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In 2013, one of the final acts of the Gillard government was to amend Australia's Sex Discrimination Act to add sexuality, gender identity and intersex variations as protected categories. This was not the first time the Commonwealth had considered anti‐discrimination legislation protecting LGBTI people. The most prominent example was the Democrats‐sponsored Sexuality Discrimination Bill, introduced to Parliament in November 1995, which included provisions to protect transgender people as well as gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The Senate referred the bill to an inquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee, which received 436 submissions. Approximately 100 of these submissions specifically addressed transgender discrimination, some advocating for the rights of transgender Australians, and others focusing their attacks against the bill based on the transgender provisions. This article draws on the concept of transgender citizenship to examine the transgender‐related aspects of the inquiry and the debates in parliament, to understand the ways that the public and politicians framed transgender rights in the mid‐1990s. These debates are telling in how transgender issues and anxieties over gender fluidity have consistently become an easy target in wider debates about equality for sexual and gender minorities.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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