". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Pediatrician Responds to Damning Review on Gender Identity Treatment: ‘I Remain Hopeful’

April 14, 2024

On the heels of a massive, groundbreaking study in the Netherlands, another 388-page report by Dr. Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, is throwing more cold water on the push to medically transition children. The Cass Review, as it’s being called, was an “independent review of gender identity services for children and young people” that found “remarkably weak evidence” that “gender-affirming care,” such as the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, results in anything positive.

The primary takeaway from the Cass Review is that children’s mental health must always be a priority. And yet, the study exposed the reality that many medical professionals are quick to diagnose children with body or gender dysphoria without considering their mental state, which has led to irreversible harm. The Washington Stand’s Ben Johnson highlighted, “Tragically, the report notes that parents say transgender ideology had led to ‘diagnostic overshadowing,’ where physicians overlook all other mental health conditions with the assumption that treating gender dysphoria will cause them to disappear.”

This review was authorized by the British government in 2020, and the results, which were published Wednesday, have motivated the United Kingdom to change their stance on gender procedures. In response to the study’s findings, U.K. Home Secretary Laura Farris shared, “You can expect to see a fundamental change in direction that comes after this.” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also welcomed the Cass Review, stating it is “very much in alignment with our way of thinking, which is to exercise extreme caution on these issues, because we simply don’t know the long-term consequences and impacts.”

The report is leading experts to wonder if it could affect how gender identity is treated by American pediatricians. Dr. Jill Simons, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, shared on Thursday’s episode of “Washington Watch” her optimism that America will learn from the U.K. and eventually follow in their footsteps to change how such experimental treatments are handled.

Ultimately, Simons said she was “not surprised” by the results. “But it was reassuring to hear Dr. Cass say that there is significant lack of evidence in this area,” adding that the evidence we do have points to the negative consequences of the gender-affirming procedures. The U.K. is looking to change course, she noted, “and I hope that the United States follows.”

Simons continued, “This review was quite extensive, and “when they started doing [it], they realized that there was such a lack of evidence [in favor of these treatments].” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins noted that the report highlighted how the World Professional Association of Transgender Healthcare (WPATH) “had been highly influential in directing international” guidelines, only for those guidelines to be found lacking “developmental rigor and transparency.” But Simons pointed out that that’s exactly what “the American College of Pediatricians and several others have been crying out for years.”

She added, “The protocol that all these guidelines are based on are flawed.” She explained that a primary source for WPATH’s guidelines were some Dutch studies that were done, but the important aspect to emphasize, Simons contended, is that those Dutch studies were not conducted on children. Rather, “The data was extrapolated to children,” she said, adding that the people behind the Dutch studies have clarified they were not intended to be applied to children. But that didn’t stop groups such as WPATH from moving forward with it, the doctor lamented, and now we have protocols that are “faulty from the foundation.”

Perkins discussed that “this area of medicine” seems to be “treated differently than other areas of medicine.” Simons agreed and insisted that true medical practice means “children deserve to have the same standards of care that every other child or every other person receives when … they’re treated for a medical problem.” Reports like the Cass Review inch us closer to a world where children are not being “experimented on anymore,” Simons said, “… [and] treated as they should.”

As Perkins explained, the heart of the debate over gender politics is really about the reality of science versus ideology. To which Simons said a lot of what is observed in this area of medicine “fits the definition of ideology.” “In medicine, we push for treating patients based on the evidence and long-term outcomes and science. And clearly there are agendas for people pushing these treatments.” Simons warned that if she and the other pediatricians fighting for these truths can’t force a sea change in their field, then it “will be settled in the courts.” She added, “We just want this to be resolved as quickly as possible so that no further child is harmed.”

Perkins emphasized that persistence is “going to be key,” because this ideology is now “targeting the medical schools, doctors, [and] nurses [by] trying to … poison their minds and scare them … to walk in lock step with ideology.” He said, “I’m not a big fan of the courts,” but “this is one of those areas where the trial attorneys actually have a very fundamental role to play, because the evidence will speak for itself in a fair courtroom.”

Despite the messy landscape of gender ideology, Simons stated, “I remain hopeful.” She concluded, “[M]ore and more of us are speaking out, and especially the younger generation, the medical students, are speaking out about this and not putting up with it. So, we’re trying to support them, and I think it’s going to reach a tipping point, I hope, where people just can’t stand in the sidelines anymore.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.