We Are The Change
By Danielle Pore Villafaña and Kalleb Pritchard
This year marks ten years of Wear It Purple day. For the LGBTQIA+ community and allies alike Wear It Purple day is an important to spark important conversations about the challenges LGBTQIA+ community faces, and to amplify our lived experiences. Just weeks away from Wear It Purple this year One Nation MP Mark Latham introduced a hateful anti-LGBTQIA+ bill framed as an education bill.
The bill is a reminder that whilst the LGBTQIA+ community has experienced tremendous progress in the past few decades, we still continue to face discrimination, hate crimes, and oppressive laws that obstruct our humanity and human rights.
The Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 aims to prevent schools from teaching students about gender identity especially, those that are not cisgender or fit within the gender binary. Furthermore, the amendment argues that any teaching in relation to gender or sexuality is the role of parents rather than schools. As a result, so many children will not have access to gender-affirming support systems and resources. Affirming support systems are not only life changing, they are lifesaving. According to the National LGBTI Health Alliance 48.1% of trans or gender diverse people have attempted suicide in their lifetime. Legislating the removal of any form of support for trans and gender diverse young people is only going to make this worse.
Latham’s new bill is a hateful, vile and direct attack on LGBTQIA+ youth. This bill will harm a whole generation of children who will already face so many challenges because of their identity; their identity which is not a choice.
One Nation always preaches about protecting kids but cherry-picks who they would like to protect. Whether they be gay, trans or straight all children need and deserve to be protected in school which ultimately should be a safe space free of harm.
This bill is only one part of an entire system that does not work for LGBTQIA+ youth. In addition to lack of access to resources, services and education, we grow up with little to no positive representation of our people like ourselves.
A School Strike for Climate organiser, who wishes to remain anonymous, explains “there is very little accurate representation of queer people in media, particularly in mainstream, and easily accessible, media. Less known queer identities such as asexuality, aromanticism and more specified non-binary identities are not represented at all. Mainstream media depictions of queer relationships are also often unhealthy such as the age and power disparity in ‘Call Me By Your Name.”
In addition to actively harming the LGBTQIA+ community, these systems also perpetuate homophobia in those who could be allies.
This is why it’s so important to continue to fight for LGBTQIA+ issues and to not become complacent. Every Wear it Purple day, Mardi Gras, and pride months LGBTQIA+ people are going to keep showing up, protesting, and being proud of who we are and it’s important that our allies are there behind us too.
“A good ally recognises that their job is to lift up LGBTQIA+ voices, educate those around them, and be a support system for their LGBTIQA+ peers, rather than dominating the space.”
Together, we can create change. We are going to keep fighting. We are the change!
For more information about the Latham’s new bill visit: https://equalityaustralia.org.au/ignoranceineducationbill/
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Woke magazine.