Transitioning: a threat to our children

The last thing young people with mental-health problems need is a course of toxic hormone treatment.

Simon Marcus

Share
Topics Politics UK

Over the past decade there has been a huge rise in the number of young people seeking treatment for gender dysphoria — a condition in which one experiences a mismatch between one’s biological sex and one’s gender identity. In fact, since 2008/9, there has been a 5,337 per cent increase in referrals of teen girls, and a 1,460 per cent increase in referrals of teen boys, to the Tavistock Clinic, the UK’s leading treatment centre for gender dysphoria.

Many of these young people are reported to be already suffering from serious mental health issues, and sometimes a history of self-harm. So they certainly require care. What they don’t require is a potential diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The consequences can be severe. As one doctor puts it, it can mean that vulnerable teens are given puberty-blocking hormones in a ‘context of profound scientific ignorance’. These hormone-blockers suppress the release of testosterone in boys and oestrogen in girls. And they are often followed by cross-sex hormone therapy.

Many who have undergone such treatment report side-effects of physical pain, depression and suicidal thoughts. Indeed, a study produced by the Tavistock Clinic, in July this year, showed that after a year on puberty-blocking hormones, patients reported a rise in suicidal and self-harming thoughts. But these findings were brushed aside. The Tavistock Clinic now offers powerful hormones to children aged 11.

Staff at the Tavistock Clinic have understandably become worried. Five clinicians have resigned, voicing concerns that children were being rushed into hormone therapy, and that trans lobby groups had pressured doctors to medicate healthy children. ‘Experimental treatment is being done not only on children’, explained one of the ex-clinicians, ‘but very vulnerable children, who have experienced mental-health difficulties, abuse, family trauma, but sometimes those [other factors] just get whitewashed’.

Trans activists claim that puberty-blocking hormones buy time for young people to find out who they really are. They claim that the high level of self-harm and attempted suicide among trans teens is due to discrimination, transphobia and delays in hormone treatment.

But it is the diagnosis and treatment itself that is the real problem. Certainly the UK health authorities warn of the rare, potential side-effects of hormone blockers, such as blood clots or cardiovascular problems. They should also warn of the serious mental-health risks of taking these drugs.

Take the widely used puberty-blocker Lupron (also known as Leuprorelin in the UK). Having been used as a cancer drug for years, it is now used for girls who wish to transition to boys. It can have devastating side-effects, including extreme mood swings, depression and suicidal thoughts. Not to mention the crushing muscle pain and nausea.

So harmful has Lupron proved that in the US the drug’s manufacturer has faced lawsuits and a petition to congress to limit its use.

Another puberty-blocker is Histrelin, which is sold as Supprelin and used to treat precocious puberty. It is left to the manufacturer to explain that, ‘Post-marketing reports with this class of drugs include symptoms of emotional lability, such as crying, irritability, impatience, anger, and aggression. [Also] depression, including rare reports of suicidal ideation and attempt…’

Then there’s Finastaride, a feminising hormone. The UK government warns that it risks causing ‘major depression and suicidal thoughts’.

On and on the list goes. Goserelin. Progesterone. Triptorelin. Testosterone. All can have serious impacts on mental health.

And who are the guinea pigs in this experiment? Children, many of whom have suffered from pre-existing mental-health issues, like bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, before developing gender dysphoria.

Moreover, many are teenage girls, a generational cohort suffering from unprecedented levels of self-harm, linked to anxieties over body image and sexual pressure.

So how many self-harming trans teens could actually be depressed girls with body disorders? The answer is quite a lot. Hence many are de-transitioning back to their original bodies, and reporting that they were lied to. One well-known activist puts the plight of such girls in stark terms: ‘I’m a real live 22-year-old woman with a scarred chest and a broken voice and a five-o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman.’

There are thousands of tragic stories like this. Yet de-transitioners are bullied by trans activists, ignored by the media, and abandoned by the NHS.

It’s all too easy for troubled kids to be sucked into the trans world. They see the story of the beautiful trans model finding his or her self in his or her new body. They know that being a victim of gender dysphoria means special treatment. And they can then be sucked into a darker online world. Those who escaped talk of trans chatrooms where young people are manipulated, encouraged to take puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones, and where suicide is discussed as an alternative to transition. One de-transitioning teenager says, ‘the nasty stuff is so easy to find and so hard to wriggle free of’.

Overuse of the internet has already been clinically linked to self-harm and suicide. But here we have trans websites actively encouraging self-harm and suicide.Teens open and exposed to such sites should not be on hormones that can cause extreme mood swings, depression or suicidal thoughts.

But far from resisting the trans lobby, the UK government has been busy following its advice. So from next year, new guidlines will tell schools to teach transgender relationships in class. And if you teach all children that they could be in the wrong body, a good number will believe it. Such an approach will cause many to go on to hormone treatment, and, with it, a life of pain and mental anguish.

And what of young gay students? Almost every long-term study shows that most who grow out of transgender feelings turn out to be gay. But as trans ideology spreads, many gay young people are now seeing transition as a way out. One doctor has even described the situation as ‘conversion therapy for gay children’.

On the other side, trans advocates assert that ‘no one changes their mind’. But the science underpinning such statements is shaky. One often-cited study follows 55 post-transition teens on their road to happiness. Yet it barely mentions the 141 participants who dropped out, or the one who died after post-surgery complications. Worse still, other studies that show that high suicide rates continue after transition are now ignored.

It seems that a vast trans marketing and lobbying campaign has changed our culture and intimidated our institutions. Young people with all kinds of mental-health issues are being told they are in the wrong body and that transition is the dream cure. Many believe it and cry out for treatment. So teenagers already at fatal risk of depression, self-harm and suicide are given huge doses of toxic hormones that can cause uncontrollable swings of emotion, anxiety and depression. The dream of being in a new and beautiful body fades. It is replaced by an agonising reality. And so many continue to self-harm. And some take their own lives.

This fate now awaits thousands more children. They should instead be left alone or given proper medical care. It might just save them.

Simon Marcus is a writer, political consultant and former government adviser.

Picture by: Getty

spiked is free, and it always will be, which is why we need your help. We don’t have a paywall, or bonus content for paying customers, because we want our arguments for freedom and democracy, against misanthropy and identity politics, to reach as many people as possible. Which is why we ask those of our readers who can afford it to chip in. One-off donations are hugely appreciated, but monthly donations are even better. They allow us to plan for the future and to grow. Even £5 a month is a huge help. It’s much cheaper than your average magazine subscription, and it ensures that spiked is free and open to all. To make either a monthly or a one-off donation, click here. Thank you for your support.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Share
Topics Politics UK
Share