Wes Allen
It seems safe to assume that
Alabama Rep. Wesley Allen is

not a physician.

That headline is not hyperbolic. Making physicians criminally liable for pediatric gender transition is going to kill children.

Alabama HB1 is titled Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act which is infuriating. The measure — in a nuts’ shell — makes gender transition care a felony. In other words, they want to imprison doctors for adhering to the Clinical Practice Guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The bill does not have to pass to do harm. The introduction of bills like this creates a controversy that should not exist. It creates the potential for further repression of trans kids, particularly in a Bible Belt state like Alabama.

The prime sponsor appears to be Rep. Wesley Allen. It is safe to assume that Mr. Allen is not a physician. I sent this miscreant an email. In retrospect I could have been more diplomatic.

Legislators are accountant, plumbers, lawyers and real estate agents. I become undiplomatic when plumbers, lawyers and real estate agents presume to have the skills and training to treat gender-diverse children.

The natural assumption is that these people — warriors for Christ — place a premium on defending scripture. If kids die or are tortured with distress, such is the price of piety.

Denying suffering kids puberty blockers, for example, will cause them to develop natal sex characteristics. Trans boys will develop breast tissue. Trans girls will develop a prominent male Adam’s apple.

The emotional health of transgender kids correlates directly to the extent to which they present as their gender. According to the bill:

The long-term effects and safety of the
administration of puberty blocking medications and cross-sex
hormones to gender incongruent children have not been
rigorously studied. Absent rigorous studies showing their
long-term safety and positive benefits, their continued3 administration to children constitutes dangerous and
uncontrolled human medical experimentation that may result in
grave and irreversible consequences to their physical and
mental health.

This seems to be standard boilerplate, possibly the “artwork” of Alliance Defending Freedom — an anti-LGBTQ hate group. It is also a deliberate half-truth. It is true that there should be more research regarding the long term effects of puberty blockers for gender incongruent children.

However, the safety of puberty blockers has been studied for over 20 years. Lupron, for example, was approved by the FDA in 1998. It has been used to treat conditions like precocious puberty, endometriosis prostate cancer and a number of other conditions. It has been proven safe and effective.

The fact that puberty blockers are prescribed “off label” to trans adolescents does not alter the safety profile. About 25% of all prescriptions are off label. This is permitted because the FDA trusts the judgment of prescribers.

Which raises the question of precisely who should make these decisions for the treatment of a life endangering condition? Qualified clinicians or plumbers, accountant, lawyers and real estate agents?

About a year ago, Dr. Jack Turban (then at Harvard; now a fellow at Stanford) and colleagues authored Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation. Published to the robustly peer-reviewed Pediatrics. In brief, the benefits of providing puberty blockers far outweigh any concerns.

Contacting Rep. Allen is probably pointless. However, contacting AL.com might be worthwhile.

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