Leading academic, Professor Patrick Parkinson has come out swinging in defence of Religious schools’ right not to accept the “new” gender identity of a child who wants to transition.

His paper, “Is Gender Identity Discrimination a Religious Freedom Issue?”, couldn’t have come at a better time given faith-based schools’ religious exemptions to anti-discrimination legislation is currently under review.

Our right to speak and act on issues of sexuality and gender identity stands to be severely impacted in the coming months.

According to the Professor, we could see “a fundamental clash of beliefs and values – and one which may, but need not be, resolved through the rather blunt instrument of the law”.

He used the example of a principal of a faith-based school deciding on a request from a student to change their gender.

The crisis of conscience may arise from a genuine belief that it is not in the best interests of the child or young person to affirm his or her transgender identification

Mr Parkinson argues that religious schools must be allowed to keep our exemptions to anti-discrimination legislation and that clarification is needed to resolve “the dilemmas now being created by laws which base changes to gender identity on nothing more than self-declaration.”

Anna Brown, chief executive of Equality Australia, disagrees.

Ms Brown is lobbying for religious bodies’ anti-discrimination exemptions to be axed altogether.

Certainly, a Christian schools’ idea of what’s best for the wellbeing of the kids in our care differs greatly to that of Ms Brown’s notion of the same, which is simply not supported by the science.

Which is why it is so important that our laws uphold our right to act according to our values and beliefs.

In this instance, freedom of religion is the freedom for us to act in the best interests of the child.