Marriage equality open letter

Jenny & Mix Margaret

My letter to my local Federal Member of Parliament, Mr Ken Wyatt AM, MP, a member of the Liberal Party.

For readers outside of Australia: despite its name the ‘Big L’ Liberal Party is actually the right wing or conservative party, currently ruling Australia under Prime Minister Turnbull.

The letter was sent on 10 July 2017 via this website:
http://www.equalitycampaign.org.au/messagemp?
which said “Write your message … and it will be sent to your local MP.” You can do the same!

Dear Ken Wyatt MP

I grew up in Parkerville/Hovea in the 60s and 70s and now live in Sawyers Valley. I’m a well-known and highly respected local classical musician and teacher.

Please ensure any new marriage law covers any two consenting adults, not just opposite sex couples and same sex couples. This way non-binary and intersex people will be able to marry.

At the moment some of us can’t marry, while others can but they will be misgendered. When I marry my fiancé I want to do it right, I don’t want to have completely wrong words in it.

Ken, as a straight non-transgender man, can you imagine getting married as a ‘wife?’ Or getting married to a ‘husband?’ How wrong is that? This is the sort of misgendering which happens under the current law.

Marriage predates Christianity by a long way. For non-believers it is a contract and a powerful emotional commitment, but not a religious rite. Churches should not have power of veto over the Marriage Act; it doesn’t belong to them.

Of course, many same-sex couples and couples where one or both partners are non-binary or intersex are indeed religious. My fiancé is a Christian, while I am an atheist. There is no valid reason why we should be denied equality in the social contract of marriage.

We already know the vast majority of Australians are in favour of marriage equality and would vote in favour of it if a plebiscite were held. Despite this, some MPs have already said a ‘Yes’ vote in a plebiscite won’t make them vote for it in parliament, thus making a mockery of the case for a plebiscite.

Please do not appease the tiny vocal minority who want to delay justice by using a non-binding and expensive plebiscite. They are pushing a religious agenda and playing politics with people’s lives. A plebiscite would cause taxpayer-funded hate and misinformation to invade the Australian media, resulting in great harm to a large number of Australian families.

Respectfully

Mx Margaret D. Jones, androgyne (enby)
Sawyers Valley, Western Australia
Email via www.mixmargaret.com
MusB(UWA), DipEd, LTCL, ATCL, AMusTCL, AMusA.
MIMT, AMC, WWCC

Non-binary in Census 2016

The 2016 Australian Census was an obvious and very public debacle in several respects, but there was a positive side: it allowed non-binary and intersex people to be counted in a distinct way from male and female people.

2016 Australian census Q. 2

Q. 2: Non-binary transgender (Androgyne)

For the first time I was able to click a radio button for ‘Other’ in question two, instead of ‘Male’ or ‘Female.’ In the ‘please specify’ box I wrote: “Non-binary transgender (Androgyne).”

2016 Australian cenus feedback

Census feedback: Glad I didn’t have to lie.

This ‘Other’ option was only available in the online version if you requested a special login code for non-binary people.

2016 Australian census Q. 18

Q. 18: No religion

Another innovation was to put ‘No religion’ at the top of the options for religion in question 18. Apparently, the powers that be thought this would elicit a more accurate figure, and they may be right.

The improvement in the recording of non-binary status in the census is no doubt due to the advocacy and legal achievements of several gender pioneers in Australia over a long period of time, notably Alex MacFarlane, Norrie, and Tony Briffa. More recently Jamie Shupe has been succeeding in legal action in the USA.

Alex MacFarlane
In 2001 Alex, born many decades earlier in Victoria (Australia), was given a new birth certificate showing “Sex: Indeterminate also known as Intersex.

From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

MacFarlane is believed to be the first person in Australia to obtain a birth certificate recording sex as indeterminate, and the first Australian passport with an ‘X’ sex marker in 2003.

Norrie
Also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

[Norrie] became the first transsexual person in Australia to pursue a legal status of neither a man nor a woman, in 2010. That status was subjected to an appeal by the State of New South Wales. In April 2014 the Australian High Court ruled “that New South Wales laws do permit the registration of a category of sex other than male or female.” See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norrie_May-Welby

Tony Briffa
Also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

Tony Briffa JP previously acknowledged as the world’s first openly intersex public official and mayor, states on Briffa’s website that “my birth certificate is silent as to my sex.” See also www.briffa.org

Jamie Shupe (USA)
www.themarysue.com/oregon-court-nonbinary/ (June 2016):

…an Oregon circuit court rules that resident Jamie Shupe could legally change their gender to nonbinary—the first U.S. court to do so.” See also transgender.wiki/jamie-shupe/

Like me Shupe uses Mx as a title, instead of Miss or Mr etc. Thus ‘Mx Jamie Shupe,’ and ‘Mx Shupe.’ I’ve been using Mx (pronounced ‘mix’), a non-binary transgender title, since 2002. See mixmargaret.com/about-mx-with-miss-mrs-mr-ms-and-the-singular-they.html

2016 Australian census Q. 36

Q. 36: Occupation: music teacher

If anyone in Australia has not yet done the census be aware it is compulsory and you can be fined. The deadline is 23 September, 2016. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) sent me this:

If you are using the online form and the responses of male and female do not apply to you, please take the following steps:
1. Call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531.
2. Ask for a Census Login for the special online form. You can receive your Login by SMS or email.
3. Use your new Census Login to complete your Census form at census.abs.gov.au

You could also ask the ABS if there is a special hardcopy form.