Gender dysphoria and the controversy over the Safe Schools programPatrick Parkinson
Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual Health 14(5) 417-422 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17014
Submitted: 13 February 2017 Accepted: 11 April 2017 Published: 30 May 2017
The Safe Schools program has attracted great controversy. On one end of the spectrum, it is defended as an anti-bullying program for young people who identify themselves as gay or lesbian, or have issues concerning their gender identity. On the other end of the spectrum, it is regarded as social engineering. This article seeks to promote a discussion of the way in which gender identity issues are addressed in the Safe Schools program. It is argued that the information in this program to Principals, teachers and young people is inaccurate and misleading. The program, as presently designed, may actually cause harm to children and young people who experience gender identity issues because it promotes gender transitioning without expert medical advice. The Safe Schools materials do not acknowledge that the great majority of children resolve gender dysphoria issues around the time of puberty. It may be much more difficult for a child to accept his or her gender at puberty if he or she has already changed name and gender identity in primary school. These deficits need to be addressed if the program is to continue.
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