Women-born-female, raised as girls seek equal rights before the law; rights guaranteed by various international bodies including the United Nations. Lesbians are the canary in the mine of Australian society i.e. when human rights start to dissappear, theirs are some of the first to go.
Changing laws, in itself, does not change values, attitudes and beliefs. However, legislation may, eventually, affect the outward expression of those values, attitudes and beliefs.
Erinyes supports the protection of transgender and other gender non-conforming people from violence and humiliation.
Protection on the basis of sexual orientation should be contained in federal anti-discrimination laws prohibiting discrimination. However the inclusion of the category of ‘gender identity’ is undesirable unless it is able to provide equal protection for all identities and does not privilege one identity over another, thus inadvertently providing a context where the rights of one group violate the rights of another. At present, the inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in the proposed anti-discrimination legislation excludes, or works against, women who are born with female bodies and raised female.
Lesbians struggle against erasure. That lesbians have an identity that is different to that of gay men and certainly different to that of male-to-female transgendered peoples, is often not recognised by various institutions and by various legislations. It has been necessary to defend our distinct lesbian identity even within the Sydney and Melbourne AHRC consultation processes in October and November 2010.
The discrimination faced by lesbians is greater than the discrimination faced by heterosexual women because lesbians are discriminated against both as women and as lesbians. What distinguishes the human rights violations of Lesbians is based firstly on misogyny and then on homophobia. The combination of misogyny and homophobia results in an intensification of discrimination, harassment and vilification that is greater than that against heterosexual women, gay men and transgendered people. Lesbians’-born-female, raised as girls, rights are not protected under the umbrella term of GLBTI and will be seriously disadvantaged by the inclusion of gender identity.
It is the experience of lesbians that the idea of ‘gender’ hides misogyny and lesbophobia and it is because of this that the authors of this submission, on behalf of Erinyes, focus specifically on ‘gender identity’. Erinyes Submission to SOGI Australian Human Rights Commission 2010
Submission July 2011 to review of Victorian Charter of Human Rights VicCharterReview2011ErinyesSubmission