EPATH – the European Professional Association for Transgender Health – is hosting a three-day conference in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. For some time, many parents of gender-questioning children across Europe have felt that EPATH has overlooked their legitimate concerns – and, in so doing, has placed far too little emphasis on the potential benefits of exploratory, whole-person, depth-perspective therapy in treating gender dysphoria.
So when one of our colleagues at amqg.ch – a Swiss organization campaigning for a more measured approach to issues of gender among children and young people – came to us with the idea of writing an open letter to EPATH, we jumped at the chance. Genspect was happy to facilitate this great initiative, and a total of 21 organizations in 13 countries in Europe and beyond put their names to the open letter.
And since then, other organizations have come in, too, bringing the total to 24 organizations. Support for this open letter to EPATH is growing: and parents’ voices are being elevated in the process.
In the letter, parents are asking a number of reasonable, straightforward questions. You can see for yourself that these politically moderate parents are motivated by nothing other than concern that their children are not denied appropriate, sensitive healthcare.
The full text of the open letter:
Dear EPATH National Conference 2021 Representatives,
We are an international alliance of organisations seeking to promote safe, compassionate, ethical and evidence-based healthcare for children, adolescents and young adults with gender dysphoria. We represent thousands of people, from those who have experienced gender dysphoria to parents, doctors and members of the LGB community. As EPATH holds a three day conference in Gothenburg, we have a number of questions we would like EPATH to answer:
1. The epidemiology of paediatric cases has changed markedly from prepubescent males to adolescent girls, now the largest group consulting transgender health specialists. What plans does EPATH have to produce more objective research and statistics on this phenomenon, especially in terms of social factors?
2. Recent epidemiological shifts remain poorly understood and have profound implications for treatment decisions. Since they were not included in the basic research evaluating medical treatment of gender dysphoric minors, how does EPATH seek to correct this?
3. How will EPATH guidelines account for the high levels of mental health and neurocognitive comorbidities – particularly autism – among cases of gender dysphoria?
4. Where medical transition occurs on the basis of a superficial assessment and is later regretted, what measures does EPATH set in place to ensure that such poor clinical practice is corrected?
5. The UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence states that the potential benefits of hormones must be weighed against their largely unknown long-term safety profile when it comes to children and adolescents with gender dysphoria. How does EPATH intend to conduct prospective, longitudinal, ethically approved research on gender dysphoria in children and adolescents?
6. The correlation between gender dysphoria and suicidality side-lines the precautionary principle. Most research on this relationship is biased and of poor quality. How does EPATH intend to demonstrate the suicide rates being claimed?
7. Gender non-conforming behaviours and interests in childhood are highly predictive of homosexual orientation in adulthood. How do EPATH guidelines safeguard against conversion therapy under another name?
We are confident that EPATH will agree with us that young people with gender issues deserve quality support, based on impartial and up-to-date medical evidence. In this spirit, we look forward to their responses to our questions.
Bayswater Support (UK)
Canadian Gender Report (Canada)
Gender Dysphoria Alliance (Canada)
Gender Dysphoria Support Network (Europe)
GENID (Sweden, Norway)
La Petite Sirène (France)
No Corpo Certo (Brazil)
Our Duty (UK, Germany, Australia, USA)
Parents of ROGD Kids (UK, Germany, USA)
Post Trans (Belgium)
Safe Schools Alliance (UK)
Thoughtful Therapists (UK and Ireland)
Transgender Trend (UK)
TransTeens Sorge berechtigt (Germany)
EPATH has yet to respond to the open letter. Yet we trust that its members and representatives will take the time to address what these groups have communicated.