LGBTI students and rights advocates delivered a petition to end discrimination in schools to the Australian parliament on Wednesday (13 February).
‘Imagine a young person being forced to suppress their true identity for fear of being kicked out of school and humiliated in front of their peers’ the change.org petition said.
Nearly 55,000 people had signed it by the time activists presented it to parliament.
Today we delivered our 55,000 signature petition to parliament, calling for an end to discrimination in our schools. Thanks to @SenatorWong, @RichardDiNatale for receiving the submission, along side @EqualityAu & @Change. 🌈🌈#SameRulesAllSchools #auspol pic.twitter.com/IFWbUmhYC0
— Minus18 (@minus18youth) February 13, 2019
Australia’s government has failed to introduce nationwide legislation that would protect LGBTI students and staff.
While some states have anti-discrimination, federal laws allow faith schools to discriminate under ‘religious freedom’ laws.
Worryingly, a government inquiry released last year said federal anti-discrimination law should allow religious schools to turn away LGBTI staff and students.
The government launched the review to placate conservatives after Australia legalized same-sex marriage late last year.
‘These laws tell youth to hide their identity or be rejected by their community and isolated from their friends’ Minus 18, a youth-driven LGBTI rights group, said in their petition.
Today our parliamentarians heard from some remarkable young people. They spoke about how discriminatory laws set a tone for our country and prevent #LGBTQ students from being safe at school. Let’s change this! #auspol #AllSchoolsSameRules 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/E6hQd8wcyf
— Anna Brown (@AnnaEquality) February 13, 2019
Australia’s anti-LGBTI prime minister
Rights groups have also denounced Morrison for comments against LGBTI Australians since he took office. Last month, Anna Wintour called him out for his anti-LGBTI stance.
Within the first few days of taking office, the Pentecostal Christian made comments against support for trans and gender diverse kids in schools.
‘We do not need “gender whisperers” in our schools,’ he tweeted. ‘Let kids be kids.’ He also said LGBTI conversion therapy is ‘not an issue’ for him.