Dispatches from Down Under: The State of the Nation

As explained in some detail here, gender ideology and the medicalization of gender questioning kids are well entrenched in Australia. The breakthrough into the mainstream media of the horrifying story of Jude’s daughter (for example, herehere and here), also told at Genspect’s conference on ROGD last year, has been one of a few recent hopeful developments. 

In the recent election, the centre-right Liberal/National Coalition government has been ousted, and the centre-left Labour party has been elected with a very narrow majority. (Note that, in Australia, the term “politically liberal” is not used, and the Liberal Party is in fact conservative). Although the previous government did very little to stem the march of gender ideology across Australia, if the new government follows the example of left-wing governments elsewhere, things may go from bad to worse for gender questioning kids and their families. 

The new government fell well short of a majority in the upper house (the Senate), so will need support from other parties to pass legislation. In reality, this means they will frequently need to secure the votes of the twelve senators from the Greens. This gives the Greens significant bargaining power. Their wish list for LGBT policy includes “making schools safer” (which undoubtedly means even more gender ideology in schools), and public funding for “gender affirming care”, despite the lack of a proper evidence base for these interventions.

With regard to other important developments in Australia, in recent days some concerning information about the implementation of the draconian new “conversion therapy” law in the state of Victoria has come to light. A good summary of the law, written by a senior lawyer, can be found here: note that no amendments were made to the draft law described, despite expressions of concern from stakeholders such as the LGB AllianceLiberal MP Bernie Finnand the Victorian branches of the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

As Australian journalist Bernard Lane reports:

The website of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission gives several examples of illegal practices, including: “a parent refusing to support their child’s request for medical treatment that will enable them to prevent physical changes from puberty that do not align with the child’s gender identity and denying their child access to any health care services that would affirm their child’s gender identity”.

When questioned by Lane, the Commission appeared to back away from this claim – although, notably, the original wording remains on their website). A spokesman stated that: 

[I]t would be unlawful (but not a criminal offence) to prevent a child from accessing health care service for the purpose of exploring and affirming their gender identity. Subsequent decisions about treatment are a matter for determination between appropriately qualified clinicians in consultation with a child’s parent.

Given that the conversion therapy law effectively mandates affirmation, this is small comfort. Clinicians are likely – or may even consider themselves legally obliged – to refer to the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Gender Service. And that’s if they’re even prepared to see the child in the first place: Professor of Law Patrick Parkinson AM submission to the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill shows how children may be denied care due to fear of this law (see p.6 of the submission for testimonies).

Often showcased by the national broadcaster, the Service forcefully promotes medicalization of minors for gender issues. The clinicians who work there fail to acknowledge the international controversy and rapidly-shifting landscape around these interventions, and are happy to promote the harmful, misleading suicide narrative despite frequent correspondence from experts in the field advising them not to do so.

They seem incurious about the reasons behind the skyrocketing numbers of young people being referred to their clinic, with the head of the clinic even referring to social contagion as “a discredited theory”. Some of them even co-authored a paper arguing that it is ethical to place a child who is afraid of puberty and identifies as “nonbinary” on puberty blockers for the rest of her life. They also seem unmoved by the growing number of Australian clinicians and academics who are publishing academic papers and studies (such as here and here) expressing grave concerns about gender medicine.

On May 16th this year, a brave Australian paediatrician, Dr Dylan Wilson, took the extraordinary step of publishing an open letter to Australian doctors on Substack, urging them not to refer their young patients to gender clinics. He writes:

… 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, […] I am talking about the paediatric gender service …

He goes on to describe in graphic detail the harms being done, which include rendering young people permanently sterile, causing sexual dysfunction, including anorgasmia, and turning them into lifelong medical patients with disordered endocrine systems. This letter has international resonance, and the Australian members of Genspect would strongly encourage you to disseminate the Substack post or its PDF equivalent as far and wide as you can.

In light of the realities being described by Dr Wilson, it should be of grave concern to all parents that the government of a supposedly advanced, secular democracy is attempting to use legal coercion to force its citizens to surrender their gender-questioning children to undergo experimental, harmful medical interventions. 

Anyone wishing to follow the gender clinic debate in Australia is advised to subscribe to the free Substack of Australian journalist Bernard Lane. Bernard is doing excellent, rigorous investigative journalism on the situation in Australia, as well as focusing on international developments. His previous journalism on this topic is available at The Australiannewspaper (paywalled).

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