We are fed up with politicians, shock jocks and lobbyists having ‘debates’ about the LGBTIQ community and International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (Sunday 17th May) is a good time to say so!
Elisa Resce, Democrats campaigner
What’s not on:
- The Marriage Equality ‘debate’ in 2016, gave a megaphone to the ugliest of views, while the country argued whether same-sex couples should have equal status to opposite-sex couples. The plebiscite achieved a positive result, but not without significant harm to the mental health of many, as this 2019 study showed.
- The Safe Schools program ‘debate’ claimed that educators supporting gender diverse children and their families, were trying to sexualise children, abolish gender, and strip away parent rights. So extreme were these claims that the Federal Government ran a Review of Appropriateness and Efficacy of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia Program Resources. The review found the program to be both appropriate and effective; but that didn’t stop the debate dragging on for years!
- Israel Folau – the footballer – shouted out loud that homosexuals – along with thieves and adulterers – were destined to go to hell and he still has his job! Let the grandstanding (and fundraising) begin…
These ‘debates’ get too much mileage. Politicians, lobby groups and personalities on social media thrive on their anti-LGBTIQ notoriety. Newscorp knows it sells newspapers. The Australian’s recently dedicated a ‘gender’ section to headlines grossly misrepresenting efforts for protection and inclusion of gender diverse children, to the despair of their parents who just want to support their kids. Even Scott Morrison tried to ignite a debate, with one of his first tweets as Prime Minister accusing schools of trying to be gender-whisperers.
We welcome debate – about accountability in politics, economic policies, action on climate change. But arguing about equality and inclusion of LGBTIQ folks distracts from debate we need to be having. It also causes great harm to people who experience discrimination in their day to day life.
Why on earth is anyone still arguing about equality?
So, on this day, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia, here’s what’s not up for debate:
- Those who are same-sex attracted or gender-diverse are whole and complete, just as they are.
- Those who are same-sex attracted or gender-diverse are valued members of the community and workforce.
Let’s ban LGBT conversion therapy because it causes harm. Let’s ditch the Religious Discrimination Bill which would allow private aged care centres, health sectors, charities and schools to refuse employment, or services; or allow harmful speech under the guise of religious freedom. (Thank goodness this bill languished before the pandemic!)
Let’s make sure children who are same-sex-attracted or gender diverse are safe from bullying, and included and supported at school.
Let’s have education programs and age-appropriate resources that raise awareness and promote inclusion for all children and their families, including at faith schools.
Let’s accept and support our same-sex-attracted and gender-diverse children, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, parents, etc because it makes families stronger and communities healthier.
‘Looking out for your neighbour‘ is both an Australian value, and a faith value.
That’s why these truths are not up for debate.