Trent Zimmerman, the first LGBT member of the House of Representatives, was one of the five Liberal Members of Parliament who boldly crossed the floor to sink the government’s Religious Discrimination Bill. 

‘Bill Went Way Too Far’

Zimmerman decided to take a stand on that day because he “thought that this bill went way too far.”

“I couldn’t support overriding the existing protections that our community has,” he continued.

He was also “mortified” at the prospect of leaving out trans kids from the protections carved out by the bill.

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“I felt particularly that to exclude trans kids just sent a dreadful message… I just couldn’t stand by and allow that to happen,” he said.

“It’s intolerable in the 21st century that our schools can still sack people because they’re gay or because of their gender identity. It’s intolerable to me that schools can still refuse to enrol or can discriminate against or expel students based on their sexuality or gender identity.”

Resident of Sydney’s Lower North Shore For Last 20 Years

Before entering Parliament, Zimmerman, who has been a resident of Sydney’s Lower North Shore for the last 20 years – 5 of those with his partner Carlos – was the Vice-President of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association and director of the “not so successful” OutFM. He became politically involved in the 1990s, first as a student leader, and then as a councillor in the North Sydney Council between 2004 to 2012, before making a tilt to Federal parliament in the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

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Describing his political philosophy, Zimmerman told Star Observer that he falls “very much into the liberal wing of the parliament.”

“I would describe myself as someone who is socially progressive and economically liberal at the same time, and that’s what attracted me to the Liberal Party,” he said.

Reflecting on his life in service, he said, “I think that if you have strong views on issues as I do, there is no point sitting back and not trying to do something about them.”

Looking Forward to Mardi Gras Back on Oxford Street

Zimmerman marched in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Parade in the Liberal Party’s float this year, as he has done in previous years.

“It’s so wonderful when such a large part of our city comes alive with Mardi Gras,” he said. While he was understanding of the decision to host the parade for the second year at the Sydney Cricket Ground, he misses its traditional route along Oxford Street, and hopes the move is “not permanent.”

When asked if the Liberal Party entry in the parade has a dance routine, Zimmerman gave a hearty laugh, and exclaimed, “Thankfully, no! If you’ve seen me dance, you’d know that it’s a good thing that we don’t have a routine.”

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