“Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.” – Albert Camus
There is a growing medical scandal in the United States that is harming children and destroying families. It has destroyed mine.
Five years ago, when my 13-year old daughter told me she was transgender, I was shocked by her out-of-the-blue announcement. My reaction was not fueled by prejudice—indeed, I am liberally-minded in my political beliefs—but based on a lifetime of caring for her as an observant and sensitive mother. It simply made no sense.
I sought professional guidance, as I was unsure how to respond to her. Yet therapists were not interested in exploring the possible reasons for her sudden identity. Instead, they told me that I must treat her as my son. I was advised to call her by a male name, refer to her by masculine pronouns, and purchase a binder (a restrictive garment that would flatten her breasts, but also cause tissue damage, and possibly other physical harms) to help her “pass” as a boy. The many therapists that I consulted did not consider any underlying issues, such as peer and media influences, or the fact that over 5% of the students at her school also considered themselves transgender.
I sought help from a gender clinic, ignorantly assuming that she would receive a thorough expert assessment. Instead, her identity as male was immediately affirmed. I was pressured to consent to puberty-blocking drugs, with assurances that they were safe and well-studied. My research later confirmed that this was not true.
As I examined the practice of pediatric transgender medical care, I was disturbed by what I learned. Therapists and clinicians are trained not to question children’s new identities; in many states and municipalities across the US, this is against the law. Even more shocking is the unchallenged medical protocol that alters children’s bodies in serious and irreversible ways.
Drugs are used to block puberty in pre-teens, impacting their future fertility. Teen boys are treated with feminizing hormones, while girls as young as 13 are offered mastectomies, and at the tender age of 12, they are injected with testosterone. (It was recently revealed that in 2017, the age of testosterone treatment for girls in this $5.7 million taxpayer-funded NIH study was lowered to eight years old.)
There is no objective test on which to base such invasive medical interventions, nor a single long-term study that supports their medical necessity. These hormonal treatments and irreversible surgeries are based on unprovable identities, resulting from myriad complex issues, that are likely to change over time. This is not evidence-based medicine.
Clinicians successfully obtain parents’ consent to these risky, and likely regrettable, hormonal and surgical treatments. They use false, coercive assurances that they are lifesaving and necessary to prevent their children’s likely suicide. In fact, serious complications, sterility, and loss of sexual function are the likely immediate outcomes of this medical experiment on children. And the long-term consequences are simply unknown. This is a medical scandal.
Yet few people know anything about this thanks to the failure of the mainstream media.
Over the past few years, media stories about “transgender” kids have become increasingly common, but critical questions are seldom asked. These children’s identities are portrayed as immutable, while the ideologically-driven medical practices solidifying them are not investigated. The stories follow a predictable narrative: The children are sympathetic, their medical transitions are imperative,and their parents are celebrated for their bravery.
In an attempt to reveal the truth behind these feel-good stories, I have written to news outlets and met face-to-face with many journalists. They have heard my anguish as they promised that they will report on this scandal, but they never do. Why won’t they report the truth: that these children and their families are victims of ruthless medical practices with no basis in science?