On Sunday March 6, 2022, the Dallas Morning News published another balanced editorial, Gender-affirming care needs more research, not more politics: It’s not child abuse, but it’s not scientifically proved either, this time on the shocking political developments out of Texas regarding the treatment of gender-questioning children.
Here are some salient excerpts:
‘It is hard for most of us to imagine what it is like to have a child who is experiencing gender dysphoria. Even as the number of children expressing such feelings has been rising at a concerning rate across the country, such cases remain a tiny fraction of the total population.
The correct response from all people — regardless of their perspectives, whether scientific, faith-based or otherwise — is compassion and care for parents and caregivers trying to support a child during this time.
The wrong response, and one that stands to hurt the cause of more fully understanding and addressing gender dysphoria, is the one we are seeing now from Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott. Parents who are working through a child’s depression, fear and confusion don’t need the threat of being prosecuted for child abuse, a specter Paxton raised and Abbott joined in the lead-up to Tuesday’s primary election.’
‘That is not to say we do not have concerns about the care being prescribed. But that is a scientific and medical question that needs careful, honest and open study that helps advance our understanding of the causes of gender dysphoria and the best standards of care to address it.
It is not a political question.’
‘Just days after Paxton announced his opinion that certain gender-affirming care could be considered child abuse, Sweden amended its treatment guidelines to dictate that minors should be given hormone treatments only in “exceptional cases.” The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare issued a statement saying there are “no definite conclusions about the effect and safety of the treatments” and that “the risks outweigh the benefits at present.”
Nearby Finland altered its approach in 2020, emphasizing therapy as the best treatment and creating strict guidelines for medical interventions.
On Thursday, France joined the trend when its National Academy of Medicine issued a press release connecting the skyrocketing prevalence of transgender identity in young people with social media, and encouraging caution in treatment.
And a study by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom found that gender-affirming care isn’t effective at reducing gender dysphoria or feelings of anger, anxiety or poor body image.’
‘Even if the research uniformly supported gender-affirming care, there is ample evidence that such care is being applied inconsistently. After our last editorial on this issue, we heard from many concerned parents with stories about their children receiving treatment without parents being well-informed, and about mental health practitioners writing referrals for puberty blockers with minimal screening.’
‘A study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior in October found that 55% of detransitioners studied felt that they did not receive an adequate evaluation from a doctor or mental health professional before beginning their transition.
A group of detransitioners has chosen March 12 as Detrans Awareness Day and organized an event sponsored by a parent group called Genspect with online panel discussions and networking opportunities.
“Many detransitioners believe that they were poorly advised, or even that they received inadequate or harmful medical treatment. Others believe that they should not have been able to make life-changing decisions at such a young age,” organizers wrote in a press release about that event. “Their voices are seldom heard, even though their numbers are growing.”’