October 27, 2011
Gainesville, Florida – October 27, 2011 – The American College of Pediatricians (The College) is alarmed by the increasingly prevalent and unscientific trend to treat Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in children as an inborn trait rather than as the treatable psychological condition it is. GID in children is manifest as a strong desire to be the opposite sex, and/or the belief that he or she actually is the opposite sex.
The story of a California physician who prescribed hormone blockers to an 11 year old boy to delay the onset of puberty and allow him more time to “decide” his gender, recently made national headlines. The boy’s lesbian parents now call him Tammy instead of Tommy, and allow him to cross-dress. This is scientifically and ethically disturbing.
Puberty is not a disorder. Psychologically dissociating from your biological gender is. Hormone blocking agents induce a disease state (the absence of puberty) at a critical time in a child’s physical, emotional and mental development. Sex hormones not only trigger the development of secondary sex characteristics, but also influence the development of the adolescent brain. This likely explains why most GID children come to accept their biological gender during adolescence.
Children and adults with GID experience higher rates of psychological distress. However, when the impact of hormone therapy (HT) and sex reassignment surgery (SRS) was studied among adults, the individuals were found to be suffering from the same pre-treatment mental health disorders. Consequently, Johns Hopkins University shut down its premier program. When asked about blocking puberty in children Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry at John’s Hopkins remarked, “[GID] is a disorder of the mind. Not a disorder of the body. Dealing with it in this way is not dealing with the problem that truly exists.”
Dr. Kenneth Zucker is Psychologist-in-Chief at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, where he heads the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Zucker has treated over 500 children with GID. He has documented that therapy relieves psychopathology within the family and child, reduces peer social ostracism and results in the acceptance of the child’s birth sex in the vast majority of cases.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, Vice President of the College stated, “Physicians and therapists who embrace HT and SRS for children promote a political agenda not scientific advance. This is obvious once the euphemisms are shed: Chemical castration and the surgical mutilation of children is not ‘therapy.’ It is cold, calculated, institutionalized child abuse at the hands of those charged with healing.”
Additional information about Gender Identity Issues is available within this position statement prepared by the College.