Pediatric gender clinics are giving minors sex transitions without bothering to take basic precautions against lifelong harm. A former employee of such a clinic — a self-described “queer woman” and Bernie Sanders supporter — describes the disturbing way one clinic operated. Jamie Reed worked as a case manager for a pediatric gender clinic for four years, handling intake and care decisions for children confused about their bodies and identity.
Reed started out as a believer in transgender treatments for minors. Now Reed concludes in The Free Press that such treatments pose unacceptable risks, and it’s time to curb them, to end the enormous damage that clinics are doing to a generation of children before it’s too late:
During the four years I worked at the clinic as a case manager—I was responsible for patient intake and oversight—around a thousand distressed young people came through our doors. The majority of them received hormone prescriptions that can have life-altering consequences—including sterility.
I left the clinic in November of last year because I could no longer participate in what was happening there. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to “do no harm.” Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.
Today I am speaking out. I am doing so knowing how toxic the public conversation is around this highly contentious issue—and the ways that my testimony might be misused. I am doing so knowing that I am putting myself at serious personal and professional risk.
Almost everyone in my life advised me to keep my head down. But I cannot in good conscience do so. Because what is happening to scores of children is far more important than my comfort. And what is happening to them is morally and medically appalling.
In one instance, a patient was put on Bicalutamide, a medication used to treat metastatic prostate cancer. One side effect is that it gives feminine features, such as breasts, to the men who take it. However, the patient experienced liver toxicity and was taken off the drug. The patient’s mother threatened to sue.
In another case, a 17-year-old biological female was rushed to the hospital after the patient bled through her pad, jeans and a towel. It was later revealed that the girl had intercourse while taking testosterone, which thins vaginal tissue. Her vaginal canal had ripped open, and she was admitted for emergency surgery.
Other stories in Reed’s account included that of a young Black girl with a history of drug use and an unstable living situation. When she was 18, she went for a double mastectomy. Three months later, she called the surgeon’s office and said, “I want my breasts back.”
“The last I heard, she was pregnant. Of course, she’ll never be able to breastfeed her child,” Reed wrote.
She added that doctors often viewed a gender transition as the only solution for kids with deeply concerning mental health diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder and more. Furthermore, doctors were uninterested in tracking desistance or detransition in former patients.
“Clinics like the one where I worked are creating a whole cohort of kids with atypical genitals — and most of these teens haven’t even had sex yet. They had no idea who they were going to be as adults. Yet all it took for them to permanently transform themselves was one or two short conversations with a therapist,” Reed wrote.
When she attempted to speak out at the hospital and push back on protocols and medical diagnoses, Reed was given below-average performance reviews and reprimanded by higher-ups.
What the medical industry is doing is making [most of] these children into permanent clients. The harm inflicted on these children is not just significant in one moment of time; it requires a lifetime of medical support as well. The use of puberty blockers transitions to a chronic requirement for hormone therapy; the surgeries to create artificial genitalia likewise are anything but turnkey. And when a significant number of these children decide later to detransition as adults, those surgeries and therapies will also require a lifetime of medical support.
It’s not difficult to see the incentive structure inherent in abandoning the Hippocratic oath, even without Reed’s whistle-blowing. And the irony of the same political wing that normally hyperventilates over “Big Pharma” — the Bernie Sanders wing, if you will — championing and defending this practice is both as potent and bitter as it gets.
It’s important to read all of the Free Press essay written by the former intake manager of a pediatric gender clinic. To attempt to excerpt this beyond her statement of principles would be to essentially reprint the entire testimony. However, we can highlight some critical revelations within it as a roadmap to its importance:
- Reed started with the assumption that this was a medically sound practice backed by research, which turned out to be false
- Anyone who raised questions ran the risk of being branded a “transphobe”
- Patients frequently self-reported problems they didn’t have, including Tourette’s and multiple-personality illnesses, which clinic doctors recognized as the effects of “social contagion”
- When Reed raised that as an issue for gender dysphoria as well, the same doctors rejected it
- The clinic “downplayed” the clear and unavoidable side effects of transition therapy…
There is more, however, and even more disturbing. A significant portion of the clinic’s clientele came from an inpatient psychiatric facility. These children and teens suffered from a range of mental illnesses and various degrees of those, but like the proverbial craftsman with only a hammer, every child looked like a gender-transition nail to the clinic doctors.
What about detransitioners? How did Reed’s clinic handle those cases, when their patients change their minds? They couldn’t be bothered, not even to track cases to refine the medical standards of their clearly innovative care. Reed and one colleague tracked them anyway, which is what led to her efforts to raise ethical questions at the clinic.
Either way, this isn’t medicine or “care” in any normal sense of the word. It’s an exploitation for politics and profit. And this process butchers children for life, robbing them of their procreative possibilities and all sorts of future choices as adults, on the basis of belief (at best) rather than science.
Growing numbers of teenagers regret undergoing sex changes. At the age of 12, Chloe Cole decided she was transgender. At 13, she was put on puberty blockers and testosterone. At 15, she received a double mastectomy. But in less than a year, she realized she had made a terrible mistake. “I was failed by the system. I literally lost organs,” she said.
As the New York Post notes,
Chloe is one of a growing cohort called ‘detransitioners’ — those who seek to reverse a gender transition, often after realizing they actually do identify with their biological sex. Tragically, many will struggle for the rest of their lives with the irreversible medical consequences of a decision they made as minors……The number of girls temporarily identifying as “transgender” has skyrocketed. Dr. Lisa Littman, a former professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University, coined the term “rapid onset gender dysphoria” to describe this subset of transgender youth, typically biological females who become suddenly dysphoric during or shortly after puberty. Littman believes this may be due to adolescent girls’ susceptibility to peer influence on social media….A variety of studies suggest that as many as 80% of dysphoric children could ultimately experience “desistance”— or coming to terms with their biological gender without resorting to transition. Which is why many professionals like Evans think it’s wise to hold off on potentially irreversible medical intervention for as long as possible….All these treatments run the risk of side effects that critics argue are too serious for children to fully understand. In the short term, puberty blockers can stunt growth and effect bone density, while the long-term effects are still unknown since they were only approved by the FDA in 1993. Side effects of testosterone include high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blood clots and even infertility.
The FDA recently added a warning to the puberty blockers used for gender transitions, after after the FDA identified “a serious potential side effect” that can “cause cause a dangerous surge of spinal fluid pressure in the brain,” as well as “headaches, nausea, double vision, and even permanent vision loss.”
The National Review described how doctors affirmed a man’s false belief that he had a female gender identity, and then mutilated his body by giving him a sex change he came to regret.
Plagued by self-hatred, he “heard about transgenderism” in college, and “seized on it as the solution.” A gender-affirming free clinic “immediately affirmed” his female gender identity. He was then given an “incomplete informed consent document to sign.” Later, his doctor told him that he “should really get surgery.” He was given an orchiectomy, but not told that it was castration. After being castrated, he “developed a drug habit” and began “ejaculating blood.” He said that “the gender clinic kept telling me, ‘Oh, it gets better.’” But it didn’t.
He says he was never given an independent psychological evaluation before getting surgery. After surgery, a different therapist diagnosed him with a different condition than gender dysphoria. But by then, he had already been castrated.
The National Review also described the experience of a woman who transitioned to being a man, and ended up with negative health consequences, “no hair,” and a “body mutilated.”
Judges have also made mistakes in rubber-stamping gender transitions. Jamie Shupe gave an example in “I was America’s first ‘nonbinary person.’ It was all a sham.” Shupe is male, as he noted in the Daily Signal. But he wanted in vain to be a woman, due to a condition known as “autogynephilia.” When his therapist expressed skepticism about whether he would actually benefit from trying to change his sex, he filed a “formal complaint” against her, and found a new therapist, who affirmed his new “identity as a woman.” But eventually he changed his mind and declared he was nonbinary, not female:
When the fantasy of being a woman came to an end, I asked two of my doctors to allow me to become nonbinary instead of female to bail me out. Both readily agreed….To escape the delusion of having become a woman, I did something completely unprecedented in American history. In 2016, I convinced an Oregon judge to declare my sex to be nonbinary—neither male nor female.
As a result of this ruling, a “nonbinary option” now exists in many states, even though Shupe’s “sex change to nonbinary was a medical and scientific fraud.” The judge’s ruling was not based on any evidence. As Shupe observes, “the judge didn’t ask me a single question. Nor did” the judge ask “to see any medical evidence….Within minutes, the judge just signed off on the court order,” even though he did “not have any disorders of sexual development.” But three years later, “unable to advance the fraud for another single day,” he “reclaimed” his “male birth sex.”