Puberty is not a disease…
While people might call it many things, such as painful, annoying, life changing, traumatizing, or downright bullshit, I have yet to see someone seriously refer to puberty as a disease. Curse maybe, but then again I’ve also heard people refer to a woman’s period as “The Curse”. There are however, diseases related to puberty, and even a condition called Precocious Puberty, but puberty itself is not a disease and no sane person would think that.
Puberty can cause problems for people with Gender Dysphoria though. While as children they might look mostly androgynous and thus have an easier time dealing with their gender and their sex not matching up, the development of secondary sex characteristics, bodily changes, starting to menstruate, and other things people without Gender Dysphoria would merely look at as a sign of their body changing from that of a child to an adult; a person with Gender Dysphoria may wind up seeing their symptoms taking a turn for the worse.
Speaking from personal experience, while I was able to handle the fact that my body didn’t look like that of other boys when I was younger, I was devastated when I started my period and my breasts began to grow. I felt like my own body was betraying me and I began to develop severe body image issues because of it. It wasn’t until years later that I am able to look back and go, “Oh, that was why I was having so many problems, my gender and sex don’t match.”
While I was able to “successfully” repress my dysphoria for several years, not everyone can, and puberty can be that make or break moment in a trans youth’s life. If the youth also happens to suffer from other mental illnesses, such as depression, it could drive the youth to the point of suicide if measures aren’t taken.
…puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous.
And that is why an ETHICAL doctor will warn parents and the youth of the potential dangers and side effects BEFORE putting the child on them. The trans individual will have most likely been in some form of therapy for a while depending on when they came to the realization that their gender and sex didn’t match, and the doctor would have to be in contact with their therapist before talk even could begin on the subject of puberty blockers.
At least one study (though it’s a rather small study size) shown that puberty blockers can be beneficial to trans youth, but at the same time, due to the fact that it has only been fairly recently that we have been dealing with the issue of trans youth (openly) there is still more to learn.
This is why the doctor, therapist, parents, and trans individual must weigh the pros and cons of puberty blockers and not just make a snap decision.
Another BIG thing to note, is that puberty blockers are not the same as giving a trans youth sex hormones (testosterone or estrogen). So the ACP using the term “puberty blocking hormones” once again is an attempt to muddy the waters and bring to mind the thought of testosterone and estrogen as they are the most common things one thinks about when they hear the term “hormones”. Sex hormones are an entirely different hurdle that doctors and patients have to tackle once the patient reaches a certain age (generally around 16).
There is no “set age” and it is all done on a case by case basis based on mental, emotional, and psychological preparedness.
Reversible or not, puberty- blocking hormones induce a state of disease — the absence of puberty — and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.
So wait, if someone doesn’t start puberty until really late, that means they’re suffering from a disease? Puberty blockers have been shown to be successfully used in children for years, and according to Dr. Courtney Finlayson, “We have a lot of experience in pediatric endocrinology using pubertal blockers. And from all the evidence we have they are generally a very safe medication.” Yes, using puberty blockers to treat trans individuals is still relatively new (first case was in 2007), but the data so far is showing that the people taking them don’t suddenly develop a “state of disease”.
It is interesting that the ACP talk about the fertility of a “previously biologically healthy child”. Fertility problems can arise for a number of reasons, and there are not enough studies (if any at all, since I couldn’t find any) that show that puberty blockers can inhibit the fertility of a person taking them.
Also, look at the language used. They are attempting to again conflate sex = gender and that a child with Gender Dysphoria is “biologically healthy” when they technically aren’t. They wouldn’t have Gender Dysphoria if they were “biologically healthy” as that term can encompass both physical and mental health.
My final issue with this point is their citation to back up their claims. Remember when I said the first case of treating trans individuals with puberty blockers was in 2007? Their citation is from 2009. This article is being written in 2016.
That’s SEVEN years of research and changes to the guidelines that they are ignoring.
Not only that, but some of the studies that their citation is citing are even older than that! At least one of the citations regarding fertility after using hormones (not puberty blockers) is from 2001. That’s 15 years ago! Do these people really think that there hasn’t been new data collected since then?
So to sum up this point, the ACP is relying on ignorance of the reader regarding the difference between puberty blockers and hormones, assuming doctors do not communicate with patients and just prescribe things on a whim, muddying the waters by mixing terms, and citing studies that are over seven years old (that cite studies over 15 years old).
If I was a teacher and this was a paper being turned in for grading, they would receive a giant F on this point.
Originally published at illuminatusdesign.com on April 27, 2018.