TransFolk of WA issue statement on Religious Discrimination bill

Trans and gender diverse support & advocacy group TransFolk of WA have released a statement outlining their stance on the Religious Discrimination bill and this week’s debate.

This week has seen fierce debate focused on the lives and rights of trans and gender diverse young people in faith-based schools.

After passing the bill through the House of Representatives early this morning, the bill will no longer head straight to the Senate as the upper house deals with other business.


The government is now pushing for an inquiry into the bill, citing potential “unintended consequences.”

See below for the full message from TransFolk of WA.

To say TransFolk of WA is saddened and disgusted by the events of the past 24 hours is no small understatement. Our hearts are heavy, and we know many of yours are too.

The passing of the Religious Discrimination Bill through the Federal Legislative Assembly is deeply upsetting. Many trans and gender diverse people experience bigotry and discrimination right now – this bill will enshrine that bigotry into law. This bill sends is telling trans people that we are not worthy of protection.

When TransFolk of WA began, our focus was community support in a state we felt had left us without adequate protections. Today, we saw once again that federal lawmakers still do not value us. Waking up to the news of the passing of the bill was a harsh slap in the face that both the Labour and Liberal party truly don’t respect the trans community and are willing to erode our rights.

The amendment of the Sex Discrimination Act to provide protection to LGBTQA+ students is a step in the right direction but there is potential for clause 7 of the Religious Discrimination Bill to override these protections. Additionally, these added protections specifically relate to schools – meaning that discrimination against trans people could still become legal in many other settings like workplaces.

The federal government and opposition actively chose to expose the trans community to further vitriol by passing the Religious Discrimination Bill. This public debate is distressing, it’s depressing, it’s exhausting, and it’s now going to continue.

While the bill is not yet law and subject to review in the Senate (which has now been delayed), the fact that this bill as it is was ever entertained by any representative of the people is a deep shame on our elected officials. This is particularly the case after the numerous robust, evidence-based submissions outlining the dangers and impacts of this bill by many of our community organisations.

Let us be clear: there is no circumstance where an Australian’s identity as trans, non-binary or gender diverse should ever be legislated against, explicitly or implicitly.

We encourage everyone to also stand by anyone else whose rights and protections this bill has the potential to violate including people of colour, women, people with a disability, and people of faith.

If you have not already done so, contact your federal MP and Senators. Remember how your politicians voted this coming election and vote accordingly.

We hope that the widespread disapproval and condemnation of this Bill has been seen by our elected leaders, and that they understand this is not the will of the Australian people. There is no reason for it to return.

To anyone who is suffering due to the decisions made in parliament today, please be kind to yourself; you are your greatest priority and TransFolk of WA will always be there to empower and promote the rights of trans people and our queer siblings.

Do you need some support?

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

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

DISCHARGED: 9364 6909 / / [email protected]
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 /

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 /

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