During Pride Month in June, advocacy group LGB Tasmania kicked off a ‘Let kids be kids’ campaign “calling for an end to harmful, irreversible ‘gender affirming’ treatment for children”, as well as an end to the ‘social transitioning’ of children in schools without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
“Currently in this era of ‘gender affirmation’, schools are taking an active role in socially transitioning children with gender dysphoria, by encouraging the changing of names, pronouns, uniform and allowing them to enter single sex spaces and sports of the opposite sex. This is called ‘social transitioning’,” reads the group’s press release on 5 June.
Sometime between Wednesday evening 28 June and Thursday morning 29 June, the campaign's billboard, with the pro-child safeguarding message 'LET KIDS BE KIDS', was vandalised with red paint. While the digital billboard contained other messages and no one has yet been charged, it is not difficult to deduce who the likely target was given the heat around the billboard over the past month, and particularly in the 24 hours prior to the vandalism.
"Imagine being offended by a billboard saying ‘let kids be kids’ and not by the grave harm caused by the social, hormonal and surgical interventions for kids that it's criticising," said Women's Forum Australia CEO Rachael Wong.
"If only the same outrage and effort put into vandalising LGB Tasmania’s billboard were directed at calling out the irreversible damage being done to children under the guise of 'gender affirming care'".
On 29 June, a group of trans activists organised by Equality Australia held a protest next to the billboard on the Brooker Highway in Glenorchy, holding signs like ‘Let trans kids be trans kids’ and ‘Trans lives worth fighting for’.
The campaign has caused quite a stir this month. On 7 June, Equality Tasmania released a media statement slamming the billboard as “anti-trans” and saying it “is inflicting harm on trans and gender diverse young people in Hobart's northern suburbs”.
“The message of this billboard is that trans and gender diverse young people don’t exist or are misguided, that supporting them is somehow a threat to young people and they should be left alone to suffer in silence without hope. That message is the antithesis of Pride Month”.
The statement further claims “research consistently shows that trans and gender diverse young people thrive when they are affirmed.”
In response, LGB Tasmania released a further press release on 8 June stating, “Equality Tasmania would tell you that gender non-conforming LGB kids are trans, they’re not, they’re typical LGB kids. Gender non-conformity is not a disease. And gender dysphoria is not an identity.”
The press release goes on to refute the sentiments expressed by Equality Tasmania, maintaining that “80-98% of children suffering gender dysphoria reidentify with their sex after undergoing puberty, not with drugs, hormones or surgery, but talking therapy” and that claims that medical and social transitioning is “lifesaving” are not borne out by the evidence.
“Children and youth can go through a series of ‘identities’ as they mature. As adults we do not treat every declaration our children make as though its permanent. It’s an Authentic Identity until it’s not. The fact is they’re CHILDREN. We need to be the adult in the room. The idea that any doctor would allow children to diagnose the cause of their own distress, and then prescribe their own treatment, is malpractice.”
In a Facebook post on 21 June, Equality Tasmania said “Trans and gender diverse Tasmanians have been attacked from a billboard in Hobart's northern suburbs”, announcing a fundraising campaign to broadcast “affirming and life-saving messages” from the same billboard from the start of July. However, given that the billboard has now been vandalised, it is uncertain when these will begin.
LGB Tasmania spokesperson Jessica Hoyle said her group also plans to fund further billboards in Launceston and Burnie, which she hopes will raise awareness about Tasmanian policies that harm children by allowing “gender affirming” hormone and medical treatments.
"All the research is saying that puberty blockers are harmful to children - why are we giving them to children?" she said.
On a post to its Facebook page on 30 June, the group called on Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff to defund Equality Tasmania for "promoting vandalism to private property; promoting hate to LGB people, especially lesbians; using threats and intimidation to business operators; threatening reputational damage to business operators and individuals who offer services to LGB, children's and women's rights groups; opposing basic human rights and freedom of speech of anyone who holds a different point of view; and promoting exclusion and division in the community."
The ‘battle of the billboards’ has been covered by multiple local and national media outlets, including The Examiner, The Advocate, 7 News and Sky News. While some coverage was more (and some much less) balanced than others, this, along with the unreasonable backlash from Equality Tasmania and the shameful act of vandalism by trans activists, has no doubt helped to provoke exactly the awareness and conversation that LGB Tasmania was hoping for.
Women’s Forum Australia condemns the vandalism of LGB Tasmania's billboard. It commends LGB Tasmania on its ‘Let kids be kids’ billboard campaign, and supports its aim, in conjunction with parents community group In Defence of Children, “to provide education and resources to schools, parents and the larger public to inform on the harms of social and medical transitioning of children”.
You can donate to LGB Tasmania's 'Let kids be kids' campaign, including the installation of new billboards here.
Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.
|I’ll stand with women ▷|