A strong majority of voters polled across both major parties want parents to have a veto over classes teaching children they can change gender.  In the first national survey on so-called “gender fluidity” at school, 88% of Coalition supporters and 72% of Labor loyalists agreed parents should have the right to know what is being taught and be free to pull children out of class.  “Parents’ groups say they believe confusion in class about the unchanging reality of biological sex is part of the reason for the exponential global surge in often troubled teenagers, chiefly girls, declaring themselves transgender and seeking life-changing medical treatment in children’s hospital gender clinics.

Almost half of those who voted Greens (46%) backed parents’ rights over gender fluidity teaching.  Concern in the survey about teachers telling students they can change gender “based on how they feel” cut across age groups, reaching almost 80% among young people around the age of marriage, and was strongest in Western Australia and Queensland, and least pronounced in Victoria.  These three states have the biggest children’s hospital gender clinics and promote self-identified trans rights in school, although states outside Victoria shun the Safe Schools brand, which was damaged by media scrutiny in the run-up to the Turnbull government stripping it of federal funding.

Victoria’s education minister James Merlino pleaded “confidentiality” when asked how many children had been referred without parental approval to the Royal Children’s Hospital gender clinic’.  These visiting doctors have had gender training from the Royal Childrens Hospital (RCH) clinic.  “The same rules apply to doctors in schools as they do in the community, medical information is kept confidential and not disclosed to schools or the department,” a spokesman said.  The RCH clinic director Michelle Telfer promotes The Gender Fairy, a booklet by former teacher Jo Hirst, which tells young children: “Only you know whether you are a boy or a girl. No one can tell you”.

Safe Schools at the federal level has been defunded by the Coalition, however program materials are still endorsed by the federal education department which includes them on its Student Wellbeing website aimed at teachers, parents and students.  A spokesman for federal education minister Dan Tehan said the material had been given the all-clear as “educationally sound” after an independent review by former education academic Bill Louden.  Shadow minister Tanya Plibersek refused to answer any questions about gender fluidity teaching.  “After weeks of disruption to schooling, my focus is on getting kids up to speed on their reading, writing, and maths,” she said.

One brochure on the federal website encourages teachers to allow students to change gender without parents’ approval, saying, “The person who understands most about their gender transition is the student themselves”.  This is among Safe Schools material used to train WA public school teachers but rebadged with different graphics as “Inclusive Education WA” and delivered by the WA Aids Council with taxpayers’ funds.  It acknowledges Ms Ward as an author.  A spokeswoman for WA Education Minister Sue Ellery said: “Principals make local decisions regarding the materials used to deliver the school’s teaching program.  Parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s school program with their school”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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