Trans advocates have invited the spokesperson of a new anti-trans law reform campaign group to meet with parents of trans children and hear their stories.

Tasmanian Families for Trans Kids have invited Ben Smith, spokesperson for the newly formed Tasmanian Coalition for Kids, to meet with them to help him better understand the importance of transgender reforms currently before parliament.

The invitation was issued in response to a full page ad in yesterday’s Tasmanian newspapers which claimed the reforms would “implications for children and women’s safety” and make it “difficult to get a passport”.

Tasmanian Families for Trans Kids spokesperson Candace Harrington said the ad was factually incorrect and she hoped Smith would agree to hear why families and children need law reform.

“I invite Ben Smith to meet with me and other parents so we can explain why these reforms are so vitally important,” Harrington said.

“I believe that when Mr Smith and others hear our personal stories they will grasp why these reforms matter.

“The advertisement from the Tasmanian Coalition for Kids is factually inaccurate and has caused harm to our families, so we want to set that group straight.”

Smith works for the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart, which has prompted concern from parents about the wellbeing of trans and gender diverse children at Catholic schools.

“I am a Catholic and I am concerned about the message being sent to parents with transgender children in Catholic schools, given Mr Smith’s group is backed by the Catholic Archdiocese,” she said.

Harrington says every point in the ad was factually wrong and misleading.

“An example of the ad’s many errors is that it says the proposed reforms will put women’s services at risk, but these services already have policies dealing with trans women.

“The ad says the reforms will lead to identity fraud, but that is illegal and will remain so.

“The ad also says children will be able to amend their gender but fails to point out proposed amendments that will ensure people under 18 undergo counselling so they understand the legal impact of their decision.

“The extent of mis-information about the proposed legal changes is deeply upsetting to families like mine and we welcome any opportunity to explain the true impact,” Harrington said.

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