Seeking hormones

The NY Times tries hard to minimize the bad news:

The National Health Service in England announced on Thursday that it was shutting down the country’s only youth gender clinic in favor of a more distributed and comprehensive network of medical care for adolescents seeking hormones and other gender treatments.

“Seeking hormones” as they might seek a new phone or beans on toast. Hormones aren’t like vitamins, you don’t seek them as if they were harmless and benign. People don’t seek diabetes medication or cancer drugs, they get prescribed them if they have diabetes or cancer.

The closure followed an external review of the Tavistock clinic in London, which has served thousands of transgender patients since the 1990s. The review, which is ongoing, has raised several concerns, including about long wait times, insufficient mental health support and the surging number of young people seeking gender treatments.

Insufficient mental health support for what? For autism, for depression, for anxiety, for the mental health issues that adolescence can trigger. Instead of mental health support they get dropped onto the gender conveyor belt.

The overhaul of services for transgender young people in England is part of a notable shift in medical practice across some European countries with nationalized health care systems. Some doctors there are concerned about the increase in numbers as well as the dearth of data on long-term safety and outcomes of medical transitions.

In the United States, doctors specializing in gender care for adolescents have mixed feelings about the reforms in Europe.

What have feelings got to do with it? The issue is reality, and the well-being of children and teenagers, and the dangers of stuffing children with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. It’s about evidence, not feelings.

Although many agree that more comprehensive health care for transgender youth is badly needed, as are more studies of the treatments, they worry that the changes will fuel the growing political movement in some states to ban such care entirely.

“How do we draw the line so that we keep care individualized while maintaining safety standards for everyone? That’s what we’re trying to sort out,” said Dr. Marci Bowers, a plastic surgeon and the incoming president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, who is transgender.

Well thank goodness they talked to someone with no vested interests to protect.

There are “critically important unanswered questions” about the use of puberty blockers, wrote Dr. Hilary Cass, head of the external review of the country’s youth gender identity services, in a letter to the head of N.H.S. England last week.

Puberty blockers, which are largely reversible, are intended to buy younger patients time to make weighty decisions about permanent medical changes. 

BZZZZZZZZZZT! Wrong! They are not reversible.

“We are optimistic, cautiously optimistic, about the news,” said Susie Green, chief executive of Mermaids, an advocacy group for transgender and gender-diverse youth. “There is a two-and-a-half-year waiting list to be seen for your first appointment. We’ve seen the distress caused to young people because of that.”

Another source totally free of any vested interest! Brilliant job NYT!

Some American doctors worried that the changing standards in Europe would bolster the notion that gender treatments are dangerous for young people.

“My fear is that this is going to be interpreted as another notch against providing gender-affirming care for kids,” said Dr. Angela Goepferd, medical director of the Gender Health Program at Children’s Minnesota hospital. More services are needed, they said, not less. “That’s our challenge here.”

And that’s the last word.

Crap journalism.

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