A Genspect parent – and doctor – responds to the AAP

The Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine (SEGM) applied to have a booth at the American Academy of Paediatrics annual conference in Philadelphia this year, to share the latest information in the field of gender medicine. What happened next was unusual, to say the least: SEGM’s application was declined, and their appeal rejected. In their own words:

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) rejected SEGM’s application to share the latest evidence regarding the practice of pediatric gender transition at AAP’s upcoming annual conference in Philadelphia in October 2021. This rejection sends a strong signal that the AAP does not want to see any debate on what constitutes evidence-based care for gender-diverse youth.

[This] is particularly problematic considering that just a week earlier, 80% of AAP’s voting members voted on a resolution that asked the AAP for more debate and discussion of the risks, benefits, and uncertainties inherent in the practice of medically transitioning minors […]

SEGM’s appeal to the AAP’s annual conference organizers […] was rejected with no explanation

They continue:

The debate on how to best care for gender-dysphoric youth has intensified world-wide in the last 12 months, with at least three of the world’s major gender clinics (all pioneers in pediatric medical transition) sharply reversing their course toward far more caution […]

AAP’s assertion that “gender-affirmative” interventions with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries are the only appropriate treatments for gender dysphoria in minors stands in stark contrast to the much more nuanced approach that has emerged among the leaders in pediatric gender medicine.

They conclude:

“Gender-diverse youth deserve respect, compassion, and high-quality, evidence-based medical care. However, because of the low quality of the available evidence, and the marked change in the presentation of gender dysphoria in youth in the last several years (many more adolescents with recently emerging transgender identities and significant mental health comorbidies are presenting for care), what constitutes good healthcare for this patient group is far from clear. Quelling the debate will not help America’s pediatricians guide patients and their families based on best available evidence. The politicization of the field of gender medicine must end, if we care about gender-variant youth and their long-term health.

The AAP’s 2018 policy statement on care of gender-questioning youth promotes the exclusive use of the affirmative approach, ignoring or misrepresenting the science in order to do so. As Genspect advisor Abigail Shrier points out:

Clinicians across the West are acknowledging that the evidentiary basis supporting medical transition for kids is shaky and that hormone treatments on adolescents don’t produce significant mental-health benefits. Yet “there’s no home for that message inside U.S. medical societies,” as endocrinologist and SEGM co-founder Will Malone said.

The thousands of parents represented by Genspect are angry that our kids are not receiving comprehensive, competent, evidence-based assessment and care. We believe that most pediatricians (and health professionals in general) do have our children’s best interests at heart. But in a rapidly changing field, busy doctors – as I am myself – are dealing with a wide range of issues. Many have yet to be provided with up-to-date information by their professional organizations. Many do not know, as I do, that the treatment pathways that lots of gender clinicians provide are in fact experimental.

On their website, the AAP claims to be “committed to the optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.” We believe that their behavior falls far short of that lofty mission statement. Genspect parents – who count among us doctors, psychologists and other health professionals – believe that the AAP is actively preventing its members from meeting their expressed need for more information.

We are tired of our kids being used as political pawns, and we will join SEGM and Abigail Shrier in calling out this sort of behavior until our kids start getting the care that they deserve.

This post was written by an anonymous Genspect father in Canada, who is also a medical practitioner.

Photo credit: Lukas at Pexels

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