Premium Content:

Advocates say WA's LGBTIQA+ Strategy must not replace law reform

Local and national LGBTIQA+ advocacy groups have responded to the Cook Government’s commitment to fund WA’s first whole-of-government LGBTIQA+ Inclusion Strategy.

Announced on Friday, $900,000 in funding will be shared between local support organisations TransFolk of WA, GRAI and Living Proud WA to develop and implement the Strategy.

- Advertisement -

These organisations and LGBTIQA+ advocates have largely welcomed the funding, while urging the WA Government to follow through on long-promised law reform on a laundry list of items including restricting conversion practices, access to surrogacy, protections for teachers in faith-based schools and the abolition of the Gender Reassignment Board.

Speaking to OUTinPerth, the WA representative for Just.Equal Australia, Brian Greig, says the announcement is “an exercise in pinkwashing.”

“It’s fine to have an LGBTI reference group for the longer term, but in the short term we need law reform.”

In late 2023, Greig laid out the top ten issues Just.Equal Australia expect the State Government to act upon.

“We need law reform of the Equal Opportunity Act. We need law reform on transgender identity documents. We need anti-vilification laws,” Greig said of this week’s announcement.

“We need returned funding to the inclusive schools program, and most importantly we need to ban conversion practices.”

“We do not need more discussion, investigation and research into what issues are causing difficulties In our community. We already know precisely what those things are, and they can only be addressed by law reform.”

The former senator also address the announcement the funding will also support the establishment of an LGBTIQA+ peak body in WA.

“This new body must not be a substitute for law reform,” Greig continued.

“It’s clear that the government is using this as a public relations exercise to detract attention away from the fact that they have betrayed our community on law reform and will do nothing about passing legislation before the election.”

Equality Australia say WA government need to follow through with law reform commitments

The CEO of national advocacy group Equality Australia, Anna Brown, also stressed the importance of protecting the wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people at all levels of government.

“This announcement is fantastic news and I’m heartened to see our community in WA being recognised for the essential work that they’re doing on the ground,” Brown said.

“While this is an excellent starting point, I hope that the WA Government follows through on their commitments to reforming pathways to gender recognition, ending conversion practices and protecting LGBTIQA+ people from religious discrimination in schools and organisations.”

“There’s a real chance here for WA to not only catch up with other states in Australia, but also begin leading the way on its relationship with our community. It’s a near-future I look forward to seeing.”

LGBTIQA+ community has ‘lost trust’ in government

Local advocacy consortium Rainbow Futures WA were named by the government as a major proponent in this initiative, confirming the group will continue to contribute to the development and implementation of the Strategy.

“This is an incredible starting point for an improved relationship between WA’s LGBTIQA+ community and Government,” Rainbow Futures WA spokesperson Misty Farquhar said on Friday.

“This funding will have a big impact for these community-controlled organisations that do so much for LGBTIQA+ people in WA and will help them to build and grow more sustainably moving forward.

“But providing funding is just the beginning. Our call for the government to urgently implement LGBTIQA+ law reform remains as loud as ever.”

Farquhar and Rainbow Futures WA also called for legislative action on a range of issues by name, including an updated Equal Opportunity Act that provides protections for LGBTIQA+ people, modernisation of the legal gender recognition process, banning of conversion practices, surrogacy to be made available to all people, and an end to medical interventions that modify the bodies of children with intersex variations without their personal informed consent.

“The LGBTIQA+ community has lost a lot of trust in the government and rightly so. Promises have been broken and people have been left in limbo,” they said.

“But this shows a real commitment from the government to get it right. We need to ensure our voices are heard in consultations with LGBTIQA+ people that are meaningful rather than symbolic.”

OUTinPerth asked the Minister for Youth, Hannah Beazley, whether the Strategy will be supplemented by law reform. The Minister, who leads one of three portfolios supporting the initiative, said she didn’t want to pre-empt what comes out of the Strategy’s development.

“I will say that it will definitely consider any required amendments to legislation,” Minister Beazley said.

The Minister also responded to criticism of government’s inaction on these issues raised by Just.Equal, Rainbow Futures WA and the wider community.

“It remains a definite priority of the Cook Labor Government to ensure we’re doing all we can to include our LGBTQIA+ community in all of our policy work and legislative review and I am deeply committed to seeing those things progressed.”

Leigh Andrew Hill


You can support our work by subscribing to our Patreon
or contributing to our GoFundMe campaign.

Latest

Catch Celtic folk group Amàrach at The Ellington

If you missed the show Celtic folk group Amàrach...

Just one chance: Tama Gucci shoots video during solar eclipse

Musician Tama Gucci has shared the video for their...

Cat Haven crisis: urgent calls to adopt a cat

Cat Haven desperately needs people to adopt a cat.

On This Gay Day | Caitlyn Jenner came out in a television interview

In 2015, Caitlyn Jenner shared her gender in a...

Newsletter

Don't miss

Catch Celtic folk group Amàrach at The Ellington

If you missed the show Celtic folk group Amàrach...

Just one chance: Tama Gucci shoots video during solar eclipse

Musician Tama Gucci has shared the video for their...

Cat Haven crisis: urgent calls to adopt a cat

Cat Haven desperately needs people to adopt a cat.

On This Gay Day | Caitlyn Jenner came out in a television interview

In 2015, Caitlyn Jenner shared her gender in a...

Beau Lamarre-Condon’s lawyer unsure of how his client will plead

The lawyer representing alleged double-murderer Beau Lamarre-Condon has told...

Catch Celtic folk group Amàrach at The Ellington

If you missed the show Celtic folk group Amàrach put on during the recent Fringe World festival, fear not they've got another gig, this...

Just one chance: Tama Gucci shoots video during solar eclipse

Musician Tama Gucci has shared the video for their new song You Lost Me. The clip was filmed during a solar eclipse, meaning the...

Cat Haven crisis: urgent calls to adopt a cat

Cat Haven desperately needs people to adopt a cat.