News Item

Affirmation only – anything else is ‘Conversion Therapy’

The WA Equal Opportunity Commission used International Youth Day on 12 August to hold an event at the State Library entitled: Tackling gender identity discrimination against young people.

We would all agree that gender confused people need to be treated with dignity and respect.  

The panel of five speakers included Associate Professor Dr Michelle Telfer, who heads up the Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service in Melbourne, which is often described as “the leading gender clinic in Australia.”

As the registration process allowed the audience to pose a question to the panel, I asked: “How can we best support people who want to de-transition?” I personally know a number of people who have de-transitioned, and I have heard from some of them that gender clinics were unwilling to engage with them. 

Surprisingly, not one of the panellists answered the question!  

Instead, Dr Telfer spent some time trying to convince the audience that de-transitioning is extremely rare. At the conclusion of her comments, she went on to say that “to engage in anything other than affirmative therapy is to engage in ‘conversion therapy.’”

It is frightening to think that the head of Australia’s “leading gender clinic” is so locked into the gender affirming approach for dealing with gender dysphoria, that any other approach is not even considered, but simply labelled as ‘conversion therapy’.

It seems Dr Telfer is choosing to ignore the findings of the interim report conducted by Dr Hilary Cass into the operation of the Tavistock Clinic in the UK, which highlighted the paucity of medical evidence to support the so called ‘affirmation’ approach. The interim report stated:

“The clinical approach and overall service design has not been subjected to some of the normal quality controls that are typically applied when new or innovative treatments are introduced.”  

It also stated,  

“There has not been routine and consistent data collection, which means it is not possible to accurately track the outcomes and pathways that children and young people take through the service.”  

The UK National Health Service has now shut down the Tavistock clinic because of their experimental, non reversible, and damaging treatments for gender dysphoric children such as puberty blockers and cross sex hormones.

There is also a pending class action against the Tavistock clinic, and lawyers expect up to 1,000 families will participate. None of this was mentioned by Dr Telfer.

She also failed to mention the Keira Bell case, which revolved around the question of whether a person at the age of 10 could consent to treatment with puberty blockers and whether the information provided to patients was in sufficient. 

Dr Telfer seems to be unaware of the many testimonies of de-transitioners that are posted on various websites, including some published in Australia, along with various formal studies reported in the scientific literature, including one which studied 100 de-transitioners.

Was she unaware of #DetransAwarenessDay which was held on 12 March, 2022? 

When scientific studies show that 70-97.8 percent of males outgrow the desire to be a girl, and 50-88 percent of girls outgrow the desire to be a boy, it is tragic that Dr Telfer takes the view that anything other than ‘affirmation’ therapy  is conversion therapy. 

May we all make it a point of prayer that the current blind following of ‘affirmation’ therapy in Australia will be abandoned before too many more children add their testimonies of heartbreak and regret.      

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