The number of Australian adolescents referred to pediatric gender clinics has “skyrocketed” in recent years, according to a Daily Telegraph investigation.
New data from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request found that 2,067 minors were enrolled in public adolescent gender clinics in 2021, representing an 880% increase from 2014 when 211 minors were enrolled. The actual number of minors receiving treatment for gender dysphoria in Australia is estimated to be much higher, as this figure does not include children treated in private practice.
Puberty blocker prescriptions in Australia peaked in 2019, with 624 minors receiving the drug, up 12,380% from 2014 when only 5 children were prescribed blockers. This number reduced to 198 in 2021, which the Daily Telegraph speculated was “possibly due to COVID lockdowns.”
In 2021, 204 adolescents were prescribed cross-sex hormones from pediatric gender clinics, a 656% rise from the 27 minors prescribed hormones in 2014.
Dr. Dianna Kenny, an Australian psychologist and retired professor of psychology at the University of Sydney, said the data obtained from the FOI request was likely a “gross underestimate” of the number of minors who are being socially and medically transitioned in Australia.
“These numbers show a trend and that is upwards,” said Dr. Kenny. “They don’t include figures from the private sector, where there’s been an explosion of private practitioners prescribing puberty blockers or cross sex hormones.”
Victoria and Queensland, both densely populated states in Australia, have seen the highest growth in pediatric gender clinic referrals. In 2021, 1,120 children were enrolled in public clinics in Victoria, and 635 in Queensland.
Dr. Kenny has been an outspoken critic of “gender-affirming” care, which discourages medical professionals from questioning a minor’s self-reported transgender identity or exploring possible underlying factors that may be causing their dysphoria. She believes social media has led to the explosion of adolescent females adopting a transgender identity.
In a recent episode of the YouTube podcast “TERF Talk Down Under,” Dr. Kenny equated surgically removing the breasts of teenage girls to medical malpractice.
Philip Morris, the president of the National Association of Practicing Psychiatrists, has called for a “proper inquiry” into how to treat Australian children with gender dysphoria.
“The magnitude of the effects on a young person’s life, especially children and adolescents, is huge,” Dr. Morris said. “It involves ongoing medical treatment for the rest of their lives, loss of their fertility and sexual responsiveness. It’s absolutely essential to have a proper strategy as is happening in the UK, Sweden and Finland.”
After conducting systematic reviews of the evidence for the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in treating pediatric gender dysphoria, health authorities in Sweden, Finland, and England have decided to abandon the “gender-affirming” model, finding the costs far outweigh the benefits.
Eloise Brook, a transgender activist and board member of The Gender Centre in Sydney, revealed the clinic saw 347 children with gender dysphoria in 2021-2022, and believes the number will only increase.
“Because of the science we provided the appropriate care,” Brook said. “We are a frontline service. We help families, hold them together and make sure their kids stay alive.”
Brook, citing the debunked “affirm-or-suicide” narrative, said that failing to affirm a child’s chosen identity will drive them to commit suicide.
“Anything else is utterly unacceptable and barbaric,” said Brook. “This disingenuous argument that trans kids are not trans, it kills these kids.”
Brook is a strong proponent of the affirmative approach, which is also recommended by The Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH), an offshoot of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), an organization denounced internationally by medical and mental health professionals for its “adherence to ideological views unsupported by evidence, its exclusion of ethical concerns, and its mischaracterization of basic science.”