The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) released a statement Wednesday following a review of 60 studies that concluded “social transition, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones have no demonstrable, long-term benefit on psychosocial well-being of adolescents with gender dysphoria.”
The ACPeds paper, entitled “Mental Health in Adolescents with Incongruence of Gender Identity and Biological Sex,” details how adolescents diagnosed with gender dysphoria have an increased incidence of mental health issues both before and after receiving “gender affirming therapy.”
“Gender-affirming care” is an umbrella term encompassing cross-sex hormones, puberty blocking medication, and sex-change surgeries.
“The studies reviewed in this paper demonstrate what many who practice medicine intuitively understand that young patients experiencing gender dysphoria deserve help in accepting and loving themselves as they are, not interventions that destroy their healthy bodies and put them on track of medicalization for life,” ACPeds President Dr. Michael Artigues said Wednesday.
The national medical association concluded based on an analysis of 60 studies that “Youth whose perceived gender identity does not align with their biological sex have high rates of mental health problems regardless of any affirmation of their gender identities.”
“Research casts doubt on claims that social affirmation (like using desired pronouns) of transgender-identified youth helps their long-term psychosocial wellbeing,” the report states.
ACPeds also concluded that blocking puberty “has not produced significant benefits for gender incongruent youth.”
One study reviewed by the association found twice as many serious suicidal attempts among participants who received puberty blockers than among those who “just wished” they had received them.
The pediatricians also point to studies from multiple countries that indicate “cross-sex hormonal interventions result in little mental health benefit,” and that those chemical interventions were associated with greater use of psychiatric services than patients who were not treated with hormones.
“There is no evidence-based proof that so-called ‘gender affirming’ therapy is affirming to the health of gender incongruent youth [emphasis original],” the report states.
“Gender-dysphoric youth need to have mental illness, adverse childhood events, and family dysfunction dealt with, and need the reassurance to embrace their biological sex as their gender identity and to avoid the harmful consequences of ‘transgender-affirming’ interventions,” the report adds.
In a Wednesday statement, lead author of the position statement and Vice President of ACPeds, Dr. Jane Anderson, urged medical professionals and parents “to affirm the truth about childhood gender dysphoria in the presence of harmful thoughts and address the underlying mental illness, adverse events, and family dysfunction.”