In the Australian state of New South Wales, there’s a series of exceptions for private schools in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. This means that these schools can hire and fire staff, and refuse admission to and expel students, based on their disability status, sexual orientation (actually, specifically, ‘homosexuality’), sex, age, marital or domestic status, or if they are transgender. Alex Greenwich, an independent Member of Parliament representing Sydney, has just introduced a bill called Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Private Educational Authorities) Bill 2013, which aims to remove these exemptions. It’s unclear as yet whether this bill will pass. It has the support of the Labor Party, which is the opposition in NSW parliament. However, the Liberal and National parties, the coalition of which is in governance, have not yet announced how they will handle Greenwich’s proposal. What, then, is riding on this bill?
Who likes to show Valentine’s Day a bit of love? Show of hands. I, for one, never have, because it has seemed to me that squishing expressions of love into one day of socially-approved heteronormative fluff is pretty empty. Apparently, however, you were in want of some musings on this holiday, readers, and in my journalistic strivings to bring it to you, I have, can we say, thought about it a little harder? This year, I’m going to overcome my dyed-in-the-wool side-eyeing cynicism and give Valentine’s another chance. That’s because what I resent is not actually the day itself, but what it represents about how culturally stagnant ideas of love are.
One of the most persistent threads throughout the two years of imprisonment of accused Wikileaks leaker Private Bradley Manning has been the rumour that he is in fact, she–a transgender woman. Manning faces thirty charges, one of which “aiding the enemy” potentially carries the death penalty (though life in prison is more likely) for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents via the website Wikileaks including the shocking “Collateral Murder” video. Dismissed by many as a smear or simply irrelevant to the case, this transgender story has nevertheless refused to die.
It’s been something of a historic week in the fight for same-sex marriage in Australia. And it’s been a significant year for LGBT rights more generally (not so much, arguably, for Q* or I or any of the other letters that might otherwise go on the end of that acronym). Unfortunately, the hyperfocus on marriage has obscured the leaps, bounds, and deficiencies in some of the areas in more urgent need of attention. Here’s your guide to where Australia’s at, and where the lucky country, as we call it, has to go in order to spread that luck around more evenly.