OUTInPerth – Rainbow Futures WA: Gender reform is the first step


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

Local LGBTQIA+ advocacy consortium Rainbow Futures WA (RFWA) have welcomed the Cook Government’s announcement of gender-focused law reform, but say WA still has much to do.

In April, Premier Roger Cook and Attorney General John Quigley put forward what they described as the “first tranche” of legislation for LGBTIQA+ reform.

The Births, Death, Marriages Registration Amendment (Sex or Gender Changes) Bill 2024 will remove the requirement for West Australians to present to the Gender Reassignment Board to legally affirm their gender and introduce a new administrative process for people seeking to amend legal documents.

Writing for The West Australian, RFWA representatives Misty Farquhar, Nat Latter and Thomas Drake-Brockman – who is also the Chair of TransFolk of WA – say this long-sought change would not be possible “without a Government committed to making life better for LGBTIQA+ people.”

“It is a good step forward on the back of decades of advocacy by community members, most recently spearheaded by Rainbow Futures WA and TransFolk of WA.

The trio described the Gender Reassignment Board as a cruel, unnecessary and humiliating barrier for trans and gender diverse Western Australians, welcoming a new process that treats people with dignity and respect.

“Non-binary people will also now be able to change their birth certificates to describe their identities more accurately. Changing birth certificates will no longer require surgical or medical interventions, which are not desired by or accessible to all trans people.

“However, as LGBTIQA+ advocates we are caught in an uncomfortable tension between celebration and frustration,” they continued.

“While there is much to welcome in this long overdue reform, the lack of proper consultation process had led to a Bill that improves substantially on the status quo but leaves WA trailing the rest of the country.”

RFWA look east for better practice, identifying the 2018 reforms of South Australia and the Northern Territory, adding that most other states have gone even further to remove outdated models.

“In WA, a doctor or psychologist will still need to confirm a person’s gender. We are concerned about the collateral damage of laws written without drawing on the wealth of knowledge held by LGBTIQA+ advocacy bodies, or from superior legislation passed in other states.”

“For example, the proposed addition of an “intersex/indeterminate” category demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the needs of people with intersex variations.”

RFWA are calling on the Cook Government to adhere to their commitment to deliver further reforms for our communities, including a new Equal Opportunity Act, banning conversion practices and updating reproductive technology and surrogacy legislation.

“This experience shows our community is strongest when we work together. This is what has made this reform possible.”

“It is how we will continue to make this state better, safer and more equal for all West Australians.”

Who are Rainbow Futures WA?

Rainbow Futures WA is a consortium of LGBTIQA+ advocacy and support organisations, formed from community gatherings and events held throughout 2020.

Since their formation, the group have been working to push the McGowan and Cook Governments towards meaningful reform that benefits our communities.

Ahead of the 2021 election, RFWA joined forces with Equality Australia to deliver a scorecard on LGBTIQA+ policy positions, laying out the commitments of WA Labor, Liberal, The Greens and The Nationals.

The issues on the agenda were drawn from a community survey, ensuring the issues that matter to Western Australian LGBTIQA+ people were heard.

David Gibson (GRAI), Sam Gibbings (Living Proud) Minister for Youth Hannah Beazley MLA, Misty Farquhar (RFWA), Nat Latter (RFWA) and Thomas Drake Brockman (TransFolk of WA)

Ahead of Premier Cook’s announcements on gender reform, his government noted the contributions of Rainbow Futures WA in their announcement of funding for WA’s first LGBTIQA+ Inclusion Strategy.

The consortium’s current membership consists of 25 metropolitan and regional organisations, including Youth Pride Network, WAAC, TransFolk of WA, Pride WA, Living Proud, GRAI, First People’s Rainbow Mob and Equal Voices WA.

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

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