Halt Gender-Affirming Care for Youth


At the beginning of June, the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) issued a declaration titled “Doctors Protecting Children.” More than 100 doctors, nurses, therapists and research groups signed the declaration asking major medical institutions to halt Gender-Affirming Care (GAC), an often-used approach for people with gender dysphoria. This includes the use of social (name change, dress change, pronoun usage) and physical (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and secondary sexual characteristic surgeries) methods to allow a person to assume an alternate gender. The ACP argues that evidenced based research shows little to no benefit to GAC (whether social or physical treatments) for youth. Nor does it improve mental health (including suicide risk).
This declaration follows similar efforts aimed at halting Gender-Affirming Care. England’s National Health Service (NHS) stopped prescribing puberty blockers for children and young people with gender dysphoria. The NHS made the decision following reports that showed there is “not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness” of puberty blockers. Recently, Pope Francis approved the declaration “Dignitas Infinita” which states that “sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.”
The document states that it is “in the body that each person recognizes himself or herself as generated by others, and it is through their bodies that men and women can establish a loving relationship capable of generating other persons.”
GAC has become normalized throughout the United States due to its promotion by medical organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and special interest groups. These groups claim that Gender-Affirming Care saves lives. The evidence for that is at best inconclusive. Instead, at worst GAC contradicts biological, philosophical and theological truths. It is particularly harmful to youth who will be left not only with underlying mental health issues but will be burdened with the permanent effects of chemical sterilization and surgical mutilation. Persons who struggle with gender dysphoria deserve compassion, but also policies and treatments that respect the truth about the human person.