An Australian lobbying group has said its supporters should tell family and friends being trans is the same as having an eating disorder.

The Australian Family Association told its members in an email sent on Thursday (August 18) that it was important to respond to media stories featuring transgender children and that they should draw inspiration from an article in right-wing US website.

The group’s president Paul Monagle urged supporters to read Moira Fleming’s piece for The Federalist, that compared being transgender to having anorexia nervosa, and use it to convince others.

BuzzFeed reports that the email said: “Fleming says that both anorexia or transgendering [sic] are driven by a mismatch between the person’s brain and their body, ‘a wrenching awareness of what it feels like to be disconnected from your body, to hate with every fiber of your being the way you look in the mirror…”

It goes on to suggest that allowing someone to transition is the same as allowing someone with anorexia to starve themselves.

In other news: 

The email from Mr Monagle follows months of rhetoric against transgender children and an effort to shut down a government funded anti-bullying programme.

Australia’s leading pediatrician, Michelle Telfer, said that being trans was not a mental illness, unlike anorexia.

“The distress that one experiences over gender dysphoria is considered something that needs treatment,” she said.

“If society accepted transgender people for who they are, there wouldn’t be distress.”

Also in the email was a link to an article that said transgender people should be ‘counseled’ into accepting their gender at birth – in a similar way to ‘gay cure’ therapy.

A number of studies from around the world have revealed that ensuring transgender people get the correct access to medical treatment leads to better health outcomes.

A similar organisation in the States known as the American Family Association recently used the Orlando massacre to drive support for an anti-trans boycott.