At Women’s Cooee we’re always on the lookout for hopeful signs that Aunty is cutting herself free of her awful entanglement in gender-identity ideology. One such sign, we thought, was Saturday Extra on Radio National on 25 February 2023 – but sadly presenter Geraldine Doogue fell back into the tangle right at the end. 

Doogue interviewed Hannah Barnes, BBC journalist and author of Time To Think, a recently-published book about the Tavistock Gender Clinic scandal in the UK. The interview went for 20 minutes and probed some of the most disturbing features of Tavistock’s kid-transing, like: 

  • the weak evidence base behind the use of puberty blockers, and the lack of oversight to their mass rollout 
  • the removal of the lower age limit of 12 years of age which had applied prior to 2014 for a referral for puberty blockers
  • the startling increase in the number of children seeking transition
  • the dramatic shift from a clientele of mostly boys with gender incongruence since childhood to overwhelmingly girls whose gender distress only began at adolescence
  • the co-occurrence, in this new cohort of girls, of many other difficulties such as depression, anxiety, autism, and/or eating disorders 
  • the lack of holistic approach in such cases. 

We might quibble at some of the issues that weren’t raised or things that didn’t get said – for example, there was no mention of the evidence that puberty blockers cause permanent physical harm, and in the discussion of what finally led to people standing up and taking notice, there was no mention of Keira Bell and her legal challenge

We don’t underestimate the importance of Doogue’s choice of interviewee in the ABC’s current ACON-infested climate. When Paul Barry, last August, lambasted the ABC – rightly so – for failing to report the Tavistock scandal, ABCers came back at him, saying something that happened ‘on the other side of the world’ wasn’t newsworthy here. We assume Doogue had to overcome this sort of opposition within the RN production team before she got to do her interview with Hannah Barnes, so good on her. 

HOWEVER, at the very end of the broadcast, after the mutual leave-takings between interviewer and interviewee, there was this:

‘In Australia, pre-pubescent children with gender dysphoria are treated with talking therapies. Once the child enters puberty, puberty blockers may be part of their treatment. Gender reassignment surgery is generally only undertaken in adults.’ 

All said in a mellifluously reassuring tone, as if saying: Nothing to see here, we’re different. Give us a break, Geraldine! No puberty blockers for the pre-pubescent? That was true of Tavistock too. Puberty blockers only a maybe? Also true of Tavistock, we daresay; but how big of a maybe is the issue, and according to Professor Philip Morris, President of the National Association of Practising Psychiatrists, the mainstream standard path being taken for transgender youth care in Australia is ‘very similar to the path that was operating at the Tavistock.’

It got worse: ‘And if you’d like to go to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne,’ said Doogue, ‘they have some more information on their website.’ 

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne? Home of Australia’s chief kid-transer Michelle Telfer. Whose website gives the wrong information that puberty blockers are reversible. 

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And still worse:

‘You can also access more information from the group Transcend, which can be found at’

Transcend is another enthusiastic kid-transer, founded by the mother of Georgie Stone, a young man-who-says-he’s-a-woman. Stone was the youngest person to receive puberty blockers in Australia (at age 10!), and, along with his mother, he led the lobbying that made kid-transing in Australia way easier by largely removing the role of the Family Court. 

Geraldine, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t tsk-tsk about Tavistock then promote the very people and organisations that are still – against mounting evidence, scandals, and detransitioner lawsuits – promoting the same model here. But these, we guess, are the toils even a distinguished journalist with an AO gets caught up in when her workplace has been captured holus-bolus by trans lobby ACON.