‘Cruel’ politicians fuel debate about trans children

Cruel politicians are driving Australia’s national debate about transgender girls and women who play competitive sports, says the Prime Minister of Victoria.

Daniel Andrews has campaigned for trans children to participate in school sports competitions and attacked the federal coalition for supporting Warringah’s candidate Katherine Deves after her long history of transphobic comments came to light.

“In my view, the adults in this debate are generally more cruel than the children, and that is a damning indictment against those who are pushing this,” he told reporters on Sunday.

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“What’s next? A trans girl can’t play a female part in the school drama? Like, is this the biggest problem in our nation today? I don’t think it is.

“And I think only desperate people, engaged in wedge politics, trying to deviate from the fact that they’ve been in power for almost a decade and they’ve done exactly nothing with it, would push this.”

The prime minister argued that sports organizations have already established protocols for trans women competing at the professional and elite amateur levels, and suggested that the school sports aspect was not an issue.

He said no school community, parent or teacher raised the subject with him during his 20 years in the Victorian Parliament.

“Trans children are 15 times more likely to self-harm. I don’t think this debate is doing any of those young Victorians any good, or their parents,’ Mr Andrews said.

“It’s not easy being trans. There is a lot of stigma. There are many prejudices. I don’t think it’s very nice to add to that. I even think it’s cruel.”

In Queensland, the Greens rejected crossbench MP Robbie Katter’s threat to ban trans athletes from participating in female sports.

The Katter’s Australian Party MP on Friday threatened to introduce a bill in Queensland if the next federal government doesn’t introduce a national ban within 90 days of it being formed.

Greens MP Amy McMahon said transgender people are already subjected to widespread discrimination, hatred and even violence on a daily basis.

“This kind of gross discrimination is what we are used to from parties that have run out of ideas and lost contact,” she told AAP on Sunday.

Comments have been sought from the Queensland Labor government, which are unlikely to support a ban and are generally in favor of transgender rights.

Hand-picked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the seat in northern Sydney, Ms Deves was an outspoken advocate for banning transgender women from playing in women’s leagues, and compared her protests to efforts to stop the Holocaust.

She apologized for her lengthy comments but avoided the media Friday night at a “politics in the pub” event at the Forestville RSL.

However, Andrews’s stance also seems to put him in conflict with federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who said his party’s stance was in line with the Sex Discrimination Act.

“It is claimed that girls should be able to play against girls and boys should be able to play against boys,” Albanian told reporters on Wednesday.

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Peter Fray

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