Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 18, 2022



International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (16:38): I move:

That this council:

1. Recognises International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Tuesday 17 May that is also known as IDAHOBIT;

2. Notes that, since its first celebration in 2004, IDAHOBIT had drawn attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions and sex characteristics.

3. Congratulates the Malinauskas Labor government on its opposition to conversion therapy and its commitment to make sure that this practice does not occur in South Australia.

Yesterday, 17 May, marks IDAHOBIT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia. First celebrated as IDAHO Day in 2004, the name has expanded to highlight the ongoing discrimination faced by bisexual and transgender communities, part of our queer communities.

IDAHOBIT is acknowledged around the world as an opportunity for LGBTI people to celebrate their identities and to push for full equality, particularly in those countries where there is still pernicious legislation against them. Countries such as Brazil, Spain, Belgium, Mexico and the United Kingdom, on the other hand, all officially recognise that day nationwide. They are joined by institutions such as the European Parliament in formally marking and celebrating the day.

Regardless of the official status of the day, it is celebrated by LGBTI communities right around the world. It is a very important day for our communities, recognising our vibrant and diverse community as well as the discrimination that is still faced and the inequality that members of the community face on a day-to-day basis.

Recent years, of course, have seen remarkable progress in LGBTI rights in South Australia. Previous state Labor governments supported by members right across parliament—the crossbenchers and the Liberal Party—made sweeping changes to bring LGBTI people closer to the equality that we have sought for so long.

Legislation has been amended to remove discrimination against same-sex couples seeking to adopt and have children through surrogacy, as well as to enable transgender South Australians to change their birth certificates without having to go through unwanted surgery to do so. But beyond the formal policies and the laws, day-to-day discrimination faced by LGBTI people still persists in this state and elsewhere. Intolerance by increasingly small but very vocal sections of the community hurts our people grievously, particularly young people.

When people like Ms Katherine Deves, a Liberal candidate in New South Wales for the federal election—Prime Minister Scott Morrison's hand-picked candidate for the seat of Warringah—make bigoted statements in the public arena, it only fans the flames of hatred and encourages other people to go out and abuse LGBTI people. Ms Deves has apparently deleted her website and social media after comments surfaced of her comparing transgender activism to Nazism. This public bigotry does incite hatred. It does give permission for people to go out and attack LGBTI people, verbally and physically. It emboldens those who wish to go out and do harm.

Deves herself is emboldened by Mr Morrison backing her so strongly, backing her bigotry, and she now uses her platform to spread lies about gender-affirming surgery for children. Contrary to her alarmist comments—her inaccurate comments—which called gender-affirming surgery 'medical mutilation of children', these kinds of procedures are not even available to Australians under the age of 18 years, yet Ms Deves goes about her business calling this out as being a pernicious harm in our community. It does not happen. In fact, these procedures are not even available for adults to access easily, requiring medical and psychological assessments and referrals and taking a lot of time and commitment by people who want to go through this process. It is not done easily; it is not done in a haphazard fashion. It is done because people truly believe that their gender identity is different from their born sex.

We have seen transgender children dragged into the political crossfire by Ms Deves and Mr Morrison, as the federal Liberal Party considers a ban on transgender women's sport and transgender women participating in women's sport. I am just getting a little bit sick of LGBTI people being the political football of this prime minister.

Using our children, our young people, as cannon fodder in his own desperate desire for re-election is, in my opinion, despicable. It is cowardice. In fact, it is the kind of bullying and discrimination that IDAHOBIT was established to fight. With IDAHOBIT falling amidst a federal election cycle, the LGBTI community will not be divided by the cultural wedge in Scott Morrison's hate campaign. We just will not be. IDAHOBIT reminds us that LGBTI people of all ages and all identities should be proud and happy with who they are and their place in the society of our very diverse country.

I want to finish on a positive note. I note published in the Star Observer today: 'UK footballer Jake Daniels comes out as gay'. I just want to quote a few sentences. Blackpool striker Jake Daniels, 17 years old, has:

…become the first active professional male football player in England to come out as gay in 32 years. Daniels came out in a self-penned essay which was published on the Sky Sports website.

Daniels wrote, 'I just don't want to lie any more' and said he was inspired by Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, who came out last year.

That is our very own Josh Cavallo of Adelaide United. The article continued:

'Now is the right time to do it. I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. I want people to know the real me,' wrote Daniels. 'I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all. And now I have decided to come out.'

I want to congratulate Mr Daniels. I want to congratulate Josh Cavallo for being a shining example to other young sportspeople. I want to congratulate all members of the LGBTI community who have found some support in the actions of brave young people coming out, and I want to support them through that process and fight the bigotry of the Scott Morrison-Deves anti-child behaviour, which I just find so disgusting. To target our young children for political gain is just despicable.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. R.A. Simms.