On Wednesday 13 May 2015, Jenny Leong, The Greens MP for Newtown and Greens NSW Spokesperson for Sexuality and Gender Identity, spoke on a Matter of Public Importance in NSW Parliament. Jenny spoke about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be held on May 17-18 2015.
Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [7.12 p.m.], by leave: I thank the member for Charlestown for bringing this matter of public importance to the attention of the House. I speak as The Greens spokesperson on sexuality and gender identity. The Greens believe that all people have a right to their self-identified sex and gender. We do not tolerate a person being harassed, abused, vilified, stigmatised, discriminated against, disadvantaged or exploited because they are or are perceived to be intersex, transgender, bisexual, gay or lesbian. These are not issues of conscience for the Greens. They are issues of common sense and for me, as a human rights advocate, they are issues of human rights.
I acknowledge the strong foundations which lay in the hearts of The Greens by the out and proud Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown. On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia marks the day in 1990 that homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of The World Health Organization. Twenty-five years later, too much homophobia and transphobia remain in our society. It is our responsibility as legislators and public representatives to dismantle institutions of discrimination wherever we find it. Therefore, we must remove the exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act in New South Wales. The law too often trails behind public opinion.
It is wonderful to know that there are many events happening in my local electorate of Newtown. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir is performing on the concourse of Central Station, the Surry Hills police are having a barbecue, and an afternoon tea on Bedford Street will be hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW. I acknowledge those organisations and the many organisations that work tirelessly in New South Wales, across the country and around the world to advocate for the rights of sexual and gender diverse people in our communities.
I say also that it is with much pleasure and pride that I regularly see rainbow flags and rainbow crossings throughout the electorate of Newtown and beyond. This year IDAHOT NSW is asking people to take a pledge, to be an ally against homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersex phobia. I commit to that pledge. Everyone has the right to be accepted for who they are, how they choose to express themselves and who they love. I pledge to share this message with my friends, family, neighbours and colleagues, to speak out against prejudice, discrimination, hate or tolerance wherever I see it, if I can safely do so, and to provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning youth by letting them know that I and The Greens are their allies.