Australian doctor denies science and reality in court

Two parents are deeply divided over their daughter who wishes she had been born male. They are battling the case out in the Federal Family Court. 

An Australian doctor representing a leading gender clinic “said there was ‘scientific debate’ about whether the treatment could have an impact on her fertility” and gender incongruence is normal while refusing “to admit it could be influenced by ‘external pressure’”.

The doctor was asked by ­barrister Belle Lane, acting for the parent ­opposed to the child’s transition, how she could be sure whether a child’s gender identity would remain into adulthood before prescribing them medical treatment.

“You don’t have any test that gives with absolute certainty that a child’s gender identity will continue through their adult life,” Ms Lane said.

The doctor responded: “No such test exists and gender identity changes over time. There is no specific test to determine how someone will feel in the future about their gender identity but that doesn’t mean we … take it on face value.”

The doctor continued: “There is no way to predict in the future who someone will be, but we go with what we have and we make a prediction.”

Ms Lane questioned whether “those people for whom your prediction is not accurate” will be subject to life-altering changes caused by testosterone, such as “facial hair, male patent baldness, alopecia”.

The doctor admitted “there will be some changes that cannot be undone” such as “clitoral enlargement”. But she told the court that, when conducting a consultation with the child, she said vaginal atrophy was “reversible”.

“When the administration of testosterone is ceased, your body’s natural hormones will ­increase again, unless there has been surgical intervention to your ovaries,” she said.

Ms Lane requested the doctor provide “peer-reviewed evidence” to support the fact vaginal atrophy is reversible, but the doctor could not.

Asked about conversations she had had with the child about the impact testosterone would have on her fertility, the doctor said there was “scientific debate” around lasting effects.

“(The child) is someone who had had regular menstrual cycles, who had not had puberty blockers, and the impact on fertility on someone like that is different,” she said.

“What I told (the child) was ... it could have an impact on fertility.”

The doctor took issue with a suggestion that “social contagion” caused adolescents to change their gender identity, saying there was “no evidence that someone can develop gender ­incongruence due to external pressure”. But Ms Lane pushed her on this.

“If you leave aside the social contagion ... you’d agree with me peer influence is something significant in adolescents,” she probed.

The doctor agreed.

In other words this doctor is elevating feelings above facts and advocating to experiment on the child despite the lack of scientific evidence that invasive and irreversible treatments will actually alleviate her confusion. 

No one can change their sex. It is immutable and evidenced by fact. Feelings change momentarily. They are not consistent, measurable or reliable indicators of reality.

It is unimaginably cruel to lie to a child and convince her that taking some drugs will turn her into a boy. These drugs can lead to very serious issues that require life-long medicalisation. What on earth is happening when adults in positions of authority such as judges, doctors and parents are so willing to sacrifice scientific evidence and reality for the sake of an ideology?

Children need protection, not exploitation to satisfy a political agenda.