21 Jan, 2021 Puberty Blockers: The Secret Truth Delivered To You
by Laura Perry
The Shock Heard Round the World
In a world where good is evil and nonsense rules the day, a bright streak has pierced the dark clouds of confusion in the United Kingdom. On December 1, 2020, three high court judges ruled that children under the age of sixteen cannot consent to gender transition care such as puberty blockers, hormones, or surgeries. This landmark case, Bell vs. Tavistock, pitted a young transition regretter, Keira Bell, against the largest gender clinic in the U.K. Currently, the U.K. utilizes a model called Informed Consent. This allows patients to dictate their own medical care, a strategy not utilized in any other medical field or with any other medical conditions.
What Does the Court Ruling on Puberty Blockers Mean for Trans Teens?
However, under the new ruling, children under the age of sixteen may obtain a court ruling to override this standard. It is unclear whether or not parental consent will be required. Hopefully, the court ruling for an individual seeking such a determination may take longer than the pubertal process. Certainly, my hope would be for the child to desist (no longer believe themselves to be transgender).
Fortunately, this court ruling may spare many children the life-altering consequences of puberty blockers. These may include a loss of bone density (which develops during puberty), stunted growth, underdeveloped sex organs, and infertility. While there are few studies on the effectiveness of resuming puberty post-pubertal-suppression, studies have shown at least some loss in fertility2. Even if puberty resumes, certainly a loss of infertility is not an expected outcome of “pausing puberty”, which is what gender-dysphoric teens are told puberty blockers will accomplish.
Past studies have shown that, as in Ms. Bell’s case, many children desist after puberty. However, recent studies show that almost all who begin puberty blockers will persist. Likely, those individuals will go onto further medical transitions such as cross-sex hormones and surgeries1. So, “pausing puberty” to decide if gender-transition is right for the individual might be misleading if it nearly always leads to the same decision. It is more accurately a pathway to earlier medical transition.
Pulling Back the Curtain: A Quick History on Puberty Blockers
Gender Identity Disorder was the original diagnosis in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). Psychological and medical professionals historically understood this was a problem in the mind, not in the body. However, the updated DSM-V was released in May of 2013. One notable change is the alteration of the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder. The new diagnosis is simply called Gender Dysphoria. This was not due to an advance in medical science or even in the case studies, but due to pressure from activists.3, 4, 5
“For years advocates have lobbied the American Psychological Association (APA) to change or remove categories labeling transgender people in a psychiatric manual, arguing that terms like ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ characterize all trans people as mentally ill.”3 Furthermore, the APA further stated that “Gender dysphoria will have its own chapter in [the] DSM-5 and will be separated from Sexual Dysfunctions and Paraphilic Disorders.” This means that Gender Dysphoria is no longer classified as sexual dysfunction.6 The APA further claimed that one of their primary reasons for changing the language was to avoid stigma for gender dysphoric individuals.
This court ruling is a win for not only the U.K. but for the world at large. It reminds us that pre-pubescent teens do not have the cognitive ability nor the life experience to make these life-altering decisions. Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court should take note.
A Court Ruling Can’t Ultimately Solve the Problem
In the same way, there is one caveat I see in this new legal process that may make the problem worse and not better. Teen Vogue interviewed Alex Vellins (given name unknown) from Manchester. Vellins is a female-to-male transgender. She responded to the case: “I’m terrified this judgment is going to sentence trans teens to years of excruciating puberty causing unmanageable levels of dysphoria and distress.7” Since the teen is simply being told to wait to begin the process, and often not receiving counseling in the intervening time, the anxiety over the waiting period could actually increase and not alleviate the gender dysphoria.
I am certainly not at all advocating to allow a child to begin transitioning as soon as the first dysphoric feelings are felt. For this reason, I hope many de-transitioners will continue to put out videos and articles to warn others. My prayer is that many children who are in the waiting period for blockers or other medical transition will heed the warnings and desist and seek professional help from counselors or ministers. Further, I pray that this case will get many transition-seekers to pause and consider Ms. Bell’s and others’ testimonies, that transition was the biggest mistake of their lives.
- “Do children grow out of gender dysphoria?” Transgender Trend. https://www.genderhq.org/trans-children-gender-dysphoria-desistance-gay
- “Doctors: Puberty blockers are a dangerous experiment”. World Magazine (Online). Crossland, Kiley. 23 June 2017. https://world.wng.org/content/doctors_puberty_blockers_are_a_dangerous_experiment
- “DSM-V To Rename Gender Identity Disorder ‘Gender Dysphoria’”. Advocate. BEREDJICK Beredjick, Camille. 23 July 2020. https://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2012/07/23/dsm-replaces-gender-identity-disorder-gender-dysphoria
- “Gender Identity Disorder and the DSM”. https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice/LGBT/Gender-Identity-Disorder-and-the-DSM
- “Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis”. American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/transgender-and-gender-nonconforming-patients/gender-dysphoria-diagnosis
- “Gender Dysphoria”. American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Practice/DSM/APA_DSM-5-Gender-Dysphoria.pdf
- Diavolo, Lucy. “English Teen Alex Vellins Says Puberty Blocker Ruling Will Make a Difficult System Harder for Trans Youth”. Teen Vogue. 04 December 2020. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/english-puberty-blocker-ruling-trans-youth-interview
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