Children and Surgeons Presumed to Know Best
At one time, gender dysphoria, a term used to describe the discomfort of being one’s biological sex, afflicted mostly boys and men, and was said to begin as early as two years old. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), the historical rate of incidence of gender dysphoria was one in 10,000 males.
As for treatment, for decades, the underlying assumption was children don’t know best. Conventional wisdom was that children would come to accept their bodies when they matured and they were right it seems: About 70 percent of children initially diagnosed with gender dysphoria outgrew it — many became lesbian or gay adults.
In those days, psychologists treated gender dysphoria with therapy that sought to understand the source, lessen its intensity, and ultimately help a child grow comfortable in his or her body.
In the last decade, however, this “watchful waiting” has been supplanted by “affirmative care,” which assumes children know best.
Clinics seem to support the affirmative model.
The Mayo Clinic, St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Oregon Health & Science University Children’s Hospital
University of California at San Francisco
New York Times story, “What Are Puberty Blockers?”
Doctors see transgender medicine as a growth field, and work to persuade parents that their child’s transition is best and, if they don’t, their child may commit suicide.
Today, the U.S. has hundreds of gender clinics.
It is interesting too that with the growth of the sex change industry most patients are now longer natal males, but teenage girls.
A recent survey by the American College Health Association showed that, in 2008, one in 2,000 female undergraduates identified as transgender. By 2021, that figure is one in 20.
For treatment, young women are given testosterone, sometimes on their first visit to a clinic like Planned Parenthood. After being given testosterone, teen girls can have their breasts amputated. Premature menopause is one side effect reportedly experienced by girls taking testosterone.
Recent surveys report up to 20% of teens are identifying as something other than their natal gender and heterosexual.
The rise in gender dysphoria over the last 20 years suggests to some critics that it is a social phenomenon.
Do Puberty Blockers Have Side Effects?
To aid in transitioning to the “right” body, puberty blockers are the first step. Cross-sex hormones are next. The combination of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones usually makes a child infertile. For boys, the drugs are intended to castrate them chemically
Those whose livings are dependent on this model maintain that there is nothing wrong with giving children as young as nine puberty blockers since the effects are reversible.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), insists that puberty blockers are “fully reversible interventions.” and recommends that children begin hormonal puberty suppression at the early stages of puberty.
Jack Turban, the chief fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, wrote, “The only significant side effect is that the adolescent may fall behind on bone density.”
A reported side effect for children is lack of sexual development. Deepening of the voice is not reversible should a woman decide not to become a man.
Jazz Was a Boy Who Wanted to Be a Girl
The reality-television show “I Am Jazz,” is about the life of Jazz Jennings, a boy who became a girl at age 17.
In January 2019, his mother, Jeanette Jennings, threw Jazz a “Farewell to Penis” party, where guests ate meatballs and miniature wieners in the Jenning’s Florida home. Family and friends cheered as Jazz sliced into a penis-shaped cake.
On the day of the operation, Jazz’s sister, Ari, wiggled a sausage in front of the camera.
As Jazz was about to enter the operating room, he snapped his fingers and said, “Let’s do this!”
The “penile inversion” operation was performed by Dr. Marci Bowers. a gender surgeon who built or repaired more than 2,000 vaginas. Dr. Bowers began life as a male.
Bowers planned to use tissue from Jazz’s penis and testicles to create a vaginal cavity and clitoris. With grown men, a penile inversion is doable. But, because Jazz, starting at age 11, had a puberty blocker called Supprelin implanted in his upper arm to delay the onset of facial hair and the deepening of his voice, at age 17, Jazz’s penis was the size of an 11-year-old.
American gender surgeons can augment the tissue for constructing neovaginas for children with borrowed stomach lining and even a swatch of bowel.
Since Jazz didn’t have enough penile and scrotal skin to work with, Dr. Bowers took a swatch of Jazz’s stomach lining to complement the available tissue. Jazz no longer had a penis. Jazz had it converted into a vagina.
An argument has been made that doctors are not really creating a vagina by inverting a penis. It’s a vagina facsimile. The necessity for follow up surgeries is estimated to be from 40-60%. Unhappily for Jazz, after being discharged, Jazz experienced “crazy pain” and was rushed back to the hospital. Her new vagina split apart. In the year after her operation, Jazz required three more surgeries, and gained nearly 100 pounds in under two years.
Are They Changing Genders?
Some argue that “sterilizing people, and cutting off healthy organs,” does not actually change one’s gender.
Patients who have XX or XY chromosomal pattern are, respectively, female and male. This pattern is not “assigned at birth;” but at the time of conception. Cutting off a penis or constructing one does not change the nucleated cells in the body.
Comments on Shrier’s article suggest that children should not make these life altering and permanent decisions.
One commenter wrote, “I’ve always believed doctors who have the hubris to perform these surgeries are modern-day Frankenstein’s. Now, offering confused pre-pubescent children life-altering hormone treatments, I feel they are more like Mengele..”
There may be much more to the subject and I would be interested in hearing “the children-will-commit-suicide if they don’t get to change their gender” debate.
To debate this is not transphobia and this is not about adults making decisions about their own bodies.
The debate is, at least for me, that it strikes me as odd that a society that condemns sexual abuse of children – for instance pedophilia is concerned the worst of crimes, and punishment of adult offenders is rightfully harsh – because the child is too young to consent to sex – has no similar condemnation for those who lead children to change their genders with irreversible treatments and operations.
In fact, the mainstream that condemns a Keith Raniere for having had sex with a 15 year old Camila, heralds and praises doctors who inject 12 year old children with puberty blockers and 15 year old children with cross hormones that make them sterile for life.
Shouldn’t this just be called self mutilation?
Great article on an important subject!
Here is a video of Abigail Shrier being interviewed on the Joe Rogan Podcast:
I listened to the entire interview a year ago. She make some great points.
Rogan’s show is behind a paywall now.
You found great sources, I’m so glad you’re asking these questions, Frank. It is such an important distinction to make, and there are many others, but the differences between children and adults cannot be overstated. Actuaries understand the differences through statistics, but there is a developmental reason behind them. Our prefrontal cortex doesn’t finish developing until we are around 25 years of age. Puberty plays a role in that brain development, not just the changers in our exterior bodies. We don’t know what the long term impact of long term puberty blockers is, and how that impacts brain development. That experiment is happening right now. On our children.
“ for instance pedophilia is concerned the worst of crimes, ”