How does the Morrison Government plan to tackle mental health exactly when the the PM his throwing about terms like “gender whisperers”? That’s the life or death question trans activist Georgie Stone has raised, telling The Sydney Morning Herald that Scott Morrison’s comments about transgender issues were “really disappointing” and have fuelled the stigma surrounding trans people that puts them at greater risk of mental illness.
The activist says the PM’s attitude towards trans kids does not align with his focus on reducing youth suicide rates, a cause Morrison say’s his government is combatting by increasing funding to Headspace by $263.3 million over seven years.
“It’s ironic that his [Morrison’s] 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.
Stones says suicide attempts are five times higher for LGBTIQ+ people aged 16 to 27, and 11 times higher for trans people over 18.
Yet Morrison’s response to Stone’s comments on reducing suicide rates for trans people was vague. In fact, the Prime Minister failed to mention the word “transgender” once:
“The tragedy of youth suicide is all too common in Australia, particularly amongst younger Australians working through their identity and the pressures of identity politics.”Scott Morrison
Since becoming PM in August 2018, Morrison has called the gender-neutral toilet sign at his office “not necessary” and made plans for its removal. He also got all judgy towards Cricket Australia for trying to do the right thing – they introduced guidelines for transgender people wanting to get involved in local games which the PM deemed “mystifying” and “heavy-handed.”
Last year Morrison even tweeted about a Daily Telegraph story which claimed school staff were being trained to spot transgender children in the classroom, supposedly contributing to more children wanting to change their sex.
The phrase ‘gender whisperers’ left a lot of Aussies feeling like the leader of Australia didn’t take transgender issues seriously.
“If they [people in power] 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.”Georgie Stone
Stone sent an invitation to meet with Scott Morrison but it was met with no response, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think he needs to meet some trans young people,” Stone said. “They’re the key to changing hearts and minds.”