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< Back to question Should transgender children medically transition? Show more Show less

Many transgender people choose to medically transition, undergoing procedures such as hormone therapy and face/chest/genital surgery. For those who choose to medically transition, these procedures can alleviate gender dysphoria and increase quality of life. There are some risks to medically transitioning, such as complications or wanting to detransition in the future. Transgender adults are capable of assessing these risks and comparing them to the potential social and mental health risks of not transitioning. On the other hand, letting transgender children and adolescents medically transition has been a controversial topic. Though trans minors generally only have access to puberty blockers and hormone treatments (minors are not allowed to get genital surgery, and other surgical interventions are rare), choosing to undergo these treatments is still a big decision with possible risks. Yet, the health benefits of medical transition for some trans people are undeniable.

No, transgender children and adolescents should not medically transition. Show more Show less

There are risks and potentially irreversible consequences from medically transitioning. Children and adolescents are too young to make this decision.
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The health risks of transitioning for children are too great.

We don't know enough yet about how puberty blockers and hormone treatments effect young bodies. It is too risky currently to allow trans children and adolescents to medically transition.
LGBTQ
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The Argument

Though puberty bockers have a significant history of usage, they are only technically approved by the FDA for treating children who begin puberty too early and have not been approved for treating transgender children.[1] Additionally, there has been little research done on children who take the medication for extended periods of time, etc. One study found that puberty blockers can result in a decrease in bone density, though researchers are unsure if this decrease can be reversed once the child stops taking puberty blockers. Initial studies seem to suggest that starting estrogen or testosterone can help regain bone density, but are inconclusive on whether they can fully reverse the damage done. Another issue is that we don’t know how much pubertal hormones impact brain development in adolescence.[1] Hormone treatments (such as transgender girls taking estrogen) also pose their own risks. Patients who undergo hormone treatment may be at higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and blood clots in the future. Hormone treatments can also reduce fertility. In response to this risk, many adults store their eggs or sperm before starting hormone treatments. However, transgender children may be too young for that process, so they do not have that “back-up plan” in the case that they are rendered infertile.[1] Though these risks are often taken by informed adult patients, since they are not overwhelmingly high, allowing children to take these risks is a completely different story. For instance, we allow adults to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes knowing that there are high risks associated with these behaviors, but we would never let children take those same risks. In a similar way, even though transgender adults make take on the risks associated with medical transition, transgender children should not be allowed to take those risks because they cannot be expected to understand what those risks entail and they are not cognitively developed enough to make that decision.

Counter arguments

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/when-transgender-kids-transition-medical-risks-are-both-known-and-unknown/

This page was last edited on Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 12:00 UTC

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