STATEMENTS BY SENATORS - Gender and Sexual Orientation

STATEMENTS BY SENATORS - Gender and Sexual Orientation Main Image

30 November 2022

Tonight is the parliamentary launch of Sydney World Prideā€”a celebration but also a reminder that we have much more work to do to dispel longstanding myths about LGBTIQ people. I take this opportunity to break a few of these myths about trans people and the use of puberty blockers. Trans people and trans young people are not new. There are many historical and cross-cultural examples of trans people, including in First Nations communities. There's nothing inherent about being trans that makes them more vulnerable to poor mental health. However, a lack of support, a lack of health care, and discrimination do contribute to poor mental health outcomes.

Puberty blockers are not permanent. They're a healthcare option at an enormously stressful time for young trans people, and they give adolescents a chance to develop emotionally and cognitively before making further decisions. Data shows these treatments save lives and reduce self-harm. Contrary to what was put forward by Senator Hanson, the common belief that children can access invasive medical treatment is not true. It is in fact difficult to access gender-affirming medical care. It involves multiple assessments, multidisciplinary teams and long waiting times.

The college of physicians provided advice to the former minister for health, noting that an inquiry would not increase the scientific evidence available regarding gender dysphoria but would further harm vulnerable patients and their families. Every Australian child and family deserves to have access to the care and support that they need to thrive.