Scott Morrison falsely claims “young adolescents” are having trans surgery

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared he’s still standing by Katherine Deves as his candidate in Warringah despite her walk-back of her apology over her comments about transgender youth. The PM then went on to falsely claim that young adolescents are undergoing gender confirmation surgery.

Yesterday Katherine Deves spoke to Sky News where she walked back her previous apology over comments she made online suggesting that transgender youth were “surgically mutilated”. The Liberals Warringah candidate said that while she realised her comments had upset many people the phrasing she used had been correct on a medico-legal level.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning PM Scott Morrison said he still stood by Deves, and shared her concerns about young adolescents undergoing surgery for gender affirmation. The Prime Minister made the false claim several times before journalists challenged him on its accuracy.

“The issues that Katherine commented on yesterday, they’re incredibly sensitive, they’re very challenging. What we are talking about here is gender reversal surgery for young adolescents and we can’t pretend this is not a very significant serious issue – it is.

“It’s complicated and the issues that have to be considered first and foremost is the welfare of the adolescent child, and their parents. We can’t pretend that this type of surgery is some minor procedure.” the Prime Minister said.

“This is a very significant change to a young person’s life and it is often irreversible and I think ensuring that we understand what we’re dealing with here is incredibly important and that’s why our government, and also state governments, are so focused on ensuring we get the right supports, counselling, psychiatric support, but ultimately the support for the parents and the family to make the best possible decision.

“Now I, and I’m sure many other Australians, are concerned. This is a concerning issue, it’s a troubling issue, and for us to pretend that it’s a minor procedure – it’s not. It is extremely significant and it changes that young adolescent’s child’s life forever.”

Journalist immediately challenged the Prime Minister on his claim that young adolescent children were undergoing gender confirmation surgery in Australia.

Highlighting that there were only a miniscule number of cases of people under the age of 18 being given permission to undergo surgery, reporters noted the vast majority of people making the decision to undergo surgery were over the age of eighteen.

The Prime Minister said he had concerns about people undergoing gender affirmation surgery at any age, before claiming he himself was not a doctor.

“Even at any other stage, this is serious change, it is irreversible change.” Scott Morrison said.

The Prime Minister said he would not use the phrase “surgical mutilation” as Katherine Deves had, but said people needed understand that gender confirmation surgery was a significant surgical procedure that completely changes someone’s life.

“It should never be entered into lightly, and it should never be entered into without a full appreciation of the irreversible change that occur,” the PM said.

Challenged by reporters on his claims the Prime Minister said he was not implying that people were entering into gender affirming surgery lightly, and he would never use the language used by Deves.

“I’m not a doctor,” Scott Morrison said. “I’m not a surgeon. So I’ll rely on the chief medical officer to use the appropriate language.”

The Prime Minister then said he was correct in his claim that young people were undergoing surgery because the process often began when people were very young.

“This process can begin in adolescence… the process of discussions about gender and gender reassignment, the surgical procedure can’t, but the process by which these discussions commence and when issues of gender are being discussed with adolescents – that’s when a process can commence.” Scott Morrison said.

Scott Morrison said he had not spoken to Deves but he was sure he’d have an opportunity to speak to her at sometime during the campaign.

The Australian government’s Health Direct website outlines that gender confirmation surgery is covered by strict guidelines that include people being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, being able to give informed consent, being over the age of eighteen and having good physical and mental health.

Undergoing surgery also requires people to have taken hormones for 12 months, and spent a year living as the same gender and their gender identity. The government’s site also highlights that the surgery can result in complications and does not always resolve gender dysphoria.

OIP Staff


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