Experts call out The Australian’s ‘biased’ transgender coverage

The Australian newspaper transgender equality australia auspath
Photo: The Australian

Australia’s peak body of transgender health professionals has called out The Australian newspaper’s “biased” reporting of trans issues.

The News Corp newspaper was criticised this week for the transphobic coverage, grouped in a new “Gender” section on its website.

Headlines in the section include “They’re castrating children”, “Sex not a matter of belief”, and “Corrupting kids’ thinking”. One op-ed suggests “medicalisation of gender” is “abusing our defenceless young.”

Now the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH) has weighed in, accusing the newspaper of “irresponsible” reporting that ignores scientific evidence.

“Our organisation is concerned that the recent reporting in The Australian newspaper regarding health care provided to trans and gender diverse (TGD) children and adolescents is biased, emotive and is not based on fact,” AusPATH wrote in a detailed rebuttal.

“The reporting ignores available scientific evidence which strongly endorses supporting transgender children through social and medical transition to improve their mental health outcomes.

“It is well recognised these poor mental health outcomes are not inherent to being transgender.

“They are due to TGD individuals experiencing high levels of stigma, discrimination, social exclusion, family rejection, bullying, harassment and assaults.

“Ignoring the facts in the reporting on this issue is irresponsible. Most importantly, it’s not in the best interest of these young people due to the significant harm it causes.”

Australia’s guidelines recognised around the world

AusPATH is the country’s peak body for health professionals caring for trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGD) people. Around 250 experienced professionals working across Australia are members.

AusPATH said Australia’s affirmative care model is recognised around the world. It has also withstood “academic and legal scrutiny at the highest level,” AusPATH wrote.

“[It] is currently standard clinical practice not only in Australia but in New Zealand, USA, Europe and across many other countries and regions across the globe,” they said.

“In 2017, AusPATH endorsed the Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for Transgender and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents.

“This guideline is a collaboration of approximately 50 clinicians and researchers across Australia and NZ and is based on empirical scientific evidence and expert clinical consensus.”

In June 2018, both the Medical Journal of Australia and leading medical journal The Lancet endorsed the guidelines after expert review.

AusPATH condemns ‘conversion therapy’ for trans people

AusPATH said Australia’s guidelines had also stood up to legal scrutiny.

“The Full Bench of the Family Court of Australia has twice reviewed the academic and clinical evidence for medical intervention in TGD adolescents,” AusPATH wrote.

“In [2017 case] Re Kelvin, evidence was submitted to the Full Bench of the Family Court from clinicians supporting the care for TGD children and adolescents as well as from those who oppose medical intervention.

“Overwhelmingly, the scientific evidence … demonstrated that medical intervention not only improves mental health outcomes, but saves lives by reducing suicide.”

However, AusPATH said research had found psychological “conversion or reparative therapies which deny social and medical interventions” harmed transgender people.

“[Such practices] lack efficacy, are considered unethical and cause significant harm to the health and well-being of TGD people, and their families.”

Read AusPATH’s full response to The Australian here.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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