Sydney trans rights protestors target Latham bill

Trans Day of Resistance protestors march down King Street, Newtown on Saturday, 20 November, 2020. Photo: Zebedee Parkes: Social justice filmmaker & photographer/Facebook.

By PETER HACKNEY

Several hundred people attended trans rights events in Sydney on Saturday to mark the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance – also known as the Trans Day of Resistance – held around the world each year on 20 November.

A spirited crowd gathered at 1pm outside the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on King Street for the Trans Day of Resistance Rally, to call for an end to violence against trans people and oppose anti-trans legislation introduced to the NSW Parliament.

In particular, speakers took aim at the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 put forward by One Nation MP Mark Latham, which ostensibly seeks to deny the existence of gender diverse children and prohibit NSW school students from being taught about trans issues.

If passed, the bill – informally known as the Trans Erasure Bill – will put teachers and other school staff at risk of losing their jobs if they affirm the identity of trans or gender diverse students.

The rally, organised by activist groups Pride in Protest and Trans Action Warrang-Sydney, subsequently marched down King Street to Victoria Park, chanting slogans including: “When trans lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

Trans Day of Resistance protestors march down King Street, Newtown on Saturday, 20 November, 2020. Photo: Zebedee Parkes: Social justice filmmaker & photographer/Facebook.

Several hours later, a separate Transgender Day of Remembrance event was held at Harmony Park, Surry Hills from 6pm.

The event, which was broadcast live via Zoom and largely attended online, saw participants light a candle in honour of victims of transphobic violence.

It was organised by the Gender Centre, the City of Sydney Council and other community stakeholders, with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore taking to social media to highlight its significance.

“No community should have to put aside a day to mourn the mounting tally of those they have lost,” the Lord Mayor said.

“But for the trans and gender diverse community, that’s what today is for.”

Moore said the City of Sydney had supported the annual candlelight vigil in Surry Hills for over a decade.

Founded in the USA in 1999, the Transgender Day of Remembrance was initially created to memorialise transgender woman Rita Hester, who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts in 1998.

It is now held annually across 200 cities in more than 20 countries, to draw attention to the continued violence faced by trans people, and memorialise victims of transphobic murders across the globe.

Peter Hackney is the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Sentinel.