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Signs of Hope in Australia?
The situation in Australia, with regard to gender ideology, is grim. Until recently there has been virtually no discussion or public dissent. The “trans kids” narrative has been uniformly celebrated by the media, schools, governments and organisations. I often sadly think of Australia (and our cousins in New Zealand), as being “the Canada of the southern hemisphere”. Tragic and disturbing stories of the effects on young people as a result of this are beginning to emerge. For example, the story of Jude’s daughter can be listened to here, or read here and here.
The only meaningful dissent in the mainstream press has been from the brave journalist Bernard Lane, who had his wings clipped by a complaint to Australia’s captured press regulatory body the Australian Press Council, following a complaint from a gender clinician. (The Press Council capture is explained here, from 22 minutes). He has mostly retreated to Substack, (along with most of the other decent journalists), where he continues to produce stellar journalism on the topic of gender clinics. (Here, for example, he takes aim at the weaponisation of suicidality by gender clinicians, including the one who took him to the Press Council).
The gender clinician who went after Bernard Lane is the director of the ultra affirming paediatric gender service at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria. This clinic is wryly and accurately described as a “super spreader of gender dysphoria” by Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Dr Di Kenney. The figures Dr Kenney presents showing the clustering of cases of gender dysphoria in more “trans friendly” states such as Victoria and Western Australia (and which is so typical of social contagion) are quite sobering.
This clinic, in particular, and the social, medical and surgical trans affirmation of minors in general, receive regular uncritical showcasing from Australia’s tax-payer funded public broadcaster, the ABC. This is despite the fact that the organization “has a statutory duty to provide reporting that is accurate, impartial, and presents a diversity of perspectives”. The ABC also routinely ignores international developments toward caution on this topic. They enjoy a very high level of trust from the Australian public, but seem quite happy to abuse that trust on this particular issue.
Just some of the many examples on one sided ABC coverage can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here (if you are not worn out after viewing all this material—there is plenty more. Just go to the ABC website and search “transgender children”. )
The ABC also provided an uncritical platform for the RCH gender clinic director’s grievance against Bernard Lane in their celebratory documentary about the service (more here), and lambasted Bernard’s “tireless campaign on the topic”—while neglecting to mention their own tireless campaign to promote the “trans kids” narrative, and the experimental medical interventions being practiced on them.
[Please note I mean no disrespect to the children and young people featured in the ABC coverage and I do wish them all the best—but I do not believe their interests are being well served by the ABC, or by the clinicians practicing unproven, radical social and medical interventions on them].
Even infants and toddlers are not safe. There was a recent report on the radio in a major Australian city that “Trans Day of Visibility” was being promoted in childcare centres, with parental concerns being brushed aside with the assurance that the centres were just “being inclusive”.
The ideology is in universities too. A feminist academic at the University of Melbourne, Dr Holly Lawford-Smith, who is also a lesbian, has been harassed, vilified, and subjected to condemnation by colleagues and students alike for speaking out on the erosion of women’s sex based rights as a result of sex self ID.
And indeed sex self ID, a source of such fierce debate in the UK, has already been implemented in several jurisdictions with barely a whisper of public discussion. Also, as explained here; “ In 2013, the biological definition of “woman” as “female” was removed from the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (SDA) and broad protections for “gender identity” were added…… the result is that this law—a law that was enacted to protect women’s sex-based rights—can no longer distinguish between “[male] women” and “[female] women” and therefore no longer perform its intended function”.
Several jurisdictions (Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria) have passed “conversion therapy laws” covering gender identity, and others are considering them. The one in Victoria has been described as among the strictest in the world. A good summary of the concerns written by a senior Australian lawyer can be found here. It could be used to criminalise even discussion between parents and their children, or among friends, regarding gender identity. It allows fines of up to $200,000 and prison terms of up to 10 years.
Despite multiple expressions of concern from doctors, lawyers, LGB people, and others, the law was passed without any public consultation and without amendments. There was much jeering in the parliament during the debate, with those expressing concerns described by one government minister as “scumbags”.
The bill amends the family violence act to make failure to affirm a person’s stated “gender identity” family violence. The implications of this are alarming when you consider that, since the law applies to minors, a parent who gently reorients even the youngest gender questioning child to their biological sex could be charged with family violence. Parents in Victoria have told me they are terrified of even discussing gender issues with their distressed, confused kids. They fear that the child or some friend or teacher may complain to the Human Right Commission (the new Commissioner is Ro Allen, pronouns they/them), child protection services, or even the police.
Governments in Australia provide millions of dollars in funding to organisations which promote gender ideology, and medicalization for gender distress. For example ACON received over 12 million dollars from the New South Wales state government in both the 2020 and 2021 financial years. They run Transhub, a website dedicated to promoting medicalization, including for minors. It features misleading information about the increasingly controversial puberty blockers, describing them as “an effective and safe part of the hormonal therapy toolkit for young trans people.”
Minus18, which, as the name suggests, promotes trans ideology directly to minors, also receives grants from both state and local governments. This organization promotes the dangerous “unsupportive family” narrative, and used to have a page on its site (now removed) explaining to minors how to hide their viewing of the site from parents.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Of course, despite the ideological capture in Australia, there have been plenty of brave principled people trying to make change. There is an Australian branch of the LGB Alliance. Several groups have formed to highlight the harms done by gender ideology, here, and here.
A number of accomplished and senior Australian clinicians have been taking action; getting involved in the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine, writing journal articles and journalistic commentary, and collecting and distributing resources questioning the affirmative model for minors. World renowned Australian autism expert, Tony Attwood, has spoken out to express his concerns about the very high proportion of youth presenting with gender distress who are autistic, and warned that transition may not be a fix for their complex issues. Australian psychologist, autism expert and bestselling author, Tania Marshall, has been collecting testimonials from Australian health care professionals on the effect of gender ideology on their work with children, in preparation for a book on the topic. They make for disturbing reading.
Clinicians, lawyers and others have begun to collaborate to produce publications and hold meetings to discuss these vital issues. In 2021, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists published a new position statement on gender dysphoria, which acknowledged the complexity of the issues, and the need for comprehensive assessments. Needless to say (as noted in the linked newspaper report), the trans activists were not pleased.
Also in 2021, clinicians at the Westmead Hospital paediatric gender service in Sydney published a paper which clearly outlined the high levels of co-morbidities, trauma and family dysfunction in children presenting to the service, and their concerns that the young people and families had unrealistic expectations of receiving immediate medical interventions and were resistant to any form of proper assessment. The self styled “peak body” of gender clinicians, Auspath, was not pleased and explicitly advised clinicians to ignore the paper in a misleading public statement (though giving no satisfactory explanation for this stance).
Other journalists are also starting to open up discussion on this issue. Sky News has provided some coverage throughout but, with political polarization the way it is, they can easily be dismissed as “right wing bigots”. There have been occasional balanced articles from journalists other than Bernard Lane, mainly in the last year or so.
Public discussion on trans issues has really increased in recent weeks as a result of Katherine Deves running for Parliament in the seat of Warringah in the federal election scheduled for May 21st 2022. Kath, who is a lawyer, is a campaigner for women’s sex based rights (especially in sport), and also opposes medical transition of minors. She gives an excellent summary of many of the issues around gender in Australia in this interview with Kellie-Jay Keen.
She has received death threats for her troubles, and has had to move her young children out of their home as a result. It is striking that this news report on the matter vilifies Kath by referring to her comments on social media about medicalization of kids as “transphobic”, yet fails to condemn what is clearly a very serious misogynistic hate crime—threats of murder for defending women’s rights, necessitating uprooting a young family from their home. Along the same lines, the ABC launched a 7 minute tirade against Kath in which they opined that she was "casting herself as the victim" for daring to complain to the media about the death threats. They also commented that her suggestion that there was a link between autism and gender dysphoria was "crazy stuff". This link is, in fact, well documented, which the journalist involved would have known if they had bothered to actually do any research—a thirty second google search would have sufficed.
In a situation of almost comical absurdity, the incumbent in the seat of Warringah is a female Olympic medallist. Nevertheless she seems unable to fathom the problems with men competing in women’s sports, and has been quite happy to join the pile-on against Kath Deves), presumably in an attempt to occupy the moral high ground and hold onto her seat.
Much of the coverage of Kath Deves’ campaign in the media has been biased and inaccurate, but the increase in publicity around this topic has been associated with some exciting developments in recent days.
Firstly, the parent of a child damaged by trans ideology (whose story was referred to in the first paragraph) has featured in an interview on a popular Sydney radio station. Jude was allowed 10 minutes to tell her daughter’s tragic story, and expose the medical abuse she suffered. This might seem like a small thing—but for Australia, it is huge. Please listen to her story, and salute her courage, loyalty and good old fashioned mother’s love. She is a true inspiration to all the parents, family and friends fighting against this thing. Jude's story, as told in the radio interview, has also appeared in the Daily Mail Australian edition.
Secondly, a blistering critique of “gender affirming medical care” of minors was posted on Substack by a named Australian paediatrician, Dr Dylan Wilson. (If the letter has been removed, you can access an archived version here.
The statement is presented as an open letter to Australian doctors, and explains, in no uncertain terms, and in great detail, the realities of “gender affirmation” of children. This is without doubt one of the best pieces I have ever read on this topic (and believe me, as the parent of a gender questioning kid, I have read hundreds).
The letter is quite long, but here are a few key excerpts.
.…there exists a service at my local children’s hospital, and at other hospitals around the country, to which I will never refer a child. I believe this service is not appropriate for children, and is actively doing harm, and this open letter is my way of reaching out to you to urge you to consider your role in this referral pathway.
I am talking about the paediatric gender service at my local children’s hospital..
There is a simple reason why Ms. Deves tweeted about children being surgically mutilated and sterilised.
It’s because children are being surgically mutilated and sterilised.
Around the world, there are girls as young as 13 who have had a bilateral mastectomy because of the dysphoria about their bodies.
If a child has their body arrested at Tanner stage 2, how does that child develop fertility? The simple answer is, they can’t. We all need the later stages of puberty to fully develop sperm and eggs. They have been sterilised by medical means. They have been sterilised by doctors at our children’s hospitals.
If a child has their body arrested at Tanner stage 2, how does a child develop sexual function? The simple answer is, they can’t. They have been rendered sexually dysfunctional adults by medical means, by doctors at our children’s hospitals.
When a child enters the clinic of a paediatric gender endocrinologist for their first injection of a puberty blocker, they have zero endocrine disease……………..Yet when they leave, the paediatric gender endocrinologist has induced abnormal hormone levels.
They are inducing iatrogenic disease. On purpose. Not as a side effect, but deliberately.
[iatrogenic refers to disease caused by medical interventions—usually unintentionally, as a side effect of treatments intended to be healing. Deliberately inducing disease is normally regarded as highly unethical by doctors.]
In what other circumstance would this be considered acceptable? Within endocrinology, can you imagine another similar circumstance? If any endocrinologist was to deliberately elevate or suppress a patient’s thyroxine level outside the normal range, they would be subjected to disciplinary action. But it has been deemed acceptable for paediatric gender endocrinologists to do this with gonadotropins and sex hormones. Why?....
No child should be treated in a clinic, run by a tertiary children’s hospital, that places ideology above self-reflection and evidence. No child should be treated in a clinic that doesn’t have the courage in its convictions to come out and publicly acknowledge that they are in fact sterilising children. No child should be treated in a clinic that does not disclose its treatments, its numbers, or any statistics. If you refer a child to my local children’s hospital paediatric gender clinic, what is the likelihood that child will be given puberty blockers? What is the likelihood they won’t stop them? I asked my local clinic, and they wouldn't tell me.
We are in the midst of a medical scandal. This is happening under our noses.
It’s likely I will attract criticism about “politicising children”, given the election. But when are we going to have this conversation in Australia? When are we going to confront and acknowledge the reality of what we are doing to children, even if you’re convinced it’s the right path? If not now, when? When a critical number of those children look back on the life they’ve been given and ask why did it happen? It will be too late. It is already too late for some. Right now, in Australia, there are children, teenagers and adults among us who have been committed to this lifetime of medicalisation. I want to make sure there aren’t any more.
Primum non nocere.
Please read this letter, and share widely in your own country. Those of us fighting this ideology know the risks of speaking out. Please show Dr Wilson some love. Comment under his letter, share it widely, and subscribe to his new Substack. It sounds like we might be hearing more from this brave man—especially if he can be shown there is a groundswell of people cheering him on.
Send this letter to all the doctors you know—anonymously if need be. This is still a niche area and many (perhaps most) doctors simply do not have any idea of what is going on. Doctors trust their colleagues—as they deserve to—and must, when medical knowledge and practice is so wide now that no doctor can be familiar with any more than a small part of it. Doctors around the world need to know the truth about the inappropriately named “gender medicine”.
To doctors and health professionals reading this, I say—please begin to act. You know this information is accurate. Take inspiration from this incredibly brave man. There IS risk—how much you can do will vary depending on where you live. But please begin. Quietly show this letter to a colleague you trust if you cannot safely do anything else. The word will spread. It has to start somewhere, and around the world, the tide IS turning. If all this is new to you, and you find it hard to even believe, visit the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine. Follow the links and read the studies. It is all there.
To all Australians reading this, I say—we need to stop this. Let’s follow the example of the wonderful “TERF Island” (the UK) and get public discussion and robust debate happening on this issue. Demand the ABC, politicians and schools do their jobs and stop facilitating harm to the young people of Australia. Demand the threatening bullies trying to silence debate are held to account.
Let’s get this sorry excuse for “medical care” stopped.