By Professor Dianna Kenny, PhD
In this article, I address key issues in the transgender debate as they pertain to children and young people. These include: Are “gender transition treatments” safe, “curative” and in the child’s best interest? In considering these questions, I explore the known negative consequences of puberty suppression and cross-sex hormones, including infertility and other medical conditions and the purported increase in suicidality without treatment. Can children and young people give truly informed consent to these interventions? What role should parents play in decision-making? On what basis are decisions made to proceed to gender transition? Are the foundations of such decisions logical and scientific? and What social forces are at play in this decision-making process?
- Safety: Does the current scientific evidence support a conclusion that the administration of Gender Transition Treatment (social transition, puberty blocking agents and cross-sex hormones) can be safe for children and adolescents?
The metabolic implications of cross-sex hormone administration and the health effects of hormone manipulation on the bone, muscle, cardiovascular risk, cognition, and quality of life are not well understood (de Souza et al., 2017). Most of the research on health risks of cross-sex hormones have been undertaken on MTF (male‐to‐female) as compared to FTM (female-to-male) transsexuals. This has resulted in insufficient research on the effects of testosterone on FTMs (Newfield, Hart, Dibble, & Kohler, 2006). However, the effects of cross-sex hormones are not neutral for either group, as the literature surveyed below indicates.