Two of the world’s top medics for gender reassignment procedures – both of them transgender women – have expressed concern about the number of children being given puberty blockers and undergoing surgery, describing the rise in procedures are deeply worrying.
Dr Marci Bowers, a world-renowned vaginoplasty specialist who operated on reality-television star Jazz Jennings, and Erica Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the University of California San Francisco’s Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic, both spoke out for Bari Weiss’s Substack newsletter, Common Sense.
Bowers said she was ‘not a fan’ of putting children in the early stages of puberty on blockers – a technique that doctors increasingly use when young people say they are questioning their gender, and which can maintain more feminine looks for growing boys.
Dr Marci Bowers, one of the world’s leading surgeons for transgender people, said that she was troubled by some of the trends in the field, including intolerance of differing views
Dr Erica Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the University of California San Francisco’s Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic, said she was concerned about ‘sloppy’ medical practices for the mental health of the young people undergoing gender reassignment
‘This is typical of medicine,’ she said, asked about the prevailing orthodoxy.
‘We zig and then we zag, and I think maybe we zigged a little too far to the left in some cases.
‘I think there was naivete on the part of pediatric endocrinologists who were proponents of early [puberty] blockage thinking that just this magic can happen, that surgeons can do anything.’
She said that the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) could be intolerant of dissenting opinions.
‘There are definitely people who are trying to keep out anyone who doesn’t absolutely buy the party line that everything should be affirming, and that there’s no room for dissent,’ Bowers said.
‘I think that’s a mistake.’
Anderson said that she had submitted an op ed to The New York Times warning about the risks of treatments, and the paper turned it down because the story was ‘outside our coverage priorities right now.’
Bowers operated on reality star Jazz Jennings, in June 2018 – a series of steps she shared on Instagram with her 1.2 million followers.
Jazz Jennings in June 2018 underwent gender reassignment surgery, at the age of 17. She is pictured in February 2019
Jennings is one of the most famous transgender people in the world, with 1.2 million followers on Instagram and her own reality tv show
Jennings had been on puberty blockers since the age of 11, meaning that when the time came for her surgery, aged 17, her penis was not fully formed and the operation was significantly more complicated than if she had not been on the blockers.
Gender dysphoria overwhelmingly affects boys and men, and often begins in early childhood, from the age of two.
It affects .01 per cent of males, or one in 10,000, according to the latest analysis.
Nearly seven in 10 children initially diagnosed with gender dysphoria eventually outgrew it, many becoming gay adults, and so the traditional view was ‘watchful waiting’.
That has now been replaced by ‘affirmative care’ – a much more proactive position.
Bowers also said that the surgery they opt for can leave people sexually dysfunctional – something she said was not discussed enough.
‘The idea all sounded good in the very beginning,’ she said.
Bowers and Anderson were both interviewed for the Substack newsletter run by Bari Weiss (above)
‘Believe me, we’re doing some magnificent surgeries on these kids, and they’re so determined, and I’m so proud of so many of them and their parents. They’ve been great.
‘But honestly, I can’t sit here and tell you that they have better — or even as good — results. They’re not as functional. I worry about their reproductive rights later. I worry about their sexual health later and ability to find intimacy.’
Anderson said she feared many young people would regret their decisions.
‘It is my considered opinion that due to some of the – let’s see, how to say it? what word to choose? – due to some of the, I’ll call it just ‘sloppy,’ sloppy healthcare work, that we’re going to have more young adults who will regret having gone through this process,’ she told the site.
‘And that is going to earn me a lot of criticism from some colleagues, but given what I see – and I’m sorry, but it’s my actual experience as a psychologist treating gender variant youth – I’m worried that decisions will be made that will later be regretted by those making them.’
She said she was concerned about ‘rushing people through the medicalization’, and warned of the ‘abject failure to evaluate the mental health of someone historically in current time, and to prepare them for making such a life-changing decision.’