Happy International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT)!

IDAHOBIT is such an important day to celebrate our communities but also to acknowledge the issues we’re dealing with and the discrimination we face, especially in the parliament.

This year, IDAHOBIT falls the day before a federal election. This gives you the power to elect and re-elect people who stand up for LGBTIQ+ people.

In this last week of an incredibly important federal election campaign, I’ve been thinking a lot about our LGBTIQ+ communities.

We haven’t featured that much in the media and the major parties’ campaigns, except of course for Scott Morrison needing a day to answer whether or not he thinks gay people go to hell.

That got me thinking – how is it that we have a Prime Minister who potentially thinks gay people go to hell? Or a former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who fought so hard against marriage equality despite having a lesbian sister who wanted to marry her partner?

How is it that there’s a staggering amount of Coalition MPs, and a large number of Labor MPs, who don’t think there’s anything wrong with religious schools being able to expel LGBTQ+ students or fire LGBTQ+ teachers and staff?

Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that only eight out of 226 federal parliamentarians are LGBTIQ+.

Maybe it’s because more broadly in society, LGBTIQ+ people continue to face systemic discrimination on a daily basis, from members of the public, from government departments, from religious schools, from public figures like Israel Folau, and from the homophobes and transphobes in the parliament.

It’s deeply disappointing that the constant attacks on LGBTIQ+ people haven’t lessened since I was elected to parliament in 2013, nor since the harmful and unnecessary marriage equality plebiscite in 2017.

But through it all, the Greens have stood with LGBTIQ+ people and fought for our rights. Every MP, every vote, every time.

We have been the most consistent, progressive voice in the parliament for LGBTIQ+ people and our families. We have never wavered in our support.

The same can’t be said for the major parties. Perhaps the best example of this is in 2004 when Labor teamed up with the Liberals to change the definition of the Marriage Act, preventing LGBTIQ+ people from marrying. A disappointing decision by Labor that took 13 years to overcome.

The Greens have never thrown LGBTIQ+ people under the bus because it was politically convenient.

We played an integral role in achieving marriage equality.

We continue to advocate for the rights of transgender, gender diverse and intersex people.

We’re leading the charge against religious discrimination in our schools.

We’re calling for an end to unnecessary surgeries performed on babies and children with intersex variations and for trans and gender diverse people to access the life-saving health care they desperately need.

We continue to shine a spotlight on the very real threat of violence against transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, as well as damaging and dangerous sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts.

And as the only out bisexual person in the federal parliament, I’m providing much needed visibility and highlighting the unique challenges faced by bi+ people who are so often overlooked.

The Greens LGBTIQ+ election policies are the most comprehensive ever, compiled to ensure that LGBTIQ+ people have equality. No ifs, no buts.

This election is such an important one for our communities. The Greens will continue leading the way in our parliament to ensure that every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex and queer plus person is treated equally and is free from discrimination.

Your vote in the federal election tomorrow is so powerful. There’s never been a more important time to vote for the one party that has always stood by your side.

We always have and always will.

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