Australian Notes

Australian notes

21 May 2022

9:00 AM

21 May 2022

9:00 AM

On this page last election eve I wrote, ‘Mums and dads across the country look set to elect a Labor party that has vowed to impose the kooky notion of gender fluidity on all of our children, even those seeking refuge in religious schools.’ We were spared in 2019, but after a term of flaccid failure by the Liberals to fight this culture battle, it looks like the party that introduced the breast-binding, penis-tucking ‘Safe Schools’ programme will now be given a free hand with your kids.

Governments and schools must not mess with the minds of children. That means they must not mess with archetypal realities like male and female as if they were cultural fads instead of facts of nature. For those who have forgotten these facts – like Australia’s former chief medical officer who couldn’t say what a woman was – just remember that a woman is an adult human female, where ‘female’ is defined by a reproductive system organised for gestation. Therefore, a transwoman is not a woman but a male who feels a deep need to present in feminine stereotypes.

But perhaps it’s niceness, not facts, that matters to you? Niceness compels you to affirm a confused boy who says he’s a girl and affirm a male athlete who says he’s a woman? Yes, that’s nice, but it’s untrue, and collaborating with confusion has un-nice consequences.


Keira Bell was a confused child of fifteen who thought she was a boy. The Tavistock Clinic in London affirmed her confusion and set her on the path of hormones that sterilised her and surgery that removed her breasts. Keira was not a boy; she was a troubled girl who has now sued Tavistock for failing to address the source of her confusion and leaving her sterile and scarred.

Tammika Brents was a mixed-martial arts athlete whose skull was smashed by a burly transwoman. Aspiring female swimmers have been metaphorically smashed by transwoman Lia Thomas. Transwomen preserve the male advantage in muscle bulk, limb-length, heart and lung capacity, so allowing biological males to compete in women’s sport not only breaks records and bones but denies a fair go to females. In this timid and trivial election campaign we have watched one brave woman, Katherine Deves, founder of Save Women’s Sports and Liberal candidate for Warringah, get hammered for telling this truth. Because everyone from blind Freddy to the drover’s dog agrees with Deves’ central argument – that women’s sport should be for women – the nice woke Left dredged social media for something smellier to hang around her neck. They found a picture of a young woman with surgical scars where her breasts had been removed. This woman now identified as a man and tweeted satisfaction with the surgery. Deves put the opposing view: that young people are being ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’. That language fails the niceness test, even if said out of compassion for young people like Keira, but the language is arguably correct.

The term ‘mutilating surgery’ does not imply any lack of good will or skill; it simply describes the radical nature of a procedure. In the days when radical mastectomy was the recommended treatment for breast cancer, no doctor disputed that this was mutilating surgery; the only dispute was whether it was necessary – over time, we realised it was not. In Testing Treatments, the medical authors write, ‘The surgical excesses were eventually challenged, both by surgeons who were unwilling to continue in the face of questionable benefits for their patients, and by outspoken women who were unwilling to undergo mutilating operations.’

Deves is an outspoken woman. She objects to mutilating operations with questionable benefit being performed on young women. The youngest known gender-confused girls to have bilateral mastectomy in Australia were aged 15. The question is not whether the removal of a girl’s healthy breasts is mutilating surgery – arguably it is – but whether it is necessary. The question is not whether cross-sex hormone treatment sterilises the young patient – typically it does – but whether it is justified. Some doctors conclude, in good faith, that it is justified. Others disagree – indeed, hundreds of us (including nine child psychiatrists) wrote to federal health minister Greg Hunt in 2019 (see genderinquiry.org) asking for a parliamentary inquiry into ‘the rapid rise of childhood gender dysphoria in Australia and the lack of scientific basis for current medical treatment.’ Why should we usher children down a path of radical hormonal and surgical treatment when we know about 80 per cent of these children would get over their gender confusion around puberty? A supportive, watchful approach seems wiser. Former cutting-edge countries like Sweden and Finland have now reviewed the evidence and halted hormonal and surgical treatment for gender-dysphoric youth, prioritising psychological treatment. Here in Australia, however, hormonal transition remains the dominant paradigm while Labor’s evil laws in Queensland and Victoria prosecute GPs who dare suggest that treatment should address the child’s troubled mind, not her body.

Deves spoke as truthfully as she could on youth sterilisation and mutilating surgery, on British data that found half their transgender prisoners were sex offenders, on the high incidence of autism and mental health disorders among gender-confused children, and on how unsafe and unfair it is to let transwomen compete with real women. But it’s niceness that matters, not truth. So Deves’ opponent in Warringah, Climate 200’s Zali Steggall, took the nice approach of slurring mothers as ‘transphobic’ if they worry about their daughters playing sport against biological males. That is a safe insult: Steggall will not have to get police protection, but Deves has had to, saying, ‘We are in a time when it is dangerous to speak your mind.’

We are in a time when it is dangerous to leave our kids in school, their minds subject to cult-like indoctrination by gender whisperers on the one hand and peddlers of climate doom on the other. At what point does the imposition of such psychological confusion and superstitious terror become notifiable abuse? Educational mutilation? Parents, maintain the rage.

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