As the Australian Critical Race & Whiteness Studies association, we are concerned about an event that is being held at the University of Melbourne this evening, Thursday August 8. Two University staff members from Arts and Law, with the support of the Victorian Women’s Guild, are holding an anti-trans event to oppose changes being implemented by the Victorian Government regarding gender identification on birth certificates.
The Government is proposing changes that the University has already adopted as policy. That is simply that people can complete a statutory declaration to change their gender on their birth certificate, without surgery.
This is important for all trans and gender non-conforming people, but we are especially concerned for Indigenous trans staff and students and trans people of colour. We know how many challenges we face as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regarding legal documentation like birth certificates, and we know many of the challenges that trans and queer mob deal with every day.
Anti-trans academics oppose the basic human rights of trans and gender diverse folks and the accepted science of biological sex and gender diversity. Events like this aren’t about freedom of speech or academic freedom, they’re about using a platform to misrepresent established, scientific research. More importantly though, events like this have profound effects on our students and colleagues who must always know that they are celebrated and needed in our community. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brotherboys and sistergirls, trans folk, genderqueer and gender non-conforming Indigenous peoples, events like this send the wrong message. Indigenous people and people of colour have had our gender identities oppressed and denied for so long. Events like this are just another link in that chain.
We would like to encourage you to sign the open letter below – written by LGBTQ+ students – to show your support of trans and non-binary people and amplifying this in any way you can.
Some explainers that might be helpful
Our thanks to Dr Nikki Moodie for her initiative to write this letter.