American medical associations profess certainty about the wisdom of medical transition for kids, but European countries are urging caution and publicly rebuking American standards of care. It begs the question: What do American doctors know that European doctors don’t?
In a letter published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), parents of gender questioning youth join the chorus of those demanding an answer.
The question from twelve parents of once or current gender-questioning youth comes in response to a conversation initiated by Do No Harm. After attending the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, we published a WSJ op-ed revealing that the consensus projected by the Endocrine Society on pediatric medicine is illusionary. Many doctors express deep misgivings about current practices and the absence of evidence to support them. In response, Endocrine Society President Stephen Hammes published a WSJ letter doubling down on the position that current guidelines are backed by evidence and consensus. That earned him a rebuke from an international group of experts, who accused Hammes of “politicizing” the issue and “exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks” of medical transition.
The letter from parents expresses “concern” about “the Endocrine Society’s unwillingness to acknowledge this growing consensus against its preferred approach.” It also expresses concern that Dr. Hammes did not reveal his position as “a co-director of a transgender clinic that administers hormonal interventions to teenagers—a potential conflict of interest.”
Parents of kids who have expressed confusion about gender are often told by healthcare providers – without justification – that failure to medically affirm could culminate in the child’s suicide. In some disturbing cases parents have even lost custody of their kids for disagreeing about medical transition. That includes Ted Hudacko, one of the signatories of the new letter.
If Mr. Hudacko lived in the U.K., Sweden, or Finland, his son would have received psychotherapy. Instead, his son received irreversible medical treatments and a broken family. Ted and other parents deserve to know why.
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