Kids are not experiments. When a child is struggling, they need compassionate care – not experimental hormones and surgery.TAKE ACTION NOW
Imagine that your daughter says she feels like she was born in the wrong body, that she is actually a boy. Perhaps she really has developed these feelings on her own, or perhaps she’s adopted this mindset after hearing about it online or at school. However this started, though, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare: your child is struggling, and you feel powerless to help her. You’re at the mercy of medical professionals – who are in turn at the mercy of the American Medical Association (a largely political organization) and their elected officials.
Because of this power structure, when your child visits a therapist or another medical professional, your child may be referred for radical, experimental, and life-altering “treatments.” This could include using medication off-label in order to stop the natural progression of puberty. From there, adolescents can be placed on cross-sex hormones (far above naturally occurring levels) and even (eventually) referred for mutilating surgeries that remove or severely alter healthy body parts. For parents, this is especially concerning because in many states, these referrals and even the “treatment” itself can happen without parents’ consent or even without their knowledge.
And there’s a deeper problem. No amount of surgeries, puberty blockers, or cross-sex hormones will heal a hurting heart – and, in fact, these “treatments” may leave behind scars both physical and emotional.
A young girl who feels she is a boy – or a boy who feels he is a girl – may feel that way for any number of reasons. Perhaps she feels she doesn’t fit in socially with other girls, and would fit in better if she were a boy. Perhaps she is generally uncomfortable in her body or with the changes it’s going through, and she is reacting to that in a similar way to someone who, for example, has an eating disorder. She may have heard teachers talk about identifying as transgender in school, or watched videos online about transitioning, and that led her to believe it was a solution to the depression or anxiety she faced. Or, she may have more organically developed these feelings as a child.
Whatever the cause, one thing is crystal clear: a child who believes she must alter her body in order to be comfortable in it is a child who is deeply hurting.
The last thing we should do? Hurt her even more.
Possible side effects and outcomes of transitioning as “treatment” include:
- Permanent changes to voice
- Increased risk of cardiovascular problems and osteoporosis
- Loss of ability to experience pleasurable sensation during intercourse
- Scarring and irreversible changes from surgeries
- Continued mental health issues
When a child is struggling to accept his or her biological sex, transgender activists will send that child a message to “be yourself.” In reality it’s a message that says:
“Be Yourself” EXCEPT …
CHANGEyour body chemistry makeup
or amputate healthy body parts
CHANGEyour appearance with surgery
Kids aren’t ready to make big, life-altering decisions. That’s why we don’t let kids get tattoos, consume alcohol, or smoke cigarettes. Kids can’t even buy cough syrup over the counter.
WHY WOULD WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO STOP PUBERTY, TAKE CROSS-SEX HORMONES, FACE POTENTIAL STERILITY, AND EVEN PREPARE TO PERMANENTLY AMPUTATE OR ALTER HEALTHY BODY PARTS?
The answer may lie in the fact that activist groups with an agenda have influenced and politicized medical organizations like the American Medical Association. In a race to be politically correct, such organizations have missed the first duty of medicine: do no harm.
Adding insult to injury, transition as a form of “treatment” for minors is experimental. The puberty blockers being prescribed to children are being used off-label: they were meant to treat precocious puberty in young children, not to stop the normal progression of puberty in adolescents. We do not have robust evidence about the long-term effects of transition on minors. And, only recently have stories of “detransitioners” come forward – that is, stories of those who transitioned, then changed their minds. Many of these individuals face long-term physical and psychosocial consequences from “transitioning,” including those who transitioned in their youth.
In ongoing litigation, one UK court has pointed out the unlikelihood that a young teenager could truly give informed consent and “weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.” — We agree.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
We’re here to speak the truth.
Body dysmorphia is real and unimaginably painful.
Depression, anxiety, and any number of other mental health challenges are real.
The awkwardness of puberty and the social dynamics of adolescence are undeniably frustrating.
For every one of these challenges, children need compassion and, often, a good counselor. But telling children to alter their bodies radically and irreversibly is not an answer to any of these challenges. It’s a dangerous experiment, and it must stop now.
Introducing the SAFE Act
In 2021, Arkansas became the first state to legally protect minors from harmful gender transition procedures including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilating surgeries. Tennessee also passed a version of these protections in 2021.
Now, it’s time for other states to follow suit. Our vision is that this kind of dangerous intervention would become unthinkable across the United States – and at the same time, that hurting children and their parents would be able to receive real help and counseling to help them live as healthy and whole people.
You can help make this a reality. TAKE ACTION NOW: Sign our petition asking lawmakers across the nation to protect children! Your voice can make a real difference, so please act now and then spread the word!
Additionally, when you sign up here, we’ll send you opportunities to contact elected officials, keep you in the loop about the latest developments, and give you ways to share your voice with your sphere of influence. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference – and be sure to share with your friends!
The Arkansas bill was passed in large part thanks to the work of House bill sponsor Rep. Robin Lundstrum (an alumna of our Statesmen Academy for lawmakers), and our friend Jerry Cox and his team at the Arkansas Family Council. We are grateful for their work. Watch this video with Family Policy Alliance CEO Craig DeRoche to meet Rep. Lundstrum and Jerry Cox, and to learn more about the SAFE Act!
Our vision is that every child would get to experience being seen, loved, and cared for as a whole person – that they would not be reduced to the way they feel about their body. We firmly believe that in the process of being loved and seen wholly, people begin to be able to live more wholly.
To that end, we believe that children should absolutely get the help they need when they find themselves wishing they had a different body. Thankfully, we know that the vast majority of children (80-95%) who are currently struggling will come to reconcile with their biological sex by adulthood if they aren’t pushed to transition. And, especially for those who are struggling the most (whether because of dysphoria or because of another underlying mental health or psychosocial challenge), we believe that counseling to work through challenges should absolutely be encouraged.
Author Ryan Anderson points out that, “More than four decades of experience in treating children with discordant gender identity is the basis for the course of treatment.
Treatment could include:
- Individual play psychotherapy for the child 1
- Counseling and guidance for parents 1
- If the child has other psychiatric struggles, appropriate psychotropic medication 1
- Other appropriate care based upon the patient’s physical, mental, and spiritual needs
1Adapted from Ryan Anderson, When Harry Became Sally, p. 140
HELP US PROTECT CHILDREN!
Every day, we are working with allies at the national and state levels to protect children from dangerous transgender interventions. Currently, only two states protect children against these interventions. That must change. Will you partner with us?
Every amount, whether $100, $50, or even $25, will make a difference toward protecting children and ensuring they are offered real treatment, not transition.
SPREAD THE WORD
Want to help spread a message of hope and healing – and help combat dangerous experiments on our kids? Share these images on social media. We’ve suggested captions, but feel free to use your own!
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When children are struggling to embrace their biological sex, our first instinct should be compassionate care and helping them embrace their God-given body. Instead, kids are given hormones and surgery. Let’s change that. #HelpNotHarm familypolicyalliance.com/help-not-harm
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Kids struggling to embrace their God-given bodies need real care. Yet activists have so politicized medicine that instead of treatment, kids receive harmful hormones & surgeries. Reminder: the first duty of medicine is “do no harm.” #HelpNotHarm familypolicyalliance.com/help-not-harm
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Kids are not experiments. When a child is struggling to embrace their biological sex, they need compassionate care – not experimental hormones and surgery. Stand with me in the fight to #HelpNotHarm. Our kids deserve better. familypolicyalliance.com/help-not-harm
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Just a few of the possible side effects of transitioning: sterilization, permanent voice changes, cardiovascular problems. Let’s offer our kids compassionate #HelpNotHarm. Learn more: familypolicyalliance.com/help-not-harm
Frequently Asked Questions About Gender Dysphoria and Minor Transition
Answers reviewed and endorsed by the Christian Medical & Dental Associations
I’ve heard some say that they would medically recommend transition as treatment for people who identify as transgender. Why do you disagree?
Where to begin? There are at least three key reasons we disagree:
- “Transitioning” often ignores underlying causes of or comorbidities to gender dysphoria. For example, a child may have suffered abuse or had a strained relationship with a parent, and that ultimately contributed to them desiring to transition. That same source may have led to other mental health struggles, as well. Transition doesn’t treat that trauma that caused the struggle in the first place. It doesn’t treat the mental health comorbidities (depression, anxiety, etc.). It provides hormones and maybe surgery. That’s not a treatment: that’s a bill of goods.
- The organizations pushing transition as a form of treatment do not base these recommendations in solid science. Instead, they’re based on ideology. This is a rare area of medicine where the doctor is expected to affirm the patient’s self-diagnosis and soon thereafter put them on their chosen treatment plan. For further reading on this topic, we recommend Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage.
- There has not been adequate research on the use of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones. And, what we do know is concerning (see question 2 below).
Some people have said that puberty blockers are just like “pressing the pause button” on puberty, and adolescents can choose to reverse course at any time. Is that true?
It’s a half-truth at best. For starters, puberty blockers are being used off-label: they were designed to briefly halt precocious puberty in very young children, not stop the natural progression of puberty in adolescents. Moreover, in at least one study, nearly 100% of children who started puberty blockers with the possibility of cross-sex hormones actually went on cross-sex hormones. So, while it might be possible to stop puberty blockers (and we think that those who are on them SHOULD stop their use), the reality is that children are pushed to “take the next step” and go on cross-sex hormones. It’s a one-way street.
We also have concerns about the long-term damage of both puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Most people are aware that the adolescent years are associated with the final growth spurt for both boys and girls. There is some preliminary evidence that delaying puberty may decrease the growth spurt and thus limit the height the person would have otherwise achieved. Another concern is the increase in incidence of osteoporosis later in life. The time in our lives when the greatest concentration of calcium is put into our bones is during adolescence. Stopping puberty will stop that process and there is no evidence that the normal calcium deposition is regained once puberty is re-started.
For those who go on to cross-sex hormones, side effects relate to changes in the body’s secondary sex characteristics. Once these effects begin, there is no reversing them. For instance, girls taking testosterone will notice a deepening voice and increased hair growth after a few months. These changes are permanent. The changes become more pronounced with the length of use of the cross-sex hormones. Every person is different as to how quickly the changes occur.
What about very small children – three or four years old – who already know they identify as the opposite sex? What can we do for them?
First off, it’s important to remember that very young children are still just beginning to understand the concept of sex differentiation, as well as their sense of self. To presume that a child this young knows for certain that they want to live as the opposite sex – and eventually pursue medical changes to that effect – is deeply concerning. It is ascribing adult thought processes to young children who are just beginning to understand basic things about themselves and their surroundings. Children are far from ready (and capable) to consent to these sorts of life-altering decisions, and we should not expect them to make such decisions.
It’s important to remember that many children don’t necessarily enjoy the same things as other children of the same sex, and may even prefer activities of the opposite sex. For example, a young girl may enjoy being outside rather than playing with dolls. She may become known as a tom-boy. This is normal and transitory – and very different than true gender dysphoria.
However, there are cases where a young child will truly suffer from gender dysphoria. In these cases, there are at least two important things to remember. First, 80 to 95 percent of children struggling to accept their birth sex will come to reconcile with it by adulthood – provided, of course, that they aren’t pushed to “transition.” Many of these children don’t need any intervention at all. However, for those that do, general supportive talk therapy can be an excellent option.
I’ve never heard of a child pursuing transgender surgery. Why do you recommend laws that prevent that?
Thankfully, it is often the case that a minor (under 18) will not get a referral for a transgender surgery. However, such cases do exist. There are places in the United States that will perform these kinds of surgeries for minors in certain circumstances. That is a tragedy, and should not be the case. Not only are the surgeries themselves incredibly harmful, but minors CANNOT provide meaningful informed consent for these kinds of life-altering decisions.
Even in places where surgeries for minors are not occurring, we think it is important to proactively prevent them. No minor should ever be subjected to this politicized medicine, and where we can we hope to stop the problem before it starts.
What is the impact of NOT transitioning on mental health and suicide?
All of the studies that purport to show that suicide is lessened by treatment are either flawed in several ways or have been debunked. So, there is no solid data that treatment with either puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or surgery reduces the risk of suicide. In fact, there might be growing evidence that those things actually increase the risk.
On the flip side, we know that many patients with gender dysphoria also suffer in other ways with their mental health. As we stated above, we cannot ignore those comorbidities and the role they play in overall mental health outcomes and suicide. Both gender dysphoria AND its comorbidities can be successfully treated with supportive emotional and psychological therapy. Sadly, 20 states have banned this kind of basic talk therapy, casting it as “conversion therapy” – a misnomer, as no such therapy exists among legitimate professionals. Talk therapy should be widely available to children who struggle to embrace their biological sex. Banning talk therapy truly is denying children access to critical mental health care.
I heard about a brain scan study proving someone was the opposite sex. Can you address that?
There is no credible study showing documented differences within the brain to the point that a CAT scan, MRI, or PET scan of the brain can verify that a person is transgender. There is lots of individual variation within these scans. Someone may have something in common with a “typical” member of the opposite sex – that does not mean that they are the opposite sex. Every brain is unique.
For further reading on this and related topics, we recommend Ryan Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally.
If someone has an intersex condition, how would you handle that?
Intersex disorders – which are exceedingly rare – differ from a person identifying as transgender in that intersex disorders are medically verifiable by tests, whereas identifying as transgender is something that’s simply self-asserted. Intersex disorders are true medical problems that at times may be life-threatening. Contrary to some faulty assertions, intersex disorders are not proof of a gender spectrum. Rather they are disorders that affect an individual’s secondary sex characteristics and that require accepted medical (and sometimes surgical) treatment which has been developed over the past several decades.
Struggling with gender dysphoria can absolutely be serious, too – that’s why we care so much. However, gender dysphoria is distinct from “identifying as transgender” – and treatment for gender dysphoria is psychological in nature, not medical.
What about kids already on puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones? What happens to them under the SAFE Act or similar proposals?
Under laws like Arkansas’s SAFE Act, children are protected from puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. That includes minors who have already used them. That is a good thing: no minor should be subjected to this as a form of “treatment.” The discontinuation of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones should be conducted under the care of a licensed physician. There appears to be some evidence that slowly weaning off cross-sex hormones will lessen the emotional liability that often occurs with large hormonal swings.
Have questions? Want to learn more about positive solutions on this issue? Check out these resources: