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Treatment of Transgender Boy 'Child Abuse

Offbeat  (tags: Treatment, of, transgender, boy, child, abuse )

- 2441 days ago -
The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old US boy have taken the controversial step of giving their son hormone blockers to delay puberty after he expressed a desire to become a girl.

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Charlotte P (36)
Monday October 17, 2011, 9:55 pm
I hope this child finds their way.
I'm sure the fact that his parents are Lesbians play a big roll in the reactions of everyone involved.
And professor McHugh is an idiot and should not be teaching.
He said that being gay is "a disorder of the mind", what time era is he from?
What a stupid thing to say.
He teaches pychiatry and passes this warped thinking on to his students
Being gay is just as natural as being straight

Carol H (229)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 4:45 am
I agree, it is child abuse!!

Ingrid A (524)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 5:24 am
I agree with Charlotte.

Myron Scott (70)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 7:55 am
11 years is too young to make such a decision. Therefore, if all is as reported, I agree that this child abuse, and that has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the parents. I confess, however, that I find the whole idea of hormone blocking therapy at this age creepy in the extreme. Call me old school, I guess.

. (0)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 9:58 am
noted...I agree with is child abuse

Susan C. (0)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 11:26 am
stupid "parents"... and I am pretty certain the boy does not have viable male role models......

Julian Long (2)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 11:39 am
I am really disappointed in the comments here, on a supposedly "social justice" site.

Many trans people know their gender identities from a very, very young age. Hormone blockers don't prevent one from later going through the body's "natural" puberty, if the child later decides to do so, but they do prevent the development of secondary sex characteristics that many trans people find incredibly traumatic. Further, hormone blockers can help a trans person to be read as their correct gender later in life, which can greatly impact quality of life and ability to gain employment.

Also, this child is a girl, not a boy, and I hope people will stop misgendering her.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 12:22 pm
Dr Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, agreed with Alvarez.

"This is child abuse. It's like performing liposuction on an anorexic child," he said.

"It is a disorder of the mind. Not a disorder of the body. Dealing with it in this way is not dealing with the problem that truly exists.

"We shouldn't be mucking around with nature. We can't assume what the outcome will be," McHugh told

I take anything this "doctor" says with a grain of salt because he was talking out of his @ss! The same arguments are spewed by those that believe homosexuality and trans gender identification are choices and "an abomination in the eyes of God" I submit to them : When did you choose to be straight? Answer that one for me with an intelligent response and I might be willing to change my point of view. Until then STFU and GTFA!
And just what does a shrink do, if not muck around with nature?!?!?!?! And he was talking to Faux News, which makes him less than credible in my eyes!

Roger Skinner (14)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 12:49 pm
CNN has a better article & video on this case at:
Some of my thoughts: would people be calling this abuse if a hetero couple was doing it? Using hormone blockers is not unusual in cases like this. It gives a kid time to become more mentally mature so they can make a better decision. There is not enough research on transgender to know what is best. It sounds ike the parents are doing the best they can in what is a difficult situation. I think the reactions to this story say more about the people reading it than the people involved.

. (0)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 2:28 pm
Assuming these parents investigated every avenue, brought this child to competent psychiatrists or doctors (which it sounds like they did), I'm still uncomfortable with an eleven year old pulling the strings - maybe I'm wrong.

Jerry B (128)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 3:31 pm
Noted I too agree with Charlotte..thanks Agnes!

Myron Scott (70)
Tuesday October 18, 2011, 9:09 pm
I could have been wrong in my previous comment. I tried to indicate that my response was based in part on the limited information available from the article. Unfortunately, I have been unable to link to the alternative CNN article, owing to a problem with the server. I am aware of Fox News' biases, and so I am not fully comfortable with the information I have available; but my statement that any child at 11 may be too young to make such a decision was based on my understanding of child development and, yes, recollections of myself at 11. Perhaps it is different for "many" transgendered children; I'd like to know more about that, beyond mere generalizations. That probably would be dispositive for me. Some of your comments, however, strike me as extreme and dogmatic.

Child abuse is a social justice issue, too, after all. At age 11, parents properly remain responsible for medical decisions, and those decisions can amount to abuse. Apart from the serious psychological issues, such as this child's body loathing, this article also raises the possibility of physical harm from hormone suppression therapy at this age. Another characteristic of members of this community is a preference for more "natural" forms of health care, and that's a characteristic I share but which, as I wrote earlier, may have biased my reaction.

I'm not now competent to judge the physical health issues the one doctor raised, and I admit I took the doctor's statement as reported at face value. I do think that some of you have read a lot into some of the comments of the two doctors, rather than address the physical health risk issue head on. For example, my reading of the comment that the child's problems were mental had to do with the body loathing problem, not with a sense of gayness. I do know for a fact that self-mutilation is a problem for many young people of all sexual orientations and often has nothing to do with sexual orientation. BTW, transgendered is not the same as gay, period. It just isn't, Charlotte. So, the issue of physical risk remains a major issue for me.

This entire question, to me, isn't about gay rights at all, or even about transgender rights. For whatever you choose to make of it, I believe that homosexuality is every bit as natural as heterosexuality. I have no problem with transgendered adults or even stable adolescents making a decision like this; but this child is 11. Minimally, absent the kind of psychological assessments Allan mentioned, there is a genuine issue of possible abuse. Neglect of the proper parental role, after all, is a form of abuse. Unfortunately, from this article, I can't judge the adequacy of whatever psychological assessment occurred (and it appears some did) or how appropriate a response to that assessment hormone suppression is.

So, summing up, some of your comments have led me to feel more hesitant about my earlier comment; others of you, I sense, are focusing more on broad issues of gay rights than on the question what constitutes responsible parenting in a situation like this.

Myron Scott (70)
Wednesday October 19, 2011, 8:03 am
I still get server error on the CNN story; so I did more online research. Nothing conclusive yet (and I need to leave for work) but I am impressed to discover that Boston's Childrens Hospital (among a few others) has begun offering pre-puberty hormone suppression treatment as part of an overall
Gender Management Services program. The following is excerpted from a Childrens Hospital blog:

While it remains controversial, puberty suppression has been
the standard treatment for transgender kids in the
Netherlands since the 1990s. Since 2007, Childrenís has been
one of a handful of hospitals in North America to offer this
treatment. Before any medical intervention takes place, (a)
psychologist . . . administers a rigorous series of
psychological tests, forming a complete history of the childís
gender identity development.
. . . . Those who meet the stringent criteria for treatment
are given monthly injections or a temporarily implanted
drug to block their sex hormones. Itís fully reversible at
any point . . . . So far, the GeMS clinic has treated 17
patients with pubertal suppressors. . . . (A youth) canít
delay puberty indefinitely, and in a few years, (will) need
to make a decision . . . (whether) to physically transition . . . .

Obviously, Fox News spun this story (small surprise) in an anti-transgender direction by omitting any reference to what appears to be at least somewhat growing acceptance of this approach in the North American medical establishment. Fox may have spun the comments of the doctors it quoted, too. If not, there still may be a question of medical risks that the
Childrens Hospital blog omits. This situation raises concerns from two different perspectives, that of concern for LGBT rights and that of concern possible over-medication and over-diagnosis of children for a variety of conditions (e.g,, autism, ADHD). I also remain concerned that eleven is early to make a decision like this. (This is where rigorous psychological and medical evaluation needs to come in.) On the other hand, it is the age at which biology will make a decisions for the child. It remains a conundrum to me, but that's nothing compared to the ones facing transgendered youth and their parents.

Anyway, I did fund the Childrens Hospital blog informative, helpful and at least somewhat reassuring.

Christia F (158)
Wednesday October 19, 2011, 2:16 pm

Roger Skinner (14)
Thursday October 20, 2011, 1:37 pm
@Myron Scott: Useful info. Thanks. This is obviously a difficult situation where more research needs to be done. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, you don't know if an action will make things better or worse until you have done them. I believe that the parents are trying to do the best they can for their child.

I don't know why you are having problems accessing my CNN link. I just tried it again and was able to access it just fine. Are you able to access the main site? If so, try a search for "Transgender kids" there. If not, complain to your ISP.

Dee C (229)
Thursday October 20, 2011, 8:14 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Julian because you have done so within the last week.

Julian Long (2)
Friday October 21, 2011, 6:58 am
An addendum: My comments were founded in my own experiences as a trans person, one who was once a young teenager. I would have killed for hormone blockers. Many other trans people I know would have killed for hormone blockers. Gender dysphoria is a very real experience for many trans people, and experiencing the "wrong" puberty can cause extreme trauma, depression, and suicidality. Preventing a child from taking hormone blockers is not a medically or psychologically "neutral" choice, as some seem to think it is, no matter what non-trans people think or believe about trans people's needs to transition.

Many trans children will kill themselves if they are not allowed to transition. That is how traumatic they find going through a puberty that is contrary to their gender identity. That is a fact. It is a fact that should be taken very seriously.

Also, the psychological research (as well as anecdota) is quite clear on this topic. Allowing trans people to transition results in happier, more well-adjusted, and overall healthier people. Preventing trans people from transition results in the exact opposite. Allowing trans children to be who they are is NOT child abuse, no more than allowing a gay child to be openly gay.

Dee C (229)
Friday October 21, 2011, 10:27 am
You cannot currently send a star to Julian because you have done so within the last week.
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