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Trans: the medical scandal of the century?

The WPATH Files have exposed the terrible harms of ‘gender-affirming care’.

Lauren Smith

Topics Identity Politics UK

Recently leaked files confirm what many gender-critical voices have argued for many years: that so-called gender-affirming care is causing children lifelong harm. New documents expose how the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has routinely put children in harm’s way in the name of trans ideology.

As the global authority on gender medicine, WPATH has shaped the policies of hospitals and governments across the world. Its ‘standards of care’ guidance was treated as the gold standard for dealing with gender-confused youth by NHS England until recently – and it still is by NHS Scotland to this day.

Founded in 1979, WPATH is essentially a trans-activist lobby group masquerading as a scientific organisation. It has long advocated for an ‘affirmation only’ approach to treating children with gender dysphoria – in other words, medicate first, ask questions later, if at all. It has even argued that there should be no age limit on when minors are allowed to transition. In fact, its most recent guidelines recommend that children should have access to irreversible surgical procedures, including double mastectomies and phalloplasties. And this is just what WPATH has been willing to say publicly.

Now, leaked videos, emails and discussions on internal message boards have revealed the true extent of WPATH’s recklessness. These files were released this week by writer and journalist Michael Shellenberger and his nonprofit group, Environmental Progress. They paint a truly horrific picture of the danger that WPATH has exposed children to.

The ‘WPATH Files’ prove that, behind closed doors, doctors, psychologists and other medical professionals associated with WPATH are fully aware that children cannot properly consent to gender-affirming care. In a chilling video from an internal WPATH workshop in 2022, panel members discuss how hard it is to receive informed consent from their young patients – something that would ordinarily be required before any medical procedure. Canadian endocrinologist Dr Daniel Metzger tells the panel that he often has difficulties explaining the effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children who ‘hadn’t even had biology in high school yet’.

One thread in the WPATH internal messaging forum reveals that even a developmentally delayed 13-year-old was seen as a suitable candidate for gender-affirming care. A physician assistant and professor at Yale Schools of Medicine discussed in the thread how the child was already on puberty blockers, but wanted to know if it would be ethical to allow them to progress to hormone therapy.

One problem that Metzger and his colleagues routinely face, according to the leaked workshop video, is trying to get young people to grasp that puberty blockers and hormones would likely affect their future fertility. Trying to convince 14-year-olds to preserve their eggs is like ‘talking to a blank wall’, Metzger says, to which the audience responds with nods and knowing smiles.

The WPATH Files also reveal the dire consequences such a blasé attitude to informed consent can have on child patients. Many kids who receive gender-affirming care at a young age grow up to regret the toll it takes on their ability to have biological children. In the leaked video, Metzger refers to a 2022 Dutch study, which found that 27 per cent of young people who underwent early puberty suppression and cross-sex hormones ended up regretting their lack of fertility. At an average age of 32, 44 per cent of biologically female and 35 per cent of biologically male patients say they would choose to preserve their fertility if they could turn back time.

Fertility issues aren’t the only problem facing the young people who get pushed down the path to transitioning. The WPATH Files also go into detail about some of the horrific side effects of hormone therapy and surgery. For females, these include vaginal atrophy (the thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls), pelvic inflammatory disease (a potentially deadly infection that requires a hysterectomy to treat) and, for males, erections ‘feeling like broken glass’.

WPATH doctors even admit privately that hormone treatment can cause cancer. In one exchange from the internal WPATH forum in 2021, doctors discuss the case of a 16-year-old biologically female patient who developed liver tumours after a lengthy regimen of hormone therapy. Another doctor revealed that a female-to-male trans colleague developed an aggressive type of liver cancer after taking testosterone for about a decade.

For WPATH, potential side effects like liver cancer can’t be allowed to get in the way of a child’s gender transition. ‘At the end of the day’, one doctor is quoted as saying, ‘it is a risk / benefit decision’. Supposedly, if a child does not get the hormones they want, then they will commit suicide.

But this dilemma between ‘suicide or transition’ is not based on any evidence. It is a myth promoted by trans activists. As Mia Hughes notes in her report on the WPATH Files, several studies have found no evidence for a reduction in suicide risk after transition. On the contrary, some have found an elevated risk of suicide post-transition.

But it seems that, as far as WPATH is concerned, once a patient leaves the clinic, he or she is no longer the doctor’s responsibility. As one doctor put it, ‘as long as [the patient is] capable of making that decision of sound mind while informed of the risks, then that may be all you can do’. In other words, these healthcare professionals are attempting to wipe their hands of any responsibility for any negative effects that transitioning might have.

As WPATH president Marci Bowers puts it, ‘patients need to own and take active responsibility for medical decisions, especially those that have potentially permanent effects’. This might be true when adult patients are electing to have risky and non-essential cosmetic surgery. But we are also talking about children here – indeed, vulnerable children, usually with multiple mental-health difficulties – who have been told by medical professionals and other supposed adults that receiving this treatment will ‘fix’ them.

Unfortunately, to anyone who has been paying attention to the trans debate, these revelations may not be that surprising. We have long seen the warning signs that children are being harmed by this dangerous ideology. And worse still, we have seen adults in positions of authority either encouraging this harm, or standing aside and keeping silent.

We saw this in 2022, when Dr Hilary Cass published her damning interim report on the Tavistock Centre, the NHS’s specialist gender-identity clinic for children and young people. The review found that the Tavistock’s approach to treating children was ‘not safe’, and that there were a myriad of potential harms caused by puberty blockers that were not being properly acknowledged by staff. As a result, the Tavistock was ordered to be closed down.

Whistleblowers, media investigations and lawsuits had tried to draw attention to this for years. Yet the Tavistock remained operational, and is still only due to shut its doors this month. Trans ideology has so infected medical institutions that doctors, nurses and therapists feel they have no choice but to transition every child who claims to be born in the wrong body. And they fear that refusing to do so will see them branded as ‘transphobic’. Or, worse still, that not agreeing to prescribe gender-affirming treatment will lead to a child ending their own life.

What the WPATH Files make clear is that those who claim to care most about the plight of ‘trans youth’ are all too often the greatest threats to their safety. They are willing to sacrifice the health of deeply vulnerable children to the cult of gender affirmation. The treatments they tout as ‘life-saving’ and ‘life-affirming’ can actually be ‘life-ruining’. Gruesome side effects from cancer to infertility are dismissed as necessary evils on the path to transitioning. This is the opposite of compassionate.

It is time to bring an end to this dangerous medical experiment.

Lauren Smith is a staff writer at spiked.

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Topics Identity Politics UK

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