Despite previous failures on equalising the rights for the GBLTI community, the Australian Parliament yesterday passed a number of reforms to the anti-discrimination act. Intersex people got huge recognition, which of course is, in and of itself, fantastic.
Another critical piece of legislation focused on the care of elderly GBLTI citizens. In particular, the legislation removes the right for religious organisations running aged care facilities to discriminate in any way against aged GBLTI citizens, regardless of whether they are single or partnered.
I grew up in a small country town, and in that town there were no secular aged care facilities. All were run by religious organisations, regardless of whether they were Catholic, Anglican or Salvation Army. Had I retired in my town and needed aged care facilities, I would likely have had to move away in order to live freely in a care facility, due to the local religious monopoly. The various religious and conservative groups running around crying poor about their right to discriminate being removed demonstrated a profound and narcissistic lack of care about those in need – the ones they’re meant to be protecting, the aged.
Those providing essential services – particularly those providing essential services when assisted by public funds – should never be allowed to enforce their convictions on those who they are supposed to be helping.
There’s still a long way to go – there are still plenty of areas where discrimination is permitted inappropriately, but as Australians saw yesterday … the world didn’t end when an injustice was rectified. The world didn’t end when religious groups lost the ability to discriminate while providing essential services.
In fact, the world got a little bit better.
Imagine how much better it can get, still.