January 11, 2023 - Health and women’s groups, a key union and legal body are among 40 organisations to sign a letter calling on the West Australian government to urgently deliver on its commitments to the LGBTIQA+ community.
Despite the government’s promise to abolish the Gender Reassignment Board (GRB) 12 months ago, trans and gender diverse people who wish to update their birth certificate continue to face cruel and unnecessary barriers.
Unfair and outdated laws in WA mean queer students and teachers still face discrimination in religious schools while conversion practices continue to cause real and lasting harm.
The WA government has previously committed to reforming the Equal Opportunity Act and is working with survivors on legislation to ban practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexuality or gender identity.
“We urge the Government to honour its commitments to our community as a matter of priority,” says the letter to the Premier and Attorney-General, signed by the United Workers Union, Fair Agenda, AusPATH (Australian Professional Association for Trans Health) and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.
“Our laws should protect all of us equally, allow us to be recognised for who we are and ensure that no one feels unsafe to be themselves.”
Stevie Lane, from Rainbow Futures WA:
“LGBTIQA+ people and the wider community are deeply passionate about the quick implementation of law reforms affecting us.
“This government would prefer to march in the Pride parade to undeserved applause than enact meaningful legislative reform. If they have taken any action towards meaningful reform, it has not been visible to the community, and it has become increasingly difficult to understand the reason for delays.
“We urge Premier Cook and Attorney General Quigley to receive this letter with the seriousness in which it is sent and call on their government to act with urgency.”
Anna Brown, Equality Australia CEO:
“Every student should be able to go to school and feel supported to learn and safe from discrimination, no teacher should feel they might lose their job because of their sexuality and no queer person should be told they are broken or disordered.
“These changes to the Act, along with abolishing the board, will finally bring WA in line with most other states and territories.”
Gabriel Osborne, co-founder of Flying Free and winner of the Young People’s Award at the 2023 Australian Human Rights Award:
“As a public survivor of conversion practices in WA I have been contacted by other survivors and know that institutions are regularly engaging in these torturous practices within our state.
“A comprehensive ban on conversion practices is not something which can be put on the back burner as every day in WA a vulnerable person is being harmed.”
Renee Carr, Executive Director at Fair Agenda:
“In our fight for women’s equality, we must disrupt the systems that disadvantage and marginalise individuals based on gender. This imperative includes discrimination in any form against trans and gender diverse people.
“We urge the Western Australian government to recognise and address discriminatory policies impacting the LGBTIQA+ community for a more inclusive and fair society where everyone can thrive."