|ATLANTA, GA – The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a 600-member national organization of health care professionals, released a position statement last week stating they could not “condone” puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and mutilating surgeries on gender-confused minors because there is no “long-term evidence” that they improve mental health. In fact, the group noted that even long-term follow up research on adults largely shows no mental health improvement in those who have undergone these procedures.
The ACPeds reviewed more than 60 studies on the issue that assessed more than a million minors in America and Europe. They found that children with gender confusion are actually “at higher risk” of mental health issues “both before and after ‘gender affirming therapy,’” including depression, anxiety, autism, eating disorders, self-injury, and suicidality. The studies indicated the likely reason for this is that gender confusion is often preceded by “significant psychological trauma” that leads children to question their gender identity. The pediatricians noted the data shows many adolescents will come to feel comfortable with their biological sex if allowed to go through the “natural course of puberty.”
“These evaluations of evidence-based medicine should cause health care professionals to pause the social, medical, and surgical transition of adolescents,” stated the ACPeds. “Therefore, the ACPeds cannot condone the social affirmation, medical intervention, or surgical mutilation of children.”
|The ACPeds, which is “dedicated to the health and well-being of children,” titled their position statement “Mental Health in Adolescents with Incongruence of Gender Identity and Biological Sex.”
The group is one of few American medical associations to speak out against gender-related procedures on children. In the statement, the group affirmed “the medical fact that the sex of an individual is based upon biology and not upon thoughts or feelings. The individual’s sex is encrypted in every diploid cell of the body. Since an individual’s biological sex is immutable from the moment of fertilization, it cannot be changed, regardless of hormonal or surgical interventions.”
The pediatricians expressed concern that parents, educators, and health care professionals are contributing to increased mental health problems in children by simply validating that “something is wrong with their body and biological sex” and not investigating underlying issues preceding gender confusion.
The ACPeds cited several large-scale studies to support its statements. For instance, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, which examined 7,111 children, and the Healthy Minds Study that surveyed more than 65,000 students, showed youth with gender confusion were two to five times more likely to experience mental health problems than their peers without gender confusion. In a survey of 1,665 parents of gender-confused children, 57 percent of gender-confused adolescents had mental health concerns an average of 3.8 years before they began to experience gender confusion. In addition, studies from Denmark, Finland, and the United States show that the need for mental health services after gender interventions was higher for most individuals than before they began their interventions.
The ACPeds also stated gender confusion is often a result of “significant psychological trauma,” which could include “exposure to domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol or drug use in the home, physical or emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, and parental divorce.” For instance, a 2018 Italian study had findings similar with other studies showing that 90 percent of gender-confused adults had experienced a form of trauma while 56 percent of those individuals had experienced four or more types.
“Given this research, it seems likely that preceding trauma and childhood adverse experiences contribute to gender dysphoria,” stated the ACPeds.
Regarding adolescents as they mature over time, at least five studies across Canada, England, and the United States showed at least 60 to 90 percent of gender-confused children adopting their biological sex during or after puberty. The pediatricians noted this data is crucial to take into account when considering treatment options, for it confirms that gender confusion may be alleviated by “normal puberty with its influx of natural sexual hormones,” with the help of mental health services, and without surgical interventions.
“[Gender confusion] is a psychological problem in need of a psychological treatment, not affirmation of a false sexual identity by altering physical appearance,” concluded the ACPeds.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Medical mutilation is not a cure for gender confusion. Laws that ban mental health counseling for gender confusion are harmful and violate the First Amendment. Counseling, not mutilating surgeries, is the only rational and medically sound option.”