Tuesday, 10 September 2019

International comparison of LGBT laws

The International Academy of Family Lawyers has published an international comparison of LGBT laws.

In the words of the International Academy of Family Lawyers LGBT Committee:

            “Laws affecting LGBT people may vary greatly by country or jurisdiction.  There are now 28 jurisdictions that accept same sex marriage, however gay sex remains illegal in many jurisdictions with the death penalty still applying in 14.  The LGBT Committee of the IAFL commissioned this survey to capitalize on the knowledge and expertise of some members for the benefit of the IAFL as a whole and the LGBT community.  This document details the law relating to LGBT people in 46 jurisdictions.  It is intended to be a living document and will be updated as laws change and as the Committee receive submissions from other jurisdictions.”

I am humbled and honoured to have been a member of this Committee under the chair of UK lawyer David Allison and helped put together this survey. 

I was initially responsible for surveying Fellows in Africa, Asia and Oceania.  I was then given the job of collating and editing the response from Australian Fellows.

It is very much a group effort and a great start to an ongoing resource.

When this project was dreamed of, I thought that we were very much the little engine that thought it could.  Like the little engine, we have conquered the hill!

Monday, 9 September 2019

Call for information about realities for transgender people in Australia

In two weeks time, when friends and colleagues of mine will be marching in Brisbane's Pride rally, I won't be there. Instead, I will be flying to Seoul. This is for the International Bar Association conference. I am honoured to have been asked to be part of a panel to discuss transgender issues around the world.

While I have prepared my responses to the set questions, I am keen to hear from transgender Australians- to hear what they might say about the reality of such things as:

  • getting served in the shops
  • riding public transport
  • walking down the street
  • obtaining and holding down employment
  • going out
  • domestic violence
  • acceptance by friends and family
  • treatment in the family law courts
  • access to IVF and assisted reproductive treatment
  • going to prison
My hope is that transgender people are treated like everyone else. I know- as a gay, married man, that walking down the street and holding my husband's hand has at times subjected me and him to homophobic abuse and  death stares, as I wrote about 2 years ago. I am also aware from reading research, talking to researchers, and  talking to transgender friends that transgender people are a vulnerable group.

Research undertaken last year, for example, as to 25 transmen who wanted to become pregnant, that all decided not to proceed through IVF clinics- despite anti-discrimination laws- and to access sperm online or through friends. None of them had been made to feel welcome. 

If there were any doubt about differences, how Mayang Prasetyo was treated makes that plain. She was a transgender woman living in Brisbane, who was murdered and then dismembered by her partner. Her death was an illustration of the higher rates of domestic violence facing transgender people. When the Courier-Mail reported her death, it focussed in a shameful way about her occupation and gender, rather than the horror that she had been subjected to. After a torrent of criticism, it later apologised.

I ask anyone who wants to let me know to please either message me on Facebook or to email me: stephen@pageprovan.com.au .