'No Scientific Basis' for Children to Think They Are Transgender, Born in Wrong Body, Pediatricians Say

There is "no scientific basis" for transgender individuals to believe that they are trapped in the wrong body, the American College of Pediatricians argued in a recently released report addressing gender dysphoria in children.

(Photo: Reuters/Michaela Rehle)Children wash their hands in a bathroom at a nursery in Eichenau, near Munich, June 18, 2012.

While the Obama administration tries to enforce a transgender bathroom directive in schools across the nation to allow boys to use girls' bathrooms and locker rooms if they identify as female, ACP, a coalition of conservative pediatricians, stated in a report released earlier this month that it is unethical for adults to condition children to misperceive the "physical reality" of their own bodies.

Primarily authored by Dr. Michelle Cretella, a Connecticut-based pediatrician, the report states that gender dysphoria is merely a "psychological" condition and suggests that about 80 to 95 percent of children who believe that they are boys and girls trapped in the wrong body will eventually grow up to accept the reality of their biological sex.

That is, however, if the children are are not given some kind of hormone intervention treatment and conditioned to believe that there truly is something physically wrong with them.

"The treatment of GD in childhood with hormones effectively amounts to mass experimentation on, and sterilization of, youth who are cognitively incapable of providing informed consent," the report explains. "There is a serious ethical problem with allowing irreversible, life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young to give valid consent themselves; adolescents cannot understand the magnitude of such decisions."

Earlier this year, the ACP released a statement contending that the act of "conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse."

As there are now 40 gender clinics in the United States that promote the use of pubertal suppression and cross-sex hormones for transgender children, the college calls for an end to such conditioning and harming of children's biological bodies.

REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSONThe University of California, Irvine installed a gender-neutral bathroom amid the growing issue concerning the liberties of transgender students in U.S. schools.

"Ethics alone demands an end to the use of pubertal suppression with GnRH agonists, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgeries in children and adolescents," the report suggests. "The college recommends an immediate cessation of these interventions, as well as an end to promoting gender ideology via school curricula and legislative policies. Healthcare, school curricula and legislation must remain anchored to physical reality."

Some doctors, such as Dr. Michelle Forcier of Brown University and Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy from Children's Hospital Los Angeles, argue that gender dysphoria is caused by a natural discordance between children's brains and body. However, the ACP report denounces such a theory that transgender children are born that way.

"There is no evidence that people are born with brain microstructures that are forever unalterable, but there is significant evidence that experience changes brain microstructure," the report states. "Therefore, if and when valid transgender brain differences are identified, these will likely be the result of transgender behavior rather than its cause."

"More importantly, however, is the fact that the brains of all male infants are masculinized prenatally by their own endogenous testosterone, which is secreted from their testes beginning at approximately eight weeks' gestation," the report adds. "Female infants, of course, lack testes, and therefore, do not have their brains masculinized by endogenous testosterone. For this reason, barring one of the rare disorders of sex development (DSD), boys are not born with feminized brains, and girls are not born with masculinized brains."

According to a 2003 study conducted in Sweden, transsexuals who change their gender through body mutilation or hormone therapy have a higher suicide rate than the general population.

The study, which followed 191 male-to-female gender reassignments and 133 female-to-male gender reassignments from 1973-2003, found that suicide attempts and in-patient psychiatric treatment actually increased in Sweden among those who had a sex change.

In an interview with CP two years ago, Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, said: "Essentially, society is being forced to affirm a clear, physical, biological falsehood — the idea that someone with healthy male sex organs and normal male chromosomes can become a female, and vice versa. We are being told that when there's a conflict between a person's objective biological reality and their subjective feelings, it is the body that needs to be 'fixed.' This is utterly bizarre, and we should not be afraid to say so."

The ACP report explains that behavior geneticists have known for years that although genes and hormones are known to influence behavior, they don't "hard-wire a person to think, feel, or behave in a particular way."

"People who identify as 'feeling like the opposite sex' or 'somewhere in between' or some other category do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women," the report states. "GD is a problem that resides in the mind not in the body. Children with GD do not have a disordered body — even though they feel as if they do."

"Similarly, a child's distress over developing secondary sex characteristics does not mean that puberty should be treated as a disease to be halted, because puberty is not, in fact, a disease," the report continues.

"Likewise, although many men with GD express the belief that they are a 'feminine essence' trapped in a male body, this belief has no scientific basis."

While many transgendered individuals turn to gender reassignment surgeries, the ACP report contends that changing one's sex is still "impossible" despite surgical advancements.

"From a purely scientific standpoint, human beings possess a biologically determined sex and innate sex differences," the report argues. "No sexologist could actually change a person's genes through hormones and surgery. Sex change is objectively impossible."

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