LGBTI protection in aged care is necessary

LGBTI protection in aged care is necessary

The Australian Human Rights Commission has expressed its disappointment that amendments proposed to the Sex Discrimination Act would not prevent aged care facilities from discriminating against potential clients on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or because they are intersex.

Commission President Gillian Triggs and Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan have urged the parliament to add this protection to the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013 now before parliament.

“Though I welcome the proposed measures for the Sex Discrimination Act that will offer stronger protections to LGBTI people, including older LGBTI people, who experience discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, older LGBTI people at the stage of requiring aged care must have their rights protected,” Commissioner Ryan said.

The deferred exposure draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill proposed removal of the exemption that allows church based aged care providers to exclude LGBTI people.

President Triggs said that “as this change was not contentious, it should be included in the Sex discrimination amendment bill now before the parliament.”

“It is clearly widely supported, is a simple change and actually reflects current polices of most church based aged care providers,” she said.

“Protection against sexual orientation discrimination is an urgent matter,” said Commissioner Ryan. “As the population ages, more and more GLBTI people will be reaching their 70s and 80s and, like the rest of the population, starting to require either home based or residential aged care.”

The Commission will provide further comments on the operation of the proposed provisions when we have had a chance to consider the bill.

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