February 6, 2023 – South Australian MLCs are being urged to vote down an inquiry into gender affirming care with health professionals, human rights experts and parents saying it plays politics with essential healthcare.
Independent MLC Frank Pangallo has proposed the parliamentary inquiry which will be put to a vote on Wednesday.
Rebecca Galdies from the South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA) said gender affirming care should be left to medical experts and not politicians.
“We thank the SA Labor Party, the SA Greens and Michelle Lensink MLC who have already committed to voting down this inquiry,” she said.
“We have some of the world’s leading clinicians and experts in transgender healthcare in Australia and they are best placed to make decisions about the kinds of care provided to young people.
“An inquiry would only generate unnecessary and damaging debates, causing harm to an already vulnerable group of people, when the evidence on the benefits of gender affirming care is clear and well-established.
“We are calling on all of the state’s politicians to read the evidence, listen to the community and vote this down.”
Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown said gender-affirming care was supported by major medical bodies in Australia and internationally.
“The evidence shows that denying young people access to gender affirming care would cause them immeasurable trauma and harm and, in some cases, cost them their lives,” she said.
“These are deeply personal decisions that should be left to young people, their parents and the doctors treating them. It’s not something that should be up for political debate.”
Dr Portia Predny, Vice President of AusPATH (the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health) said medical practitioners followed guidelines established through research and clinical evidence to ensure patient safety.
“Gender affirming care is essential medical care and research shows us that it has overwhelmingly positive impacts for trans and gender diverse people,” she said.
“The decision to undergo gender affirming medical care is a personal healthcare decision made by the patient, and in the case of younger people, with the support of their parents.
“It is facilitated by medical and other healthcare professionals who have knowledge, experience and expertise in this field of health care, and treatments are tailored to the individual and their needs.
“Gender clinics and gender affirming clinicians support patients to be able to explore their gender identity through a variety of means, including through social and legal pathways of affirmation, as well as medical treatments that help to alleviate a person’s dysphoria.”
Carlie Morris, from Parents of Gender Diverse Children (PGDC):
“We see parents work diligently with their medical practitioners when it comes to making evidence-based decisions about their children's medical treatment.
“This process is not only a responsibility but also a fundamental right for parents, allowing them to support the ongoing well-being and health of their children, ensuring that they have potential to thrive.
“We should not have to compromise our children’s access to health care for the sake of political opportunism. We as parents should not have to waste time fighting ignorance and intolerance.”
Jeremy Wiggins, CEO of Transcend Australia:
“We hear from families all over Australia that gender affirming healthcare improved the mental health and physical wellbeing of their transgender children.
“Gender affirming healthcare has given these Australian families hope that their children will have a better future.”
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) CEO Nicky Bath:
“Gender-affirming care is crucial for the wellbeing of trans and gender-diverse young people, providing them with the opportunity to access life-saving and life-affirming support,” she said.
"Studies consistently show that denying access to gender affirming care, and subjecting trans and gender diverse young people to hostility, negatively impacts their mental health. Depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidality rates are a result of barriers to care, discrimination, and stigma.”
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