IHRA has made a formal submission on a One Nation education bill to a committee of the NSW Parliament chaired by the One Nation MP who authored the bill. The submission followed a letter by Morgan Carpenter to the NSW Premier and education minister on 19 August 2020.
Our submission was coauthored by Morgan Carpenter and Dr Agli Zavros-Orr.
Specific areas of concern with the bill:
The Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 bill and the second reading speech by Mr Latham present three radically different ideas of who intersex people are:
- the bill refers to ‘people who are, by their chromosomes, male or female but are born with disorders of sexual differentiation’, within a statement on ‘gender fluidity’ and a definition of biological sex (Latham 2020a). This reference makes the claim that intersex people are female or male but have certain disorders.
- the second reading speech by Mark Latham contrarily refers at 16:50:42 on 5 August to ‘the fixed biological reality of gender in that, other than a small number of cases, people are born male or female’ (Latham 2020b). This reference makes the claim that intersex people are not female or male and perhaps have no ‘fixed biological reality of gender’, suggestive of gender fluidity.
- the second reading speech also refers to a ‘MultiVerse’ module on ‘Intersex Identities’ (Latham 2020b). This reference is suggestive that intersex is an identity category. This module has been misinterpreted. It was an interview delivered by Dr Agli Zavros-Orr, the chair of IHRA and a Cypriot-Australian talking about her personal experience of an intersex variation and with a PhD in early education. The module aims to promote awareness of the impacts of cultural and medical experiences and an understanding of diversity in how people with intersex variations come to understand themselves.
The existence of these contradictory ideas of who intersex people are supposed to be reflects a range of misconceptions and ideas prevalent in society more generally. These are ideas that we sadly lack the resources to effectively counter.
In the use of these contradictions and misrepresentations by the same proponent of a single bill, we see no attempt to understand who intersex people are, or address our lived experiences and the human rights violations we face. In calling for a prohibition on discussion and recognition in education of the diversity of lived human experience, the proposed bill would make it harder to educate people of our existence and realities, including our diversity as a population.
We do not support this bill, and we recommend that it does not proceed.