Sect members apologise to transgender, intersex people

The Australian/August 19, 2009

Two members of the Exclusive Brethren religious sect has publicly apologised for offending sexual minorities in Tasmania.

The apology, published today in Tasmania's three daily newspapers, followed a conciliation suggested by the state's anti-discrimination tribunal following a complaint by Martine Delaney.

The Exclusive Brethren members were involved in the publication of a 2006 state election advertisement attacking transgender and intersex people.

Ms Delaney said the ads stated that the Greens' support for transgender and intersex people would "ruin families and society" and she complained.

"It's hard enough being a transgender or intersex person in this society without your basic human rights being hatefully attacked,"Ms Delaney said.

"My wish has always been to ensure election debates are conducted without vulnerable minorities being unfairly targeted."

Ms Delaney said she was pleased with the apology and accepted it.

The apology was issued by Exclusive Brethren members, Roger Unwin and Graham Lewis, and a shell company set up to pay for the ads, TradTas.

"The advertisements highlighted some policies of the Greens, including those with respect to transgender and intersex issues, and urged voters to consider these policies before casting their votes," the apology says.

"Although it was never our intention, we acknowledge some people may have been offended or hurt by the language used in the advertisements. "We apologise sincerely to those people."

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