A 13-year-old trans girl in Melbourne has confronted Prime Minister Scott Morrison on television following his recent comments denigrating teachers trained in supporting trans kids.
Morrison—who in the past week has said he sends his children to a private school to avoid Safe Schools and trivialised gay conversion therapy—came under fire by the LGBTI community again after dismissing teachers trained in trans inclusion as “gender whisperers”.
The Tele’s article featured comments from anti-trans campaigner John Whitehall, who has previously compared humanely treating gender dysphoria to practices like lobotomies and eugenics.
In an interview with The Project last night, Morrison was asked about Peter Dutton and au pairs before being shown a video message by Evie Macdonald, a young trans advocate who criticised his recent social media comments around trans youth.
“There are thousands of kids in Australia that are gender diverse,” she said.
“We don’t deserve to be disrespected like that through tweets by our Prime Minister – I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of attitudes like this.”
Evie described going to a Christian school where she had to pretend to be a boy and spend weeks in conversion therapy.
“We get one childhood, and mine was stolen from me by attitudes like this,” she said.
Morrison attempted to defend his comments by asserting that teachers shouldn’t supplant the role of parents when it comes to young people.
“I want kids to be allowed to be kids, and I want parents to be respected as parents of those children,” he said.
“I don’t think teachers get to take the place of parents and the choices families make – [my comments were] referring to a practice that has been put in schools where others are coming into that conversation and getting between parents and their children.”
Morrison made no mention of the fact that many of the suggestions made in the Tele article around teachers trained in trans inclusion were inaccurate, and already debunked by experts in the field.
Evie’s mother, Meagan, said in championing the role of parents and attempting to diminish the role of teachers, Morrison ignored her family’s lived experience.
“My rights as a parent were ignored by the school Evie was at,” she told the Star Observer.
“They came between us and our child, by deciding what was best for her and without our knowledge or consent, subjecting her to hours and hours of conversion therapy under the guide of ‘chaplaincy’.
“I wanted my child to be supported and affirmed, so at her next school we worked together to make sure Evie had the support she needed… in the back of my mind is always the knowledge that if these kids are unsupported at home, school, or both, almost 50 per cent will try to take their life.”
Meagan added that as a parent, advice and support from others are critical, including when it comes from a teacher.
“I am glad that we have been supported and educated so that we can support Evie,” she said.
“Because of this Evie has the strength and resilience to stand up and speak out about the disrespect and lack of knowledge and empathy displayed by our Prime Minister.
“I couldn’t be prouder of her.”