The transgender community is upset after recent revelations about Australia’s only sex-change clinic, saying religious groups are involved in the push for its closure.

The Gender Dysphoria Clinic at the Monash Medical Centre is temporarily closed over claims people have been misdiagnosed as transsexuals and prompted to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

The Sunday Age reported at least eight patients believe they have been misdiagnosed and some have tried to commit suicide after reassignment surgery, with little follow-up care.

Transgender Victoria spokeswoman Sally Goldner told Southern Star the community was upset to see the story and said the clinic has saved many lives.

-œEvery care is taken. I think there is no pressure and I’d add that I’ve never yet heard of any health or medical procedure that has a 100 percent perfect record.

-œIt is horrible that people have been misdiagnosed. It would be equally horrible if 99 percent of people weren’t diagnosed and ended up suiciding because they couldn’t get the surgery they needed.

Goldner blamed movements in extreme religious groups as the driving force behind the closure. The Sunday Age quoted former head psychiatrist Dr Trudy Kennedy, said to be under investigation by the state’s medical board, saying she has been -œhung out to dry over the allegations.

-œI agree with Dr Kennedy’s comments that it’s the same people trying to shut down abortion clinics. They’ve lost on abortion, they have largely lost on gay and lesbian issues and now they’re saying we have to thump our ideological chest, let’s do it on trannys, Goldner said.

Goldner said she has concerns about claims in the report that some of those alleging misdiagnoses were abused as children.

-œIt is possible that you can be transgender and abused concurrently.Second, there is no proof that child abuse leads to being transgender -” where’s the large-scale evidence to prove cause and effect?

Southern Health issued a statement saying the Gender Dysphoria Clinic is expected to return to full operation after this month, following an internal review process.

The statement said all individual clients had been consulted and given alternative support with -œminimal disruption to care expected.

Southern Health said recommendations from a 2004 state government probe would be implemented until the clinic reopens under the new leadership of clinical director Dr Fintan Harte.

-œWith regard to questions regarding review recommendations, substantial progress had been made and a majority of the recommendations from both reviews implemented.

-œThe reviews did not find that there was no monitoring of patients after surgery, but rather that no follow-up research had been carried out. Consequently funding was increased to the clinic for this, Southern Health said.

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