Children will be able to access hormone treatment to change their gender without seeking Family Court approval, following a recent landmark judgment. Five Family Court judges have unanimously departed from a previous ruling of the court, which required young people seeking hormone treatment for gender dysphoria to obtain approval from the court. It said this was because the state of medical knowledge had moved on since the court ruled that its approval was required. There were now international standards for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and “increased knowledge of the risks associated with not treating a young person”.

“It is readily apparent that the judicial understanding of gender dysphoria’s and its treatment have fallen behind the advances in medical science,” the majority said. It said its decision applied to cases in which there was no dispute between the parents or the medical experts who proposed the treatment. The decision was immediately welcomed by the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, which said it was “the greatest advancement in transgender rights for children and adolescents in Australia”. The case involved a 17-year-old known as “Kelvin”, who was born female but had identified as a male since the age of nine.

Lawyers for Kelvin’s father had argued children should require only the approval of medical experts and their parents when seeking Stage 2 treatment, which involves the administering of hormones orally or via injections. Australia was until now the only country in the world that required court involvement in Stage 2 decision-making. The Royal Children’s Hospital’s head of adolescent medicine and gender services, Michelle Telfer, said the decision was “enormous” for transgender adolescents. “Transgender adolescents will now be able to access the treatment that is best for them, making decisions in collaboration with their parents and their doctors without the delay and distress that the court system imposes on them and their families,” Dr Telfer said.

“They will now have timely access to the treatment which provides a positive difference to their physical and mental health, and their social, emotional and educational outcomes.” The judgment revealed the Family Court had dealt with 63 cases involving applications for stage 2 or 3 treatment for gender dysphoria between mid-2013 and mid-2017. In 62 of those cases, the court allowed treatment. The cost of seeking court approval ranged from $8000 to $30,000. A judge had already decided that Kelvin was competent and fully understood what was involved in starting hormone therapy.

Kelvin’s father’s barrister Michelle Painter SC argued that the continued role of the court was not required because the administration of hormones was not “sufficiently grave” or “sufficiently medical” or “sufficiently surgical” or irreversible, so as to warrant the court’s continued role. “It’s a pretty powerful thing, but that is all that it is, it’s not surgical or medical in that more invasive sense in our submission,” she told the court. Ms Painter said the court’s role added “no value” to the process; instead medical experts were best placed to make the decision about whether treatment was appropriate.

She said the numbers of children seeking hormone treatment for gender dysphoria were “growing exponentially” and showed no sign of slowing down. Continuing to play a role in approving the treatment would take up the court’s time and drain its limited resources. The process also caused unnecessary delay for young people in a “fast moving period” when they hit puberty, and it was distressing for them “to have their physical attributes sanctioned by a court”. The barrister said the court was rarely involved in approving Stage 3 treatment, which involved surgical interventions, because that usually occurred after children turned 18.

The Royal Children’s Hospital has received more than 230 patient referrals this year, and more than 700 since 2003. Dr Telfer said of those, 96 per cent diagnosed with gender dysphoria continued to identify as transgender into late adolescence. No patient who commenced stage two treatment had sought to transition back to their birth sex.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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In a world dominated by virtue signalling and externals, it is not often that the political conversation turns to questions of character. First the truth was avoided by many in media and public life. Then it was stymied by claims that one’s private life ought to remain private. When the man himself finally had to speak, he used the same defence. In his official statement to the media, Barnaby Joyce twice emphasised the distinction between one’s private and public life. This implies that we cannot expect to know about or debate the merits of a leader’s private life. It implies that such talk is not relevant at best, and hurtful at worst.

And yet plenty of people are very upset about it. Listening to talkback radio in recent days, many callers claimed that the issue was not only relevant, but important, though they struggled for the vocabulary to explain why. The truth is, the private/public divide doesn’t exist when it comes to matters of character. If a man is not faithful to his family, one might well ask whether he is faithful at all. To country, to God, to friends, to office, to truth.  As a question of character, it permeates a person’s whole life and all that they do. That is the nature of character and virtue. They are things which bear on our very mode of life. They qualify us at a most basic level for anything we set our hand to.

Likewise, their absence disqualifies us from so much. Hypocrisy is a terrible vice, but more importantly nobody listens to a hypocrite. It’s hard to blame them. When Isaiah was commissioned by God to be a prophet, his character flaws were first exposed and dealt with before anything was said or done in the pursuit of his work. Before that, Isaiah simply was not ready for the task (Isa 6:1-9). At a recent Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) staff retreat we worked through a devotional series on the Sermon on the Mount. It struck me that we so often consider our work at ACL in light of Christ’s call to be salt and light in the world, and do our good works before others so that they might see them and glorify God (Matt 5:13-16).

All these are, in a major sense, public matters. But nobody teaches by throwing out a list of random, unconnected statements. Jesus was no different. The order in which he said things and the connection between them is important. And before Jesus said a word about publicly manifesting our faith in word and deed, He first taught us about character. The public face of salt, light and good works is backed by character that is poor in spirit, meek, righteous, pure in heart, peacemaking, and merciful (Matt 5:1-9).  I am more and more convinced that our nation faces a crisis of leadership.

Our lack of faith in politicians, our disengagement with politics, the void of cultural leadership, the often weak conviction from the church, it all points to the same problem. Stories like this should make us examine ourselves. God calls us to be leaders where it counts, in our character. He calls us to do so in our communities, our families, our work; wherever He has placed us. Maybe for some, that includes politics. As people cry out for leaders of conviction and moral fibre, who don’t merely virtue signal but are in fact virtuous. I am left asking whether some of us will heed the call, as Isaiah did so long ago.

But let me add a word of caution. As Christians we know that there is always a way back from moral failure. The pathway of repentance and restoration is one ordained by God Himself, one that we have walked for ourselves. There is therefore no room for pride or hypocrisy on our part. Further, there is no room for condemnation if he claims to have walked this pathway for himself and demonstrates that it is so. But we must not defend the indefensible, pretend that virtue is merely private or public, or be afraid to speak up and tell the truth. The truth is: character matters. It matters for Joyce. It matters for all our politicians. But it matters for me, too.

Source: Blog by Martyn Iles Managing Director of the ACL

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New Zealand professor of physiology, Alison Heather, recently addressed the topic of transgender athletes in sport, concluding that more research should be done before transgender females are allowed to compete against their biologically female competitors. Although the professor agrees that “there has been very little research into elite male to female transgender athletes”, she has enough data to assert that these individuals have a huge advantage. Heather said testosterone levels can give trans women an advantage over their female competitors, and after transitioning a trans woman’s muscle mass, lung capacity and muscle memory all remain the same as when they were male.

That could give trans female athletes an advantage when competing in activities that involve physical strength. “The physiological attributes of males that makes them naturally stronger including anatomical and biological features such as size, muscle mass, lung capacity, and heart size would be an advantage.” A classic example of this phenomenon would be Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who was born male but now identifies and competes as a female. Although permitted to enter the female category by the International Olympic Committee, Hubbard has demonstrated a massive advantage over the other female competitors, since she has retained the mass and structure of a full grown male.

Heather believes there is a potential muscle memory effect for Hubbard, having competed previously as a man. She said the increased numbers of myonuclei (muscle fibres) could potentially allow Hubbard’s muscles to train better than if she had not previously been a male. “Also, whether hormone therapy has reduced the larger skeletal muscle fibre area of her previous male physique is questionable.” But not only does the physical makeup give these transitioned females the upper hand, but their testosterone levels also register much higher than those of the other female competitors. This testosterone is responsible for performance enhancing effects such as increased lean body mass and haemoglobin levels.

Attempting to account for this, the IOC created a regulation stating that the trans females’ testosterone levels must register 10NMOL and under. However, Heather argues that this regulation is not enough: The IOC based the 10NMOL regulation on the lower level of a male of 10 NMOL/L – the upper range for a female is 3.1 NMOL/L. At highest level, a female with polycystic ovary syndrome can have up to two times or more higher levels of testosterone, meaning around 6 NMOL/L. So what does this mean for women’s sports? Although a few believe that transgender athletes should be warmly welcomed into the world of competitive sports, many women are worried that they will no longer have a chance at winning.

Even with the little data we have available, we can already concur that their concerns are valid. With women’s divisions open to anybody who identifies as female, the door is open to any male who sees the women’s division as an easy road to an Olympic medal. Even with this factored out of the equation, biological women will not be afforded fair competition, since trans women will have many, if not all, of the advanced physical structure of a grown male. Is this what the majority of Australia said “Yes” to?

Source: Marriage Alliance Australia

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