“Medically and morally appalling” is what Jamie Reed calls the harm being wreaked on children by pediatric gender clinics. You might suppose that Reed is yet another outraged conservative joining her voice with so many others speaking up to protect our youth.
Actually, she self-identifies as a queer woman married to a transman, and was even a case manager for four years at one of the nation’s leading pediatric gender clinics, The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Until, that is, the tragic harm inflicted on their young patients became too obvious for her to ignore. “I thought I was saving trans kids,” she explains. “Now I’m blowing the whistle.”
I left the clinic in November of last year because I could no longer participate in what was happening there. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to “do no harm.” Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.
Today I am speaking out. I am doing so knowing how toxic the public conversation is around this highly contentious issue—and the ways that my testimony might be misused. I am doing so knowing that I am putting myself at serious personal and professional risk.
Almost everyone in my life advised me to keep my head down. But I cannot in good conscience do so. Because what is happening to scores of children is far more important than my comfort. And what is happening to them is morally and medically appalling.
Her courageous voice, uniquely credentialed because of her insider experience, is part of an increasing chorus calling for a halt to this ugly tragedy sweeping our country and scarring, both emotionally and physically, so many of our youth. “Transgender Interventions Harm Children” is the title of a statement published by the American College of Pediatricians, which quotes world-renowned Swedish psychiatrist Dr. Christopher Gillberg as saying that pediatric transition is “possibly one of the greatest scandals in medical history.” The ACP statement explains why, with each point being accompanied by background information:
- Puberty blockers may cause mental illness and permanent physical harm.
- Cross-sex hormones (testosterone for women, estrogen for men) may disrupt mental health.
- Other health risks correlated with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones include, for example, osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment, sterility, and increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers.
- Transgender interventions for children are experimental and dangerous.
In the highly acclaimed book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (an “utterly sobering account of an unprecedented and reckless social experiment whose test subjects are the bodies and psyches of the most emotionally vulnerable among us,” says John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary), Oxford-educated and Yale-Law-School-graduate Abigail Shrier focuses particularly on the plight of adolescent girls and the dangerous mix of factors they face.
This is a story Americans need to hear. Whether or not you have an adolescent daughter, whether or not your child has fallen for this transgender craze, America has become fertile ground for this mass enthusiasm for reasons that have everything to do with our cultural frailty: parents are undermined; experts are over-relied upon; dissenters in science and medicine are intimidated; free speech truckles under renewed attack; government healthcare laws harbor hidden consequences; and an intersectional era has arisen in which the desire to escape a dominant identity encourages individuals to take cover in victim groups.
The lure for these vulnerable adolescents is subtle and seductive, explains Shrier.
The phenomenon sweeping teenage girls… originates not in traditional gender dysphoria but in videos found on the internet. It represents mimicry inspired by internet gurus, a pledge taken with girlfriends—hands and breath held, eyes squeezed shut. For these girls, trans identification offers freedom from anxiety’s relentless pursuit; it satisfies the deepest need for acceptance, the thrill of transgression, the seductive lilt of belonging.
But if heeded, the siren song of gender dysphoria can bring shipwreck— “a lifetime of hormone dependency and disfiguring surgeries.” How can parents protect their daughters? Shrier offers specific suggestions.
- Don’t get your kid a smartphone.
- Don’t relinquish your authority as the parent.
- Don’t support gender ideology in your child’s education.
- Reintroduce privacy into the home.
- Consider big steps to separate your daughter from harm.
- Stop pathologizing girlhood.
- Don’t be afraid to admit: It’s wonderful to be a girl.
And what must society at large do? Alix Aharon (co-founder of Partners for Ethical Care and author of the foreword to another important book, Erin Brewer’s Transing Our Children) boldly proclaims, “The gender industry, which… mutilates youth and adults alike, is bankrupt to its absolute core. The gender industry cannot be regulated; it must be abolished.”