idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Gbaji is arguing that the therapy is dangerous, because non-trans children might end up undergoing it and be subsequently damaged
I don't think that's a baseless assumption though. Given how people like to lock onto some things, it's not without of reach to see this as becoming the latest "hot diagnosis" and seeing children who never should have been put through the treatment, put through it. I'm not against it, I just urge caution.
It's a fairly common assumption by people who aren't well informed on how trans therapy works that overprotective/paranoid parents will force a non-trans child into trans therapy and scar them for life. It isn't baseless, no, it does happen, as in the book I mentioned, but it happens so rarely now that it is almost a non-issue, due to the way the doctors handle it, and the actual treatment itself.
It's not something that just any doctor can diagnose. It's not something you go to your general practitioner for. If a GP were to try to diagnose it without a proper understanding of how the therapy itself works, they would be a fool and probably liable for malpractice, thus the way it's typically handled is by finding and referring the parents to a specialist. And I don't just mean "a child psychologist", I mean a psychologist who specializes in, or at the very least has done a significant amount of research on, the study of gender.
It's also important to note that the way the treatment is handled, there is absolutely nothing permanent
done until the child is in their teens, by which point most people are comfortable enough with it to think the child should be allowed to choose. Even hormone blockers, which stop the onset of puberty, are not permanent. If a child were to stop taking them, even after several years, their body would readjust and begin normal puberty once the drugs worked their way out of the child's system. The only permanent changes occur after the child begins full hormone replacement therapy, ie; a male child receiving estrogen, or a female child receiving testosterone, and that doesn't typically start until, at the very youngest, 11~12 years of age, unless the doctor is clinically insane. It's far more common for the child to receive only hormone blockers until around 15~16, and simply live as the opposite sex, and THEN start full HRT if they're still certain it's what they want after several years (which is nearly always the case, and on the very rare occasion it isn't, the child simply ceases treatment and returns to living as their birth sex)
Basically, gbaji is expressing a fairly common, overly used, played out concern that is made worse by idiots like dr. phil spouting it and thinking they have some idea as to what they're talking about. It's a very assbackwards misunderstanding of how the treatment works, and what the repercussions are for a child who is trans not receiving it, vs a child who is not trans receiving it.
Here's a brief summary of what actually happens in transkid therapy:
- Child between age 3 and 10 expresses desire to be the opposite sex
- Worried parents ask the GP/Pediatrician, who refers them to a gender specialist
- Gender Specialist speaks with the child and determines whether or not the child is genuinely trans or just going through a phase; and yes, they do find kids who are just going through a phase, and those kids will not receive treatment
- If the child is genuinely trans, the doctor will help the parents come up with a way to allow the child to express themself properly. Typically, this is starts by allowing the child to live as the opposite sex while at home.
- Depending on the child's reaction to this, and their life circumstances (area they live in, age and school, other family members reactions), it will further develop, eventually reaching the point of living as the opposite sex full time
- Until the child is within a year of puberty's onset, this treatment is purely social. Also note that up to this point, the treatment allows
the child to live as the opposite sex. It does not force
them to. This lets the child develop their own unique level of gender expression, as obviously not all children will be complete girly girls or total borish boys. Many express some degree of interlap. Regardless of the interlap, though, even if the child is, for example, an incredibly masculine tomboy, the child still identifies as a member of the opposite sex. THAT is the key to the treatment. If the child does not have this, they probably aren't trans, and if this feeling weakens to the point of disappearing, the treatment will likely stop.
- At or near the onset of puberty, at the discretion of the parents and the doctor working the case, the child will start hormone blocking medication. This medication works by preventing the large surge of estrogen or testosterone that signals the start of puberty from taking effect. This will prevent the changes in body hair, significant alterations in bone structure, changes in voice pattern, etc. Essentially, these blockers prevent primary and secondary sexual characteristics from developing. In a child who has already begun puberty before they start taking them, they will prevent any further development of the characteristics, but they cannot reverse what has already happened.
- If the child has identified as the opposite sex for a long period of time, the parents and doctor may decide to begin the child on full hormone replacement early, by which I mean the child will have the pubertal changes of the opposite sex around the same time as their peers, rather than remaining primarily androgynous through their tweens and early teens. This usually only happens for children who have been undergoing trans therapy since they were 3~6 years old.
- If the child did not begin trans therapy until they were older, between 7~10, it is more likely they will simply stay on blockers until they are in their mid-late teens. Depending on the family and the doctor, they will start fully HRT around the time they start high school, so as to not fall significantly behind their peers. Some people will choose to wait until the child is 18, but that happens less and less frequently these days.
- At the point the child begins full HRT, if they are not already living full time as the opposite sex, it's normal for them to start, since it would be difficult to continue living as their birth sex while undergoing the pubertal changes of the opposite sex.
- Absolutely no reconstructive surgeries are done at any point throughout this process. Almost universally, those don't occur until after the child has turned 18, though there are a few notable exceptions, such as the case of Kim Petras.
Essentially, no matter how early the child starts the therapy, they have until they are 11 or 12 before anything permanent can even be done. They are never forced to become the opposite sex, they are allowed to act as accurately as they feel. It's common for them to pull a 180 initially, going hard core into being a girl or a boy, just because they haven't been allowed to prior to that point, but once they've been at it a while, they will stabilize and develop into what feels right for them. Usually, they continue the significant change in behavior to some degree, but there are exceptions.
I'm not saying caution shouldn't be used, but completely dismissing the entire treatment due to the effects it may have on less than 1% of its typical recipients is just silly. The effects of not giving a transkid proper treatment are far, far more devastating and common than the incredibly rare cases of ciskids who undergo this treatment. This is because, as I said, there is a trained professional present the entire way through, and if the kid is obviously not trans, they won't force them to continue the treatment.