Why sex transitions harm gender dysphoric children
“The prospect of completely changing your body, your life, your identity, is very compelling to a teenager who’s just learning to cope with mental health issues,” said Cari Stella. As she explained on her YouTube channel, Stella was 15 years old when she became sure that deep down she was a boy. Per the guidance of her therapist, she began taking testosterone injections, and eventually had both breasts surgically removed. Seven years later, Stella was devastated by the decision she had made. “I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest, and a broken voice, and a 5 o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality.”
Stella was just one of many youth exploited by the increasing trend among therapists to quickly affirm and physically transition children who have gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a condition in which one’s self-perceived gender disagrees with their biological sex. Over the past decade, hundreds of gender clinics have opened with the purpose of physically transitioning children with GD by means of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and, eventually, sex-reassignment surgery.
Similar to GD, Body Integrity Identity Disorder is a condition in which one feels trapped inside the wrong body. Sufferers of BIID feel like disabled persons stuck inside of healthy bodies, and often become so distressed that they seek to “cure” their ailment by amputating healthy limbs or severing their spinal cord. However, unlike with GD, the medical response to those with BIID has typically been psychological treatment rather than physical transition. This is because while cutting off healthy body parts may provide temporary emotional relief among those with BIID, it does nothing to address the underlying psychological problem.
In the same way, cutting off one’s breasts or penis merely masks the psychological problems causing GD. Stella acknowledged this after she recovered from her gender dysphoria, explaining that physically transforming her body was a “maladaptive coping mechanism.” Children with GD need much more than a “coping mechanism.” Over half of transgender people are depressed, and nearly one third have attempted to kill themselves. That is a staggeringly high suicide rate, and according to the Williams Institute, the rate doesn’t go down after sex transition. In Sweden alone, individuals who had received sex-reassignment surgery had a suicide rate twenty times greater than that of the general population, despite Sweden being the most LGBT-affirming nation in the world. “It can be damn hard to figure out that the treatment you’re being told is to help you is actually making your mental health worse,” recalled Stella.
Perhaps the most crucial fact in all of this is that children with GD will end up identifying with their biological sex by late adolescence 80-95% of the time, if left unhindered by “gender-corrective” intervention, according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine. But when those same children are pushed to embrace a transgender identity and physically altered body, it becomes very difficult to leave GD behind. The consequence is that a previously avoidable burden of psychological distress and suicidality is imposed upon children who otherwise would likely have grown up to be happy, healthy adults.
Children and young teenagers are developmentally incapable of properly evaluating the risks of such a decision. This is seriously concerning when one considers that sex transition has admittedly “not been proven safe,” according to Youth Trans Critical Professionals, an online group of left-leaning medical and academic experts. Even without reassignment surgery, puberty blockers, if followed by cross-sex hormones, will permanently sterilize any child who receives them, as well as arrest their bone growth, likely prevent brain maturation, and possibly put them at risk for breast cancer. “There is a serious ethical problem in allowing irreversible, life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young themselves to give valid consent,” said Michelle Cretella, one of over 500 pediatricians opposed to the transitioning of dysphoric children.
Unfortunately, due to the spread of leftist gender ideology, any attempt to help dysphoric children move past their GD has been labelled as hateful and transphobic. Instead, they are encouraged to undergo treatment which will sterilize them, destroy healthy body parts, and reinforce a self-perception linked with depression, anxiety and suicide. All this despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of those children would have eventually accepted their biological sex if left alone. As former transgender Walt Heyer explained, teaching children that there’s something intrinsically wrong with their bodies is not “affirmation,” it is “child abuse.” Children should be encouraged to love their bodies, not hate them. That is how we truly affirm them.