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Same-Sex Attracted, Intersex & Gender Diverse Young People

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The Youth Coalition asked parties and independent candidates about their policies on same-sex attracted, intersex & gender diverse young people. We asked:
- What is your position on the rights for young people who identify as same sex attracted, intersex or gender diverse?
- How will you improve services and support to this population in the ACT?

The full responses we received from parties and independent candidates are below. 
Click here to download the short snapshot of their policies on same-sex attracted, intersex & gender diverse young people.

ACT Greens

When our community values diversity and celebrates difference, all of us benefit. The Greens always have, and always will, stand with our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.

We are proud to have been on the forefront of LBGTI rights in Canberra and across Australia. Equal marriage was a key part of our parliamentary agreement to form government (although those laws were struck down), we've introduced laws to improve recognition of diverse Canberrans on birth certificates and identity cards, and we've championed the Safe Schools program locally.

The ACT is leading the country on gay rights, and it would be a tragedy if the progress we've made was wound back after this election. We'll continue to fight for strong anti-discrimination and human rights laws,  mental health and Safe Schools programs for young people, and further recognition of gender diverse people.
 

ACT Labor

Same sex attracted and gender diverse young people have the same rights as everyone: they have the right to feel safe, the right to be themselves, the right to be respected, and the right to have their personal relationships recognised by law. When I was studying in the 80s and the 90s, schools and unis could be pretty tough environments for kids who were different. I know because I was one of those kids. It’s heartbreaking that in 2016 school can still be an unhappy place for LGBTIQ teenagers. My Government wholly supports the Safe Schools program; we believe that bullying and discrimination has no place in Canberra and we’re working to make sure it has no place in our schools. I am a strong advocate for marriage equality. I would like to get married. I know that the overwhelming majority of Canberrans support a change in our laws to remove this discrimination. In 2013 the ACT Labor Government passed the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act, which was unfortunately found invalid by the High Court. It’s now the responsibility of the Commonwealth Parliament to take action on this issue – it should be decided by the Parliament, not by a plebiscite, because that risks a significant backlash against the LGBTIQ communities. I believe that the time for change is well overdue, and it’s a cause I will keep advocating for. 

Canberra is proud to be one of the most LGBTI friendly cities in Australia (it is, after all, the first to have an openly gay head of government. My government is committed to providing support and services to LGBTIQ communities. We’ve made hundreds of changes to the law to remove discrimination, such as:

  • Recognising same-sex relationships through civil partnership legislation;
  • Passing laws to update the definition of ‘intersex’ in the ACT, so it is now a simple process for people to change the sex on their birth certificates; and
  • Completing a law reform process to clear out statute book of discrimination against LGBTIQ peoples in areas ranging from property rights through to adoption laws.

In addition to law reform, we’re also supporting Canberra’s LGBTIQ community by:

  • Establishing the ACT LGBTIQ Advisory Council http://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/wac/community/act-lesbian,-gay,-... transgender-and-intersex-community-advisory-council
  • Funding A Gender Agenda, to support the transgender and intersex community in the ACT;
  • Joining the Pride in Diversity program, which strengthens training for Government officials to promote social inclusion and equality; and
  • Sponsoring the SpringOUT festival, which raises awareness of services and issues for the LGBTIQ community while celebrating their identity.
     

Canberra Liberals 

Young people who identify as same sex attracted or gender diverse face particular vulnerabilities and personal challenges on top of the many other issues associated with adolescence. These young people deserve quality support from family, friends and government to build confidence and self esteem. Under a Canberra Liberals government, we’ll provide support services to help young people by working with relevant stakeholders.

The Canberra Liberals will work with the community groups that provide these services as well as consult of what new services need to be provided.

Independent Candidates 

Joel McKay, Independent Candidate for Brindabella

I am a ‘straight’ 29-year-old male who was raised as a Roman Catholic. From a very early age, I developed a masculine gender identity and was clear on my sexual orientation. However, the reality is that my experience does not mirror that of all people in the ACT. There is a very broad spectrum around gender identity and sexual orientation. Thanks to the work of many in the LGBTI movement, the stigma of identifying as same sex or gender diverse is being removed.

I am a strong believer in same sex marriage. Marriage is the greatest expression of love between two people and announces their commitment to each other for the world to see. Why a political party would seek to deny same-sex couples that right is beyond me.

My position on the rights for young people who identify as same sex or gender diverse is simply this: support and understanding. I do not pretend to understand the torment and suffering experienced by those who identify as LGBTI. However, I can make the commitment to provide a sympathetic ear around issues affecting same-sex and gender diverse individuals.

If elected, I will work with members of the LGBTI community to ensure that the ACT Government provides an adequate level of support to same sex and gender diverse people. I will also look to break down barriers and Government red tape, where it directly affects the rights of members from the LGBTI community.

 

The above information was provided by the parties and/or candidates listed, and authorised for publication on this website by Emma Robertson, Youth Coalition of the ACT