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States that promote giving kids puberty blockers, trans hormones have higher suicide rates: study

Heritage panel on transgender medicalization and youth suicide
Panelists speak about a new study examining youth suicide rates and access to transgender medicalization such as puberty blockers and opposite-sex hormones on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. |

WASHINGTON — A new study is challenging the oft-repeated claim among trans activists that unless children suffering from gender dysphoria are given puberty blockers and pursue a chemical gender transition, they are likely to die by suicide. 

In a report released Monday by the Heritage Foundation’s Jay Greene, a senior research fellow at the Center for Education Policy, the scholar explained that contrary to the Biden administration and LGBT activists' assertions that so-called “gender-affirming” care is necessary healthcare for trans-identifying youth and that it prevents them from killing themselves, prescribing cross-sex hormones to children and teens without their parents' consent actually increases suicide rates. 

Greene's empirical analysis found that in states where it was easier for youth to access what is euphemistically referred to as gender-affirmative care, there was a spike in suicides relative to states where it's harder to access such experimental treatments, finding a 14% increase in youth suicides. 

Speaking at a Tuesday presentation at the Heritage Foundation, Greene explained that existing research on youth suicide rates among those suffering from gender confusion is thin, methodologically flawed, and has led to false assumptions being pushed on parents who are told their children will die if they are not chemically castrated or their bodies mutilated. 

In response to a question from The Christian Post, Ginny Gentles, director of the Education Freedom Center at Independent Women’s Forum, shared how parents navigate the fear-inducing claim that their children are bound to "commit suicide" unless they undergo an experimental cross-sex hormonal regimen. She stressed that the claims of transgender activists lose their strength once parents start to learn more about what has been happening across the culture.

“Hope can overcome fear,” she said, noting that when parents are first told that their children will kill themselves if they're not allowed to transition, they are psychologically paralyzed and then learn about the policies in the schools and elsewhere in law that reinforce their children's confusion. 

She added that when parents start digging into this issue and begin seeing that there are alternative paths to helping their gender-confused children with underlying mental health issues that often accompany the adoption of a trans identity, such as depression or autism spectrum disorder, they are empowered to confront the fear-inducing claims. 

“What I’ve noticed is that parents spend maybe the first year or so, when their child is embracing this identity, just petrified — really, really afraid. And then they switch to anger. Because as they look around, as they learn more, they realize that this is a social contagion,” she said. 

They then realize that the suicide claim is a pernicious lie, she added, and professional institutions have been captured ideologically. “And they’re furious,” she reiterated. 

“I think we’re going to see more and more angry parents. We’re going to see detransitioners speaking up, [saying] that the adults in their life so mistreated them and led them down this dangerous path. That potent combination of anger and hope is going to overcome this.” 

In an opinion piece for The Daily Wire, Greene said they took into account the fact that some U.S. states allow children to obtain medical care without the consent of their parents in some circumstances, while other states do not. The variation in state policies pre-dates the introduction of experimental puberty-blocking drugs and opposite-sex hormones as medical interventions, which began in the U.S. around 2010 and then accelerated around 2015, he said.

Greene compared annual youth suicide rates in states that allow minors to access the experimental gender drugs without parental consent to states that do not. The results showed no difference in those rates between these two groups of states for over 10 years before 2010, when the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones began.

“Around that time, a difference in suicide rates emerges and the gap accelerates after 2015 when cross-sex treatments become more common,” he said. 

“There is a 14 percent increase in suicide rates among young people by 2020 in states that have a provision allowing minors to access care without parental consent relative to states that do not. Easier access to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones by minors actually exacerbated suicide rates.”

The scholar pointed out that research cited by transgender activist groups to promote their claims is defective in several ways. One way in which such studies are flawed is that the surveys employ heavily skewed samples of respondents, measuring adults who both identified as trans and were recruited from trans support groups. Thus, they cannot accurately assess all people, particularly those who experienced gender confusion during their youth. Additionally, such are less likely to include those who resolved their mental distress without hormonal administrations or surgical procedures or those who regretted undergoing chemical puberty blockade and opposite-sex hormones.

Arguing in favor of the so-called gender-affirmative model in an op-ed for The Washington Post following Texas’ policies seeking to investigate these experiments and body mutilation as child abuse, University of Virginia Law School professors Anne Coughlin and Naomi Cahn argued that cross-sex hormones have “been shown to reduce the risk of depression and suicide for transgender youth,” and claimed that “banning it creates an excruciating conflict for parents, as the steps they take to preserve their children’s lives may lead the state to investigate and punish them.”

Greene believes the data show otherwise. 

“Despite what left-leaning activists may tell us, science does not demonstrate that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are necessary to prevent suicides. In fact, if anything, it demonstrates the opposite,” Greene stressed in his piece for DW. 

The new research comes amid a considerable amount of White House-backed federal administrative policy changes, including executive orders that have redefined “sex” to include the nebulous concept of “gender identity.” The White House has decried efforts at the state level, specifically Alabama’s recent move to prohibit the hormonal and surgical trans-ing of youth, insisting that puberty blockers and opposite hormones constitute “medically necessary, life-saving healthcare.” 

Conversely, Greene’s statistical analysis also comes on the heels of increased conservative scrutiny of gender ideology more broadly and pediatric gender medicalization in the form of documentary films like “What is a Woman?” by the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, which was released on June 1, and Fox Nation’s upcoming Tucker Carlson Originals documentary “Transgressive: The Cult of Confusion” which is slated to be released in July. 

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