Earlier this year, ABC Kids were criticised for airing a 17 minute program called, First Day. The show, which was played on the children’s station, looked at a young school boy’s transition from Thomas to Hannah. Yesterday ABC News published an opinion piece arguing, “we need more Australian trans stories on our TV screens.” McIntyre writes:
“In 2016, Screen Australia released a study on diversity in Australian TV drama broadcast between 2011 and 2015. It reported that only two of the 88 LGBTQI characters in TV drama during this timespan were transgender.”
Here’s what the ABC fail to grasp: Firstly, transgender youth are at an alarmingly high risk of self-harm and suicide; And secondly, when transgender programs for kids increase, gender confusion increases too.
Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute recently revealed: Almost 80% of trans people aged 14-25 years had self-harmed, compared to almost 11% in the general population; 48% attempted suicide, compared to 2.4%; Trans youth suffer symptoms of depression almost 10 times the rate of the Australian average for young people; And they have anxiety disorders 10-13 times the rate of the average population.
This year in the U.K. The Telegraph highlighted the shocking increase of children being referred to gender identity clinics. There were said to be a total of 2,016 referrals for children aged between 3-18, six times more than the 314 referrals five years earlier.
Similarly, the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow, Scotland, witnessed a 300% rise in referrals in less than five years. The Stonewall Report found 96% of trans students in Scotland attempt self-harm and 40% attempt suicide. Chris McGovern, a former advisor to the Department of Education in the U.K. has warned:
“It has become an industry, people are making a career out of encouraging children to question gender at an age when they need to be left to be children. When teachers raise these issues children can become confused or unhappy and traumatised by it.”
Dr Paul McHugh, former head of psychiatry at John Hopkins University, has argued 70-80% of all children with transgender feelings grow out of it. McHugh went on to say, “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
What will it take for the ABC to get that?