Politics and the gender binary: making your vote count at this election
The Greens involvement in, and unwavering commitment to supporting the rainbow community is undoubted. But where the Greens differ from other political parties is their nuanced understanding of sex and gender, the illusory nature of the gender-binary and the existence of and needs of people with non-binary identities. Greens' Lord Mayoral candidate Lindsay Johnston reveals his story.
Lindsay Johnston, Greens candidate for Lord Mayor in the upcoming City of Sydney elections, understands the need to go further than marriage equality when it comes to changing heteronormative attitudes in broader society. Lindsay, a pansexual man, along with his trans partner Nicole, has been working hard to change misconceptions of diverse identities that exist within rainbow communities.
Both Lindsay and Nicole were disappointed to see the Taxi Club close a few years ago, as it's where the couple met on New Year's Eve in 2002. "The Club gave trans people and others experimenting with their gender identity a safe and secure place to gain much needed self-confidence and be among non-judgemental patrons" Nicole said.
"We're seeing a lot of young people coming out these days and that is fantastic, but many people aged in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older are only now finding their voice and taking steps to live a fulfilling life in their true identity. We must be mindful of ensuring that the strong compassionate feelings we freely express towards trans children should be as freely given to those transitioning later in life, as they were just born in less-understanding times."
Through their inclusive policies and activism, Greens are always looking to make the world a more welcoming and less-complicated place for all transgender and non-binary people. The recent decision by the Victorian Government to allow married transgender people to change their sex on documents without having to divorce is a very welcome step. On marriage equality, Lindsay says "Marriage should be between two consenting adults. It's that simple, and must include intersex people, those with non-binary identities, it must include everybody.
"Spending $160m on a plebiscite that nobody wants and conservative MPs won't take any notice of is absurd, so is scrapping Safe Schools, a program that is simply necessary to combat the bigotry of conservative MPs and the misguided comments of parents who don't realise the harm being done to young people who are questioning their sexual or gender identity."
"Safe Schools is designed to protect the most vulnerable children, those who are already misunderstood by parents and peers. We should be listening to our queer youth. We should be building a society that will ensure they never have to be subject to the discrimination so many who went before them were forced to endure."
The Greens’ Lord Mayoral candidate believes an emphasis on early childhood development for all children is essential to promoting lifelong health and wellbeing.
"Allowing all children to express their true and unique identity is crucial to giving children the self-confidence to achieve bigger and better things from a much earlier age. Believing a child when they tell you who they are is just so important. Encouraging children to enjoy their chosen pasttimes and forms of expression rather than applying restrictive and outdated stereotypes is essential. If we can create a society where all children are accepted for who they are we will prevent mental health issues and allow more children to reach their potential."