Senator Alex Antic has introduced his Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023, which seeks to ban gender reassignment medical and surgical interventions for minors.
Senator Alex Antic introduced his private member’s bill into the Senate last Wednesday, 18 October.
The bill seeks to make puberty blockers and reassignment surgery illegal for persons aged under 18 years.
Sponsored by Senators Alex Antic, Ralph Babet, Malcolm Roberts and Matthew Canavan, the bill has been put forth as a necessary intervention to protect children from irreversible mental and physical harm.
The bill seeks to strengthen the human rights of parents and children in accordance with articles 3 and 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Specifically, the application of human rights in this bill means
“preventing a future generation of young adults being irreparably harmed during their childhood by unethical and unnecessary gender clinical interventions.”
The Drastic Rise of Transgender Reassignment Interventions
Of central concern is the drastic rise in the number of minors seeking transgender intervention in Australia.
Following a Freedom of Information release this year, the number of under-18s prescribed puberty-suppressing drugs in 2014 in Australia was five. Fast forward to 2019, and that number rose to 624.
The number of minors attending public gender clinics has increased ten times during the period from 2014 to 2019. In 2014, 211 under-18s were accessing these clinics. In 2019, the number was 2067. Speaking on 5AA, Antic referred to “an explosion of tragic stories [from de-transitioners] and an explosion of litigation on top of that”.
The Rise of De-Transitioners
The increase in young people accessing gender reassignment interventions has gone hand-in-hand with the number of ‘de-transitioners’. An explanatory memorandum co-released with the bill states:
“There is a growing number of young adults, now having outgrown or moved on from the idea that one can simply switch their gender with drugs and surgery, who are desperate to undo the damage they were allowed and encouraged to do to themselves while still a minor, through puberty blocking drugs, hormone therapies and even surgery.
“Australia has an obligation to protect children, especially vulnerable children who are susceptible to suggestion by adults and even their own peers.”
The Bill Follows Growing Concern Over the ‘Affirmation’ Model
Concerns over the ‘affirmative care’ approach to treating children experiencing gender dysphoria are growing. Last year, The Daily Telegraph reported the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as supporting the well-known fact that:
“… in most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence.”
There’s an obvious gulf between the temporary nature of most instances of gender dysphoria and the permanency of gender reassignment treatments. This glaring disparity led to the NHS announcing last year that it would close its controversial Tavistock Centre.
As reported by the Daily Declaration, the decision came after an independent review found the clinic failed to provide proper standards of care. The background of a failed court case two years earlier – brought against the clinic by de-transitioner Keira Bell – no doubt helped put the writing on the wall.
Cause for Unrest in the Liberal Party?
The Australian reported that one SA moderate Liberal voicing concern over Antic’s bill, labelling it a “headline-grabber”, and warning the SA and federal Liberal Party against “getting tied up and obsessed with fringe culture war crusades”:
“‘We all saw how that’s played out in Victoria’, the figure said in reference to the split within Victorian Liberals over the expulsion of Upper House MP Moira Deeming for attending an anti-trans rally which was crashed by Nazi sympathisers. ‘The last thing we need is another state or even a national brawl along those lines.’”
However, Antic is unconcerned. He went on to say:
“We are seeing an epidemic of detransitioners who have been irreparably harmed by such procedures, meaning legislation is required for Australia to meet its human rights obligations. “If a person is under 18, they are forbidden from buying alcoholic drinks, buying cigarettes, buying R-rated media, and getting a tattoo. If they are under 16, they are forbidden from driving a car. Yet we are placing children on puberty-suppressing drugs which stunt their physical development.”
Victorian Inquiry into Gender-Affirming Care
The introduction of Antic’s federal bill last Wednesday was followed by a failed motion in Victoria the very next day. The motion to hold an inquiry into ‘gender-affirming care’ for children was voted down 21 to 16.
Introduced by Independent Liberal MP Moira Deeming, the inquiry was backed by all members of the Victorian Liberal Party. Despite a tumultuous relationship with Victorian Liberal Leader John Pesutto, Deeming said she “was very pleased and grateful for the Liberal Party’s support”.
Deeming defended her motion by arguing that medical treatments needed to be centred on evidence. Her closing speech after the defeat highlighted a girl in Sweden whose spine eroded after being on puberty blockers. De-transitioners who had come to support Deeming watched on in the chamber.
The motion failed to pass due to its opposition by Labor, the Greens, Legalise Cannabis and the Animal Justice Party.
Yet comments left on X, noting the relatively close vote, suggested that the tide was turning against the gender-affirmation model.
That turning tide is the beginning sign of victory for future generations. As a result, those future generations will no doubt thank those such as Antic, Babet, Roberts and Canavan, who helped lead the way.
Read the Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023 here.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.