Data released earlier this year by the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) shows 1,986 children under the age of 18 have been accepted for specialist treatment in the past year. That’s up from just 94 in 2009-10, with 37 young children under the age of five referred since then.
Western Sydney University professor John Whitehall, who has more than 50 years’ experience treating children, called the rise in transitioning “an infectious trend” and called for an age limit of at least 18 before children who claim they have gender dysphoria are permitted to undergo treatment.
Professor Whitehall said it was “unreasonable” to expect children to understand the gravity of the decisions they were making at such a young age.
“It is unreasonable to expect juveniles to have a complete picture of where they want to be in later life, especially kids that haven’t even yet reached puberty. This is an infectious trend, a dangerous fad and I think it’s nonsense. The courts should stop messing with our kids until they are at least 18 because once you change, that’s it.”
He urged a “watchful waiting” approach instead, arguing that a vast majority of children who question their gender will revert to their biological sex by puberty.
“I think it’s a dangerous fad; a dangerous behavioral fashion trend fuelled by the ideologues and fuelled by the media,” he said, adding he was concerned that programs such as Safe Schools, which promotes “gender fluidity”, were causing extra pressure.
“Even making that so-called social transition has consequences,” he said. “It nails the child to the cross. It’s very difficult to come back from that.