Quackery | 1799 © Wellcome Library, London

Monday, American College of Pediatricians, a small anti-LGBT hate group, is promoting a letter to the Endocrine Society written by ACPeds’ usual coterie of pious crackpots defending the faith. They do not like the fact that the Endocrine Society supports gender-affirmative care for gender dysphoric children.

The cranks, in signatory order:

  1. Michael K. Laidlaw is a Rocklin, CA physician with no board certifications. Laidlaw specializes in the treatment of diabetes and metabolic disorders. He does not treat people with gender dysphoria. Nor is he qualified to do so. Laidlaw is a Knight Templar in defense of the Church.
  2. Quentin L. Van Meter is an “expert” that conservative Christians adore. Van Meter is, indeed, a board certified endocrinologist. He specializes in the treatment of juvenile diabetes. He is not a board certified psychiatrist. whatever experience he has with gender dysphoria is limited to not dispensing puberty blockers and hormones. Van Meter is president of ACPeds.
  3. Paul W. Hruz is an endocrinologist in St. Louis. According to court records regarding Hruz’ competency as an expert witness: Dr. Hruz admits that he has not treated any transgender patients, patients with gender dysphoria, conducted peer-reviewed research about gender identity, transgender people, or gender dysphoria; and is not a psychiatrist, a psychologist, nor mental health care provider of any kind, who could speak knowledgeably about the effects [of the condition].
  4. Andre Van Mol, out of Redding California, is board certified in family medicine. Van Mol refers to gender dysphoric children as “sexually confused minors” which is right out of the Vatican’s propaganda machine. Van Mol is co-chair of ACPeds and has contributed anti-transgender tirades to conservative Catholic outlets. He confuses gender dysphoria (a condition) with being transgender (a form of mitigation).
  5. William J. Malone is a board certified internist practicing out of a Catholic hospital in Idaho. He has a sub-specialty certification in endocrinology and treats diabetes and metabolic disorders. He has no experience with juvenile gender dysphoria.

None of the above are mental health practitioners and none have treated people with gender dysphoria. All five are warriors for the faith which they preference over medical science. None of these people are qualified to diagnose gender dysphoria.

THE Letter:

The first claim is that gender dysphoria has become an issue for endocrinologists. They point out some of the undesirable side effects of hormones which they incorrectly group with puberty blockers.

They actually cut against their own cause. That is unless they think that endocrinologists are sinister practitioners who hide potential side effects from patients and their parents. That is not the case and people are choosing the risks over suffering.

They will assume the risk by choosing gender confirming care. Initially that might involve puberty blockers and ultimately (in later teen years) hormones. By the time a youth receives hormonal treatment there exists no doubt about their sexuality. The five cranks attempt to sew confusion with doubt.

Exactly as written:

There is no laboratory, imaging, or other other objective tests to diagnose a “true transgender” child.

They are confusing gender dysphoria with being transgender — condition vs. mitigation. Of course there is no way to diagnose a transgender child. However, trained mental health professionals can objectively diagnose gender dysphoria and its severity. There is no laboratory or imaging to diagnose most mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, PTSD and even schizophrenia. A psychiatrist checks mental status by observing appearance and demeanor and asking about thoughts, moods, fears and so on.

They follow this disingenuous nonsense with the misleading claim that 61% to 98% of children outgrow the condition. They know perfectly well that the studies yielding these percentages are very dated and inapplicable.

Dr. Kristina Olson at University of Washington is one of the nation’s leading experts on trans youth. According to her peer-reviewed research those desistance rates apply to kids who were never transgender in the first place. The desistance percentage of kids on puberty blockers is minuscule. Should they desist they would stop puberty blockers and experience puberty.

Think about how miserable a child must be to effect a social transition. He or she knows that they will be the object of intense ridicule. The relief that they obtain from gender affirmation outweighs their concern for derision and mockery. Speaking of research, none of the five doctors writing this letter can produce their own peer-reviewed research on gender dysphoria.

They conclude this letter by calling for “hypothesis-driven randomize controlled clinical trials.” Please. All of the medications that transgender people receive have been subjected to clinical trials for efficacy and safety. The potential side effects are well documented. What is it that they seek to achieve?

Religion vs. Medical Science:

The simple fact is that these five doctors have a religious objection to gender affirmation which is why they are trying to discredit puberty blockers and hormones. Their objection is based on a passage in Genesis where God created men and women. They are not only attempting to discredit treatment; they cannot accept that gender is a separate construct from natal sex. They are dishonestly trying to pass off their religious objection as scientific concern. In a word their letter is bullshit.

A hate group — American College of Pediatricians — brings these people together. They then claim that psychotherapy can cure gender dysphoria citing 2012 research by Canadian psychologist, Dr. Kenneth Zucker. Zucker has been a moving target. By 2008 he claimed that he did not believe that his reparative therapy was the right thing for all gender dysphoric children. Zucker once supported gay conversion therapy. Now he claims not to support it at all.

Activist conclusions:

My activist conclusion is based on having read a veritable mountain of research. Most children with gender dysphoria will never become transgender because their condition is not severe enough to warrant gender confirmation. They will, indeed, grow out of the condition and would probably do so with or without Dr. Zucker’s intervention. Zucker is not a psychiatrist.

A small percentage of those gender dysphoric children are severely affected by the condition and there is no intervention that will prevent them from confirming their gender. That is why Zucker, over the past dozen years or so, has been selective. Zucker is a smart guy and he is not a sociopath. He is a liberal agnostic Jew. He seems to be evolving.

Getting back to the letter written by the five Christian warriors, none of them has the experience or training to diagnose gender dysphoria or to gauge its severity. Those kids who are severely affected require gender affirming care. That has become not only the opinion of the Endocrine Society but of every mainstream healthcare professional organization. Most recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed what they call the gender affirming care model. Their position is based on a substantial amount of research.

What I know to an absolute certainty is that religion has no place in diagnosing or treating a medical condition. Moreover, the treatment of gender dysphoria is not turning cisgender kids into transgender kids. The five crackpots need to give some credit to the mental health profession to properly evaluate gender dysphoric children. The five will not because that would deteriorate their defense of the faith.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.