Gender affirming care saves lives: Equality Australia

11 July 2023 – Gender affirming care saves lives and more needs to be done to make it accessible for young people who are trans and gender diverse, says national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia.

“It is simply unacceptable that young people are not able to access desperately needed healthcare when they need it,” said Equality Australia’s Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh. 

“Gender affirming care is lifesaving and we cannot risk delaying it. The failure to provide treatment in a timely way is negligent and the demand for services requires an urgent investment to reduce waiting times across Australia, particularly in NSW. 

“As Four Corners showed last night, young people cannot afford to wait.”

Mr Kassisieh pointed to advice from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which identified as a “national priority” ensuring that children and adolescents with gender dysphoria could access appropriate care and treatment. It found withholding treatment would be unethical and have serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of young people.

“Access to this life-saving care has been put under the microscope for years, both before the courts of law and the courts of public opinion,” he said. 

​“Ultimately, no one is in a better position to know whether a treatment is right for them than the person receiving that treatment, with the support of their parents and clinicians who actually care for their wellbeing.” 

Equality Australia’s TransEquality Project Coordinator Max Pick (they/them) said it was vital for the young people who need it to be able to access gender affirming healthcare. 

“Gender affirming care saves lives. We need to listen to the people who are seeking this treatment, knowing they thrive when they are given the healthcare and support they want and need,” they said. 

​“These are deeply personal decisions that should be left to young people, their families and the doctors treating them.” 

​Research shows that access to gender affirming care is associated with lower rates of depression and suicidality among transgender and non-binary youth. 

​“Public debates over gender affirming care serve no one and send harmful messages to trans youth, who at the end of the day only want to feel safe. They have enough hoops to jump through without making things harder for them,” Mx Pick said. 

​“Their healthcare should not be put on hold and their lives are not a matter for public debate.” 

Contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, tara.ravens@equalityaustralia.org.au