Scientific American tries to tell us that “youth” who identify as trans need to take puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones, yes need I tell you. It’s science.

This week Arkansas became the first state to ban physicians from giving hormones or puberty-delaying drugs to transgender people under age 18. Doctors who do so could be stripped of their licenses and sued. The law is called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act…

The state senate sponsor of the Arkansas bill, Alan Clark, has said that puberty blockers and hormone treatments are “at best experimental and at worst a serious threat to a child’s welfare.” But medical and scientific organizations say his claim is wrong.

We are given the usual long list of organizations and the usual claims that it’s all safe safe safe.

The Netherlands group was the first to study puberty blockers in transgender children. And Annelou de Vries, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, says she has not seen any major side effects in the approximately 1,500 adolescents treated at her clinic. Last June her team published a study showing that 178 transgender adolescents receiving blockers had better psychological functioning and fewer suicide attempts, compared with 272 transgender youth who did not receive early care.

What about the long haul though? What about how they fare as they get older? Is it really a safe bet that tinkering with teenage bodies this way will be good for them for the next 50 or 60 years?

And are the people doing this research inquiring into how these teenagers became convinced they’re the other sex in the first place? If you become convinced that you can’t be happy unless you have a diamond belt buckle, then having a diamond belt buckle may make you happy for a time, but how did you become convinced of that in the first place? Is it a real need or longing? Or is it a socially generated need or longing, which can be intense, for sure, but is very subject to decay and change over time. How sure can the researchers really be that blockers and hormones will be good for the subjects over a lifetime?

As their investigation progresses, Olson-Kennedy and her colleagues are trying to get as much information as they can about how gender-affirming treatments affect the body, which will help physicians better target treatment to individuals and know what to watch for. One major medical concern about puberty blockers is their effect on bone growth. The drugs prevent the accumulation of bone mineral in growing children, which is why physicians try not to administer them to adolescents for very long. But a study by the Netherlands team found that transgender boys’ bone density returned to normal within a few years.

Cool cool cool. Go ahead and weaken their bones then. Might as well, right?

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