Staff at SARAA were recently made aware of a motion being put to parliament by the Hon Member of the Legislative Council, Sarah Game containing inaccurate information about gender diversity.
We have deep concerns about the kind of damage that this motion could do to members of our community and therefore wrote to other Members of the Legislative Council asking them not to support the motion. Below is a copy of the letter we sent.
“The South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA) has been made aware of the following motions being put forward by the Hon Sarah Game MLC to be tabled in the Legislative Council on the date of 31 May 2023. As the peak body on matters relating to the South Australian LGBTIQA+ community, we are providing you with our response to this in the hopes that you will vote against the motion.
I. ‘Accepts that there are biologically two sexes and, in turn, a reflection of two genders;
This is inaccurate biologically and medically. Variations in sex are acknowledged globally as naturally occuring in roughly 1.7% of the Australian population. Please see the extensive work being done to raise awareness and end harmful surgeries by Intersex Human Rights Australia.
I. Acknowledges that two genders have been accepted common knowledge for most of history;
In fact “On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders.” (See a map here: https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/content/two-spirits_map-html/). It’s important we understand that gender refers to the social expectations and norms, and that this changes constantly dependent on time, location, economics and trends. What is considered “normal” for a man, for example, is different throughout place and time globally, and always changes.
I. Recognises that the idea of binary genders not being accepted language is denigrating to both males and females and harmful to our traditions; and
Using gender neutral language does not in fact denigrate nor deny the validity of the identification of cis gendered people. We use collective nouns daily that are not gendered. Some examples are people, citizens, residents, employees, students, children, adults. None of these stop individuals using gendered pronouns or titles for themselves.
I. Acknowledges the importance of gendered language in society, specifically for explicit language and communication’
Gender neutral language is inclusive of all genders and recognises that all humans are innately worthy regardless of how they identify. Having gender neutral options doesn’t stop others from using the gendered options.
We also recognise that not everyone has the same opportunities for education in reference to gender and sexuality diversity, therefore I’m happy to point you in the direction of our website which contains a multitude of short videos produced by people with lived experience – https://www.saraa.org.au/awareness/
Last week our organisation hosted an event at which we launched a new “Rainbow Realities” video for 2023 featuring members of our community here in South Australia and you can watch it here.
Thank you for your time and please get in touch should you have any questions.”