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US Doctors And Health Professionals Lead First Major Medical Pushback Against Sex Change Operations In Children — All About It

Swarajya Staff

Jun 08, 2024, 02:00 PM | Updated 02:00 PM IST

Members of ACPeds and other US medical organisations during a press conference (Pic Via Twitter)
Members of ACPeds and other US medical organisations during a press conference (Pic Via Twitter)

In a first major pushback against sex change operations in children, a group of paediatricians and other health care professionals representing medical organisations across the US have signed the 'Doctors Protecting Children Declaration'.

The signatories of the Declaration have urged prominent American medical institutions to halt current harmful protocols promoted for children and adolescents who express discomfort with their biological sex.

The declaration has been authored by the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), and it has already been co-signed by various medical and health organisations across the US.

The Declaration calls on “the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to adhere to evidence-based research and utilize comprehensive evaluations and therapies for youth with gender dysphoria".

Gender dysphoria is a term used to describe a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and their 'gender identity'.

"As physicians, together with nurses, psychotherapists and behavioral health clinicians, other health professionals, scientists, researchers, and public health and policy professionals, we have serious concerns about the physical and mental health effects of the current protocols promoted for the care of children and adolescents in the United States who express discomfort with their biological sex," the document said.

The declaration affirms that sex is a dimorphic, innate trait defined in relation to an organism’s biological role in reproduction.

In humans, primary sex determination occurs at fertilisation and is directed by a complement of sex determining genes on the X and Y chromosomes, it said, adding that this genetic signature is present in every nucleated somatic cell in the body and is not altered by drugs or surgical interventions.

"Consideration of these innate differences is critical to the practice of good medicine and to the development of sound public policy for children and adults alike," the document said.

It added that 'Gender ideology', the view that sex (male and female) is inadequate and that humans need to be further categorised based on an individual’s thoughts and feelings described as “gender identity” or “gender expression”, does not accommodate the reality of these innate sex differences.

This leads to the inaccurate view that children can be born in the wrong body, the document said, adding that  gender ideology seeks to affirm thoughts, feelings and beliefs, with puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries that harm healthy bodies, rather than affirm biological reality.

"Medical decision making should not be based upon an individual’s thoughts and feelings, as in “gender identity” or “gender expression”, but rather should be based upon an individual’s biological sex," it said.

Medical decision making should respect biological reality and the dignity of the person by compassionately addressing the whole person, according to the document.

The declaration notes that most children and adolescents whose thoughts and feelings do not align with their biological sex will resolve those incongruencies after experiencing normal puberty.

It cites studies showing high desistance rates among gender dysphoric children, suggesting that medical interventions may not be necessary or beneficial in many cases.

The declaration also criticises current medical protocols in US for gender dysphoria, arguing that they are based on flawed research and can be harmful.

It raises concerns about the long-term effects of social affirmation, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries on physical and mental health, including potential sterility and other serious risks.

The declaration calls on medical professional organizations in the United States to follow the science and their European colleagues and stop promoting social affirmation, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for children and adolescents experiencing distress over their biological sex.

Instead, it recommends comprehensive evaluations and therapies aimed at identifying and addressing underlying psychological co-morbidities.

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