Last weekend marked a historic occasion for contemporary feminism, with more than 400 people attending the first feminist conference in Sydney in more than 15 years.
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) recognises that social movements to recognise sexual minorities were fought alongside feminist struggles to achieve gender equality.
Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism provides an important analytic model for addressing many different kinds of social oppression. It is important that we continue to enter into discussions with other social movements, such as feminism, if we are to end discrimination on the basis of sexuality, sex, gender or gender identity.
Much of the GLRL’s work on parenting reform in NSW has been informed by feminist critiques of the ‘family’. By identifying gender as socially constructed, feminist theories understand ‘motherhood’ and ‘fatherhood’ as being political or cultural markers rather than ‘natural’ truths.
Parenting does not rely on the existence of a heterosexual family structure where men are the ideal workers and women the ideal domestics. The gender or sexual orientation of the parent(s) does not determine the extent of a person’s ability to care for children.
In NSW, lesbian co-mothers are now recognised as co-parents when they consent to conceive a child through assisted reproductive technology. These reforms recognise the legitimacy of same-sex family structures, however, the NSW Adoption Act continues to discriminate against same-sex couples and their children by denying same-sex couples the ability to apply to adopt.
Feminism has shown that gender or biology is not determinative of who we are, even if conservative politicians would like us to believe it is.
It is time that politics caught up with modern families, and the Adoption Act be amended to put an end to the last piece of direct legislative discrimination against same-sex couples in NSW.