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Human Rights Commission: LGBTI people face unjust state-sanctioned discrimination

2015 06 10 SOGII Rights Report2015 coverweb

LGBTI people in Australia face unjust state-sanctioned discrimination, unacceptable levels of violence, and access barriers for essential services according to a new report released today by Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson.

Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Rights National Consultation Report was officially launched today by Attorney-General Senator the Hon George Brandis who recommends urgent law reform at all levels of government.

At a federal level the report recommends amendment of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to equally recognise the partnership of two adult persons regardless of gender; and for alternative options to be identified to enable children under the age of 18 to access hormone treatment, rather than requiring a Family Court Order.

Discrimination in the Marriage Act flows also impacts family recognition in Defence, where there are two seperate processes: one that provides instant recognition for those who can produce a marriage certificate and a seperate more arduous process for those who cannot.

"There are issues that arise that arise largely at the state and territory level that are identified and addressed by this report," said Brandis.

"The report reminds what we needed to be reminded about. How wicked ... how wicked it is to taunt, it is to embarass, to abuse, to humiliate young people because of their sexuality or their sexual orientation."

Wilson has taken de facto responsibility for SOGII rights within the Australian Human Rights Commission in the absence of a dedicated commissioner for these issues. In his address, Wilson said that state-sanctioned discrimination has fostered many problems faced by LGBTI people in Australia today.

“This report followed an extensive consultation across Australia looking at the issues faced by Australians based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. While marriage equality has been a prevailing focus of the national discussion about LGBTI rights, there are many other systemic issues and human rights challenges that urgently need to be addressed,” said Wilson.

“In our survey of more than 1500 people, almost 75% of respondents reported experiencing some type of bullying, harassment or violence on the bases of their gender identity or sexual orientation; and almost 90% reported knowing someone who had experienced bullying, harassment or violence."

The report outlines new initiatives of the Australian Human Rights Commission on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex (SOGII) rights.

These initiatives include a recommendation that LGBTI diversity training is developed and implemented into medical, health science and allied health university and vocational courses, current medical practitioners, the education sector, national school cirriculum and sporting bodies.

Tied into this is the creation of a health stream that aims to ensure that trans* people do not face bureaucratic barriers to accessing health care.

Other initiatives address inconsisencies across the states in anti-discrimination provisions, adoption rights for same-sex couples, proofs required to change gender on government issued identification, and dated homosexual advance defences.

Routable discussions are planned review the scope of religious exemptions to the Sex Discrimination Act (1988), particularly in the area of government provided healthcare, education and crisis intervention.

For more information or to read the report visit https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sexual-orientation-sex-gender-identity/publications/resilient-individuals-sexual

About the Author
Author: Vince Chong
Vince is the President of DEFGLIS. He is a project manager and an electronics engineer.
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