Seattle Children’s Hospital will open a clinic for transgender youth sometime in October.
Doctors trained in “transgender care” will provide puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone therapy, and mental health support to children struggling with their gender identity. The Gender Clinic will refer children seeking sex reassignment surgery to other medical providers.
The clinic, which is funded by a grant from the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority, will serve children between eight and 21 years old.
Seattle Children’s claims that treating transgender children early in life allows them to better integrate into society, despite growing evidence that treating gender dysphoria with puberty blockers and hormone therapies can irreversibly harm young children.
In a statement entitled “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” the American College of Pediatricians outlines the risks associated with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone therapies.
Puberty blockers prevent a child from beginning puberty. Children using puberty blockers find their growth and fertility inhibited, sometimes permanently. Their sexual organs never fully mature, leaving them deprived of the ability to reproduce and without the physical characteristics associated with either sex. Heartbreakingly, this can leave them feeling as if they belong to neither biological sex.
There are also health risks associated with these treatments. Puberty blockers decrease bone density and may hinder brain development. Cross-sex hormone therapy increases the risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer.
Dr. Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, likened these medical interventions to “child abuse,” noting that “close to 80% of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated.”
Other research summarized by the American Psychiatric Association suggests as many as 98% of boys and 88% of girls who struggle with gender dysphoria as children will no longer identify as the other gender after finishing puberty.
Troublingly, the majority of adolescents who will stop identifying as the other gender may be unable to revert to their biological sex if they received puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatments.
The American College of Pediatricians warns that “children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions.”
We agree. Activist doctors shouldn’t encourage children to undergo unnecessary and potentially harmful and irreversible medical treatments – and that’s exactly why the news about the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic is so concerning.
Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.