February 22nd 2020


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COVER STORY Coronavirus: China must answer hard questions

EDITORIAL Inquiry needed into medically transitioning children

CANBERRA OBSERVED Nationals leave the home paddock unattended

ENVIRONMENTALISM Bushfires are being used as fuel for green polling

GENDER POLITICS Senator Amanda Stoker takes a stand on transgenderism

RURAL AFFAIRS Drought loan scheme deficient in delivery

MANUFACTURING Renewables push puts aluminium smelters at risk

ENERGY Is agricultural biomass viable as an energy producer?

SOCIETY Cold is more lethal than heat worldwide

CLIMATE POLICY Adaptation: A better way to tackle global warming

LITERATURE AND SOCIETY The poetry of Distributism

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY What if the French had settled Australia?

HUMOUR Ern Malley Writers' Festival goes 'bang'

MUSIC Nina Simone: At the raw edge of pain

CINEMA Where wars intersect our lives: A Hidden Life, Midway

BOOK REVIEW Atheism with an Islamic cast gives way to the Catholic Church

BOOK REVIEW The janitor opened a door

POETRY

LETTERS

AS THE WORLD TURNS

CLIMATE POLITICS Business joins Big Brother in climate-change chorus

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EDITORIAL
Inquiry needed into medically transitioning children


by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, February 22, 2020

While the Queensland and Victorian governments are planning to ban counselling that would assist gender-confused people to accept their biological sexual identity, in Britain, a landmark case is being taken against the UK National Health Service (NHS) prescribing “experimental” puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

Queensland and Victoria are conducting inquiries into legislation to criminalise so-called “conversion therapy”, cautious therapeutic alternatives to “gender affirming” medical interventions.

The Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association is publicly opposing the proposed legislation, saying it “strongly supports” leading psychiatrist Philip Morris, who has questioned the capacity of person under 18 years of age to make decisions about life-altering hormonal treatment or surgery “now shown to be not without harm”.

Meanwhile, resistance to transitioning children is growing around the world.

Keira Bell was treated at
the Tavistock gender clinic.

The UK case involves a woman known only as Mrs A, who is suing the Tavistock gender centre to prevent her 15-year-old autistic daughter from being administered transitioning hormone treatment at the centre.

Mrs A’s barrister, Jeremy Hyam QC, says there are grave concerns over prescribing life-changing hormones to children under 18 and as young as 12. He said that the way informed consent was obtained from children was “materially misleading”, adding that Tavistock “omits, for example, to explain that nearly 100 per cent of all children who commence hormone blockers go on to take the irreversible cross-sex hormones”.

Mrs A said that she had “deep concerns” at the clinical approach to her daughter by the Tavistock centre, where she would “be subjected to an experimental treatment path that is not adequately regulated, where there are insufficient safeguards, where her autism will not be properly accounted for and where no one (let alone my daughter) understands the risks and therefore cannot ensure informed consent is obtained”.

She cited a post in the British Medical Journal on February 25, 2019, by Professor Carl Heneghan of the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

‘A STEP IN THE DARK’

Saying that hormone treatments are “a momentous step in the dark”, Professor Heneghan set out three main concerns: “1) young people are left in a state of ‘developmental limbo’ without secondary sexual characteristics that might consolidate gender identity; 2) use is likely to threaten the maturation of the adolescent mind; and 3) puberty blockers are being used in the context of profound scientific ignorance.”

Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who was treated as a teenager at the clinic, has joined the case. Mr Hyams QC said that Bell “now very seriously regrets the process and feels that the way it was handled and her involvement in it was not appropriate and her approach is to say, essentially, this should not happen to anyone else”.

There is a growing number of damaged, detransitioned people who are angry at the way they had been rushed through gender clinics.

University of Queensland Law Dean Professor Patrick Parkinson has told the Queensland Government inquiry that “gender affirming” medical intervention was “a medico-legal time bomb”, with the risk that children from the Brisbane gender clinic will emerge as regretful young adult “detransitioners” and “sue the Queensland government for serious medical negligence”.

In 2017, a young detransitioned female, Cari Stella, conducted a two-week survey on Survey Monkey and 197 women who had detransitioned responded. Their average age of transitioning was 17 and average age of detransitioning 21.

Complaining that there had been little or no research into alternative treatments, Stella said, “we don’t need conversion therapy, we need trauma-informed care [for what we had been through]”.

In the absence of alternative treatments, a British detransitioned woman, Charlie Evans, has established the Detransition Advocacy Network.

Several U.S. states are looking to ban the use of hormones and surgery to transition children. South Dakota’s lower house recently passed such a bill, which at the time of writing had stalled in the state’s Senate.

Given that Queensland and Victoria plan to make it illegal to offer treatments other than hormone and surgery for children with gender dysphoria, it is time the Australian Government held a parliamentary inquiry into children transitioning with a view to banning such experimental procedures on children.

Patrick J. Byrne is national president of the National Civic Council.




























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