Trans and gender diverse people deserve to be free to live their lives and make their own choices.
But today in Australia, trans and gender diverse people continue to be on the front lines of the fight for LGBT equality. We are the ones who are attacked most visibly and directly – whether it be during debate about the Safe Schools program or over the course of the divisive marriage equality postal survey. And as opponents of LGBT equality grow increasingly frustrated at their failure to halt progress, they are narrowing their focus to specifically target us – establishing new anti-trans organisations and recruiting politicians to spew hate and misinformation.
Fifty years ago, trans and gender diverse women of colour in the US decided they’d had enough of the daily oppression and violence they were experiencing. Their fight back ignited the Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall riots, and kicked off the global march towards equality for LGBT people.
We must continue this fight. Because trans and gender diverse people have always existed, and we will always exist. We are growing increasingly visible, increasingly organised, and we are clear on what we need. We’re standing up for ourselves, and our rights, and we want you to stand with us.
When we work together, we have the power to change laws and change lives. The resounding YES result of one year ago shows that Australians know that equality makes us stronger. And we are not done yet.
Faith-based schools are allowed to legally expel trans and gay students, as well as fire teachers because of their sexuality or gender identity. People born with intersex (a combination of male and female) biological characteristics are considered broken and subjected to ‘normalising’ treatments and surgeries as infants and children before they can ever give consent. So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is still happening inside certain religious communities that see gay and trans people as sick and broken, instead of human and whole.
We stand together and we stand proud because no one deserves to be treated as less-than for simply being who they are. Not the rainbow family. Not the trans teenager. Not the teacher or student just trying to go to school. There are voices we still need to amplify, stories we still need to tell and wrongs we still need to right.