It’s not just Christians who are bearing the brunt of cancel culture affecting Australian society. There are increasing numbers of secular Australians who are being silenced and cancelled for speaking the truth in public. For some, this even extends to losing their livelihoods.
Julie Szego was a journalist with The Age newspaper for approximately 25 years, describing it as her “intellectual home”.
She was commissioned to write an opinion piece about the growing debate surrounding so-called “affirmative care” for young people diagnosed with gender dysphoria. By the time the piece was finished, a new editor had been appointed and declined to publish the piece.
Szego said she told him that she intended to publish the article on her new Substack page, and also that she would disclose that the newspaper had rejected it.
Julie is a self described “veteran left-leaning campaigner for the rights of sexual minorities”. She promoted her blog to her social media followers as a site where: “I’ll be writing about gender identity politics … without the copy being rendered unreadable by a committee of woke journalists redacting words they deem incendiary, such as ‘male’.”
It was these comments, the editor claimed, rather than the article itself, that got Julie fired.
Julie’s article explores many issues surrounding the transgender phenomenon, especially as it concerns young people:
During the past decade a sharply contrasting approach known as “affirmative care” or “gender affirmation” has recast this area of medicine, and with it schools, workplaces, sporting clubs and human rights laws. Plenty of myths surround “affirmative care”, which its proponents stress, is not a treatment plan but a philosophy. As a philosophy, affirmation demands that clinicians respect, even champion, a gender-incongruent individual’s right to self-determination.
The concern is that young people are asserting that right in soaring numbers – referrals to children’s gender clinics have grown exponentially during the past 10 years.
It is a trend that has health authorities in some of the world’s most progressive countries baffled, and sounding the alarm about routinely administering to distressed children treatment that has serious and irreversible side effects, including loss of sexual function and infertility.
Central to this dilemma is mounting uncertainty about whether transition will ease these young people’s anguish in the long term or merely compound it.
The issues raised in Julie’s article go to the heart of the current public debate about transgender ideology. Given the controversy regarding experimental treatments being offered by gender clinics, as well as the fact that some of these treatments are irreversible and their effects lifelong, the need for robust public debate is critical.
Julie has stated that she is willing to die on this hill for the sake of journalism, for truth itself, and “the right to tell it without fear or favour”.
Julie’s story is becoming an all too familiar one.
Increasingly Australians are being silenced or paying significant penalties for speaking up in public on important issues.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist and HRLA client Dr Jillian Spencer has also been punished for speaking up about her concerns regarding treatment for gender confused young people. She has been stood down from her role, pending an investigation following a complaint in relation to this issue.
As the culture becomes more secular, and fundamental rights and freedoms become sidelined, the work of HRLA continues to be of fundamental importance.
HRLA is firmly dedicated to helping protect people's rights to believe and live out their beliefs. The freedom to live according to your convictions lies at the very heart of all human rights and freedoms.
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