Growing Pains

Whether puberty suppression is safe and effective when used for gender dysphoria remains unclear and unsupported by rigorous scientific evidence. This is especially worrying in light of the lack of understanding of the causes of gender dysphoria in children or adults. Conditions like precocious puberty, for instance, have a biological course that is relatively well understood. Hormone interventions that treat that condition are tailored to its causes. In the case of gender dysphoria, however, we simply do not know what causes a child to identify as the opposite sex, so medical interventions, like puberty suppression, cannot directly address it.

Puberty suppression as an intervention for gender dysphoria has been accepted so rapidly by much of the medical community, apparently without scientific scrutiny, that there is reason to be concerned about the welfare of children who are receiving it, as well as reason to question the veracity of some of the claims made to support its use — such as the assertion that it is physiologically and psychologically “reversible.”

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