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INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA, INTERSEX DISCRIMINATION AND TRANSPHOBIA (IDAHOBIT)

Today in Parliament, Amanda gave a powerful speech about just how far we have to go in NSW to improve safety, access and inclusion for all LGBTQIA+ people in every corner of the state. 

Amanda said: 

Every person, no matter their gender or sexual identity, belongs in our community and deserves to be safe and included. When the rights of marginalised people are upheld and protected, and when diversity and inclusion are celebrated features of our society, every one of us benefits. IDAHOBIT—the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex Discrimination and Transphobia—was on 17 May. IDAHOBIT has been renamed several times over the years to include and recognise greater diversity, and has grown to be the annual day against LGBTQIA+ discrimination. Since its establishment in 2005, IDAHOBIT has marked the anniversary of 17 May 1990—the day that homosexuality was officially delisted as a disease from the World Health Organization's classification. That change mattered then and matters now because the ignorance and fear that led to homosexuality being pathologised continue to reverberate through our communities. It matters now because of the impacts of discrimination on our health and wellbeing.

For IDAHOBIT, organisations and workplaces, including the New South Wales Parliament, host events, talks and panels, and decorate with rainbows—for example, with Progress Pride flag lanyards like the one I am wearing, a generous and affirming gift from the Parliament's Pride network. Those small expressions of solidarity nod not only to queer colleagues but also to the progress that has been made, as well as the work yet to be done. It is essential that such celebrations are not entirely symbolic. IDAHOBIT participation should be matched with a collective responsibility for tangible, measurable and material change, and meaningful cultural transformation.

The right to marry for same‑sex couples, which is just five years old, is a reminder of the possibility for change. For many, it is hard to imagine discriminating against same‑sex couples for the same right to marry that heterosexual couples have. However, while the marriage equality plebiscite passed, some 4.8 million people—38.4 per cent of Australians who voted—voted against it. Specifically, New South Wales had the most marginal "yes" vote of any State. In the spotlight now, trans and gender‑diverse people are subject to disproportionate and unjust criticism and exclusion. There is nothing new in those attacks; I only hear the recycling of tired and divisive lies that have been wheeled out before in campaigns of fear and disinformation. History has shown us that a threat to the civil liberties and human rights of any marginalised group of people makes us collectively less safe. Forcing people to adhere to outdated norms is not only dehumanising, but it also drains our communities of colour—of the art, culture, performance, diversity and vibrancy that helps us thrive.

Over a decade ago I played rugby union for the University of Sydney women's First XV with a trans woman. She was a great teammate and team player. She was not the strongest or the fastest player on our team. She brought out the best in others. As a GP and as an athlete, I am passionate about the benefits of sport for physical and mental health, as well as community spirit. And I am appalled that it has somehow become controversial, only recently and in a reaction to overseas politics, for every one of us to have a go at Saturday sport. Our words and actions in this Parliament have consequences with real impacts on people's lives. The work that we need to do for New South Wales includes safeguarding young people by reinstating programs like Safe Schools, banning so‑called conversion therapies—practices which have no basis and cause extreme harm—and repealing exemptions from the Anti‑Discrimination Act.

Access to safe and affordable health care, including primary and mental health care, must be improved and expanded, particularly for LGBTQIA+ people in rural and regional areas. We must end the cruel and violating requirement for people to undergo unnecessary surgery to change official documents. Members of this Parliament have a responsibility to the New South Wales public, and to the hundreds of people for whom this Parliament is their workplace, to be part of the change that we need—or, at the very least, not to be part of the problem. I am committed to improving safety, access and inclusion for all LGBTQIA+ people in every corner of the State on IDAHOBIT and every day.

 

See Hansard here to see the transcript.

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