Originally published in The Australian by Patricia Karvelas, July 27th 2013.
THE Family Court and the parents of gender-confused children are presiding over a generation of institutionalised child abuse” by allowing young kids to change their gender, risking the possibility that some may have deep regrets as adults.
In Gender Hurts: a feminist analysis of the politics of transgenderism — to be published early next year — Sheila Jeffreys, a professor of sexual politics at Melbourne University, argues that Australia is violating the rights of children by allowing this practice to continue.
Professor Jeffreys told The Weekend Australian that the Family Court should be protecting children but, “it’s absolutely not doing so”.
“It’s become part of the machine of churning out correctly gendered children through these very dangerous processes,” she said.
“The Family Court, in theory, would be in a position to act as a brake upon it, but clearly that is not what’s happening, it’s part of the machine. So that means the state has become actively involved through the Family Court in the process of constructing correct gender in children.”
Professor Jeffreys argues that children may have regrets later and the state is violating their rights by allowing parents to get them medical treatment to delay puberty.
“There will, of course, be many regrets down the track and the children will almost certainly have been sterilised,” she said. She added that even the makers of the drugs said they did not yet know if it would be reversible, “which is an extraordinary situation to be in, in human rights terms”.
She said that it was the responsibility of parents and the state to protect children and it was ridiculous to say that “the children want this — the children want all kinds of things”.
“I think we might be having to move towards the point where we recognise that parents who encourage this idea in children are involved in a form of child abuse.”
Professor Jeffreys said that the recent federal law reform to recognise persons with “gender identity” as a category in the Sex Discrimination Act, entrenched the problem of gender stereotyping, which is the foundation for transgendering children, in the law.
There have been a spate of cases where the Family Court has ruled in favour of allowing children to change gender. In a landmark case this month, a 13-year-old orphaned girl has been authorised to start hormone treatment to become a boy, despite having “no parents” to consent to the decision.
The orphaned NSW girl, known as “Lucy”, will start treatment after a Family Court judge found her guardian didn’t need the court’s permission for the procedure to be authorised.
Judge Peter Murphy made the decision after finding the process would ease the mental trauma Lucy would experience from gender dysphoria — a medical condition under which a child identifies and behaves as the opposite sex from how they were born.