Shortly after BBC did their dog-awful anti-trans hit piece on trans kids, I contacted a gender affirmative practitioner to hear from her directly as to what her clinic’s treatment methodology is like. For those of you just coming in, “gender affirmation” is a method of clinically approaching gender questioning, gender role non-conforming, and transgender youth in a way that is more likely to produce resilient adults for all three populations. They’ll all have differing needs, but one of the biggest differences between this practice and the gatekeeping systems of, for example, Kenneth Zucker, is the abandonment of “Doctor Knows Best.” The client leads the way, the clinician listens rather than interrogates.
As Dr. Ehrensaft explains, gender role non-conforming children mostly need counselling to deal with the inevitable bullying, but there is no inherent pathology to non-conformance–nothing needs to be “fixed,” and there is no intervention except for the effects of bullying. Gender questioning children may need vocabulary and informed consent on what their range of options are to help them explicitly articulate their internal goings-on. Minors who have persistently and insistently identified with a gender not in correspondence with their assigned sex are given the option of puberty blocking and hormone replacements. For these populations (questioning, insistently transgender) the intervention may be halted or stopped altogether.
You wouldn’t know that, though, if you only got your information from Jesse Singal or Sarah Ditum, who have hand-wrung and grieved over all the cis children being erroneously transed at the first sign of nonconforming behaviour. This isn’t a thing that happens but don’t let that stop your imagination.
Zinnia Jones reviews some of the literature on puberty blocking.
But in recent years, some anti-trans advocates have claimed that puberty blockers should not be considered reversible, alleging that all youth who take blockers will inevitably go on to transition. Others have speculated that these medications may in some way affect the natural development of a child’s gender identity, making it more likely that they will transition when they otherwise would not have done so. Michelle Cretella, president of the transphobic American College of Pediatricians activist group, has asserted that “There are no cases in the scientific literature of gender-dysphoric children discontinuing blockers”, and Paul McHugh coauthored an article in The New Atlantis making this developmental argument at length:
The lack of data on gender dysphoria patients who have withdrawn from puberty-suppressing regimens and resumed normal development raises again the very important question of whether these treatments contribute to the persistence of gender dysphoria in patients who might otherwise have resolved their feelings of being the opposite sex. As noted above, most children who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria will eventually stop identifying as the opposite sex. The fact that cross-gender identification apparently persists for virtually all who undergo puberty suppression could indicate that these treatments increase the likelihood that the patients’ cross-gender identification will persist.
Such concerns are heavy on questions, but short on answers. As it turns out, these claims range from unsupported to outright false, and have already been extensively addressed in the literature on treatment of trans youth.
I’m really not trying to be melodramatic here, but seriously, the anti-trans crowd lies. A lot.
Read more here.