Last week, I wrote about a significant Swedish study that found surgery, hormonal treatment or both to transition a person’s gender provided no mental health benefits to the patient.
The study annihilates claims by activists that gender transition is the only way to prevent suicides and self-harm within the transgender community, and particularly amongst transgender youth, and that medical professionals, including paediatricians, surgeons, psychologists and psychiatrists, should be prevented from offering any treatment that isn’t “gender-affirming.”
This is what is known as a ban on “conversion therapy.”
It is a clever use of language by activists, because it sounds bad, and very few people are game enough to stand up and support “conversion therapy.”
But, as Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby cleverly points out, “conversion therapy” is a misnomer: religions are in the business of “conversion” and it is something we are all called to, daily.
Psychologists and counsellors and others are in the business of “therapy.” The two are separate ideas, and should not be spoken of together in order to create confusion and fear.
I wrote last week that a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” was on the cards in Victoria, South Australia and the ACT, and had been put on the backburner in Queensland.
Well, a week was all it took to make a liar out of me because, on Thursday evening, Queensland became the first state to outlaw this so-called “conversion therapy.” Also on
Thursday, a bill for a similar ban was tabled in the ACT parliament and, absent a miracle, will be rushed through and passed by the time you are reading this column.
I think we can all agree that historical “conversion” practices like electroshock therapy, the use of nausea-inducing drugs and attempts to force changes to speech or gait are not in accord with the human dignity of the individual person.
But the ban on “conversion therapy” is much broader than that, with Queensland’s law including a ban on “suppression” of sexual orientation or gender identity, having the effect of prohibiting any type of assistance from a health practitioner that does not encourage of affirm a person’s decision to undergo a gender transition or pursue same-sex sexual activity.
What does this look like in practice?
Imagine you are a heterosexual, married man living in Queensland, who is attracted to a woman who is not your wife. You are also a Catholic, who believes in the Church’s teaching that sexual activity is only appropriate between a married man and woman, and want to live by those beliefs.
In those circumstances, you would be permitted to seek help from a psychologist to control your extra-marital attraction so that you can live in accordance with your beliefs.
The situation is not the same if you are a homosexual, single man living in Queensland, who is attracted to another man.
Like the person in our previous scenario, you are a Catholic who believes in the Church’s teaching that sexual activity is only appropriate between a married man and woman, and want to live by those beliefs.
Unlike the previous example, however, you would not be able to seek help from a psychologist to control your attractions so that you can live in accordance with your beliefs, because the psychologist would be prohibited from assisting you in “suppressing” your sexual attractions.
In this comparison, it is clear that this isn’t about forcing equal treatment, but pushing an ideology that actually prioritises same-sex sexual activity over any other form of sex. It is a world completely upside down.
As scary as this is, it isn’t the worst part.
Imagine that you are a parent living in the ACT or Queensland and your four-year-old daughter insists that she is a boy.
Previously, you might have thought it wise to take her to see a paediatrician or a child psychologist to understand the cause of this dysphoria and how best to help your daughter feel comfortable as a girl.
But now, this will be impossible, because health practitioners will be liable for a fine of up to $20,000 and 18 months in prison if they do anything except promote “gender-affirming” treatments.
This means that a parent with a young child experiencing gender dysphoria will be left with the impossible choice of either seeking “gender-affirming” treatment for their child or no treatment at all.
These gender-affirming treatments are not for the faint-hearted. They can include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormonal treatment (with an unknown effect on fertility) and surgical treatment, such as mastectomies for post-pubescent girls who identify as boys.
The ideological nature of this push is even more diabolical given the study I wrote about last week showing that gender-affirming treatment and practices have no mental health benefits and might in fact increase risks to the mental health of patients with gender dysphoria.
Make no mistake, this is an attack on parents’ rights, substituting the decision of left-wing governments for those of the parents when it comes to the raising of their children.
Sitting back and doing nothing because the phrase “conversion therapy” makes us feel uncomfortable is not a good enough excuse. The lives of children and the protection of the family unit is at stake.