The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has announced that it recommends against a national inquiry into gender dysphoria, after Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, sought advice last year.
Health Minister Hunt sought advice from the RACP in August 2019 about the medical treatment and care of transgender children and adolescents.
In a statement released on March 6, 2020, the RACP said that a national inquiry was unnecessary as it would not fill-in gaps in our current scientific knowledge of gender dysphoria.
“Children and adolescents with gender dysphoria are a very vulnerable population, experiencing stigma and extremely high rates of depression, self-harm, attempted suicide and suicide,”the statement reads.
“Ensuring children and adolescents with gender dysphoria can access appropriate care and treatment regardless of where they live, should be a national priority. Withholding or limiting access to care and treatment would be unethical and would have serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of young people.”
In August last year, The Australian published a front-page story claiming that Minister Hunt had ordered a national inquiry. These claims were later dismissed by the RACP who confirmed that the minister was seeking advice on the matter.
In their statement, the RACP warned about the dangers of a national inquiry, describing it as a lengthy and severe public debate which corners young trans and gender diverse Australians.
“The RACP notes that there are substantial dangers posed by some of the proposals that have been put forward during the recent public debate on this issue, such as holding a national inquiry into the issue,” the statement continues.
“A national inquiry would not increase the scientific evidence available regarding gender dysphoria but would further harm vulnerable patients and their families through increased media and public attention.”
The RACP’s advice, revealed yesterday, stresses therapeutic approaches when improving care for trans and gender diverse young people. These approaches include more funding to research the long-term outcomes of care, improved accessibility for treatment of gender dysphoria, and the development of evidence-based fact sheets for patients and their families to enable informed consent.
“The RACP strongly supports expert clinical care that is non-judgemental, supportive and welcoming for children, adolescents and their families experiencing gender dysphoria,” the advice reads.
“A fundamental principle of medical care is the need to ensure that care and treatment is provided in the best interests of the patient, and that doctors do not harm those who request care through either their action or inaction.
“Limiting access to care and treatment would be unethical and would have serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of young people.”