Aus gender clinics could face similar mass legal action to Tavistock; Katherine Deves vindicated

Aus gender clinics could face similar mass legal action to Tavistock; Katherine Deves vindicated

We recently commended the shutting down of the problematic Tavistock children’s gender clinic in the UK after a damning review found multiple safety concerns. However, this was just the beginning. It has been revealed by The Times that the clinic “is facing mass legal action from youngsters who claim they were rushed into taking life-altering puberty blockers.”

“Lawyers expect about 1,000 families to join a medical negligence lawsuit alleging vulnerable children have been misdiagnosed and placed on a damaging medical pathway.

They are accusing the gender identity development service [GIDS] at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust of multiple failures in its duty of care.

This includes allegations it recklessly prescribed puberty blockers with harmful side effects and adopted an “unquestioning, affirmative approach” to children identifying as transgender.”

Tom Goodhead, chief executive of Pogust Goodhead, told The Times: 

“Children and young adolescents were rushed into treatment without the appropriate therapy and involvement of the right clinicians, meaning that they were misdiagnosed and started on a treatment pathway that was not right for them.

“These children have suffered life-changing and, in some cases, irreversible effects of the treatment they received . . . We anticipate that at least 1,000 clients will join this action.”

Lawyers are now saying that Australian gender clinics may face similar legal action, where Tavistock’s controversial ‘gender-affirmative’ approach has been used as a model for treatment. The Australian has reported that compensation law firm Gerard Malouf & Partners is considering the prospects and feasibility of a similar class action lawsuit in Australia.

University of Queensland law professor Patrick Parkinson, who was involved in a British High Court ruling that prohibited under-16s from consenting to puberty-blocking treatment, says similar legal action in Australia is “very likely”.

“I’m expecting to see it here, I’m expecting to see it against hospitals and against individual doctors. Sooner or later, this is going to end up in the courts as a negligence issue. I think Australian gender clinics apart from Sydney are probably less conservative and less cautious than the Tavistock was. The decision of the British government raises serious questions about the continuation of the model in Australia and really justifies a major inquiry being set up. The results of the closure of Tavistock is going to be that a mental health approach will be the first line, and I suspect that ­puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones will only be prescribed as a last resort in the most serious cases where psychotherapy does not prove to be effective." 

Queensland paediatrician Dylan Wilson, who called for Australia to conduct its own review into gender clinics when it was announced Tavistock was to be shut down, says he believes several young adults around the country who were harmed by treatments as minors may have legal recourse.

“One hundred per cent there are children who have been harmed. Even if they think it was worth it at the time, there are children who have suffered infertility and sexual dysfunction as a result of treatments and they may only be realising that now. If you’re puberty-blocked at an early stage, there are inevitable consequences. You can’t not be infertile if you’re puberty-blocked in the very first stages of puberty.”

Dr Wilson has also questioned the standard of care in gender clinics that take a gender-affirming approach.

“The standards of care have never been held in high regard outside of gender clinics themselves,” he said. They publish their own ­papers and they say the paper we publish is evidence that what we’re doing is right. They write the guidelines and they say ‘We’re following the guidelines’. These are not internationally accepted guidelines.”

During the Australian federal election earlier this year, Liberal candidate and Save Women’s Sport Australasia Co-founder Katherine Deves was viciously vilified for comments she made prior to her campaign, predicting the exact outcome that has now come about in the UK regarding legal action being brought against those responsible for harming vulnerable children. She had tweeted:

“They will not stand for seeing vulnerable children surgically mutilated and sterilised in furtherance of an unattainable idea. The lawsuits will be legion, as will the government inquiries. Complete failure of safeguarding. Mark my words.”

There have been many instances since the election where Deves has been vindicated (such as FINA’s decision to restrict trans-identified males from competing in women’s swimming events after the backlash she copped for her advocacy in favour of women’s single-sex sport) but this is perhaps one of the most significant. There are many – particularly in the media and politics – who owe her an apology.

When news broke of the impending legal action against Tavistock, Deves released a powerful statement, which we reproduce in full below:

“My heart breaks for the children captured by this ideology, those who took steps to radically alter their bodies because they were distressed and “gender affirmation care” was the solution presented by the media, social media, medicos and activists to alleviate it.

My heart breaks for the families left to pick up the pieces because they trusted what the doctors and gender activists told them, and they believed the media narrative “better a live daughter than a dead son” or your child is “born in the wrong body”.

My heart breaks for those who spoke up, trying to warn about this medical scandal - whether it is medical professionals, journalists, parents, Detransitioners, or advocates for women and children. Some of whom lost their jobs, livelihoods, friends and family turning against them, reputations smeared and trashed, and death threats.

Class action preparations are now underway in the UK, it is only a matter of time before the same happens in Australia.

The RCHM Gender Clinic, run by Dr Michelle Telfer, models itself on the now disgraced and closed GIDS Clinic at the Tavistock. There are several such public clinics around Australia, and an unknown number of practitioners in the private health care sector.

I tweeted about the harms of this experiment and foreshadowed that there will be litigation. That tweet instigated a media firestorm during the federal election. It is very clear that those with vested interests in this ideology will go to great lengths to vilify and destroy anyone who goes against the prevailing paradigm.

Children are being experimented on in the name of gender identity across the world. These children are left suffering “life-changing and, in some cases, irreversible effects”.

Effects such as infertility, osteoporosis, osteopenia, temporary or permanent interruption of the development of their brains”, lack of sexual functioning, organ failure, weight gain, failure to grow, increased likelihood of cancer, increased likelihood of heart attack and stroke, and exacerbation of existing mental health illnesses. The long term effects are unknown.

These drugs used are not approved for use on children with gender issues. They are experimental. And clinics are either failing to collect data, or declining to make their findings public.

Some of these children and young people go on to have surgeries such as bilateral radical mastectomies, penectomies, vaginoplasties and phalloplasties. Many of these surgeries have high rates of complication and may require multiple revision surgeries. These surgeries are not reversible. The stories of detransitioners who have had these surgeries and are now regretful, are harrowing. Litigation is afoot in the UK against the NHS.

This experiment on children and young people has been celebrated by the mainstream media, many prominent journalists and big name celebrities, both in Australia and overseas. The media especially has failed in their duty of impartiality by failing to report critically on this issue - Australia’s ABC Australia and SBS Australia.

Australian taxpayers are footing the bill for this. Whether it is significant funding to the organisations and charities that advocate for it, the experiments in the health care system, or the eventual litigation and compensation that is undoubtedly likely to eventuate.

I spoke up because I abhor injustice and exploitation, because I saw how craven and captured the media is, because I listened to the voices of those harmed and damaged by this. It was clear to me that children and women are paying the price for these fringe and radical ideas about “gender”, begotten by queer theorists, pushed by gender activists, and embedded by stealth into law and policy.

This is now the time for an inquiry. Australia’s politicians must acknowledge this shameful and ongoing medical scandal, and must resist the dangerous and insidious gender activism that has allowed this to happen.”

Women’s Forum Australia echoes the calls of Katherine Deves, of doctors and children’s advocates for an inquiry into Australian gender clinics. Indeed, there should be many more voices urgently calling for a review in the wake of the Tavistock saga. It is high time concerns about the harmful impact of gender-affirming interventions on vulnerable children in this country were taken seriously.

Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.

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