By Jonathon Van Maren
Those of you who read the North American mainstream media can be forgiven for believing that there is an ironclad consensus on sex change surgeries and puberty blockers.
The media monolith assures us constantly that these so-called treatments are life-saving; that they prevent suicides; that parents who wish to delay their children from pursuing them should be sidelined; that they are fundamental healthcare.
States seeking to restrict these permanent alterations to the human body (which include life-long sterility and, in many cases, the loss of natural sexual function) are cast as “attacking transgender children” and portrayed as little better than the segregationist states of the Sixties.
Almost no attention has been paid to the vigorous debate going on in Europe on this same subject.
In the United Kingdom, where attacks on free speech in the name of transgender rights have been breathtaking to watch, the High Court sided with Keira Bell and against permitting “sex changes” for minors. Trans activists are apoplectic, but the ruling stands. The High Court ruling is a tremendous blow to the transgender movement and a stern repudiation of their movement’s premises, but if you live in Canada or the United States, you’ve probably never heard of Keira Bell or her victory.
For that matter, I’d be surprised if you heard the ground-breaking news out of Sweden earlier this year, where the prominent Karolinska Hospital issued a policy statement—which took effect in April—ending the practice of prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors under age 16 due to significant risks.
Considering the fact that mainstream media outlets in North America produce stories on transgender youth, non-binary activists, and other sexual minorities nonstop—I cannot turn on the CBC without hearing another story about how some story intersects with the great transgender struggle—you’d think a story like this would warrant some coverage, considering its implications.
These stories aren’t aberrations, either. Increasingly, it appears that the Europeans are recognizing the dangers of the transgender craze. Now, it is the Finns. From Wesley Smith at National Review:
Finnish medical guidelines are now opposed to most puberty blocking and adolescent transitioning, except in the most severe cases and, then, only in a research setting.
First, note this eye-opener that most cases of youth transgenderism resolve during puberty. Moreover, puberty blocking should not be among the first interventions attempted to relieve the child’s mental anguish. From the guidelines on treating youth gender dysphoria recently (unofficially) translated into English (my emphasis):
Cross-sex identification in childhood, even in extreme cases, generally disappears during puberty. However, in some cases, it persists or even intensifies. Gender dysphoria may also emerge or intensify at the onset of puberty. There is considerable variation in the timing of the onset of puberty in both sexes. The first-line treatment for gender dysphoria is psychosocial support and, as necessary, psychotherapy and treatment of possible comorbid psychiatric disorders. … Potential risks of GnRH therapy include disruption in bone mineralization and the as yet unknown effects on the central nervous system. In trans girls, early pubertal suppression inhibits penile growth, requiring the use of alternative sources of tissue grafts for a potential future vaginoplasty. The effect of pubertal suppression and cross-sex hormones on fertility is not yet known.
As I have been saying, puberty blocking is human experimentation:
In light of available evidence, gender reassignment of minors is an experimental practice. Based on studies examining gender identity in minors, hormonal interventions may be considered before reaching adulthood in those with firmly established transgender identities, but it must be done with a great deal of caution, and no irreversible treatment should be initiated. Information about the potential harms of hormone therapies is accumulating slowly and is not systematically reported. It is critical to obtain information on the benefits and risks of these treatments in rigorous research settings.
The Finns also state that puberty blocking should be considered to be an experimental study; note that gender dysphoric young people should be sent to a research clinic; and state that puberty blockers should be a rare exception. When this exception does happen, they note, young people should be “able to understand the significance of irreversible treatments and the benefits and disadvantages associated with lifelong hormone therapy, and that no contraindications are present.” The new guidelines also ban mastectomies for minors.
This is a significant development—and if the Finns had put out guidelines affirming the trans movement’s premises, you can be sure you’d have heard of it already. But because this is yet another European country rejecting the very surgeries and practices that the North American media tells us are essential healthcare, it is as if it never happened.
America was once more conservative than Europe, and it is telling that liberal European nations are implementing the very guidelines that are getting American states accused of “attacks” on “trans youth.”