Minus18 Same Sex Gender Diverse Formal

"On Saturday night we hosted the largest ever Minus18 Same Sex Gender Diverse Formal, with 600 LGBTI young people from all over Victoria. It was amazing - but we couldn't have done it without your help.

Thanks to your support, the Formal was free for every single one of those young people to attend.

Do you know what else was really heart warming? On the night 30 older queer angels rocked up to the Formal to create a 'guard of honour' for the young people to send the message that no matter what homophobic crap gets said in the media, they will always have a place in this community where they are loved and supported.

The formal was also funded by the Victorian Government, and the HUGE amount of catering was provided 100% for free by Naked For Satan. We can't thank them enough - they really are one of the best sponsors we've ever had.

I'm still buzzing from night, and if you want to marvel in the good vibes, you can head on over to our
Facebook page here and have a look at the photos yourself if you haven't seen them already.

We'll have our wrap-up video out soon too! Thank you for believing in our mission to support LGBTI Aussie youth. We can't wait to share our next project with you.

Lots of love,

Micah Scott
Minus18 CEO"

Source: https://minus18.org.au/index.php/news-arti...

Melbourne Girls’ College will fly the rainbow flag to show support for the LGBTQI community

AN ELITE inner city school will be the first to fly the rainbow flag in Melbourne to show its support for the same-sex attracted and gender diverse community.

Greens Melbourne MP Adam Bandt purchased the flag after putting a call out for public donations last month so schools could fly the flag in support of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and inter­sex (LGBTQI) people.

Melbourne Girls’ College in Richmond will raise the flag when school resumes from holidays next week.

Year 12 student Naida Sheriff said she was “incredibly enthusiastic” her school would fly the rainbow flag.

“It’s something we’ve wanted for a long time and to have it is beyond fantastic,” Ms Sheriff said.

Former Melbourne Girls’ College student Mim Dinapoli said while she enjoyed her time at the school, she kept her sexual orientation private for fear of bullying.

“Some might say a flag is just a flag, but that kind of symbol can be a lighthouse for students, especially those who don’t feel supported at home,” Ms Dinapoli said.

Melbourne Girls’ College teacher Andrew Vance said the school had a diverse community and the flag was a way of showing its support for its students.

Since the crowdfunding campaign was launched last month, about 20 other schools from across the country, including Fitzroy High School, have indicated they want to fly the flag.

A National LGBTI Health Alliance report in 2013 found 20 per cent of trans Australians and 16 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual had reported suicidal thoughts.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month announced an overhaul of the Safe Schools program, which provides resources and support for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.

Mr Bandt said students and parents had been appalled by the changes following a review and a rebellion by backbench MPs.

“By proudly raising a rainbow flag at their school, teachers, parents and students are showing LGBTIQ young people that they are supported, accepted and loved,” Mr Bandt said.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north/m...

Gender identity: Legal recognition should be transferred to individuals, Human Rights Commission says

Individuals should be handed the power to decide their gender identity for themselves, without prior approval from doctors and psychologists, the Australian Human Rights Commission says.

Because the requirements for changing the sex on official documents are so prohibitive, many gender diverse people face challenges in accessing services and facilities that most Australians take for granted because their identity documents do not reflect their true gender.

State and territory laws currently prevent people from changing their gender on their birth certificate unless they have had gender reassignment surgery and are unmarried.

Australian Human Rights Commission president Professor Gillian Triggs has renewed calls to reform the process for changing gender on official documents, saying they needed to be simplified.

"The human rights of transgender and gender diverse people to equality and non-discrimination cannot be fully realised without the removal of the legislative barriers to the legal recognition of their gender identity," Professor Triggs told ABC News.

Commission pushes for end to 'barriers to recognition'

The calls come as Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon promised to radically overhaul Scotland's gender laws if her government is re-elected next month, giving trans and gender diverse people legal recognition they currently do not have.

PHOTO: Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has promised to reform Scotland's gender recognition laws(Facebook: Nicola Sturgeon)

Ms Sturgeon's commitment to "bring [current legislation] in line with international best practice" would enable people who do not identify as either male or female to change their birth certificate and passport to reflect their gender status without first having to undergo invasive surgery or medical review.

The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomed initiatives that allow trans and gender diverse people to update identity documents to reflect their preferred name and gender, in accordance with a 2011 recommendation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"All people have the right to equality and non-discrimination, privacy and physical integrity, and recognition as a person before the law," Professor Triggs said.

"Legislative schemes that require people to have surgery and to be unmarried in order to change the legal record of their gender undermine these rights.

"Initiatives to remove these barriers to recognition, such as that proposed in Scotland, are vital to ensure the protection of transgender and gender diverse people's human rights."

Current laws 'pathologise trans, gender diverse people'

Australian citizens can specify their gender on their passport as either male, female or indeterminate, without having to first undergo gender affirmation surgery.

However, a statement from a medical practitioner is required confirming the individual has had "appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition".

Gender, sexuality terms explained


Australian culture is becoming increasingly queer friendly, but sometimes progress doesn't feel fast enough.

However, most states and territories require that a person undergo a medical or surgical procedure (which in Western Australia can mean hormone therapy) and also be unmarried before they can change their gender marker on their birth certificate.

The exception is the ACT, which in March 2014 passed an Amendment Act legislating that surgery was not a prerequisite to changing sex on a birth certificate, though medical evidence from a doctor or psychologist is still required as part of the application process.

In April 2014, Sydney resident Norrie won the rightto be legally recognised as being of non-specific sex.

The case was hailed a great victory for the transgender community but the High Court's ruling only allowed people who had undergone gender reassignment surgery, like Norrie, to change their sex or gender on official documents.

Co-chair of the Victorian LGBTI Taskforce and chair of Transgender Victoria, Brenda Appleton, said the ACT amendment had been a step in the right direction, but set a standard on which Victoria could improve.

"It's very pathologising to have to go to a medical professional to get support for you to change your birth certificate," Ms Appleton told ABC News.

PHOTO: The High Court recognition of Norrie as being of non-specific sex was hailed as a victory by the transgender community.(AAP: Daniel Munoz)

Victoria could be first to overhaul gender laws

In conjunction with the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, and Victoria's gender and sexuality commissioner, Rowena Allen, Ms Appleton has been working with the community to ensure its expectations are addressed in new gender recognition legislation, which she is hopeful will be introduced in 2016.

Ms Appleton said the LGBTI taskforce was proposing six changes to existing gender laws, including:

  • removing the requirement for invasive surgery
  • removing the requirement that the individual seeking to change their official gender be unmarried
  • including a third 'other, please specify with free text' gender option on birth certificates
  • removing the requirement that adults have medical support from a clinician in order to change their gender on official documents

If introduced, Ms Appleton said the reforms would dramatically change trans and gender diverse Victorians' lives.

PHOTO: Co-chair of the Victorian LGBTI Taskforce and Chair of Transgender Victoria, Brenda Appleton. (Supplied)

"For many people who want to change the sex marker on their birth certificate... at the moment they can't do that," she said.

"So often they feel incomplete as a person because their documentation isn't consistent with they way they might be living and presenting.

"The requirement at the moment for surgery is such that a trans man has... to have a hysterectomy to be able to change their birth certificate and therefore very few, if any, go through that process. It's very invasive.

"For a trans woman... the out-of-pocket cost for [gender reassignment] surgery is $15-20,000 in Australia at the moment and many people can't afford that, or for religious or other reasons don't want to undertake that surgery."

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula was unable to confirm when new legislation would be introduced, but said, "The Andrews Labor Government made an election commitment to remove barriers to new birth certificates for trans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians".

He said the Government was working "to deliver on it".

Meanwhile, in South Australia...

The South Australian Government is also reviewing its sex and gender recognition laws.

State legislation currently requires individuals to prove to a magistrate they have had sexual reassignment surgery before they can change their gender on their birth certificate.

But a report submitted to the South Australian Government in February by the SA Law Reform Institute at the University of Adelaide recommended a system to allow adults to change their registered sex via a simple application to the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The idea that a medical practitioner can or should 'verify' an individual's own sense of their gender identity is not only incorrect but also damaging to a person's sense of self.

Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre

The report's lead author, Sarah Moulds, said: "We had so many people [in our consultation process] say, 'Look, I've transitioned from one gender to my true gender identity. I've told my family, I've told my workplace, I've got a passport with this new identity on it, I've changed my name.'"

"It is completely ridiculous that you then can't change your registered sex on the Births, Deaths and Marriages register in your state.

"So once you accept the lived reality that people are gender diverse, it really makes legal and administrative sense to allow a simple and straightforward approach."

Australian reforms could 'lead the world'

Director of advocacy and strategic litigation at the Human Rights Law Centre, Anna Brown, said it was critical legislation moved away from a medical approach to gender.

"The idea that a medical practitioner can or should 'verify' an individual's own sense of their gender identity is not only incorrect but also damaging to a person's sense of self, Ms Brown told ABC News.

"These changes are not only incredibly important on a practical level but will help reduce the high levels of stigma, social exclusion and discrimination faced by trans and intersex people.

"I'm hopeful that we will see change in Australia over the coming 12 months that builds on international best practice and really leads the world."

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-07/powe...

Transgender people could change birth certificates

People could soon change the gender on their birth certificates without having to undergo sex reassignment surgery. 

The Victorian attorney-general's department  has signalled that it is working to "remove barriers to new birth certificates for trans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians", in line with a Victorian Labor election commitment.

In a letter to a parent of a transgender child, the attorney-general's chief of staff advised that the office was "progressing work to address discrimination in Victoria's birth certificate laws".  

The current laws are complex and confusing. If a person wants to change the gender on their certificate, they must be unmarried, 18 years of age or over, and to have undergone sex reassignment surgery. 

The reforms will have significant implications for transgender kids, as some state schools have refused to allow a student to transition because their gender did not match their birth certificate. 

Chair of Transgender Victoria Brenda Appleton, who also co-chairs the government's LGBTI Taskforce, said the process of changing one's gender should be as simple as changing one's name.

"The birth certificate is a fundamental part of your identity ... you won't want to use it if it doesn't contain correct information.

"It will make life so much easier ... in cases when you need to go to the bank, renew your driver's license, or offer proof of identity."

Ms Appleton is advising the government to allow people to be recorded as male, female, or to fill in their gender identity in a blank space. 

The government is yet to provide any detail on how they will consider recording a person's gender.

Karyn Walker had to pull her transgender child out of a state school in Melbourne's southeast, after the school would not allow her child to transition, because the gender would be different to the sex recorded on her certificate.

It was hurtful for the six-year-old daughter to hear her mother explain to doctors, teachers and other service providers about the child's gender transition, Ms Walker said. 

"It's not a choice, this is who she is ... other people don't always understand, it's not always an easy discussion.

"With these changes I will be able to say my child is a girl and the document supports that, and we will be able to move forward with our lives."

It follows changes in the ACT in 2014 which gave transgender people the right to change the sex on their birth certificate without surgery, enabling them to identify as male, female or "X".

It also comes as the leader of a major political party in Scotland - Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party - flagged that she would change the country's gender recognition laws. 

Anna Brown, who is director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation at the Human Rights Law Centre, said it was appropriate to allow for changes to birth certificates, given that in 2014, a high court unanimously found that a transgender person could register as neither a man nor a woman, and the Australian government had also brought in new passport rules allowing citizens to nominate their gender without surgery in 2011. 

Ms Brown said the Victorian government should not adopt the same policy in the ACT, which requires a doctor or psychologist to certify a person has received "appropriate clinical treatment" before nominating their gender on their birth certificate. 

"Being transgender is not an illness. The idea that a medical practitioner can or should 'verify' an individual's own sense of their gender identity is not only incorrect but also damaging to a person's sense of self."

Ms Brown said service providers unnecessarily requested information about people's gender, and cited the Australian government's guidelines on recognition of sex and gender, which stated that gender should only be collected if it is directly related to one or more of the agency's functions.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/transgender-people-could-change-birth-certificates-20160406-gnzr2a.html#ixzz45bEUh200 

Safe Schools community action meeting in Northcote on April 14 at 6pm

A Letter from Janet Rice, Australian Greens spokesperson for gender identity and intersex issues:

"Late on a Friday afternoon last month, when they thought nobody would notice, the Turnbull government announced it was gutting the Safe Schools Coalition. In one brief announcement, PM Turnbull and Minister Birmingham capitulated to the cavemen in their backbench, putting the program and its funding under threat.

With an election looming, it’s up to us to keep our schools safe.

As the old parties get drawn into political games there is a real risk that, without continued pressure, funding for the program could well be discontinued in 2017.

We’re getting together in Northcote to continue the campaign in support of Safe Schools. Join Senator Robert Simms, Greens candidate for Batman Alex Bhathal and me at a community action meeting to show our PM that he has to listen to us, not the dinosaurs.

All Australian students should be able to go to school, be themselves, and not be subject to bullying or discrimination. But the continued attacks from the dark recesses of the Coalition backbench have given the bullies a platform and put young LGBTI people at risk.

To keep up the pressure, we’ve called this community action meeting to work with you to help save this important program from a misguided, outdated conservative agenda.

Click here to RSVP, and together let’s show these dinosaurs that we’re going to keep fighting to save Safe Schools.

WHERE: Northcote Town Hall

WHEN: April 14th, 6 - 8pm

This is what Safe Schools is about - communities coming together to make sure that every child feels like they belong and feels comfortable at school.

See you there,

Janet Rice"

Snap Rally/Action in defence of Safe Schools - Melbourne March 21 @ 6pm


State Library

This event is community response and community organised. Equal Love helped put out the initial call out, fabulous, but its up to community to pull it together! So come and get involved. Starlady Starlady is helping with some of the co-ordination.

No to the gutting of Safe Schools! 
No to restrictions on the program!
Show the government that there is wide community support for Safe Schools.
Meet at State Library at 6pm for speeches and a march to the corner of Flinders and Swanston Sts.

Rally in Ballarat - Sat. April 2 @ 12pm

After today's shocking revelations that the Turnbull Government will cease funding the safe schools program by 2017 we ask you to join us and march in support for safe schools.

Safe Schools is a educational tool aimed at eliminating bullying, not just for the LGBTIQA community but everyone.

Facebook Event