Sydney’s Inner West Council will push for all local government employees in NSW to be able to receive paid leave when they undergo gender transition after a motion by Greens Councillor Liz Atkins was successfully passed by the Labor majority council.
The motion notes that “workers who are undergoing gender transition through surgeries and other gender affirmation procedures can require six weeks or more recovery time.”
It also notes that “very few employees have sufficient leave stored up for these processes – particularly in the wake of Covid-19,” and that a “lack of access to leave can effectively force trans, non-binary, and otherwise gender-diverse employees to leave their employment to undergo gender transition procedures.”
The motion also notes that, “gender affirmation leave is not commonly available for workers, including in local government.”
The Inner West Council will now move its own motion at the upcoming Local Government NSW 2023 Annual Conference in November: “that Local Government NSW consult with the union and trans health providers to develop a policy for paid annualised gender affirmation leave for employees of local government.”
A commitment to inclusion
Councillor Atkins also moved a motion in support of local governments holding events that are inclusive for LGBTIQA+ residents all year round, noting the recent rise of homophobia and hate speech around events such as “drag story times” at local libraries.
That motion notes that “pride and visibility should not be something that LGBTQIA+ residents experience just once per year, and [that] Council facilities such as public libraries, swimming pools, sporting facilities and community centres are ideal venues for local inclusive events.”
The motion asks that Local Government NSW “encourages and facilitates member councils to organise local events that are inclusive for LGBTQIA+ residents year-round.”
It also asks Local Government NSW to support councils in facilitating “community driven safety solutions to ensure that drag story time and similar events can take place at council facilities safely for performers and attendees.”
It also encourages member councils to “ensure that drag performers receive payment in full for events that are cancelled,” if there are threats made against events or they expect an event will be targeted by protesters.
Pride In Protest’s Charlie Murphy, National Union of Students Queer officer Damien Nguyen, and recent DIVA award winner Cassandra the Drag Queen spoke in favour of the motions at a council meeting last night and posed with Councillor Atkins following the successful motions.
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