From decriminalisation in the 1980s through to equalising the age of consent and introducing same-sex adoption, New South Wales has delivered reforms that acknowledge the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] people and impact lives in significant and profoundly personal ways.
We have come a long way, but there is more work to be done. Whether it is attacks on programs that acknowledge same-sex attracted and gender diverse kids in our schools or banning documentaries about same-sex parenting or the fact that our country still refuses to allow all Australians to marry, the reality is that the LGBTI community continues to face discrimination and intolerance.
I was pleased recently to attend the annual GLORIAs, hosted by the Hon. Penny Sharpe along with David Marr and Barbra Blacksheep.
The GLORIAs shine a light on the worst incidences of homophobia and transphobic bigotry.
The Golden GLORIA, awarded for the most outrageous remarks, this year went to Germaine Greer for her recent comments maligning the gender identification of trans women and claiming there is no such thing as transphobia.
Greer's comments show that discrimination is an ongoing and painful reality for transgender, gender-diverse and intersex Australians. We must do more to protect and further the rights of transgender and intersex Australians, including removing the requirement for sex reassignment surgery before the gender marker can be changed on birth certificates. We must also remove the insidious provision that married transgender people divorce their partner before being allowed to change their gender marker.
These measures may seem insignificant to those of us who take access to identification for granted, but they will be vital for the many trans people who are unable to hold identification that accurately reflects their gender identity.
It is also important for us to understand that some fellow citizens do not wish to be identified as one gender or the other, and to ensure our bureaucracy works to accommodate that.
I welcome the Attorney General's comments this evening that she and the Government will work towards ensuring that we make accommodation for transgender, intersex and gender-diverse citizens in New South Wales when it comes to identity paperwork. It is often the smallest of reforms that have the greatest impact on how we live our lives and the kind of community we live in.
I note that with the prospect of the marriage equality plebiscite in the near future, it may be a busy time for the GLORIAs. We know the next step is to achieve marriage equality and the best way to do that is through the Parliament.