OUTInPerth – Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson says gender treatments are sound and appropriate

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This article was originally published by the OUTInPerth. You can find the original article here.

Western Australia’s Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson has dismissed calls from the Liberal party to ban puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones from being available to young people experiencing gender dysphoria.

On Monday Liberal leader Libby Mettam announced that if her party wins government at the 2025 state election, they will immediately ban the medical treatment being available to young people, and then hold an inquiry into current practices and research.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson

The Health Minister says there’s no need for an inquiry because a review of the state’s Gender Diversity Service was conducted in 2021 and found it to be sound and appropriate.

“The decision to use puberty blockers is rare and not made lightly. The decision is made between clinicians and families, after a comprehensive mental health and multidisciplinary team assessment,” Ms Sanderson said.

“It is not appropriate for politicians to interfere in clinical decisions.” Sanderson told The Australian.

Mettam says a parliamentary inquiry into the medical treatments being used is needed because of the Cass Review in the United Kingdom which found shortcomings in the operations of the Tavistock Clinic in London.

Dr Portia Predny, Vice President of The Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH), says the findings of the British review says the Australian approach is not directly comparable.

 “The Cass review recommendations are at odds with the current evidence base, expert consensus and the majority of clinical guidelines around the world,” Dr Predny said following the release of the review in March.

“In Australia, our guidelines for gender affirming care for young people already prioritise holistic, individualised and person-centred care with the involvement of multidisciplinary teams of clinicians with all kinds of areas of expertise, to help and support young people to navigate their gender journey.” 

Dr Predny said applying the findings and recommendations of the Cass Review to the care of young people in Australia “was fundamentally flawed” because it looked specifically at the NHS system. 

“The way that gender affirming care is accessed and provided in Australia is substantially different to the way that that care is or has been provided in the NHS,” she said. 

Dr Predny also said there were many areas of medicine where it was not feasible or ethical to conduct Randomised Control Trials to collect the “highest quality” of evidence. 

“One such area is gender affirming care but there are many others, including perinatal care, and a lot of paediatric care generally,” she said. 

“Additionally, when you have multiple observational studies looking at a particular intervention and those studies are producing similar findings, the cumulative evidence becomes compelling.” 

Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh said Australia already has a comprehensive approach and many safeguards.

Kassisieh said Australia already requires trans young people to go to court to access treatment where their parents or medical team can’t agree on the best pathway forward. 

“With a case-by-case assessment required by our courts, it is already too difficult for trans young people to access the care and support they need – we don’t need to place more barriers to accessing healthcare,” he said. 

In February, Australia’s peak medical body, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) called for improved access to gender-affirming care and protections for the doctors providing it.  

It stated that gender-affirming care was linked with a range of positive health outcomes for people and that studies indicate regret from undergoing gender-affirming surgery was rare.  

The AMA also condemned the “systemic discrimination, abuse, and prejudice against young trans and gender diverse people seeking gender-affirming care”. 

This article was originally published by the OUTInPerth. You can find the original article here.

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