Greens candidate for Newtown, Jenny Leong, was joined by Jamie Parker MP (Member for Balmain), Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC (Greens NSW spokesperson for Sexuality and Gender Identity) and other Greens candidates to launch the Greens sexuality and gender policy at Fair Day. The Greens are committed to removing exemptions in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act in NSW that allow religious schools, hospitals and homeless shelters to turn away lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender or intersex individuals because of their sexuality or gender identity. The Greens candidate for Newtown, Jenny Leong, said the Greens were the only party in parliament with a policy that is 100% committed to changing all laws in NSW that leave some people more equal than others. “Today, on behalf of Jamie Parker, the member for Balmain and myself, I can commit that if elected we will support any bill introduced to the lower house that ends these exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act. This is the Greens policy – we can commit to this, every vote, every MP, every time,” said Jenny Leong. “It’s time for the Liberal and Labor parties to stop talking and start acting on the issue of equality, by supporting the removal of exemptions that entrench inequality in our laws and allow inequality in our schools. “We want them to take the politics out of this and make a commitment to the community to remove all discriminatory laws that remain in NSW.’’ “When it comes to marriage equality, we aren’t outsourcing our responsibility to the Federal Government. The Greens - at all levels of government - are committed to full equality, every MP, every vote, every time,’’ Jenny Leong said. Speaking at Fair Day at Victoria Park in Chippendale, Jenny Leong said the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival was a true celebration of diversity and equality, and the Greens have always stood strong with the community. “The Greens are the only party standing up for genuine equality laws, be that marriage equality, or equality in other areas of daily life, with no ifs or buts,’’ she said. The Greens will keep pushing for full marriage equality at both the state and federal level and work hard to implement policies, programs and legislative changes that will end discrimination, achieve full equality for LGBTI people and support their health and social needs.’’ Jenny Leong said the Greens would do all they could to end the cruel “unmarried requirement’’ of the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act that forces married transgender people to d“ivorce their partner in order to register a change of sex. She said the Greens were also committed to ensuring members of the NSW police force received adequate training on LGBTI issues in consultation with the community as well as supporting independent oversight of police in NSW. “And we want to see reforms to the education system which will make sure all students are properly informed on issues relating to sexuality and gender identity,’’ Jenny Leong said. Evidence suggests the rate of suicide attempts for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is 3.5 to 14 times higher than for the general community. “The experience of discrimination, violence, abuse and social isolation all contribute to the elevated risk of suicide in the LGBTI community. We will do everything in our power to bring about change to these terrible statistics, and end this breach of basic human rights.’’ Greens MP and spokesperson for Sexuality and Gender Identity Dr Mehreen Faruqi said that LGBTI reforms were long overdue. "The rights of LGBTI people are something the Greens will never stop fighting for or compromise on. We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the LGBTI community for decades and we will continue to do so. "It was a terrible shame to see the NSW same-sex marriage bill defeated in the Upper House by just one vote in 2013. The Greens will always support marriage equality - every vote, every MP, every time,’’ Mehreen Faruqi said. "It has been heartening to see some real progress with last year's bill to expunge unfair and unjust offences but there is so much more to do. "We began debate on the Greens bill to end forced trans divorce last year. We intend to reintroduce the bill in the new parliament and make it law. "We need to stamp out discrimination against LGBTI people in all our laws and policies, and push for international and interstate change too."