Mark Latham’s Toxic Anti Trans-Kids’ Bill Has Been Shut Down Forever

“Trans and gender diverse children and young people exist. They have a right to be respected, included and supported."

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LGBTIQ advocates have welcomed the decision by the New South Wales government to reject a controversial bill from One Nation, which sought to limit and ban the support and discourse around trans identity in schools.

Mark Latham’s ‘Parental Rights’ bill (nicknamed the “anti-trans kids bill”) was originally proposed in 2020, and was broadly aimed at banning the discussion of gender fluidity in New South Wales schools.

Things got worse in September of 2020, when a parliamentary enquiry of the bill — chaired by Mark Latham himself — disregarded scientific and medical expert advice to recommend broader powers to the bill, including influencing departmental policies effectively marginalising trans children at school. Amnesty International protested the bill in an official submission, arguing that the bill posed a “significant threat” to children fulfilling their right to education. 

“Trans and gender diverse children and young people exist. They have a right to be respected, included and supported in school and to see themselves reflected in the curriculum,” Amnesty International said in the submission. 

Delays from COVID-19 and the east coast floods meant that the bill was finally scheduled for discussion yesterday afternoon, where it was thrown out by the government. NSW education minister Sarah Mitchell said in a response to the bill that NSW schools have legal obligations to protect and support students, including those who are same-sex attracted or transgender”. 

“Every child has the right to receive an education of the highest quality, and the NSW govt supports the right of every student and teacher to be themselves at school and to fulfil their potential,” the education minister said. 

“Incredible Relief”

LGBTIQ activist and writer Alastair Lawrie told Junkee that the government’s rejection of the bill is “extremely welcome”. “The fact that LGBTIQ students, and trans and gender diverse kids in particular, no longer need to fear this Bill is an incredible relief,” said Lawrie.

Despite the rejection of the bill, Lawrie says that “not going backwards is not the same as going forwards”, and that NSW still has a long way to go to curb discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

“NSW will also soon be the only jurisdiction in Australia which still requires trans and gender diverse people to have genital surgery in order to update their birth certificates, and, unlike other states and territories, the NSW Government does not appear to have any plans to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices,” Lawrie told Junkee. 

Lawrie also stated that the NSW Anti-Discrimination act is “out-dated” and  “fails to protect nonbinary people against discrimination, while permitting private schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students and teachers”. 

For more information on how to support trans people in your community, check out these resources from Minus 18 on How to be a Trans Ally.