One Nation’s New South Wales leader Mark Latham and Australian Conversatives candidate Dr Greg Walsh have been slammed for advocating at a political forum that transgender youth be prevented from transitioning.
Dr Walsh said allowing children diagnosed with gender dysphoria to take puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones is “an incredibly dangerous route”.
“There are lots of studies that show people who are transgender are at much higher risk of depression, anxiety and suicide,” he said, according to news.com.au.
“The argument is that this is happening because we’re such a transphobic society, but if you look at how drastic the surgery is for a transgender and a person changes their mind, then they just have to realise they’ve been mutilated.”
He argued the children with gender dysphoria should be made to “develop naturally and when they go through puberty and these issues will resolve.”
One Nation’s Mark Latham also said children are “changing their gender every other day” and “confusion” about their gender is making them “mentally ill”.
But Trans Pathways, the largest study ever conducted into the mental health and care of trans and gender diverse young people in Australia, found issues such as “peer rejection, bullying, issues with school, university or TAFE, and a lack of family support” were key factors impacting the mental health of trans people.
‘Stoking fear, not based on science or medical advice’
Eloise Brook from the Gender Centre in New South Wales said the candidates’ comments were “terrifying” and would only worsen the mental health of trans youth.
She told news.com.au that medical and scientific bodies are “100 per cent in agreement” when it comes to gender dysphoria.
“If you were to have [these] kinds of policies enacted against all the medical and scientific support, it would lead to an epidemic of mental health issues and suicide — which is terrifying considering how bad the situation already is,” she said.
“If you could show them these people and what they have to deal with, then it would change their understanding.”
The Trans Pathways study found young trans people find it difficult to access health services, with 60 per cent feeling isolated from medical and mental health services, and 42 per cent having reached out to a service provider who did not understand or respect their gender identity.
“It can’t be ignored and it needs to be addressed, and the psychological problems some people face start to heal once you address it,” Brook said.
“What [Mr Latham and Dr Walsh] are saying, it’s based on stoking fear and it’s not based on science or medical advice at all.”
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