Neuroscientists once believed that a child was born with a fully formed brain. Psychologists weren’t so sure about that. If a child is born with a fully functional brain, then why do almost all adolescents make the dumbest-ever judgment calls? You name it, and kids from 13-20 are capable of doing it, much of it dangerously harmful to themselves.
Today, neuroscientists and psychologists agree that the human brain does not fully mature until around the age of 24-25. These scientists tell us that the last portion of the brain to mature is the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for controlling judgment. I’m not sure how one “proves” this theory, but it has become the most agreed-upon/widely accepted theory of neuro-development within the medical/psychological community.
Given this “wide acceptance” of brain maturity theory, why do educators, school counselors, and organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Kaiser Hospitals providing gender-pediatric clinics to adolescents? If the brain-development view is accurate, how is it possible for medical practitioners to allow “gender-affirming” therapies on 13-year old children — without parental consent? How did western society arrive at a place where a 15-year old female can obtain elective double mastectomy without her parent’s knowledge? Moreover, how is this different from the practice of female genital mutilation routinely practiced in Islamist culture?
Western society deems it necessary to pass laws protecting children/adolescents from the effects of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, or drive automobiles, or operate dangerous vocational equipment, and if we strive to keep teenage girls from becoming impregnated. Yet, those same societies turn a blind eye to these same kids obtaining gender-affirming therapies. How does this make any sense? How does this demonstrate genuine concern for the health and welfare of children and adolescents?
Experts associated with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) confirm the reality of gender dysphoria. This medical/psychiatric diagnosis describes a sense of uneasiness one may have with their biological sexual identity. Scientists have studied this condition for well over a hundred years. We know that it mainly affects male children/adolescents and that, in total, only around 0.01 percent of the general population (approximately 34,000) people in the United States. We also know that most children who experience gender dysphoria outgrow it naturally — without any help from gender-affirming medical professionals or activists.
Well, if the preceding statistics are accurate, why is there a sudden (and dramatic) increase in sexual reassignment therapies and surgeries among children (under 12 years old) and adolescents (under 18 years of age)? What justifies this assault on “gender confused” innocents if they are likely to outgrow gender dysphoria — again if they are left alone to outgrow it?
Care standards for patients diagnosed with gender dysphoria, as explained by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, must begin with someone who demonstrates a persistent, well-documented gender abnormality. The patient must have the mental capacity to make fully informed decisions, and they must give their consent to proceed with fully explained/fully understood treatments. If a patient is not legally entitled to decide, then medical professionals must apply specifically designed standards of care for children and adolescents. What are these “standards of care?” An interested reader can evaluate them at the WPATH website, standards of care, beginning on Page 10 for children and adolescents.
Child development psychologists explain that it is normal for children as young as two years to display elements of gender dysphoria (male children preferring female-oriented toys or dressing up like “mommy”), but, while less than 10% of these children carry such behaviors into adolescence [Note 1], as many as half of the male children will eventually become homosexual adults. Among adolescents, however, the persistence of gender dysphoria into adulthood is higher. In one study of 70 adolescents diagnosed with gender dysphoria, all of them proceeded with sexual reassignment treatments, which begins with chemically induced puberty blockers and hormone therapies.
Here’s the problem: It is one thing for parents to address these psychological problems with their children and medical/psychiatric personnel (which, by the way, involves a diverse range and long-term application of medical expertise [Note 2]), and another issue entirely when minors as young as 13 pursue gender reassignment therapies without parental involvement or consent — particularly, once again, when medical professionals know that the judgmental portion of the brain is not fully formed until age 24-25.
Psychiatrists have known about gender dysphoria for 100 years. In the past, however, psychiatrists strongly suggested that parents allow their affected children to outgrow it naturally. When children were left alone to progress beyond the problem naturally, which is to say, not badgered by others about “finding themselves,” most (not all) outgrew gender dysphoria. Of those who did not outgrow it, most become homosexual or transexual men who prefer to present themselves as women.
Today, however, we find out children beleaguered about their apparent gender dysphoria, even to the extent of labeling them as “trans-kids.” Classroom teachers are responsible for much of this badgering, many of which actively encourage these children to introduce themselves as Rachael rather than Richard. The matter is made worse by taking these children to healthcare practitioners who regard themselves as “affirmative caregivers” — a term we apply to healthcare professionals who view themselves as responsible for affirming diagnoses of gender dysphoria and for helping them “transition” to the opposite sex, whether or not the child/adolescent previously gave it much thought.
What makes this a particularly critical junction in “solving the problem” is that once chemically induced puberty-blocking begins, there is almost no going back. What do therapists use on these children? They use a drug originally intended for use in the chemical castration of sex offenders. It’s called Lupron. The Food and Drug Administration has never approved the use of Lupron as a puberty blocker. The question remains: Why would any responsible parent or doctor want to stop a child’s puberty, especially if a typical child will likely outgrow gender dysphoria if left alone? The question is particularly pertinent because scientists cannot predict whether a child will outgrow their gender dysphoria.
Claims made by doctors and gender activists that sexual reassignment therapy for children is “safe” and “reversible” are simply not valid. However, that aside, we should wonder why the number of adolescent females claiming gender dysphoria suddenly increased over time in the past ten years. Since 2012, there has been a 4,400% increase in teenage girls seeking treatment in the United Kingdom and the United States. Is it a matter of social contagion?
Consider the additional (psychoses) associated with the sudden onset of anorexia and bulimia. It leads one to think that teenage females in both the US and UK have entered the worst mental health crisis in human history, collectively exhibiting the highest anxiety, self-mutilation, and clinical depression rates. They are the same young girls who hate their bodies. They are the same young girls most influenced by Facebook and Twitter. To circle back briefly, they are young people with immature brains who are led to believe that the solution to their problem is sexual reassignment therapy and surgery.
Not one clinical or academic study supports the notion that puberty blockers reduce suicidal tendencies or attempts or improves mental health. The issue of adolescent psychosis is relevant, given our understanding of brain maturity, because, sadly, suicide rates among those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery are significantly higher among teenagers than the general population. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than half of male teens who underwent sexual reassignment therapy/surgery attempted suicide; among female adolescents, 30%. Among non-binary youth (children who see themselves as a third gender), the attempted suicide rate is 42%. Similar studies conducted at UCLA (Williams Institute) found that 98% of transgender adults thought about suicide, and 51% actually attempted suicide.
If mental instability among gender dysphoria patients doesn’t alarm you, maybe this will: in every case where a child’s healthy puberty is arrested, which places that child out of step with their peers, that child proceeds to cross-sex hormones. When healthcare professionals administer puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to a female child, she becomes infertile. She may develop a permanent sexual dysfunction because her sex organs never reach maturity.
One final question: If certain professionals (identified above) knowingly contribute to the early death, mental anguish, physical pain, and suffering of children/adolescents — the sort of thing that will last throughout the balance of their lives — why are they not charged with felony child abuse? Do we, or do we not want to save our children?
 Stevens, M. and Susan Beveridge. The ALSPAC Study (2002) involving 283 single-mother homes found no differences in parent-reported gender-role behavior between father-present and father-absent families for either male or female children.
 Typical sexual reassignment challenges involve numerous ongoing treatments, including general medicine, epidemiology, mental health, lifelong hormone therapy, reproductive medicine, voice and communications therapy, reproductive surgery, plastic surgery, post-operative care and on-going hormonal treatments, and lifelong preventive and primary care.
Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar