The Births Deaths and Marriages Amendment Bill will change the access of women to safe women only spaces.
An overwhelming number of women seeking shelter in women’s refuges are escaping violence from a male perpetrator. Women survivors of violence should have the right to recover from trauma in a safe space, where they will not encounter trans people who are still biologically male.
According to research by Sisters Inside, a service that advocates for women in prison, 90% of women in prison are survivors of trauma. Incarcerated women will be further traumatised by the presence of self identified women who are still biologically male and who will be sharing facilities such as bathrooms within the closed environment of a prison.
Women have a right to expect that female toilets, shower rooms and changing rooms will be places of safety and privacy. Although the amendment states that it should not be used “fraudulently” it is difficult to ascertain what checks and balances can be employed once a biological male enters an area designated as women only claiming to be female. If this amendment is passed it will do little to prevent opportunistic males, who self identify as female, from jeopardising women’s safety by gaining access to women’s spaces and endangering the women who use them.
ANROWS (Ed). (2018). The forgotten victims: prisoner experience of victimisation and engagement with the criminal justice system: Key findings and future directions (Research for policy and practice, 1/2018). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS
Warning after transgender sex offender placed in women’s hostel: TheCourier.co.uk 26/02/2019
Women in Prison: histories of trauma and abuse highlight the need for specialised care: SBS.com.au 02/12/2016