As a politician, as a parent, as someone of faith, I stand here with my good friend the member for Leichhardt to assure all Australians that we have nothing to fear from our trans community. Sadly, there is much misinformation flying around asserting the contrary, but, not surprisingly, those propagating these lies are not doing it from a place of love; nor are they motivated by caring. Many do so from a place of hate or political exploitation, or even both. They are in public propagating lies to deliberately vilify people who have done nothing to them nor to anybody else.
I join with the member for Leichhardt in declaring that this hateful bigotry—this dangerous bigotry—has to stop. Together, we formed the Parliamentary Friends of LGBTIQA+ Australians back in 2010 and we continue as members to this day.
Transgender people have been with us for a long, long time. This isn't a new trend. They belong here now, always have and always will. Gender dysphoria is not an illness. Puberty blockers aren't experimental treatments. There aren't huge numbers of transgender people out there de-transitioning through regret; it's the exception, not the rule. And nobody—no body—transitions on a whim. A rise in the number of trans youth is not a nefarious plot to bring down the world, but a demonstration that they now feel an acceptance of who they are—that they belong.
I grew up watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and can confirm, alongside millions of Australians, that doing the 'time warp' won't make you trans. It might make you put your hands on your hips and bring your knees in tight, but that's not what we're talking about today. Warren, don't! I can assure all that someone watching RuPaul's Drag Race or attending a drag story time at a library isn't going to suddenly start questioning who they are. Do not believe the misinformation and lies. Sadly, some people have even stooped to the new low of making up stories about swimming pool change rooms down in Launceston. Media Watch showed recently that, sadly, some sections of the media decided to run with this stupid bunkum. We as a parliament and a community shouldn't be tricked or fooled by people with anger and hate in their hearts. We should not ever believe their weirdo, creepy tales and deliberate misinformation.
Transgender people are a part of our community. They're a part of our families, our workplaces, our schools and even our religious institutions. They are full citizens of this wonderful, inclusive, freedom-loving country. Jesus Christ clearly said that we should all love everyone, so let's all follow that tenet and show some care and love in our heart towards the transgender community. As I said, I stand here as a founding co-chair—back in 2010, with the member for Leichhardt—of the Parliamentary Friends of LGBTIQA+ Australians, and that organisation is all about promoting understanding, information and harmony. I'm proud to be making this speech alongside the member for Leichhardt. I can assure you all that the members of this group will always speak up for those being targeted by hate, and we do so from a place filled with love.