Children who exhibit the first physical signs of puberty may be prescribed puberty blockers and other forms of so-called “gender-affirming care,” according to new guidelines produced by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
The organization provides guidance to hospitals and other healthcare facilities regarding trans health.
The new standards of care, which differ from previous editions of WPATH’s recommendations, remove the explicitly stated minimum ages for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Effectively, children as young as nine could be prescribed with sex hormones if they identify as transgender.
Surgery can then be considered once a child has been on “gender-affirming hormone therapy” for at least 12 months, “if required.” The surgical procedures include vaginoplasty, hysterectomy and mastectomy.
The Standards of Care Version 8 claims that there “may be a benefit for some adolescents” in having their breasts or genitalia removed, the Telegraph reported.
The only genital surgery with an explicit age limitation is phalloplasty, which extracts skin grafts from various parts of the body to create a phallus-like appendage for girls who identify as boys.
“Given the complexity of phalloplasty, and current high rates of complications in comparison to other gender-affirming surgical treatments, it is not recommended this surgery be considered in youth under 18 at this time,” the WPATH recommendation states.
The guidance suggests that parental consent for minors who wish to obtain such medical interventions is recommended, but not required. Instead, WPATH recommends for the state to intervene if a parent refuses to affirm their child’s transgender identity.
The previous recommendations recommended puberty blockers for children as soon as puberty hits, and hormones at the “age of majority,” which is 16 in most European countries. The guidelines, which were last updated in 2011, previously recommended surgeries from the age of 18 onward.
Previous versions of the guidelines have been used by Britain’s National Health Service, including the soon-to-be-shuttered Tavistock clinic, and various hospitals in the United States that have come under public scrutiny in recent weeks following a surge of interest in so-called “gender-affirming” treatments on social media.
Presently in the U.K., minors under the age of 16 can only be given puberty blockers with parental consent and the consultation of a panel of experts.
As detailed by the Telegraph, the WPATH guidance was authored by a committee including Susie Green, the CEO of the pro-transgender advocacy organization, Mermaids, who has “no known medical experience.”
The Daily Wire reported:
The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), an international group of over 100 clinicians and researchers, responded to the 8th Edition early draft in a critique in January 2022, citing the potential for harm due to their lack of methodological rigor and very low-quality evidence.
WPATH says that their guidelines were written “based on available evidence,” but cite flawed, cherry-picked studies to support their conclusions. “The current description of the literature betrays a strong bias toward studies promoting social and medical transition,” said SEGM.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in July that puberty blockers can cause brain swelling and vision loss in children prescribed with the drugs. Their findings run contrary to the claims by transgender activists that puberty blockers are “fully reversible” and pose no dangerous side effects.
The FDA warned that the puberty blockers known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) have shown to have an association with pseudotumor cerebri, which exhibits symptoms similar to a brain tumor and has been identified in six girls between the ages of five and 12, five of whom were undergoing treatment for precocious puberty, and one for transgender care.