Opinion

The Government Accidentally Confirms It Has No Real Evidence To Support So-Called ‘Gender Affirming Care’ For Minors

In response to a Freedom of Information Act Request, HHS produced a grand total of just one document.

   DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 25: Rachel Levine, nominee for Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee February 25, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Levine previously served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (Photo by Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images)
Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images

When he was nominated to be the Assistant Secretary for Health three years ago, Richard Levine (who, in his 50s, began using the name Rachel Levine) was asked a series of questions by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul wanted to know why Levine, as a medical professional, wouldn’t reject the idea of mutilating the genitals of minors in the name of “gender affirming care.”

Here’s how the conversation went:

That’s just a portion of the whole exchange. In the full clip, Levine evades the question multiple times. He just repeats the same rehearsed answer: He says that he’s more than happy to stop by Paul’s office at some later date to explain the “complex” science behind mutilating children. They go back and forth until Paul finally has to give up. And then at the end of it, as you saw, Democratic Senator Patty Murray from Washington congratulates Levine on his “thoughtful and medical informed” answers to Paul.

Ten years ago, this would’ve been a scene from a dark comedy sketch about a dystopia that’s just too far-fetched to imagine in real life. This should have been the moment that Levine was disqualified from ever holding public office, much less becoming a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services. But Democrats and even some Republicans — including Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — didn’t see a problem with Levine’s answer. They voted to confirm Levine after hearing this. These are sitting U.S. senators who, evidently, have no problem with the fact that Levine supports the physical castration of children — even though he could present no evidence that it’s medically appropriate.

WATCH: The Matt Walsh Show

To be clear, Senator Paul was not misrepresenting Levine’s position in any way. This was not a “gotcha” question. Emails unearthed by Megan Brock show that in 2017, when he was the Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania, Levine went looking for data to justify so-called “gender-affirming care” for minors.

Levine wrote to Nadia Dowshen, the co-founder of the gender clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, that he was seeking information concerning, “the possibility of gender confirmation surgery for young people under 18 years of age.” Levine added that, “This could include top surgery for trans young men and top and bottom surgery for trans young women. Is there any literature to support this protocol? Please let me know if you have any references.”

In response, Dowshen wrote, “Hi Rachel, I’m not aware of existing literature but it is certainly happening. I think we’ve had more than 10 patients who have had chest surgery under 18 (as young as 15) and 1 bottom surgery (17).”

Needless to say, after reading that response, Levine did not put an end to these surgeries in Pennsylvania, even when he was told there was no medical evidence to justify them. Instead, Levine continued to hide behind the consensus of various self-appointed medical experts, including the several medical associations that have endorsed this butchery. That’s what Levine did at the hearing with Rand Paul. And it’s what he’s done ever since he assumed office.

A little over a year ago, for example, Levine commented on a viral clip featuring Jon Stewart and the attorney general of Arkansas. I’ll play a little bit of it to provide some context for what Levine said:

You can see in that clip why the “appeal to experts” is so effective. Even people who are on the right side of this issue, like the Arkansas attorney general, don’t know how to respond to it. The best she can do is say, “well, my experts disagree with your experts.” But of course that’s the wrong response. The right response is that you don’t need to be an “expert” in anything to know that mutilating the genitals of children is wrong. And if anyone claims to be an expert and defends that butchery, then they lose “expert status” immediately. It’s that simple. But for some reason, many on the Right can’t bring themselves to say that, even as the “experts” lie to them about pretty much everything — from COVID to foreign affairs to climate change and even to the mutilation of children.

In any event, Levine saw that clip, and decided it was yet another opportunity to promote these all-knowing medical associations and experts. Here’s what Levine wrote on Twitter: “Accredited medical professional groups agree that gender-affirming care is medically necessary, safe, and effective for trans and non-binary youth. States should translate this knowledge into more compassionate policies that protect rather than undermine youth mental health.”

This is a bluff that Levine has made over and over again, throughout his career. He repeatedly states that there’s a vast body of “knowledge” that justifies these surgeries and procedures. But this time, after that tweet, someone decided to call Levine out on it.

A nonprofit watchdog group called “Protect the Public’s Trust,” or PPT, filed a Freedom of Information Act request in response to Levine’s tweet. The request sought “records of scientific evidence, studies, and/or data to support the Assistant Secretary’s claim that ‘gender-affirming care is medically necessary, safe, and effective for trans and non-binary youth,’” as well as “records of surveys of medical professionals regarding the value and importance of ‘gender-affirming care’ for minor children.”

This week, more than a year after Levine’s tweet, the results are in. We finally have access to this data that Levine promised to show Rand Paul in his office, and which he talks about constantly. In response to the Freedom of Information Act Request, HHS produced a grand total of just one document. And it’s not a long, well-researched study that proves convincingly why we need to mutilate children. Instead, it’s a two-page brochure called “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People.” This is all they could produce a year later to support their position.

And the brochure itself isn’t exactly the most compelling document. The brochure states, as a matter of fact, that puberty blockers are always reversible. But that’s not true. As even the New York Times reported recently, “A transgender adolescent in Sweden who took the drugs from age 11 to 14 with no bone scans until the last year of treatment developed osteoporosis and sustained a compression fracture in his spine, an X-ray showed in 2021. … ‘The patient now suffers from continued back pain,’ medical records note, describing a ‘permanent disability’ caused by the blockers.”

And that’s not even getting into potential issues with fertility. There are documented cases in medical literature of these drugs having permanent effects, and they’ve only been in use for a few years.

So the claim in the brochure, which has no citation, is completely false. As more and more children are put on these “puberty blockers,” and as time passes, that will be obvious to everyone.

But the brochure provided by the Biden administration doesn’t stop there. It also claims that, “research demonstrates that gender-affirming care improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse children.” And as evidence of that claim, the brochure cites one study in a footnote.

This single study, The Daily Wire’s Luke Rosiak reported yesterday, supposedly “showed that transgender-identifying young people were slightly less suicidal when receiving treatment.” Specifically, the researchers say that they found in a survey group that 51% of trans-identifying young people who were receiving cross-sex hormones were suicidal, compared to 62% who weren’t receiving hormones but wanted them. But even the authors of this study admit that it doesn’t prove anything about causation. They write, “causation cannot be inferred due to the study’s cross-sectional design. It is possible that those who historically have higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors are also less able to seek or obtain [cross-sex hormones].”

This also says absolutely nothing about the long term psychological effects of this “treatment.” They offer no evidence, no research, on that question. None at all. This is the sum total of the evidence that the Biden administration was able to present to justify the castration of children. It’s a two-page pamphlet that links to a study from three years ago, in which the authors admit that their study doesn’t even mean anything. This is definitive proof — as if we needed it — that the Biden administration and the medical establishment, along with the entire American Left, jumped on board the “gender affirming care” racket without any solid evidentiary basis for doing so.

That is a major problem, obviously, because they are harming children in horrific, unthinkable ways. But also because the burden of proof, for the people in favor of child castration, is especially high. Like I’ve explained many times, the burden of proof is on the people who came along claiming that we can turn boys into girls and vice versa. As they are the ones making an extraordinary claim that contradicts what everyone in the history of the world has always known to be true, they needed to have extraordinary evidence to support their position. Instead they had no evidence at all. Nothing. 

Yet they were believed automatically, while the sane side was required to produce evidence refuting them. Suddenly the burden of proof was on us to prove that you shouldn’t mutilate and castrate children. Of course, we can prove our case a million times over, and we have, but the game was rigged against us from the start. The pro-child castraters wanted documented research showing the actual real world harm of these procedures on kids. But obviously we couldn’t immediately provide very much of that because we didn’t yet have real world data showing the harm that these drugs would do to kids, for the simple reason that nobody had ever done this to kids before. So they turned a whole generation of kids into lab rats. The kids themselves would become the data.

The only way to explain how anyone fell for this scam is that trans activists are good at one thing, which is emotional manipulation. They perfected the art of emotional blackmail to the point that weak people have allowed this to go on for the better part of a decade. But the ruse isn’t working anymore. Now people are asking to see the evidence, and there isn’t any. All trans activists can do is screech as loudly as they can about “genocide,” even though no one’s buying it anymore. We saw this phenomenon play out to a comical degree this week in Florida, which is preparing to pass a bill that would prevent people from changing their gender on their driver’s license. Watch how the completely calm and rational local trans activists and concerned citizens responded to this legislation:

No matter what the proposal is — whether it’s mutilating the genitals of children, or changing the gender on their driver’s license — the response is always the same. They claim you’re leaving a “trail of dead bodies” if you dare to disagree with their delusions.

Trans activists wield their emotional fragility like a bludgeon. We see it constantly, which leads to the conclusion that one of two things is possible. Either it’s an act and they’re really just manipulative liars and therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously, or they actually are this insanely unstable and weak and immature and therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously. Whichever is the case, or if it’s a combination of the two, the conclusion is the same: we cannot take these people seriously. And we never should have.

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