Canberra doctor, Clara Tuck Meng Soo, has returned her Order of Australia Medal in protest against Margaret Court receiving a second, higher Order of Australia.
In a letter to the Governor-General (attached), Dr Soo said,
“By giving this promotion to Mrs Margaret Court, the Council of the Order of Australia is sending a strong signal to these distressed (LGBTIQ+) youth that discrimination and prejudice against them is tolerated in our Australian community.”
"I have spent a significant amount of my working life working with and advocating for disadvantaged communities in Australia. I may also add that I have spent most of my adult life as a gay man before my gender transition to a woman in 2018."
"I therefore have both professional experience as well as lived experience of the communities that Mrs Margaret Court makes these derogatory and hurtful remarks about."
"Given the message that the Council for the Order of Australia is sending by giving this promotion to Mrs Margaret Court, I would like to return my OAM."
"I do not want to be seen as supporting the values that the Council for the Order of Australia seem to be supporting with this promotion of Mrs Margaret Court."
In 2016 Dr Soo received an Order of Australia medal for her work in Canberra as a medical practitioner with LGBTIQ+ people, people with HIV and people with drug dependencies.
She was one of the first GPs to undergo gender transition in Australia.
Spokesperson for just.equal, and long-time Canberra LGBTIQ+ community advocate, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said,
“We applaud Clara’s stand and urge the Council of the Order of Australia to reconsider its decision.”
"Margaret Court's primary contribution to Australian society since being awarded an AO for her historic tennis achievements has been to marginalise and malign LGBTIQ Australians. Either the Council was not aware of the damage and division she has actively contributed to or they are and they are supporting it.
“Margaret Court's elevation, above her many previous awards, must sit uncomfortably with many people who have exemplified the best of Australian values throughout their lives and sought to advance all Australians.”
“If the Council does not review this decision there will be many distinguished Australians reconsidering their association with an awards system that further elevates the divisive efforts of Margaret Court.”
A copy of Dr Soo’s letter to the Council is attached.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here