We recognise the need to protect marginalised religious communities from discrimination and hate crimes, and we utterly reject the idea that this can be done by legalising other forms of discrimination.
We oppose all religious exemptions from anti-discrimination law. No one should be allowed to discriminate against others on the basis of gender, sexuality, race, or disability and religious beliefs should never be an excuse to harm others. Queer and trans teachers at religious schools should never have to fear for their jobs just for being open about their identity. Queer and trans students deserve schools where they can safely be themselves and see role models from their own communities. Services that receive government funding should never be allowed to exclude queer and trans people or pressure anyone into conforming to the standards of their religion.
We also recognise that religious communities are not monoliths. Just as conservative religious groups have targeted and harassed queer and trans people, progressive religious groups have stood with queer and trans communities and fought for equity and justice. Just as their are queerphobic, transphobic bigots in religious communities, there are queer and trans people in religious communities. Using disingenuous claims of “protecting religious freedom” to create legal loopholes for anti-queer discrimination hurts all queer people and ignores the many religious queer people and religious allies who know that religion does not require bigotry.
We live in a Christian-normative society where Christianity is prioritised and Christians are privileged. We have seen white supremacists target Jews and Muslims, and we recognise the need to protect marginalised religious people. Any conversation about religious freedom should focus on oppressed religious people who are targeted for merely existing, on non-religious people, and on queer and trans people. If there is to be a Religious Discrimination Act it must centre these groups, and must not become an excuse for further oppression.
Bisexual Alliance Victoria
Democracy in Colour
This statement is also posted on Bisexual Alliance’s website.