A 13-year-old transgender student has challenged Prime Minister Scott Morrison on national television about his recent tweet "gender whisperers."
On Wednesday, Mr. Morrison responded to a report that teachers were being taught how to detect potentially transgender students by tweeting that schools do not need "gender whisperers" and that we should "let children be children."
On Thursday, he appeared on Channel Ten's The Project, where the panel played a video of "a young viewer".
"My name is Evie Macdonald, I am 13 years old and I am a transgender boy, and this is what I want to say to the prime minister," said Evie.
"There are thousands of children in Australia who are diverse in terms of gender, we do not deserve to be respected that way through tweets from our prime minister."
Evie said she knew "what it is like to be on the receiving end of attitudes like this."
"I went to a Christian school where I had to pretend I was a child and spent weeks in conversion therapy, we had a childhood and mine was stolen because of attitudes like this."
We have a childhood and mine was stolen by attitudes like this.
Transgender student Evie Macdonald
In response, Mr. Morrison said he loved "all Australians, regardless of the background they come from."
"I was referring to a practice that has been implemented in schools where others participate in that conversation and make observations and stand between the role of a parent and that of a child," Morrison said.
"The point I was making was simply this, I want children to be allowed to be children and I want parents to be respected as parents of those children."
He said he did not want to "see teachers taking the role of parents."
Mr. Morrison sent the tweet in response to a Daily Telegraph article stating that NSW teachers were being taught how to identify children who might be questioning their gender, after an "increase" in the number of identified children as trans.
"Teachers [are] now they are being taught to detect possible transgender students in the classroom, with experts saying that the measure has contributed to a 236 percent increase in the number of children who want to change sex in the last three years, "reported the newspaper News Corp.
The report claimed that some Sydney schools had invited gender identity experts to public and private primary and secondary schools "under the guise of developing professional standards" to educate teachers on how to identify such students.
But history has received an important negative reaction.
"Let children be children" That's exactly what we're doing … and a lot of that is letting the children be themselves, "said the counselor and gender specialist, Dr. Elizabeth Riley, quoted in the article, to SBS News on Wednesday.
While the same-sex marriage activist and executive director of Change.org, Sally Rugg tweeted Mr. Morrison's tweet with the title "one in two transgender children who do not receive support from their schools and families. they try to commit suicide. "
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline at 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service at 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 (for youth ages 5 to 25).
– Additional reports: Tyron Butson