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The controversial topic of treatment for teenagers with gender dysphoria was raised in the Australian Senate not long ago. A senator from Queensland, Malcolm Roberts, queried a government minister about his reservations. She responded with the bland reassurance that “The Australian government is about providing health services, not taking them away.” The next day, Senator Roberts responded with a stinging attack on the complacency of the government and medical authorities.

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I’m speaking to the answers Minister [Katy] Gallagher provided—or, rather, failed to provide—to my questions on gender dysphoria treatment. In avoiding the answer to my questions, the minister tried weakly to say, “Nothing to see here.”

Yet the world is waking up to the profoundly inhuman medical and psychological harms that children with gender dysphoria are experiencing when referred to gender clinics. The international trend is moving away from prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children under 18 years. Britain’s infamous—and the world’s largest—gender clinic, Tavistock, is now closing, following a review that found it failed vulnerable under-18s: it failed vulnerable under-18s!

It follows the clinics in Finland, Sweden and France suspending the availability of puberty blockers and sex hormones to children unless under strict clinical trials.

How did we get to this place, where the power of ideology and trans activism is greater than the rightful duty and obligations of parents, and of the medical and legal professions to provide whole-of-person care for children with gender dysphoria?

This woke ideological movement is suffering binary dysphoria. Apparently, for some, a binary world is not sufficiently colourful. Some parents are now forced to abrogate their parental responsibility to the power of the medical state. Fundamental facts are being ignored about children and child development.

Fact: contrary to some views, sex is assigned at conception—not birth. We all know that adolescence is a highly challenging time, marked with a preoccupation of the discovery of self. It’s okay that a percentage of both genders don’t conform to traditional stereotypes. This doesn’t need correcting through irreversible medical treatments.

Ideologically driven activists have intimidated the medical profession into silence and compliance with the affirmation model rather than making a stand for our children who are in distress during adolescence and who need holistic or whole-of-person care.

When puberty blockers are administered we know, firstly, that a child cannot develop fertility—the latter stages of puberty do that—and, secondly, that they will not have full sexual function. Essentially, this child’s body becomes frozen in the early stages of puberty, with testosterone or oestrogen treatment adulterating the child and committing the child to a lifetime of hormones and drugs.

It’s unknown what effect puberty blockers have on brain development, and only now is The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne conducting research in this area. Too bad for all those children who have already passed through, and those currently receiving treatment. Endocrinologists traditionally treated diseases, yet in gender clinics they take perfectly healthy children with no diseases and inject them with puberty blockers to suppress normal hormone levels, to treat not an endocrine disease but the mental distress the child is experiencing.

How has this gone unchecked for so long? Why are these medical professionals not subject to disciplinary action for deliberately harming our children? What are governments doing while this is going on?

Endocrinologists know the importance of puberty to the full development of a healthy human being. Today gender clinics give medical professionals a licence to offer up puberty as an option to children. The transgender lens has compromised the full care of our children. Gender clinics in Australia need to close and follow the lead of the Tavistock clinic in anchoring whole-person care back to localised clinics within the mental health system.

Our children are making decisions that they can’t possibly understand—decisions with lifelong consequences. They are being sterilised and denied full sexual function, and their brain development is likely compromised. They are being made sick when they’re not physically sick. They are being denied the therapeutic support they need to help them with their distress.

Instead of asking why there has been an explosion of girls presenting with gender dysphoria in Western countries, the medical profession has bowed down to the trans activists and grabbed the opportunity to create profits and research outcomes at the expense of our children—inhuman!

Adults in Australia’s gender clinics must not be allowed to hide behind a statement of operating to the standards of care.

There is no care when the medical profession does not fully deal with the mental health issues that children are experiencing. There is no care when the medical professional takes physically healthy children and sends them on a pathway of drugs, infertility and arrested physical, sexual and neurological development for the rest of their lives. There is no care when state government legislation denies parents their rightful place in support of their children in distress.

Our children are not fodder for experimentation and advancing research outcomes for the medical profession. Our children are not profit centres for pharmaceutical companies. We are one community, we are one nation and this child abuse must stop now.

Malcolm Roberts

Malcolm Roberts is a One Nation Senator for Queensland.