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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

What Do You Know About the Effects of Gender-Affirming Care?

Millions of people have watched in amazement as more and more children, teens, and young adults have transgendered. Most people understand that such thinking shows mental illness. The Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) passed a rule in August 2022that prevents Medicaid from funding anything having to do “gender-affirming care.” Such care includes “puberty-blockers,” cross-sex hormones, sex reassignment surgeries, and other treatments or procedures that alter primary or secondary sex characteristics.

According to Tyler O’Neil at The Daily Signal, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, neurologists, and other doctors were among those testifying in support of the rule. Dr. Paul Hruz, an endocrinology researcher and clinician at Washington University School of Medicine, was one of the doctors. For your information, endocrinologists treat the endocrine system, and the endocrine system “uses hormones to control metabolism, reproduction, growth, and more.) 

Dr. Hruz wrote the following in a sworn affidavit provided exclusively to The Daily Signal: “Patients suffering from gender dysphoria or related issues have a right to be protected from experimental, potentially harmful treatments lacking reliable, valid, peer-reviewed, published, long-term scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.”

Hruz and other doctors argue that the medical interventions often described as “gender-affirming care” are experimental and that the organizations that present standards of care supporting them – the World Professional Association for Transgender Health [WPATH] and the Endocrine Society – represent more a political and advocacy effort than an objective analysis supporting these alleged treatments.

Dr. Stephen B. Levine was another doctor arguing in support of the new rule, and he comes from the other side. He is a psychiatrist and was an “early proponent of transgender medical interventions.” He was a member and a leader in the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association – which later became WPATH. He wrote in his affidavit that he resigned his membership in 2002 due to “my regretful conclusion that the organization and its recommendations had become dominated by politics and ideology, rather than by scientific process, as it was years earlier.”

Levine did not have anything good to say about WPATH. He condemns the WPATH standards of care as “not an impartial or evidence-based document.” He notes that “WPATH explicitly views itself as not merely a scientific organization, but also as an advocacy organization.” Non-doctors are welcomed into its membership if they identify as transgender. Any skepticism as to the benefits of [sex reassignment surgery] to patients or any strong alternative views are not well tolerated.

According to Levine, WPATH is composed of “a self-selected subset” of the medical profession along with “its many non-professional members.” In addition, “there is no consensus or agreed ‘standard of care’ concerning therapeutic approaches to child or adolescent gender dysphoria.” He notes that gender identity “is not biologically based” and “empirically not fixed for many individuals.” He warns that social transition “is a powerful psychotherapeutic intervention that radically changes outcomes” and makes it far less likely that young children will “desist” from a transgender identify.

In addition, Levin calls transition and affirmation “experimental therapies that have not been shown to improve mental or physical health outcomes by young adulthood.” He warns that these therapies “do not decrease, and may increase, the risk of suicide.” He further warns that hormonal interventions “are experimental procedures that have not been proven safe.”

Levine is not the only medical professionals warning of problems. Hruz, Michael Laidlaw, and Quentin Van Meter warned of problems caused by “puberty blockers” and cross-sex hormones. Hruz warns that patients can’t “turn back the clock” to reverse the changes after “an extended period of pubertal suppression.” Hruz also notes that “there are no long-term, peer-reviewed published, reliable and valid research studies” documenting the percentage of patients helped or harmed by transgender medical interventions. He notes that attempts to block puberty followed by cross-sex hormones impact fertility and pose risks such as low bone density, “disfiguring acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, abnormal glucose tolerance, breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease.”

Since children – who do not experience transgender interventions – often later reject a transgender identity. For these reasons, Hruz concludes that “administering hormones to a child whose gender dysphoria is highly likely to resolve is risky, unscientific, and unethical.”

Other medical professionals also wrote affidavits in support of the rule.

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