Three conservative senators have come under fire for voting against a Senate motion recognising Transgender Awareness Week.
Greens Senators Rachel Siewert and Janet Rice and Labor Senator Patrick Dodson put forward the joint motion on Wednesday.
“Transgender Awareness Week is an opportunity to learn about gender diversity, work to remove all forms of discrimination against transgender and gender diverse people, and commit to being better allies,” the motion read.
The motion also called on MPs to:
- commit to learning more about the lives and experiences of transgender and gender diverse people,
- elevate the voices of transgender and gender diverse people, especially during Transgender Awareness Week, and
- support the provision of essential health, social, cultural, and community services for trans and gender diverse people and their families, delivered with the meaningful input and involvement of these communities.
All senators in the chamber voted in favour of the motion, except for three.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts, and now-independent Senator Cory Bernardi.
‘Shameful’ for senators to vote against motion
Amnesty International Australia campaigner Joel Clark blasted the trio of senators’ vote as “disgraceful”.
“The Senate was faced with a simple question. Should transgender and gender diverse people be provided with essential health, social, cultural and community services?” he said.
“They didn’t speak on the motion. Just a no vote.
“They must at least explain why they believe that transgender and gender diverse people don’t deserve these services. Healthcare is a basic human right.
“It is absolutely shameful that we have Senators voting against access to this right for an already vulnerable community.”
On Thursday, the Greens and Labor Senator Louise Pratt put forward another motion calling on the senate to recognise Intersex Day of Solidarity.
Senator Hanson told the Senate she had no time to learn about the issues of transgender and intersex people and believed politicians should focus on other issues.
“I’ve got more time to consider my duties as a parliamentarian for the people of Australia dealing with water, dairy farmers, PTSD for Defence personnel and family law, instead of dealing with this,” she said.
“I cannot believe it: yesterday it was transsexual [sic]; today it’s intersex, or whatever it is. How many more of the 39 categories that we’ve got to consider in this parliament?
“I just think it’s ridiculous. There are more important things for us, as parliamentarians, to deal with that concern the people of Australia, rather than dealing with this or learning more about it.”
Events across Australia during Transgender Awareness Week
Transgender Awareness Week will be recognised at events around Queensland and across the country in the next week.
It’s recognised internationally in the second week of November each year. The week aims to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people.
In Brisbane, the community will come together on Sunday for the 2019 Trans Community Awards at the Sportsman Hotel.
Next Wednesday (November 20) is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Since 1999, the day has honoured the memory of those lost to transphobia and anti-trans violence.
Local group Many Genders One Voice will host a remembrance ceremony in Brisbane. Those gathered will view the Story Bridge lit up in the colours of the transgender flag that night.
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