Whitlam MP Stephen Jones has delivered a deeply personal reply to the federal government's proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
The MP spoke in parliament yesterday about his nephew, who at 15 took his own life.
Mr Jones said that his nephew, who was gay and questioned his gender, was loved and supported by his friends and family but struggled with his mental health.
"Clearly the love and acceptance of his family and friends was not enough," Mr Jones said.
Mr Jones also spoke about his own son's gender diversity and the fear that Mr Jones has of his son being subject to discrimination or harassment.
"I worry myself sick every time he leaves the house. I think to myself, 'You look beautiful, but do you have to go out looking like that?' Because I know that the love and protection that he has with his mother and his friends and his family is very different to the reception that he may receive in the outside world.
"Could this be the day where we receive the call?"
Mr Jones's speech was part of debate over a new law which aims to prevent a person from being discriminated against on the basis of their religion, but which - in a deal brokered by the government - would allow schools to exclude transgender staff and students.
"What message do we want this parliament to send to these kids," said Mr Jones. "Are they as loved and as cherished and respected as every other kid? Surely we aren't saying to them, it's ok if you're gay, just so long as we don't see it. Surely we can do better than that."
Mr Jones said that while he drew on personal experience, his role in parliament was to act on behalf of all children and called on fellow parliamentarians to do the same.
"Let's not do something in the name of freedom of religion that does damage or harm to those of us who we love," said Mr Jones.
Help is always available: call Lifeline on 13 11 14; Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.