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Australian national newspaper condemned for new ‘anti-trans’ section

Emma Powys Maurice August 12, 2019
The Australian

The new section in 'The Australian' national newspaper has attracted controversy (The Australian)

An Australian national newspaper is being condemned for its “appalling” coverage of transgender issues in a new section on its website dedicated to gender.

The Australian journalist Bernard Lane announced the ‘gender issues’ section of the website on Friday (August 9), to widespread criticism from LGBT+ advocates.

Headlines in the section include “They’re castrating children”, “Transgender project ‘out of balance’”, “Sex not a matter of belief”, and “Corrupting kids’ thinking”.

Critics say the articles “demonise and spread misinformation about trans and gender-variant youth,” promoting fringe anti-trans extremists while campaigning against medical experts.

On Monday (August 12), Equality Australia said: “The Australian newspaper’s obsession with humiliating trans people is disgraceful. The rights and existence of trans people is not up for debate.”

Gender author Jo Hirst pointed out that the paper’s selective coverage of transgender issues omitted many crucial facts, including evidence and research from The Australian Guidelines for Transgender Children.

Writer Benjamin Law pledged to donate to The Gender Centre on behalf of anyone who cancelled their Australian subscription.

Other readers said The Australian‘s “transphobic diatribe” was “appalling” and “a forum for hate” that is “adding to our society’s human misery.”

The 18 articles currently listed on the ‘gender issues’ page have received so much online criticism that Lane is now refusing to read his mentions on Twitter.

Resistance to trans-inclusive policies

The Australian‘s strong anti-trans coverage reflects a growing backlash towards transgender rights in Australian media and politics.

While some positive steps are being made, transgender inclusion policies often face significant pushback from conservatives, including the Prime Minister.

The far-right One Nation party is working alongside anti-LGBT lobbyists Binary Australia to push against such policies in schools amid claims that children are being “indoctrinated” by “radical gender activists.”

The group are distributing “Anti-PC packs” which tell parents to quiz their children’s schools about which toilets trans students use, whether “biological males” are allowed to do sports with girls, and where trans kids are permitted to sleep on group trips.

The campaign mirrors the tactics of UK-based anti-transgender activists, with lobby group Transgender Trend launching similar school resource packs in 2018.

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