New ambassador for headspace, Georgie Stone, has said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s commentary on transgender issues is impacting his government’s efforts to reduce Australia’s suicide rate.
The 19-year-old transgender advocate and actress has been announced as a new spokesperson for the youth mental health organisation.
Georgie said the Prime Minister’s “really disappointing” comments about transgender issues were contributing to the stigma that puts trans Australians at a higher risk of mental illness.
“It’s ironic that his government are committed to eradicating mental illness and yet they perpetuate those same mindsets and ideals that are the reason that the statistics are so horrible,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If they actually want to do what they’re setting out to do, they need to look at themselves and their own attitudes.
“[They need to] see what the message is that they are promoting and the effects that’s having.”
Scott Morrison has previously criticised so-called “gender whisperers” in schools in an infamous tweet.
He has also called state trans law reform “ridiculous” and dismissed guidelines for trans cricket players as “heavy-handed”.
Georgie Stone said data showing transgender youth were at higher risk of depression and suicide is “just devastating”. She said all adults must change the tone so young people in distress would feel safe enough to ask for help.
“What needs to be done is creating an environment where young people feel supported in reaching out,” she said.
“So they can talk to someone about what they’re feeling and not get rejected because of it.”
— Georgie Stone (@georgiestone16) October 8, 2019
Scott Morrison blames ‘pressures of identity politics’
In response, Morrison told the Herald, “The tragedy of youth suicide is all too common in Australia, particularly amongst younger Australians working through their identity and the pressures of identity politics.”
The Prime Minister said his government was “putting serious resources into a serious policy agenda to combat youth suicide in Australia”, including expanding services like Headspace.
“We’ll continue to deliver on this agenda and address the health issues and anxieties faced by young people,” he said.
1 in 2 trans young people will attempt suicide – not because they are trans but because of the way society treats them according to the researchers at @Trans_Pathways
Scott Morrison says young trans people are killing themselves because of “identity politics” pic.twitter.com/20b4yIAu1t
— Jo Hirst (@thegenderfairy1) October 9, 2019
Morrison's implication here with "pressures of identity politics" is that young LGBTI people are being coerced and forced into things i.e. that queer advocates are "making kids gay/trans". Whispered queerphobia is no less dangerous than when it's shouted 😤 pic.twitter.com/So5jkbTZtk
— Joshua but make it spoooky 👻🎃 (@joshuabadge) October 9, 2019
Georgie Stone said she would “love to sit down and talk” with the Prime Minister and “share some things I’ve learned”.
“I think he needs to meet some trans young people, they’re the key to changing hearts and minds,” she said.
Georgie Stone was named last year’s Victorian Young Australian of the Year. Earlier this year, she made history with her acting debut in August as Neighbour’s first transgender character Mackenzie.
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
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