Reblogging this piece from another author. This text has been sent to Media Watch, the journalists who investigate our media. It is in regards to a special-interest piece by our dear national broadcaster about the Michelle Telfer who heads up Australia’s premier gender id clinic for children. Dr Telfer believes she can “give [a girl] a boy’s body”. Note the timecodes in ().
I’ve just sent this tip-off to Media Watch: ‘A Balancing Act’, Australian Story. ABC, 24/5/2021. This broadcast covers up and misrepresents what Dr Michelle Telfer did in 2014.
There are two issues here:
- long-term consequences of puberty blockers
- effect of puberty blockers on bone density
In 2014, Dr Tefler told the Langley family that if Isabelle decided to ‘go back to being Campbell’, ‘we can stop this drug, and your body goes back to how it would have been with no long-term consequences‘. This interaction was filmed and broadcast on 17 November 2014 in the episode ‘Being Me’, Four Corners, ABC (at 20:52).
The Langley family, and what Dr Telfer told them in 2014, feature again in ‘A Balancing Act’. However, she is presented as saying to them: ‘We can stop this drug, and your body goes back to how it would have been…’(at12:50). In other words, the phrase ‘with no long-term consequences’ has been cut out.
Of course this matters. It matters because of recent admissions that the long-term consequences of puberty blockers are unknown. See, for example, the amendments to advice about them made on the UK’s National Health Service website in June 2020.
GONE is the claim that puberty blockers are considered to be fully reversible:
“The effects of treatment with GnRH analogues are considered to be fully reversible, so treatment can usually be stopped at any time after a discussion between you, your child and your MDT”.
NEW is the admission that long-term effects are unknown:
“Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria. Although the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be. It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations.”
It is precisely the reason why the application of puberty blockers has been suspended in the UK, Sweden, and Finland. https://segm.org/Sweden_ends_use_of_Dutch_protocol
Effect on Bone Density
In the 2014 footage incorporated into ‘A Balancing Act’, a voiceover is interpolated of Dr Telfer saying: ‘Puberty blockers are reversible. The only risk is that it can affect your bone density’ (at 11:55). The vision accompanying this voiceover is of Dr Telfer speaking to the Langleys in 2014, such that, to an ordinary viewer, it appears that this was something she told them in 2014, and that was broadcast in the Four Corners episode ‘Being Me’.
Was it broadcast in ‘Being me’?
No it wasn’t. Was it something Dr Telfer told the Langleys in 2014, either off-camera or on-camera but edited out before broadcast in 2014? Possible, but highly unlikely, since the effect of puberty blockers on bone density was pretty much unknown at that time: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5647/rr-0https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433770/
The hagiographic treatment accorded Dr Telfer in ‘A Balancing Act’ was enhanced by distorting her 2014 professional performance to make it look more nuanced and fact-based than it actually was. It surely isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the role of the ABC to misrepresent and cover up deficiencies in a high-profile featured subject’s professional performance in this way, particularly when it involves such a serious issue as gender dysphoria.
A sincere thank-you to the author for her analsys.