Doctors speak out: Lupron and the 'diabolical' push to sterilize, gender-transition confused kids

A sign outside a classroom, 2016.
A sign outside a classroom, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Tami Chappell)

Pediatric endocrinologists whose voices are being stifled are sounding the alarm about a "diabolical" push to put children confused about their bodies on puberty suppressants and hormone blockers like Lupron to change their physical sex.

According to Drs. Paul Hruz, Michael Laidlaw, and Quentin Van Meter, all of whom spoke recently with The Christian Post, Lupron — a hormonal agent that's employed to fight prostate cancer in men and is sometimes used to treat sex offenders — is now being injected into children who suffer from gender dysphoria.

The drug has never been green-lighted by the FDA for that purpose, nor have there been any peer-reviewed studies done on the drug's long-term physical and psychological side effects on children.

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Lupron and synthetic hormones are ravaging their developing bodies, altering their psyches, and putting them on a pathway to permanent sterilization, these doctors say. Many of the long-term repercussions will not be felt for years. At present, endocrinologists who refuse to back these experimental treatments struggle to be published, and many in the medical field remain unaware of what is going on in dozens of transgender clinics at children's hospitals across the nation.

Pushing 'pause' on puberty?

To many people, the sheer fact that gender has been medicalized with high-powered drugs is nothing short of horrifying, and they wonder how this can be legal or allowed to happen.

"It's not unusual, actually, in pediatrics to prescribe a drug off-label. However, whenever a physician does that they are taking on significant risk because if something goes wrong without the evidence, they are liable," Hruz, an associate professor of pediatrics and endocrinology at Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, told CP, when asked how it was possible that a drug like Lupron could be given to a dysphoric child given the lack of governmental approval for that purpose.

"There's just a lot we don't know about this form of intervention. It's often claimed that medical blockade of puberty allows a child more time to sort out issues of their gender identity, that it alleviates dysphoria in affected children, and that it makes it easier if and when they choose to go on and get other treatments, namely [sex change] surgery. It's also claimed that it's completely safe and reversible."

But among the many problems with that approach is that a normal developmental process is interrupted. Even if the hormone treatment is stopped after administering it for a few years and the normal signals for puberty resume, it's impossible to go back in time, he explained.

As a class of medications, hormone blockers like Lupron are indeed approved for and are used in children to treat precocious puberty — where kids go through puberty at an abnormally early age. It's given to children to delay the pubertal signals so that they, among other reasons, are not socially pressured into acting their pubertal age or subjected to hormonal drives that they are not prepared to handle.

But when used to suppress the normally-timed pubertal processes, the drug actually causes a pathological condition.

"So on its face value, what [transgender activists] are saying is really contradictory from what we know about normal development," Hruz said.

Clear evidence exists that the drug influences bone density, he continued. During adolescence and teenage years, youth accumulate bone mass, which is important for the rest of one's life.

"And there is conflicting information about how much of that bone density can be gained back" after going off the drug.

Strong ideological influences driving this entire paradigm cannot be ignored, he said, when asked how this is happening, especially given that most people expect doctors to govern their practices based solely on medical science.

The first ideological error many make is trying to redefine what "sex" actually is, Hruz said.

"In much of the discussion, people have lost sight of what sex is in relation to reproduction and that is the only way you can make these claims about someone being born in the wrong body or make assertions about sex being 'assigned' at birth. It's not assigned; it's recognized," he maintained.

The vast majority of the children who are being put on these puberty blockers have normally functioning sex organs. Physicians prescribing this kind of treatment are doing so under the understanding that it's benefiting patients but are simply not looking at the evidence, he said, and they are willing to dismiss the evidence when contrary to the prevailing politically correct narrative.

Overwhelming evidence exists that the vast majority of affected children will spontaneously realign their gender identity with their biological sex when left alone, Hruz said of the relevant medical literature on the subject. And if they do realign, they're not going to be tethered to the medical establishment for the rest of their lives because their bodies are not dependent on the chemicals.

"The reality is that there is no long-term data about treating children, and the only data that we have in adults indicates that medical interventions to align the appearance of the body to a transgendered identity does not fix the problem," he said.

The manipulation of infertile kids 

What's often said in public opinion forums and even within some medical circles is that despite the risks, it's better, necessary even, that children receive this controversial medical treatment rather than wind up dead by suicide. 

Worse still, if parents express hesitation or opposition, activists and some physicians will hint at or tell them they will be guilty of "medical neglect," Hruz noted. But that's patently untrue.

"[Parents] need to continue to love their children. They need to continue to affirm their human dignity. Yet they shouldn't have to jettison biological reality to be able to put what they're being told into practice, in terms of disrupting normally timed puberty."

He added that the largest studies that have been done in post-transition adults continue to show rates of death by suicide that are markedly above the background population.

"We need to be very objective, thoughtful. We can't close the door on what I would say are alternative hypotheses, other ways we might be able to address this very real and concerning problem. And the dialogue has shifted really far away from that," Hruz said.

How Lupron works

The first well-documented case report of a puberty blocker like Lupron (a similar medication called triptorelin which has an identical mechanism of action) being used in a young patient with gender confusion was published out of Holland in 1998 where a pediatric endocrinologist, working together with a psychiatrist, decided to use the medication on a 13-year-old girl suffering from gender dysphoria.

According to Dr. Michael Laidlaw, a Rocklin, California-based board-certified physician who specializes in endocrinology and diabetes, the rationale behind this was that the patient should have the drug because the effects of going through puberty would be too traumatic to endure and that "pausing" those signals in the brain would give the person time to adjust and then later decide whether to move toward surgical transition.

When puberty is initiated in the human body, the hypothalamus increases its pulsatile release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This, in turn, triggers the pituitary to release LH and FSH hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones then affect the gonads and cause the release of testosterone from the testicles of boys or estrogen from the ovaries of girls.

These same LH/FSH hormonal signals from the pituitary are released in adults to maintain testosterone or estrogen levels. Lupron, also known as Leuprolide, blocks the release of LH/FSH, thereby stopping testosterone from being produced and released from the testes or estrogen from the ovaries. It is used to treat prostate cancer because testosterone will grow prostate tissue, including prostate cancer tissue. The therapeutic idea is that when the hormone is decreased to a very low or undetectable level, cancer growth is prevented. The drug is also used to treat endometriosis in women by lowering estrogen levels through the same pituitary mechanism.

Intimidation games

Being from Rocklin, Laidlaw got a swift education into the world of transgender medicine when an area charter school read the I am Jazz transgender children's book and reportedly facilitated a gender transition ceremony for one of the 5-year-olds during class, traumatizing other students, as CP previously reported. The school put out a statement disputing that this happened.

"The awareness of what is going on today, even within the medical community, has been very low," he explained, speaking of how he learned about the issue.

Behind the push toward this particular medical paradigm is a highly politicized group called the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an organization that has effectively overhauled the entire conversation.

"What they did very cleverly was get involved with the largest global professional organization representing the field of endocrinology, called the Endocrine Society," of which Laidlaw is a member, he said. 

"The Endocrine Society put out guidelines for everything to do with gender-affirmative therapy from medications to surgical treatments for adults and children in 2009 and then revised them in 2017," he continued.

Pro-transition recommendations were given the group's formal stamp of approval. Laidlaw knew of no organized opposition to the change. Other medical groups have since published similar guidelines, lending further professional-sounding credence to them. Thus, when someone sees that a prominent group like the Endocrine Society or the American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed this, they think it's fine when it's not, he pointed out. However, these professional organizations have been co-opted by WPATH and other radical activists.

Laidlaw continued: "And then there is the fear factor, of course, where physicians who are leery about this treatment are afraid to say anything because maybe they work for say [health care provider] Kaiser. I have been told by a Kaiser doctor: 'Well, I can't say anything about this or I may lose my job. I have a family to feed.'"

"There have been few physicians willing to stand up and say, 'We need to question this, there is something wrong here. Why are we using cancer drugs on kids without cancer and stopping normal puberty?" he said.

Many times parents who initially thought it was a good idea to help their children transition later change their minds but are strong-armed into continuing by being told that their child might commit suicide without the treatment, he said. 

"It's another bully tactic," Laidlaw emphasized. "It's a gun to parents' heads, the way I look at it. These kids should be getting psychological therapy and counseling, not hormones."

Such bullying has also been legally used in courts to remove children from their parents. Earlier this year, Judge Sylvia Hendon in Hamilton County, Ohio, ruled that a 17-year-old should be removed from the custody of her parents due to their objections to transgender medicine.

"Gender dysphoria is not an endocrine condition, but is a psychological one and should, therefore, be treated with proper psychological care. But it becomes an endocrine condition once you start using puberty blockers and giving cross-sex hormones to kids," Laidlaw stressed.

While admitting he's not a psychologist, he knows of no psychological condition that is treated by putting hormones out of alignment from their normal levels.

"In other cases, like hyperthyroidism, for example, patients might have high anxiety and even psychotic features due to high thyroid hormone levels. What we're doing as endocrinologists is bringing those hormones back into balance to in turn balance their psyche. With gender affirmative therapy they are doing exactly the opposite, taking hormone levels from being in most cases in balance, to then extremely out of balance."

"And there is a form of psychological addiction happening when they are giving puberty blocking medications — either because of a direct psychotropic effect or because the child can reassure themselves that they are not growing into an adult male body or an adult female body. It continues the illusion."

The endocrinologists with whom CP spoke explained that the average endocrinologist in the United States doesn't know what's going on because it's an area where they haven't had any experience and therefore feel inadequate. They then scramble to find resources and what many end up doing is going to their Endocrine Society guidelines, which are now in favor of transitioning children.

Doctors might ask themselves why a national society would publish guidelines based on low to very low-quality scientific evidence but usually too preoccupied with their practices so they ultimately defer to the guidelines and send patients to the transgender specialist. This is, unfortunately, a standard situation and a weakness in the endocrine community, the endocrinologists CP interviewed explained. 

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