By Sarah Weaver
Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell questioned psychologist Dr. Megan Mooney on her position on puberty blockers for gender-confused kids during a hearing Thursday.
The questioning took place during a hearing in the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs on Senate Bill 14. The legislation would prohibit doctors from prescribing transgender hormones, surgery, or puberty blockers to children under the age of 18. Campbell, the sponsor of the bill, questioned a witness testifying against the bill.
“Whenever a child comes in and says, ‘I’m a trans kid,’ do you believe them?” Campbell asked Mooney.
“Yes,” Mooney responded.
Mooney is currently suing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for guidance he released to the state’s child protection services (CPS) that threatened criminal penalties for doctors and teachers who aided a child in sex change procedures. Mooney, who has worked with transgender-identified patients for 15 years, says complying with the guidance would be, “violating her professional standards of ethics and inflict serious harm and trauma on her clients,” The Guardian reported.
“So what’s the basis for prescribing puberty blockers? Is being trans enough, or are there some trans kids that you might say no to?” (RELATED: Lawmakers Revive Bill Banning Child Sex Changes Last Minute After Volatile Debate)
“I’m not a prescribing physician, so I can’t speak to the — ”
“But you are the one that is there to either sign a paper that says they’ve had therapy and it’s ok to put them on medications, right?”
“I am there to say that they meet criteria for clinical distress.”
Gender-confused children should first “address any psychological, medical or social problems that could interfere with treatment” before taking puberty blockers, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to the Gender Confirmation Center, in order to receive puberty blockers a minor must first “work with an endocrinologist or primary care doctor and a mental health professional.”
“So they see you, they get to you because you’re a known expert,” Campbell said. “So they’re referred to you, you see them, you believe them, you sign a form, they take it to their doc — they’ve had the counseling and they’re able now to get the medicine?”
“It is not that simplistic, no Senator.”
Campbell also confronted Mooney on her belief that every self-identified transgender child should be placed on cross-sex treatments, pointing to the myriad of European countries that have determined there is insufficient evidence to prescribe puberty blockers, transgender hormones, and transgender surgery to children.
“I’d like to see research, because the European countries have all, Sweden, [the] Dutch, UK, Finland, have all not found enough medical evidence, psychological evidence to support transgender therapy.”
“Now, I am kind of locking you up in a box,” she continued. “Because you’re telling me every time a child says ‘yes, i’m transgender,’ that’s a pathway they go down, but we know there are comorbidities related. Gender dysphoria doesn’t just come up isolated on its own.”
A former case manager at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital has alleged that the clinic fast-tracked minors into sex change treatments, ignoring other possible reasons for gender dysphoria. For instance, the manager alleged when young patients claimed to have multiple personality disorder, the doctors would attribute it to a social contagion, but not when a patient claimed to be transgender.
Mooney cited the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), saying she operated medically based on its recommendations. Campbell pointed out that WPATH recently added “eunuch” as a gender identity to its most recent edition, a fact of which Mooney said she was not aware.
“Members let me just say, this World Professional Association for Transgender Health, their latest guideline, they deleted the chapter on ethics, they deleted all reference to age recommendation, and they did add … a new diagnosis that a child can know they are. They added a new one. Do you know what it is?” Campbell asked Mooney.
“Are you referencing gender incongruence?” Mooney responded.
“No I’m referencing eunuch. Are you aware? What do you think of that? Would you like to tell them what that means?”
“I’m not sure how WPATH has defined that term, and that sounds like a medical term that would be outside of my scope to provide–” Mooney responded.
“Well it’s exactly what it sounds like. That a child can know that, a male, they can know that they are a ‘eunuch’ and they want their penis chopped off. And that they’re old enough, at age 8 or so, that they can do that. So this WPATH that you follow, their guidelines are not standards based on science.”
The Texas committee considered and approved Senate Bill 15 earlier that week, which banned biological males from competing in female athletic competitions.