Australia's Christian Prime Minister defends tweet about 'gender whisperers' in schools

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison(Photo: Twitter/TheProjectTV)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire for tweeting that schools do not need 'gender whisperers' in classrooms.

His tweet was in response to a report in Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph that teachers in Sydney were being trained to identify children who may be transgender. 

According to The Daily Telegraph report, the training has contributed to a 236 per cent increase in the number of children wanting to change their sex in the last three years.

As part of the training, teachers in primary and secondary schools were reportedly taught to look out for children saying things like 'I feel different,' 'I'm androgynous,' or 'I'm born with two spirits.'

Morrison, an evangelical Christian, tweeted in response to the report: 'We do not need 'gender whisperers' in our schools. Let kids be kids.'

His comments sparked a backlash on Twitter, with many people criticizing his stance. Cassy O'Connor, MP for Denison in Tasmania, criticized Morrison on Twitter, saying that her transgender son, Jasper, was an 'exceptional' human being and 'not the product of "gender whisperers".' 'He is who he is,' she tweeted. 'Life for transgender kids can be VERY hard. Try not to make it harder for them. Try talking to some young trans people before you presume to speak on their behalf. I really hope you do before more harm is caused by heedless words.'

Simona Castricum, an Australian musician and transgender woman, wrote in The Guardian that the prime minister's comments represented 'a concerted political agenda that actively seeks to shame the communities that help transgender kids move beyond dysphoria.' '"Gender whisperers"? Really, prime minister? Casting teachers who have the welfare of gender-questioning children at heart as some subversive secret cult is an insult to the empathy and vision they provide,' she said.  Despite the backlash, Morrison stood by his comments in an appearance on Australian current affairs TV show, The Project. 'I love all Australians, whatever background they come from,' he said. 'The point I was making was simply this—I want kids to be allowed to be kids and I want parents to be respected as the parents of those children. 'I don't think teachers get to take the place of parents and the choices that families make.'