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Asking only gender clinicians about the safety and efficacy of gender treatments is akin to asking only Purdue Pharma about the safety and efficacy of opioids.

Originally Published by Pitt through Substack


Dear Editors:

I expect a story in Time magazine to help me understand multiple sides of an issue, so I can develop an informed opinion. The February 16 story, Pediatricians Who Serve Trans Youth Face Increasing Harassment. Lifesaving Care Could Be on the Line, was an advocacy piece rather than a news story.

My child has identified as transgender for five years; this compelled me to research the area of transgender medicine extensively.  I was alarmed to find that the medical care provided to many children and young people with gender dysphoria is careless, risky, and not evidence-based.

Under the current informed consent and affirmative models of transgender care, many young people receive no true assessment before embarking on medical treatments, and end up transitioning inappropriately. Two gender clinicians have recently acknowledged as much, and have started to speak out as whistle-blowers.

Transitioning inappropriately would be of no concern except that the drugs and surgeries used to affirm gender carry substantial risks and permanent side effects including sterility, life-long loss of sexual function, quadruple the risk of heart disease, double the rate of blood clots and strokes, incontinence, and loss of reproductive organs, to name just a few of the severe effects that are possible. These side effects are known, and experts have been attempting to bring them to the public’s attention for years.

In your story, Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, a pediatric gender specialist, says that puberty blockers are “simply a pause button” and are reversible and safe. It appears, the reporter saw no need to check the accuracy of that statement.

Professor Carl Heneghan, Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal and director of the Centre of Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford, along with Professor Tom Jefferson, a clinical epidemiologist, have completed an independent analysis of recent research on transgender medical interventions.  Heneghan says, “The quality of evidence in this area is terrible.”  Regarding the evidence available on the safety of puberty blockers, he says, “You can tell very little apart from they give you the intended effects of suppressing and blocking puberty.”

According to Eli Coleman, a psychologist who heads the human-sexuality program at the University of Minnesota Medical School quoted in The New Yorker, “We still don’t know the subtle or potential long-term effects (of puberty blockers) on brain function or bone development.  Many people recognize it’s not a benign treatment.”

The FDA is currently conducting a review of nervous system and psychiatric events as well as deadly seizures among pediatric patients using GnRH agonists including one of the most common puberty blockers, Lupron. Over 10,000 adverse event reports in relation to Lupron usage have been filed with the FDA. According to Kaiser Health News, “…thousands of women have joined Facebook groups or internet forums in recent years claiming that Lupron ruined their lives or left them crippled.” Complaints include osteoporosis, degenerative disk disease, and deteriorating joints.

Asking only gender clinicians about the safety and efficacy of gender treatments is akin to asking only Purdue Pharma about the safety and efficacy of opioids. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on not understanding it.”

Your story made reference to demonstrators, billboards allegedly spreading disinformation, and legislation limiting medical transition care for minors.  The reporter did not mention talking to any of the demonstrators, the people paying for the billboards, or the people asking legislators to carry these bills.  If the reporter had bothered to track them down, she would have found parents who are watching their children’s mental and/or physical health deteriorate as they pursue gender treatments.

The reporter quotes Imara Jones as saying this is not a grassroots effort—but that is exactly what it is. If the reporter were willing to talk to the parents behind these efforts, she would learn that their children have not experienced the benign, careful and holistic care the gender clinicians talk about. Parents are shouting as loudly as they can, but most media outlets, including Time, will not interview them or investigate their claims.  These parents are only covered by right-of-center outlets.  As a result, liberals feel they can dismiss these parents’ concerns out of hand.  I belong to five organizations for parents concerned about the safety of gender medicine, and it is obvious the parents come from across the political spectrum. What we all have in common is not bigotry but concern for our kids’ health.

I hope your reporter will return to her mission of providing balanced and complete coverage. I believe a journalist who chooses to independently investigate the safety, efficacy and appropriateness of transgender medical treatments, rather than to promote an agenda, might break a story on a major medical scandal. If you are unsure where to go to find other voices on this important issue, I can point you in the right direction with the sources below:

Sources that can provide balance when reporting on transgender medicine:

1.       The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine

2.       Transgender Trend

3.       Doctor Lisa Littman who conducts research about gender dysphoria, detransition, and desistance

4.       Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics

5.       The Gender: A Wider Lens podcast

You can find teens and young adults who have been harmed by transition-related treatments at:

The Detrans Subreddit —Many people believe detransition is rare, but this is a rapidly growing community of detransitioners.  There were about 9,000 members in December of 2020.  There are now over 26,000 members.

You can find parents whose children have been harmed by transition-related treatments through the following organizations:

1.       Genspect -A voice for parents with gender-questioning kids

2.       The Gender Critical Support Board

3.       Parents of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) Kids