Despite the Biden administration’s assertions that “gender-affirming” care is beneficial for transgender youth, recent research indicates otherwise. A recent scientific study reveals that children who undergo such treatment are prescribed more psychotropic drugs, not fewer.
The study analyzed military healthcare data from 2010-2018 to compare the mental healthcare diagnoses, visits, and psychotropic medication prescriptions of transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth who received care for gender dysphoria before age 18 and their siblings. The results showed that TGD adolescents were more likely to have a mental health diagnosis, use more mental healthcare services, and be prescribed more psychotropic medications than their siblings.
Furthermore, among 963 TGD youth who used gender-affirming pharmaceuticals, mental healthcare did not significantly change, and psychotropic medications increased following the initiation of these treatments. This finding raises concerns about the long-term effects of such therapies on the mental health of these young individuals.
Dr. David Klein, an author of the study and a physician at Travis Air Force Base, suggests that more surgeries and drugs could change mental health outcomes in the long term. He claims that diagnoses such as psychosis might “melt away” when transgender medical interventions are “optimized.” However, the Pentagon disagrees, stating that “hormone therapy is not a treatment for psychotic conditions.”
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb of Do No Harm, an organization seeking to restore the medical profession to the Hippocratic Oath, argues that the medical literature does not support minors being given hormones and puberty blockers as a standard of practice. Instead, he believes that the need for transgender medical interventions for children has evolved into a “mythology” not in line with current scientific evidence.
Goldfarb also highlights the issue of informed consent, questioning whether children can truly understand the long-term consequences of these treatments. For example, telling a child they may experience bone loss and osteoporosis as an adult may not convey the true implications of such outcomes.
The study also found that nearly 30% of children receiving gender-related hormone treatment from the military health system stopped their treatments. However, the specific reasons for stopping were not detailed. Future research is needed to determine the factors influencing these decisions and whether changes in gender identity, resolution of gender dysphoria, or difficulty accessing hormones play a role.
Despite these concerns, some medical professionals, including Dr. Klein, argue that children can consent to gender-affirming therapy. Klein claims that even 7-year-olds can make their own medical decisions and criticizes clinicians who pause before changing a minor’s gender to see if they would grow out of the dysphoria, calling it “unethical.”
However, Dr. Goldfarb points out that there are high dropout rates and inadequate follow-up in studies on transgender medical interventions for minors. This lack of data makes it difficult to determine the outcomes for those who leave the studies, whether they detransition or continue the transition process elsewhere.
The recent study indicates that transgender youth prescribed gender-affirming pharmaceuticals receive more psychotropic drugs, not less. This finding challenges the Biden administration’s claims that such care is beneficial and calls for further research and examination of the long-term effects of these treatments on the mental health of transgender youth. Additionally, the debate surrounding informed consent and the ethics of administering hormones and puberty blockers to minors highlights the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the consequences and efficacy of “gender-affirming” care.