Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing backlash for comments about trans students.
The Liberal Party Leader has only been in power for a couple of weeks, but he’s already causing controversy with his not-so-liberal views on the LGBTQ community, particularly trans youth.
“We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning. “Let kids be kids.”
His comment came in response to an article published by the Daily Telegraph, which claims that teachers are being taught how to identify children who may be transgender, and that it had caused a “surge” in kids wanting to change their gender.
We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids. https://t.co/POzM26PXU5
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 4, 2018
Unsurprisingly, his comments faced backlash on social media, with many criticising his lack of awareness around gender identity issues.
“Shame on you for promoting click bait propaganda rubbish. I have a trans child and the PM of my country is promoting bullying of my child by inviting these trans hate responses,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Its not helpful to have the Prime Minister of Australia weighing in on issues that you obviously don’t understand properly thereby entrenching prejudice,” added another.
It’s not just social media users who’ve responded negatively to his comments, as counsellor and gender specialist Dr Elizabeth Riley, who was quoted in the Daily Telegraph article, said it’s important to allow kids to be who they are.
“Let kids be kids? That’s exactly what we are doing… and a lot of that is letting children be themselves,” she told SBS News.
It’s certainly not the first time the PM has faced backlash for his comments on issues facing the LGBTQ community, as earlier this week he claimed that harmful gay conversion ‘therapy’ is “not an issue” for him.
“I respect people of all sexualities, I respect people of all religions, all faiths. I love all Australians,” Morrison told radio host Neil Mitchell during one of his first interviews in his new role.
“I’ve never been involved in anything like that, I’ve never supported anything like that, it’s just not an issue for me and I’m not planning to get engaged in the issue.”
It comes after conversion therapy survivors started a petition to have the practice banned in Australia, which has so far amassed over 43,000 signatures.
Morrison has also recently revealed that he sent his daughter to a private school to avoid a ‘skin curling’ inclusive sexuality program designed to build empathy for LGBTQ people and reduce bullying.
“I don’t want the values of others being imposed on my children in my school and I don’t think that should be happening in a public school or a private school,” he said.