Changes in law welcomed

Dr Jude Comfort - Researcher with the WA Centre for Health Promotion Research at Curtin University.
Dr Jude Comfort - Researcher with the WA Centre for Health Promotion Research at Curtin University.

The Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill, which passed through the Senate on June 25, recognises protections against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in areas such as accommodation and healthcare.

Curtin University School of Public Health lecturer Jude Comfort said the legislation’s first amendments removed exemptions for religious providers ” meaning they cannot discriminate if a person is LGBTI.

‘One out of three aged-care services are provided by religious organisations,’ Dr Comfort said.

‘If these aged-care providers are getting government funding, they have a duty and responsibility to provide the same level of care to everybody.’

The second set of amendments redefined ‘sexual orientation’, ‘gender identity’ and ‘intersex’.

‘Intersex is when somebody is born with indeterminate sexual characteristics ” genitalia from men and women: it is a condition they are born with,’ Dr Comfort said.

‘The common term for intersex is ‘hermaphrodite’ which is just not acceptable anymore.’

‘It’s pleasing to see there’s greater acceptance, in general terms across Australia, but while a lot has changed, we’re not fully there yet.’