Canberra’s Doctor Clara Tuck Meng Soo, yesterday wrote to the Governor-General, returning her Order of Australia Medal. Dr Soo took the step to protest Margaret Court receiving a second, higher Order of Australia.
Dr Soo wrote that the Council for the Order of Australia sent the wrong message by again honouring Margaret Court.
“By giving this promotion to Mrs Margaret Court, the Council of the Order of Australia is sending a strong signal to distressed (LGBTIQ+) youth that discrimination and prejudice against them is tolerated in our Australian community.
“I have spent a significant amount of my working life working with and advocating for disadvantaged communities in Australia.”
Dr Soo also said she spent most of her life as a gay man before her gender transition in 2018.
“I, therefore, have both professional experience as well as lived experience of the communities that Mrs Margaret Court makes these derogatory and hurtful remarks about.”
Dr Soo said that because of the message sent by Court’s award, she felt she must return her medal.
“I do not want to be seen as supporting the values that the Council for the Order of Australia seem to be supporting with this promotion of Mrs Margaret Court.”
Dr Soo received an Order of Australia medal in 2016. The award recognised her work as a medical practitioner with LGBTIQ+ people, people with HIV and people with drug dependencies.
She was one of the first GPs to undergo gender transition in Australia.
Spokesperson for just.equal, and long-time Canberra LGBTIQ+ community advocate, Ivan Hinton-Teoh asked the Council to reconsider.
“We applaud Clara’s stand and urge the Council of the Order of Australia to reconsider its decision.
“Margaret Court’s primary contribution to Australian society since her original AO has been to marginalise and malign LGBTIQ Australians. Either the Council was not aware of the damage and division she actively contributed to or they are and they are supporting it.”
Ivan Hinton-Teoh also said honouring Court again “must sit uncomfortably with many people who exemplify the best of Australian values.
“If the Council does not review this decision there will be many distinguished Australians reconsidering their association with an awards system that further elevates the divisive efforts of Margaret Court.”
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