Cross-sex hormones may now be given to US children as young as eight in a government-supported research program, despite the risks these drugs can pose, a doctor skeptical of transitioning gender-dysphoric kids has discovered.
“Imagine giving eight-year-old girls testosterone,” Dr. Michael Laidlaw told a Heritage Foundation panel. “They are in third or fourth grade. This is unbelievable. But this is going on.” Laidlaw, an endocrinologist, discovered via a Freedom of Information Act request that the minimum age for administration of cross-sex hormones had been lowered from 13 to 8 in a large five-year study being conducted at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
This whole thing is an experiment on children.
Laidlaw blamed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “allowing unethical research to be conducted on children and adolescents,” as Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, who runs the Los Angeles study, received a $5.7 million grant from the NIH.
Such experiments, Laidlaw believes, are being used to push the timetable for transgender-affirming therapy forward, in the absence of any clinical indication that this is a good idea or is at all healthy for the children. At one point he even suggested that there’s little to stop these researchers from merely removing the gonads of a four- or five-year-old child who identifies as transgender as an ad-hoc puberty-blocker in a rush to “affirm” their identity.
Already, children as young as eight or nine can be given puberty-blockers – which halt the child’s development into an adult of their biological sex in preparation for taking the cross-sex hormones which bestow the secondary sex characteristics of the opposite – according to Endocrine Society and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines. These drugs have not been FDA-approved for this purpose and must be prescribed off-label, and their known side-effects include interruption of normal brain and bone development, as well as increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and various types of cancer. At the UK’s notoriously “progressive” Tavistock gender clinic, girls treated with these drugs have reported greater emotional problems, dissatisfaction with their bodies, and even self-harm, Oxford professor Michael Biggs found, after filing a FOIA request.
Worse, puberty blockers are administered on a wholly unscientific basis, Laidlaw said, relying on the child’s “gender identity” – which a recent court case defined as a person’s “core internal sense” of their own gender – as the primary criteria for initiating treatment. “There is no objective test to diagnose this,” he said, “yet we are giving very harmful therapies on the basis of no objective diagnosis.”
While proponents of gender-affirming therapy downplay the risks of young teens and even pre-teens making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives, hormone therapy – both puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones – also usually renders the child sterile, a risk many children are not forward-thinking enough to consider. The Heritage panel featured “de-transitioner” Walt Heyer, who called the current model of treatment “child abuse” and said he has spoken to many transgender individuals who called transitioning “the biggest mistake” of their lives.
For parents who believe they are placing their trust in doctors knowing what’s best for their child, panelist Dr. Marian Rutigliano revealed that the AAP’s 2016 guidelines on caring for trans-identifying children were written by a 12-person panel on which less than half the members were even physicians, led by a 25-year-old trans-identified female – and one of those physicians worked at a clinic in which every single child who came in for a consultation was considered “appropriate for transition.” Doctors who do attempt to stand up to the current vogue in transitioning kids are bullied or harassed into silence, often losing their positions, Rutigliano said.
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