Australia : New LGBTQ+ legislation is welcome, but not enough, says Dr Amanda Cohn

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LGBTQ+ legislation Dr Amanda Cohn

New LGBTQ+ legislation is welcome, but not enough, says Dr Amanda Cohn

On Wednesday, the Attorney General introduced much-anticipated legislation aimed at prohibiting detrimental LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

Dr. Amanda Cohn, the NSW Greens representative for LGBTQIA+, described the legislative updates as “overdue” and “welcome,” yet emphasized the necessity for additional action.

Despite the legislative advancements, NSW remains the most unfavorable state for LGBTQ+ individuals, according to Dr. Cohn.

“This is the result of the hard work of victim survivors of conversion practices over many years … and which drags NSW to the minimum standard in other jurisdictions,” Dr. Cohn stated in a Parliament address on Thursday.

“As one example, NSW is the only jurisdiction that forces people to have invasive and medically unnecessary genital surgery to change their gender on official documents,” she said.

“The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act protects trans men and women but it does not protect non-binary people. It protects homosexuality but it does not protect people who are bisexual like me, or people who are asexual.”

In response, the government enacted amendments addressing religious vilification during the ongoing review process.

Meanwhile, Lydia Shelly, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL), expressed to City Hub that these amendments represent a “missed opportunity,” as they omit extended protections for the LGBTQ+ population.

Protection against any form of vilification should be universal, she argued.

“Where is the same sense of urgency and priority for LGBTQIA+ people?” asked Dr Cohn.

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She also criticized the Labor party’s delayed action

“Labor waiting 12 months to deliver their key election promise to ban conversion practices has had real consequences,” she continued.

Jenny Leong MP shared in the call for more action, saying “The NSW Labor Government must also adopt the recommendations of the Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes, prioritise reforming the Anti-Discrimination Act and pass the Equality Bill to ensure equality without exceptions for every person in NSW.”

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