Melton City councillor Moira Deeming, who had targeted Drag Queen Story Times and trans access to public bathrooms during her successful election campaign last year, has now raised questions about all-gender public toilets in the city of Darebin.

Darebin City Council is located to the north of Melbourne and comprises inner north suburbs including, Preston, Thornbury, Northcote and Reservoir.

Deeming was elected to the Melton city council, that is located to the west of Melbourne. Deeming’s question was raised at the council meeting on June 28. Sue Wilkinson CEO of the Darebin City Council read out Deeming’s question and responded to it and can be viewed at the 7.08 mark of the video recording of the meeting.

Deeming asked whether under Victorian law “is it legal for local government councils to provide sex-based targeted services and facilities separately to gender-identity based targeted services and facilities. If not, why not?

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“For example, can we legally put signs on a set of public toilets, declaring that one is for biological males including males with an intersex condition, one is for biological females including biological females with an intersex condition, and one is for people with transgender identities of any biological sex. If not, why not. As a taxpayer I’d like clarification on this issue, and we’d like to know council’s opinion on the answer.”

Public Policy Will Be All-Gender Accessible Toilets

Sue Wilkinson, CEO, Darebin City Council

CEO Wilkinson in a detailed reply, literally, shut down the transphobia with facts.

“Both Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1994, as amended by the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status Amendment Act, 2013 and Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010,  anti discrimination legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity or intersex status,” responded Wilkinson. 

“Under these laws, it is discriminatory to require a person who is transgender to use a toilet, which does not align with their gender identity. Section 8 of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 reiterates the right of all Victorians to equality and non discrimination, ensuring everyone has the same rights and benefits and the same level of respect and dignity. Similarly the Gender Equality Act 2020, which is a Victorian legislation, highlights the need to redress disadvantage, address stigma, stereotyping, prejudice and violence against persons of different genders, and to enhance social participation by persons of different genders.”

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“Access to public toilet supports social participation and inclusion for all, regardless of sex, gender,  gender identity or abilities. As a result, council-s public toilet strategy 2015 to 2025, states that the default option for toilets in the public realm will be all gender accessible toilets that cater to all needs,” Wilkinson clarified. 

The council, then went a step ahead and adopted a slew of measures for the LGBTQI+ community. 

According to councillor Susanne Newton, the council voted to “get rainbow tick accreditation (for council services and activities) funded in the budget and (develop) a Sexuality, Sex and Gender Diversity Action Plan in the council plan.”

Transphobic Election Campaign

Deeming, a councillor from the Watts Ward of the Melton City council, had at the elections last year claimed that she stood for “traditional, liberal and family values, like equality before the law” 

In her candidate statement submitted to the Victorian Electoral Commission, Deeming had stated, ‘Resources should be spent wisely, and only ever allocated based on need, not on identity markers like religion, race or sexuality… Focus on the whole community. I will never support rates being used to promote radical policies like banning Australia Day, Drag Queen Story Times for toddlers or letting biological males who identify as female, use female toilets and change rooms.’

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

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.

 

 

 

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