Australia’s child gender clinics should also be closed following the shutting of the Tavistock clinic in London last week.
Tavistock was famously sued by Kiera Bell who was placed on puberty blockers as a 16-year-old struggling with mental health. She later went on to have her breasts removed.
Bell welcomed Tavistock’s closure following a long-running review which found it was harming children with experimental treatments.
“I’m over the moon,” Bell told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
“Many children will be saved from going down the path that I went down.
“I went through a lot of distress as a teenager. Really I just needed some mental health support and therapy from everything that I’ve been through. There needs to be mental health support first and foremost.”
In another interview with the Daily Mail, Bell said: “I just hope that what this (closure) means is the end of medicalisation of children (with gender confusion)”.
Paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass was asked to review Tavistock by the National Health Service after Bell’s case and after other whistle-blowers had been ignored for years.
Cass found that the Tavistock’s model of care is ‘not safe’ for children and recommended new services in regional areas that do not prescribe puberty blockers and hormones to children.
Corresponding with LGBTIQA+ political activism to de-gender marriage and promote gender fluid ideology in schools, children treated at Tavistock ballooned from around 250 in 2011/12 to 5000 in 2021/22.
The Times of London reported that Tavistock was seeing children as young as three.
Spiked Online reported Cass as saying that puberty blockers could be dangerous.
“Brain maturation may be temporarily or permanently disrupted by puberty blockers, which could have a significant impact on the ability to make complex risk-laden decisions, as well as possible longer-term neuropsychological consequences,” the paediatrician said.
Norway and Finland have in recent years urged caution in treating children for gender dysphoria but Australian politicians have ignored, and continue to ignore, developments overseas.
In Queensland, Victoria and the ACT it is now illegal for a doctor or counsellor to dissuade a child from changing his or her gender. A child’s gender confusion must be affirmed or fines and even jail sentences await.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ law went a step further and criminalised parents.
Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, said better options were needed for children struggling with their biology.
“Studies show that children suffering from gender confusion are also dealing with other issues such as autism, depression, trauma or abuse,” she said.
“The ‘affirmation-only’ pathway ignores these issues and sets children on a lifelong pathway of irreversible medical intervention.
“Our children deserve so much more from so-called health professionals. Closing the GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service) clinic is a great start, as long as it is not replaced by more of the same.”
In a seven-page legal brief to Queensland’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Bell described her troubled childhood without a strong female role model after she was separated from her mother.
“I could never have a real penis,” she wrote.
Journalist Bernard Lane has been shining a light on the questionable and secretive practices of Australia’s child gender clinics.
He wrote on his Gender Clinic blog of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne:
In 2019, the RCH clinic director Dr (Michele) Telfer told a royal commission into mental health that “many” of her new, “post-pubertal trans male” patients wanted “chest reconstructive surgery”, and the hospital had the expertise but not the funds.
This surgery, she said, “is an integral part of the transition process for trans males”.
Dr Telfer said there were “no private surgical services available for (trans) adolescents under the age of 18 years in [the clinic’s home state of] Victoria, leaving them with no option but to seek chest reconstructive surgery interstate or overseas should they be unable to manage their distress until they turn 18 years of age”.
“There is a significant gap in Victoria’s current health care system with the absence of public funding for chest reconstruction surgery despite the high demand for this evidenced-based intervention.” (The claim that trans mastectomy is evidence-based has been challenged.)
Last year, RCH said it had “no plans to introduce ‘top surgery’ [trans mastectomy]”.
If the Tavistock centre, which did not advocate for child “top surgery” could be closed for being unsafe for children, there is an even stronger case for Australia’s to shut.
Former Morrison Government Health Minister Greg Hunt resisted calls for a proper investigation into Australia’s child gender clinics, protecting them from public scrutiny.
Lyle Shelton is National Director of Family First. Never miss an update, sign up here.