A Queensland child psychiatrist who runs a gender clinic has said many children “try out” transgenderism as a way to be “different”, and that most will grow out of it.
Dr Stephen Stathis, whose gender clinic runs out of Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, said that only a minority of the children seen by the clinic would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Dr Stathis told The Courier Mail that many adolescents simply want to “try out” transgenderism in order to be different.
“One said to me, ‘Dr Steve ... I want to be transgender, it's the new black’.”
In addition to those who want to explore transgenderism as the latest fad, Dr Stathis said the vast majority of his patients at the gender clinic eventually outgrow notions of identifying as a different gender, and by the time they pass through puberty, they fully identify as their birth gender.
The clinic was recently given a $1m government funding boost which would reduce waiting times for children. Dr Stathis said that since 2013, the clinic’s waiting list has grown rapidly.
Considering the rapid growth of Safe Schools-inspired programs in schools across the country, this rapid increase is to be expected. Teen requests for gender transition have reportedly increased by up to 300 percent in the 6 years since Safe Schools was introduced.
“To the point where in November last year, I had a two-year waiting list for me to see young people,” Dr Stathis said.
“And then the waiting list continued. The numbers were growing by about 25 per cent per quarter.”
“We had over 70 young people just on the wait list [late in 2016],” he said.
In one of Dr Stathis’ cases, the parents of a child named Olivia (formerly Samuel) were given information on how many children with “gender variant behaviour” would go on to live in their born gender. Samuel’s parents told The Brisbane Times that they experienced grief when their child began living as a girl.
“But you feel you have no right to grieve because you have this child, and you have all these mementos of Samuel but all of a sudden you're not allowed to display them anymore,” she said.
“How do you maintain the connection to the past when your child doesn't want you to?”
Rachel said many people did not understand, and they put on “masks” to go to work: “They don't know what we deal with when we come home”.
“Life isn't good right now. You don't want to give that impression that they transitioned and everything is great - because it's just not.”
Due to the fact that students are often referred to these clinics by school counsellors, it is likely that in-school programs such as Safe Schools are contributing to the increase in referrals. Students struggling with these issues need medical and psychiatric help. Unequipped teachers should not be exploring these concepts as part of the curriculum.
It is despicable that programmes like Safe Schools have turned an issue – which deeply affects not only the child, but the family as well – into a new “trend”. “Transgender” should be not treated like it’s “the new black”. It should be treated as the serious problem it is, and those who suffer from it should be given the due help and counsel they need – not what biased programmes like Safe Schools declare is “best”.
To find out more about Safe Schools, click here.