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Protesters at WA Parliament call for law reform action

Protest group Queen Liberation Boorloo made their voices heard outside the WA parliament this week as they continued their campaign to urge the Cook Labor government to take action on Equal Opportunity law reform.

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Speaking at the event Greens MLC Brad Pettit said he was concerned that time was running out for the government to fulfil the promise it made long ago to address the legislation which has not been updated now for over two decades.

“We had quite a really good and commitment to progress some of these key bits of legislation” Pettitt said reflecting on the election of the Labor government in 2017.  “Interestingly, although former Premier McGowan wasn’t known for being the most progressive man on the planet, when it came to this, he was he was quite clear he was willing to back it.”

Pettitt said he was amazed that the subsequent Cook government was now looking to “kick the can down the road” when it came to progressing the promised law reform. The Greens MP said he still believed there was time for the current parliament to progress the legislation before the next state election.

Brad Pettitt said it would make more sense for the government to take action on the reforms while they had a large majority in the lower house, and supportive progressive members in the Legislative Council.

“It really easily could go through, quite in quite a straightforward way.” Pettitt told the crowd.

Reform of the Equal Opportunity legislation is closely linked to the government’s overdue promise to abolish the associated Gender Reassignment Board. Speaking to the crowd outside parliament Andrea Thompson spoke about her experience of applying to have her gender officially changed via the board’s process.

“I’m an ordinary woman, and I consider myself to be just that – an ordinary woman.” Thompson said. “I’ve known who I am since I was four. If I had memories before that time, I would have known who I was before then, but I’ve known who I am, since I was four.

“And since I’ve known who I am, other people have owned my identity, my body, my expression of myself, and my legitimacy as a human being.

“I’ve been through the time when gender dysphoria was classified…as a mental illness, so to go through my journey of transition, to become the person to become the woman that I’ve always been, I have had to go to doctors, to psychiatrists, and debase myself to those mainly cis-males, and ask them for permission to exist.”  Thompson said.

Thompson said the process for applying to the board was grueling.

“First of all, you’re asked to gather together documents from a whole range of people from medical practitioners, from psychologists, from family, from friends, from anyone that the gender reassignment board thinks are important. Who is the one person in the process that is not asked to provide any testimony to the board? Me, the person making the application, the woman who has to go there and beg to have her gender recognised.”

Autumn, a woman of transgender experience, shared with those gathered at the event that she had held off applying to the Gender Reassignment Board after the government has indicated it would be abolished.

“They have haven’t actually put any steps towards getting rid of the board.” she said, noting that instead the government had just appointed Curtis Ward as the new President of the body.

” It’s ridiculous. It’s a ridiculous process.” Autumn said.

Other speakers said they had chosen to live without official documents that reflected their gender because the process was too mental draining and arduous.  While concern was also raised about teachers who can be fired from religious based schools over issues of sexuality, marital status and medical choices, and students who can be expelled over their sexuality or their parent’s sexuality.

Graeme Watson 


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.

DISCHARGEDinfo@discharged.asn.au / discharged.asn.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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