The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) subtly revalidated its 2018 policy endorsing gender treatments for minors recently, amidst a growing trend of states banning such practices. Yet, in an unexpected twist, the preeminent pediatric group also called for a comprehensive review of medical research underpinning these treatments.
Critics have labeled this move a potential "game-changer," given the AAP's previous reluctance to review the research supporting such interventions.
Medical professionals critical of minors undergoing gender treatments lauded the AAP's decision for a thorough review, but simultaneously reproached the academy for persistently endorsing these treatments before the conclusion of the research investigation.
Dr. Gordon Guyatt, a clinical epidemiologist and physician from McMaster University, took issue with the AAP's endorsement of such treatments without robust proof of their safety, referring to it as a classic case of "putting the cart before the horse."
He pointed to European countries that adjusted their policies after scrutinizing the existing research. As per recent reports, the NHS has declared it will not offer puberty-blocking drugs to children at gender identity clinics routinely, citing the need for more evidence regarding potential benefits and risks.
Dr. Guyatt expressed his belief to The New York Times that the AAP would most likely unearth low-quality evidence supporting pediatric gender care, indicating that European policies better align with the available evidence.
Leo Sapir, a fellow researching transgender care at the Manhattan Institute, stated that similar investigations in Europe found the studies often cited to back these medical interventions were unreliable, and the risks potentially severe.
Despite the criticism, the AAP defended its decision to maintain the existing policy during the review. Mark Del Monte, the Chief Executive, argued that the current evidence sufficiently supported the policy, but agreed additional detail could prove beneficial.
This move by the AAP to delve deeper into the evidence has been hailed by some as a critical turning point in the contentious debate over healthcare policy. Dr. Julia Mason, an Oregon-based pediatrician advocating for an AAP-commissioned systematic review on gender treatments since 2020, expressed her satisfaction at the group finally taking action, conceding, "We are making strong recommendations based on weak evidence,” Fox News reported.