First published in the Star Observer 20 November 2021 - photo credit Allison Hore
Rights of trans and gender diverse kids under threat
By Michael MacKay
On The Transgender Day of Remembrance I am reflecting on the transgender lives lost to anti-transgender violence. We must all commit to ensure the world is safe for every trans and gender diverse person.
Warning: This story discusses transphobia and suicide and might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Alarmingly though, as the rights of trans and gender diverse kids in NSW hang in the balance of NSW Parliament – the silence from the vast majority of politicians is deafening.
Far from taking a stand against stigma and prejudice, they are enabling it with silence or overt support for One Nation’s ‘Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill’. As the bill makes its way through Macquarie street, many legislators are ignoring the far-reaching effects it will have on trans and gender diverse children, but also the rights of all students in NSW.
Of course parents also have rights - I'm not arguing against this. But parental rights need to be carefully balanced with the rights of children to have their voices heard and respected.
As a social worker I’ve had the privilege of supporting LGBTIQ+ people process the psychological impact of abuse, violence and stigma.
Here are some things I’ve learned: they often felt unsafe at school; they wish they’d had support which affirmed their identity; it felt frightening to come out; and most importantly: they knew who they were and what they needed, they did not need adults to tell them.