By Jonathon Van Maren
For years, every whistleblower, critic, or academic who highlighted the dangers of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for children was shouted down by transgender activists. Books detailing these dangers, such as Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage, were attacked as transphobic hate screeds and trans activists lobbied to have the book suppressed. While the number of children taking these drugs grew steadily, so did the loud insistences of the trans lobby: These drugs are reversible. They are lifesaving. And anyone who says otherwise is a liar and a bigot.
So what, I wonder, does that make the New York Times? In a lengthy report titled “They Paused Puberty, But is There A Cost?”, the Grey Lady asks questions that, only moments ago, were forbidden.
The report begins by citing the examples of children who were prescribed these drugs to prevent puberty: an 11-year-old boy who identifies as a girl; a 13-year-old girl uncomfortable with her body; an 11-year-old girl with depression who wanted to be a boy. The therapists and pediatricians had just the thing—puberty blockers. These drugs, the Times notes, “is usually framed as a safe—and reversible—way to buy time to weigh a medical transition and avoid the anguish of growing into a body that feels wrong.” Specifically, that is how it is usually framed in newspapers like the Times.
But finally—finally—the Times is covering the real story:
But as an increasing number of adolescents identify as transgender — in the United States, an estimated 300,000 ages 13 to 17 and an untold number who are younger — concerns are growing among some medical professionals about the consequences of the drugs, a New York Times examination found. The questions are fueling government reviews in Europe, prompting a push for more research and leading some prominent specialists to reconsider at what age to prescribe them and for how long. A small number of doctors won’t recommend them at all. Dutch doctors first offered puberty blockers to transgender adolescents three decades ago, typically following up with hormone treatment to help patients transition. Since then, the practice has spread to other countries, with varying protocols, little documentation of outcomes and no government approval of the drugs for that use, including by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But there is emerging evidence of potential harm from using blockers, according to reviews of scientific papers and interviews with more than 50 doctors and academic experts around the world.
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