A leading law professor has called for a public inquiry to determine whether Australian children are being pushed into gender reassignment treatment.
The call comes as a Queensland Children’s Hospital psychiatrist was suspended for questioning whether a child using puberty blockers had been given a proper mental health assessment.
Psychiatrist Jillian Spencer was stood down from duties in April and remains on leave.
University of Queensland professor Patrick Parkinson said Spencer’s suspension raised serious questions about how gender confused children were being treated.
He said it led to suspicions that medical practitioners were being silenced from raising any concerns about the treatment of children.
“We have a leading psychiatrist being silenced potentially from raising these issues in her hospital,” he said.
“Is she being targeted because like doctors all over the world she's raising serious issues about young people in her care?”
Parkinson said many professionals held genuine concerns that children were being over-diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and without proper consultation or mental health assessment.
“What is really a medical issue, a mental health issue, a child protection issue has been caught up in the politics of LGTBQI rights and that is a dangerous mix,” he said.
“On average it seems it takes eight years, maybe 10, for teenagers to regret what they have done.
“We haven’t seen yet the wave of regret that I suspect is going to occur because kids are being put on these pathways without proper mental health assessment.”
Sky News Australia reported that a Freedom of Information request had showed Queensland Children’s Gender Service had 102 adolescents being prescribed cross-sex hormones on its books last year.
That was more than twice as many as Melbourne Children’s Hospital gender clinic.
Treatment of gender confused children was being given on the assumption that gender dysphoria caused serious mental health problems if not treated early.
But that idea has come under scrutiny in the UK, with a High Court ruling in 2020 that children under the age of 16 “considering reassignment are unlikely to be mature enough to give informed consent”.