A senior politician has denied the government is using transgender people as political football as the Coalition doubles down on its defense of Katherine Deves.
A cabinet member denied that the government is using transgender people as political footballs to garner votes.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire from medical experts and trans advocates after he falsely claimed minors could undergo gender affirmation surgery in his defense of embattled candidate Katherine Deves.
Speaking to ABC’s RN, Stuart Robert doubled down on the Prime Minister’s comments and said the party would ‘support people who stand up for what they believe in’.
“She’s a strong person, a woman with something to say,” he said.
“Now I may disagree with some of the words and tones she uses. But she’s trying to stand up for something she’s passionate about and have a conversation about it.
Asked about the ‘conversation’ the government was trying to have, Mr Robert insisted the concern was about ‘girls playing sports’.
“She made comments about mutilation, trans people being mutilated – it’s not about playing sports, minister,” host Patricia Karvelas retaliate.
“Again, those are not words we would use,” he replied.
“That’s the conversation she’s having…so let’s have a conversation, but we encourage everyone to do it with grace.”
But the acting education minister refuted accusations that the government was using the issue as a political football, insisting it was journalists who made it a conversation, not voters.
“My personal view is not, but it seems to be a top-notch issue for many journalists,” Robert continued.
“There’s no blame, but I’m happy to have a conversation, just like anyone running for a position that the Australian people could lift up.”
Ms Deves was handpicked by the Prime Minister to fill the usually Blue Ribbon seat of Warringah, which the government lost to independent Zali Steggall in 2019.
She has come under fire over her now-deleted social media posts in which she used descriptions of “surgically mutilated and sterilized” transgender children.
After the messages were unearthed, she apologized. But on Monday she backtracked on her apology, saying the description was accurate.
Dr Fiona Bisshop, president of the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health, has criticized the government for using trans people as a ‘diversion’.
“It seems some politicians have found trans people, especially young trans people, to be a great diversion from other issues that arise,” she told ABC’s RN.
“The public is interested and it makes a big headline to talk about these things and sensationalise them.
“The reality is that it has a very negative impact on young people.
“We have seen a huge increase in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues, particularly depression, anxiety, worsening dysphoria and fear of increased stigma and stigma. discrimination when they go out.”
She urged Mr Morrison to “pay attention to the facts”, particularly when talking about gender-affirming surgery – which can only be performed on adults over the age of 18.
“Every trans child deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and politicians must stop using them as political footballs.”