Georgie Stone. (10 Peach)
Australian actress Georgie Stone has called out prime minister Scott Morrison for comments he made comparing teachers being trained in trans issues to there being “gender whisperers” in schools.
Stone, 19, is the first trans actress to star in long-running soap Neighbours and a spokeswoman for mental-health charity Headspace.
She was criticising a year-old tweet from Morrison, which said: “We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids,” and linked to a Daily Telegraph article highlighting that teachers were being given training in trans issues to better support trans students.
“It’s ironic that his government are committed to eradicating mental illness and yet they perpetuate those same mindsets and ideals that are the reason that the statistics are so horrible,” Stone said.
“If they actually want to do what they’re setting out to do, they need to look at themselves and their own attitudes and see what the message is that they are promoting and the effects that’s having,” the trans actress added.
In response to Georgie Stone, Morrison said: “The tragedy of youth suicide is all too common in Australia, particularly among younger Australians working through their identity and the pressures of identity politics.”
His latest comments were dismissed as “inaccurate, dismissive and patronising” by trans organisation in Australia, according to The Guardian.
Sally Goldner, from trans advocacy group Trangender Victoria, said Morrison’s comments were “totally inaccurate, dismissive and patronising to trans and gender-diverse young people”.
She added: “They also typify his patronising attitude to young people generally and his attitudes to trans and gender diverse people of all ages.”
Jo Hirst, author and parent to a trans child, said: “It was distressing to see her [Georgie Stone’s] important input on such a serious subject dismissed by the prime minister.”
“To write off the suicides of transgender children as younger Australians working through the pressures of ‘identity politics’ is not only not dismissing their identity but giving bullies a new slogan.
“It’s negative slogans like ‘gender whisperers’, attached to professionals attempting to provide support in schools, that filter down to playgrounds and are used to bully children, that really impact on our children’s mental health.”
Last year, Morrison was also called out for the “gender whisperers” tweet by 13-year-old Evie Macdonald, a trans girl who accused him of being disrespectful.
“There are thousands of kids in Australia that are gender-diverse and we don’t deserve to be disrespected like that through tweets from our prime minister,” she told the Network Ten program.
“I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of attitudes like this. I went to a Christian school where I 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.”