Forty-One Community Organisations Write To WA Premier Over LGBT Law Refroms

Forty-One Community Organisations Write To WA Premier Over LGBT Law Refroms
Image: WA Premier Roger Cook with LGBTQI community members in October 2023. Image: Rainbow Futures WA
Around forty-one community organisations, including LGBTQI, health and women’s groups and unions, have addressed an open letter to Western Australia Premier Roger Cook to deliver on the Labor government’s promise to enact LGBTQI law reforms. 

Among the unfulfilled promises are the abolishment of the  Gender Reassignment Board, banning anti-gay conversion practices, updating the Equal Opportunity Act and reforming laws that allow religious schools to discriminate against students and teachers for being LGBTQI. 

“In WA, religious schools still hold a licence to discriminate against LGBTIQ+ staff and students, and harmful conversion practices remain legal. WA is also the only state in Australia where a Gender Reassignment Board (GRB) decides if someone can legally update their gender. These are pressing issues that the WA Government has committed to address, alongside broader reforms,” the letter said. 

Deliver On Promises To LGBTQI Community

One of the signatories was Flying Free, whose cofounder Gabriel Osborne was recently awarded the  Young People’s Award at the 2023 Australian Human Rights Award.

“As a public survivor of conversion practices in WA I have been contacted by other survivors and know that institutions are regularly engaging in these torturous practices within our state,”  Osborne said.  “A comprehensive ban on conversion practices is not something which can be put on the back burner as every day in WA a vulnerable person is being harmed,”

Stevie Lane, from Rainbow Futures WA, said that the LGBTQI community was looking to the government to deliver on its promises. 

 “This government would prefer to march in the Pride parade to undeserved applause than enact meaningful legislative reform. If they have taken any action towards meaningful reform, it has not been visible to the community, and it has become increasingly difficult to understand the reason for delays.” 

 Lane urged Premier Cook and Attorney General Quigley to take the open letter seriously and goad the government into acting to protect the LGBTQI community from discrimination in the state. 

Free From Discrimination

Renee Carr, Executive Director at Fair Agenda, urged the WA government to recognise the harm discriminatory policies are causing the LGBTQI community. 

“In our fight for women’s equality, we must disrupt the systems that disadvantage and marginalise individuals based on gender. This imperative includes discrimination in any form against trans and gender-diverse people,” said Ward, 

Anna Brown, Equality Australia CEO said that changes to the Equal Opportunity Act and abolishing the Gender reassignment Board would ensure WA’s laws catch up to other states. 

 “Every student should be able to go to school and feel supported to learn and safe from discrimination, no teacher should feel they might lose their job because of their sexuality and no queer person should be told they are broken or disordered,” Brown said.

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