We recently had a distressed mother from Victoria write to us about her gender confused teenage daughter and her school’s policy which would allow her to see a doctor about transitioning without parental consent or even notification.
This alarming state of affairs is further compounded by school education programs that promote and endorse gender ideology, as well as by Victoria’s new anti-conversion therapy laws which make it a criminal offence for parents or medical professionals to attempt to offer alternatives to ‘gender affirmative’ care.
We include an anonymised version of her letter below with permission, in the hope that it will encourage other concerned parents to speak out.
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Dear Rachael and the team,
I am writing to you to voice my concern at the way the current Andrews State government has treated women’s and children’s rights, as well as their approach to taking away parental rights, and in some cases, a child’s chance at their best future. I would be interested to hear your view on these issues.
It has recently come to my attention that a teenager attending a publicly funded school (in this case my daughter), living in a safe and loving home with both parents, can be considered a mature minor by their school principal, a teacher, counsellor or other professional, and can then go to a doctor without parental consent or even notification. In our case this has already happened twice that I have found out about. There are probably other occasions too. This concerns me greatly and I do wonder how and when did this become legal and how is this in the child’s best interest? I would not trust a teacher, who does not know my child like I do, to make life altering decisions for my child. What if that child does not know their family medical history and they request and are given medication which could harm them? Why are children being coached to hide things from and lie to their parents? What if unforeseen complications arise? What if they self-diagnose gender dysphoria and seek treatment with cross sex hormones and surgery and then go on to de-transition a few years later because they then regret that decision? This horrifies me. Teenagers are not allowed to drink alcohol, or get face tattoos, or rent a car, or vote. If they are not considered physically, emotionally, or intellectually mature enough to make these decisions, how can they be considered mature enough to make life changing decisions such as cross-sex hormone treatment without parental knowledge, counsel, or consent?
Teenagers can and do feel things very deeply and intensely. And feelings can and do change. As you would remember from when you were a teenager, things like identity tend to be a lot more important for children at a time when they are figuring out where they are going to fit in society, and how they can be their own person. There seems to be quite the trend in the western world for young girls especially, to decide that they are trans. The Tavistock gender clinic in London recorded as much as a 5000% increase in girls seeking treatment in gender clinics in the last 10 years. This does not seem normal to me. As a side note, this increase also correlates with the rise in paid content on Facebook and YouTube for ‘Influencers’. Even in my daughter’s school here in central Victoria there are at least 4 girls that I know of in her grade alone that identify as trans. There are more in other grades. This is well above the average for the general population, which as far as I know is something like 1 in 30,000 for male to female and about 1 in 100,000 for female to male. There are no boys that I know of identifying as trans at this school, which is a little odd as it is the male to female transition that is supposed to be more common and has been most represented throughout history. So already this school is a statistical anomaly. I do not believe that this school has my child’s best interests at heart, they are only concerned with appearing to do the right thing as opposed to actually doing the right thing by the kids there.
I am also deeply concerned at the mandatory affirmation required for children and teenagers with gender dysphoria who say they don’t identify with their biological sex. I absolutely accept that there are some people who are genuinely transgender and that they deserve love and respect like everyone else. I also absolutely do NOT accept that putting a vulnerable and inexperienced young person down this path of no obstacle is always in their best interests. The claim that they will most likely kill themselves if they don’t transition as early as possible is false and based on propaganda and dodgy statistics. There is a large amount of recent research by the medical profession, including peer reviewed papers by experienced psychologists, psychiatrists, and paediatricians, describing how the affirmative approach should not be considered the best way to treat gender dysphoria. As you would be aware, things like the recent shutdown of the Tavistock Gender Clinic in London, the coming 1000 plus strong class action against Tavistock, the banning of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for children and teenagers in Sweden and other Nordic countries, the testimony from brave people like Kiera Bell (who sued the Tavistock Clinic) and more recently in Australia, Jay Langadinos who is suing her psychiatrist for lack of care, and the substantial increase in number of people around the world who are deciding to detransition are just the start of the pendulum swing against this approach.
It has been published by The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine as recently as 9/8/22 that there is an over representation in detransitioners who discovered that the source of their gender dysphoria was based in other psychological and neurological issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, autism, or even in trying to suppress their sexuality. Young butch lesbians are very over-represented in this cohort. It has also been reported that suicide rates are increasing in young people who have adopted cross sex medical interventions, and that this group is up to 20 times more likely to attempt suicide or experience suicidal ideation. Girls are taught from a very young age to be dissatisfied with their bodies. I know I have been unhappy with the way my body looks since I was about 14 years old. I was even so unhappy back then with the unwanted attention from teenage boys that I started wearing the boys’ uniform to stop them from looking at me. And it did work. A few years later, I started to feel like the attention wasn’t all that unwanted after all and experienced my first teenage relationship, with all the intensity of falling in love for the first time. I really think that if I had been a teenager in modern society, I may have decided that the way I was feeling meant I was transgender. But thankfully I grew out of that feeling, I am now 45, I have a few kids and am married to an amazing man who is the love of my life. I still struggle with accepting my body but am so glad that back then there was never the opportunity to mess it up by making an emotional decision with lifelong consequences when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or my body for that matter.
Regarding our State Government, I am concerned about the lack of oversight, checks and balances, and lack of access to quality independent psychological and paediatric care as well as lack of data from recent longitudinal studies on trans identifying youth. Decisions have been made that may be legal, but it doesn’t make them ethical. There is a serious lack of acknowledgment from government and the media, particularly the ABC and SBS, of the hard road back for the people who realise too late that they’ve made a mistake. Realising too late, means that now these unfortunate and unsupported people cannot have children, they have permanently changed their features, they have reduced their dating pool, they can’t grow back the pieces of their bodies that were surgically removed, they have destroyed relationships with family and friends, they have reduced their earning potential and their long-term life satisfaction. Not only this, but they also must deal with things like early onset osteoporosis, vaginal atrophy, micro-penis, early onset of cardiovascular diseases, reduction in brain function and many more side effects. Letting teenagers make these decisions is like putting them in a car they don’t know how to drive, giving them the key and saying ‘well you know where you want to go, don’t worry about any road signs or directions or warnings, just put your foot on the accelerator, you’ll be fine, and don’t worry, I’ll cut the brakes so you can get there faster” and then walking away and never checking up on them.
The fact that Dan Andrew’s government and some people from other political parties, approved the law that makes it illegal for me to ask my daughter to really think about why she might feel the way she does or the pros and cons of wanting to be a boy, is unconscionable behaviour and amounts to child abuse. Whatever happened to ‘Do No Harm’? I know for a fact that she didn’t always feel this way, it’s only been since she started at this high school. In this modern litigious society, no one is immune from the coming tsunami of cases in this arena. If my daughter transitions because a government made it illegal for me to counsel her, my beautiful and precious child who I love more than my own life and welfare, and then she realises too late that it wasn’t what she really wanted, then our names will be on the court sheet against this government and those involved.
I believe that there should be an immediate inquiry into this Orwellian law, and the approach that gender clinics in this state and others take, as well as the long term follow up records they keep. Parents should have the right to have hard conversations with their own children about their future without the threat of imprisonment. Being heterosexual or gay or lesbian or bisexual is about who’s body you are attracted to. Being trans seems more like dissatisfaction with and hating your own body. I can’t see how hormones and surgery can be the go to options to treat this primarily psychological issue.
I want to support women’s sex-based rights and the right for children to grow up into adults who can then make better decisions about what they want their future to look like. Is there any help or any resources that you know of that my husband and I can seek so that we can support our daughter through this difficult time without being forced down a path that we think is wrong for her? I am distraught, angry, and disillusioned with our society. I know I am not alone in my views about this. There must be a sensible way forward where no child is coerced into making hasty decisions that they may later regret.
I will also be sending versions of this letter to Louise Staley, member for Ripon, Dr Anne Webster, member for Mallee, the relevant State and National Health and Education ministers and my daughter’s school among others.
I have included some references to recent peer reviewed research papers, books and web pages in case you are interested.
Thank you for your time.
[name removed for privacy reasons]
1. Clayton, A. The Gender Affirmative Treatment Model for Youth with Gender Dysphoria: A Medical Advance or Dangerous Medicine?. Arch Sex Behav 51, 691–698 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02232-0
2. D’Angelo, R., Syrulnik, E., Ayad, S. et al. One Size Does Not Fit All: In Support of Psychotherapy for Gender Dysphoria. Arch Sex Behav 50, 7–16 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01844-2
3. Entwistle, K. (2020). Debate: Reality check – Detransitioner’s testimonies require us to rethink gender dysphoria. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, camh.12380. https://doi.org/10.1111/camh.1238
4. Littman, L. Individuals Treated for Gender Dysphoria with Medical and/or Surgical Transition Who Subsequently Detransitioned: A Survey of 100 Detransitioners. Arch Sex Behav 50, 3353–3369 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02163-w
5. van der Miesen AIR, Hurley H, Bal AM, de Vries ALC. Prevalence of the Wish to be of the Opposite Gender in Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Nov;47(8):2307-2317. https://doi: 10.1007/s10508-018-1218-3
6. Vandenbussche, E. (2021). Detransition-Related Needs and Support: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey. Journal of Homosexuality, 20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2021.1919479
7. Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), NHS England. www.gids.nhs.uk.
20. Shrier A. (2020). Irreversible Damage- The transgender craze seducing our daughters. Regenery Publishing, Washington DC, USA. ISBN 978-1-68451-031-3. ebook ISBN 978-1-68451-046-7