San Francisco Chronicle publishes balance about Texas

On March 4, 2022, the San Francisco Chronicle published a balanced piece written by independent journalist Lisa Selin Davis about reactions to what is happening in Texas: Texas investigations into gender-affirming care for kids aren’t just cruel, they hurt science. The complete article, worth reading in full, is behind a paywall, so below are some excerpts. Davis additionally has published a companion piece on her substack entitled The Trouble with Texas, Part 1.


“While Texas’ moves are cruel and condemnable, both ideological stances are oversimplified and wrong — the first morally and likely legally [Paxton’s stance], and the second scientifically [unquestioning affirmation]. The best way to understand why is to look at countries that have nixed the gender-affirmative model in favor of a more cautious approach.

Just two days after Paxton’s guidance, Sweden announced new guidelines for for gender dysphoric youth. ‘Uncertain science and new knowledge mean that the National Board of Health and Welfare now recommends restraint when it comes to hormone treatment,’ the board said, adding, ‘There are no definite conclusions about the effect and safety of the treatments.’

Contrary to what mainstream media, medical groups and advocacy organizations maintain, the gender-affirming approach is actually deeply controversial within medical and mental health communities. The ‘new knowledge’ Sweden’s health board referred to includes kids who in fact have experienced observable and material impairment. A Swedish news program, Mission: Investigate, found increasing numbers of detransitioners as well as minors with ‘health care-related injuries,’ such as constant pain from osteoporosis. Finland also altered its approach to gender dysphoric youth, asserting therapy as the best initial treatment, and created strict guidelines for medicalization. Health officials in France have also indicated a similar shift in their approach.”


“But in the U.S. and Canada, gender affirmative care for kids ranges from cautious iterations of the Dutch approach to clinics that do not require psychiatry or or psychology assessments before administering hormone blockers or gender-affirming hormones. One California doctor provided cross-sex hormones to kids as young as 12.

Meanwhile, the youth cohort being treated has radically shifted in the last 10 years, all over the Western world, from largely young boys with lifelong dysphoria to a growing number of adolescent girls with no history of dysphoria — a condition clinicians know little about and to whom very little research applies.”


“Terrorizing those who choose the gender-affirmative model as child abusers is heinous and likely illegal. Parents and doctors are doing what they’ve been told is best for children, and parents have the Constitutional right to decide their children’s medical path.

Texas’ actions do not foster an environment for rational, nonpartisan and evidence-based evaluation of the data, or an incentive to collect more, which is what we need. For parents to make good decisions, they need to have all the evidence. Texas is making that even harder.

Ideology has no place in medicine and neither refusing these medical interventions nor partaking of them is child abuse. We need to listen to those who’ve been helped and those who’ve been hurt and tailor our approach to this new generation of dysphoric youth.”

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