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

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

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Topics Politics UK


steven brook

9th December 2019 at 3:15 pm

“a condition in which one experiences a mismatch between one’s biological sex” and what one would like it to be.

Anna Bolick

9th December 2019 at 2:58 pm

This is child abuse, and it must stop.

david rawson

9th December 2019 at 4:05 pm

Agree entirely. No different to genital mutiliation or other such barbaric proctises

Kalvin McCall

9th December 2019 at 1:57 pm

As a Trans FTM, wouldn’t we have more dead teenagers and adults if we made hormone therapy illegal? Yes, i agree that it shouldn’t be done on anyone older than 13, because people have already had a run with puberty. If your child came out as transgender and you belittled them because of it, and your child then starts rebelling, cutting, doing drugs, and drinking. Don’t you think that the kid has a problem that needs to be fixed then? The only treatment for Gender Dysphoria is to medically and socially transition, otherwise you’ll have another suicide on your hands.

Mark Houghton

9th December 2019 at 3:23 pm

“As a Trans FTM, wouldn’t we have more dead teenagers and adults if we made hormone therapy illegal?” – prove it. As I understand it the suicidality pre or post-op are similar which suggests getting the treatment that they demand doesn’t make much difference.

But as I said, PROVE IT.

James Knight

9th December 2019 at 5:25 pm

If an emaciated and anorexic child insisted they were too fat and had a history of self harm what would you do?

Prescribe dieting pills?

Quentin Vole

13th December 2019 at 10:06 pm

We don’t offer to ‘treat’ anorexics by amputating parts of their body until they reach their ‘correct’ weight.

Ven Oods

9th December 2019 at 10:21 am

It’s possible that, in a world where the majority now seem to sport extreme hair and extensive tattoos, having a t rans child is what is required to stay above the pack as a woke hipster.

Perverted Lesbian

9th December 2019 at 7:57 am

I watched a panel debate about this from 2017 – In which one person made a good point about prevention laws – they are put in place to stop atrocities – like airport security for eg – they don’t wait to act after a bomb has gone off, they are there to prevent the bomb going off, same with this case, these kids shouldn’t have to wait until they are older and sue, we have safeguarding measures regarding kids in every aspect of their life, we should be using those laws and rules to protect them now (prevention) this is life-changing, there is no going back for these kids, to say we will look back in 10yrs aghast is an obvious no brainer, but that won’t help these kids now. I would like to see publications that speak out about this, to link in their articles organizations that are active in lobbying the government to look into this catastrophe in the making, strength in numbers and all that. As it is today, I have no idea where I can go to lend support, there is no info, and a google search is just a mess, not to mention biased, it brings up the sh!t show that is stonewall trying to implement the G.R.A

Mark Houghton

9th December 2019 at 7:43 am

Those who keep silent for fear of being labelled as a transphobe should be ashamed of themselves because their makes them complicity in wholesale child abuse.

Charles Buonaventura

9th December 2019 at 7:14 am

We’re going to look back on this with disgust in a decade or two. It’s one of the worst excesses of our time.

Matt Ryan

9th December 2019 at 9:54 am

No doubt an inquiry will find systemic failures but no individuals responsible as per usual after a total clusterfvck.

Dominic Straiton

9th December 2019 at 5:40 am

When the lawsuits start to bite and the full horror of what we have done to our children becomes wide spread those who support this barbarism will flee from their positions and millions of tweets will be deleted. This is the biggest abuse of science and medicine since eugenics.

Tim Hare

9th December 2019 at 1:05 am

Who is challenging these so-called experts who counsel those seeking to transition to another gender? How can they accept that your gender has nothing to do with the body in which you were born and then proceed to encourage or facilitate those who want to change their body so that it coincides with the gender that they feel they are?

Are they so blinkered that they cannot see the total lack of logic in their own behaviour? A person feels that they are a certain gender. They should always and everywhere be the gender they feel that they are. No one ever feels that they are the wrong gender. What transgender people claim is that they are in the wrong body but why does that matter if you are the gender that you feel you are? How does changing your body change your gender anymore than an appendectomy?

It is ludicrous to have such a strong belief that one’s gender is immutable and then to go to such extraordinary lengths of pain and distress in order to change one’s body. There is something very seriously wrong with that course of action and it suggests mental health issues that go far beyond gender. Changing you body does not change your gender but you might think that changing your body could protect you from harm that you associate with either being female or male.

Many young people are overburdened with fear about the harm that might fall upon them simply as a result of their gender and seek to find a way out by changing their bodies. When they mature many of those fears evaporate but by then the damage is done.

Counsellors, doctors and parents must listen to these kids and focus on their feelings of fear rather than giving them what they want like it Is some new toy. If they truly cared about the future of these young people they would try and understand what is driving them to seek such a radical solution to their feelings of fear. Too often counsellors, doctors and parents want to be popular rather than caring.

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