The Sydney Morning Herald addresses both sides of the gender identity debacle

Most legacy media outlets refuse to report on gender identity ideology. Refreshingly, the Sydney Morning Herald braved the waters over the weekend. After sacking seasoned journalist Julie Szego for daring to report on the issue, they have done an about face and published a lengthy article investigating the pros and cons of the ideology. 

The reporting includes accounts by pro trans activists which is nothing new. Encouragingly, the report also includes many stories from concerned parents and detransitioner Mel Jeffries. 

Heartbroken and afraid parents describe how schools and the internet have captured their children with what they describe as “propaganda.” Several parents describe life under Daniel Andrews’ education policy that allows staff to socially transition children without parental knowledge or consent. 

Andrea* says three of her daughter’s four schoolfriends “turned into boys” in year 8. In year 9, their daughter followed suit. Andrea’s husband, Michael*, describes their child’s 18th birthday party as “five penis-less boys dancing and singing and baking each other cakes”.

Another parent, Monica*, tells me that, at 17, during a COVID-19 lockdown, her child gave her a speech out of the blue: “I’m a boy. I want a mastectomy and testosterone.” The child, Les*, is autistic and suffers trauma from sexual abuse as a child. Les tells me they’d always felt uncomfortable with aspects of being female – particularly their voice, their breasts and menstruation – and had latched onto the idea of becoming a transgender man at school, along with five or six others in their year level. Their art shows the pain of feeling caught in a confusing gender binary.

Now three years down the track, Les* has decided not to take testosterone after realising that their autism, trauma from sexual abuse and gender are issues that must be dealt with in therapy.

Tony says his daughter, who is autistic, was suffering anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, vomiting and bullying at school, but when he and his wife, Jane*, took her to a psychiatrist and “the gender issue came up”, they were referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital gender clinic. There, Jane says, a clinician said they could help their 14-year-old daughter find her “real” gender, and raised the prospect of suicide if they did not: Tony and Jane were asked if they would prefer a live son or a dead daughter. They did not return for the second appointment. Their child started testosterone at age 18 and, Jane says, is now “performing a boy stereotype” without really knowing what a boy is.

Tony cannot contain his grief and sadness. “I call my kid the new name and I pretend that she’s a boy and I guess that’s probably what you mean by ‘affirming’, but no one ever talks about what that means, because affirming really means telling her to hate any female characteristics,” he says. “It’s so negative. It’s about hating their body. Hating their past. Hating their childhood. Hating how people see you … and loving a gender stereotype … it doesn’t create anything. It destroys this curious, lovely, beautiful little creature that we had. It’s terrible to watch … We do all that stuff and we have lost this beautiful child to this terrible, terrible ideology.”

The whole report is worth reading. It is one of the few times a publication has delved so deep into the issue. 

The report acknowledges that other countries have stopped experimental medications on children such as the use of puberty blockers and that issues such as autism and trauma are often ignored at the expense of patients’ well-being.

The reality is, no one can change their sex. Lying to people, especially vulnerable children, is cruel and does irreversible harm. Let’s hope this report is the first of many that will begin to address the incalculable damage gender identity is reaping in this nation.