We must probe gender theory with reason

13 June 2019

3.8 MINS

Editor’s Comment: Full marks to The Australian Newspaper for publishing this very considered and thoughtful article by Salvatore Babones, who is an associate Professor at Sydney University. Please make your comments and pass on to your friends. The truth needs to be told. Salvatore Babones is right. A decade from now, the court cases will mount against those institutions and Doctors who have advocated this horrific abuse being perpetuated upon our children today. Read Article in The Australian here.


The Catholic Church has emerged as this week’s unlikely champion of open dialogue and intellectual freedom.

As lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transsexual activists seek to close down society’s debate over the nature of sexuality and gender, the Vatican seems determined to pry it open.

On Monday, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education published a report called Male and Female He Created Them to lay out the church’s views on the proper role of modern gender theory in Catholic education. The title is a quote from Genesis (the book, not the band), chapter 5. The report, unsurprisingly, comes out in favour of traditional sex roles and gender identities.

Of course, those views have not been welcomed by LGBT activists or their friends in the media. Their attacks have been vicious, accusing the Vatican of encouraging hatred and bigotry.

Inevitably, gender activists have played their trump card: the suggestion that Vatican calls for dialogue may lead transsexual teens to commit suicide.

It is remarkable that so much powerful invective can be heaped on a document that advocates “listening carefully to the needs of the other” to reach “an understanding of the true diversity of conditions”.

The report acknowledges that “through the centuries forms of unjust discrimination have … had an influence within the church”, and emphasises that children should be taught “to respect every person in their particularity and difference, so that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination” based on their sexuality.

Some of the more muted criticism of the Vatican report has foc­used on its provocative timing: during Gay Pride Month (a month otherwise known as June) and in the 50th anniversary year of New York’s 1969 Stonewall riots (a year otherwise known as 2019). The Stonewall riots, for those with shorter memories, were not riots against lesbians, gays, and transsexuals. They were riots by lesbians, gays, and transsexuals, who took to the streets to demand equal rights (and won).

Given that context, June 2019 seems an entirely appropriate occasion for the Vatican’s education office to issue guidance for schools, priests, and parishioners on how the church thinks they should handle gender issues in today’s gender-fluid society.

The report comes as liberal democracies such as Australia are moving beyond a healthy respect for difference towards the normalisation of radical medical interventions to make children’s bodies conform to their desired gender roles.

The diagnosis and treatment of a medical condition called gender dysphoria is on the rise in Australia, particularly in Victoria, where the number of children referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital’s “gender service” has risen from one or two a year in the early 2000s to about 300 last year. Comprehensive statistics do not seem to be publicly available, but the RCH estimates that about 45,000 children in Australia identify as transgender. In principle, they could all be referred for the kind of services offer­ed by RCH: puberty-blocking drugs, sex hormones and even gender-reassigning plastic surgery.

Many people believe performing these kinds of medical procedures on children is monstrous. Yet gender activists have sought to close down all debate over these procedures, labelling their opponents “transphobic” — or worse.

The quashing of debate in this manner is dangerous, doubly so where children are concerned. The Vatican knows this only too well. The scandal over child sexual abuse in institutional settings has affected all denominations, but the Catholic Church has had to reckon with the possibility that its culture of confidentiality might have encouraged the cover-up of abuse. The medical profession also has a culture of confidentiality, but if we can’t talk about transgenderism now, we’ll be forced to talk about it later. Whether the chemical and surgical treatment of children for gender dysphoria turns out to be a passing medical fad or the most important medical advance of our time, it is inevitable that at least a few of the thousands of children being treated will grow up to regret it: maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of their lives.

Certainly some, and (who knows?) maybe many or most of these future adults will feel they were betrayed by the doctors and counsellors who allowed them as children to choose their own genders. When these objectors reach their late 20s to find themselves socially isolated, sterile and trapped in a body they no longer want, there will be hell to pay.

Tomorrow’s angry survivors of gender therapies will demand an investigation into why their treatments were railroaded into medical best-practice guidelines. They will want to know why critics were sidelined or silenced. And they will spark a debate a decade from now that we should be having today. When it comes to the protection of children, considered criticism should be encouraged, not condemned. It shouldn’t take the suffering of children to remind society of the importance of free and open debate.

It may (or may not) be true that most of the children undergoing gender therapies will grow up to be happy that they did. Only time will tell. But when critics are silenced, mistakes are made. The Catholic Church was on the wrong side of that reality on sexual abuse. It is on the right side in calling for reasoned debate on childhood gender dysphoria.


Salvatore Babones is an adjunct scholar at the Centre for Independent Studies and an associate professor at the University of Sydney.

Featured Illustration: Eric Lobbecke

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  1. John Mathai 14 June 2019 at 4:06 am - Reply

    Debate in this area is suppressed by the vitriol from the gay movement. They want their way and any contrary evidence is labelled fake news. This is not healthy and the silent majority must wake up to counter this nonsense.

  2. Monica Bennett-Ryan 17 June 2019 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Excellent article Salvatore. The push for ‘inclusion and acceptance’ is based on the assumption that ‘social exclusion and abuse’ are the cause of the exceedingly high suicide rate in the LBGTI community. But is this true? Where is the proof? What if ‘inclusion and acceptance’ don’t help? What if they’re not the real problem? What if the problems that lead to suicide are deeper than inclusion and acceptance?

    What I’m saying is, I’ve seen this up close and personal. My gay sister killed herself. Not because of ‘social exclusion and abuse’ – she was dearly loved – but she told me a few weeks before she died, “I’m broken and I can’t be fixed. I realise now my counsellor lied to me, manipulated me. I can’t keep living the way I am and I can’t change back.” My beautiful sister killed herself because she couldn’t undo the damage done to her by false information given when she was vulnerable by a person in a position of trust.

    How many, vulnerable young people today, if they give in to the constant pressure from the LGBTI community to change their gender, will one day wake up, too late, and realise they’ve made a terrible mistake; a mistake they can’t fix? What then? Death? Lawsuits?

    This whole area is so problematic both morally and legally, our publicly funded schools which hold positions of trust within our society, should not be helping the LGBTI community pressure vulnerable young children into making potentially devastating life choices.

    If they do, they should be held legally accountable for the consequences!

  3. […] are starting to turn. Woke corporations are suffering a financial backlash as they embrace these destructive gender-fluid woke ideological […]

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