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One Nation questions funding of LGBTIQA+ organisation Living Proud

One Nation’s sole WA MP Ben Dawkins has question if its appropriate for the WA government to provide funding to LGBTIQA+ focused organisation Living Proud.

During the Legislative Council’s Question Time on Thursday Dawkins asked if the government had concerns over the way the organisation viewed the difference between sex and gender.

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Living Proud, Transfolk of WA and GRAI were recently jointly given $900,000 of funding as part of the government’s commitment to develop a whole of government inclusion strategy.

Dawkins highlighted that a document designed to support people who were questioning their gender on the Living Proud website had definitions of the difference between sex and gender.

“The word ‘sex’ is usually used to describe our biology — whether we are born with a penis or vagina.
The word ‘gender’ describes how we are expected to act as a male or a female.” Dawkins quoted.

The MP asked if the Department of Communities would be adopting these definitions, or if the department had their own official descriptions of the difference between sex and gender.

“If Living Proud has adopted definitions that are not supported or adopted by the WA government, why does it continue to receive taxpayer funding and how can the eventual inclusion strategy meet the government’s desire for inclusion if the government is at odds with Living Proud over the definitions of “sex” and “gender”, and therefore what sexes, genders and other identifiers need to be included by this inclusion strategy?” Dawkins asked.

Jackie Jarvis MLC said the government was not going to be “preoccupied” with gender definitions

As Sabine Winton, the Minister for Community Services serves in the Legislative Assembly, the response was given by Jackie Jarvis MLC, on her behalf.

“The Cook government is developing a whole-of-government strategy to drive inclusiveness for LGBTQIA+
people in Western Australia. The strategy is not intended to be preoccupied with defining ‘sex’ or ‘gender'” Jarvis said.

“The Department of Communities, as lead agency under Ministers Beazley and Winton, will work closely with non-government organisations to support the development and implementation of the strategy.

“This includes providing funding to Living Proud, TransFolk and GRAI, recognising the important role these organisations play in our community.” Jarvis said, defending the support to LGBTIQA+ organisations.

Who is Ben Dawkins?

Ben Dawkins joined the parliament in 2023 following the retirement of Alannah MacTiernan. He had been the fifth candidate on Labor’s ticket at the 2021 election.

Prior to taking his seat Dawkins was expelled from the Labor Party as he had been charged with 43 counts of breaching a violence restraining order. He was later removed from the party and ended up being convicted of 35 of the charges.

Dawkins was given a 10-month community-based order and a $2,000 fine. The magistrate declined his request for a spent conviction. Initially sitting in the chamber as an independent, in February 2024 Dawkins joined Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

In March he put forward a motion calling on the Legislative Council to declare that biological sex was more important than gender identity. It also called on the parliament to state a person’s biological sex is a fact, and that it is not scientifically possible to change your biological sex from one sex to another at a cellular level.

His motion was ridiculed by MPs from both sides of the house and when it came to a vote, Dawkins stood alone in voicing support for his views.

Living Proud previously spoke about the importance of the funding

Community group Living Proud WA will soon mark their 50th anniversary of supporting LGBTIQA+ people in Western Australia.

The community group are the WA partner in phone service Q-Life, as well as running health and wellbeing initiatives.

When the landmark funding was announced treasurer Sam Gibbings said the core funding commitment was essential in meeting the growing needs of the LGBTQIA+ community in Western Australia.

“Many organisations in the sector are struggling to keep up with demand and rely heavily on volunteers, so this welcome and ongoing injection of funds will help us provide the increased resources and capacity that our community needs, while helping ensure greater resilience within the LGBTQIA+ sector,” Gibbings said.

“This funding is important as we work towards a whole-of-government approach that will support improved community outcomes and better health and wellbeing within the LGBTQIA+ community.

“We welcome this commitment, while also encouraging the WA Government to ensure appropriate legislation is in place that safeguards the wellbeing of the LGBTQIA+ community, so that people can live their lives safely and proudly.”

Living Proud CEO Meaghan Holden.

The group recently announced that Meaghan Holden would take up the role of their inaugural Chief Executive Officer.

Living Proud Chair Barry Cosker said it was a momentous occasion for the community organisation.

“To appoint our first CEO in 50 years is a momentous occasion for the organisation and testament to the incredible hard work and passion shown by volunteers and staff across the decades, from our brave founders through to the present day”. Cosker said.

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