Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reversed his support to ban biological men from competing against women in professional sport.
The topic has been making international headlines as international transgender competitors (who are biological men) set unattainable records against women.
LGBT activist groups remain vocal online, pushing for the normalisation of transgender individuals competing in the gender category they feel comfortable with.
However, public opinion, particularly among feminist groups, is firmly behind the strict segregation of sport via biological gender in the interest of competitive fairness.
Scott Morrison’s earlier comments on the topic that won him praise with conservative voters were made in relation to his ‘captain’s pick’ candidate for Warringah, Katherine Deves. Deves is the co-founder of the Save Women’s Sport group – an activist organisation started to protect the rights and future of biological women in sport.
The Prime Minister had said that Deves was ‘standing up for something that is really important’.
“Katherine is, you know, an outstanding individual […] and she’s standing up for things that she believes in, and I share her views on those topics. And it’s got nothing to do with the broader gender debates. This is just about common sense and what’s right.”
After Morrison threw his weight behind the candidate for Warringah, Deves’ social media history was brought up, with LGBT activists publicising comments that they did not like, which were subsequently picked up by the left-leaning press in a media pile-on.
Yesterday, Deves expunged her social media accounts of trans-related content, which only intensified the trolling.
One deleted Tweet from Deves read, ‘They will not stand for seeing vulnerable children surgically mutilated and sterilised in furtherance of an unattainable idea. The lawsuits will be legion, as the will the government inquiries. Complete failure of safeguarding. Mark my words.’
In this case, Deves was referring to young girls having double mastectomies and other treatments that leave trans people sterile for life. Deves had reblogged a photo of an American teenager with her breasts recently removed, with the accompanying message, ‘This photo just hit my feed. It is beyond heartbreaking.’
Recent polls show that Deves’ position is widely held, not only among conservatives, but the broader community. Regardless, media pressure saw her self-censor and issue an apology.
“My advocacy for the rights and safety of women and girls is well known, and I stand by my desire to ensure we protect the safety of women and girls and our entire community. However, the language I used was not acceptable, and for that I apologise. My commitment is to continue listening to the views of people in Warringah, and the broader community – I will do this in a respectful way,” said Deves, in a statement to the Daily Mail Australia.
Morrison has now said that his comments regarding trans individuals competing in sport were actually in relation to Ms Chandler’s Private Member’s Bill, not Deve’s (now deleted) comments on the subject. The Prime Minister has lost his nerve on the Bill as well, indicating that his government ‘does not have any plans for that to be a government Bill’.
The seat of Warringah is a hotly contested for the left. It was previously held by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott before being won by Independent Zali Steggall running on a left-wing platform of reneawables with the financial backing of GetUp!. Deves was meant to be the Liberal’s answer to Steggall, but she has been relentlessly targeted by activist groups.