The NSW Parliament’s Education Committee (chaired by One Nation MLC Mark Latham) has on Monday tabled its report into the government’s so-called anti-trans education bill (introduced by – you guessed it – Mark Latham). Its recommendations simultaneously try to erase the existence of trans kids and teenagers, while also threatening to out them to their parents.
In case you hadn’t been following Latham, he basically convened a committee to discuss his parental rights amendment which obsessively targeted trans kids and what he confusingly and misleadingly refers to as “gender fluidity ideology.”
As part of the hearings into the proposals, Latham platformed a bunch of cranks in order to come to a conclusion which goes against all mainstream advice when it comes to helping gender-diverse kids and teens of different sexual orientations feel welcome at school.
The result is the report we’ve seen today, which makes a bunch of recommendations going forward, almost all of which would be really harmful to trans kids.
Firstly, it wants to prevent schools from even talking about the existence of trans people which, given that trans people do in fact exist, is a huge and extremely harmful ask.
Queer advocate and policy manager at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre Alastair Lawrie compared these to the Thatcher-era prohibition on mentioning the existence of queer people in schools, which was known as Section 28.
“Section 28 harmed a generation of LGBT kids in the UK, and was abandoned almost two decades ago,” Lawrie wrote on Twitter.
“It is extraordinary, and extraordinarily destructive, that it will be potentially revived, on steroids, on the other side of the world.”
On top of that, the report wants to require written parental consent for any student who wants to be a part of some kind of queer discussion or support group.
Trans students would need parental consent for their schools to refer to them by their chosen name (has Latham not heard of nicknames?) while expert advice would be needed for schools to even acknowledge students as trans.
What’s worse is that schools would be forced to disclose all of this stuff to parents, even if it’s against the student’s own wishes.
“No student has the right or capacity to stop the school telling their parents information about their gender,” the recommendations in Latham’s report stated.
Lawrie considers all this to be “vile transphobic garbage” which only contributes to trans kids being outed to potentially-unsupportive parents against their will.
As of yet, both the Liberal and Labor parties haven’t come out and condemned the proposals altogether, however some dissenting members of the Education Committee were able to call it out.
Labor MLC Anthony D’Adam said that the proposed legislation “is a harmful piece of legislation that will do real and lasting damage to our education system.”
Greens MLC David Shoebridge – who has long campaigned against Latham’s proposals – was also scathing.
“This report is a sham and an embarrassment to the NSW Parliament, it ignores the great majority of the evidence before the committee that staunchly opposed the Bill,” he said.
“Trans people are not an ideology, they are in our families, schools and community and deserve our care and protection, and of course access to education.
“The bill breaches international and national legal obligations and sets up a scheme that is completely unworkable: for example it requires teaching to be both non-ideological and also not inconsistent with the values of the parents, it’s unclear how such a thing is possible.”
Shoebridge said that instead of even bothering to read through the 174-page report, people would be better off listening to trans people such as Teddy Cook, who is the vice president of AusPATH, Australia’s peak body for trans healthcare.
You watch what Cook said at the hearings here.