Anti-trans lobby group Binary has been challenged to release the questions from its recent national survey about trans issues in schools, following its claims that most parents are against “gender theory”.
A story in conservative newspaper The Australian has reported that 88% of Coalition voters and 72% of Labor voters agreed “parents should have the right to know what is being taught and be free to pull children out of class” over trans inclusion.
Advocates have raised concerns that the figures are related to telephone push-polling on the issue in March.
The automated calls began with the statement, “Some Australian schools teach children that they can change their gender based on how they feel.”
Call recipients were then asked, “Do you believe that parents should be entitled to know what their child is being taught and be able to withdraw their kids from classes that teach them that they can change their gender based on how they feel?”
Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome challenged Binary to release the questions of the survey referenced in the article.
“Australians deserve to see what was asked,” said Croome.
“If the questions were the same as those asked anonymously in early March… they should be completely disregarded, because they were designed to return a result very unfavourable to transgender and gender diverse people.”
Croome accused Binary of bias and called the survey fearmongering.
“Binary grew out of the No campaign against marriage equality, and its spokesperson, Kirralie Smith, was a leading voice for that campaign, so we cannot expect Binary or Ms Smith to be even-handed,” he said.
“Binary’s survey tilts at windmills by declaring schools teach students they can change gender identity, when in fact teachers and students are learning how to be more inclusive of transgender and gender diverse students.
“Transgender and gender diverse young people deserve support and inclusion, not the kind of divisive, politicised fearmongering we see from groups like Binary.”
The Australian article is the latest in the newspaper’s long series of attacks on young trans people.
It quotes Smith as saying that average parents are “concerned about this gender theory that’s being imposed upon children in schools”.
In an apparent attempt to sensationalise trans statistics, the article points to the increase since 2014 in patients seeking treatment at the Queensland Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic, which opened in 2014.
Like many of the paper’s right-wing tirades against the trans community, the story misgenders young people and misuses basic terminology – misspelling ‘agender’, referring to the ‘Gingerbread [Genderbread] Person’, and seemingly calling all trans matters ‘gender fluidity’.
Coverage of trans issues by the Australian mainstream press has been internationally condemned for its bias and transphobia.
United Nations discrimination expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz last year slammed the recent coverage as “a betrayal of human rights” for people already facing increased risks of violence and mistreatment.