Four Corners slammed for ‘unethical’ episode on trans rights

Professor Dianna Kenny on Four Corners
Image: Four Corners

ABC is under fire after the most recent episode of Four Corners covering issues facing gender diverse people, with many accusing the program of platforming dangerous anti-trans rhetoric.

Monday night’s episode, titled Blocked: The battle over youth gender care, saw the program invite on a range of tran individuals, trans children and their parents as well as “two of the most high-profile and qualified critics” to discuss both sides of the debate.

These critics were Binary Australia Ambassador Dr Dianna Kenny and Dr Jillian Spencer — a senior child psychologist who was previously stood down from the Queensland Children’s Hospital for her critical views of puberty blockers on children.

As many trans advocates were quick to point out, however, the platforming of these two figures seeminly has less to do with their ‘qualifications’, and moreso because of their high-profile statuses as anti-trans advocates.

‘Disappointing’ says Stephen Bates

Greens MP and member for Brisbane, Stephen Bates, took to Twitter to weigh in on the criticism, calling the program ‘disappointing’:

“So disappointing to see last night’s 4Corners episode give a platform to dangerous and unsubstantiated anti-trans rhetoric,” he Tweeted.

“There’s no both-sides to human rights. Comparing established standards of care to widely debunked views from the far-right political fringe is just not on.”

He also went on in a follow-up tweet to call for more accessibility to gender-affirming care.

“Gender-affirming care saves lives. Everyone should have their health needs met with equity, dignity, and respect. It’s abundantly clear from the stories of these brave young trans people that the Government needs to make gender-affirming care more accessible and more affordable.”

“The @Greens affirm our solidarity with trans, gender diverse and non-binary people, many of whom are still reeling from years-long attacks on their very right to exist. LGBTIQA+ rights are non-negotiable. We will always stand in solidarity against hatred and bigotry.”

Four Corners – ‘unprofessional & unethical’

Many online have also joined in on calling into question the inclusion of Dr Dianna Kenny, in particular, considering her ‘qualifications’ on the topic all stem from her own personal opinion blog.

Amongst them was notable LGBTQIA+ advocate and parody account, Pauline Pantsdown, who called Four Corners ‘unprofessional’:

“@4corners failure to contextualise Prof. Dianna Kenny’s 100% lack of qualifications/research in relation to gender care was unethical & unprofessional,” they said in a Tweet.

“Reminder that the gender guidelines from Melbourne’s Royal Childrens Hospital were published in The Lancet, a world-leading medical journal, while tonight’s @4corners guest Dr Dianna Kenny has only published about gender on her personal blog. Who to trust?” they point out in another Tweet.

Elsewhere, the draw attention to the fact that Prof Kenny area of specialty in her research was as a music therapist:

“Prof Dianna Kenny was a music therapist concentrating on performance anxiety. Since being let go by Uni of Sydney, she’s switched to anti-trans conspiracies & self-publishes. But she’s got “Prof” in her name, so has been commandeered by The Australian as a gender expert.”

The criticism has since lead to calls for ABC to retract the statements describing the guest as a “qualified critic”.

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