Dead patients aren’t usually considered a medical success story, but the transgender movement has never shied away from redefining reality to fit its ideology. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine should be devastating for the transgender narrative, but trans activists and their allies are nonetheless trying to spin it as a success.
The study, blandly titled “Psychosocial Functioning in Transgender Youth after 2 Years of Hormones,” had two subjects out of 315 commit suicide, which is not a good result for a treatment that is justified as preventing self-harm. Furthermore, males in the study showed no improvements in “depression and anxiety scores” or “scores for life satisfaction.” If giving female hormones to young men who identify as transgender does not improve their mental health, then there is no reason to keep giving female hormones to young men.
The researchers did claim to find some mental health improvements among young women taking testosterone. Even if this is accurate (and there was some data jiggering going on), minor changes in psychological state are not worth the physical toll of cross-sex hormones; therapy would be a better option. Furthermore, this research is also in line with what many detransitioners report about the initial energizing, even euphoric, effects of taking testosterone.
Despite the suicides, null results for males, and questionable (at best) results among female subjects, the researchers reported their findings as though they were positive results that supported giving children wrong-sex hormones. And the corporate media bought this spin. NBC’s reporting led by touting this study as demonstrating the benefits of adolescent transition and only noted the suicides and the lack of improvement among male participants deep into the story. ABC’s write-up didn’t even bother with that minimal honesty and ignored the bad outcomes entirely.
Thus, this study will be cited as scientific evidence proving the benefits of transitioning children, even though it shows nothing of the kind. The actual results show that giving children cross-sex hormones does not prevent an alarming suicide rate, does nothing to help young men with gender dysphoria, and has, at best, meager mental boosts for young women who do not want to be young women anymore. But the last point will get all the attention, and it will be magnified far beyond what the data shows.
The activists who want to transition children know that few people will bother to look into the details of the study. They also know that they have largely cowed and compromised the medical and scientific establishment. There are not many doctors or researchers willing to risk standing up to the trans movement and its powerful allies. And, of course, those who are engaged in the (often lucrative) practice of medically transitioning children are in too deep to back out without admitting to medical malpractice — the possibility of losing everything is a strong incentive to treat science like a PR fight.
There is enormous pressure to pretend that the science is settled in favor of irreversible medical transitions for children, even though it is not. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine would presumably not have published this study if the authors had emphasized their finding that giving adolescent males cross-sex hormones does not help their mental health.
Transgender activists have to slant the science in this way because, despite its pretensions, transgender ideology is not scientific. The idea that a child can be born into the wrong body — a boy born into a girl’s body or a girl born into a boy’s body — is a metaphysical or spiritual dogma; there is nothing scientific about it. And though medicine can, to some extent, alter bodies into a facsimile of the other sex, it cannot make a man into a woman or a woman into a man.
People who are distressed by their embodiment as male or female need help. But genuine aid consists of reconciling them to their natural bodies rather than endlessly modifying their bodies in a futile effort to be the other sex. Making our culture less of a misogynistic hellhole for teenage girls would also do a lot to ameliorate the problem — it is no surprise that the number of adolescent girls who do not want to be girls anymore has skyrocketed in our era of selfies, social media, and ubiquitous internet porn.
What especially must be stopped is permanently altering the bodies of children as a treatment for psychological distress. No other psychological problems are treated with this sort of massive body modification, which even extends to amputating healthy body parts. Worse still, chemical and surgical transition come with a multitude of side effects and complications. Performing these procedures on children makes a mockery of the idea of informed consent.
Unfortunately, the American medical establishment has followed activists instead of the evidence, and so they are now scrambling to manufacture a veneer of scientific legitimacy for their experimental alternations of children’s bodies. This is why this new study is being hailed as proving the benefits of adolescent transition, even though it largely shows the opposite. Justifying the mutilation of children’s bodies requires mutilating science.