Petition the US Surgeon General
According to recent surveys, 2-3% of middle and high school students now describe themselves as transgender or non-binary. Social influences and psychological factors are likely fueling this rise. However, therapists and clinicians have been trained to affirm transgender identities without examining underlying issues or possible causes.
Even more concerning is the growing and reckless practice of treating children with powerful puberty-blocking drugs, hormones, and irreversible surgeries. These interventions not only impact fertility and sexual function, but pose serious health risks. In the past, hormones and surgeries were offered only to adults with a lifelong history of severe and unremitting distress, and only after extensive medical and psychological screening. Yet life-altering medical procedures are now offered to young people based on feelings that are likely to change with time, brain maturity, and non-invasive therapy.
These interventions are offered at increasingly younger ages despite the lack of even one long-term study supporting their efficacy or safety. Clinicians now prescribe puberty-blocking drugs and hormones, such as testosterone, to children as young as eight years old. “Gender-confirming” surgeries, including mastectomies, radical hysterectomies, vaginoplasties, and orchiectomies are now performed on teenagers. Parents who consent to these treatments are often misled to believe that their child will be at greater risk of suicide if they do not. There is no evidence to support this claim. In Oregon, minors may receive state-subsidized hormonal treatments and surgeries without parental knowledge or permission.
Young adults are also at risk of hasty medicalization. An increasing number of “informed consent” clinics provide cross-sex hormones to young people after only one or two visits. These clinics do not require mental or physical health assessments. Surgeries may be obtained within months.
Meanwhile, growing numbers of young adults who have medically transitioned are beginning to speak publicly. Even more are suffering silently and sharing their remorse anonymously. Most report that they did not receive proper counseling and were not encouraged to consider non-invasive options. They are now expressing painful regret of surgeries and hormonal interventions that have irreversibly impacted their health, appearance, fertility, and sexual function.
The Kelsey Coalition wrote to the US Surgeon General on June 19, 2019 to alert him to our concerns and urged him to issue a Call to Action.
A Call to Action by the Surgeon General would increase public awareness and alert healthcare professionals to this urgent and growing public health matter. And as the Nation’s Doctor who has pledged to lead with science, this would also encourage an evidence-based treatment approach to the exponentially growing number of gender-questioning youth.
Young people should not be offered life-altering hormonal and surgical interventions that are not supported by rigorous studies establishing long-term efficacy and safety. The risks of irreparable harm and regret are too great.
Please join our request to the Surgeon General by taking action here.