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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been confronted with sharp criticism from medical professionals for their policy pushing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries on transgender-identifying minors, and stifling debate over a more cautious approach.
The AAP fully endorses “gender-affirmation” care, while rejecting other forms of treatment for minors experiencing gender distress, including the more cautious “watchful waiting” approach. The gender-affirmation model prevents medical professionals from questioning a child’s self-reported transgender identity, and from exploring possible underlying factors causing their dysphoria. The standard protocol for gender affirmation is administering puberty blockers, followed by cross-sex hormones and then surgery, if desired.
“There are other ways to treat gender dysphoria, and AAP seems to be ignoring these other approaches,” said Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and member of Genspect, a global coalition of clinicians and parents and advocacy groups that strives for an evidence-based approach to gender distress.
O’Malley told the Daily Mail that the AAP’s policy of immediately affirming a child’s selected gender, rather than investigating any underlying psychological problems, often has them “fast-tracked” into the “nuclear option” of drugs and hormones that place a “heavy medical burden on the body,” leading to sterility, anorgasmia, osteoporosis and other severe side effects. Adding that many who underwent these treatments later wished “they’d gone for a gentler approach.”
Even Dr Erica Anderson, a transgender clinical psychologist who has seen hundreds of teenage patients seeking medical transition, recognizes the social influence that has seen numbers of trans-identifying teens skyrocket.
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