TransHub on Medical Gatekeeping

TransHub is a website owned and operated by ACON.

It was written in extreme haste by Teddy Cook and Liz Duck-Chong. Together they spent 6 months to get it off the ground. Who are they?

Teddy and Liz work for (or better still, they are) the ACON Trans Health Equity Unity.

Teddy is co-inventor of GRUNT, the website designed to bring women into gay male spaces. Liz is a writer and film maker and, “sexual health nerd”. Teddy seems to have done the hard yards working for ACON, but Liz’s qualifications aren’t readily available for some reason. Together they played on the team of trans activists who brought you lots of trans-research.

What does ACON say about medical gatekeeping?

All gender affirming care must be inclusive, self-determined and rights-based.

https://www.transhub.org.au/gatekeeping?rq=gatekeeping

Name another illness, condition or medical management pathway that is “rights-based” or “self-determined”.

One would be pregnancy and obstetric care. Where healthy women routinely submit to medical management to mitigate the risks of childbirth. Women have been fighting for (years, decades, centuries?) for self-determination and control in the labour room. Still we are medicated, ignored and mistreated.

https://www.transhub.org.au/gatekeeping?rq=gatekeeping

The other is cosmetic surgery. A user-pays model ensures that the process is driven by the customer. This is what transgender care is: cosmetic alteration on demand. With a suicide threat thrown in for good measure.

The footnote index after “tragic consequences” lazily links to a list of sources rather than to the specific source for each claim. Item 1 on the list is a VIEWPOINT article written by TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST Florence Ashley.

“Viewpoint”: https://jme.bmj.com/content/45/7/480
Picture
Florence Ashley: Absolutely no axe to grind

What Might Constitute Medical Gatekeeping? (According to ACON)

There are 1 or 2 reasonable red flags embedded in this list. Delaying care without a clear reason is

Red FlagComment
Refusing to take on trans or gender diverse patients and clientsDoctors can refuse to take patients they don’t feel equipped to handle. This is the essence of specialisation.
Would you rather have a doctor who felt out of her depth, and forced into a care relationship, or a doctor who loved slicing off healthy breasts?
Requiring unnecessary steps in order to access gender affirmation, eg. Mandating a psychiatrist or endocrinologist is assessment for all patientsIf Transgender is not a mental disease, it is surely a mental viewpoint. Doctors would be doing malpractice if they started medically treating patients who didn’t have the condition being treated.

Endocrinologists are specialists who deal in human hormones. They are the ones who manage hormone treatment. How is it a red flag for a doctor to send a hormone-requesting patient to a hormone-specialising doctor?
Delaying gender affirming care without a clear health-based reason, or for reasons of “watchful waiting”, a well-established conversion practiceDelaying care without a reason sounds very fair. However “watchful waiting” isn’t delay of care. It is a specific form of non-medical care.
Not providing all the information or answers as to why a particular decisions has been madeQuite fair. Patients generally should have access to information about why decisions were made.
Requiring trans and gender diverse people to adopt a binary identity, or refusing to accept or learn about non-binary identitiesThis is just bizarre. “Refusing to learn about”. “Forcing to adopt”. How do they force you to adopt an identity?

If you feel “forced” by your doctor to adopt an identity, you can choose another care provider.
Requiring invasive and unnecessary examinations or testing in order to access careThis is quite fair. But it is now tinted by the previous items that seem to imply the patient should be the only one driving the medicalisation bus. At this point I wonder what constitutes an “invasive and unnecessary” examination or test. Since referring out to a specialist is seen as a medical red flag, what is it we are actually talking about here?
My mind leaps to unnecessary genital contact, but do they actually mean routine blood work?
Engaging in conversion or aversion therapy (or Gender Identity Change Efforts)How does one perform gender identity conversion therapy? Tell a girl that her body is beautiful and unique and she will be an excellent engineer even without hormonal therapy?
Any discussion of ‘Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria’This is the item that gives the game away. Any clinician who is interested in their patients will make the link between a teen girl who is the 4th in her friend group to declare a trans identity and Lisa Littman’s research on ROGD.

This is the cutting-edge science. It’s the science they don’t want you to know about because it casts their beloved transgender identities as vapid trend-based stereotypes.
Over-inflation of regret ratesAnd how, oh how, would the patient know what the regret was was? Despite all efforts to blank out this evidence, there ARE regretters, desisters, detransitioners. Famously, Walt Heyer’s website https://sexchangeregret.com/ receives multiple emails a day from people who change their minds.
https://www.transhub.org.au/gatekeeping?rq=gatekeeping

In Conclusion

TransHub want us to believe that gatekeeping is dangerous. They want us to believe that gatekeeping is a defined set of behaviours. However many of their red flags can be explained as something else (such as not wanting to take on a complex patient) or as due diligence (referring to a specialist).

TransHub’s list of gatekeeping behaviours is designed to cast suspicion on any medical practices that might result in a patient hearing a “no” or a “wait” or a “I think there might be other problems to deal with”.

This list is designed to open the express route to a medical pathway. it benefits the over-eager patient, it benefits the pharmaceutical company and it benefits the surgeon.

It does not put the need for holistic care front and centre.

Trans Research is Produced by Trans Activists

I recently released a post about the The 2018 Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey. The post ended with a question asking who may have been behind this work. It is time to answer this question.

The citation for this study includes 10 names. Some are academics. Some are transgender activists. The study’s website shows photographs of the researches. Can you tell which ones are the activists?

Trans Gender Diversity Sexual Health Researchers. Can you tell which ones are the researchers and which ones are the activists?

The Activists

Jeremy Wiggins: Creator of GRUNT, Executive Officer at Transcend.

The study started as the masters thesis of one Jeremy Wiggins. She is one of the creators of GRUNT. That’s the website enabling women to invade gay male spaces.

GRUNT primes women to invade gay male private space.
It is hosted by Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

Jeremy is highly placed at Transcend. This charity is run by Rebekah Robertson (mother) and Georgie Stone (trans-identified son). Together they successfully challenged the high court to remove legal protections for trans identified children. Now doctors can prescribe puberty blockers and wrong-sex hormones without the protection of court orders.

Creators of GRUNT

Teddy Cook: ACON’s director of Trans Health Equity. Creator of GRUNT, creator of TransHub, VP of AUSPATH (Australian ProfessionaL ASSOC for Transgender Health).

TransHub is a one-stop-shop for transgender health and advocacy. It mixes medical information with legal and social advice. You can find a gender-friendly doctor, bolster your convictions that you have the right to play whatever sport you want to, get advice about blocking puberty (but not the side effects of Goserelin) and find advice about the best packers and tuckers a single disposable income can buy.

The TransHub page on gatekeeping by doctors warns that “Any discussion of ‘Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria’” or discussion of regret rates is gatekeeping. TransHub is anti-science, anti-doctor and downright dangerous.

Liz Duck-Chong is a trans woman & writer, Creator of TransHub

Works at ACON with Teddy Cook. Together they concocted the TransHub website. Among his writing credits, check out “Let’s Talk About Girl Dick” written for a 15+ audience. Or the invective piece ‘Rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ is a poisonous lie used to discredit trans people.

Liz hosts a podcast called “Let’s Do It” where he proclaims himself a writer and “sexual health nerd”. This seems to be the sum total of his quals in sexual health. (The linked episode features Teddy Cook and demonstrates of the difference between vocal patterns in women, trans men and trans women).

Although he lists about 10 trades, occupations and professions on his website, Liz doesn’t proclaim any qualifications in public health. By virtue of being transgender and highly opinionated, Liz has taken an opportunity to shape public health policy in Australia.

Shoshana Rosenberg: an academic steeped in Queer Theory, employed by ACON

Currently employed at ACON, Rosenberg’s bio begins: I am a queer, butch, Jewish academic researcher, multi-instrumentalist, and composer….research interests include gender and sexuality, Queer Theory, Jewish Studies, and musicology.

Despite being a non-binary Mx “a-gender trans woman”, Shoshana believes it’s perfectly fine to participate in a podcast named Let Women Talk. Perhaps he could eff off and let women actually talk.

Mish Pony is a trans woman sex worker and elected representative at the Scarlett Alliance & Founder of LGBTQ youth camp

He is also employed in a managerial role by Twenty10, a youth crisis service with clientele aged 12-25. In this interview from 2014, Mish talks about getting roped into sex work “as a guy” through university. Later graduating literally to sex work plus advocacy.

He talks about having issues with his body, feeling out of control. Although he doesn’t connect this lack of control to his activities in either sex work or medical transitioning. He began taking hormones (control), but didn’t like all the side effects (out of control). While he was overseas he simply ran out of estrogen (out of control) and stopped medicating (control). But now Mish is the quintessential trans woman: a man with a long hair, breasts and a fully-functional penis for hire.

Not to clutch at my pearls too much, but how on Earth is this an appropriate adult to be guiding vulnerable children?

Mish sits on the board of The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO).

Mish Pony: works with children and is a prominent sex worker

Bios on both Twenty10 and Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations state that Mish Pony is a founder of Camp Out. Camp Out is A away-from home camp for 13-17 year old LGBTIQ children where they are taught to reject compulsory heterosexualty.

GRUNT & PASH: meet the women who want to remove gay men’s sexual boundaries

NOTE: GRUNT.org.au is archived by the wayback machine https://web.archive.org/web/20210307023129/https://www.grunt.org.au/


My last post was about ACON’s website for men who like to “party and play” – NSFW – New Video – How Hard is ACON’s Manual for Risky Sex. Today I’m looking at the ‘little sister’: GRUNT, and some of the women behind it.

GRUNT

Two of the “community partners” listed on that site (PASH and GRUNT) are for trans men. The PASH.tm project was founded in 2014 to raise awareness of sexual issues for ‘gay’ trans men. That is to say for straight women.

GRUNT is a project of the PASH.tm team. GRUNT is a website resource dedicated to shoe-horning women into the gay hookup scene. It is a copy of ACON’s HowHard website, dedicated to men who engage in drug-fueled “adventurous” sex. Strangely though while HowHard is proudly proclaimed as an ACON resource, GRUNT is more coy. It merely thanks Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations for support and funding.

Big brother – little sister

GRUNT mimics HowHard in a number of respects, not the least it’s visual style. The site is festooned with photos of nearly-naked men in flagrante. GRUNT tries hard to draw a visual link with the gay hookup scene.

What are the similarities between HowHard (for gay men) and GRUNT (for trans men)?

HowHard

  • Covers HIV prevention, prophylaxis and testing
  • Nude and near-nude fetish photography
  • Group sex images
  • Prep: Big focus on getting guys to take prep
  • Confusing messages: says both “piss play is safe” and also that urine carries gonorrhea.
HowHard

GRUNT

  • Covers HIV prevention, prophylaxis and testing
  • Nude and near-nude fetish photography
  • Group sex images
  • Prep: Big focus on getting women to take prep
  • Confusing messages: cautions that while most boys are douchine their ‘arse’ before sex, this may be dangerous, but may not be, but might be, and the decision is really up to you.
GRUNT

How do they differ?

HowHard

  • Sex talk: Detailed descriptions of kinky sex (I don’t mean spanking, I mean felching and piss-fking). Straight talk about f-king and cocks.
  • Drugs: Detailed information about drug use.
  • Safety: Tacks HIV-safety messages onto detailed descriptions of sex and drug use.

GRUNT

  • Sex talk: Doesn’t go into detail about sex or pleasure.
  • Drugs: Cautions that drugs can affect capacity to consent. “Sometimes people use alcohol or drugs to cope with the intense feelings of nervousness and low self-esteem
  • Safety: Focuses on safety, and fear of being exposed. “If you are hooking up with someone, and you’ve set it up from an app, let a mate know where you are going.”

What makes you a man is inside you, not what your body looks like.

GRUNT – Keep it hot

How about the gaslighting

Trans guys are just guys

Suggested response to a hookup disclosing trans status: still from animation hosted at GRUNT

In Australia, gaining sexual consent by deception is a crime. GRUNT take a “trans guys are just guys” line to the extent of suggesting you don’t need to disclose your sex to a new partner.

They suggest using a “script” like this that minimises and glosses over the impact of trans status.

“Hey bud, just so you know. I’m trans. That means I’ve got a bonus hole/front hole/extra hard cock to play with. Cool?”

GRUNT – Keep it hot

Being a female is not the same as a male with “a bonus hole/front hole/extra hard cock”. Women smell different, we feel different, we get aroused differently and we respond to sex differently. Gay men have a right to choose sex with other gay men.

Gay spaces are our spaces

GRUNT encourages women to go and hang out at the glory holes because it feels validating to be near gay men.

Don’t be afraid to go to that sex club and hang out at the glory holes the first few times. … it can be a very liberating and validating experience to be in these types of gay male spaces.

GRUNT – Keep it hot

In Australia, sex clubs and saunas will generally welcome trans guys on T (or at least not explicitly ban us). You don’t need to call and check, if you want to go – Go!

GRUNT – Keep it hot

PASH.tm (the group that created GRUNT) made a post on their Facebook page in April 2021 that the project had come out of hibernation to raise the alert about a gay male sauna using transphobic language. Wet on Wellington spa in Victoria put out a patron survey that wasn’t entirely trans-inclusive enough. PASH.tm called the troops and crafted a letter of demand.

Just don’t mention it

If you’re fisting or blowing someone, it may not be a thing worth mentioning. Don’t assume that he won’t be ok with it. 

GRUNT – Keep it hot

What makes you man anyway?

GRUNT assures women that ‘bottoming’ e.g. being penetrated, even being penetrated vaginally, doesn’t make them less of a man. Lots of really macho gay men are ‘bottoms’.

Bottoming in any of your holes does not make you less of a man, in fact some of the most macho cis guys are total bottoms.

GRUNT – Keep it hot

Language

The word “gay” appears only once in relation to the validation trans men get from being in gay male spaces. The site talks about cis-guys.

Where are they now?

The brains behind PASH.tm and GRUNT are co-chairs – Ted Cook and Jeremy Wiggins (Jez Pez) along with Aram Hosie – Laurie Hopkins – Max Mackenzie (MJ Beck) – Ethan Kristy

Now they’re driving the car

Teddy Cook (trans man) – now at ACON as Director, Community Health where she oversees client services, LGBTQ community health programs, Pride Training and Trans Health Equity.

Jeremy Wiggins (trans man) – Executive Officer at Transcend. This is the mother-son charity that worked tirelessly to remove the roadblocks preventing Australian children from accessing puberty blockers and wrong-sex hormones.

Aram Hosie (trans man) – Head of Strategic Communications at Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission

Laurie Hopkins (nb female) – seems to have gone to religion and is a motivational speaker. She was always more gender-fluid anyways.

Max Mackenzie (trans man) – Director of Resilience Enterprises, and named “rural trans activist of the year” in 2019 in Queensland. Not bad.

Ethan Kristy (trans man) – graduated from photographing lesbian orgies staged to look like gay male orgies, and went on to become an artist capturing the queer experience.

Puberty Blockers: Not enough evidence

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health has just published this excellent article pointing out that the science is FAR FROM settled on the application of piberty blockers to treat gender dysphoric children.

William Malone, Roberto D’Angelo, Stephen Beck, Julia Mason and Marcus Evans are leading clinicians. They raise serious questions about the efficacy of puberty blockers, the paucity of evidence supporting the rush to treatment.

Listen to me read out this article then check it out yourself

Quotes (all from the article)

Further, the magnitude of the post-treatment improvements in mental health was small. The depression (Beck Depression Inventory) scores improved by around 3 out of 63 points,

A study of 14 young people with gender dysphoria who were rejected from puberty suppression due to “psychological or environmental factors” found that at follow-up 1–7 years aer the original application, 11 of 14 did not feel any regret about not undergoing gender confirmation.7

…this same study, which to date is the only attempt to replicate de Vries and colleagues,5 found “no evidence of change in psychological function with GnRHa treatment“, including measures of distress and self-harm

The study concluded that the reported psychological improvements are “either of questionable clinical value,

Reference

Puberty blockers for gender dysphoria: the science is far from settled – The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health

https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00235-2

About The Lancet Child & Adolescent

Link to the article – you may need to register for free.

A final thought

When you are deciding whose evidence to follow, are you following the doctors who are providing treatments that put children on a life-long medical pathway? Or are you listening to these clinicians whose only aim is to help children get healthy so they can live their lives free of medical intervention?

Malone, D’Angelo, Beck, Mason and Evans don’t get paid to ask you to think twice before medicalising your kids. Gender Therapists, on the other hand, do stand to make a lot of money by convincing you that a perfectly healthy boy is really a girl because he likes Barbies.

How TransHub is Selling Experimental Drugs to Australian Children

TransHub is an informational source owned by ACON. They have lots of pages dedicated to children and how to transition children. They even look at the legal landscape in some detail.

I’ve made 2 videos on TransHub’s material on Puberty Blockers.

TransHub do not mention how dangerous these drugs are

TransHub perpetuates a myth that these regimes are too expensive (so that it will become easier for children to access experimental sterilizing treatments)

The Australian Puberty Blocker Market is Worth $27M

You might have the impression that accessing Puberty Blockers is prohibitively expensive. You may have heard that they are unfairly withheld from children, and how they should be subsidised by the government.

TransHub

TransHub

For this post, I have relied on data published by TransHub, which is an informational website owned and operated by ACON.

TransHub is the place trans people, children and parents go for their data about transitioning.

The Cost of Blocking Puberty

TransHub advise that there are 3 types of puberty blockers, and that these are prohibitively expensive. Goserelin, Leuprorelin and Triptorelin are each medications that are taken periodically 3-5 times per year.

These drugs are subsidised for conditions such as – endometriosis, chemical castration, prostate cnacer – and are limited for short treatment periods only.

PBS – https://www.pbs.gov.au/medicine/item/1454M

Doctors can prescribe “off label” so the consumer can buy them, but will not receive a subsidy. They must pay full price. For these 3 drugs, the cost is between $800 and $1200 per year per child.

To contrast, my daughter attends karate lessons which are $20 per week, or $1040 per year.

This cost is within reach of most working and middle-class households. The kinds of people who would dress a boy in pink and call him a girl.

Size of the market

Royal Children’s Hospital estimates that there are 45000 trans children in Australia.

If 60% of these children are eligible for puberty blockers, this gives us 27000 children.

27000 children paying $1000 per year is $27 Million dollars.

$27 Million a year

What the current number of trans children are worth in Australia

Each child will take puberty blockers for up to 6 years, meaning there is a need to continually convert younger and younger consumers to maintain the pipeline. The younger the child is placed on to the trans pathway, the more they will look forward to the day they can finally receive puberty-blocking drugs. They are less likely to pause and make a critical decision over something that has become a years-long obsession.

Subsidies are about removing consumer roadblocks

GnRH analogues are not listed on the PBS for puberty suppression related to gender affirmation, and as a result the costs can be prohibitively expensive for many young people and their families. Some young people will seek out public clinics but there are very few currently available in NSW.

TransHub – https://www.transhub.org.au/puberty-blockers

For many medications, the government will agree to pay part of the price direct to the manufacturer so that the consumer only pays a small amount at the pharmacy counter.

The manufacturer gets paid either way. So why is this important?

Subsidising puberty blockers will take away a barrier to starting the treatment. If the financial commitment is taken away, parents are more likely to give it a go and see what happens. This works alongside the myth that puberty blockers are safe and reversible.

That’s how my daughter got started in karate – 2 free trial lessons before I handed over my money.

Pie for everyone

For each trans child, the general practitioner (what Americans might call the primary-care doctor) also gets a small piece of the pie.

TransHub gives a list of doctors who are on board with dispensing puberty blockers to children. These doctors may charge $200 per visit to review and administer doses. There is a medicare rebate for these visits, meaning the doctor gets paid $200 and the customer receives around $80 back from the government.

There are also psychologists, endocrinologists and providers of “trans” paraphernalia such as chest binders and penis-tucking underwear.

These parties all stand to profit from a child who stays on the trans path. They act together with the parents and the pharmaceutical companies to lock the child into a life-long and life-altering decision.