Sexuality and Gender

Concerns about Medical Treatments for Children with Gender Dysphoria

Author Melinda Penner Published on 10/17/2017

Below is an important panel discussion about the medicine and science involved in treating children with gender dysphoria by transitioning them. A pediatrician, an endocrinologist, and a psychiatrist talk about this from their expertise.

Expressing concern, even alarm, over the untested science involved in the current approach to treating gender dysphoria in children is entirely consistent with care and concern for those children (listen at 1:00:45 to the panelists’ response when they’re challenged about this). Our culture has rushed headlong into a treatment approach that has not been tested or studied in any rigorous way. Care for children with gender identity dysphoria should cause us to be cautious with their treatment.

Some of the concerns raised:

  • There has been no long-term research conducted to find out what the effects are of using drugs to transition. This is an off-label use of the drugs.
  • Even though children can stop taking medication, there is no true reversal of the effects of taking the drugs during puberty.
  • There’s no standardized way of diagnosing gender dysphoria. Diagnosis relies only on the report of the child.

There’s an inconsistency in how the medical profession handles gender dysphoria and other conditions where the identity and body don’t match. A child who reports believing she is handicapped is treated to correct this false internal belief to match her physical state. Anorexics aren’t treated as though that’s their predetermined destiny; they’re treated to correct the internal condition. There are medical guidelines that forbid doctors from conducting unnecessary amputations, yet transgender adolescents are given amputations.

Little children are extremely prone to the suggestion of their parents on all kinds of issues. Developmentally, they are working out their understanding of their own identities, which develops over time. Yet little children are being taught that their gender identity and bodies may not match, and then their report of their internal gender identity is taken as settled.

There has been little study and no long-term study done on the effects of coaching children into a fixed transgender identity.

80-95% of children who identify as transgender will eventually resolve their identity with their physical gender.

One solution is being promoted with little scientific evidence that it has long-term benefits and no harm.