Scott Morrison has been slammed for peddling “harmful” and “ignorant” rhetoric around trans and gender diverse young people after the new PM called instructors in trans inclusion in schools “gender whisperers”.

Morrison made the comment on Twitter earlier today in reference to a Daily Telegraph article which discussed the provision of training for teachers to recognise when students in their classes might be transgender.

Greens Senator Janet Rice came out swinging, calling Morrison “anti LGBTIQ”.

“Scott Morrison’s barely settled into the job, yet he’s made every effort to demonise young LGBTIQ people. He has done so much damage in such a short time,” Rice said in a statement.

“On Monday he refused to condemn dangerous LGBTIQ conversion ‘therapy’ and the ideology that drives it, saying it wasn’t an issue for him.

“This morning he posted on social media that a program to help teachers identify trans and gender diverse kids is gender whispering, saying ‘let kids be kids’.

“The article quoted an unqualified ‘gender expert’ with links to the Australian Christian Lobby who has been a candidate for Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party.

“Well I’ve got news for the Prime Minister – some kids are trans. Some kids are gay, lesbian, bisexual. Some kids are questioning their gender or sexuality.

“And they need to be supported by their families, communities, schools and their representatives in parliament.

“He said to Australians last week that the Liberal party is ‘on your side’. He clearly forgot to mention that only applies if you’re heterosexual and cisgender.

“It’s pretty clear the Prime Minister doesn’t give a rats about young LGBTIQ people.

“LGBTIQ young people experience worse mental health outcomes than heterosexual young people, and it’s because of behaviour like this from our so-called leaders. It’s totally unacceptable and harmful,” Rice said.

Advocate and performer Jordan Raskopoulous responded to Morrison’s tweet, saying, “We don’t need to educate adults to identify struggles that young people might be encountering. Let kids suffer without help or guidance.”

The counsellor and gender expert interviewed for the Daily Telegraph‘s story, Dr Elizabeth Riley, said Morrison had missed the point.

“Let kids be kids? That’s exactly what we are doing…and a lot of that is letting children be themselves,” she told SBS.

The Daily Telegraph‘s story prominently featured comments from anti-trans campaigner John Whitehall, who has compared the medical consensus to treat gender dysphoria humanely to practices like lobotomies and eugenics.

The newspaper’s use of Whitehall as a so-called ‘expert’ – despite having no peer-reviewed research published on the subject – drew fire just two months after The Sunday Telegraph was similarly criticised for using a transphobic slur in a headline.

Transcend founder Rebekah Robertson tweeted, “You know the polls are bad when they start kicking trans kids around again.”

“Another example of how wickedly toxic the political environment is when attacking kids seems your surest bet to win a few votes. Who’s abusing who?” Robertson said.

“Jesus Christ @ScottMorrisonMP,” tweeted footballer Hannah Mouncey. “You do realise kids who are happy and comfortable in themselves is a much better alternative than kids who are miserable and will likely attempt suicide at some point?”

Change.org Executive Director and prominent LGBTI rights campaigner Sally Rugg pointed out the extremely poor mental health outcomes for trans youth, which are far and above their cisgender counterparts even in the queer community.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health Board of Directors released a statement reaffirming the rigorous research and processes which have established medical approaches to treating gender dysphoria.

“WPATH urges restraint from the use of any term – whether or not formally recognized as a medical entity – to instil fear about the possibility that an adolescent may or may not be transgender.”

WPATH said that “comprehensive research and education on the facts about transgender peoples’ lives and healthcare needs is necessary for both youth and guardians – and inexperienced providers” to address health disparities for trans folks.

Morrison came under fire yesterday for refusing to acknowledge concerns over conversion therapy, despite LGBTI Australians overwhelmingly suggesting that outlawing the practices is a top political priority.

Perhaps by no accident, the Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director Martyn Iles yesterday posted a blog entry on the ultra-conservative lobby group’s website titled “Sin. Evil.” which called trans people part of “a tide of darkness”.

“I am getting reports from parents in Victoria whose children go to schools where gender and sexual ideology is ruining lives,” the entry reads.

“Best friends are now lesbian couples, anxious kids are now gender dysphoric, as they are fed a steady diet of sexualised and radical queer theory.

“People often ask me why I bother so much about moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, gender-bending ideology, religious freedoms.

“From time to time it is suggested to me that we shouldn’t ‘impose’ morality on others,” he wrote.

“Good laws restrain evil – that is God’s mandate to governments. Bad laws permit evil to flourish.”

Morrison’s deployment of ACL rhetoric – like Tony Abbott’s before him – gives an indication of this government’s attitude towards LGBTI people.

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