Inner West Independent

Inner West Council condemns transgender discrimination, calls for change to NSW gender recognition act

Inner West councillors have unanimously condemned transgender discrimination. Photo: Allison Hore.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

Inner West councillors have unanimously condemned transgender and gender diverse discrimination at a council meeting this week, with the motion also calling on the NSW government to amend the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, to enable legal gender recognition without requiring surgical intervention.

The motion, which was moved by Greens councillor Liz Atkins and seconded by Mat Howard (Labor), also committed to opposing the blanket banning of transgender athletes in all settings, reaffirmed a commitment to providing safe and accessible gender-neutral public toilets, and consulting with LGBTQ communities to mark the Transgender Day of Visibility and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Cr Atkins’ original motion specified council’s opposition to proposals currently before parliament, including the Religious Discrimination Bill and the Save Women’s Sport Bill, but was omitted following an amendment made by Cr Howard.

“While I am disappointed we didn’t commit to a motion specifically condemning particular pieces of legislation, I welcome the unanimous support for this motion,” Cr Atkins said.

“I would love to see us committing to holding a ceremony every Transgender Day of Remembrance and finding other ways to demonstrate our pride in our gender diverse community.”

Cr Howard said that the amendments “build upon the original motion by focusing on what we can do right here locally,” adding that “we should never accept attempts to use vulnerable people as political pawns”.

Cr Atkins expressed support for the amendment made by Cr Howard to host events and actions to support the transgender community, but reiterated that “anyone with a voice” should condemn the Religious Discrimination Bill, which Cr Atkins called an act of bigotry.

Transgender visibility 

The move by councillors comes after protests took place last year on King Street ahead of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness about the discrimination that they face.

Crs Atkins and Howard were both elected to Inner West Council following the December local elections, where Labor earned an eight-seat majority in the council chamber following the unsuccessful bids of the once-Liberal endorsed councillors Julie Passas and Vittoria Raciti (both ran as independents in December) and Marrickville independent Victor Macri.

Following an extraordinary council meeting in December, Labor councillor Darcy Byrne was returned to the mayoralty behind the Labor bloc, while first-time councillor Jessica D’Arienzo was voted as deputy mayor.

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