Pediatricians Group Says Research Doesn’t Support ‘Gender Affirming’ Treatments
Doctor nurse followup data with medical examination document for patient health check in hospital or clinic.
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A review of 60 studies of the mental health of transgender-identifying youth found that “there is no long-term evidence that current ‘gender affirming’ medication and surgical protocols benefit their mental well-being,” according to a group representing pediatricians.

The American College of Pediatricians issued a position statement on Wednesday opposing the gender transitioning of youth based on the literature review. It comes just after a watchdog group filed a scientific integrity complaint against Department of Health and Human Services official Rachel Levine for claiming that “there is no argument among medical professionals regarding “the value and the importance of gender-affirming care.”

HHS provided only two pages to support the idea that the gender transitioning of children was “necessary.” Levine, a man who believes he is a woman, has often dodged the question by saying that “accredited medical professional groups agree that gender-affirming care is medically necessary.”

The American College of Pediatricians is a small group of pediatricians, many of them conservative, that formed in part due to dismay over the way that the much larger pediatrics group, the American Association of Pediatrics, passes activist statements that are then used as if they represent the views of all pediatricians, even though only a handful were involved.

Given the well-documented problems that often go hand-in-hand with being transgender, the sharp and sudden increase in the number of youth who question their gender should be something that raises alarm bells for physicians, the group said.

Its paper said that intake surveys by a gender-affirming clinic in Europe found that “gender dysphoric adolescents are significantly more likely to show psychopathological abnormalities than their cisgender peers.” Such research is often portrayed as showing that society makes life too hard for transgender people. 

But children may be transgender as a result of other mental issues, rather than having mental issues because society is not accepting of their transition, the pediatricians’ paper said. For example, the paper states that autistic children are more likely to be transgender than non-autistic children. While one wouldn’t claim that transgenderism caused the children to become autistic, activists more readily cast depression, self-harm, and other ailments as the effect of not being able to transition, rather than being associated with underlying conditions that may lead children to be confused about their gender in the first place.

A study of 120,617 adolescents found that the majority of female-to-male transgenders made a suicide attempt, the highest rate of any group. Activists often tell parents that their choice is between supporting a gender transition or having a dead child, arguing that so-called “gender affirming care” is life-saving.

But what they do not say is that things don’t get better because a gender transition is affirmed, according to the data. Multiple studies found that transgender-identifying youth had social problems whether or not they transitioned, with one finding that “there was little evidence that psychosocial well-being varied in relation to gender transition status.”

Studies also found that many youth who question their gender eventually change their minds, whereas those who are affirmed are more likely to be relegated to a life of transgenderism, with its attendant mental problems. When a University of Toronto gender dysphoria clinic followed up on its patients years later, they found that 88% were “desisters,” or had changed their mind about being transgender — suggesting that if the clinic had performed gender surgery, the patients would have had severe regret.

When activists cite studies that state that affirmed transgenders do better than non-affirmed ones, a look at the actual available data show that the slight difference in suicidality between the two groups is far less notable than how unacceptably high the figure is for both groups. For example, in one study billed as promoting how essential it was to give puberty blockers to youth, 42% of those who received care still tried to kill themselves.

A study using Denmark’s national database, reviewing 6.6 million individuals over four decades, found that transgender people were 3.5 times more likely to kill themselves compared to normal people. If accommodating and supporting transgender people was a sufficient treatment, then that disparity shouldn’t exist since Denmark is “recognized by the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) as the third best country in Europe for its protection of sexual and gender minority rights.”

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare concluded that “the risk of hormonal interventions for gender dysphoric youth outweigh the potential benefits,” stating that there is insufficient evidence supporting that the treatments work, especially considering that the population of purportedly transgender youth has exploded in recent years and experts cannot explain why. (One reason, the pediatrics group suggests, is that in a developing brain, a “desire for excitement via novel behavior may entice adolescents to experiment with alternative gender roles.”)

The American College of Pediatricians concluded that the group “cannot condone the social affirmation, medical intervention, or surgical mutilation of children and adolescents identifying as transgender or gender nonconforming.  Rather, intensive psychotherapy for the individual and family to determine and hopefully treat the underlying etiology of their gender incongruence should be pursued.”

“More attention and support should be afforded to individuals seeking help in detransitioning after having made a decision during their formative adolescent years with life-long consequences, including possible sterility and loss of sexual function,” it said.

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