Debate rages over ‘most controversial’ doco

A person speaking on Channel 7's Spotlight said she'd undergone a
A TV documentary claiming to be the “most controversial” of the year has sparked heated debate online. Picture: Seven

Debate over a TV documentary advertised as being the “most controversial” of the year has raged online amid accusations its portrayal of trans rights issues is “misinformation”.

The 7 News Spotlight special De-Transitioning aired on Sunday night following days of heated debate over claims on the program children were being told to “change” genders.

Earlier advertisements, which stirred debate on social media, presented testimonials from children purporting to have undergone gender affirming surgeries only to later “regret” it.

While many commentators backed the documentary as being “brave” for its portrayal of a contentious issues, others said the program posed significant harm to young trans people.

A person speaking on Channel 7's Spotlight said she'd undergone a "medical catastrophe". Picture: Seven
A person speaking on Channel 7's Spotlight said she'd undergone a "medical catastrophe" and was “de-transitioning”. Picture: Seven

“Awful contribution to the discourse,” Twitter user Catherine Michelle said.

“Why not discuss boob job regret? It’s higher than transition regret.

“It’s controversial because you amplify people with an agenda.”

Another user wrote: “Sending love to all the trans folk out there.

“I’m sorry you’re the new target of this targeted manufactured hate.

“As a mother of two kids still in the public education system, I know this ‘indoctrination’ is non-existent.”

Lawyer and former “captain’s pick” of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison Katherine Deves supported the program online.

“Families and children misled, lied to and let down in the worst way,” Ms Deves said.

“Since when was lying to children about their sex and selling irreversible medical interventions the right side of history?”

Former Australian Christian Lobby director and Family Frist party chairman Lyle Shelton claimed activists had pushed “gender fluidity”.

“Hopefully this will finally cause our politicians to act against the indoctrination of children in schools,” he said.

“And, against the (LBGTQ) child gender clinics.”

Gender affirming surgeries, according to the Australian government, range from breast and facial augmentation to voice modulation, and is available only to people 16 and over for “top” surgery and 18 and over for “bottom”.

Some surgeons will provide surgery to younger people in very specific situations, with potential patients needing to demonstrate in all cases the ability to make a fully informed decision and that any mental conditions are “well managed”.

A 2023 report by the Associated Press found that according to World Professional Association for Transgender Health guidelines, evidence of regret following gender transitions is “scant”, but said patients should be properly counselled.

The same report also quoted Dutch researchers as having found no evidence regret in transgender adults who had comprehensive psychological evaluations in childhood before undergone puberty blockers or hormone treatments.

Early advertisement material for the Sunday night program claimed children were “being told to change from boy to girl” from as young as 12 years old before later regretting it, and that parents were being “kept in the dark”.

Before the documentary’ came under fire prior to its release from transgender influencer Grace Hyland, whose image was featured in advertisement material, who took to Twitter to state she did not regret her transition.

“Gender affirming healthcare in Australia needs more funding, it doesn’t need this negativity,” she said. “And even though my face is in this, I don’t agree with it, I don’t stand for this story, I don’t stand for the sensationalism of this whole thing”.

The image was edited out of subsequent promotional material.