David Southwick mistakenly admits he is a champion of LGBTIQ equality

David South, self-confessed champion of equality, claims his support for the LGBTIQ community is strong, but he his actions suggest otherwise.

David Southwick, “champion of equality” and “proud supporter of the LGBTIQ community”

David Southwick voted against birth certificate reform

BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES REGISTRATION AMENDMENT BILL 2019Page 63
15 August 2019ASSEMBLYSecond readingDavid Southwick

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (12:18:48): I rise to make some comments on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 and note from the outset that there are many sensitivities, debate and some wideranging views in this legislation that is before the house. I also want to say that as somebody that has been a very proud supporter of the LGBTIQ community, when it comes to equality—whether it be of sex, race or religion—I have always sought to champion these causes. There have certainly been some very strong contributions made today, and very much the member for Oakleigh talked about ideally not being having labels and treating everybody as individuals, as one and all the same. I would certainly hope we get to a day when we can do that and we do not have to pass laws because of inequalities of action. But there are aspects of this bill that certainly the opposition has issues with, and there have already been contributions from some of my colleagues that have raised some of these issues. Firstly, can I say the issue of gender identification and the support for the rights of individuals to live their lives the way they wish to live according to their gender identity is certainly something that I support, but this is more than just gender identification; it does go to the crux of some of the laws that exist. As many have stated, there is a clear difference between how people identify their gender and how legal records are kept in the case of birth certificates. Birth certificates exist to record a person’s record of birth, and birth certificates are intended to record biological sex rather than gender identity. They are used for a whole range of record keeping through a number of different government agencies for a whole range of planning and so on in terms of the historical record of somebody’s sex at birth. The actual legislation is to amend the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 to remove the requirements for somebody that has undergone sex affirmation surgery while allowing for applications to alter birth certificates also on behalf of children. Basically what this does is allow for self-identification of gender. Essentially we debated this bill back in 2016, and there has also been some commonwealth equality legislation that has been added to since then. Clause 8 looks at a person changing their sex without having to undergo affirmation surgery and how this works, with an application done in good faith. Also the bill permits application for a child’s record of sex to be altered in their birth registration. As with adults, children are not required to undergo treatment as part of this process. Also, where there is a dispute the court will be satisfied that the change is in the child’s best interests. As part of the briefing I understand the department advised that the test used to change the sex descriptor closely follows the process used for changing your name for administrative convenience, notwithstanding the fact that changing your name or your sex are two very different propositions, particularly when you are changing legal documents. Clause 13—and this is where I want to spend a bit of time in terms of my contribution—deals with changes when it comes to both adults and juveniles in detention and under supervision, such as prisoners and parolees who make an application to alter their recorded sex. As the Shadow Minister for Police, Shadow Minister for Community Safety and Shadow Minister for Corrections, this is something that I think is very important for us to spend some time with. The only additional condition is the prior approval of the supervising authority—for example, the Adult Parole Board of Victoria—who is to consider the application’s reasonableness, including the security, safety and wellbeing of applicants and others. This is a very sensitive area. I will also say at the outset that the trans community is one of the most vulnerable when it comes to community safety, both in the community and corrections facilities. We have seen a number of incidents in corrections facilities where a trans member has been attacked. Certainly there are a number of concerns for authorities when it comes to this. Also, in terms of the changes, concerns around looking at tracking sex offenders, prisoners and those on parole have been raised. On the provisions for serious sex offenders, prisoners and parolees, the information has been vague and lacks a lot of detail when it comes to this bill. There have certainly been a number of cases that have been raised. I know the Canadian case of trans woman Jessica Yaniv, who took 16 beauticians to the Human Rights Tribunal for refusing to wax her scrotum in a Brazilian wax. I know that has been raised. But there have been some even more specific issues in terms of within the prisons themselves. I note that prisons must balance the welfare of transgender offenders with offenders, particularly women, whose safety could be threatened by prisoners who were born male. An example that I want to cite is Karen White in the UK. Karen White was a convicted paedophile who now identifies as a woman. She assaulted two prisoners while in a women’s jail in 2017. This is absolutely a case where the safety of those in the prison was certainly not dealt with well. As Richard Garside from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies says, ‘We have a clash of rights’, and it is balancing those rights which is really, really important. But community safety should always be paramount in terms of whatever we look at. The member for Ripon raised a number of issues around women’s groups and women’s rights. I also note the comments I have received from the Victorian Women’s Guild, particularly around equal opportunity and protecting single-sex spaces—very, very important issues. Also, as the member for Ripon said, there are not many jurisdictions that have gone down this path, and it is great to be a leader in some respects in terms of what you do, but when you are changing such important legislation as this, it is important to have very broad consultation. I note that a number of those women’s groups were not properly consulted on this. We just need to make sure we get things right. We talk a lot about equal opportunity in this place and we talk a lot about trying to balance things when it comes women, and I think it is important that we have that proper consultation. Back to justice, interestingly enough what the UK prison system has done since the Karen White issue is set up a transgender wing, looking to resolve the clash of women’s rights. The prison service reckons there are about 139 transgender inmates in England, and they must balance the welfare of transgender offenders with those other prisoners, particularly women, whose safety could be threatened by prisoners who were born male. It cited the Karen White incident and has gone as far as to actually look at a prison system that protects both the transgender community and the broader community as well. These are really important issues that I raise, because in the justice system we do quite often see people that are very, very vulnerable. We do need to make sure that all of those processes are properly considered to ensure that people’s safety is absolutely paramount. These are some of the things we should be exploring. We need to understand in this Parliament when we change laws what the consequences are, and ensure that those consequences are always protected in terms of community safety. There is no doubt we need to do more. We need to do more in terms of equality, we absolutely need to do more in terms of the LGBTIQ community and we need to do more in terms of discrimination in a broader sense. But the issues in terms of this bill are certainly some that need further exploring to ensure that there are those safeguards and to ensure that we have got things right, because at the end of the day, when it comes to these sorts of situations, we do not get a second chance.

Aleph Melbourne launches 2019 Federal Election Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality

Aleph Melbourne launches its 2019 Federal Election Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality

MEDIA RELEASE
14 MAY 2019

ALEPH MELBOURNE LAUNCHES 2019 FEDERAL ELECTION VOTERS GUIDE FOR LGBTIQ EQUALITY

Aleph Melbourne is proud to announce its 2019 Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality.  The Voters Guide is designed to assist voters living in Victorian voting divisions with high Jewish populations best select candidates who have comprehensively demonstrated or pledged support for LGBTIQ equality.

The 2019 Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality is online at https://aleph.org.au/2019votersguide

Based on the Equality Australia’s Rainbow Votes 2019 – Party Surveys, we categorise the issues as Voice in Government Policy Making, Social inclusion, Protection at work, Religious exemptions, Conversion Therapy, Reformation of sports exemptions, Access to Medicare for gender affirmation treatment, Refugees, Government funded services, Protection for rainbow families, and Support in schools.

We encourage voters to locate their voting district, review their candidates’ levels of support for LGBTIQ issues and vote in a manner that prioritises LGBTIQ equality.

We also encourage voters to contact candidates directly if they require additional information not included in the Voters Guide.

The 2019 Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality follows on from our 2013 Voters Guide to Marriage Equality in Jewish Melbourne, 2016 Voters Guide to Marriage Equality in Jewish Melbourne and 2018 Victorian State Election Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality.

ENDS

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Michael Barnett
0417-595-541
contact@aleph.org.au

Aleph Melbourne launches 2018 Victorian State Election Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality

Aleph Melbourne launches its 2018 Victorian State Election Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality

MEDIA RELEASE
18 NOVEMBER 2018

ALEPH MELBOURNE LAUNCHES 2018 VICTORIAN STATE ELECTION VOTERS GUIDE FOR LGBTIQ EQUALITY

Aleph Melbourne is proud to announce its 2018 Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality.  The Voters Guide is designed to assist voters living in Victorian voting districts with high Jewish populations best select candidates who have comprehensively demonstrated or pledged support for LGBTIQ equality.

The Voters Guide is online here: https://aleph.org.au/vic2018

Based on the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Lobby’s Rainbow Votes Survey and Report Card, we categorise the issues as Advancing equality, Discrimination, Safety and security, Family violence, housing and homelessness, Relationships, families and children, Education, Health and wellbeing, Bisexual Victorians, Trans and gender diverse Victorians, and Intersex Victorians.

We encourage voters to locate their voting district, review their candidates’ levels of support for LGBTIQ issues and vote in a manner that prioritises LGBTIQ equality.

We also encourage voters to contact candidates directly if they require additional information not included in the Voters Guide.

The 2018 Voters Guide is our first for a state election and follows on from our 2013 Voters Guide and 2016 Voters Guides for the respective Federal Elections.

ENDS

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Michael Barnett
0417-595-541
contact@aleph.org.au

 

Sharley McLean – In Remembrance | Peter Tatchell Foundation

 

Sharley McLean – In Remembrance

Sharley McLeanposted by Peter Tatchell … on Mon, 28/10/2013 – 12:42

Feminist, lesbian and survivor of Nazi fascism

London, UK – 28 October 2013

Sharley McLean – Feminist, lesbian and survivor of Nazi fascism – died on 26 October 2013, aged 90.

“Born in Germany in 1923, both Sharley’s parents and many of her extended family died in the Holocaust. Her father was a socialist and her mother was Jewish. She fled to Britain as a teenage refugee from Nazi Germany in 1939, in one of the last transports of children allowed to leave Germany before the Nazis closed the borders. Her gay uncle, Kurt Bach, a left-wing activist, was arrested by the Gestapo in a gay bar in Berlin in 1937, and died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp,” recalls Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Sharley was a wonderful woman and campaigner. I was honoured to know her and, in the 1980s, to help publicise her remarkable personal story. She participated in my early campaigns to document and publicise the experiences of LGBT Holocaust survivors – and later to commemorate them and the service personnel who died fighting Nazi fascism.

“Until the mid-1980s, it was forbidden to lay a pink triangle wreath at the Cenotaph in remembrance of the LGBT victims of fascism and of LGBT service personnel who fought to defeat Nazism. The wreaths we laid were swiftly removed. She helped me and others overturn the wreath ban.

“Prior to the late 1990s, the Royal British Legion refused to acknowledge that LGBT people has served and died in the armed forces. It would not allow a LGBT war veterans contingent to march in the official Remembrance Day parade. Sharley worked with us to challenge this exclusion.

“She joined and spoke at our V-E (Victory in Europe) Day commemorations at the Cenotaph in the 1980s and, a decade later, at the Queer Remembrance Day vigils at the Cenotaph, organised by the LGBT campaign group OutRage! The last one she spoke at was on 2 November 1997.

“Sharley was a long-time activist in the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and was a volunteer with the Terrence Higgins Trust in the 1980s. She was a passionate supporter of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association.

“She will be long remembered with admiration and appreciation,” said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell
Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Email: Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
Web: www.petertatchellfoundation.org

Extreme lack of respect shown at Jerusalem City Council meeting

The following letter was distributed by Jerusalem Open House on Feb 6 2012 (Melbourne time).  For some background on this story see “Jerusalem gay and lesbian center to receive municipality funding” from Dec 12 2011.


Dear Friend,

As the year progresses and in an attempt to portray my personal experiences to our community members, I would like to tell you about a very memorable meeting that I sat in on this past week.

Zachary Cohen
Development Director

As I am sure you are aware, for years the Jerusalem Open House has been fighting the municipality of Jerusalem to provide funding to the LGBTQ community of Jerusalem. This has been a long battle that we hoped would end justly when the Supreme Court of Israel gave the decision that the JOH must be treated equally to other community centers. Unfortunately that ruling has not ended the discrimination and the subsequent legal battle, as we are continually forced into court to demand our equality.

The saga with the municipality of Jerusalem continues as city hall does everything in its power to deny funding to the LGBTQ community. I am very well informed on this issue and have heard stories of the giggling and snickering that takes place during City Council meetings. On Thursday of last week however, I was present for the first time in such a meeting. This was supposed to be a short ordeal in which the mayor requested to make a small change in the criteria used to determine which organization will receive funding in the upcoming year. Unfortunately, the new criteria are extremely problematic, and were created in a way to significantly reduce the funding for the JOH. The change the mayor was intending to introduce would benefit the JOH. The point that I wish to highlight is the way that the meeting was held and the manner in which city council members behaved.

I truly could not believe my eyes. Elected officials were screaming on the top of their lungs, to the point that I could not even understand the words that they were screaming. As the “discussion” continued, shouts and yelling came from around the table. The amount of hatred that was found in the room was bubbling over in a fury. It was an overwhelming experience, and one that I think is important to share with our community members around the world.

It was petrifying to come to the understanding that this was the manner that these decisions are being made. On the other hand, it only reinforced how important it is that the JOH is here to combat such blatant homophobia. This was truly a shocking experience to see the degree in which people were visibly agitated and fighting this with everything they have. The issue was only resolved when the mayor turned off the microphones of the city council members and forced a vote. Despite the fact that their microphones were turned off, they could still be heard screaming. It was truly not to be believed. The change we were hoping would occur was eventually passed, but not without a frightening display along the way.

We appreciate your support as we continue to fight for equality and justice for the LGBTQ community of Jerusalem.

Sincerely,
Zachary Cohen

Support the JOH
Zachary Cohen | Development Director
the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance
tel: 972.72.2117298 | fax: 972.2.6253192 | development@joh.org.il