A group of 21 international endocrinology clinicians and researchers from nine countries signed an open letter published yesterday arguing that gender transition medicine for minors has been pushed in the United States for political reasons rather than based on medical evidence.
“Every systematic review of evidence to date, including one published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, has found the evidence for mental-health benefits of hormonal interventions for minors to be of low or very low certainty,” wrote the group of endocrinologists in the letter published on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal.
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The letter comes in response to the public letter from the President of the Endocrine Society, Stephen Hammes, expressing resounding support for hormonal gender transition, such as treatments like puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.
Hammes specifically criticized organizations like Do No Harm, an organization of medical professionals and advocates against gender transition medicine for minors, as being politically motivated rather than driven by scientific evidence.
The letter published on Thursday, however, highlights that the risks of life-long sterility and medical dependency, as well as continued mental trauma, have greater certainty than the little-supported evidence in favor of hormonal transition.
“For this reason, more and more European countries and international professional organizations now recommend psychotherapy rather than hormones and surgeries as the first line of treatment for gender-dysphoric youth,” wrote the team of physicians.
The letter was written mainly by European physicians from Finland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, and Switzerland, along with endocrinologists in South Africa and the United States.
Four of the physicians who signed the letter are from the United States, and the letter ends with a specific statement on the way politics is detrimentally affecting medical practice.
“The politicization of transgender healthcare in the U.S. is unfortunate,” wrote the 21 endocrinologists. “The way to combat it is for medical societies to align their recommendations with the best available evidence — rather than exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks.”
Ari Wolf, Director of Outreach at Do No Harm, told the Washington Examiner that part of the reason for the politicization of transgender medicine is that the issue is taking “a personal human form in almost every American household.”
“I meet grandmothers and fathers and everyone in between who has someone in their immediate family who is struggling with this issue,” said Wolf. “It is now so pervasive.”
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Although the majority of the legislative response to transgender medical issues is taking place on the state level, Wolf thinks that youth gender transition medicine will have a “very important role to play” at the national level in the 2024 election cycle.
“It’s framing the direction both parties or ideologies are going and what kind of mantle they want to wrap themselves in,” said Wolf.
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