NSW government has rejected Mark Latham’s anti-trans bill and people are celebrating

The Liberals have withdrawn their support for Mark Latham’s anti-trans bill, thank fuck. This almost certainly guarantees that the bill will not pass.

Mark Latham’s “Parental Rights” bill, which seeks to amend NSW’s Education Act, threatens the safety of gender diverse kids by denying their existence and prohibiting their education on trans issues. Terrifyingly, it also puts teachers and school counsellors at risk of losing their jobs if they support and affirm the identity of a trans or gender diverse student.

In her response to the bill, Sarah Mitchell, the Minister for Education and Early Learning wrote that “the Bill may lead to targeted discrimination against a marginalised community which already experiences poorer mental health and wellbeing outcome”. No shit.

Image courtesy: Unsplash.

Mitchell then rattled off a series of damning statistics. “Seventy-two per cent of gender diverse young people have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Forty-eight per cent of gender diverse young people have attempted suicide in their lifetime. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) young people are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.”

In a bizarre twist, Latham chaired a parliamentary inquiry into his own bill (how does this even happen?). The report that came out of this inquiry ignored scientific evidence and supported changes to the Education Act.

Twitter is alight with expressions of relief and the decision has received applause from various queer rights organisations such as Equality Australia.

In a public statement, Pride in Protest, who have led the campaign against the bill alongside Community Action for Rainbow Rights, said: “Since his election to NSW parliament in 2019 with One Nation, Mark Latham has had a determined fascination with inflaming a culture war against trans people – especially children… This is a win for the queer community who have relentlessly protested to kill these bills.”

But it has not come without a cost”, the statement goes on. “In 2020 Mark Latham was successful in pushing for up to 42,000 accredited short courses for school and pre-school teachers to be deregistered, including ones provided by the NSW Teachers Federation and Multiverse about supporting gender diverse and non-conforming children. His two pieces of legislation – the so-called religious freedoms and parental rights bills – were also successful in winning support from a number of Liberal and Labor MPs through the committee process, and helped embolden the right’s push for a federal bill for bigotry.

Hear, hear.