‘I am the high-heel-wearing, handbag-carrying son’: Stephen Jones’ son thanks father

‘I am the high-heel-wearing, handbag-carrying son’: Stephen Jones’ son thanks father

February 9, 2022

Paddy Quilter-Jones, the son of Labor frontbencher Stephen Jones, says he gave his father permission to talk about him in Parliament during the religious freedom law debate to encourage LGBTQI kids who don’t enjoy the support of their families.

The federal member for Whitlam revealed the suicide of his gay nephew, Ollie, and the worry he holds for the safety of his 14-year-old son – who wears high heels, carries handbags and wears makeup – during debate on the government’s proposed Religious Discrimination changes.

Paddy Quilter-Jones, son of Labor MP Stephen Jones.

While Paddy knew his father was delivering the speech to Parliament, the first time he saw it was when a friend sent it to him on the social media site TikTok.

“It made me cry,” he said in a video uploaded to the same platform in which he “outed” himself as the “high-heel wearing, handbag-carrying” son talked about by his father.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Wednesday night, Paddy, a designer, said he was nervous when his father asked if would be okay to talk about him in Parliament because he didn’t know if it would trigger a negative response.

“My thoughts were, if I’m feeling nervous, what’s a child who’s grown up with a family that doesn’t support them and doesn’t have that network of people around them?” Paddy said as Parliament debated the government’s proposals.

“They need someone they can see and has done this for a while and has experienced it.”

“People ask me this all the time, ‘Are you a boy? Are you a girl? Are you gay? Are you trans?’ And I usually say ’I’m just Paddy.”

Paddy, who began wearing heels and experimenting with makeup in year six, describes himself as “just Paddy.”

“People ask me this all the time, ‘Are you a boy? Are you a girl? Are you gay? Are you trans?’ And I usually say ‘I’m just Paddy,’” he said.

“ My whole thing is not putting yourself in a box and just being happy with who you are and not having to put a label on it.”

Paddy Quilter-Jones says he is ‘just Paddy’ and wants other kids like him to know they can be themselves.

Paddy says his family were supportive of him the moment he began donning female fashion. “My mum is the coolest ever and she’s my number one fan, I love her so much.”

“That’s why I said to dad, yes talk about me, you shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of who you are, you should just be able to have fun.”

While he said he was not interested in a political career himself, he could see himself entering the activism space.

Mr Jones’ powerful speech was well-received and came before a three-hour caucus meeting in which the Opposition pledged to amend the bills to protect trans and gay students and scale back its scope to override state and existing anti-discrimination laws.

This would require the support of several Liberal MPs to be successful.

The government’s proposals would allow religious schools to expel trans students, although not gay ones.

On Wednesday night, Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman told the House that he could not vote for the government’s laws.

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