By Jonathon Van Maren
Right across the West, rates of so-called transgender children are spiking. Back in March, I reported that the numbers of Canadian children identifying as transgender were soaring, with the CBC referring to “exponential growth.” In the United Kingdom, as I noted back in 2018, the government has commissioned an investigation into why the rate of children asking to physically transition into the opposite sex has gone up by 4000%. And in February of 2018, I took a look at sky-rocketing numbers in the United States, as well. This phenomenon has taken root wherever the LGBT movement has, and the rates of children with gender confusion are exploding.
Last week, I noted that experts are increasingly stepping forward to warn that this experiment is not going to end well—and now, Australian clinicians are stepping forward as their rates of trans kids beings to spike dramatically, as well. From The Australian:
Clinicians are calling for an urgent national inquiry into the safety and ethics of giving unproven hormone drug treatment to ever younger children who are confused about sex and gender. A detailed submission, arguing that risks including infertility and lifelong regret outweigh the benefits to trans children and teenagers, was sent yesterday to Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
The first national figures, obtained under freedom of information legislation from major hospitals in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, show 2415 children were referred for gender treatment between 2014 and last year, with a 41 per cent increase in Victoria. Girls as young as nine are believed to be put on “puberty blocker” drugs, and boys from about 11.
A poorly understood surge in children and teens identifying as transgender — especially girls whose body perception can be more fraught — has arrived in the past five to 10 years. The call for an inquiry by health sociologist Geoff Holloway, who wrote the submission, has been backed by 2019 Senior Australian of the Year paediatrician Sue Packer, Western Sydney University paediatrics professor John Whitehall and developmental psychologist Dianna Kenny.
“Who gave ethics approval for this treatment (at children’s hospitals) when it lacks any scientific basis and therefore is an experiment?” Professor Whitehall said. “We should give the psychiatry and psychology a full run before we start castrating children.”
The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, whose national standards for treatment of young people with bodily discomfort or “gender dysphoria” have been hailed as the “most progressive” in the world, has the biggest caseload in the country. It champions the internationally dominant “affirmation model” in which going along with the child’s wish to transition is often seen by clinicians, with good intentions, as compassionate and necessary.
The Weekend Australian put detailed questions to the hospital but was referred to the standards. The rationale for puberty blockers, claimed to be safe and reversible, was to give the child respite from unwanted development, ease suffering and allow time to sort out identity. Critics point out virtually all those on blockers go on to cross-sex hormones (and sometimes surgery), meaning an irrevocable transition to a medical approximation of the opposite sex. This makes them lifelong patients with a range of potential complications and a high risk of infertility, clinicians say.
Professor Whitehall said there was no rigorous long-term evidence that puberty blockers were safe and reversible for younger children, and studies in adults and sheep suggested damage to the growing human brain could not be ruled out. The new standards flag the need for more research, “a comprehensive exploration” of a child’s history and fertility counselling. Professor Whitehall said informed consent was an illusion because children and teens could not grasp the life-changing nature of the decisions, even if gender clinics gave a more accurate idea of cost-benefit balances.
Critics say still-maturing young people are immersed in a world where many parents, teachers, clinicians, friends and social media are captured by emotive promotion of trans status, while activists try to suppress scepticism or inquiry as “hateful transphobia”. Dr Holloway, who says the role of culture in gender dysphoria is unmistakeable, said: “People who object to what’s going on, they can lose their jobs, quite apart from being ostracised. This is supposed to be a scientific endeavour, not a witch hunt.”
In Britain, the well-known Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service has come under scrutiny, with ex-staff saying trans lobby pressure has contaminated clinical decisions. The clinic is running “an unregulated live (hormone drug) experiment on children”, says Oxford University’s professor of evidence-based medicine, Carl Heneghan, who points to the scarcity, weakness and brevity of supporting studies.
Critics say the trans lobby has encouraged conflation of the biological fact of birth sex with changeable gender identity. Clinicians stress the suffering of gender-confused children is real, and requires a compassionate response, but they put the case for non-intrusive therapy to bring distorted gender ideas into line with the reality of biological sex, rather than a risky medical reinvention of the body.
Dr Kenny said she believed gender dysphoria was in part “a social construct … propagated through the processes of groupthink and social contagion”. Sceptical clinicians say the affirmation model too readily puts children on a path to medical intervention when evidence suggests the vast majority of those with early “gender dysphoria” will grow out of it, many emerging as gay or bisexual.
The rush to puberty blockers disrupts this self-correcting process and often involves only a cursory examination of mental health issues, family trauma, autism and other factors that may predate the gender dysphoria, it’s argued.
“Far be it from anybody to say that there are absolutely no people in the world who are genuinely gender dysphoric and who find it impossible to live in their biological sex,” said Dr Kenny, a clinician who until recently was a psychology professor at Sydney University. “What I’m saying is it’s been massively and irresponsibly over-diagnosed … (these children and teens) are going to be irrevocably damaged by the treatment they received.”
Trans activists, of course, are dismissing these concerns, and I expect that a campaign to demonize these critics will be underway shortly. In the meantime, the experiment on the unsuspecting guinea pigs–children–will continue unabated.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.