Stop irreversible harms to young people by current treatments for gender dysphoria.
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Dear Minister Hunt
Re: Inquiry into clinical treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents
We write to request an urgent inquiry to review the application of gender affirmation treatment of children and adolescents that involves social transition, puberty blocking agents, cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgery.
In response to our urgent call for an inquiry, your office communicated with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) on 16 August 2019 requesting they “urgently consider and advise on the clinical best practice for the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents.”
You said – “It is important that we have a nationally consistent standard of care that is evidence based and with appropriate safeguards to protect the interests of the patient.”
We agree entirely with the rationale informing your request for an inquiry.
However, RACP have indicated that they are not expert analysts of scientific research into transgender health care. Such analytical services are provided by organisations like the Cochrane in the USA (Cochraneand the UK equivalent (the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine ). More research in this area is needed, as is a comprehensive review of any existing studies.
We therefore strongly recommend that any inquiry into the protocols, including social, medical and surgical interventions, currently provided to children and adolescents presenting at gender services in Australia should be undertaken by an independent third party capable of assessing the quality of the evidence base used to guide those protocols and their likely deleterious outcomes that include, among others, infertility and sexual dysfunction.
Legal issues pertaining to the ability of minors to consent to medical and surgical interventions with known permanent consequences are an additional, crucial consideration.
In April this year, the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics (Smer) wrote to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs calling for a comprehensive investigation into the scientific bases guiding transgender health care for children and young people and the off-label prescription of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for these groups, together with an evaluation and update of current guidelines.
The announcement by Smer came shortly after the airing on Swedish television of a documentary program, ‘The Trans Train’, that interrogated the phenomenal increase in adolescent girls and young women seeking gender services (Transgender regret and The Trans Train).]
The Council recommended these matters be reviewed by three separate committees to ensure broad ranging coverage of the issues. See Smer calls for government review and Swedish National Council on Medial Ethics’ letter.
We suggest the Australian inquiry into transgender health care for children and adolescents should be similarly meticulous, conducted by experts in the evaluation of research, well-informed and thoroughly transparent.
We look forward to your response.
Dr Dianna Kenny - Psychologist
Dr Geoff Holloway - Sociologist
Judith Hunter - parent of ROGD adolescent
John Hersee - parent of ROGD adolescent
Susan Barley – Australian Parents Questioning Gender
Dean Charles Tavares – The Phase, Detransitioner Support Network
Anna Kerr - Principal Solicitor, Feminist Legal Clinic
Joanna Pinkiewicz - Teacher
Isla MacGregor - Advocate
Bronwyn Williams – Retired Solicitor/Social Worker
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