4 Corners is an investigative / special interest news show in Australia.
Isabelle Langley is an 11 year old at the time of filming, but is describing experiences which happened much earlier.
This transcript and clip demonstrates a young child diagnosing themselves after finding a Jazz Jennings clip on the internet. The parent going along with it, and a national news broadcaster treating this as a perfectly natural course of events.
This is an enormous red flag for grooming. This poor child’s distress is wrapped up in a neat little package named “transgender” and none of the adults in the room dare let him know what that means for his future self. Being tied to medication, body-altering drugs, sterility, loss of a sex life he will never know and the constant feeling that he’s about to be found out.
ISABELLE LANGLEY: I tried stopping it but I couldn’t really.
JANINE COHEN: Did you fight against it for a little while?
ISABELLE LANGLEY: I was trying to. I didn’t really know there was anything to do about it. I started looking up things.
JANINE COHEN: Where did you look them up?
ISABELLE LANGLEY: Just on the internet. I just looked up what to do if you feel like a girl and I found all these websites and they were saying that you’re able to get special surgery and that you can actually come out that way and I found some videos too about some other children feeling that way.
CUT TO TV SHOW ON iPAD
HOST: She’s here in person, tonight. So say hello to Jazz.
(Sound of applause)
JANINE COHEN: It was American transgender girl Jazz Jennings who made the biggest impression.
JAZZ JENNINGS, TRANSGENDER: Thank you so much, Kids and teens out there, I just want them to know that it is okay to step out of your shadows and just be who you are. Just be true to yourself and express yourself.
CUT BACK TO MOTHER
NAOMI MCNAMARA: She had tears in her eyes like she just said… oh, you know I’m just so glad I saw that. Like it was, she felt less alone and just came with… just a million questions came out of that for her. Um and she watched it over and over again.
ISABELLE LANGLEY: It’s made me realise that there was ways to sort of cope.
JANINE COHEN: And before you saw Jazz, did you not know?
ISABELLE LANGLEY: I didn’t think there was anything to do about it.
JANINE COHEN: What was it like when you realised you could do something?
ISABELLE LANGLEY: I felt very happy then and I told my mum that night.
MASKED follows the story of High Schooler, Zoe, struggling to come out as a trans man. After knowing who they truly are for a while, Zoe finds themselves fatigued by their fear of whether others will accept them or not. MASKED was created in conjunction with the 15-18 year old’s from the Knox ‘ Free To Be Me’ LGBTQIA Youth group. The project is proudly supported & funded by Knox City Council, YAC Vic & the Victorian State Government.
Masked blurb on YouTube
Zoe is miserable. It is her birthday.
Her mum gives her a nice dress – “pretty, but not too pretty”. Over family breakfast there’s an awkward conversation about a friend who has a non-binary partner. Dad makes some ham-fisted jokes about non-binary robots. Non-binary geddit? The clumsy parents are trying but trying in the wrong way. How dare they?
At the party, Zoe is dissociating and looks sick as she beholds the pink gift wrapping and fairy bread.
Across the crowd Tahlia is watching.
Tahlia: “You bummed out? All that girly shit? Your presents.” Zoe: “I liked my presents” Tahlia: “C’mon…”
Tahlia is the reason I am writing this blog.
Tahlia is the only one to notice Zoe’s distress and the only one to see the evidence of her self-harm: a bandage on the wrist. All the other party guests and even the parents are oblivious.
Tahlia is Zoe’s magical spirit guide. She has a special knowledge that even Zoe cannot yet access: Zoe is trans. Tahlia must bring forth this realisation in Zoe.
Later Zoe watches Ash Hardell’s trans coming out** video on YouTube.
Zoe is looking outside herself for validation. Without YouTube, where would she have looked? Stick-thin women in magazines, perhaps. Or the cat-dragged-in riot grrl empowerment?
She admire’s Ash’s ability to claim the ‘trans’ identity. However scrolling into the comments reveals the condemnation of strangers. The real Ash Hardell seems quite happy with the video stats: 35k thumbs up, 1.8k thumbs down and plenty of cutesy positive comments.
Zoe, on the other hand, is devastated.
Mum comes in and asks to chat and tells her “your problems aren’t real“. She means that Zoe’s distress is part of growing up, it is discomfort that will resolve when Zoe finds her place in the world. She means that problems around fitting in are magnified for teenagers but have no material basis.
Tahlia senses a disturbance in The Force. She is walking up toward Zoe’s house, only to see the flashing light of an ambulance. Tahlia has come too late.
Without external validation, Zoe attempts suicide.
Mum and Zoe fail to connect emotionally on Zoe’s exit from hospital. But Tahlia is waiting at home with a pair of used doc marten boots and a garbage bag full of grey ‘boy clothes’. This is the talisman with which Tahlia rehabilitates Zoe from the edge of death. If Tahlia is a spirit guide, Zoe is in a liminal state between life and death. Once upon a time a shaman would starve themselves for days, drink poison and spend time in isolation to induce hallucinations that open the door between worlds. For Zoe, it is a bottle of pills and a pair of Doc Martens.
Tahlia now helps Zoe to cross over, to transition, into another state of being.
Tahlia knows. She gives a speech “I’ll always be here for you… if your mother and your father …if they do care [about you being trans] then who cares about them?”. Abandon the family, abandon what you know and rely on to be real. Transition rituals demand a sacrifice.
Tahlia performs trans a makeover ritual and then presents her new creation Zach to the shocked parents.
This is quite important.
Zoe struggles in isolation. She believes she knows the source of her problems: she doesn’t like pink, or dresses, or all that girly stuff.
The parents aren’t able to help her. She just has to muddle through somehow to the other side of adolescence. Instead, Tahlia assists her to cross over to the other side of gender.
It is only through watching intimate videos of strangers that she glimpses a solution. It seems impossible to grasp until Tahlia makes it real for her. Bibbity bobbity boo! You’re trans. The answer is trading in a grey hoodie for a different hoodie and getting a side part. No more self-harm.
Zoe, now Zach, goes on to perform the same miracle for Emily/Bailey in the sequel Still Me.
Still Me is the younger non-binary sibling to Masked.
The film opens with Emily/Bailey hyperventilating in front of the public toilets. This is the universal symbol for non-binary angst. She is (they are?) working through an anxiety attack by rehearsing a coming-out speech. “I’m still me. I’m just more comfortable”. Because nothing says ‘comfortable in my own skin’ like hyperventilating in the toilets before school.
The school bell rings, Bailey pulls a non-binary grey beanie over her forehead and exits the toilet. The camera pulls away – she exits from the disabled toilet. She is non-binary and could not choose either the male or female convenience. Too bad if a wheelchair-bound student had needed a wee before class.
Yes, I’m snippy about these invented enby problems. In the search for meaning they take ordinary tasks – choosing a toilet – and make them unbelievably emotional and difficult. They take joyful dressing up and transform sang froid it into anxious greys, bad fringes and poorly cut men’s shirts over restricted female chests. Nothing says “I’m more comfortable” than being badly dressed over special torture underwear, and desperate not to be found out.
It’s a joyless celebration of the worst aspects of the liminal.
Back to Bailey. She struggles. The teachers don’t validate her. The students ridicule her. She looks around for help but finds no quarter. Bailey is a lone ship in anxious waters. Except for the very supportive text messages from mum. They don’t count.
At the apogee of her suffering, Bailey is crouched in an empty classroom, sobbing uncontrollably. She is approached by a trans spirit guide. It’s Zach!
Zach/Zoe has a special knowledge. She sees into Bailey’s suffering and can discern the reason for it. Unlike everyone else, Zach sees Bailey. She looks past Emily’s feminine features. She sees Bailey of the grey beanie.
Bailey asks “I’m not a girl, I’m not a boy. I’m still me. Why does my gender matter?” Such a profound question for a young woman who is in tears because she can’t find others to validate her desperate need to wear a beanie and a tie. Why does her gender matter to her? Why does she hyperventilate about choosing a toilet to enter? Why does she feel less non-binary (more binary?) in a skirt than in a tie?
What if Zach had not come past just now? Where would Bailey have gone for solace? Perhaps to the enthusiastically supportive mum who would help her ride out adolescence and grow into herself as a young woman. Or perhaps to the girl she spoke with briefly at the bus stop. Maybe she’d even find something in common with the yobbo boys who yelled at her from a car window (assuming they grow the eff up).
Zach isn’t one to let a chance slip by. There’s something oddly intimate about the way she calms Bailey down. “Tell me 4 things you can feel”. Bailey’s defenses are down and she enters the liminal state, ready to transition.
Zach tells Bailey she will eventually find people who love her. Not her mum, obvs. Again, the sacrifice. Leaving the past, the material and the trustworthy behind.
Then she pulls out a pamphlet! Not quite “have you hear about Amway” but very close. There’s a meeting tonight. Game, set and match. Bailey is on her way to the LGBTIAQ+ club.
Bailey seems to be whimpering as she introduces herself to the club. “I’m Bailey. I’m non-binary. I use they/them pronouns”. The rite is complete. Zach whispers “you cool?” and trots off to join friends.
This tribe of kids is self-replicating.
Next it will be Bailey’s turn to watch and wait for an opportunity to help out a distressed friend.
These are teenagers preying upon distressed peers. It is easy to offer freedom, confidence, friends and belonging, in exchange for a small sacrifice. For someone who feels devastated, this offer seems like a bargain.
In the beginning it’s hairstyles. In this middle class suburban settings, it’s just pink-haired kids getting together to play Uno and chat. But there is a deal made with the devil.
The journey to the other side of gender will never take them to the other side of adolescence. It will never help them to grow up. The options are to desist – what, give up a truly held identity? Or re-commit. First hormones, then mastectomies, then hysterectomy because the hormones have poisoned the uterus.
The self harm does not stop. It changes form and focus.
As they age out of the youth groups, the effects of transition won’t be seen by the cool teenagers. As they age into the workforce, the cold reality of being the only trans in the village begins to hit home. Everyone has a job and private struggles are just that: private. Dating is a nightmare. No youth groups, no pink hair, no mum and dad to blame life on.
Growing up happens to all of us. Some of us escape adolescence burdened with ill-advised tattoos, car accident injuries, heroin additions, STDs or worse. Some don’t escape.
These rainbow children, recruited by their friends, will be bound to a medical pathway for life.
You can find printable pro-formas to encourage GPs to refer children to the service.
There are a number of videos affirming the trans child identity. Parents, older trans individuals and young people describe the importance of an affirmative approach. There is no mention of desistance as an option for a child presenting to the clinic.
A linear path is presented to children
Navigating the ‘gender forest’ (oh please) is done in a straight line toward the GP Tree festooned by gender transition leaves. Your entry to the ‘forest’ leads directly and only to medicalisation.
The referral proforma presents linear flow charts to describe the steps for treating youth with medical gender issues.
There is NO mention of desisting from a trans identity.
There is NO reference to detransitioners, and their voices are NOT HEARD in any of the videos.
They present puberty blockers as ‘reversible’ (they’re no).
They present binding and tucking as ‘harmless’ (they’re not).
Deciding your goals
The ‘gender forest’ directs children to “decide on your goals”. This is an enormous amount of pressure to put on a child. Or on an adult. What are YOUR life goals? Do you want to cut your breasts off one day? C’mon we need an answer.
Trans away the gay
A lengthy video features 2 adolescents – a male and a female – talking about their transitions. The male relates how he initially ‘came out as gay’. The female adolescent talks about transitioning to escape “glitter and sparkly princess dresses”.
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.
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,
Puberty blockers for gender dysphoria: the science is far from settled – The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
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.
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.”
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’.
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.