Star Observer – NSW Parliament Clears The Way For LGBTIQA+ Equality Bill


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


LGBTQI+ advocates have welcomed a NSW Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation that the Equality Bill should go ahead for consideration at the NSW Parliament.

After two days of hearings and 66 written submissions, the report was handed down on Monday by The Committee on Community Services.

The welcome move comes amidst the start of Pride Month and days before a state apology to people convicted under old laws that criminalised homosexual acts. 

What is NSW’s LGBTIQA+ Equality Bill?

The NSW LGBTIQA+ Equality Bill was introduced to NSW Parliament in August last year by Independent MP Alex Greenwich. It seeks to amend the state laws that continue to discriminate against members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

“Our communities and their families live with some of the nation’s most outdated and discriminatory laws and it’s time for NSW to catch-up with the rest of Australia on these long overdue reforms,” said Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown.

Amongst the Bill’s reforms include the removal of carve-outs that allow private schools to fire and expel LGBTQ+ staff and students, ensuring trans people can access government ID that matches their gender identity without the need for invasive surgery, and better recognition for rainbow families.

However, the report on Monday also found there was a need for additional policy measures and funding to improve the safety and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people, including addressing issues like disadvantage, discrimination and poorer health outcomes.

NSW falling behind on LGBTQI+ rights and issues

NSW is the last state in the country to require trans people to have surgery to change their identity documents.

“This week, as NSW comes to grips with a painful chapter in its history, there is no better time for NSW to catch up with the rest of Australia and remove the remaining discrimination under our laws,” said Ghassan Kassisieh, Legal Director at Equality Australia.

In April, 80 organisations signed a letter to NSW Premier Chris Minns calling on him to support the Equality Bill including the Australian Services Union, NCOSS, Women’s Health NSW, Women’s Electoral Lobby, Pitt Street Uniting Church, the Black Dog Institute and Rainbow Families.

Politicians who don’t support bill not welcome at Sydney Mardi Gras

This week also saw the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) Board write to NSW members of parliament informing them that they would not be welcome at next year’s parade if they did not support the bill.

“Our communities face ongoing systemic discrimination, much of this enacted through legislation that has facilitated and encouraged such behaviours,” the letter reads.

“The legacy of such legislation continues to be pervasive, limiting the ability for LGBTQIA+ people to fully and safely participate in society.”

“The Board of SGLMG believe that our legislators’ support for Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ constituents must exist year-round, not just on days of celebration and pride.”

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

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