Transgender health expert Teddy Cook has delivered a moving speech to a NSW parliament committee to oppose Mark Latham’s anti-trans legislation.
One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham wants to outlaw the promotion of “gender fluidity” in the state’s schools.
The crossbench MP has caused outrage with a draft bill that would ban support and recognition of trans students. Any teachers and counsellors violating the law would face the sack.
A committee considering the bill, chaired by Mark Latham himself, held two days of hearings last week.
Among the speakers were representatives from the Australian Christian Lobby, FamilyVoice Australia and “Binary Australia” campaigner Kirralie Smith.
Trans man Teddy Cook was the sole transgender person to address the hearing.
Cook is the Vice President of the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH), the country’s peak body for trans health professionals.
He told the hearing he was “grateful for the opportunity to speak as an adult, who was once a trans child.”
“It’s often the case that people who are most affected often are given the least opportunities to speak. Even if my voice shakes, that is okay because I am still here.
“Whatever the outcome of this inquiry is, we know that we’ve always been here. We have always been in education settings. And we always will.
“It’s important that we know we are valid and that we offer the world an incredible gift.
“One thing is for certain though: We deserve the dignity of being known. The research globally, here and internationally, continues to show up the same results.
“Trans kids do better and they have a better quality of life when they are affirmed as who they are at school.
“When they can safely attend the school they want to go to as their affirmed gender, they do better.
“They just do better.”
‘We deserve the dignity of being known’.
CN: mentions of suicide in the trans community
Teddy Cook was the only trans person invited to speak on Mark Latham’s anti-trans bill in NSW Parliament. A bill which would erase trans & gender-diverse students, and would see any school staff who support them fired from their jobs.
Teddy NAILED IT!
He faced the challenge with humanity, purpose and a whole lot of evidence.
Please watch every minute and share with everyone you know!
:trans: 💜 :trans: 💜 :trans:
If you are having a tough time and need support:
QLife www.qlife.org.au 1800 184 527 3pm-midnight in your state (support & information for our communities)
Lifeline www.lifeline.org.au 13 11 14 (24 hour)
Suicide Callback Service www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au 1300 659 467 (24 hour)
Posted by LGBTI Rights Australia on Wednesday, April 21, 2021
‘We are not the threat you imagine us to be’
Teddy Cook went on, “I have got to say, in many ways, I really wish the trans community was as big as members of this committee seem to think that we are.
“You do seem to see us as a threat, which is interesting. I do hope that you know some actual trans people in your life. I hope that I am not the first one you have met.
“The reality is that we are not powerful enough to disrupt the culture of this country.
“Many of us, even though we are incredibly resilient, are just trying to get through the day. We are not the threat you imagine us to be.
“How do I know this? Well, because I see it, I see the rates of suicidality in my community, and the violence.
“I see the rejection and the turmoil.
“I hear the stories of people who have ended their own lives. Young people who would prefer not to be alive than to live in a world that tells them that there’s something wrong with them. That we are disordered, that we are a problem, that we are a challenge to deal with, that we are something to legislate against.”
‘Trans people have always existed’
Teddy Cook told the hearing the bill’s definition of “gender fluidity” was flawed and the existence of transgender youth is “not new”.
“The reality is that trans people have always existed. We have always been here,” he said.
“We have place and culture and ceremony in First Nations populations across the globe.
“For people to talk about us like we are a Western, modern construct is a lie. It’s just not true.
“AusPATH wants to say very clearly that we reject this bill in its entirety.”
AusPATH blasts Mark Latham’s anti-trans bill
Mark Latham’s proposed Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 has sparked trans rights protests in Sydney.
Before Teddy Cook’s speech, Community Action for Rainbow Rights protesters interrupted the hearing earlier in the day.
Earlier this year, AusPATH told the committee they rejected in “the strongest possible terms” Latham’s “harmful and unnecessary” draft bill.
“This Bill poses a threat to the right of every young person in NSW to a safe school environment, and to receive an adequate and fulfilling education,” the submission read.
“This Bill wilfully mischaracterises the trans experience by using a definition of ‘gender fluidity’.
“This language suggests incorrectly that the genders of trans people are entirely changeable and un-fixed.
“If given effect, the Bill will promote the invisibility and erasure of, and increased harm to a significant proportion of the NSW school community.”
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