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Welcome to Gender Clinic News
An international news angle on the gender clinic debate
Medicalised gender change is a rapidly unfolding international story; its scale and significance are far greater than most people realise.
As a new independent project, I’ll use this Substack platform to publish news reports and analysis, feeding in to the global debate about youth gender clinics.
Differences and parallels around the world sharpen the picture. What happens in Stockholm may matter in San Francisco, in Melbourne and Madrid. When parents, therapists or detransitioners share insights and concerns, they do so in many languages. We need more translation, both literally and culturally.
There are plenty of opinions out there about “trans kids” — and a lot of political conflict — but not nearly enough straight news reportage.
True, the United States is fortunate to have journalist Abigail Shrier on the job; the United Kingdom has several mainstream media outlets (especially BBC Newsnight and The Times ) scrutinising gender clinics; The Economist and Medscape have helped give the debate an international dimension; Sweden’s investigative series The Trans Train has found viewers all around the world; and I’ve reported developments in Australia’s national press since August 2019.
Journalism has begun to do its duty, belatedly. There is catch-up reporting to be done, just as the gender clinic story seems to be picking up pace. So, more news coverage is needed — with more detail and depth, with more exploration of the international links.
Without the bedrock of fact and analysis that we take for granted in any other contested field — especially one involving vulnerable children — we are unlikely to identify the problems clearly, let alone find solutions.
You’ve arrived at this page, so you may well have had the frustrating experience of trying to explain to a friend why you’re troubled by the dramatic surge in young people seeking medicalised gender change with hormonal drugs and surgery.
Do any of the following responses sound familiar?
Why are you making such a big fuss about a small number of teenagers doing their own thing?
Medical organisations and kids’ hospitals wouldn’t be endorsing these treatments without rock-solid evidence.
Journalists have a nose for medical scandals, but I’ve only seen encouraging stories in the media about trans kids who thrive after treatment. They say it’s saved them from suicide.
This state of affairs is not surprising. People have been fed an unbalanced media diet. That’s why we need a bigger dose of normal journalistic scrutiny.
“No debate” is no answer. Equally, I believe there are people with good intentions who disagree profoundly about the safety and ethics of gender medicine. But it’s not “transphobia” to scrutinise the confident claims made by “gender affirming” clinicians, or to inquire into the likely risks and outcomes of their interventions with children and adolescents. If robust, high-quality studies do emerge and lend support to the gender affirming model of treatment, I’ll report those too.
News reporting is more time-consuming than opinion writing. There are data requests to be made, multiple sources to interview; care and checking are required.
I will try to keep a close eye on news developments in Australia, while tapping in to contacts and networks internationally. I’ll need help making sense of other countries’ medical policies, laws and institutions. If I get something wrong, I’ll correct it.
Large and complex news stories may run as a series of posts. Important breaking news will be posted as soon as possible.
I’ll also do regular round-ups of shorter news items and notable commentary. I hope to develop this newsletter as a one-stop shop for developments in the gender clinic debate. It may take me a while to settle into a workable rhythm.
Drafting this welcome note, I tried to set out in some detail the topics I expect to cover — gender clinic whistleblowers, fresh data and research, litigation, and so on — but it’s probably better just to start the reportage and see where it leads me.
What I write will depend in good measure on what you tell me. If you have news tips, ideas, corrections, links to new research papers, please email me. Help with translation to and from languages other than English would be much appreciated.
News and analysis — my reportage — will be available to everyone free of charge.
If you’re able to support me with a paid subscription, that would be wonderful. With a paid sub, you’ll be able to comment on my articles and join discussion threads. Once I’ve settled in, I’ll look at other formats and approaches for telling the gender clinic story and creating opportunities for people to share their insights and reactions.
With best wishes,
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