Senate must stand with trans kids and reject Chandler’s cruel and divisive bill

Tuesday 2 February 2022 – National LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia has today called on the Senate to stand up for trans people after the Prime Minster told journalists that he supports a private members bill by Senator Claire Chandler that would exclude trans and gender diverse kids and adults from sports.  

“Sport should be for everyone – it builds community and supports individual and collective health and self-esteem”, said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia.   

“That’s why teams around the country have included trans and gender diverse people for decades, working hard to ensure that every team member is treated with dignity and respect, and that everyone can play a fair game.”  

The Sex Discrimination Act already allows for discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender identity or intersex status by excluding people from competing in sport, where strength, stamina and physique is relevant. Instead of considering how these exemptions could be narrowed, the Chandler Bill would go further, and for the first time allow discrimination against children under the age of 12 years.  

In October 2020, eight peak sporting bodies committed to implementing policies and guidelines to support inclusion in sport for trans and gender diverse people.  

“Senator Chandler’s bill is not just unnecessary, it’s cruel and divisive. In offering his public support for this Bill, the Prime Minister is once again making the lives of trans and gender diverse kids the subject of political and media debate, said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia.   

“This is completely unacceptable, particularly when this group of people already experience disproportionate levels of discrimination, marginalisation and social isolation.”  

Polling conducted by YouGov for Equality Australia in July 2020 showed three in four (78%) people in Australia agree that transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as others. The recent debate about protections for trans kids in religious schools is further evidence of this widespread support.

“We know the overwhelming majority of people in Australia believe that trans and gender diverse people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians, a fact that the Prime Minister failed to understand when he refused to fulfil his promise to protect trans kids in religious schools during the Religious Discrimination Bill debate,” said Anna Brown, CEO, Equality Australia  

“What followed was an overwhelming outpouring of support, including from those in his own party who bravely crossed the floor in support of trans and gender diverse children.”  

“The Senate must act decisively and with the same conviction as their lower house colleagues by standing for the inclusion of trans kids and reject this Bill in its entirety.”

Media Contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, tara.ravens@equalityaustralia.org.au