During a recent discussion on the treatment of 11 year-old children who are suffering from gender dysphoria, I was told that “tighty whities have a greater effect on fertility than puberty blockers”. Moreover, it was explained to me that the only explanation for any disagreement on this point, was bigotry.
Whereas I had imagined that this was a simple misunderstanding which could be resolved by looking at medical research on the topic, I was surprised to learn that some people just don’t care when they find out that puberty blockers can cause sterility. Even after accepting that a large majority of gender dysphoric kids grow up to be perfectly healthy gay adults; and even after accepting that the prescription of powerful pharmaceuticals to these kids will cause unnecessary sterilisation; some people remain perfectly comfortable with this outcome.
If hormones or other drugs are used to stop an 11 year-old child from experiencing a normal puberty, then this patient will never undergo puberty even if the drugs are withdrawn in their late teens. This is a treatment pathway that many gender dysphoric children have been placed on, resulting in their sterilisation.
Many people considering this issue will immediately have concerns about whether an 11 year-old child can give informed consent for such a life-altering outcome. This is especially the case since most gender dysphoric kids will observe their distress desist naturally, and grow up as healthy gay adults. Only a small minority of children who suffer distress from gender dysphoria will decide that transition is the right option for them. For example, of the gender dysphoric patients seen by the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the UK, between 60% and 70% grew up homosexual, while only 5% would eventually “commit themselves to a change of gender”. This situation seems to demand that any pharmaceutical intervention is prescribed only to the small minority of kids who may benefit from it. Conversely, since the large majority of paediatric gender dysphoric patients are same-sex attracted, it also seems important for clinicians to ensure that they are not needlessly sterilising gay children.
GIDS was closed down because their own clinicians were unable to predict which gender dysphoric kids would benefit from this treatment pathway, and which would grow up as perfectly healthy gay people without any pharmaceutical intervention. The clinicians at GIDS themselves said of this work that, “it feels like conversion therapy for gay children”. So many gay children were being sent down a gender transition pathway that the clinicians at GIDS joked “there would be no gay people left”. This is reminiscent of the situation in Iran, where a homophobic regime pushes gay people towards gender transition.
Whereas the tweet illustrated above simply denies the reality that puberty blockers can cause sterility, others are perfectly sanguine about the gratuitous sterilisation of gay children. For example in the short clip below, this outcome for an 11 year-old child is described as “not the end of the world”.
One reason offered to explain why the gratuitous sterilisation of gay kids is “not the end of the world”, is that 11 year-old children can be admonished to “freeze your eggs or your sperm”. We are further chastised not to make a big deal of needlessly sterilising gay kids, because “adoption is an option”.
Even after learning that clinicians cannot distinguish which gender dysphoric kids might benefit from transition and which are merely gay, in the short video clip below we are told, “that is not a problem.”. In relation to GIDS unnecessarily sterilising gay children we are told, “that is a non-issue”. The lack of any certainty about whether this consequential treatment is necessary or otherwise, is not perceived as sufficiently concerning to cause any pause for thought about prescribing life-altering drugs to 11 year-old children.
The full video explaining these ideas is here, but I remain unconvinced that the unnecessary chemical sterilisation of so many gay kids is “not a problem”.