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Pediatricians seek protection of kids from transgender procedures

Protesters outside the Indiana Senate chamber in the summer of 2023. Associated Press/Photo by Darron Cummings, file

Pediatricians seek protection of kids from transgender procedures

The American College of Pediatricians on Thursday called for medical organizations in the United States to stop promoting transgender interventions for children and teenagers. Nearly 100 healthcare professionals and 18 medical organizations endorsed the Doctors Protecting Children Declaration. The statement calls for doctors to stick with evidence-based research and use evaluations and comprehensive therapy to identify and address psychological conditions that underlie or accompany gender dysphoria.

What else did the statement say? The declaration said that there is little evidence that so-called gender-affirming interventions are effective treatments. Rather, the interventions come with serious, long-term risks, according to the document. The group called into question the validity of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s guidelines for treating children, which many gender clinics follow. Leaked files from WPATH revealed in March that professionals within the organization know that many of their recommendations are based on limited and low-quality research.

How did the American College of Pediatricians reach its consensus? ACP Executive Director Dr. Jill Simmons said that hundreds of doctors, researchers, and healthcare workers helped to develop the statement. Dr. Andre Van Mol of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations said that the vast majority of adolescents who experience gender dysphoria overcome the condition by adulthood unless their confusion is affirmed. Mental health counseling for children and their families was a more appropriate standard of care, he said during the Thursday press conference.

What have other organizations said about these treatments? Two medical societies in Germany and Switzerland this month rejected Germany’s new guidelines for treating minors who are experiencing gender dysphoria, according to the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine. Those guidelines called for the use of hormones and transgender surgeries to treat minors.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics in August reaffirmed its support for transgender medical interventions and commissioned a systematic review of medical research on the treatments. The academy and five other American medical organizations in 2022 denounced state-level efforts to ban such procedures.

Dig deeper: Read Juliana Chan Erikson’s and my report in Relations about the leaked WPATH files.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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