The group I have chosen to discuss is that of homosexual people, a minority group in Australian society. In particular, I will examine the issues relating to sexual conduct discrimination, the legislation that covers this type of discrimination and the ways in which the law impacts on this group of people.
Homophobia is a fear of homosexuals and homosexuality. It contributes greatly to homosexual discrimination and vilification.
Until recently in Australia's history, consenting adults engaging in homosexual activity in private were considered to have been committing a crime. Since then, and especially in the last two decades, many reforms have been made to laws criminalizing homosexual conduct and recognition of the rights of homosexual people and awareness of problems relating to inequalities within these laws is increasing. These can be seen as positive actions, although discrimination against, and vilification of, homosexuals still exist at high levels. As do inequalities in the rights of homosexuals as compared to those of heterosexuals, proving many steps are yet to be taken.
Sexual conduct discrimination refers to the act of treating one person differently to another person in the same situation because of that person's membership of a particular group in society, in this instance that group being homosexuals, although legislation in this area also includes sufferers of HIV/AIDS and transgendered people.
Legislation which covers sexual conduct discrimination includes:.
In New South Wales: The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, which states that it is wrong to:.
- Harass or discriminate against people because of their actual or perceived sexuality.
- Harass, discriminate against or vilify transgender people, and HIV/AIDS sufferers.
The Crimes Act 1900 states it is wrong to harm a person, damage or take their property without their consent and this includes harm, damage, and theft, motivated by prejudice.