WA Liberals first major Australian political party to adopt policy banning medical transition of kids

WA Liberals first major Australian political party to adopt policy banning medical transition of kids

The Western Australian Liberals have become the first major political party in Australia to adopt a policy banning the harmful medical transition of gender-confused children, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery.

Liberal Leader Libby Mettam made the announcement today, saying that if her party won the 2025 state election, her Government would also initiate a “comprehensive review of these treatments and their suitability for use in the treatment of gender incongruent children”.

Ms Mettam’s announcement comes in the wake of the landmark Cass Review conducted in the UK by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass and released this month, which shows there is no good evidence for medically transitioning gender-confused children and young people (the majority of whom are teenage girls).

As a result of the report’s preliminary findings in 2022, the NHS banned the routine use of puberty blockers for children and young people presenting with gender dysphoria in England, and Sweden, Norway, Finland and Demark have taken similar approaches.

While the Cass Review has been welcomed by medical professionals, politicians, legal experts, advocacy groups and others in Australia, the response by others has been deeply disappointing, with activist groups and media trying to discredit its findings or falsely claim that it is not relevant in Australia.

Citing evidence of long-term irreversible harm associated with ‘gender affirming’ treatments and the bans popping up in countries around the world, Ms Mettam stressed the need for WA to undertake its own research into the outcomes being achieved in that state, after which the ban would be reviewed.

“We must ensure our treatment of children and young people with gender dysphoria is safe in the long term as well as the short term,” she said in her press release.

“The overriding concern here is for the safety of children, history cannot record that we knew about the potential for long-term harms from these treatments and did nothing to prevent them.”

Ms Mettam explained that the need for urgent action is even more critical given the rapidly growing number of children being diagnosed and treated for gender dysphoria in WA, and that the review will also investigate why we are seeing this increase.

“When experts are telling us the potential permanent side effects of these treatments can include infertility, sexual disfunction, obesity, heart and liver disease, blood clots and atrophy of the genitals we need to investigate,” said Ms Mettam.

“In the meantime, we should be more cautious and careful when it comes to using these treatments on our children, that’s why a ban first to allow for a comprehensive review is the right approach.”

Meanwhile, the Cook Labor Government is heading in the wrong direction with its recent announcement that it will introduce a Bill to abolish the Gender Reassignment Board, which will effectively introduce sex self-ID into the state. In other words, anyone will be allowed to change their legal sex with the bare minimum of safeguards, and be treated as that sex for all intents and purposes under law.

Sex self-ID not only harmfully enables males to self-identify as female and access female-only spaces, but in the case of vulnerable children, being able to change their legal sex allows them to concretise a transgender identity, encouraging them further down a process of social and medical transitioning.

The Cook Government is also committed to a ban on 'conversion practices' to change or suppress an individual's sexuality or gender identity, which could interfere with health professionals providing appropriate care to gender-dysphoric children and young people, something the Cass Review has specifically cautioned against:

“The intent of psychological intervention is not to change the person’s perception of who they are but to work with them to explore their concerns and experiences and help alleviate their distress, regardless of whether they pursue a medical pathway or not. It is harmful to equate this approach to conversion therapy as it may prevent young people from getting the emotional support they deserve.” (p. 150)

Such a ban also ignores a form of modern-day conversion therapy which involves promoting or encouraging others to explore, question and ultimately adopt a gender identity, especially minors. In other words, engaging in a practice that could cause or contribute to the onset of gender dysphoria in an individual.

By contrast, Ms Mettam’s policy is geared at safeguarding vulnerable, gender-confused children. Women’s Forum Australia applauds Ms Mettam for her courage and leadership in championing this policy, and we look forward to other leaders and political parties following her lead.

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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