.”

Greenwich concluded his speech by calling on the house to “make support and reform for the trans and gender diverse communities a priority and work towards equality, dignity and respect”.

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