New bill seeks to outlaw gender treatments for minors in Australia

Liberal Senator for South Australia, Alex Antic has introduced a private member’s bill to ban all forms of gender reassignment treatment and surgery for those under the age of 18. The bill aims to curb the increasing use of puberty blockers and other gender-affirming procedures among young people and restrict such interventions to only the most exceptional cases involving long-recognized sexual development disorders.

Senator Antic said he was motivated by the growing disquiet in the community over the numbers of young people undergoing surgery. He is concerned that many young people are making life-altering decisions regarding their gender identity not based on genuine medical issues but due to peer pressure and influence from health professionals.

According to figures provided to The Australian newspaper in a freedom of information request, the number of young people attending public gender clinics has skyrocketed in the past decade, from just 211 in 2014, to 2,067 in 2021.

Senator Antic points to international evidence suggesting that some young people who undergo gender-affirming care later regret their decisions:

“There is a growing number of young people who, having sought ‘gender-affirming care’, including hormone therapies and surgery, now believe that pursuing this course of action was a mistake and are seeking to undo the damage done to their bodies”.

He also argues that the current approach to treating young people for gender dysphoria is a human rights issue, and that legislation is necessary to protect minors from potentially harmful procedures.

If passed, this bill would place restrictions on health practitioners, preventing them from providing interventions to minors intended to change their biological sex.

Currently, medical practitioners in Australia are finding themselves penalised for speaking up and challenging gender ideology, as is the case with HRLA client Dr Jillian Spencer, a respected child and adolescent psychologist with 20 years of experience.

Dr Spencer advocates for a cautious and holistic approach to the treatment of gender dysphoria cases, rather than an automatic ‘affirmation’ only approach, and is challenging the requirement of her employer to conform to gender ideology in the workplace.

Senator Antic’s bill would ensure that Australia’s approach to gender dysphoria cases in children and adolescents was consistent with growing international medical discourse on gender treatment for minors, following investigations in the UK, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.