Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sadly She Has It Wrong

There are reasons why the medical community backs children transitioning, it is because there is strong medical research that shows it reduces negative outcomes. There is research that shows it reduces suicidal idealizations, self-harm, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Transgender kids: Who decides?
By Margaret Wente
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Whenever I write about transgender issues, I get dismayed e-mails from grandparents, other relatives or family friends. They tell me that a child or teenager in the family has declared that he or she identifies as transgender. The parents are determined to do what’s right. Now Pete is transitioning to Sue, or vice versa, and the relatives don’t know what to do. Something feels terribly wrong to them about all this. But enlightened opinion is all on the other side. The media are on the other side. The experts are on the other side. Not only that, they’re told that trans kids are at extremely high risk of suicide, and that if they don’t transition they might die.

Now there’s help. A new BBC documentary, Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?, offers a thoughtful and nuanced view of the “gender-affirmative” approach that has swept society. Its focus is on Canada, regarded as one of the most progressive nations in the world for trans rights. Canada is where Ken Zucker, one of the world’s leading experts on child and adolescent dysphoria, was fired for not being progressive enough.

The activists believe that children’s expressions of gender identity should automatically be taken at face value. Simply put, the children know best. This is now the mainstream view, celebrated in the media, endorsed by progressive politicians, vigorously embraced by our school systems and robustly promoted by a growing number of medical practitioners who do not hesitate to prescribe powerful, life-altering drugs to adolescents and teenagers. Countless parents who would never feed their kid a peanut have now been persuaded to make drastic social and biomedical decisions that will irrevocably alter their child’s life.
That might be true if it was that simple, but there is extensive therapy that the child and the parents go through before the child transitions. WPATH Standard of Care v7 has a whole section on treatment for children and adolescents. They first discuss the requirements for the therapists and assessment of the child,
Competency of Mental Health Professionals Working with Children or Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria
The following are recommended minimum credentials for mental health professionals who assess, refer, and offer therapy to children and adolescents presenting with gender dysphoria:
  1. Meet the competency requirements for mental health professionals working with adults, as outlined in section VII;
  2. Trained in childhood and adolescent developmental psychopathology;
  3. Competent in diagnosing and treating the ordinary problems of children and adolescents.

Psychological Assessment of Children and Adolescents
When assessing children and adolescents who present with gender dysphoria, mental health professionals should broadly conform to the following guidelines:
  1. Mental health professionals should not dismiss or express a negative attitude towards nonconforming gender identities or indications of gender dysphoria. Rather, they should acknowledge the presenting concerns of children, adolescents, and their families; offer a thorough assessment for gender dysphoria and any coexisting mental health concerns; and educate clients and their families about therapeutic options, if needed. Acceptance, and alleviation of secrecy, can bring considerable relief to gender dysphoric children/adolescents and their families.
  2. Assessment of gender dysphoria and mental health should explore the nature and characteristics of a child’s or adolescent’s gender identity. A psychodiagnostic and psychiatric assessment—covering the areas of emotional functioning, peer and other social relationships, and intellectual functioning/school achievement—should be performed. Assessment should include an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of family functioning. Emotional and behavioral problems are relatively common, and unresolved issues in a child’s or youth’s environment may be present (de Vries, Doreleijers, Steensma, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2011; Di Ceglie & Thümmel, 2006; Wallien et al., 2007).
  3. For adolescents, the assessment phase should also be used to inform youth and their families about the possibilities and limitations of different treatments. This is necessary for informed consent, but also important for assessment. The way that adolescents respond to information about the reality of sex reassignment can be diagnostically informative. Correct information may alter a youth’s desire for certain treatment, if the desire was based on unrealistic expectations of its possibilities.
The SOC then goes into great detail how a child should transition, including social transition where there is no drug or any other permanent treatment intervention.

The article goes on to say,
What’s shocking about the push to transition kids is that most of the time, the kids grow out of it. By adolescence, the majority – studies average around 80 per cent, according to the documentary – reconcile with their birth gender. Many turn out to be gay. In one follow-up study of 139 boys treated at Dr. Zucker’s clinic, 88 per cent eventually “desisted.” Not surprisingly, these statistics make trans activists profoundly uncomfortable.
But that study has been found to be lacking. Among the comments about the study is that Dr. Zucker included children who didn’t meet diagnostic criterial for gender dysphoria in children so of course he found a high number of desistance in his study.

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