Two trans-identified healthcare professionals are raising concerns about the rush to affirm children suffering from gender dysphoria and the longterm consequences of puberty blockers.
In an exclusive interview with Wall Street Journal contributor Abigail Shrier published on Substack, Dr. Marci Bowers and clinical psychologist Erica Anderson cast doubt on the effectiveness of puberty blockers and lamented the demands for conformity within the medical community regarding the transgender debate.
Both Bowers and Anderson are trans-identified men who go by female names and belong to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which "sets the standards worldwide for transgender medical care."
Bowers, a surgeon who performs gender reassignment surgeries and has been tapped to lead WPATH beginning next year, told Shrier that "We zig and then we zag, and I think maybe we zigged a little too far to the left in some cases."
The doctor alleged that within WPATH, "there are definitely people who are trying to keep out anyone who doesn't absolutely buy the party line that everything should be affirming, and that there's no room for dissent."
Shrier noted that a similar mentality exists within corporate media: "Anderson told me [he] submitted a co-authored op-ed to The New York Times warning that many healthcare providers were treating kids recklessly. The Times passed, explaining it was 'outside our coverage priorities right now.'"
While Bowers is the doctor who performed trans-affirming surgery on famous trans-identified reality star Jazz Jennings, the surgeon is speaking out about some of the consequences of the puberty blockers. Specifically, Bowers warned that "if you've never had an orgasm pre-surgery, and then you're puberty's blocked, it's very difficult to achieve that afterwards."
Bowers has come to believe that the risks of puberty blockers outweigh the benefits: "Believe me, we're doing some magnificent surgeries on these kids, and they're so determined, and I'm so proud of many of them and their parents. They've been great. But honestly, I can't sit here and tell you that they have better — or even as good — results."
"They're not as functional," Bowers added. "I worry about their reproductive rights later. I worry about their sexual health later and ability to find intimacy."
Shrier reported that the U.S. began to adopt affirmation of trans-identified children with puberty blockers as the standard operating procedure by embracing the Dutch Protocol. The Dutch Protocol is based on research conducted in the Netherlands portraying puberty blockers in a favorable light.
According to Shrier, "the thinking behind the protocol was: Why make a child who has suffered with gender dysphoria since preschool endure puberty, with all its discomforts and embarrassments, if that child were likely to transition as a young adult?"
Shrier wrote that when a U.S. hospital first began relying on the Dutch Protocol in 2007, "researchers believed blockers' effects were reversible." When asked if puberty blockers were reversible, Bowers responded by saying, "I'm not sure," adding, "I'm not a fan."
The doctor also explained that the common use of tissue from the stomach and bowel to construct "neovaginas" in trans-identified males can cause colon cancer in addition to other complications: "If it's used sexually, you can get this chronic colitis that has to be treated over time. And it's just in the discharge and the nasty appearance and it doesn't smell like vagina."
Both Bowers and Anderson weighed in on the phenomenon of "rapid onset gender dysphoria," which refers to the rise in the number of biological females seeking to change their gender.
A survey of 70,000 American college students conducted by the American College Health Association revealed that the share of biological female college students who identify as transgender rose from 1 in 2,000 in 2008 to 1 in 20 in 2021. At the same time, the number of gender clinics in the U.S. has grown from one in 2007 to hundreds today.
Shrier, who wrote a book about the phenomenon, titled Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, and other researchers attribute the rise in "rapid onset gender dysphoria" to peer pressure stemming from the prevalence of trans influencers on social media.
Bowers agreed: "I think there probably are people who are influenced. There is a little bit of 'Yeah, that's so cool. Yeah, I kind of want to do that too.'"
Anderson predicted that "we're going to have more young adults who will regret having gone through this process" as a result of medical professionals "rushing people through the medicalization" as well as failing to "evaluate the mental health of someone historically in current time, and to prepare them for making such a life-changing decision." Bowers elaborated on some of the underlying mental health factors that may cause young girls to want to transition and urged parents to think twice about doctors rushing to confirm gender dysphoria.
"When you have a female-assigned person and she's feeling dysphoric, or somebody decides that she's dysphoric and says your eating disorders are not really eating disorders, this is actually gender dysphoria, and then they see you for one visit, and then they recommend testosterone — red flag!"
Courtesy of The Christian Post