Prime Minister Scott Morrison has continued to back Katherine Deves as his hand-picked member for Warringah, even after Ms Deves said that transgender people were “mutilated” when they transitioned.
Ms Deves is a former lawyer and current activist who has a shared opinion on women’s sport being a “level playing field” with the Prime Minister, although she did apologise last week for “insensitive” comments about transgender people that resurfaced from old social media posts.
Allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sport has been one of the key issues ahead of the Federal Election, sparking numerous controversial comments from both sides of parliament.
Ms Deves also compared her lobbyist group Save Women’s Sport to French resistance against Nazi Germany in the posts, drawing widespread criticism from commentators and politicians alike.
However, Ms Deves seemed to double down on her original comments, describing trans children as being “surgically mutilated” yesterday.
“It’s very emotive, and it’s very confronting, and it’s very ugly [the surgery],” Ms Deves said.
“So of course, people are going to be offended, but when you look at medical negligence cases, that is the terminology that they use.
I’m apologising for how people might have perceived it, and the fact that it is confronting, and it is ugly, and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Mr Morrison today confirmed Ms Deves had his full support, and that the issue being raised was “of concern” and “troubling”.
“What we’re talking about here is gender reversal surgery for young adolescents … we can’t pretend this type of surgery is a minor procedure,” he said.
Human rights groups outside the press conference informed the Prime Minister that his comments were “categorically incorrect”; stating the law on transgender Australians being ineligible for surgery until they are 18.
Transcend Australia CEO Jeremy Wiggins was critical of the Prime Minister’s interpolations and accused him of distributing misinformation.
“It’s actually concerning that he would use his platform to ignore the evidence and spread misinformation in such an insensitive way that will no doubt cause great harm to an already highly persecuted and marginalised group of young people,” he said.
The Liberal faction had called for Ms Deves to be removed as a candidate, but Mr Morrison stood strong and said he would not “silence her” for her views.