A QUESTION OF TRANSITION – by Julie Szego – Szego Unplugged

Precisely how many Australian children are medically transitioned is unclear because the hospital gender clinics do not release comprehensive data. Telfer told the ABC’s Australian Story in May 2021 that more than 1000 children had received hormonal treatment at Melbourne’s RCH. In the same year, 402 minors from Australia’s five main hospital-based youth gender clinics were on either puberty blockers or opposite-sex hormones, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information by NSW Labor politician Greg Donnelly, and compiled by Dianna Kenny, psychologist and academic. Kenny says the figures are likely an underestimate because they do not include drugs bought from outside hospital pharmacies. Nor do we know how many children with gender dysphoria access hormonal treatments from community or regional clinics.

Some GPs also assess minors for medical transition. But in May, MDA National, one of four major medical indemnity providers, updated its policy to exclude cover for any claims arising from such assessments. As with the incendiary research from Westmead, it is a telling shift.

Despite — or perhaps because of — a decade of heady change, the affirmative care model now finds itself under tentative scrutiny in Australia, and serious challenge overseas.

Four months after the Westmead report’s release, the governing body for psychiatrists, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, released a long-awaited position statement on treating gender dysphoria. It stressed the importance of psychiatrists doing a comprehensive mental health assessment, fully exploring a person’s gender identity in the context of their lives.

The following year, 2022, Sydney woman Jay Langadinos sued psychiatrist Patrick Toohey for allegedly green-lighting hormones and surgery — each after a single consultation — to help her embody the man she had first believed herself to be at age 17. (A Defence has been filed in the case.) By 22, Jay — she prefers to go by her first name— was on testosterone and had had her breasts and uterus removed. About four years later, while undergoing therapy with a new psychiatrist, Roberto D’Angelo, she came to realise “she should not have undergone” the interventions, according to her Statement of Claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court. Now, in her early 30s, the knowledge she can’t have children is “devastating.”

In its ruling in December 2020, the UK High Court found children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment were “unlikely” to be mature enough to give informed consent to puberty blockers.

Health authorities in several countries launched systematic reviews of the scientific literature on hormonal treatments for minors with gender dysphoria. They found the evidence that the benefits of these interventions outweighed the risks to be “very low,” inconclusive or missing.

And even affirmation through social transition — described in the Australian Standards as low risk and probably harmless — is discouraged for both children and teens because its psychological impacts are unknown.

Source: (78) A QUESTION OF TRANSITION – by Julie Szego – Szego Unplugged

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.