National newspaper The Australianhas sparked fury with an article that draws comparisons between the coronavirus and the “contagion” of transgender people.
The newspaper is well known for its its “appalling” coverage of transgender issues, which includes articles such as “They’re castrating children”, “Transgender project ‘out of balance’” and “Corrupting kids’ thinking”.
The latest article evoked strong comparisons with disease with the headline: “Health chiefs can’t ignore ‘global epidemic’ of transgender teens.”
Published on Monday, it begins: “With the coronavirus dominating the news, Queensland’s health authorities have been urged to confront an under-reported global contagion involving troubled teenage girls declaring they are ‘born in the wrong body.’”
It then quotes University of Queensland law dean Patrick Parkinson, a man who wrote a paper comparing transgender children to teens with eating disorders, causing his employer and colleagues to write an open letterdistancing themselves from him.
“Speaking in a personal capacity,” the paper says, “[Parkinson] conceded authorities would be worried and busy with the coronavirus but said the explosion in transgender teenagers, chiefly girls, was ‘another epidemic’ – one that had ‘so far escaped public attention.’”
The article also suggests that efforts to criminalise the harmful practise of conversion therapy are a “global tactic of trans activists” who are attempting a “deceptive widening” of conversion therapy’s definitions in order to criminalise any attempt to change trans children’s gender identity.
The term ‘conversion therapy’ already applies to gender identity as well as sexuality, and those who have undergone it have compared the experience to torture. The practise has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.
Coronavirus aside, The Australian has a history of anti-trans reporting.
For months, The Australian has been publishing claims of a transgender “social contagion” in a section of its website dedicated entirely to sex and gender.
Critics say the articles “demonise and spread misinformation about trans and gender-variant youth,” promoting fringe anti-trans extremists while campaigning against medical experts.
Last September, the Australian Psychological Society rejected the claims as “alarmist and scientifically incorrect”. Australia’s peak trans healthcare body, AusPATH, has also called out the newspaper’s “biased” reporting.