No, there’s no ‘social contagion’ turning Australians transgender

The Australian newspaper transgender equality australia auspath
Photo: The Australian

The Australian Psychological Society has blasted claims published by The Australian newspaper that a “social contagion” is influencing transgender youth’s gender identities.

The Australian newspaper has come under fire for publishing dozens of anti-trans stories over the past month. Many quote health practitioners with no experience treating gender dysphoria.

On September 4, the newspaper published claims warning of a “social contagion” linked to “a surge of teenage girls coming out as transgender.”

But in a statement, the APS has debunked the claims as “alarmist and scientifically incorrect”.

“Empirical evidence consistently refutes claims that a child’s or adolescent’s gender can be ‘directed’ by peer group pressure or media influence, as a form of ‘social contagion’,” APS Fellow Professor Damien Riggs said.

“To say that there is a trans-identity crisis among young Australians because of social media pressure is not only alarmist, scientifically incorrect and confusing, but is potentially harmful to a young person’s mental health and wellbeing.

“Claims that young people are transgender due to ‘social contagion’ serve to belittle young people.

“[The claims ask] them to believe that their sense of self and their gender is nothing more than a by-product of what other people might think or say through the media.”

Anti-transgender ‘conversion’ therapies don’t work and cause harm

Professor Damien Riggs also warned that describing awareness of being transgender as a form of “social contagion” implied that “such awareness can be ‘corrected’ through psychological, medical or spiritual ‘conversion therapies’.”

“There is no evidence to suggest that such approaches work in terms of changing a person’s gender,” he said.

“What such debunked ‘therapies’ do produce, however, are high levels of shame, disrespect and distress.

“So debunked are these ‘therapies’ that they are increasingly being rejected by policy makers and legislators across Australia in favour of affirming responses to transgender people.”

The APS statement went on to state they oppose “any forms of mental health practice that are not affirming of transgender people.”

Read more: LGBTIQ advocates slam The Australian for ‘appalling fearmongering’

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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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