Trans advocates in the Australian state of Tasmania have called for controversial election campaign advertisement to be stopped. Australia is heading to the polls on 18 May for a federal election.
Liberal Party – Australia’s governing and conservative party – candidate Kristy Johnson published the ads in local Tasmania newspapers. Advocates said they ‘lump together’ transgender law reform and child abuse under the policy of ‘protecting your children’.
‘Kristy Johnson’s ads violate (Tasmanian Premier) Will Hodgman’s personal commitment to me that this kind of demonization of transgender human rights would not occur again,’ said long-time Tasmanian trans advocates Martine Delaney.
The advertisements state one of her three top priorities will be ‘protecting your children’. But under that priority she lists ‘mandatory sentencing for pedophilies’ and ‘against the removal of gender on birth certificates’.
Tasmania recently passed historic legislation that will remove gender markers from birth certificates. Parents will not have to opt-in to choose to record their baby’s gender.
One of the positive impacts of the reform would mean young people who rely on birth certificates for identification will not be outed as transgender or gender diverse when applying for jobs or enrolling in school.
‘The birth certificate law reform that Parliament recently passed actually helps young people live free from discrimination and poses no threat to anyone,’ said Transforming Tasmania spokesperson, Roen Meijers.
‘The real threat to young people is from election material that stirs up prejudice against them, like the ads from Kristy Johnson.’
Renowned performer and LGBTI advocate, Pauline Pantsdown, condemned the advertisement.
‘This simple law reform affects literally nobody except for a small minority of people, for whom it will have a profoundly positive impact on their lives,’ she wrote.
‘Trans folk are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. People who want to pick and choose which children to protect, whipping up prejudice to gain a few votes, should basically GTFO (get the fuck out) of politics.’
Delaney said Premier Hodgman had made a commitment to her in 2006 not to politicize and pander to anti-transgender prejudice.
‘Kristy Johnson’s ads violate Will Hodgman’s personal commitment to me that this kind of demonisation of transgender human rights would not occur again,’ Delaney said.
‘I call on the Premier to honour his commitment by intervening immediately to withdraw this damaging and divisive election material.’