Even Pro-Trans Progressives Are Worried About 'Gender-Affirming Care' for Minors

I spent just shy of a decade in the classroom. I started in the Fall of 2013 and had at some point taught students at every grade level from the 6th through the 12th grade. In just that short time (or what felt like a short time), I had seen quite a bit in terms of development, maturity, diversity, and, yes, even mental and emotional disorders.


But it wasn’t until the last three or four years that I started seeing increasing numbers of students identifying as transgender. I saw it in boys who identified as girls and girls who identified as boys. They were very nervous to talk about it, they would approach teachers they felt comfortable telling, and ask if they could be called by their chosen name. Not every teacher knew, but the kids did.

There were some controversies. District policy was, essentially, that you could only refer to a child by their legal name. But, such a policy has its own risks, like alienating students who are already feeling conflicted with who they are. And, yes, I know that we’re not supposed to coddle, but when you’ve spent time working with kids, and you like the ones who trust you enough to tell you what’s going on, you can feel a sense of obligation to at least consider their perspective.

But, there is a big difference between considering their perspective and full-on recommending they go through with life-altering treatment. Hormone therapy and surgical transition can be absolutely devastating, and to be completely honest, those kids don’t know the full scope of what they’re asking for when they ask for it.


The Free Press, the new journalism outlet from Bari Weiss, has a piece from a progressive woman named Jamie Reed, who used to work for a transition center and now feels compelled to blow the whistle on what these types of centers do.

Reed gives her background, proving she is not some conservative in sheep’s clothing.

For almost four years, I worked at The Washington University School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases with teens and young adults who were HIV positive. Many of them were trans or otherwise gender nonconforming, and I could relate: Through childhood and adolescence, I did a lot of gender questioning myself. I’m now married to a trans man, and together we are raising my two biological children from a previous marriage and three foster children we hope to adopt.

What she describes in this column is a horrific look into just how little thought and care is given by supposed “professionals” to the children who come into the center, questioning their gender. There are minimal safeguards and shockingly little forethought into long-term consequences of the so-called care these teens and young adults are getting.

What’s more, some of the center’s medical professionals privately acknowledge things like “social contagion” but publicly claim that these cases represent something real happening inside these kids.


Until 2015 or so, a very small number of these boys comprised the population of pediatric gender dysphoria cases. Then, across the Western world, there began to be a dramatic increase in a new population: Teenage girls, many with no previous history of gender distress, suddenly declared they were transgender and demanded immediate treatment with testosterone.

I certainly saw this at the center. One of my jobs was to do intake for new patients and their families. When I started there were probably 10 such calls a month. When I left there were 50, and about 70 percent of the new patients were girls. Sometimes clusters of girls arrived from the same high school.


The girls who came to us had many comorbidities: depression, anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, obesity. Many were diagnosed with autism, or had autism-like symptoms. A report last year on a British pediatric transgender center found that about one-third of the patients referred there were on the autism spectrum.

Frequently, our patients declared they had disorders that no one believed they had. We had patients who said they had Tourette syndrome (but they didn’t); that they had tic disorders (but they didn’t); that they had multiple personalities (but they didn’t).

Like Reed, I saw similar things while in the classroom. Especially in the wake of COVID-19. Kids were out of school for months, forced into isolating, and even in our district, where a hybrid model of school was chosen over a virtual one, kids spent more time at home and on screens than they did with their friends in person. Social isolation has a way of forcing your attention to things you shouldn’t be focused on, and for many of them, they were getting bombarded by social media influencers who had big enough platforms to convince those kids they are something different than what they are.


For girls, it’s especially painful, as platforms like Instagram and SnapChat assault them with largely unattainable standards of beauty and femininity, to the point where they seem to give up and decide they’d rather just be boys than compete.

But Reed also notes that there were increasing numbers of children from broken homes and those with other mental disorders who were also showing up and declaring they had gender dysphoria. One of the overlapping symptoms with several of those claiming a different gender was autism.

We have a broken society and a medical care system that is thinking so much about how to not offend that they are actively ignoring the dangers of what they do. It’s absolutely insane what hormone treatments can do to young, developing bodies – ranging from weakening the vaginal walls to causing emotional disorders to causing deformation of the genitalia. These aren’t normal, and kids certainly don’t grasp what all they are doing to their bodies when they start these treatments.

While states have begun banning such treatment for minors, however, there is one suggestion I have for states considering legislation: If you’re going to allow it, or at least not actively ban it, put in minimums for things like counseling (like one year of counseling before you can get permission to begin such treatment). Because if you can’t help children get to the root of their identity, banning it just delays a transition they may still regret later.



Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos