Marcia Segelstein has covered family issues for over 20 years as a producer for CBS News and as a columnist. She has written for FoxNews.com, “First Things,” “World Magazine,” and “Touchstone.” She is a Senior Editor for “SALVO” magazine.
In my last blog, What If Your Child is “Gender Confused”? Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians, discussed the dangers of introducing the concept of transgenderism to young children. She explained that biological sex is hardwired from the time of fertilization and cannot be changed. She further stated that transgenderism contradicts this reality: transgenderism is a fixed false belief otherwise known as a delusion. Therefore, those who encourage children to believe that a boy can become a girl and vice versa are, in fact, potentially leading them into a state of delusion. But sadly, that delusion is being promoted as reality by many in education, the medical profession, and the media. And unfortunately, many parents are being pressured to “treat” their “gender confused” children by affirming this delusion.
I spoke with Dr. Cretella about the potential serious mental and physical health consequences for children sent down this path.
What does the future look like for children who are “affirmed” in their gender confusion?
There are no long-term studies on children, so parents are being lied to when “gender experts” describe this as “settled science.” The best study we have on what the future holds for adults who become transgender, i.e. impersonate the opposite sex with chemicals and surgery, is from Sweden. That study followed adults for thirty years after they began hormone therapy and went through surgery to impersonate the opposite sex. Initially they were relieved and happy. Their dysphoria went away and they claimed to be more socially functional. It was not until ten years out that there was evidence of increasing depression, anxiety and suicidality. In the short term they seemed to be a bit better. But ten years out not so much. By thirty years out they had a rate of completed suicide that was almost twenty times greater than the general population.
Medically what’s in store for them?
When children are “socially affirmed” as being the other sex, the next step is often putting them on puberty blockers at age 11 and then leading them to cross-sex hormones by age 16. When children are placed on blockers at age 11 and then transitioned to cross-sex hormones you’ve never allowed their bodies to produce mature eggs if they’re biological girls or mature sperm if they’re biological boys. At the American College of Pediatricians we’ve drawn our line in the sand. Chemical castration, sterilization and surgical mutilation are child abuse.
In addition to causing infertility these hormones have other side effects. The hormone blockers may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis when these kids reach their twenties and thirties, and may harm brain development. The cross-sex hormones place children at a higher risk for stroke, diabetes, cancer and potentially other negative health consequences. These are dangerous hormones being used in a massive experiment on young children.
What about organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics which has been supportive of treating transgender children?
In this case, the AAP, like other mainstream medical organizations, has chosen a political agenda over reality and children. This is not the first time. In 2010, for example, the AAP embraced female genital mutilation (FGM) despite acknowledging health risks to girls and the absence of any medical benefit. They later retracted that policy under pressure from advocacy groups.
When patients repeatedly insist on something contrary to physical reality they are, at best, confused, or at worst, delusional. Mainstream medical organizations, including the AAP, agree with this assessment in every instance except where biological sex is concerned. In the case of biological sex alone, all of a sudden, in mainstream medicine’s alternative universe, persistently and consistently stating a false belief is definitive proof of having been born into the wrong body.
Twin studies alone prove that no one is born into the wrong body. If transgenderism were “hardwired before birth” by DNA and/or prenatal hormones incorrectly sexualizing the brain, then identical twins would always have the same gender identity. But they do not. Instead, the largest twin study we have demonstrates that identical twins differ 72% of the time. This proves that the primary determinant factors are not biological and occur after birth.
What else do you want people to know about this issue?
This is what people need to recognize: so-called transgender medicine is marketing a false metaphysical belief under a scientific veneer. The claim that a “feminine essence” can be trapped in a male body and vice versa has far more in common with a quasi-religion than anything to do with science. This is one reason my colleague, Dr. Paul McHugh, has referred to the transgender youth movement as a cult.
I still believe there’s a silent majority of therapists and physicians who know that what is being done to these children is absolutely malpractice. Many of them have written to thank the American College of Pediatricians for speaking out at a time when they cannot. For them to do so would be career-ending. Yet, unless we have that silent majority rise up together, we are going to end up with many more children being put on puberty blockers, toxic sex-change hormones, and undergoing irreversible surgeries such as double mastectomies and genital mutilation. I – and many of my liberal, gay-affirming colleagues – are already hearing from survivors of this abuse and from their parents. They are angry and they are hurting even more now.
All of us who truly want the best for our children must find the courage to love our children more than we fear assaults upon our reputation. Love is truth and traverses political divides. We must come together in solidarity around compassionate reality-based solutions for our children now before it is too late.
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The American College of Pediatricians has been labeled an official “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. One commenter on my previous blog on this topic claimed that members of ACPeds have “fringe opinions,” and that their goals are primarily political while the health of children is secondary to them.
In fact, ACPeds prides itself on basing its recommendations on science, not social trends. The Register recently reported on a study released last month in The New Atlantis called The study, which took into account more than 50 peer-reviewed studies on the subject, concludes that there is very little scientific evidence to support treatments such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.
The study was co-authored by Dr. Paul Hruz, a professor at Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Lawrence Mayer, a scholar in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor at Arizona State University, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
According to Dr. Hruz: “We have no good evidence on the safety and lots of good reasons to worry about the harm.”
And what do the three authors have to say to mainstream organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics which support such treatment?
“Reading these various guidelines gives the impression that there is a well-established scientific consensus about the safety and efficacy of the use of puberty-blocking agents for children with gender dysphoria, and that parents of such children should think of it as a prudent and scientifically proven treatment option. But whether blocking puberty is the best way to treat gender dysphoria in children remains far from settled and it should be considered not a prudent option with demonstrated effectiveness but a drastic and experimental measure.”
Much has been written about the immaturity of the adolescent brain. Yet doctors and therapists are content to allow teens, and in some cases pre-teens, to undergo irreversible medical treatments because they believe they were born the wrong sex. As Dr. Cretella put it, “Anyone who’s ever been around teenagers knows that they are cognitively and emotionally immature and riding a rollercoaster of hormones. We know this both by common sense and thanks to neuroscience. The AAP recently drew attention to this when it promoted a study showing that 14-year-old children are not cognitively mature enough to cross a busy street. Ironically, this same AAP expects us to believe that these same adolescents who are incapable of crossing the street are mature enough to consent to procedures that may leave them irreversibly physically and emotionally scarred.”
Dr. Cretella was interviewed on the issue of transgenderism and children on “The Tucker Carlson Show.” You can watch the video clip at http://video.foxnews.com/v/5524002302001/?#sp=show-clips.