Media Release

College of psychiatrists acknowledges limited evidence for medical treatment of gender dysphoric young people

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrist’s (RANZCP) Position Paper 103 released this week confirms that there is limited evidence for the medical treatment of young people who experience sex incongruence (referred to in the paper as “TGD” young people).

Wendy Francis, National Director, Politics of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today, “In light of this Paper, all Australian Health Ministers must seek immediate reviews of gender clinic practices which include the medicalisation of sex confused children.

“The Paper makes it clear that, what little evidence exists in this area, does not justify a medicalisation pathway for gender-dysphoric young people. This must bring a pause to the affirmation therapy/medicalisation regime. Our children should never be used as subjects in a dangerous experiment”.

“The paper supports the urgent need for an inquiry such as being proposed by South Australian MLC, the Hon Frank Pangallo. Our children must no longer be subjected to sterilisation through experimental medical treatment. 

“Psychiatrists treating children and adolescents who experience gender dysphoria or are gender questioning should consider the young person’s developmental stage, presence of developmental comorbidities (e.g., ASD), and capacity to give informed consent to treatment, in addition to considering the views of their parents/carers. It is a fact that the vast majority of this cohort of young people have serious comorbidities. It is also clear that children have no real capacity to give informed consent to irreversible sterilisation and other seriously harmful effects of gender ‘transition’ medicalisation.” 

“The RANZCP Paper acknowledges the reality of detransitioners, stating, ‘Individuals who detransition have been reported to experience mental health concerns including depressive and anxiety disorders [38] and may have difficulty accessing health care services. Some individuals report that they have been harmed by previous gender-affirming care and some have launched legal proceedings against health care providers. Sufficient information should be provided to allow for informed consent for gender-affirming medical and surgical treatments. This should always involve thorough, open discussion of the possibility of disappointment, continued gender dysphoria, regret about irreversible effects of treatment, regret about reduced fertility, and shifts in gender identity or treatment wishes.’

“It’s important to note that the RANZCP has acknowledged the irreversible and harmful effects of the gender affirmation medicalisation pathway and the existence and needs of detransitioners. We as a community must act immediately to stop the unquestioning push to medicalise our vulnerable kids. It is time we listened and called a halt to the harms being perpetrated on vulnerable children.”

The ACL calls on all Governments to urgently launch reviews of the practices of their gender clinics and calls on the SA Parliament to support the Pangallo Inquiry.

For further research – The RANZCP has included in its recommended resources the Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People (the Cass review) – Interim report and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) – Care of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria: Summary of national guidelines December 2022. These resources support holisitic care for vulnerable youths rather than the gender affirmation model used by Australian gender clinics.

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