New publication gathers expert analyses on gender identity issues relating to children and teens
The call for a federal government inquiry into the rise of children and young people with gender identity issues and their treatment was renewed with the launch of a publication last week.
Australian Perspectives on Transgendering Children and Adolescents: Policy and Practice Implications draws together articles and submissions by Australian professionals from a variety of disciplines including law, paediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, law, parenting, women’s sports and sociology, along with a parent whose child sought to change sex as a teenager.
All are concerned about a lack of scientific evidence for the efficacy of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones in children and young people, lack of data on the long-term consequences of medical and surgical gender affirmation protocols, and the effect on medical ethics.
The authors also consider legal issues and the consequences of embodying trans rights in law and policy, for example the effect on girls’ and women’s sports.
At the publication launch on 18 August via Zoom, its publisher and editor Dr Geoff Holloway, a Tasmania-based health sociologist, said that his call for an inquiry in 2019 had been followed by a variety of individuals and organisations and that a wide-ranging government sponsored inquiry is needed “as a matter of urgency”.
“We’re still here and we’re not going to go away until we get the job done,” he said.
Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson said the law in at least three jurisdictions, Queensland, the ACT and Victoria, is actively causing harm to the mental health of children and young people since passing conversion therapy laws. In Victoria in particular, the laws which ban encouraging a person to change or suppress their gender identity, have a “chilling effect” of preventing some children and young people with great mental health needs from getting the support that they require, he said.
“The difficulty is that these young people are deeply troubled, they have a number of psychiatric comorbidities and these may help to explain why they experience gender confusion [or] gender identity disorder,” Mr Parkinson said.
“We are already hearing from Victoria in particular, that psychiatrists and psychologists are just not going anywhere near a patient who presents with [these] issues. They say if they are presenting with that, no matter how many other mental health problems they have, ‘I don’t want to touch it, it’s just too risky’. ’I don’t want the police knocking on my door or the other possibilities of professional investigations which may ensue from engaging with this patient’.
“The result may well be an increasing mental health burden including suicides of young people who can’t get the help they need because practitioners are too frightened to take them on as patients.”
Sydney psychologist Dr Dianna Kenny said that the phenomenon is a “major social contagion and psychic epidemic”. “Many of these vulnerable young people are groomed to declare their transgender identity after contact with transactivists groups online,” she said.
Dr Kenny said there is a “major overlap” between the characteristics of a cult and those of the trans lobby.
“One of which is to isolate young people from their families,” she explained. “They’re immediately told their families are transphobic and they’re the problem, and the parents who approach mental health facilities, like gender clinics and hospitals and paediatricians and endocrinologists, are told to affirm their young person and the problems will vanish.
“So the real question to me is why have these organisations succumbed to a madness, and it is a madness.
“Very few people are taking heed of the number of academics who are pointing out that gender ideology is flawed and we can’t base the medical treatment of vulnerable young people on flawed ideology.”
Professor of paediatrics Dr John Whitehall said that a number of overseas authors and decisions such as the UK High Court’s one to require court approval for “experimental” hormonal treatment of under 18s showed a growing consensus that children are too young to understand and give informed consent to such interventions.
The document is available as a free download at www.academia.edu