Gender doctors ‘pressed to give drugs’

The Australian 4 May 2021
Gender clinicians are under increasing pressure to enable “conveyor belt” medicalisation of children who arrive already convinced that hormonal drugs are the only solution to their distress, according to a landmark study.

The first paper from Australian gender clinicians to tap into international concerns about the “gender affirmative” medicalised treatment model for gender dysphoria suggests that young people are often not open to exploring other possible factors in their distress, such as family trauma, sexual abuse, depression and autism.

Gender dysphoria is the sense of a distressful disconnect between an inner sense of “gender identity” and the body shaped by biological sex. Youth gender clinic caseloads have exploded in affluent countries, and there is intense debate about the causes and how best to respond.

A simplistic focus on gender alone “is likely to promote a healthcare delivery model that dehumanises the child by not examining the child’s and family’s lived experience, and that promotes medical solutions … for a problem that is much more complex,” says the paper involving gender clinic staff from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Claire Chandler, who has rebuked state and territory health departments for failing to release children’s hospital patient data to enable open debate about gender clinics, said the Westmead paper was significant.

“(It’s) so important because it backs up all the concerns that have been raised by doctors, parents, psychologists and detransitioners about the way children are seeking and being given major medical interventions without having an adequate understanding of alternatives,” she told The Australian.


Scroll to Top