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The Australian: Another day, another minority group to denigrate

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Thanks to The Australian, the mainstream media has taken another huge step backwards (Image by Dan Jensen)

A recent article in The Australian has come under fire for its backwards views on transgender people, writes Melvin Fechner.

LIVING IN AUSTRALIA circa 2019 as a gender diverse person, one should not have to be visually assaulted by trash tabloidesque headlines like They’re castrating children’. I will not name the journalist as they don’t deserve the attention, but this was a recent headline, part of The Australian newspaper’s bizarre and unexplained new column about transgenderism.

So far, it looks like no real live gender diverse people have actually been consulted on this. The Australian has sunk to a new low — it’s as though they are out looking for a new group to spread misinformation about, vilify and throw to their rabid yet shrinking audience. The Australian never used to be as bad as this, back in the 90s when Emma Tom wrote entertaining columns for Generation X-ers on page one of the Weekend Australian, it was a different sort of beast. That was before far-Right politics and Pentecostalism infiltrated the MSM.

Interesting how this article is not paywalled — maybe deliberately so this piece of hateful propaganda can reach the widest possible audience? Parents who are non-subscribers? The piece drips with contempt from the get-go and starts off comparing the rights of transgender people, which is a gender issue, to the rights of BDSM devotees, which is a sexual issue. Two completely different issues. Gender and sex. Along comes something about sadomasochism and the sexual revolution. Sex again? I hope the journalist warmed up before that big stretch, because ouch.

It then goes on, so predictably, to talk about paedophilia and prostitution, which again has nothing to do at all with gender expression and wanting to be the gender that one feels inside. Using horrible words like paedophilia is deliberately nasty. The unrelated word ‘communists’ is thrown in for good measure, as is the cringeworthy, homophobic phrase ‘boy lovers’. Oh please, make it stop. Then we go on to ‘medical interference in childhood’ to freak parents out about the concept of transgender children taking puberty blockers, without mention that children are also prescribed psychoactive substances for ADHD, ADD, anxiety, depression and other medical conditions.

Gender-neutral language gets a bashing, too. Gender-neutral language, preferred pronouns and such, doesn’t actually hurt anyone yet can mean a great deal to the wellbeing of non-gender-conforming folk. This journalist tags it ‘gender nonsense’. Wow, how can somebody be so narrow-minded? This feels especially hurtful from a female journalist who obviously would not even be writing for The Australian if it were not for feminism and gender revolution back in the day.

Once upon a time, Right-wing politics in Australia used to be all about individualism. Apparently not if that individual wants to identify as the gender that they feel they are, it seems. M or F only, tick one box. All because the Right has been taken over by the Christian extremists. This can really be the one and only reason for this new level of hate against a group of people who are not hurting anybody — religious folk don’t like it.

Then there is a bunch of stuff making it sound like it’s just so easy for parents to find their little darlings being lured into a diagnosis of gender dysphoria by some sort of shady and sinister Dr Mabuse type of fellow who lurks in a dungeon-cum-gender clinic. Maybe the Doctor is to blame, using some sort of demonic possession to trick innocent little children into taking his evil hormone pills.

This is actually not like the reality at all — the system is like a gatekeeper, especially so in South Australia. Medical professionals take gender dysphoria very seriously and can take years to get an official diagnosis. You need to attend psychiatrists for ages, then endocrinologists and surgery will not even be an option for anyone under 18 years, so all these “save the innocent little children” scare tactics are just that — lies and more lies. Dangerous lies that greenlight hate.

The article finishes off with the journalist rattling on about some ‘tomboys’ in her family tree who now have husbands and kids. Because one day we could all just grow out of it, straighten up and get married (we can anyway) and breed just like everyone else. I’m wondering what her definition of a “tomboy” even is? When I was at school it was a girl who was good at sports, a Sporty Spice type who wore Adidas and trainers.

Reading her article gave me a clanger of a headache, so full of untruths and vile rubbish, yet published in a national newspaper for all the world to see. Some will read it and believe it; this is the biggest worry. Transgender and gender diverse kids have enough to worry about without having to put up with the fallout from this sort of bad propaganda and the effect it will have on easily misled parents who seem to only care about if their kids will one day marry and have kids of their own and not if they are happy and have the freedom to exist and be themselves, however they chose to define themselves. 

Melvin Fechner worked as a library assistant/researcher for News Ltd in the 1990s but left due to political differences. Melvin blogs here at and is on Twitter @MelvinFWriter

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