A group of “medical professionals” from the University of Minnesota recently published an op-ed in The Star Tribune in defense of the new pediatric Gender Health Program at Children’s Minnesota.
Kathleen Miller, Marla Eisenberg, Amy Gower, and G. Nic Rider all work in various capacities at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Pediatrics or the University of Minnesota Medical School.
In April, Children’s Minnesota launched a new pediatric Gender Health Program. According to its website, the program “is an exclusively pediatric, multi-disciplinary gender health program, and includes pediatric gender health, endocrinology and gynecology physicians.”
The program offers “treatment and monitoring” for “puberty blockers,” “gender affirming hormones,” “menstrual suppression,” and “fertility preservation consultation.”
Kersten called attention to the risks of the program in her June 20 article, saying the “new gender clinic is portrayed as an unmitigated good.”
“Yet what’s happening in England—where, as here, the number of young people presenting with gender confusion is skyrocketing—suggests that current treatment of pediatric gender-identity programs ignores underlying causes and entails risks that are not being discussed,” said Kersten.
But the University of Minnesota’s medical professionals “strongly disagree” with Kersten.
“Transgender and nonbinary youths experience persistent and significant distress when forced to conform to the gender they were assigned at birth,” the four colleagues write. “They face substantial health disparities, with higher rates of depression, suicide attempts, substance use, bullying and unprotected sexual encounters than their cisgender peers. However, research shows that these health outcomes are related to stigma, rather than the simple fact of being transgender or nonbinary.”
They go on to defend the practice of “medical interventions” for children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria.
“This is not taken lightly, and providers who offer these services follow recommendations established by leading medical organizations, such as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health,” they continue. “We start with reversible interventions, such as changes in gender expression, including clothing choice or makeup, and sometimes using different names or pronouns. Reversible interventions can also include medications called puberty blockers.”
They conclude their article by declaring that the “medical and research community supports gender affirming medical care as a powerful tool to improve the lives of children and adolescents who are transgender and nonbinary.”
“There is ample and growing evidence that children and adolescents have better health outcomes when they are supported in their gender, which includes access to medical interventions when appropriate,” the article states. “As clinicians and pediatric researchers, we firmly support expanding access to gender affirming care for youth.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “University of Minnesota Medical Center” by University of Minnesota Medical Center.