Greens Senator Janet Rice has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to apologise to trans and gender diverse Australians on Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR).

Rice highlighted the importance of the day – which falls annually on November 20 and honours the trans and gender diverse lives lost to transphobic violence – and paid her respects to those who are no longer with us.

She highlighted the “hurt and damage” Morrison’s past actions have caused trans and gender diverse people in Australia.

“It is devastating that in Australia and around the world trans and gender diverse people continue to face daily discrimination, violence, and vilification,” she said.

“Here in Australia we have a Prime Minister who labelled a program to help teachers support trans and gender diverse kids as ‘gender whispering’, saying we should ‘let kids be kids’.

“These kinds of statements from our Prime Minister contribute to trans and gender diverse people suffering worse mental health outcomes than their cisgender peers and the high rate of self-harm and suicide of trans and gender diverse people.

“I call on Scott Morrison to use today to reflect on the hurt and damage his past actions have caused and to apologise to trans and gender diverse Australians.”

She added that on this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance, she would remember the trans and gender diverse lives lost “because our society refused to celebrate them”.

“Is this any wonder when transphobic, hateful bigots like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have been elected into high office around the world,” she said.

To mark Trans Awareness Week last week, advocate Katherine Wolfgramme spoke with several members of the community about what Trans Day of Remembrance meant to them.

Market associate Rhett Pearson said the day highlights the stories society need to remember.

“It’s in remembering the stories of those that we have lost to the hands of this struggle that we find our strength – our independent and collective strength,” he said.

The Gender Centre will hold the official TDoR event this year at Harmony Park between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Tuesday 20 November.

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