Conservative newspaper The Australian is continuing its campaign against trans people, this time using gender clinic figures to attack trans children.
The newspaper took out last year’s media gong at the Gay & Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous and Ignorant Comment Awards (GLORIAs) for its obsession with trans people and its transphobic ‘gender issues’ section.
Writer Benjamin Law described the section around the time of its launch as “promoting fringe anti-trans extremists while campaigning against medical experts and kids’ hospitals”.
Today’s Weekend Australian features a story highlighting a 330% increase over five years in patients at the Queensland Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic.
It uses inflammatory language to refer to a “surge” in patients and a “spike” in the use of “controversial” puberty blockers.
The article uses scare quotes to delegitimise the terms “gender affirming” and “gender dysphoria”, and repeatedly refers to trans boys as “girls”.
It claims that “some practitioners” – while naming none – fear that gender transition treatment is based on “identity politics” and ignores “underlying problems” and “the risk of harm”.
The story fixates on hormones and surgery, and invokes “regretful detransitioners”, people who have chosen to stop gender transition for one reason or another.
Detransition, while rare and often associated with fear of transphobia, does exist and is often brandished by transphobes to argue against access to transition.
Notably, transition for children typically involves social transition only, incorporating changes such as using a different name or changing wardrobe and haircut.
Puberty blockers for older children reversibly prevent the start of puberty, allowing trans or gender-questioning young people to avoid potentially distressing and irreversible physical changes.
Hormone replacement therapy and gender-related surgery may be available to young trans people after they have turned 18.
Accordingly, the Weekend Australian story notes, the gender clinic website does not discuss surgery as an option for trans children.
The newspaper quoted one doctor, Queensland Children’s Gender Service founding director Dr Stephen Stathis, as having once said some teenagers sought transition as part of a “new black” fad.
The Australian has been increasingly criticised in recent years for its targeting of LGBTIQ people, particularly the trans community.
The paper publishes up to an article a day on the topic, virtually all negative.
A United Nations discrimination expert last year slammed the Australian mainstream media for its coverage of trans youth issues, calling it “a betrayal of human rights”.