I’m sure people are heartily sick of the name Miranda Devine following her column on Sunday, October 16, but unfortunately there’s another reason to mention it again.

Star writers Andie Noonan and Jesse Matheson have sensibly analysed Miranda’s general shock-jockery in their columns and so has Anthony Venn-Brown elsewhere.

Unfortunately, four days later, Miranda’s column on trans young people was even worse than the Sunday column, but has slipped under the radar. That column needs total rebuttal.

Let’s get facts on medical processes to delay puberty. The Netherlands clinic that pioneered the process has careful selection processes and follow-up studies report a 100 percent success rate. See www.trangendervictoria.com

Australia uses these processes and also has the Family Court review each person’s situation. We all know about the distress caused by not being true to oneself re gender identity at any age — it is exactly parallel to denying sexual orientation.

There is an added pressure for young trans people. At puberty, a time of heightened body awareness, the distress of a mind and body difference is even more pronounced. This must add to the risk of suicide that so many LGBTI people face due to
heterosexism. (Please contact a knowledgeable service if this issue creates distress for you.)

Delaying puberty is a totally reversible process, largely eliminates that risk and gives young people breathing space without the stress of developing unwanted bodily features.

The British Journal of Medical Ethics found “if [the treatment] is likely to improve the child’s quality of life and even save his or her life, then it is indeed unethical to defer treatment”.

Unfortunately, Miranda refers to this proven approach as “gender meddling”. While the parenting situation could have been heterosexual, single or gay dads, there were also comments along the lines of man-hating lesbians.

The child could also have been born with a female body and needed to be male. So not only are the comments ignorant re transgender people, they are also lesbianphobic and sexist/gender stereotypical.

As for comments about the child making a decision, like sexual orientation, gender identity is not a decision or a “choice”. The only gender meddling in this planet’s history has been to stop trans people (and often our intersex cousins as well) from being the sex/gender we know we are.

General shock-jock rants are one thing. Dangerously imbalanced writing that could increase harm for young people is another thing altogether.

So again, I’m sorry to mention Miranda Devine, but it had to be done. Normal transmission may now resume, with young transgender people happy and healthy — and alive.


INFO: Sally Goldner is VGLRL treasurer and TransGender Victoria spokesperson.

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