Equality Australia – Women’s, faith, community and health voices back NSW LGBTIQA+ reforms


This article was originally published by Equality Australia. You can find the original article here.

30 April 2024 – Welfare, health, family, faith and women’s groups have joined forces with LGBTIQ+ groups to call on the state government to back the NSW Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill 2023 and remove legal discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people. 

Signed by 80 organisations, the letter to NSW Premier Chris Minns includes the Australian Services Union, NCOSS, Women’s Health NSW, Women’s Electoral Lobby, Pitt Street Uniting Church, the Black Dog Institute and Rainbow Families.  

“NSW has some of the worst laws in the country for LGBTIQ+ people,” the letter states. “We ask you to change our laws to make sure that all people and families are equal in NSW.”  

Hearings begin on Tuesday for a Parliamentary Committee into Independent MP Alex Greenwich’s Equality Bill, which will close carve-outs that allow religious schools and organisations to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, better protect people from violence and recognise more rainbow families.  

NSW is also one of the last remaining states where trans and gender diverse people face cruel and unnecessary barriers, including the only place to require surgery on reproductive organs, in order to access ID documents that recognise them for who they are. 

Anna Brown, CEO of national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia: 

“An incredibly broad and diverse range of organisations from right across the social and political spectrum support these reforms. 

“Discrimination has no place in the modern state of NSW. Equality and a fair go for all is not too much for NSW citizens to ask of their government, and it’s time for us to catch-up with the rest of Australia on these long overdue reforms.” 

Australian Services Union, NSW/ACT (Services) Branch Secretary Angus McFarland: 

“Surely the highest priority for any government is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its citizens. 

“It is a shameful fact that members of LGBTIQ+ communities and their families in NSW must live with some of Australia’s most outdated, irrelevant, and least effective discrimination laws. 

“The protections included in the proposed Bill do not privilege any person or group. Instead, they address the outstanding issues in current legislation and would bring NSW closer into line with other states, territories and the Commonwealth.” 

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill: 

“We believe the Bill provides excellent environmental conditions, and protective factors, to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people in NSW. 

“ACON recommends passing the Equality Bill in full. The reforms follow best practice in other Australian jurisdictions and are an unprecedented opportunity to create a more inclusive, respectful, and safe society for our communities to live.”  

Tracey Hutt, CEO Family Planning Alliance Australia: 

“To live openly, safely and freely as transgender is to seek the same freedoms desired by cis women. As feminists, we respect the fight to defy gender stereotypes, to strive to live fully and authentically, without laws and policies that constrain us based on sex or gender.” 

Jozefa Sobski, National Convener Women’s Electoral Lobby: 

“WEL has long been concerned about the exemptions from the Anti- Discrimination Act that allow religious schools and institutions such as public hospitals run by religious charities, to discriminate against women and LGBTQI + people more generally. 

“We are delighted the Bill provides for the removal of blanket exemptions that currently allow private schools to discriminate against a person based on marital or domestic status, carers responsibilities, transgender status, disability, sexuality and other attributes. It also better protects aged care workers, nurses and teachers, introduces new grounds for the making of AVOs and APVOs to better protect people from all forms of domestic violence, better recognises families created through surrogacy in the best interests of children, ensures trans and gender diverse women can access ID that matches their identity and addresses unnecessarily gendered terms in NSW laws.” 

Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre Alastair Lawrie:  

“NSW is the only place in Australia where trans and gender diverse people must undergo genital surgery before they can access birth certificates reflecting who they are. The Equality Bill proposes a straight-forward application process in line with other jurisdictions. 

“The Equality Bill will remove the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act’s broad exceptions that allow ‘private educational authorities’ to discriminate. We urge Parliament to support it, to allow young people to learn without the fear of discrimination, and to ensure teachers are employed because of their skills and experience, not their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

 Inner City Legal Centre Managing Principal Solicitor Katie Green: 

“Telling our clients that there is no legal remedy for the discrimination that they routinely experience is exhausting and disheartening.   

“Our clients cannot believe it when we tell them that there are two classes or trans people in NSW ‘recognised’ and ‘not- recognised’ and that the ‘recognised’ class have more rights. Or when we explain to the parent of a LGBTQIA+ child in a religious school that the best option available is to change schools.  

“Or when we have to tell a sex worker whose bank account has been cancelled because of their occupation that this is totally lawful because there are no discrimination protections for sex workers in NSW.”  

Ashley Scott Executive Officer Rainbow Families: 

“The ban on overseas commercial surrogacy has been ineffective with no prosecutions taking place in NSW since the commencement of the Surrogacy Act in 2010. 

“Rather, the effect of the ban has been damaging, resulting in children born through overseas commercial surrogacy being deprived of the security and certainty of legal parentage. 

“Children should be equal before the law regardless of the circumstances of their conception, and criminalising the actions of parents for bringing their children into the world is not in children’s best interests.” 

Transcend Australia CEO Jeremy Wiggins: 

“Trans young people living in NSW deserve every opportunity to live and dream of healthier and stronger futures, but this can only be achieved with equal protections under the law.” 

Reverend Dr Josephine Inkpin, Pitt Street Uniting Church:  

“The Equality Bill is consistent with Christian teaching that each person is created by God and deserving of dignity and respect. Many of the measures, especially for trans people and intersex people, are long overdue.” 

Jain Moralee CEO Twenty 10: 

“The proposed legislative changes in this Equality Bill will have positive and lasting impact on the lives of young LGBTIQA+ people in NSW and their families and communities who support them. 

“Creating safer, accessible and inclusive education and healthcare environments will contribute to the long-term health, mental health and wellbeing outcomes for so many young people – and reduce harmful experiences of stigma and discrimination.  

“All young people in NSW regardless of their sexuality, gender or body deserve this. “ 

 Media contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, [email protected]

This article was originally published by Equality Australia. You can find the original article here.

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