RACP rejects News Corp claim it will run inquiry into treatment of trans children | Australia news
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has denied a report that they have been commissioned by the health minister, Greg Hunt, on the “safety and ethics” of medical treatment of trans children.
Hunt had received complaints about healthcare for trans children from a group including former deputy president of Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party, Dr John Whitehall, and psychology professor Dianna Kenny, both vocal opponents of trans healthcare.
In a post on its site on Tuesday, RACP published Hunt’s letter in which he called on the RACP to “urgently consider and advise on the clinical best practice for the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents.
“It is important that we have a nationally consistent standard of care that is evidence based and with appropriate safeguards to protect the interests of the patient. I look forward to receiving your advice in the coming months,” he said.
The RACP said on Tuesday it would consult with committees and experts to respond to Hunt, but clarified that the RACP is “primarily an educational institution and does not conduct inquiries”.
The RACP said the organisation is strongly supportive and welcoming for people experiencing gender dysphoria, and notes the Australian standard for care for treating transgender and gender diverse children and adolescents.
The clarification comes after ABC’s Media Watch criticised the Australian for its renewed focus on transgender issues, including the creation of a “gender” page on its website, containing almost completely negative coverage of trans issues.
The Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH) – the peak body for healthcare professionals working in trans and gender diverse healthcare – issued a statement criticising the coverage.
“We see the harm that inaccurate and biased reporting in the media can have on these young people and their families,” AusPATH said. “Ignoring the facts in the reporting on this issue is irresponsible and, most importantly, not in the best interest of these young people due to the significant harm it causes.”
The group noted a study of the mental health of trans young people in Australia found high rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harm, with 48% of trans and gender diverse young people under the age of 24 attempting suicide.
In response, the Australian published a story claiming Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, the lead signatory on the letter from doctors who work in trans healthcare, failed to disclose she worked for the Royal children’s hospital in Melbourne, the hospital behind the trans healthcare standards document endorsed by AusPATH and RACP.