Trans-identified U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine contends that minors shouldn't wait until they're 18 to undergo gender transition procedures because some adolescents might be going through the "wrong puberty."
Levine, a biological male who previously went by the name Richard Levine before identifying as female, made the remarks during a Friday interview in an ABC Nightline segment called "Identity Denied: Trans in America."
The episode focused on teenagers who have trouble identifying with their biological sex as more than 20 states have passed laws designed to ban puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and body-altering surgeries for minors.
"Adolescence is hard and puberty is hard," Levine said. "What if you're going through the wrong puberty? What if you inside feel that you are female, but now you're going through a male puberty?"
The Biden official believes that "gender-affirming care" for youth is "evidence-based," insisting that it also serves as a form of "mental healthcare" and "suicide prevention care." Levine stated that pre-pubertal children are not undergoing medical interventions to change their sex but suggested that therapy can help them "explore" their gender identity.
In a Friday tweet following the interview, Levine thanked the news outlet for inviting him to join the segment to discuss what he believes are "medically harmful" and "unscientific" bans on minors undergoing medical interventions to change their sex.
Thanks to @abcnews@Nightline for an in-depth look at the unscientific, medically harmful bans on gender-affirming care being pushed at the state level. I was honored to join the segment and appreciate going deep on a topic that shouldn't be oversimplified https://t.co/OJT9EO97KB— ADM Rachel Levine (@HHS_ASH) July 14, 2023
As the number of children with gender dysphoria who are seeking surgical or hormonal interventions has skyrocketed in the last decade, some European governments are beginning to take more cautionary approaches.
England's National Health Service recently took steps to restrict the use of puberty-blocking drugs for gender transition outside of clinical trials. The NHS announced the new interim guidance last month, releasing a 25-page document outlining the approach.
The guidance follows an independent review led by Dr. Hillary Cass, the former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, "highlighting the significant uncertainties surrounding the use of hormone treatments."
Children who have already received cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers will be treated on a case-by-case basis, according to the NHS. The guidelines also warned that socially transitioning a child is not a "neutral act" and that more research is necessary to determine the "social and psychological implications." The NHS previously released guidelines in October warning doctors against advising children to socially transition during what may be a "transient phase."
In the United States, several detransitioners have spoken out publicly, regretful of the permanent changes made to their bodies.
Chloe Cole, a prominent voice for detransitioners, formally filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, the Permanente Medical Group and affiliated health professionals.
Cole's desire to identify as a boy stemmed from content that she had viewed online. The teenager told her parents about wanting to transition and they took her for medical help. Her lawsuit claims the healthcare professionals who treated her affirmed Cole's self-diagnosis and warned her parents that their daughter would likely commit suicide.
The lawsuit highlighted the various mental health conditions Cole suffered from at the time, including anxiety, depression and body dysmorphia, in addition to several learning disabilities. After undergoing "gender dysphoria treatment" and a double mastectomy, the complaint stated that Cole began to suffer from suicidal thoughts.
According to the filing, Cole now has "deep physical and emotional wounds, severe regrets, and distrust of the medical system." The complaint also asserted that Cole's state of mind meant she "needed love, care, attention, and regular weekly psychotherapy, not cross-sex hormones and mutilating surgery."