The National Institute of Health maintains an online library of medical information known as the National Center for Biotechnology Information. In it, you can find scholarly articles, research papers, and the results of medical studies for most common areas of medicine. Lately, however, the repository has been adding a number of new studies that seem to be quite controversial to say the least and they deal with medical issues involving transgender children and what’s come to be known as “gender-affirming medical care.” A couple of these studies are now drawing public attention because of the decidedly unscientific and potentially dangerous approach they take toward dealing with families who have minor children dealing with gender dysphoria.
One of these reports is titled “LGBT testimony and the limits of trust,” and it’s a real eye-opener. Written by someone named Maura Priest, the report explores “the ethics of ongoing puberty suppression (OPS)” in transgender patients. As you’ve likely heard, there are doctors out there today using puberty suppression drugs on children to prevent the natural onset of puberty until they can “decide what gender they are” (if any). But the author goes one step further, insisting that it’s no longer up to the doctor to make decisions for children in such matters and that parents who object to these forms of “treatment” should “lose their veto power” over such decisions. (Emphasis added)
If the medical community is to take LGBT testimony seriously (as they should) then it is no longer the job of physicians to do their own weighing of the costs and benefits of transition-related care. Assuming the patient is informed and competent, then only the patient can make this assessment, because only the patient has access to the true weight of transition-related benefits. Moreover, taking LGBT patient testimony seriously also means that parents should lose veto power over most transition-related paediatric care.
Keep in mind that this article was published on a government website supposedly created to disseminate information on medical science. And the author fully supports the use of puberty-blocking drugs like Lupron on children. This support is offered despite the fact that the FDA has never approved the use of these gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) drugs in any cases except for children diagnosed with early-onset puberty, also known as precocious puberty. These drugs can have very serious effects on long-term health and have never been approved for use in treating gender dysphoria in any fashion.
It may also be worth pointing out that the author, Maura Priest, isn’t even a medical doctor. She’s a professor of philosophy and bioethics at Arizona State University.
As I mentioned above, that gem of an article wasn’t the only one on this subject to show up in the NIH database. Another report is titled, “Medically assisted gender affirmation: when children and parents disagree.” With a title such as that, you might be tempted to think that advice was being offered on how families can work together to sort out complicated issues of both medicine and sexual maturation. But you would be mistaken. This is more of an owner’s manual for medical professionals who want to lock parents out of such decisions.
Through arguments based on ethical, paediatric, adolescent and transgender health research, we illustrate ethical dilemmas that may arise in treating transgender and gender diverse youth. We discuss three potential avenues for providing gender-affirming care over parental disagreement: legal carve-outs to parental consent, the mature minor doctrine and state intervention for neglect. Our discussion approaches this parent-child disagreement in a manner that prioritises the developing autonomy of transgender youth in the decision-making process surrounding medically assisted gender affirmation. We base our arguments in the literature surrounding the risks and benefits of gender-affirming therapy in transgender children and the existing legal basis for recognising minors’ decision-making authority in certain medical situations.
“Legal carve-outs” are precisely what they sound like: loopholes in the law allowing medical procedures on children without the consent of the parents. You probably won’t need any help translating “state intervention for neglect,” either. They’re talking about reporting the parents who won’t approve of performing these weird science experiments on their children to Child Protective Services and accusing them of neglect.
You don’t have to be a doctor to understand that the idea of prepubescent children making irreversible medical decisions involving questions of gender and sexuality and fully understanding the consequences is insanity. Doctors participating in such actions should seriously be charged with malpractice and the parents who go along with it should be taken in on child abuse charges. Can you imagine what life would be like for a child who was convinced to have irreversible genital mutilation surgery to “help them transition,” only to realize later in life that they had made a terrible mistake? And nobody knows yet what the long-term effects of prolonged puberty-blocking drug usage are on children because the drugs have never been approved for that use. This is rampant craziness and now it’s showing up as “medical information” on the NIH website.