transgender & intersex rights

I have no doubt that the plebiscite would have been won: it would have been a huge opening to build a mass movement for marriage equality and demolish the opposition. But I shared fears that the “No” campaign would have hurt our youth.

US soldier Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, ended her hunger strike on September 13 after the Army said she will receive treatment for her gender dysphoria, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

Chelsea Manning, the US army private who leaked classified information about US war crimes to WikiLeaks, announced on September 9 that she has begun a hunger strike to protest the lack of respect and dignity from prison and military officials.

“I need help, I am not getting any,” Manning said in a statement. “I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”

The Victorian government announced new legislation on August 18 aimed at simplifying the process for trans and gender diverse (TGD) people’s to change the sex marker on their birth certificates and records. This has rightfully been welcomed as an important step forward for TGD people rights.

The new legislation, which follows similar legislation in the ACT and 2013 changes to policies regarding sex markers on Commonwealth documents, is a start towards eliminating medical gatekeeping on the lives of TGD people.

Feminist author and career academic Germaine Greer has sparked outrage once again following a controversial interview she gave to the BBC on October 24 where she reaffirmed her position that transgender women are not “real” women.

Greer's devolution from an ideological pillar of the 1960's women's liberation movement to a source of loathing for sections of the feminist community needs to be discussed. Her comments provide an important opportunity for putting forward a clear argument against trans-exclusionary feminism.

The recent knifing of Tony Abbott by Malcolm Turnbull held a brief glimpse of hope for marriage equality in Australia. Unfortunately, the change of PM did not bring any change of policy, and the Liberal Party’s homophobic agenda has remained the same.

Turnbull professes to personally support marriage equality, but has asked the rainbow community to wait for a plebiscite until after the federal elections. This amounts to a position worse than Abbott who was dragged kicking and screaming to agree to a plebiscite together with the elections.

Norrie has spent a lot of time in the offices of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). When Norrie went on October 28, it was for love and equality.

Norrie is sex non-specific — neither man nor woman. Five years ago, Norrie went to the office to get them to change zie's (the pronoun for a person of non-specific sex) birth certificate to read “sex: non-specific”.

BDM complied, but the New South Wales state government appealed. It took four years and an April 2014 High Court ruling for Norrie to be formally recognised as sex non-specific.

The Turnbull government recently decided to cut bulk-billing incentives to pathology services. This will result in pathology labs charging for basic tests including pap smears, MRIs, urine tests, blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds. The cuts will force patients to pay at least $30 for a pap smear, urine or blood test and up to $173 for an MRI scan.

These cuts are unfair to all, but will especially hurt women. Free and accessible pathology tests are key to ensuring early detection of cervical cancer, STIs (sexually transmitted diseases), UTIs (urinary tract infections) and pregnancy.

The federal government continues to drag its feet on marriage equality. It is now clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will not initiate a marriage equality plebiscite before the end of the year, as promised.

LGBTI community organisations are increasingly losing patience with delays and broken promises. Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome described a plebiscite as “an incredibly costly and harmful opinion poll”, after PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated it would cost $525 million.


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