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Transgender Pathology

Gary JohnsApril 16, 2024
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Dr Jillian Spencer is a senior psychiatrist who was suspended from duties at Queensland’s Children’s Hospital after she questioned the ‘gender-affirming model’ of assessment that has children looking for a way to relieve them of their gender-related distress. She said, “My obligation to my employer to keep the harm to children secret clashes with my obligation and responsibility as a psychiatrist to speak out when the care being delivered to children isn’t safe and isn’t evidence-based.’ She railed against the guidelines established for the affirmation model by ‘hard-line activist clinicians.’

As senior psychiatrist Dr Andrew Amos has written, the in-vogue gender-affirming model of care in the treatment of trans people is ‘incompatible with competent, ethical medical practice’ because healthcare professionals ‘cannot assess but must affirm patient-reported gender identity.’ Treatment is contingent ‘upon the unconstrained subjective experiences of children and potentially disturbed adults’. Underlying pathologies are banned from scrutiny.

Transgender is a political diagnosis. Mercifully, very few people suffer from gender dysphoria. The debate among the ‘trans’ community and their medical support, and the remainder of the medical profession, is whether offering radical changes in appearance solves dysphoria. For the young, a permanent medical intervention for what may be a temporary condition or a pathology is a shocking error in medicine.

The most egregious field in which gender ideology finds its victims is those who suffer from gender-related distress. Gender ideology insists that gender is a choice. This is a foul conceit. There are only two biological sexes. How one feels about their birth gender is a different matter. Not feeling or looking like the male/female assignment at birth can be a tragedy. As god loves all his creatures, so must those suffering from dysphoria be loved. But celebrated? What is the goal of the Official Day of Trans Visibility, for example? A celebration of life or illness? Does it not act to recruit the vulnerable? Those suffering from gender dysphoria seek medical attention; ipso facto, they are sick. The real issue lies in the ‘remedies’. Do they work, and are they proven?

The National Health Service of England commissioned the Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People, chaired by Dr Hilary Cass, to review the affirmation model in the UK. Her scathing conclusion was ‘that we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress.’ As for causes of gender dysphoria, she found that it emerged particularly among Generation Z and was closely associated with social media use.

How is it that a tiny group of people, the trans lobby, could convince parliaments and some professionals to allow interventions for gender-related distress, especially among the young, for which there is no proof of efficacy? One clue is the publication Only Adults? sponsored by the Thomson Reuters Foundation with work undertaken by Dentons for the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth & Student Organisation. The report notes that ‘more than four in five trans young people had self-harmed.’ This is distressing and unsurprising, but would affirming their ‘status’ or encouraging and enabling their ‘transition’ help or hinder them?

The Denton report urged NGOs to get ahead of government and publish ‘progressive’ legislative proposals before the government had time to develop its own. The Victorian Labor government obliged and needed little encouragement to pass an Act, not on the relatively simple matter of gender recognition but prohibiting those who counsel against gender-affirming medical interventions.

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 made it illegal to counsel someone against ‘affirming’ their stated gender. The Act primarily aims to ‘denounce’ and ‘prohibit’ change or suppression practices. The meaning is so twisted as to defy belief. This is not to denounce those who wish to change a person’s gender by medical means but to cruel those who would counsel against someone who wanted to change their gender.

The Victorian Act denounces the allegedly ‘serious harm’ caused by suppression practices. It does so on the basis that ‘a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not broken and in need of fixing’ and ‘no sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes a disorder, disease, illness, deficiency or shortcoming’.

The effect of such Parliamentary madness is that people who suffer the uncertainties of youth in an age when gender is considered ‘fluid’ are offered a ‘solution’. The proponents argue their solution saves the sufferers from suicide. But the numbers seeking the solution are rising. Is the cause the affirmation remedy?

The Queensland’s Children’s Hospital should be held accountable for its affirmation model, not brave practitioners like Jillian Spencer.

Gary Johns is chair of Close the Gap Research

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