Women's rights and safety organisations condemn targeting of trans women by political candidates

Women’s rights and safety organisations condemn targeting of trans women by political candidates

More than fifty women’s safety and gender equity organisations have joined forces to speak out against the recent targeting of trans women in the federal election campaign.

In a joint statement, key organisations have denounced the division caused by political candidates, like Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves, who have attacked the rights of trans women to participate in sports.

“In an attempt to gain prominence and attention, some political candidates are trying to foster division by attacking the rights of trans women to participate in sports as their authentic selves,” the joint statement reads.

“Across the country, both community and professional sports have already welcomed trans women and girls into their teams with appropriate guidelines to ensure a fair go for everyone. 

“Stoking hostility, uncertainty and misunderstanding harms trans women and children, preventing their full contribution and participation in our communities. It moves us away from a community that values inclusion, dignity and respect; a community where everyone can feel and be safe.

“As organisations advocating for gender equity and women’s safety, we denounce this attempt at division. We are united in our support of inclusion, dignity and respect for all women.”

Executive Director of Fair Agenda, Renee Carr said the fact that leading women’s rights and safety organisations have united to denounce these attempts at division, is a “pretty resounding condemnation of Scott Morrison’s priorities for women” this federal election.

“If politicians and candidates really care about women’s rights, they should be focused on action for our safety – including resourcing expert-led violence prevention education in schools, reforming the harmful family law system, and properly funding the services needed to intervene with men using violence, or that women rely on for their safety and recovery,” Carr said.

Bonney Corbin, from the Australian Women’s Health Network said women’s health, safety and empowerment is about all women, including trans women.

“Women across Australia suffer from long-term health impacts, including disability, following gender-based violence. In order to prevent gender-based violence, we must address the drivers of violence, and reinforcing factors such as gender stereotypes, racism, ableism and misogyny,” Corbin said.

Meanwhile Danielle Warby, co-founder of Siren: A women in sport collective, said trans women in sport was not an issue that was raised by those concerned about boosting equality for women’s sport.

“I could reel off dozens of issues that are actually impacting participation and equality for women in sport – including the controversial allocation of sports grants under the Morrison Government, and the lack of duty of care shown to women and girls in some elite sport programs. What isn’t being raised with me? A desire to prevent our trans friends and teammates from being part of our teams,” Warby said.

Emma Iwinska, from Ending Violence Against Women Queendsland, said “we are for all women”.

“Women – whether we’re trans or not – are being hurt by violence every day in this country. Trying to target trans women in sport because an election is on the horizon not only hurts our communities, it is a willful misdirection from the issues that so many women are facing right now,” Iwinska said.

“We need decisive action, not divisive rhetoric.”

Signatories to the joint statement include Full Stop Australia, End Rape on Campus Australia, Domestic Violence NSW, Ending Violence Against Women Queensland, Fair Agenda, Women’s Electoral Lobby, YWCA Australia, Equality Australia, Transcend Australia, Plan International Australia, Siren: A women in sport collective, Human Rights Law Centre, National Council of Jewish Women Australia, Women with Disabilities Australia, Older Women’s Network NSW, Harmony Alliance and Transgender Victoria, plus many more. You can see the full list here.

You can read the full joint statement and add your own support here.

The positions of candidates on the safety agenda put forward by experts this election is available from Fair Agenda at www.voteforsafety.com.au 

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