Historic human rights law provides overdue protections to LGBTI community

This week the Australian Parliament passed the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill, which legislates long-overdue protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. The legislation will establish, for the first time at the Federal level, protections against discrimination in areas such as accommodation and healthcare. The amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) provide protections from discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) people in federal anti-discrimination law and remove religious exemptions for Commonwealth-funded aged-care providers; exemptions that would have allowed religious providers to discriminate against older LGBTI people seeking access to aged-care services. These amendments to federal anti-discrimination law are the result of work over many years by the LGBTI community, the community legal sector and those with a commitment to human rights. A national roundtable, jointly convened by the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and the Australian Human Rights Centre, in October 2012, played a pivotal role in consolidating support within the LGBTI and community legal sectors for this reform, communicating strongly that we care about entrenching principles of non-discrimination and equality in the law.


Photo: Senator Sue Boyce with AHRCentre director of the Centre's Health, Sexual Orientation and Human Rights Project, Jed Horner, in Canberra, 26 June 2013.