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    Trans Kids’ Healthcare: Are We Getting It Wrong?

    enJune 06, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Transgender youth careThe debate over the best approach for supporting transgender youth continues, with some questioning the evidence behind gender-affirming care and others arguing it's necessary for their well-being. Parents, caregivers, and policymakers should stay informed and consult with medical professionals to ensure a safe, supportive environment for transgender youth.

      The scientific consensus on the best approach for supporting transgender youth is a subject of ongoing debate. A recent UK government report questioned the evidence behind gender-affirming care, including the use of puberty blockers and hormones. However, critics argue that denying trans youth the ability to socially transition and access medical treatment can be harmful and tantamount to torture. The evidence base for these interventions is continually evolving, and it's essential for parents, caregivers, and policymakers to stay informed and consult with medical professionals. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a safe, supportive environment for transgender youth to explore their identity and make informed decisions about their own well-being.

    • Timing of social transitionAdolescents who socially transition at a younger age may be more likely to have attempted suicide compared to those who transition as adults, but it's crucial to address discrimination and stigma while considering individual circumstances and readiness.

      While supporting a child's gender identity is crucial, the timing of social transition can impact their mental health. A study suggested that adolescents who socially transitioned at a younger age may be more likely to have attempted suicide at some point in their lives compared to those who transitioned as adults. However, the study did not indicate that social transition itself is harmful, but rather that bullying and discrimination are the significant factors leading to negative mental health outcomes. Therefore, it's essential to address discrimination and stigma while considering the individual circumstances and readiness of the child. Parents and caregivers should prioritize their child's safety and well-being, ensuring they receive the necessary support and resources to navigate their gender journey.

    • Name recognition, mental healthUsing a person's chosen name can significantly lower their suicide risk, especially for trans and gender nonconforming individuals. Supporting a child's social transition can lead to better mental health outcomes.

      Using a person's chosen name can have a significant impact on their mental health and suicide risk, particularly for trans and gender nonconforming individuals. A study by Steven found that those who were able to use their chosen name in at least one place in their life had a 56% lower risk of suicidal behavior. This simple act of being seen and recognized can make a life-changing difference. The more people in their lives who use the person's chosen name, the lower their risk for suicidal behavior. This finding has been backed up by other studies. For kids who decide to socially transition, research suggests that supporting them is key. While bullying can be a concern, the best approach may be to address it while also allowing the child to socially transition. Waiting until after high school to come out as trans is not an option for all kids. Overall, the research indicates that supporting a child's social transition can lead to better mental health outcomes.

    • Transgender youth and medicationThe safety and impact on mental health of using puberty blockers and hormones in transgender youth is inconclusive, requiring careful consideration of potential benefits and risks on a case-by-case basis.

      That transgender individuals, like many LGB people and straight people, cannot suppress their authentic identities for extended periods. The use of puberty blockers and hormones in transgender youth is a controversial topic, and while these medications have been shown to be generally safe, the evidence regarding their impact on mental health is inconclusive. Observational studies have produced mixed results, and a lack of high-quality evidence, such as randomized controlled trials, makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions. The debate surrounding the use of these medications in transgender youth is ongoing, and it's essential to consider the potential benefits and risks on a case-by-case basis.

    • Trans youth mental healthResearch indicates that trans youth who receive puberty blockers and hormone therapy have better mental health outcomes compared to those who don't, and these interventions can be life-saving

      Research suggests that trans kids who do not receive puberty blockers experience worse mental health outcomes compared to those who do. The use of puberty blockers can prevent the onset of puberty and potentially improve mental health, while hormone therapy for those who choose to physically transition has been shown to reduce depression and suicidal ideation. These interventions can be life-saving for some trans individuals. It's important to note that these findings come from studies conducted by researchers like Cal Horton and Ada Chung, and the evidence supports the use of these medical interventions for trans youth. The lack of access to these treatments can negatively impact their mental health.

    • Transgender teens hormone therapy mental healthHormone therapy for transgender teens can improve mental health, but placebo effect and longer-term benefits vary; it's crucial to respect each individual's situation and well-being

      Hormone therapy for transgender teens, particularly testosterone for trans men and estrogen for trans women, can have positive effects on mental health, including decreased depression and anxiety. However, the placebo effect may also play a role in some studies, and the benefits of estrogen therapy may take longer to appear. Regarding the concern that trans teens may regret their decisions, a recent study by Stephen Russell found that gender identities can shift over time for some individuals, but it is also common for people to continue identifying as trans. Overall, it is essential to approach each individual's situation with sensitivity, respect, and a commitment to their well-being.

    • Transgender youth and medical interventionsStudies show that the majority of transgender individuals who persistently identify as such seek medical interventions, contradicting the argument that they're being prescribed unnecessarily.

      The data from studies on transgender individuals suggests that while some may explore their gender identity and later identify as cisgender, the vast majority of those who persistently identify as transgender are the ones who are seeking medical interventions such as hormones and puberty blockers. The studies also indicate that these medications are not being used by those who later identify as cisgender. This evidence contradicts the argument that transgender youth are being prescribed medications unnecessarily, and instead supports the use of affirmative care to help these individuals through their gender transition. The high bar set by the Castelvecchio review for evidence of affirmative care's effectiveness should not be used to ignore the negative consequences of withholding such care from transgender youth.

    • Impact of cast report on trans communityThe cast report's negative effects on the trans community, particularly on trans kids and their families, were discussed, despite reputable organizations supporting gender-affirming care. Evidence was criticized for being labeled as weak.

      The discussion revolved around the devastating impact of the recent cast report on the trans community, particularly on trans kids and their families. The speakers, Meryl and Wendy, expressed their disappointment and frustration over the report's harmful effects, despite evidence from reputable scientific organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society supporting gender-affirming care. They emphasized the importance of following the evidence and criticized the labeling of the extensive research on trans kids' healthcare as weak. The episode featured 81 citations and included a previous episode on the topic, as well as an upcoming video interview with Dr. Ada Chang on Instagram. The podcast is produced by Meryl Horne and Wendy Zuckerman, with contributions from various team members and researchers. The speakers expressed gratitude to the trans community members and families who shared their experiences for the episode. Science Versus is a Spotify Studios original and is available for free on Spotify or wherever podcasts are available.

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