[Originally published in October 2016 as Worth the Risks? Depression, Increased Suicides, Strokes, Cancer]
Leaders in business, entertainment, and sports are showing great compassion for transgender citizens and treating their fight for bathroom and locker room access as a civil rights issue. Numerous opinion articles in newspapers urge readers to show love for everyone and stop discriminating against people who identify as transgender.
However, we urge you to look deeper at what is being promoted and reconsider the unintended consequences, especially regarding children. If we truly love others who struggle with gender identity, we should look at what medical authorities are advising.
Why sex reassignment surgeries were discontinued at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center
Johns Hopkins University was the first medical center in the U.S. to perform gender reassignment surgeries beginning in the 1960s. Patients reported that they were satisfied with their physical appearance, but the decision was eventually made to discontinue performing the procedure.
Dr. Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and his colleagues performed a study in which they compared the outcomes of transgendered patients before the surgery with the same individuals several years after the surgery. They found there was no improvement in the psycho-social adjustments of most patients after the surgery. One doctor said there was no reason to amputate a normal functioning organ when patients remained as troubled after the surgery as they were before.
The American College of Pediatricians Claims that Gender Ideology Harms Children
They give the following reasons for their claim and strongly caution educators and legislators about conditioning children to accept the risky chemical and surgical procedures as normal.
- Human sexuality is a biological trait, determined by XY or XX markers (except in exceedingly rare disorders of sex development). Sociological or psychological gender issues are the result of a variety of perceptions, relationships, and experiences that occur as a person develops and grows. No one is born with a gender.
- Gender confusion exists in the individual’s mind, not the body. The possibility that such individuals are dealing with a mental disorder should not be ruled out. Anorexia is a mental disorder in which individuals see themselves as fat when they are, in fact, dangerously underweight. Our perceptions of, or our feelings about, ourselves are not always in line with reality.
- Puberty-blocking hormones inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child and are dangerous to the child’s health.
- The use of puberty blockers to change an individual’s gender is dangerous in itself, but also requires cross-sex hormones during adolescence. These testosterone and estrogen hormones treatments are associated with additional serious health risks, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer.
- Encouraging children to search for the gender they “feel like” as a normal part of their life opens the door to possibly years of dangerous and harmful chemical treatments and surgeries that the individual may later regret and be a cause of suicidal depression.
- As many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.
- The suicide rate is 20 times greater for adults who have undergone sex-change surgery and use cross-sex hormone treatments than for the general population.
There are probably individual cases of people who are pleased with the results of sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments. But that is not true of all, or even the majority, of such cases.
No rational adult would encourage a child to participate in an event where there was a significant risk of death or injury. The risks of injuries or death from sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments are much too high to allow children to participate in them.
There are bitter regrets from some who find themselves in a state of deep suicidal depression after such procedures. It is not compassionate to encourage children to follow through with irreversible procedures in order to find some kind of questionable future as a different gender when they have a good chance of regretting their decision.
The physical and mental health risks alone are enough to stop encouraging children to go down this path.
Businesses that provide insurance for employees to undergo gender change should take time to carefully examine the medical research.
Some businesses are providing $100,000 insurance policies for their employees who wish to undergo gender change surgeries and hormone treatments. No doubt this is done out of concern for their employees. However, just because a male “feels like a woman” or a female “feels like a man” doesn’t justify potentially harmful procedures to provide sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
To be compassionate and helpful to employees, why not consider these ways:
- Gender change is such a new procedure, why not wait until more facts can be gathered about the physical and mental health of adults undergoing these procedures.
- Businesses should never provide insurance for gender-change surgeries and hormone treatment for children or young adults because of the serious risks for injuries or death.
- Both children and adults should be made aware that medical literature does not show improvements in mental health for a large number of people who undergo gender change.
- Consider providing insurance for counseling or mental health interventions rather than for gender change surgery and therapies.
Dr. Paul McHugh. Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme. website of The Witherspoon Institute.
Dr. Paul McHugh. Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution. The Wallstreet Journal. News Corporation. May 13, 2016.
Dr. Paul McHugh and Dr. Lawrence S. Mayers. Part 3. Gender Identity. The New Atlantis. Fall, 2016.