Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that he backs excluding trans women from participating in sports.
Morrison said he was happy to support a bill by Tasmanian senator Claire Chandler that would see sports segregated by “biological sex” to exclude trans women.
“I think it’s a terrific bill, and I’ve given [Chandler] great encouragement,” Morrison told the division of Lyons this week.
“Claire is a champion for women’s sport, and I think she’s been right to raise these issues in the way that she has.”
The Save Women’s Sport Bill focuses on women’s sport, and any impact it would have on the participation of trans men and other gender diverse people, or whether they would be recognised as “men”, is unclear.
“[The bill] will make clear that single-sex sport for women is lawful, encouraged, and supported by the Parliament of Australia,” said Chandler.
The move comes just weeks after withdrawal of the religious discrimination bill that would have legally permitted discrimination against trans people among other marginalised groups, as well as uproar over a Brisbane Christian school that attempted to have parents sign a contract denouncing the LGBITQA+ community, which Morrison told the press he opposed.
Community advocates have spoken out against the new sport bill.
“We completely reject the cynical abuse of trans people as a weapon in the Prime Minister’s political and electoral game-playing,” said Dr Charlie Burton, spokesperson for Equality Tasmania.
“Senator Chandler’s bill would strip transgender people of the right to live as we are, casting us into an unequal, uncertain, and unsafe status in the eyes of the law.
“In Tasmania, transgender women have been playing women’s sport and accessing women’s services for many years without any of the problems predicted by Senator Chandler.
“Tasmanian sporting organisations have been actively seeking guidance on how to be more inclusive, not less, with strong support from the Tasmanian Liberal Government.
“We reject attempts to sow fear and division about policies that have worked well and have made Tasmania a better place for everyone.”
Women will gather this Saturday 26 February outside Hobart Town Hall from 11:30 am in a vigil to oppose the new bill and support trans women.
“We want to show that Tasmanian women, cisgender and transgender, stand united behind the values of inclusion and equality,” said Dr Burton.
“Women are always stronger standing together rather than divided.”
Pink Advocate has reached out to Senator Chandler’s office to request clarification of the bill’s intents.