An Imam, a Catholic Archbishop and a Baptist Minister walked onto the steps of Parliament… with members of two political parties, a Family Advocate and an ex-lesbian; no, this is not a joke. They spoke with ONE VOICE to the young and old, rich and poor, country and city, straight, LGBTQ, Protestant, Catholic and Charismatic. They were here to respectfully request Daniel Andrews pause, send to a committee for consideration, the WORST LEGISLATION IN THE HISTORY OF OUR FREE COUNTRY.
Will he listen to the people of Victoria?
“We are here because we love LGBTQ friends and family,” said Jasmine Yuen from ACL,
“Because we’re defending their freedom, as well as everyone else’s, to choose who they speak to and what they talk about. And because Daniel Andrews would criminalise some prayers and private conversations.”
Leah, from Free to Change, spoke warmly from her heart, telling her personal story. In what universe does the private history of a young woman’s sexuality need to be told on the steps of parliament to a crowd of 500 strangers, to defend our freedoms? Daniel Andrews needs to apologise to Leah, to other ex-LGBTQ and to current LGBTQ people, for interfering.
“I stand here in support of LGBT people and stand for their rights. I have the microphone, and I am going to share with you loud and clear how my life has changed for the better by seeking the very help and support that the government is trying to criminalise.”
The legislation states that a person cannot change their gender identity, yet thousands have, and Leah was there to bravely tell just such a story. So the whole premise for the legislation is a lie.
Leah had confided in two friends about her unwanted same-sex attraction. Those friends suggested she speak to a psychologist. Good advice? Yes. Illegal advice as of next week? Probably. Leah’s two friends would be breaking the law and would face criminal charges.
I don’t know the twists and turns of Leah’s journey, but today we saw a healthy young woman with a huge smile excited about her future, happily married and pregnant with her beautiful second child. Leah and thousands of others are forever grateful for the very counselling that Daniel Andrews wants to criminalise.
Could the Upper House PAUSE? Could they send the legislation to a committee for consideration?
We heard from Vickie Janson, that if the bill honestly sort to offer a remedy for harms associated with formal therapy, there would be no protest march today. We would all be in agreement. But this bill is about prohibiting all discussion on gender that doesn’t fit with state-sanctioned social theory on sexuality. Some conversations will become illegal; matters of criminal investigation. Conversations!
It’s ironic that in Victoria, ‘discussions’ are harmful — “while teenagers, fuelled with hormone blockers can legally pursue radical surgery, harming their future fertility and sexual capability”.
It is ironic that “children are being required to make adult decisions; that young people are receiving state approval to mutilate their healthy young bodies.”
It is ironic because it is so harmful, and the deception of this bill is that it will ‘reduce harm’.
Could they PAUSE? Could they send the legislation to a committee for consideration?
We heard a touching story from a prominent Melbourne Chinese Christian Leader. He sat with the son of a friend who’d come for a chat and hopefully a free cup of coffee. The young man was unusual looking, a large build and wearing thick red lipstick and a dress. Eyes followed him as he made his way, for privacy, to the corner seat in the coffee shop. They had an honest chat, and the young man explained about his very intact faith in God. They ended their private exchange with the young man praying for his parents back in Hong Kong and the older Chinese Pastor praying for him, his future and his parents.
Under the proposed legislation, this conversation could be misconstrued and investigated. The Pastor could be required to undergo re-education, pay a large fine and even to endure a jail term.
Shouldn’t they PAUSE? Why not send the legislation to a committee for consideration?
David Limbrick MP pragmatically pointed out that while it is legal to change your body to align with your mind, it will be illegal to change your mind to align with your body. Are our minds not malleable? Certainly more so than our bodies. It is a lie that our bodies can actually be changed by surgery into the opposite sex and it involves lifelong drug dependency, medical complications, infertility, bone density problems, brain development issues and many irreversible negative outcomes, but many people choose this option. We say that’s fine. Let us all live our own lives as we like. But Daniel Andrews says this unalterable, unsparing, uneasy process may not be discussed thoroughly and privately.
We can change the gender on our birth certificates every year, but the government will be there to ensure we don’t hear a negative word about it.
“Denying us the choice of receiving religious counselling implies we are too stupid to make our own decisions.” Mr Limbrick MP said that no-one who supports this legislation has been able to explain why consenting adults should not be allowed to talk to people they want about the things they want to talk about.
So why don’t they just pause and send the legislation to a committee for consideration?
Many of the multicultural and multi-faith people with us today have come here because Australia is a free country. They have fled their countries where freedoms were not a given. They have come to the protest because they are horrified at what they see happening.
Bernie Finn MP said,
“If this legislation passes, I won’t be able to speak to my doctor, my imam, priest, rabbi, pastor, counsellor; I should be able to hear his or her advice without fear of them being locked up for a decade. We don’t want to be told who we can pray for, who we can pray with, what we pray about, or who we pray to. How dare Mr Andrews think that he can dictate to us how we live our most basic rights.”
It was a peaceful march and a respectful protest not even mildly disturbed, at one moment, by a lone man, during the speeches, angrily stomping down the footpath and yelling, “Don’t tell people what to do!” “Exactly,” said Bernie Finn, “Tell that to Daniel Andrews.”
So on the one hand, it was a great day for Victoria because a diverse group united with one voice. We protested intelligently, reasonably, eloquently; but, honestly, is it all too little too late? Conservative Victorians need to get their act together, open our eyes and unite, as did just a handful today. If this legislation passes on Tuesday, shame on us. It’s our government. We voted it in and we hold it accountable.
To Mr Andrews, to every Upper House MP, we the 500 represent so many more. Would you PAUSE? Please send the legislation to a committee for consideration?