LGBTQ+ History in WA

This list covers some of the important legal and policy reforms impacting on the LGBTQIA+ communities in Western Australia.

  • 1990 – World Health Organisation removes homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases.

  • 1990 - WA decriminalised homosexual sex acts between males aged 21 and over (age of consent for heterosexual people set at 16).

  • 1997 - Giz Watson, the first openly LGBTQIA+ parliamentarian was elected to the WA Legislative Council.

  • 1998 - Brian Grieg, Australia's first openly out LGBTQIA+ Federal Senator was elected for Western Australia.

  • 2002 – WA equalised the age of consent to 16 for heterosexual and homosexual people.

  • 2002 – WA repealed laws preventing “promotion of homosexual behaviour” in public policy and educational institutions, and introduced anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation.

  • 2002 – Same sex couples are able to legally adopt, can access assisted reproductive technology and there is legal recognition of same sex de facto unions in the family court.

  • 2008 - WA abolishes the "gay panic defence".

  • 2015 – WA government called on the federal parliament to have a conscience vote on same-sex marriage legislation.

  • 2017 – Same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia.

  • 2018 – WA allows for historical convictions of homosexual offences to be expunged.

  • 2018 - World Health Organisation reclassifies ‘transgender’ from a mental illness to ‘gender incongruence’ as a sexual health condition.

  • 2019 – WA repealed the requirement that transgender people must be "unmarried" for a change of sex to registered on their birth certificate.

  • 2020 – New prison policies mean transgender prisoners in WA can now be housed in the prison that aligns with their gender identity.

There are a number of important legal reforms and protections required still in Western Australia that we hope will be added to this list in the near future. These include:

  • Ban on conversion practices.

  • Introduction of anti-discrimination laws for gender identity or expression.

  • Expansion of hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

  • Introduction of laws against LGBTQ+ vilification.

  • Non-binary people to be given legal recognition of their gender.

  • Ban on non-consensual surgery and medical procedures on intersex children.