The American Academy of Pediatrics claims that accusations it has embraced “dubious transgender science” are false, insisting that it doesn’t recommend body mutilating surgeries to most youth.
AAP President Dr. Moira Szilagyi wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, responding to an earlier op-ed piece titled “The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Dubious Transgender Science.”
The Aug. 17 op-ed, written by pediatrician Dr. Julia Mason and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Leor Sapir, maintains that while “other countries turn away from hormones and surgery” for youth claiming to suffer from gender dysphoria, “the AAP won’t even allow a debate.”
“The AAP has ignored the evidence that has led Sweden, Finland and most recently the U.K. to place severe restrictions on medical transition for minors,” Mason and Sapir wrote.
“The largest pediatric gender clinic in the world, the U.K.’s Gender Identity Development Service, was ordered to shut down in July after an independent review expressed concerns about clinicians rushing minors to medical transition. Medical societies in France, Belgium and Australia have also sounded the alarm. The U.S. is an outlier on pediatric gender medicine.”
Mason and Splair contended in their Aug. 17 piece that “the AAP has stifled debate on how best to treat youth in distress over their bodies, shut down efforts by critics to present better scientific approaches at conferences, [and] used technicalities to suppress resolutions to bring it into line with better-informed European countries.”
Mason and Splair further criticized the AAP’s repeated rejection of a resolution that would have informed the organization’s members about “the growing international skepticism of pediatric gender transition,” claiming that the organization rejected the resolution and later “enforced for the first time a rule that shut down member comments, effectively burying it.”
Szilagyi rejected the claim that Europe was “moving away from gender-affirming care,” asserting that it was actually “moving toward a more regional, multidisciplinary approach, similar to what is practiced in the U.S.”
The AAP president also attempted to clarify her organization’s approach to treating trans-identified children, saying that it “advises pediatricians to offer developmentally appropriate care that is oriented toward understanding and appreciating the youth’s gender experience.”
“This care is nonjudgmental, includes families and allows questions and concerns to be raised in a supportive environment. This is what it means to ‘affirm’ a child or teen; it means destigmatizing gender variance and promoting self-worth,” Szilagyi stated.
Asserting that so-called gender-affirming care “can be lifesaving,” Szilagyi added that “it doesn’t push medical treatments or surgery; for the vast majority of children, it recommends the opposite.”
Szilagyi concluded her piece by vowing that “the AAP is committed to following the evidence and basing our recommendations on the best science” and that her organization would “continue to stand up for all children and adolescents, including those who are transgender.”
In response to an inquiry from The Christian Post, the AAP pointed to its policy statement, titled “Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents.”
“The decision of whether and when to initiate gender-affirmative treatment is personal and involves careful consideration of risks, benefits, and other factors unique to each patient and family,” stated the policy.
“Many protocols suggest that clinical assessment of youth who identify as [transgender] is ideally conducted in the setting on an ongoing basis in the setting of a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, which, in addition to the patient and family, may include the pediatric provider, a mental health provider (preferably with experience in caring for youth who are [transgender]), and a pediatric endocrinologist or adolescent-medicine gender specialist, if available.”
The policy statement also indicated that “There is no prescribed path, sequence, or end point” regarding the prescription of puberty-blocking drugs and hormone therapy.
Mason and Splair’s op-ed was published a week after Szilagyi wrote a blog on the AAP website claiming there was “strong consensus among the most prominent medical organizations worldwide that evidence-based, gender-affirming care for transgender adolescents and children is medically necessary and appropriate” as well as possibly “lifesaving.”
Szilagyi said that a decision on “whether and when to start gender-affirming treatment, which does not necessarily lead to hormone therapy or surgery, is personal and involves careful consideration by each patient and their family.”
She cited efforts to “restrict access to gender-affirming care and criminalize the pediatricians who provide it” at the state level as a cause of concern.
Alabama, Arizona and Arkansas have recently passed laws banning gender transition procedures and puberty blockers for minors, while Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Jaime Masters has classified such procedures as a form of child abuse.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: [email protected]
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