May 17: IDAHOBIT is needed now as much has ever

Today marks 32 years since the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its official register of diseases.

To note the annual passing of this important historical rights achievement IDAHO Day was launched 17 years ago.

Since then International Day Against Homophobia has broadened its acronym to include people who are transgender, bi+, ace+ or intersex as well, and it’s gained the catchy name IDAHOBIT too.

As we head towards a federal election this weekend – transgender, gender diverse and intersex lives have once again been used as a political football – which has undoubtedly been difficult for members of our communities.

LGBTQIA+ advocates and medical professionals stood up for trans lives and healthcare after misinformation shared by the Prime Minister.

Representatives from advocacy group Transcend Australia, the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH) and Equality Australia teamed up to set the record straight.

“It’s deeply concerning to see the Prime Minister spreading these alarmist views when the reality is that young transgender people struggle to access the care that they need, when they need it”, said Jeremy Wiggins, Executive Officer of Transcend Australia.

“These are personal decisions about healthcare that should be left to young people and the doctors and parents that support them, rather than debated by politicians in the middle of a federal election campaign.”

“The real key issues impacting trans young people and their families include the lack of appropriately funded health and support services, and the high rates of harassment and abuse, which are actually driving poor mental health rates for our community, resulting in higher rates of self-harm and suicidality.”

An election forum hosted by Equality Australia earlier this month also fielded questions on what issues were most important to LGBTQIA+ folks this election.

Issues raised included standing up for trans and gender diverse folks against misinformation and scare campaigns, ending LGBTQIA+ conversion practices, stopping unnecessary procedures on intersex people, developing a long-term plan for LGBTQIA+ health and wellbeing, suicide prevention, ending new HIV transmissions and protections for LGBTQIA+ staff against the government’s still-looming Religious Discrimination Bill.

In 2019, 70.9% of LGBTIQ+ people agreed that the primary aim of religious freedom advocates is to take away the rights of LGBTIQ+ people, while 43.5% said they believe Australia is not an accepting nation.

62.2% of respondents said they feel vulnerable, 67.2% angry and 78.4% not respected, and 97.9% said they believe religious organisations like schools and hospitals should not be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, while 92% believe individuals should be able to say whatever they want about LGBTIQ+ people in the name of religion.

Three years later, the Morrison Government hopes to forge ahead with the legislation if re-elected, while Labor has made no commitment to protect LGBTQIA+ staff in religious schools.

Just.Equal Australia’s Brian Greig recently highlighted that Labor voted to remove existing state discrimination protections from teachers in faith-based schools when the Bill was debated in February.

“We have written to Labor asking for its policy on LGBTIQ+ teachers in faith-based schools but have not received a response.”

“We call on Labor to respond to our questions and to release its response to questions on the same topic from the National Catholic Education Commission.” Greig said.

The National Catholic Education Commission has called on both major parties to clarify how they will bring forward federal legislation for Religious Discrimination.

Though 17 years has passed since the first IDAHO was marked, and over three decades since homosexuality was declassified as an illness, there is still much, much more work to be done.

OIP Staff


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGED[email protected]discharged.org.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au


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