Before I pose my question here are some facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Resource 1: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) A PDF printed by the Children's Hospital of Chicago by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They officially support Affirming gender change in children, however there is a group of pediatricians who actively reject that position.

According to the AAP:

Gender is based on culture and varies by place and time

The AAP admits that Gender is man made, not real, but a social construct (see page 7).

Next I'd like to list the AAP's side effects and irreversible effects of hormone therapy.
Pages 39-41 show the side effects of testosterone therapy.

Irreversible Effect of Testosterone Therapy
Lower voice Increased Hair Growth
Mustache and Beard Growth
Male Pattern hair loss and baldness
Genital Changes
Loss of Fertility

Side Effects of Testosterone Therapy
Cardiovascular Risk
Increased Weight gain
Increased Triglyscerides
Increased Blood Pressure
Insulin Resistance
Hepatotoxicity (liver disease)
Polycythemia (increase change of heart attacks, blood clots, and more)
Increased risk for breast cancer
Increased risk of Endometrial cancer

Treatment means physical mutilation as for girls they have their breasts cut off. I haven't researched boys, and I'm afraid to. Anyway, the bottom line is, the list of irreversible effects, health risks, and the fact that there is mutilation happening I ask, on what medical basis do health professional support this?

If a person is depressed, psychiatrists won't tell people to 'become sad'. They work to understand why and cause a new feeling and new behavior in the patient.

If a person doesn't like themselves they get help with their self-value. They learn the valuable things about their unique identity and also identify why they began to devalue themselves and deal with those root issues.

People with phobia's are taught to manage and improve their phobia, not embrace it.

Kleptomanics aren't told it is okay to steal.

My point is not to compare one disorder to another, but to show that regardless of the type of disorder that the standard treatment is not acceptance, but rather to reveal deeper issues and otherwise manage and overcome the disorder.

Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics understanding of Gender, it is a completely arbitrary social construct that varies by place and time(page 7 in the PDF linked above).

Knowing that Gender is a man made, not biological, it seems very reasonable that dealing with Gender Dysphoria should not be based on surgery and hormone therapy which factually lead to extreme health risks and mutilation, but rather learning and understanding of the issues to bring about a better life which is in alignment with most other psychiatric treatments.

In even simpler terms here are two separate interactons between a patient and a APA supported Psyciatrist:

Interaction 1:
Parent - "My child feels sad and is generally angry or depressed all the time"
Psychiatrist - "I will talk to them and see what is causing this behavior and see if we can get your happy loving child back"

Interaction 2:
Parent - "My daughter, all of a sudden, says she hates being a girl and wants to be a boy and cut off her breasts."
Psychiatrist - "Ok, let's talk about how you can support your daughter and the financial costs of starting treatment as well as the health issues you can expect."

These two positions are stated facts of treatment by psychiatric professionals and as far as I can tell there is no medical basis for the drastic difference between positions. Gender Dysphoria is treated categorically different, but there has been no new category defined on which to base that decision.

I know this is a sensitive topic and has many personal stories, but I'd like to focus on the professional medical position and reasoning for that position.

  • $\begingroup$ The primary problem here is that transgender ideology is being pushed very hard by a small group of people who seem to be winning. It's okay to let children explore gender identity, but drugs and surgery just because a child identifies as the opposite gender does not seem a wise course of action. Doctors who encourage this should have their medical license questioned. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Prentice May 23 '18 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Can you please provide a full APA reference to the pdf provided? $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers May 24 '18 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ "According to the APA: Gender is based on culture and varies by place and time" That is a quote from the pdf not APA. The APA stance on gender is at apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers May 24 '18 at 5:19
  • $\begingroup$ Related: psychology.stackexchange.com/q/9737 $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers May 24 '18 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris i read an article that referenced material from APA and AAP, and I got myself turned around. thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$ – Adam Heeg May 24 '18 at 11:09

I hope I am qualified to answer this question. I am not a psychologist but have worked with transgender persons in volunteering positions a number of times and am fairly well researched on the topic.

The biggest key point as I have studied simply is based on health outcomes as opposed to comparing this to mental illness.

This page talks about the practical health outcomes of the treatments. Individuals who identify as transgender already often suffer from a variety of issues that reduce both their quality of life and in some cases health. These can include developing mental disorders if they do not get treatment and even self harm or suicide. Overall most of the linked studies in that article showed that the benefits largely outweighed the risks in an overall health decision.

Now you imply that other treatments are used for most conditions which have effects on mental health, usually either "talking cures" or medications. The difference being in almost all cases these treatments are ineffective or even make the situation worse in transgender individuals.

I cannot find a study to link to this which is publicly available right now but in short, treating transgender individuals with treatments used for mental illness usually makes the condition worse. In many cases it causes additional depressive disorders to form as well as long term self image problems and self hatred, as well as increasing the risks of self harm or suicide.

So in summary, it is not to say the treatments used for transgender persons are risk free, but merely that they are better than the alternatives both of doing nothing and of trying to use a purely psychiatric method to treat. As both of those tend to make the condition gradually worse and no other treatments are known which produce a consistent improvement.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. You provided a solid answer with a great link which provides the research to back everything up $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Aug 15 at 5:24

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