Sydney’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ criticised for Transgender front page story

News Corp’s Daily Telegraph has been criticised over a front page story on transgender children that clams doctors are alarmed about the Labor party’s policies that support transgender people.

In the article the newspaper claims doctors are concerned about the party’s policies including their plans to remove barriers to people wanting gain access to gender affirming medical treatment.

The newspaper however only quotes two doctors in their article, both who have a history of being opposed to recognising transgender people. The article focuses on Dr John Whitehead, a pediatric professor at Western Sydney University and GP Dr Christina Christopher.

In the article Dr Whitehall expresses his opposition to the Labor party’s push for conversion therapies to be banned. He argues that a ban on conversion therapy will limit doctors options in treating gender dysphoria, suggesting that psychological counselling will not be a treatment option.

“This party of the working- class has promised to permit no other option for any of its gender-confused children.

“The politicians should leave gender-confused children to family and child psychologists and psychiatrists.”

The third person quoted in the article is Australian Conservatives candidate Sophie York. York was previously the spokesperson for the Coalition for Marriage – the group that opposed allowing same-sex couples to wed.

That group has now transformed into Binary, an organisation that argues against recognition of transgender people. The spokesperson for Binary is Kirralie Smith, who until recently, was also a political candidate for Cory Bernardi’s party.

The article title claims that the doctors hold fears about ‘child sex change op’ but the article’s text makes no reference to children undergoing operations, and sex change operations occurring before someone is eighteen are very rare.

Greg Jericho who writes at The Guardian described the article as “garbage” on his Twitter account.  Entertainment reporter Andrew Mercardo described the article as “disgraceful gutter journalism“, author and journalist Jill Stark said the article was part of the newspaper’s “never-ending culture war“.

News Corp columnists share their thoughts on the suggestion children are having surgery

The misleading headline didn’t stop two News Corp columnists sharing their thoughts on the suggestion that children were getting sex change operations.

Daisy Cousens who write’s for Brisbane’s Courier Mail and Caleb Bond from The Adelaide Advertiser both appeared on the Sky News program The Front Page which discusses the next day’s news headlines.

Cousens said she was worried about the acceptance of gender theory and the idea that people could self-identify if they felt male or female, saying it throws scuitiny onto people who have genuine gender dysphoria.

“This whole issue concerns me greatly because what we’re talking about here, this whole kind of radical gender theory, which is theory, and it is a theory, that gender is a spectrum and you can self identify as either a man or a woman or anything in between, and there are a number of different pronouns.

“It also calls into scrutiny the issue of gender dysphoria, which is a condition where you feel like you’re in a wrong body, so you could be born a male and feel like you’re a woman, that is a real condition, and it is a very sad one.

“For those people surgery is sometimes the answer, however that is a very very very tiny group of people, it’s about 0.05% of the population to about 1.3% that has any kind of dysphoria or intersex condition. It is a very very niche issue in reality.”

Cousens said there was a push to encourage people to be gender non-binary describing it as a dangerous trend among young people.

“As the headline says it can lead to drastic life altering, complicated, painful surgery, on children and teenagers. Not only surgery but years of taking hormones that permanently alter their insides and their physicality. It’s major major major stuff here, yet its being tossed around like it’s somehow the norm, but it’s not, it’s quite dangerous.’ Cousens said.

Cousens said she had great sympathy for anyone who had gender dysphoria but ti should not be pushed as a “mainstream thing” which encourages children and teens to undergo transitioning.

Adelaide based commentator Caleb Bond mocked Labor’s commitment to appoint a Commissioner of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity saying next the party would be proposing a Commissioner for hard and soft water.

“I wonder what other commissioners we can come up for, perhaps a Commissioner for the hardness of softness of tap water, or a Commissioner for Bedspreads and Flower Arrangements, for heaven’s sake how many damn commissioners do we need on the public teat to tell us how to do things.” Bond said.

“Honestly, what do we need a national gender centre for? The vast majority of Australians know what gender they are, you’re born male or female. There is a very very very small minority of people who feel they are born in the wrong body and when they are of an age where they have the mental capacity to make a decision themselves they have the ability to go and change that.”

“Children have weird and wacky ideas, we’ve all had an imaginary friend and cross-dressed and all this kind of thing. That’s normal for children, children go through that, that’s part of discovering yourself and who you are, and how you fit into the world.”

Bond said he was opposed to children being recognised as being transgender.

“If we start saying that at the age of five, six, seven, eight, nine – that you decide you’re in the wrong body, and you want to have life altering procedures to fix that – that’s dangerous. Your brain has not developed at that point where you would know that kind of thing.”

Bond said he was concerned about a large scale movement to encourage people to think of gender dysphoria as “normal”.

“If we’re encouraging this kind of thing on a large scale as if it’s normal – it’s ludicrous and it dangerous.” Bond said.

Graeme Watson




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