I am a left-wing, secondary teacher of visual arts in an NSW HIghschool. I fully support the new marriage rights of LGB people, and my children have always known they are safe in their sexuality in our home. My son is convinced he needs to be castrated. He is 17 and I believe he has ROGD. He has only had girlfriends, and this year his girlfriend who identifies as non-binary dumped him without any warning, and he disassociated and then tried to take his life that night. Since then he has been with CAMHS every week, and I - his mother - have been treated with contempt, blamed, examined, questioned, been under suspicion by the psychologist and psychiatrist. At first we affirmed his request for gender neutral pronouns. It just didn’t sit right. I listened to the ‘Gender - A Wider Lens’ podcast, and the advice there made sense to me and our situation. So I researched. A lot. At one appointment the psychiatrist asked “you seem to be quite invested in researching all of this. Why do you think that is?”. I would attend the meetings at CAMHS and always feel completely attacked. My husband would also notice this, and it was only ever directed at me, the mother. I felt like I was being ‘killed off’. Like a Disney story where it’s not a great story if the mother is alive, and if she is alive then she’s the villain. We clearly communicated with CAMHS that our son was going through complex trauma related to the death of his grandmother when puberty began, and the bad behaviour of his uncle and grandfather - nasty drunks. We tried to protect him from their verbal abuse, but when he witnessed it I cut them off. This was also another loss. When I talk about this with our son, he can’t remember any of it, and says his grandmother dying wasn’t traumatic at all (not true - I was there!). We begged the psychologist at CAMHS to explore a psychological therapy where this trauma was investigated and explored so that my son could understand the source of his trauma, and how his self-diagnosis is on the wrong track. The psych just said “I understand that is YOUR understanding of things”. Totally dismissed. Then he referred him to the Maple Leaf House in Newcastle - the gender clinic. Against our specific request not to do this. We are on our own, unsupported by our mental health system and policies. Our son couldn’t get through school and finish the HSC. The school he was at HSPA - also pushed him towards this. The culture there is like a cult. No child leaves the school ok. It’s widely known in our region. (How did I let him go there? He’s extremely talented as a musician and wanted to be at the specialist arts school- I didn’t know what it would be like until after). Believe me - I blame myself every day. I’m his mum, the buck stops with me. I am invested in his lifelong health and happiness. I love him more than anyone - despite what he is being convinced of that me not using his chosen pronouns is a form of violence. That I’m toxic. We never raised a hand with our kids - we believed in conscious parenting, I have given up my career to be home with the kids through primary school. We have a loving, joyous home. Covid, social media, internet, YouTube, school, the girlfriend - it was a perfect storm. We are in the eye of the hurricane - nurturing the relationship and keeping him close. Our whole family is under siege / hijacked by the terror of future harm to his body, or further suicide attempts. His sisters are traumatised by this. I am a mess. My husband went on leave for the whole year to care for him. We are isolated and alone. We can’t find a single non-affirming psychologist who will work with our son to investigate his true trauma and self. That’s why I’m so committed to researching this. I’m happy to be contacted, and give further information. But my son can’t know - we are very careful to keep him with us - there are many glitter mums waiting in the wings to take him from me.
Updated: 5 days ago
The following link: https://eppc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/EPPC-Amicus-Brief_Eknes-Tucker-v.-Alabama.pdf is a copy of the Amicus Curiae (friend-of-court) brief recently filed by the Washington DC based Ethics and Public Policy Center in support of an Alabama law protecting children from harmful and irreversible transitioning treatments (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries). It contains a great deal of useful information and references.
The brief, submitted by EPPC Fellows Rachel N. Morrison and Mary Rice Hasson, asks the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of Alabama’s law. The brief explains that there is no medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for gender dysphoria or transitioning treatments and that such treatments can lead to serious harm, especially for children.
A summary of their argument is below:
Since the first gender clinic for minors opened in the U.S. in 2007, the number of minors seeking and receiving medical transitioning treatments (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries) has skyrocketed. This unprecedented surge in transitioning treatments for minors carries a high cost. These treatments are unproven, life-altering, and can lead to significant and irreversible harms, including sterilization, loss of sexual function, and serious mental health problems. Despite the poor evidence base underlying these treatments and the lack of medical consensus supporting them, gender clinicians continue to provide transitioning treatments to minors and medical associations continue to endorse them.
Alabama’s legislature was rightly concerned about the reported harms to vulnerable children and acted constitutionally to weigh the risks and benefits of transitioning treatments for minors. It determined that the state’s compelling interests in protecting Alabama’s children required it to prohibit these experimental medical interventions. Alabama’s legislature constitutionally sought to protect Alabama’s minors from lifelong medical harm when, after assessing the risks and benefits of transitioning treatments, evaluating medical evidence, weighing expert opinion, and considering witness testimony, it prohibited the transitioning treatments for minors.
Instead of deferring to the Alabama legislature’s evidenced-based findings that transitioning treatments pose an unacceptable risk of harm to minors, the district court deferred to eminence-based medicine, stating multiple times that “at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States endorse transitioning medications as well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors.” The court’s conclusion that Parent Plaintiffs had a “fundamental right to treat their children with transitioning medications” gave undue weight to World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) guidelines endorsed by “major medical associations.”
But endorsements neither create a standard of care nor imply a fundamental right to access controversial medical treatments. Contrary to the district court’s assumption, WPATH guidelines are not the standard of care. There is no national or international medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for the treatment of gender dysphoria or the use of transitioning treatments. This lack of medical consensus has been recognized by the federal government, is reflected in state action, and continues to generate controversy in the medical profession.
Under the district court’s preliminary injunction, children in Alabama will continue to have access to and suffer from the harmful, irreversible, and sterilizing transitioning treatments. The Court should reverse.
Updated: 5 days ago
A dynamite and appropriately scathing critique by Prof John Whitehall of the ABC Australian Story episode which lionised Dr Michelle Telfer. Anytime someone who claims to be practising evidence-based medicine says "I know we are doing the right thing" as Telfer does, we should be alarmed.
Prof Whitehall demolishes Telfer's claim that puberty blockers are reversible and essentially harmless, demonstrating the adverse effects they have on cognitive processes, mood (causing depression in females), behaviour and multiple bodily systems:
"In females, blockers resulted in 'profound effects' on behaviour, interpreted as depression (despair-like behaviour), and on the neural activity in the hippocampus, 'a brain region crucially involved in stress processing, depression and cognition'. Blocked males exhibited 'pronounced differences in locomotion [they were hyperactive] and social preference [they preferred the company of males, and showed none of the usual interest in the opposite sex], and increases in neuroendocrine responses to stress'."
He argues rightly that if we're deranging someone's brain through interruption of normal maturation (and the brain does a lot of this development during puberty), how can we possibly claim that we're benignly providing a "pause" to facilitate wise decision-making about major life issues? No rational person would normally argue that causing cognitive dysfunction helps anyone, let alone kids, to make better decisions, especially such momentous, irreversible decisions. Or in his more eloquent words:
"The question is, how can society permit agency for such massive interventions when the vagaries of cerebral development are already known, and there is established proof of interruption to function and structure by the very chemicals about to be administered?"
He further argues:
"Society recognises the imbalance of adolescence and denies adolescents access to alcohol, tattoos, driving cars and joining the army. To the contrary, the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne insists on a special exemption for gender-confused children: they should be granted special “agency” for massive intervention of lifelong importance, despite lack of supporting evidence and the growing ranks of “desisters” who regret they were not protected from their immaturity."
When it comes to the progression of kids from puberty blockers to cross sex hormones (aka opposite sex hormones), what Dr Telfer is viewing as a decision based on "wisdom" is in fact, Whitehall argues, further evidence of iatrogenic harm (i.e. harm done through treatment):
"Two other biological factors are relevant to consideration of the capacity for informed consent in children on hormonal intervention. First, the observation that almost all children who start on blockers proceed to cross-sex hormones is argued to be confirmation of maturity of decision. But, studies on blocked sheep and rodents suggest an alternative, iatrogenic explanation: blockers interfere with the limbic system, reducing exploration and increasing fearfulness. The animals prefer the familiar to the novel: they avoid change. Thus, the decision to progress to cross-sex hormones may not represent wisdom, merely the role of chemical tram-tracks.
"An associated psychological pressure to proceed to cross-sex hormones is that of the difficulty of rejection of the adopted persona in the face of all those authority figures in the family, the school, the web and the hospital."
He then goes on to detail the various countries and US states that are recoiling from "gender affirming care" and re-embracing psychotherapy and compassionate caution and asks if these clinicians would be facing up to 10 years jail for practising the dreaded "conversion therapy" were they in Victoria?
Further on he undermines the suicide rationale for drastic early treatment:
"Although it is well known that children suffering social and mental burdens may harm themselves and, therefore, demand special attention, there is no evidence that gender dysphoria per se leads to suicide and therefore justifies the massive intervention of hormonal transformation."
In fact, the treatment itself appears to be exacerbating suicide risk:
"To the contrary, there is epidemiological evidence that transgendered adults suffer a rate of suicide some twenty times higher than the general population. Thus, one way for prevention of that tragedy might be helping the child to become more comfortable “in the skin in which it was born”.
He speculates as to the reasons for this increase in suicide among those "affirmed":
"Proponents for “affirmation” blame ostracism for the high rate of adult suicide, but of equal importance might be associated mental disorder, failure to find expected gold at the end of the rainbow (ask any of the growing crowd of desisters) or, dare it be said, the alteration of pathways vital to a sense of well-being by iatrogenic administration of chemicals."
Finally he lambasts the ABC:
"Impartiality is claimed to be 'one of the most fundamental elements of content making in the ABC'. Its stated goal is to ensure audiences will receive 'fair and unbiased information which will help them to gain a reasonable understanding of an issue and to make up their own minds'.
This 'fundamental element' is lacking in the ABC’s portrayal of gender dysphoria in children. Its repeated proclamation to the masses of a few simple, unquestioned, one-sided assertions better deserves the appellation, 'propaganda'.
Suppression of alternative opinions characterises all revolutions. Will it be cancelled in such platforms as the Australian [newspaper]? Remember: powerful activists in Victoria have proclaimed the need to abolish “public broadcasts” that hinder the “affirmative” model of hormonal therapy for confused children.
How long will the tax-funded ABC remain a voice for cultural revolution?" https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2021/07-08/a-litany-of-abc-transgender-myths/