Wednesday saw Australia’s first ever national rally by intersex, sex and/or gender diverse (ISGD) people take place in Canberra.

About 180 people gathered on the lawns of Parliament House on a bitterly cold, windy day.

Intersex, transsexual, transgendered, genderqueer and androgynous people spoke of their experiences of discrimination, harassment and violence during the rally, which they said was intended to highlight the need for equal treatment under federal laws.

“We are making history here today. I look forward to the time when those of us who are from rural places can return there and be welcomed instead of harassed,” said Griffen Jones, member of the Still Fierce ISGD activist group.

Tracie O’Keefe, sexologist and spokesperson for the Sex and Gender Education (SAGE) Australia group, argued for Medicare rebates for ISGD people.

“We want full Medicare for ISGD people – we don’t want a penny less. If you have a heart transplant it’s covered by Medicare, same with a hysterectomy. Why can’t you have it for gender or sex health?

“It’s a false economy because if you are not giving people financial help,
they may become depressed and be on welfare for the rest of their lives. Do the maths.”

Labor Senator Louise Pratt came down from the House to speak with representatives of the rally, telling them that a number of federal politicians were looking at the issues they raised.

Activists also delivered a list of demands, requesting that they be forwarded to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

These include legal protection against enforced medical treatment of ISGD children, Federal antidiscrimination laws protecting all ISGD people and full marriage rights for ISGD people.

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