Child in make-up image

Comment on harmful practices: the transgendering of children as a harmful emerging practice in Australia –

Comment by Sheila Jeffreys addressed to Chairperson of CEDAW and Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, May 2011.

“The practice of transgendering children is on the rise in Australia and internationally and should be understood as an “emerging” harmful cultural practice. In this practice children are diagnosed by psychiatrists as suffering from “gender identity disorder in childhood” and placed on puberty delaying drugs until they reach 16 years old, and cross sex hormones from then until they are 18, when it is expected that they will have their sexual organs surgically removed. This practice affects both girls and boys, and does not, therefore, fit neatly into the criteria for the recognition of a harmful cultural practice i.e. “harmful to the health of women and girls”. However, the practice arises from the same source as practices harmful to women and girls, the imposition of stereotypical notions of gender and should, on that basis, be included.”

Download article PDF at OHCHR here.