Sprinkles from the Left

Commentators on the Left generally oppose the recent surge of youth transgender legislation from states. They argue most lawmakers are ill-equipped to make medical decisions, and the bills in question are based on politics, not science.

When transgender and non-binary youth can’t access the care they need, there are devastating consequences. Prior to accessing gender affirming care, some young patients at the Doernbecher Gender Clinic say they experienced worsening depression and even attempted suicide. After receiving appropriate care as children and teens, many of our young adult and adult patients say our care not only saved their lives, but allowed them to succeed in school, become gainfully employed and establish their financial independence.

In Arkansas, stripping young patients of affirming care will have detrimental impacts. Providers there will be forced to decide whether to actively do harm by not providing care or risk losing their license and going to jail.

Children and teens should never be the wedge in politics, and neither should marginalized groups. Gender diverse youth have a right to live healthy and meaningful lives and to make it to adulthood.

Jess Guerriero is an OHSU Transgender Health Program social worker. Dr. Kara Connelly is associate professor of pediatrics in the OHSU School of Medicine. Dr. Christina Milano is an associate professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. (Published in Pamplin Media)

These anti-trans bills dominating the headlines are not about high school sports or safe public restrooms…

This not an organic, constituent-driven push. These are coordinated efforts by conservative organizations such as ADF [Alliance Defending Freedom], the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation to limit the rights of some people. This movement is driven by elected officials who are comfortable targeting transgender children in exchange for endorsements, campaign funds and, ultimately, reelection…

It’s about fundraising and firing up the base. And elections.

State officials pushing these bills claim to be protecting children. But the welfare of children has nothing to do with this ugly campaign.

LZ Granderson, LA Times

When legislators criminalize gender-affirming care, they require medical providers to withhold effective treatment for a diagnosed medical condition and cause harm to human beings.

Healthcare, and access to healthcare, is a human right.

Gender-affirming care is not an experiment.

It is not reckless.

It is lifesaving—and we have the research to prove it.

The data around gender affirmation for children and adults provide a plethora of evidence that gender-affirming care reduces the risk for suicide, enhances quality of life, and allows for full participation in society.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society recommend the use of hormone therapy to delay puberty. When a legislative process negates established, proven medical practice, human beings suffer.

Most politicians are ill-equipped to make bioethical medical decisions.

Mimi Rivard, director of Gender-Affirming Care at Equitas Health. Teagan Vaughn is its clinical pharmacist. (Published in Dispatch)

Sprinkles from the Right

Commentators on the Right are generally in favor of the recent surge of youth transgender legislation from states, arguing that children under 18 are not equipped to make such a life-altering decision.

  • From a Libertarian’s View (separate from the Right): Commentators generally oppose the bills, raising questions about lawmaker’s motivations and arguing against governmental overreach in situations where the patient, parents, and doctor all agree on a treatment.
  • I am a reconstructive surgeon. I served in that capacity in the US Navy for 24 years. I have been in practice in Alabama for 16 years. I have been a physician for 40 years. I have met, and continue to serve persons who are self identified as “transgender”, and patients who regret the decision and are seeking a way to “go back” to the sex presentation they were born with…

    I read the scientific literature on this subject all day long. Virtually all of it is comprised of the lowest form of scientific evidence; small studies, with few patients, followed for short periods, all of them biased by self-selection (the patients who have committed suicide don’t come back to answer their vague questionnaires about their sense of happiness). This is NOT evidence based care…

    It used to be that gender confusion was only 0.2% of children, and almost always very young boys. Suddenly there has been a 5,000% increase in the diagnosis, and now it is 80% females in adolescence and young adulthood. How could that possibly be biologically caused? Was there a mass mutation event? Is there something in the drinking water? The transgender industry doesn’t seem to care to even ask the question: “Why is there an epidemic of gender confused children”?…

    Alabama legislators have a duty to protect this vulnerable population of gender-confused children. Psychological care, family therapy, and at times the use of certain medications has proven effectiveness. Over 80% of children treated this way abandon their cross-sex idea of themselves by late adolescence. However, if you let them fall into the hands of the transgender treatment industry, virtually 100% will continue to suffer from gender dysphoria, and will ultimately have the same high risk of self-harm, including alcohol abuse, drug abuse, psychiatric hospitalization, and suicide. This is no longer in doubt. This is why Sweden, Finland, and the UK have abandoned the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery in gender confused children.

    Patrick W. Lappert, MD, of Decatur, is a retired Capt. with the U.S. Navy and a Decatur, and is Board Certified in General Surgery (1992) and Board Certified in Plastic Surgery (1997) Recertified (2008). (Published in Advance Local)

    Sweden, Finland, and the [UK have] evolving views of the issue. In the first, puberty blockers and other cross-sex hormone treatments have been cut out of most of its clinics, including its best hospital, Karolinska.

    In the second, the government recommends “the initiation of hormonal interventions that alter sex characteristics may be considered before the person is 18 years of age only if it can be ascertained that their identity as the other sex is of a permanent nature and causes severe dysphoria.” It also “must be confirmed that the young person is able to understand the significance of irreversible treatments and the benefits and disadvantages associated with lifelong hormone therapy, and that no contraindications are present.”

    And in the UK, a High Court ruling determined that “it is highly unlikely that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.” The treatment is, after all, “experimental” noted the Court.

    Isaac Schorr, National Review

    From a Libertarian:

    [If] parents and medical professionals together agree on a course of treatment that they all agree is best for an underage patient, who are state lawmakers to tell them otherwise?…

    Just as it’s wrong for lawmakers to try to destroy school choice and tell parents where and how their children should be educated, it’s wrong and presumptuous for elected officials to tell parents how their trans children should be medically treated…

    There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of people self-identifying as trans, particularly among younger Americans. The increased acceptance and understanding of both gay and trans people has resulted in LGBT kids coming out at earlier ages and communicating how they feel at much younger ages than previous generations did. A number of those minors have received gender transition treatments…

    “This is about protecting minors,” argued one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R–Springdale). “Many of you, I would hazard to guess, did things under 18 that you probably shouldn’t have done….Why would we ever even consider allowing a sex change for a minor?”

    But who is the “we” here? It’s clearly not the parents of the patient, who would otherwise consent to the procedure. Nor is it the medical professionals who deem such procedures to be in their patients’ best interests. The “we” is a pack of elected officials pushing their own agenda.

    Lundstrum is entitled to her own opinion about trans kids. But she has no business using government power to force her views on parents seeking to make informed medical decisions for their own families.

    Scott Shackford, Reason