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Activism Must Not Abandon Adult Detransitioners

“Transitioning children is child abuse, but adults can do what they want.”





If you’ve taken part in any online gender discourse or witnessed the recent hearings in the United States addressing legislation restricting the sterilization and mutilation of minors, you’ve almost certainly heard someone make this statement.


The argument that gender “transition” procedures for minors are unethical because children are incapable of consent is undeniably strong and highly likely to change hearts and minds. Preventing impressionable youth from becoming victims of a predatory medical and pharmaceutical industry should be one of our top priorities, and it has motivated unlikely allies to unite for the cause.


Bills proposing bans or restrictions on “gender affirming care” for minors have been introduced in 21 US states this year, following pioneering regulations in Florida passed last November (1). Testimony from detransititioners, individuals who have experienced the horrors of the gender industry firsthand, most likely influenced the decision in Florida and other states, such as Utah, which are moving forward with similar legislation. However, most detransitioners who have testified in support of restrictions to pediatric gender care were adults when they transitioned, and this has been used to discredit them (2). Often, adult detransitioners are told that children cannot consent to gender procedures, but adults can, and that they need to take “personal responsibility” for their choices.


But just because someone is over the age of 18, does this mean she is automatically able to give consent to irreversible, experimental drugs and surgeries? What if she wasn’t given accurate information regarding the risks of a treatment, or the scope of possible risks wasn’t known at all due to poor-quality “science” supporting the treatment? What if there was a strong social incentive or even pressure from the medical personnel involved to pursue a certain treatment option? These conditions would preclude any rational person from being able to provide consent, let alone someone suffering from debilitating mental illness, which is far more common in trans-identifying people than in the general population. According to a 2019 study, of 10,270 trans-identifying patients, 58% had at least one psychiatric diagnosis, compared to just 13.6% of the general population, with the most common diagnoses being clinical depression and anxiety (3). A 2020 Italian study on the prevalence of personality disorders in transgender patients found that nearly half of the participants met the criteria for a personality disorder, a rate 5 times higher than in the general population. Borderline Personality Disorder was found to be the most common (4).


We are now witnessing increasing numbers of detransitioners reporting that they were not properly informed by their providers about the serious health implications of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or surgeries. In a recent survey of 237 detransitioners, just 18 percent considered themselves to have been fully informed (5). The evidence supporting transition procedures is very weak, with most studies recognized to have a moderate to high risk of bias, and they rely on ideological presumptions - that gender identity objectively exists, and that “transgender” is a coherent category of people (6). Some individuals who choose to transition are aware that serious health complications are possible, but they have been convinced that the alternative is suicide, a false dichotomy. In light of this, it becomes clear that true informed consent is impossible for this medical experiment.


Paradoxically, someone who would consent to have healthy body parts removed or volunteer for lifelong dependence on pharmaceuticals is clearly not in a state of mind to make such a decision. If a patient today asked for a lobotomy, even if fully aware of the high chance of suffering from seizures, a brain infection, or even death, no one would argue it is ethical for the doctor to honor the patient’s wishes (7). Is a doctor required to prescribe a patient addictive drugs just because she asks for them?


It is a doctor’s job to be more informed than the patient and to treat patients in the least invasive and safest manner possible. The treatments offered by gender medicine are the exact opposite. The “informed consent” model of obtaining transition care, which trans advocacy organizations like Fenway Health, GenderGP, and TransHub endorse, is extremely reckless (8). It will result in more and more detransitioners, widespread transition-induced illness, and hopefully, stricter regulations on gender medicine.


Disturbingly, companies like Plume, Folx Health, and Planned Parenthood prescribe mass quantities of cross-sex hormones to any legal adult who asks (9-11). While banning gender care for under-18s is a step in the right direction, it will not have as dramatic of an effect as some may think, given that these dangerous substances are just a phone call away as soon as a child turns 18. Once that magic birthday occurs, nothing protects him from the gender industry. No mental or physical health history will be explored; no degree of illness will be enough to stop the administration of life-altering drugs and surgeries. Without the protection of parents that younger kids enjoy, those barely-18 “adults” with still- developing brains are possibly the most vulnerable group of all to nefarious influence.


The human brain is considered to be fully developed at approximately age 25, but for neurodivergent young adults, who are overrepresented in the trans-identifying population, it can take even longer to develop (12, 13). Also, other factors besides simply youth can influence someone to reject her biological sex, such as trauma, sexual abuse, or internalized homophobia. Gender identity ideology is now so pervasive that susceptible people can be affected at any age.


Rather than mentally separating pediatric transitioners from those who transitioned as adults, it is far more accurate, and compassionate, to view them as one group who were harmed by the gender affirmation model. It is counter-productive to dismiss the experiences of detransitioned adults or tell them they should have known better when advocating for protecting children. Instead, the stories of detrans adults strengthen the argument that children shouldn’t transition; if adults frequently regret their transitions, how can we expect children to be equipped to make the call?


While we focus on enacting legislation limiting future transitions, we must also remember the rapidly growing number of people of all ages who have already fallen victim to the affirmation model and are in dire need of support. Legislation, along with scientific research, should address the needs of these people, who have been largely abandoned by their medical providers and their social communities. Detrans Awareness Day, which is on March 12th , will bring much-needed visibility to this group.


Your charitable contributions to Partners for Ethical Care make it possible for us to support detransitioners, connect them with the services they need, assist with drafting legislation, and send representatives to testify at pivotal hearings. We are deeply appreciative that you are providing the resources we need to confront the mass delusion, greed, and corruption fueling the gender industry, which preys upon the young and the mentally ill of all ages. With your help, we are beginning to witness palpable change.






References:


1. Izaguirre, Anthony. “Florida to ban transgender health care treatments for minors.” AP News. 2 Nov. 2022.

4. Anzani, et. al. “Personality Disorders and Personality Profiles in a Sample of Transgender Individuals Requesting Gender-Affirming Treatments.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 27 Feb 2020.

5. Vandenbussche, Elie. “Detransition-Related Needs and Support: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey.” Journal of Homosexuality. 30 Apr 2021.

6. Nobili, A., Glazebrook, C., Arcelus, J. “Quality of life of treatment-seeking transgender adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders. 18 Aug 2018.

7. Mehta, Parang. “What Is Lobotomy?” WebMD. 11 Nov 2022.

8. “What is Informed Consent?” GenderGP. 21 May 2020.

10. “Testosterone Memberships.” Folxhealth.com

11. “LGBTQ+ Care.” Planned Parenthood.

12. Sinfield, Jacqueline. “The ADHD vs. Non-ADHD Brain.” Verywellmind.com. 14 Nov 2022.

13. Strang, et. al. “Increased Gender Variance in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. 12 Mar 2014.

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