You know that we’ve reached a new nadir in Australian politics when in a recent interview Rob Sitch, one of this country’s top comedians, acknowledged that he has given up trying to outdo our nation’s leaders in proposing outlandish scenarios. Take, for instance, yet another $29 million feasibility study on hydroelectric power. Apparently, according to Sitch, the head of the project acknowledges that while it will power an extra 70,000 homes, the energy extended to do so could itself have powered 100,00 dwellings. Sitch makes the apt analogy that it is like trying to charge a Tesla with a diesel generator.
Sitch laughs that three years ago he had actually thought of doing an episode of his hit TV show Utopia, where they fly up to Snowy Mountains but thought that it was “too far-fetched, too silly, no one would buy it.” Reflecting on his attempt to satirically outdo the current political machinery he says: “I think we’ve lost the battle: the sloganing is too good. The marketing is too good. Their cheque books are too big … we come along 18 months later and make fun of it, but I think they win!”
Unfortunately, an all too similar situation exists today when it comes to the subject of childhood sexuality. Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Western Sydney, Dr John Whitehall, concluded an important academic essay on Gender Dysphoria (GD) recently with the following tongue-in-cheek scenario.
Lastly, I confess a family conundrum. I have a four-year-old granddaughter who insistently, persistently and consistently declares she is a shark. Worse, she declares her name is “Bruce the Shark.” Reference to DSM-5 dismays: she plays with model sharks, dresses in shark motifs, wears a shark headdress, will take herself to the corner to await fish, loves to sit before the shark ponds in aquaria and thrills to caress their tails in special ponds for children at SeaWorld in California. Not above deriving some benefit from the tragedy, her father coaxes her to finish her meals by suggesting she “eat her fish”. But, dejected, he seeks my private advice: “When should we deliver her to the aquarium?
Now, five years ago something that would have been taken as a piece of clever humour to a very serious subject. But not anymore. Take for instance what is being referred to as the “Great Vanishing” involving Sixty Minutes who just this past week inexplicitly removed a much-advertised segment on transgenderism. The tragic case involved a mother illegally giving oestrogen to her twelve-year old son (that had in fact been prescribed for her) simply because he identified as a girl. He has since changed his mind but now has breasts.
Here’s a summary or “fact check” by Prof Whitehall though which shows just how politicised this particular area of paediatric medicine has become.
- While the results of scientific studies vary, prior to the onset of puberty, 70-97.8 per cent of gender-dysphoric males and 50-88 per cent of gender dysmorphic females “desist” of their transgender behaviour.
- Estimates vary slightly but approximately 0.005 to 0.014 of men and 0.002 to 0.003 of women identify with the opposite biological gender. (Note that the Safe Schools program incorrectly inflates these figures as being a massive 4 per cent of the population, or 1:25 children.)
- It still remains elusive whether transgenderism is a symptom of a general mental disturbance, that mental disorders are caused by GD, that it is caused by social ostracism or is a combination of all three.
- It is unclear how ‘family chaos’ effects children experiencing GD. Studies do not consider that 36.7 per cent were living with both biological parents or that 58.3 per cent had parents who had separated.
- Studies on GD in children “are limited by lack of numbers and methodological bias, and the true rate of self-harm due to external ostracism is unknown.” What’s more, “Other factors are very common and very important and seem neglected in the argument.”
- The rates of suicide still remain tragically high, even after surgery, at 5.1 per cent for children with GD, compared to 0.15 per cent of the general population.
- As of yet, no studies have been done on the mental health or personal expectations of parents and the impact this might have on their child who is identifying as GD.
Whitehall concludes that this should make us pause before we rush head long into imposing a “utopian religion” upon our children where we isolate them socially, block the normal onset of puberty, pump them full of foreign hormones and finally surgically remove or attempt to construct new genitalia. Tragically, as Aldous Huxley so presciently predicted, it may just be a Brave New World of dystopian consequences which we will all inherit.
Rob Sitch’s social observation is spot on. Australian politics has reached a point where leaders are trying to construct a thirty-year vision in the space of three weeks. This is because, in this media savvy age where everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame by making grand public announcements, very few are prepared to do the hard work of analysing what it will actually cost to construct. As Sitch says, “The incentives are very much up front in politics but the engineering and the lease goes for a lot longer.”
How much more is this the case when dealing with a child’s biological gender? The payoff in regards to virtue signalling might be instantaneous, but the consequences for the people affected are long term and far reaching. The social scenarios that we are facing are becoming more and more outlandish but, as with the state of our current parliament, it’s definitely no laughing matter. As Professor Whitehall, cogently warns:
Children and parents caught up in the transgender phenomenon deserve our compassion. The children are in great danger of psychological imprinting by a Gnostic ideology whose enlightened leadership declares mind is truly over matter: feelings trump chromosomes, and gender is fluid. The danger increases exponentially when children enter the pathway of medical experimentation. Who can protect them from this current fad, fuelled by the media and instructed by websites?
Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.
Cartoon: Ben R Davis.
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