Queensland Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker has come under fire for her views on transgender issues after Prime Minister Scott Morrison appointed her Assistant Minister for Women.
Senator Stoker received the new role in Scott Morrison’s cabinet reshuffle on Monday, amid a series of ongoing scandals around the treatment of women.
But the Queensland Senator’s past views on transgender people have caused backlash.
In late 2019, Stoker started a petition on her website to oppose the “dangerous and radical transgender agenda”.
“If a grown man chooses to wear women’s clothing and change their name, we are generally content to live and let live,” Stoker wrote.
“No one wants to make anyone feel ‘less than’. Most people agree that adults are free to live their life the way they want.
“But that doesn’t mean we abandon truth. It doesn’t mean we abandon common sense or our understanding of basic biology.”
Stoker asks for support to “keep women’s sport for women” and “protect” transgender children by restricting access to medication.
She adds parents “have a right to teach your children they are born as either a boy or a girl and that gender isn’t something we can choose.”
“Whether it is in the media, in the Coalition Party Room or on the floor of the Senate, I will continue to stand up for common sense and objective truth,” she writes.
Last year, Senator Stoker argued that allowing transgender children access to puberty blockers is “harmful” and “wrong”.
At the time, she called for Australians to resist “hard gender ideology” to “protect” children.
Senator Stoker has also previously described both gender identity and sexuality as “matters of personal choice”.
Senator Amanda Stoker ‘lacks empathy’ on transgender issues
Transgender Victoria’s Sally Goldner told SBS News Senator Amanda Stoker’s new appointment was “obviously concerning”. Goldner said Stoker’s comments showed a “lack of empathy” and “understanding” of transgender people.
“She’s made some pretty derogatory and emotive comments about transgender people before,” Goldner said.
“Everyone deserves to be safe and everyone deserves to be respected and valued.”
A spokesperson for Senator Stoker told SBS News she was committed to responding as part of the Morrison government to issues affecting women from “all backgrounds and walks of life”.
“Senator Stoker is particularly looking forward to contributing to the government’s response to issues involving women’s equality, women’s safety, women’s economic security and women’s health and wellbeing,” the spokesperson said.
“The government is committed to responding to these issues for the benefit of Australian women from all backgrounds and walks of life.”
Transgender women suffer disproportionate levels of discrimination
Senator Stoker, who is pro-life, has also come under fire from advocates for her views on abortion.
In response, her spokesperson said as a member of the ministry, Stoker “understands that it is her duty to act in the interests of the Commonwealth and to support the Prime Minister and the Government including in situations where there may be a divergence between Government policy and her personally held beliefs.”
Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown said she would engage with Senator Stoker on achieving equality for women, including transgender women.
“Trans women currently experience disproportionate levels of discrimination, negatively impacting their safety, economic security, health and wellbeing,” she said.
“We look forward to engaging with the newly appointed Assistant Minister for Women in her efforts toward equality for women, and to ensure all women are able to live free from discrimination.”