EDITORIAL

Russell Savage: Hands Off Our Gender Identity!

Share with your friends










Submit

The minority Bracks ALP Government in Victoria has caved in to demands made by conservative independent MP, Russell Savage, and withdrawn the Equal Opportunity (Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation) Bill until the Spring Session of Parliament. The Bill would enhance the rights of gay men and lesbians and, for the first time, make discrimination against transgendered people unlawful in a range of areas, including employment and education. Protection for transgendered people is an urgent necessity. Transgender Victoria reports 30% of transgendered people attempt suicide because of role confusion and the appalling level of discrimination.

Savage has used the charter between the Government and the independents to get the Bill withdrawn. He presented a series of last minute amendments which, under the charter, the government is required to consider. The Savage amendments would seriously damage the Bill and must be rejected outright. His amendments, which seek to limit protection from discrimination to post-operative transsexuals, are profoundly conservative and would have a disastrous effect on the emerging Transgender Liberation movement.

Every person has the right to control their own body. Surgical and hormonal intervention is merely one option transgendered people can pursue. Others reject the medical model, preferring the ambiguity of proudly displaying a gender identity which does not match their anatomy.  If carried, the Savage amendments would shoehorn transgendered people into choosing between male and female, masculine and feminine — that is, give them no real choice at all.

The broad definition of gender identity in the draft Bill would benefit every person who, in even the smallest way, blurs the boundary of gender —  the “feminine” teenager denied an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic, the “masculine” woman considered unsuitable for a job in reception, the woman with facial hair she refuses to remove, the man with a high pitched voice or the woman who is too “outspoken” to be a “real woman.” Socialists, feminists and unionists have a major stake in joining with the queer community in demanding that this Bill pass without amendment.

Share with your friends










Submit