On Friday, 20 November, people around the world stopped to commemorate the 16th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. In more than 20 countries, people remembered those who have died as a result of anti-transgender hatred and prejudice.
In Sydney people gathered at an event organised by the Gender Centre, while in Brisbane the Story Bridge was lit up in the trans flag colours of pink, blue and white. Candlelight vigils were held in major cities, including Perth and Brisbane.
Officially, in the past year 81 transgender people have been murdered, most of these in America and Brazil-and the majority were transgender women. In Australia we may not have such a high incidence of violence, but it certainly does happen in our country.
Little more than a year ago, in a horrific murder-suicide, Brisbane transgender woman Mayang Prasetyo was brutally killed by her partner, Marcus Volke. It was also timely to take a moment and think of those who have taken their lives as a result of not being able to come to terms with their gender identity or sexuality.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is all about uniting in support, reaffirming what we are doing to reduce discrimination and reminding ourselves about what still needs to be done.
As the co-chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for LGBTI Australians, I am pleased that reducing inequality under the law is one of our key focuses. I am working with my co-chairs Senator Rice and the member for Moreton, and with the member for Indi, as a means to help young transgender boys and girls gain access to hormones without having to apply to the Family Court.
This is very important to these young people, and I certainly look forward to getting a successful outcome early in the New Year.
I would like, at this point, to recognise 12-year-old Isabelle Langley and her parents Naomi and Andrew for being so public in their journey and about the challenges the family has faced. A big thank you to Senator Rice for the fabulous work she and her office are doing. I have also spoken to the Attorney-General and the Minister for Health and look forward to progressing this issue.
The member for Moreton and I have been meeting with Safe Schools Coalition Australia this week. This organisation does valuable work in promoting inclusiveness and acceptance in schools for young LGBTI students.
However, their work is being undermined by the Australian Christian Lobby, which is flooding MPs with emails that are untrue, misleading and very damaging.
The co-chairs of the parliamentary friendship group are also calling on the ACL to stop these activities, as our schools must be encouraged to provide safe and supportive environments for LGBTI students.