International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT)
30 years ago – on May 17, 1990 – the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) celebrates LGBTIQ people globally, and raise awareness for the work still needed. May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.
It’s also important to acknowledge the historic milestone that took place last year – when WHO announced that being transgender would not longer be classified as a mental disorder. Despite this, laws around Australia continue to require surgery and medical treatment in order for trans people to recognised legally as the gender they live as.
In Western Australia, LGBT laws and legal protections have gone a long way since that day:
- In 1990, WA decriminalised consensual homosexual sexual activity in 1990 with the Law Reform (Decriminalisation of Sodomy) Act. Age of consent for homosexual sexual activity remained at 21 despite heterosexual activity age of consent going down to 16 years of age.
- In 2002 WA then changed the law to equalise age of consent with the Acts Ammendment (Lesbian and Gay Law Reform) Act 2002.
- In that same amendment in 2002, the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 was amended to include sexual orientation, protecting people of diverse sexuality against discrimination.
- Since 2002, same-sex couples were permitted to adopt and access assisted reproductive technology.
- Since 2012 transgender people are not required to undergo sterilisation prior to any sort of gender transition.
- Same sex marriage became legal in WA, like the rest of Australia, at the end of 2017.
- Since 2019 it is not a requirement that a person must be unmarried for a change of sex to be on one’s birth certificate.
Yet WA still has a long way to go. To this day we still do not have laws that:
- Prohibit conversion therapy on minors
- Prohibit vilification of individuals or groups based on their sexual or gender identity
- Protect intersex children who have medical interventions carried out on them without their consent. Unfortunately the journey to ‘de-pathologise’ the experiences of intersex people continues today.
- Allow for altruistic surrogacy for same-sex couples.
I hope you all celebrate IDAHOBIT in your own way and continue to advocate for these communities.
Joe Staniszewski (Manager of M Clinic)
Also a big thanks to Tyler Morgan and Maddison Whittle for helping me with this post. Also thank you to IDAHOBIT Australia and Equality Australia for the information.