On 5 March 2022, activist groups Pride in Protest (PiP) and Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) are holding a Mardi Gras rally in Taylor Square. The UNSW Casuals Network endorses this rally and encourages our members and supporters to attend. We support the rally’s demands, including its key demand to Kill the Bills. This refers to the package of the Religious Discrimination Bill and the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill strongly threatens LGBTI+ rights and freedoms. The Bills will permit discriminatory speech which is grounded in religious belief, and allow schools to punish, expel and fire LGBT students and staff. We must oppose these attacks upon the safety of LGBT students and staff.

Furthermore, the fifth demand of the rally is ‘Transition Leave Now’. This is one of the demands that the UNSW NTEU branch are negotiating for in the 2022 log of claims – that the agreement provides for a total of thirty days paid gender affirmation leave per annum for essential and necessary gender affirmation procedures, including medical, psychological, surgical, legal status and documentation amendment appointments.

This demand is hugely important for transgender people at work. Gender affirmation medical procedures can be extremely costly. Legally affirming one’s gender, through multiple medical appointments and administrative tasks, can be time-consuming. The emotional labor required in transitioning – including coming out to family, friends, and colleagues – can be taxing. Without leave, trans workers often lose or quit their job to undergo transition, or at least take time off and lose pay. Gender affirmation leave ensures that staff can transition in a way which ensures financial security and their physical and mental wellbeing.

In 2020, the UNSW Casuals Network passed a statement against transphobia within the NTEU. The UNSW Casuals Network will continue to fight for our transgender colleagues’ rights. This motion commits that the UNSW Casuals Network will endorse and attend the Mardi Gras Oxford Street Protest, and fight for gender affirmation leave during the upcoming EBA. We call upon the UNSW branch of the NTEU and other NTEU groups to support the protest.