On Feb. 7, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) released a statement on cross-sex medical interventions for minors, citing several studies that demonstrated findings connecting transgenderism to mental health concerns and suicidality.
“There is strong evidence that children and adolescents who identify as transgender have experienced significant psychological trauma leading to their gender dysphoria,” it says. “Also, there is no long-term evidence that current ‘gender affirming’ medication and surgical protocols benefit their mental well-being.”
Those with gender dysphoria or transgender identities have higher rates of mental health issues than those who identify as other sexual minorities. In 2022, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study recruited over 11,000 children ages 9 and 10 across the U.S. and found that those who identified as transgender were more likely to experience depression, anxiety, conduct issues and suicidality.
The authors attribute this to “stigma, minority stress, discrimination, or gender dysphoria,” overlooking the notion that the concerns may have predated or been heightened by the dysphoria and identification as transgender.
A follow-up study confirmed the results that “Significant relationships were observed between mental health symptoms and gender diversity for all dimensions assessed.”
Dr. Jane Anderson, the ACPeds board member who authored the statement, told The Christian Post, “There is a high incidence of adolescents who come into this medical care who have previous history of depression or anxiety or autism or other medical or psychological concerns. And those issues have to be dealt with first.”
According to a 2017 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey, students who identified as sexual minorities were three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual students.
Many parents have reported being told by professionals that their children will commit suicide if the parents do not allow and support their gender transitions, and being asked questions like, “Would you rather have a dead child or a living trans child?”
Luka Hein, a biological female who medically transitioned to male at age 16 and later “detransitioned,” shared that when she mentioned to mental health professionals that she was struggling with gender, all of the other issues she was dealing with seemed to be pushed aside.
“I was pushed straight … down the path of affirmation and then medicalization,” she said. The trauma that led to her issues was never dealt with, and any concerns that her parents had were met with the professionals using her potential suicide as emotional blackmail.
“I was never suicidal,” she said.
The Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors Survey of 120,617 young people between the ages of 11 and 19 showed that between June 2012 and May 2015, 14% of those surveyed had attempted suicide. The highest rate of suicide attempts—50.8%—was observed among biological females who identified as males. Of those who identified as non-binary, 41.8% had attempted suicide. The lowest percentages were among boys and girls whose perceived identities were in congruence with their sex at birth—heterosexual females at 17.6%, and heterosexual males at 9.8%.
The ACPeds statement analyzes the connection between traumatic adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and someone identifying as LGBTQ. One online survey of 3,508 LGBTQ adolescents found that nearly half of the participants reported at least four ACEs, which is considered to be a high level of trauma exposure. Significantly high numbers of ACEs were found in those who identified as pansexual, transgender and gender non-conforming.
Another important observation is that some of the research found significant connections between gender dysphoria and autism. For instance, “A retrospective chart review of 68 youth receiving gender care at Children’s National Hospital found 47% of the patients were autistic.”
ACPeds points out that “politics has overtaken and overshadowed the evidence-based science” when it comes to cross-sex procedures and drugs for children. They state that long-term trials should be conducted if these procedures are to continue, due to the strong correlation between “gender affirming care” and mental health concerns and suicidality.
“Therefore,” the statement concludes, “the ACPeds cannot condone the social affirmation, medical intervention, or surgical mutilation of children and adolescents identifying as transgender or gender nonconforming. Rather, intensive psychotherapy for the individual and family to determine and hopefully treat the underlying etiology of their gender incongruence should be pursued.”
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