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Liam Bartlett: In simple terms, why were you stood down from your clinical duties at the hospital? 

Dr. Jillian Spencer: The hospital took the opportunity to remove me from clinical duties on the grounds of being a danger to trans and gender-diverse children because I’ve got a history of expressing concerns about the gender clinic in the hospital and the model they’re using called “the affirmation model.” 

Liam: This affirmation model. Can I paraphrase that and tell me if it’s wrong? So, if a child comes in and presents with gender dysphoria, regardless of the mental state of that child, the hospital and gender clinic just go along with what the child wants.  

Dr. Jillian: Yes 

Liam: So, the hospital just expected you…. directed you, in fact. 

Dr. Jillian: Directed me 

Liam: If a child was presenting with gender dysphoria, you were, no questions asked really, [told] to send them to the gender clinic  

Dr. Jillian: Yes 

Liam: Forgive me if this is a stupid question but how do you know if you were sending the right kids on what is an irreversible journey? 

Dr. Jillian: No one can know and that’s really important for parents to know because when a child with gender dysphoria sits in front of a child psychiatrist or any mental health clinician, they have no way of knowing whether these children are gonna persist in their gender dysphoria. And what’s been hidden are thousands of parents across Australia who are in anguish because they’re very concerned about their child receiving care according to this affirmation model, and they’re in a very difficult position and they often can’t speak out because their highest priority is to remain close to their child and to try to protect their child. 

Liam: But they keep going. And they go to the gender clinics, and they start to have body parts cut off…they’re never going to recover. 

Dr. Jillian: It’s an absolute disaster. It’s so sad because child psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians are keeping quiet about their concerns, so it is creating this false impression that we all agree with the affirmation model. 

Liam: You’ve been labeled transphobic. How do you relate to that?  

Dr. Jillian: I see this as a really serious child protection issue. And, as a 45-year-old woman, as a mother, and as a child psychiatrist, I could not hold my head up if I didn’t speak about this. It’s too important. And what we’re talking about is the well-being of children and their health. We want kids to grow up and be happy. We all want that. We don’t want them to have regrets and serious health problems.  

Liam: Why do you think this has become such a significant social issue? 

Dr. Jillian: I think there are lots of social factors contributing. There’s a very vocal social movement but what this issue has revealed is a crisis in the published medical research. Journals usually use a peer review process to determine if a study is accurate before publication, but that peer review process is failing, so we’re seeing very poor-quality studies being published and the conclusions drawn by the activist researchers are the exact opposite of what the study has found. What parents really need to know is that it’s a very dangerous time for children and families and they need to be very cautious about who they let engage with their child. So, what I would recommend is that they see the health professional first, without the child, to find out what approach they’re going to take towards their child. 

Liam: Do you think the hospital wants to sack you? 

Dr. Jillian: Yes. Yes, they do.  

Liam: They want you off the books 

Dr. Jillian: They don’t want me hanging around in the hospital  

Liam: Because as far as they’re concerned, you’re a troublemaker. 

Dr. Jillian: I guess the problem with having me in the hospital is that I become a rallying point around the issue, and it might motivate other people to raise similar concerns.  

Liam: I’m struggling with the concept of seeing you as a big, bad troublemaker. 

Dr. Jillian: Thank you  

Liam: Because you want an open-minded approach to this. That’s your sin, medically.  

Dr. Jillian: Yes. Well, I see this as a child protection issue. I think we need to take urgent steps to figure out how interventions that are so serious and poly-evidence-based have been delivered to children across Australia. I think we need to have a federal, independent inquiry into the model of care for children with gender dysphoria in Australia.  

Liam: Do you think you’ll get your job back? Or not? 

Dr. Jillian: Well, the lawyers seem to think that it’s unlikely but what I’ve discovered about myself is that I do live in a bit of denial, and I just can’t imagine not being back in my office and being with those colleagues that I’ve been with for years.  

Liam: Do you want your job back? 

Dr. Jillian: I do. Just in my job, I’ve met a lot of really courageous people…patients. So, I gain inspiration from them, so I try to keep myself happy and strong and I look forward to walking back through the door of the hospital. 

Liam: Good luck 

Dr. Jillian: Thank you!