200 Medical Professionals Oppose Bills Aimed at Trans Youth. If Only Republicans Believed in Science

Illustration for article titled 200 Medical Professionals Oppose Bills Aimed at Trans Youth. If Only Republicans Believed in Science
Photo: Kena Betancur (AFP via Getty Images)

So by all accounts, medical professionals and researchers have come to the conclusion that transgender people are just, you know, people. Yet, Republican lawmakers are driven by a bizarre desire to destroy everything they don’t understand, even if that means targeting children.

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Last month, ya boy wrote about how Republican legislators in southern states had drafted numerous bills targeting transgender youth. Now, NBC News reports that over 200 medical professionals have signed an open letter condemning the legislation. Some of the laws would result in doctors losing their licenses or possibly even facing jail time for providing hormonal medication and transition-related surgery.

The letter states: “These bills run counter to the growing consensus in the medical community that improving access to gender-affirming care is a central means of improving health outcomes for transgender people.” It was signed by a wide swath of medical professionals, from mental health counselors and surgeons to pharmacists and dentists.

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Republican lawmakers have been adamant that these bills were made to “protect” the children. They are being put in place to prevent children from making decisions about their body at too young of an age. The problem is, this completely ignores science. Recent studies have shown that trans youth are just as certain of their gender identity as their cis-gender counterparts. Not only that but a study published in Pediatrics shows that access to puberty blockers reduces suicide risk in trans youth. These laws are not meant to protect children, they’re meant to hurt them.

There is some glimmer of hope, though. In Florida, a bill that would have made it a felony for doctors to provide hormone medication or to perform transitional surgery effectively died last Monday. This was after multiple trans youth and their families came forward and told their stories at the hearings. The hope is that Republican lawmakers will see firsthand the damage these laws will inflict and drop them. I, for one, certainly hope that’s the case.

Jr Staff Writer @TheRoot. Watcher of wrestling, player of video games. Mr. Steal Your Disney+ Password.

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DISCUSSION

scowlybrowspinster
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I believe medical interventions for transitioning should be based on the person’s age of consent. Here’s the thing, young children are constantly sorting and processing their internal feelings and the messages that society presents about sex and gender roles. It’s typical for preschool aged (and older) children to declare they are the opposite gender and then drop the subject entirely; plenty of children play dress up and enjoy all types of ‘gendered’ toys without making gender or sex declarations about their feelings or activities.

Rather than realizing this is a natural part of child development, some parents overreact to this stage and irrationally punish the child for perceived errant behaviors, while other parents go overboard in supporting the child’s ‘trans identity,’ which might naturally wax and wane as the child grows older. Admittedly tangentially, with everything now magnified through the lenses of social media, doors have opened for a small percentage of attention seekers, grifters and Munchausen-by-Proxy type parents to make use of their children for their own purposes.

We do know brain development is not complete until the early 20s. Children do not have executive function and the ability to clearly see the future repercussions of current actions. We currently don’t have abundant results of the long-term side effects of puberty blockers sussed out; just like other hormonal medications they may end up delivering people a huge dose of cancer or any of the myriad of side effects rattled off at the end of a pharmaceutical commercial. Making unproven medical interventions to oppose the natural growth processes on behalf of young children who have not completed developing their brains is, in my opinion, experimenting on vulnerable humans.

My brother was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. He had a certain amount of reconstructive surgery as a baby and young child so that he could eat and speak, but then he had to go through puberty and reach the majority of his growth before he had the final reconstructive surgeries. Children are getting elective plastic surgeries at progressively younger ages and I think in a way, some people feel like transitioning children is akin to a rhinoplasty for a kid who is teased in school about having a big nose.

Society-wide, schools, churches and clubs need to foster an accepting, non-bullying culture that makes all children feel as comfortable as possible, whatever clothes and accessories they want to wear, whatever toys and games they want to play, whatever subjects they want to study. If outside forces were not so oppressive, children would not internalize negative feelings about themselves and the perception of being trans.

Young/teen children who express body dysphoria and/or mental health issues like depression or suicidal ideation should be treated with supportive psychological/psychiatric therapy that focuses on self-acceptance, managing social situations and helps the person plan for the future with a clear understanding of their own feelings. Then when they are old enough to evaluate the information, the decision to transition medically can be ethically made with informed consent.