Trans student condemns ‘bullying from grown adults’ in powerful speech against ‘transphobic’ bill

A trans student has spoken out against the “bullying” tactics of adult politicians in a powerful speech against an anti-trans bill submitted by far-right politician Mark Latham.

High school student Darcy was at a protest in Taylor Square, Sydney, on Saturday (17 April) against a “transphobic” bill put forward to the New South Wales (NSW) parliament by Mark Latham.

“This bill is pushing for the erasure of trans children and students, and it’s hard enough for all students as it is and it’s even harder to be a trans student,” Darcy said.

“We face bullying and isolation from our own peers, and now we have to face that from grown adults too.”

Latham was once the leader of Australia’s centre-left Labor Party, but is now a member of the nationalist One Nation party, which he leads in NSW. They have two seats in the NSW council and none in the parliament.

His bill first came to a life as a policy pledge in 2019 before being submitted to the NSW council in 2020. This year, Latham submitted the anti-trans bill to the NSW parliament.

A petition against the bill, which says it is “wrong, unfair” and discriminatory, has amassed nearly 120,000 signatures.

Sam Guerra, the non-binary primary school educator who started the petition, also spoke at Saturday’s protest, saying: “Our trans and gender diverse students already suffer. They don’t feel safe, and they haven’t for way too long.

“It is the responsibility of teachers and schools to create a safe space for all their students, no matter how they choose to identify. No law should interfere with that.”

NSW Upper House member David Shoebridge, who the petition was delivered to at the protest, said that several educational and religious bodies have come out in opposition to the bill, including the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.

“[Latham] has made it clear that he wants to make political capital from marginalising some of the most marginal in our community, and that is a shameful abuse of his position as an MP,” said Shoebridge.

Anti-trans bill would allow parents to ban schools from teaching students about gay people

The so-called Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill would prohibit “the teaching of the ideology of gender fluidity to children in schools” — extending to any teaching that refers to gender as anything other than “biological sex”.

Gender fluidity is defined by the draconian bill as “a belief there is a difference between biological sex and human gender, and that human gender is socially constructed rather being equivalent to a person’s biological sex”.

A side-effect of the bill would also allow parents to legally ban schools from teaching their children about gay people, with Latham seeking to establish “parental primacy” over their children’s education relating to “moral and ethical standards, political and social values, and matters of personal wellbeing and identity including gender and sexuality”.

Latham was also an opponent of same-sex unions, claiming he was worried the law would allow transgender people to get married to people of the opposite sex.

The politician has made no secret of his anti-transgender stances, vowing to gut laws that allow transgender people to gain legal recognition, and end easy legal recognition on all government forms.

Mark Latham attacks ‘attention-seeking’ trans children

In a January 2020 policy announcement, Latham claimed: “One of the problems with gender fluidity in schools is that students can participate in it simply by ‘identifying’ as transgender.

“This leaves the system open to abuse, with some students milking transgender identification for special treatment or attention-seeking reasons.”

The politician added: “This problem is increasingly common in NSW high schools, urged on by left-wing political activists.

“Schools made a big mistake when they stopped being places of learning and ventured into the world of mental health assessment and radical gender theory.”

He added: “One Nation supports the introduction of a government rule across-the-board prohibiting individual self-identification.”

The politician claims he would allow some limited forms of gender recognition, provided trans people could provide “specialist medical evidence.”

As the current system of gender recognition requires medical evidence, it is unclear what exactly Latham is proposing.