In the course of a few short years, cases of gender-confused children, some in kindergarten, seeking medical treatment to alter their sexual characteristics have become commonplace. Today, at least one pediatrician is speaking out to call the practice “child abuse.”
In an op-ed for the Daily Signal, Dr. Michelle Cretella writes that the treatments advocated by many in the “transgender affirming movement” can cause severe damage to children and “constitute nothing less than institutionalized child abuse.”
“Today’s institutions that promote transition affirmation,” Cretella says, “are pushing children to impersonate the opposite sex, sending many of them down the path of puberty blockers, sterilization, the removal of healthy body parts, and untold psychological damage.”
Michelle Cretella is no stranger to controversy and criticism from the left. A graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 1994, she practiced pediatric medicine for 15 years before becoming president of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) in 2015, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels “an anti-LGBT hate group.”
Cretella attacks the sacred cows of the gay rights movement with science and logic. She points out that scientific studies of identical twins prove that gay and transgender identities are not a product of genetics since in 72 percent of cases of a transgender twin, the other twin’s sexual orientation is different. If sexual orientation were purely genetic, correlation would be 100 percent in identical twins.
She also points out that gender identity is very malleable in young children. Cretella cites the American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology which acknowledges that 75 to 95 percent of children eventually come to accept their biological gender. In most cases, puberty is the cure for a confused gender identity.
Unfortunately, a new trend is preventing many sufferers of gender dysphoria, the new medical term for the problem, from going through puberty. A treatment that is becoming more common is the prescription of puberty blockers. Cretella writes that there have been no studies that prove these drugs are safe for the treatment of gender dysphoria. She writes that a new study of the treatments shows “evidence for decreased bone mineralization, meaning an increased risk of bone fractures as young adults, potential increased risk of obesity and testicular cancer in boys, and an unknown impact upon psychological and cognitive development.”
Perhaps even more disturbing, Cretella points out that there is not a single case in the scientific literature of transgender children choosing to discontinue the puberty blockers. “The only study to date to have followed pre-pubertal children who were socially affirmed and placed on blockers at a young age found that 100 percent of them claimed a transgender identity and chose cross-sex hormones,” says Cretella. Cross-sex hormones are associated with health risks including cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes, and cancers.
“There is an obvious self-fulfilling effect in helping children impersonate the opposite sex both biologically and socially,” writes Cretella. “This is far from benign, since taking puberty blockers at age 12 or younger, followed by cross-sex hormones, sterilizes a child.”
Cretella also debunks the liberal claims that therapies affirming gender identities will result in fewer suicides of transgender children. “Adults who undergo sex reassignment—even in Sweden, which is among the most LGBT-affirming countries—have a suicide rate nearly 20 times greater than that of the general population,” Cretella says.
The fundamental problem is that the transgender politics have outstripped medical studies and laws. The controversy over bathroom policies shows how difficult it can be to enact laws that restrict perceived transgender rights. Restrictions on the ability to administer puberty-blocking drugs to children or even commit children to gender-reassignment surgery would be no different. In the end, it will be the children who suffer.