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NATIONAL LOBBY WELCOMES GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR GAY & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

In a first this week the Howard Government has come out in support of a United Nations statement against gay and transgender discrimination.

The statement put forward by Norway, garnered an unprecedented level of support with 54 nations and over 400 non-government agencies from 60 countries endorsing the statement.

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The statement was also the first of its kind to oppose discrimination on the grounds of gender identity.

Australian Coalition for Equality spokesperson Rod Swift told OUTinPerth he applauded the Howard Government for supporting the UN statement, but would like to see the Howard Government translate its concern about discrimination to Australian law.

“There is more discrimination against same-sex couples in Australia national law than in almost every other western country”, Mr Swift said. “We welcome the Government’s concern about discrimination and call for it to bring that concern home.”

ACE spokesperson Martine Delaney said UN recognition that transgender rights are human rights will send out a positive message to the world’s governments.

“Such widespread support for the Norwegian statement makes it harder for governments to abuse transgender human rights with any expectation their crimes will be ignored”, Ms Delaney said.

She called upon the Howard Government to demonstrate its commitment to transgender rights by addressing anomalies in a number of areas which affect transgender Australians, particularly Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, as well as passport administration.

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