Debunking myths about the use of endocrine disruptors on children.

Puberty Blockers” are the name given to powerful endocrine-disrupting chemicals when they are given to children to suppress the normal development of sex characteristics.

Licensed for use in medical disorders related to ovulation, these drugs are increasingly being given to children suffering from dysphoria.

children holding hands


1) Gender dysphoria has nothing to do with sexuality.

One contention you will often see is that childhood gender dysphoria has nothing to do with sexual orientation or sexuality. You can see this on the Rainbow Youth website. However, in New Zealand, the Youth’12 study (the Youth 19 results are not available yet), showed that 40% of transgender-identifying students indicated they were same-sex attracted. If gender identity and sexual orientation had nothing to do with each other, you would except a ratio similar to the general population – that 4-5% of those students would be same-sex attracted. 40% is a very disproportionate number.
Even if children with childhood gender dysphoria had patterns of sexual attraction identical to the sex they identify with, that would mean over 95% of those with childhood gender dysphoria would be homosexual. Studies have shown that sex-atypical behaviour and childhood gender dysphoria is linked to a homosexual identity in adulthood, not a transgender one.
With figures like these, we worry that ‘childhood gender dysphoria’ is simply another method of conversion therapy for young gay and lesbian people.

2) Gender dysphoria is a neutral medical diagnosis, rather than pathologizing behaviour that breaks stereotypes.

The Diagnostic and Statisical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) outlines the diagnostic criteria for childhood gender dysphoria as such:

“Gender Dysphoria in Children 302.6 (F64.2)
A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months’ duration, as manifested by at least six of the following (one of which must be Criterion A1):
1. A strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that one is the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender).
2. In boys (assigned gender), a strong preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire: or in girls (assigned gender), a strong preference for wearing only typical masculine clothing and a strong resistance to the wearing of typical feminine clothing.
3. A strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe play or fantasy play.
4. A strong preference for the toys, games, or activities stereotypically used or engaged in by the other gender.
5. A strong preference for playmates of the other gender.
6. In boys (assigned gender), a strong rejection of typically masculine toys, games, and activities and a strong avoidance of rough-and-tumble play; or in girls (assigned gender), a strong rejection of typically feminine toys, games, and activities.
7. A strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy.
8. A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender.
B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, school, or other important areas of functioning.”

Half of these diagnostic criteria are reliant on sex-based stereotypes.

Why is it wrong for a girl to engage in rough and tumble play, or for a boy to wear a dress? Many gays and lesbians would have qualified for diagnosis under these criteria.

Childhood gender dysphoria pathologizes normal behavior in children.

3)Puberty blockers are safe and effective – it’s proven! And a child can consent!

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

GnRH agonists, like Lupron, are used to block puberty in New Zealand and around the world. There are no long-term studies available for their use in transgender children, and even studies done by trans-affirming doctors in the United States concede that they have no idea of the long-term effects of the treatments.

The studies that these doctors have done are also of extremely small sample sizes and are of poor quality. We have no idea of the long-term side effects, but women who received Lupron for fertility treatments or precocious puberty have complained of horrendous long-term effects. Lupron isn’t meant to be prescribed for fertility treatment or endometriosis for more than six months. Those who had it to block a precocious puberty have reported osteoporosis like symptoms in their early twenties.

We have no idea of the long term effects of blocking puberty at all.

This is a crucial time for brain and body development, leaving aside sexual maturity – which these children will never reach. Blocking puberty denies these kids a chance to get a grip on their natural, adult sexuality. A child has no understanding of that simply because they are not an adult.

In addition Lupron and other GnRH agonists have been the subject of lawsuits and criminal action, including an off-label marketing and fraud scandal in the United States that resulted in a $875 million dollar settlement between the Department of Justice and the manufacturers of the drug. Multiple employees of the manufacturer ended up facing criminal charges.

It isn’t settled science.

4)Trans kids need this treatment, or they will commit suicide.

Many trans advocates point to a study in Pediatrics saying this was proven. However, this study was heavily criticized and actually showed the opposite of what it said it did. Puberty blockers had no effect.

Some initial data from the Tavistock clinic in the United Kingdom shows that blocking puberty may actually increase suicidality amongst these kids.

We have no real firm or clear answers at this time, however, the lack of a suicide epidemic prior to the invention of these treatments leads us to believe that it does not exist. In Aotearoa New Zealand, reported rates of suicidality amongst youth are actually higher among same-sex attracted youth than they are transgender ones – and transgender youth are disproportionately more likely to be same-sex attracted.

5) Desistance rates are low.

The truth on this one: we don’t know.

We do know, that when left alone, the vast majority of children with gender dysphoria grow into well-adjusted adults and that they are highly likely to be homosexual.

We can potentially infer the rate of desistance from studies done in the United States, such as the TransYouth Project, which had nearly half its sample drop out over five years – not a good rate for a longitudinal study.

6) Transgender kids are more likely to be homeless, thus they need the help. 

This is a misinterpretation of the data.

The ‘40% of homeless youth are LGBT’ has morphed into ‘40% of homeless youth are trans’. This comes from a Williams Institute study that found that 1% of homeless youth were trans, and 39% were lesbian, gay or bisexual.

7) Trans kids can preserve their fertility

Puberty blockers block the maturation of the gametes when started at a young age. In addition, cosmetic surgeries to ‘affirm gender’ such as hysterectomies and vaginoplasties are effectively castration – these kids will be sterile by the time they are 18, if they follow the ‘gender affirming’ treatment plan.

8) There aren’t any politics involved.

Unfortunately, when it comes to this subject, there are politics involved.

The man in charge of implementing ‘gender affirming healthcare’ for the Auckland DHB for instance, was Duncan Matthews, who was also working as a political lobbyist for the transgender charity Rainbow Youth.

Many of those involved in advocated for this on a national stage are involved with political parties are, or have been lobbyists for charities with political aims. They are not neutral.
We are worried by the fact that with such a touchy subject, the ADHB went with a political activist instead of someone willing to give a hard look at the science – and the science says these treatments are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

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