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Research Shows ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ Hurts Mental Health, Fails to Address Underlying Trauma

February 9, 2024

In the U.S. Transgender Survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality, 44% of over 92,000 people who identify as transgender or nonbinary said they had “serious psychological distress” in the last 30 days. The survey measures many things, but several observers noticed that the results were not necessarily reliable.

As The Daily Wire reported, “The study reported that the vast majority of people, 94%, who lived at least some of their time as their new gender identity, said they were more satisfied with life. Meanwhile, 98% of people who were currently receiving hormone treatments and 97% of people who had received gender surgery said the medical interventions made them more satisfied with life.” But in these statistics were mostly people who identify as transgender or nonbinary and currently live that way. An important observation journalist Jesse Singal highlighted is that detransitioners were not included in this survey.

Experts are pointing out that this survey promotes the highly disputed idea that “gender-affirming care” is good for mental health, but an abundance of research reveals the opposite.

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a national professional membership organization, released a position statement on Wednesday that said, “Adolescents who have a gender identity not congruent with their biological sex have an increased incidence of mental health issues, including depression and suicidal ideation. This is particularly serious given the exponential increase in the number of adolescents identifying as ‘transgender’ in the past decade.”

The statement articulated the “conflict over terminology” in this discussion, highlighting that the language used by LGBT activists is “inaccurate and misleading.” The ACPeds reviewed 60 studies that involved the mental health of transgender-identifying youth, and in doing so, discovered “there is no long-term evidence that current ‘gender affirming’ medication and surgical protocols benefit their mental well-being.”

Notably, in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study in 2022, 7,111 children were examined who did not identify as anything other than their biological sex, as well as 58 transgender-identifying children between the ages of 9 and 10. The report stated, “Children who identified as transgender at this young age were more likely to experience depression (2.53 OR), anxiety (2.70 OR), conduct problems (3.13 OR), and suicidality (5.79 OR).”

Their research also revealed that the children who identify as transgender were more likely to have experienced “significant psychological trauma” including “exposure to domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol or drug use in the home, physical or emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, and parental divorce.” Additionally, the studies uncovered that children with autism were more likely to experience gender dysphoria than those who were not on the spectrum.

ACPeds released this report to bring awareness to how children should be taken care of when they experience gender dysphoria. Dr. Jane Anderson, an ACPeds board member, said, “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.” She emphasized that even though “we’re told over and over again, ‘It’s so important that you allow your adolescent to transition or they are going to kill themselves,’” the evidence simply doesn’t support those claims.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “Parents rely on the advice given by pediatricians. It’s important that ACPeds has taken the time and devoted their resources to produce this review.”

She said that their efforts demonstrate their “commitment to the highest standard of care for the families they serve,” adding that as “more and more families are separated from grandparents and other extended family, the role of the pediatrician is more important than ever.”

Kilgannon concluded, “Parents need to know they can rely on sound advice. ACPeds is a wonderful resource and an important signal to others in the medical community. In spite of poorly supported claims to the contrary, allowing children to attempt to change their sex is not good for their mental or physical wellbeing.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.