After having researched the topic of youth transgender treatment for about a year I wrote this letter expressing concern about the new gender affirming approach to treating gender dysphoric children. My concerns are listed in this post, “Do Youth Transgender Diagnoses Put Would Be Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adults at Risk for Unnecessary Medical Intervention?”
Various similar versions of the letter below have been sent to organizations such as The Human Rights Commission, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, and PFLAG, as well as LGBT health organizations such as the APA Division 44 (LGBT branch of the American Psychological Association) and IPsyNet. For a full list of all organizations I sent this to see below. The purpose of this letter is to inform these organizations of situations where teens (mostly females) are being diagnosed as trans and desisting (outgrowing dysphoria), very concerning since the affects of testosterone are permanent and are being used on minors. And to question if hormone blockers and social transitions prevent desistance. I fully recognize trans children have the right to the best health care possible and trans people have the right to advocate for what they feel is best for their community. At the same time I also believe preventing a child from outgrowing dysphoria because of confusing social transitions or the use of chemicals is an abuse of that child’s future and a human rights abuse, mostly of the LGB community who would be most affected by these social and medical interventions on children and teens. This particular version of the letter was sent to the American Psychological Association
“To the Members of the APA,
I have sent various versions of this letter to many LGBT rights organizations, media, and mental heath organizations, including Division 44 (LGBT division of the APA)
I am one of the growing number of people on the left, right, and center who are very concerned about the rapidly increasing numbers of gender nonconforming children being diagnosed as transgender and of pediatric transitions of teenagers and children as young as 5. I have always been a staunch trans ally in the past and want the best care for all LGBT youth. I went from being pro child transitions to having serious doubts about these practices, specifically for LGB youth, as most youth outgrow gender dysphoria and are likely to be LGB, not trans. Some studies seem to state even some very dysphoric children may grow up to be gay adults, even if it is a minority. There has also been a dramatic, unexpected rise in female teenagers, often with serious mental health issues, wanting sex reassignment surgery recently and few people seem too care to ask why. Hormone blockers are promoted as safe and reversible but there seems to be a zero or near zero desist rate of children put on Lupron at the clinics that report this information. Since many gnc youth desist into puberty this sounds suspicious. Halting puberty may prevent desistance. Where is the proof that it doesn’t?
I wrote a blog post about all of this (linked below). It is very well sourced from peer-reviewed journals. It’s odd to me that people like Jesse Singal, James Cantor, Alice Dreger, and Sarah Ditum, all heterosexuals (except Cantor), are much more concerned about possible negative impacts of this on gay and lesbian youth than the gay and lesbian media, activist, and healthcare communities, who either aren’t aware people are concerned about this, or are just totally apathetic. If the 100% gender affirmation model being promoted now by trans activists, some in the health care industry, and even LGBT orgs, is preventing any youth from developing a healthy relationship to their body, this is extremely unethical in these cases. Medically transitioning any nontrans LGB or other youth that would have otherwise come to accept their natal sex is not acceptable collateral damage and right now it is debatable if this is happening. Actually it’s not debatable as some pediatric transitioners, now detransitioners, are starting to speak out. So it is only a matter of scale.
“Do Youth Transgender Diagnoses Put Would Be Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adults at Risk for Unnecessary Medical Intervention?”
After I posted this some parents contacted me who have a daughter who had no history of childhood dysphoria. She had been hospitalized for being suicidal twice as a tween but not because of dysphoria. She suddenly came out as trans a couple of years later, lied to the gender therapist about key issues, and is starting testosterone as a minor. The parents were told to put them on testosterone at the first appointment. The gender therapist never asked the parents about depression or anxiety possibly contributing to this. The GT interviewed the parents to deem them “oppressor” or “non-oppressor” in their words. This was during only one meeting where they never asked the parents for any input about the child’s history. The youth said they were confused before they went into therapy and within a very short time was starting testosterone. These parents were shocked at the speed of which their minor was affirmed as needing drastic medical intervention with permanent effects. I’m sorry but this is negligence. The psych field is putting minors with severe mental health problems on T after 3 appointments (the required here). I talked to an ethicist, a Ph.D. social psychologist, a Ph.D. LCSW, a pediatrician, and a practicing psychologist (very knowledgeable on all LGBT issues including trans) and they all agreed this is very unethical. This is now one of multiple similar stories I have heard. Several of the others are from parents of usually lesbian youth insisting on blockers, or top surgery and T, which the parents declined to go along with, only to have the youth grow out of dysphoria. One woman I am in contact with had a daughter wanting to transition as a tween. She is now an older teen that identifies as a lesbian. Multiple gender therapists the mother talked to told her her daughter was trans. We are hearing more stories like this, youths being diagnosed as trans on their first appointments without prior serious history more and more. Even a few instances of mistakes are a few too many. Who is advocating for these borderline youths?
The promoting of gender ideology to children is causing conflict in schools. Here is an example,
When 7 year old children with no previous dysphoria are coming home and asking “mommy can I change gender” after being exposed to trans programs parents are scared. Bullying absolutely needs to be stopped everywhere for all gender nonconforming people. But this will be extremely damaging to the good will and trust gay rights activists have built with the public over the last several decades if it is ever proven these programs increase persistence of gender dysphoria or that some youth gender therapists are acting negligently. Here is a quote from a mother whose daughter, again with no prior childhood dysphoria is saying, (she is not the only one and these are generally open minded, gay tolerant liberals saying this, NOT conservatives).
“My own daughter professes to be a boy. It is a nightmare. It came out of nowhere at age 15 — this is not a case of a girl who always wanted to be a boy, or always acted like a boy. This is a girl who was proud to be a girl until she developed physically and boys and men started treating her like a piece of meat and a second class citizen. The nightmare is that doctors and therapists are not allowed to question why she wants to be a boy…So they are ready to prescribe testosterone shots and a double mastectomy despite the fact that she is a minor. These physical “medical treatments” for her psychological problem are permanent and barbaric. It is against “ethics” for professionals to provide any other treatment. It is a mother’s nightmare”
Trans protocols sterilize children, cause permanent affects, require intense and risky surgeries, and create lifelong hormone dependence. Again I have always been an adamant trans supporter and research supports transition helps. But the gay and lesbian movement has nothing to do with these extreme measures on minors and they may be putting some LGB youth at risk.
The censorship around this topic on the left is extreme. I had always wanted LGBT unity among all the groups. But right now my priority is lesbian youth, not political correctness. I just hope you understand the implications of LGBT rights orgs promoting all this without question and painting people that do question it as bigots. Many gay and bisexual people don’t believe there is always a clear line between gay/bi gnc and trans. We want our youth raised in a body acceptance culture and LGBT organizations don’t have the right to promote the image to the public that this is noncontroversial in our community. There are LGB and even some T people highly motivated never to let happen what happened to the pediatric transitioner below. It’s tragic.
I would much appreciate a response on this very important topic. Thank you so much for your time.
Edit 1/24/17- I referred to James Cantor as a heterosexual. He is a gay man.
Various Other Versions Sent to entities such as- StonewallUK, Lamda Legal, The Trevor Project, GLSEN, PLAG, The HRC, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLSEN, GLAAD, Act Up, Log Cabin Republicans, Binet USA, Huffington Post Queer Voices Staff, Diva Magazine Staff, Autostraddle, AfterEllen, Lesbian News, Michealngelo Signoreli, John Aravosis, Dan Savage, Rainbow Health, Diane Ehernsaft, Kristina Olson (and other Trans Youth Project staff), Rainbow Health staff, Seattle Children’s Center/Ingersoll Gender Center staff, The APA, BPS Sexualities, GLMA, IPsyNet and many other gay writers, health organizations, and LBGT organizations
Update 3/19/2017: The APA actually sent me a response (fairly generic). I wrote another reply emphasizing the human rights issues involved for LGB people that was posted on 4thwavenow.com, “A community of parents & friends skeptical of the “transgender child/teen” trend.”