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Monica Doumit: A day of reckoning on trans kids looms

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Very little has been said publicly in Australia about what is happening to children who present as transgender, and moves by successive, progressive governments to prevent anything but affirming the gender transition of kids ensures the silence will continue, writes Monica Doumit. Photo: Unsplash

Authorities around the world have been spooked into blindly facilitating irreversible procedures for children – despite the increasing evidence of the damage done

In 2003, the Gender Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne received one referral of a child who was experiencing gender dysphoria. Six years later, in 2009, the numbers remained low, with six children receiving referrals that year.

Then in 2010, the ironically-named Safe Schools, focused on gender and sexual diversity of children, was launched in Victoria. By 2013, the year the program received federal funding, the Gender Clinic received 40 referrals for gender diverse children.

As the program expanded and transgender children started to feature more prominently in popular culture, the numbers increased. In 2020, the same clinic received 473 referrals for children presenting with gender dysphoria.

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One child a year in 2003. More than one child a day in 2020. Similar increases are being reported across the US and UK as well.

Over a 17-year period, the Gender Clinic has seen a whopping 47,000 per cent increase in children presenting with gender dysphoria. Even if you just take the 10 years from 2010-20, there is still greater than a 5,000 per cent increase in cases.

It’s only getting worse. Surveys show that 2.3 per cent of Australian students in Years 10-12 at school report being transgender or gender diverse. That’s an extraordinary number of kids who are susceptible to being cycled through the transgender industry (and yes, it is an industry). Given this, there should be much more attention on what is happening to kids who present as gender diverse.

Very little has been said publicly in Australia, and moves by successive, progressive governments to prevent anything but affirming the gender transition of kids ensures the silence will continue.

Overseas, however, significant noise is being made.

You would all likely remember the case of Keira Bell, a young UK woman who was prescribed puberty blockers at age 16, testosterone at age 17 and then underwent a double mastectomy in order to transition to a male at age 20, only to experience significant trauma as a result. She failed all her final school exams and her mental health did not improve. Ultimately, she sued Tavistock, the gender clinic in the UK, for prescribing her the drugs without inquiring into or treating any other conditions.

Children and young people are being given puberty blockers, cross-hormone treatment and surgical interventions with no evidence to show these ‘treatments’ are beneficial.”

The case failed but it made enough of an impact for England’s National Health Service (NHS) to commission an independent review, headed by Dr Hillary Cass, former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The review is ongoing, but the interim report was so shocking that it has caused the NHS to order the closure of the Tavistock clinic. Among the concerns raised were the dramatic increase in referrals (50 children per annum in 2009 increasing to 2500 children in 2020), the inconclusive national and international evidence on the management of children with gender dysphoria, the lack of data collected to track the outcomes for children who are put through the clinic, the lack of national and international long-term follow up data on children who have transitioned, the “very limited research on the sexual, cognitive or broader developmental outcomes” of puberty blockers and the lack of peer review of the work of the gender clinic.

Additionally, staff told the review that they “under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach and that this is at odds with the standard process of clinical assessment and diagnosis that they have been trained to undertake in all other clinical encounters.”

In other words, children and young people are being given puberty blockers, cross-hormone treatment and surgical interventions with no evidence to show these “treatments” are beneficial, little data collected about the ongoing experience of patients, little national or international evidence of long-term effects and staff are pressured to depart from their clinical training and simply ‘affirm’ the gender dysphoria.

It is no wonder that a class action lawsuit has been announced, with more than 1000 families joining to sue Tavistock for clinical negligence and a failure of their duty of care towards children and young adults. 1000 families is huge, given the relative newness of the gender treatment.

In Australia, however, the gender clinics remain open, the reach of the transgender activists into schools increasingly pervasive and anyone who cautions restraint vilified, cancelled and compelled into silence. The Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission website states a parent who refuses to support a child’s request for puberty blockers is breaking the law.

There will be a royal commission into this day, of this I am certain. The question is how much damage to children and families state and federal governments will allow to occur in the meantime.

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