By ALLISON HORE
Ahead of Trans Day of Visibility on the 31st of March, protesters took over King Street to raise awareness about a number of issues which impact the transgender and gender diverse communities.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness about the discrimination they face. The day was first marked in 2009 and has been held annually since then, with many participants taking to social media to post selfies and share their stories to raise awareness and start conversations.
In NSW, some of the key issues faced by the transgender community include the hurdles which much be jumped in order to change the gender marker on birth certificates and an education bill being pushed by One Nation MLC Mark Latham which would prohibit discussion of gender diversity in schools.
Around 300 protesters gathered outside Newtown’s the Hub Theatre before marching down King Street to Victoria Park. Speaking outside the Hub, Pride in Protest member Mikhael praised the protesters for coming out and making themselves visible and their voices heard.
“We are a community under constant attack, and when we stand up to defend ourselves we will be victorious,” Mikhael said.
Physics teacher Genevieve Doyle also spoke at the rally. She spoke about the difficulties trans people face in changing the gender marker on their birth certificate, which in NSW requires a person to have genital surgery verified by two independent GPs.
While gender affirming surgery can be life saving for transgender people, it is still considered an elective surgery and not covered under medicare. This means for transgender people on lower incomes, and those with conflicting medical conditions, genital surgery is inaccessible.
She said it was desirable for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, not to change the past, but “simply for completeness of legal identity.”
“It’s not an indulgence in altering history like some people think, most of us couldn’t care less about our history we know about it, it’s nothing to do with history it’s about completeness of ID,”
“If you go for a job with a mismatched ID it looks like you’re some kind of fraud.”
Protesters also spoke out against Mr. Latham’s proposed bill which would prevent teaching or discussion about transgender people in government schools by banning any mention of “gender fluidity.”
Addressing the crowd member for Newtown, Jenny Leong, committed to standing against the bill in parliament to protect transgender and non-binary young people, who she says are “most under attack.”
“You are the ones that we see the bullies and the likes of One Nation MP Mark Latham in the NSW parliament, you are the ones that he tries to bully, you are the ones who he tries to erase, you are the ones that he tries to remove,” she said.
“We say that we will not stand for that bullying, we say that we are with you.”
A rally against Mark Latham’s bill will be held on the 17th of April ahead of it being brought to the table in the NSW parliament.
And here are a selection of photos from the day’s rally in Sydney. Love the blue skies coming out in solidarity and coordinating with the trans pride flags.✌️#TransDayOfVisibility pic.twitter.com/OVYl6VGeja
— Allison Hore (@AllisonM_H) March 27, 2021