Dear Concerned Parent,
A comforting letter from the Gender Affirmation Clinic
Dear Concerned Parent,
We are saddened to hear of the depression and anxiety your child is experiencing. But not to worry—you have come to the right place. We are experienced professionals who are equipped to help your child and, by extension, your family.
After months of middling research, we can confidently recommend that your child be placed on a course of medication that will begin immediately and continue for the rest of their lives. The side effects may include weight gain, acne, baldness, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, increased blood pressure, heart disease, irritability, bloating, pelvic cramping, and bladder infections. You and your child can decide to discontinue these medications at any time but, if started pre-puberty, 99%1 of kids opt to continue on to the next stage of these medications—cross-sex hormones. Talk about a stellar retention rate! Oh, and did we mention infertility? Yes, that is likely to occur but there is no need for concern here. Your child, once they are of age, will likely have a very difficult time finding a romantic partner and sex may be painful in any case.
You can see we don’t try to sugarcoat the side effects but it’s all worth it. Children know who they are. Our job, as the adults in the room, is to listen to them and give them what they want at that moment. We all know that children who are persistent, consistent, and insistent in their desires rarely change their minds. They know their true sex at a very young age, the same way they can confidently choose their future profession while in grade school.
Once the puberty blockers or cross-sex hormone treatment begins, you can expect to see an elevated mood in your child. They may be euphoric. They are finally living as their true selves! Depending on their age, you can expect a lot of talk in this phase about gendered souls, male and female brains, and a proclivity for stereotypical behavior. Your son will finally be free to wear pink! Of course, that’s how we knew he was a girl all along.
It is possible that, after the initial euphoria, your child experiences depression. For FTM transitions, testosterone therapy is associated with depression, suicidality, and intentional self-harm2. One study found that puberty blockers did not alleviate negative thoughts in children with gender dysphoria3. But we don’t really know about all that. After all, this is experimental treatment. Puberty blockers are not FDA approved but they have been used for many years. They’ve been very effective as chemical castration for men convicted of sex offenses and for poor souls like Alan Turing who was “convicted” of being gay in the 1950s. If they can chemically castrate a grown man, we’re confident in the results we can achieve with your child.
Now we should briefly discuss surgery. The less said about this the better, and best to stick to euphemisms. Healthy body parts will need to be removed for your child to better approximate the appearance of their true gender. In most cases we can wait until they are over 18 to operate. We do make exceptions in some cases, however, so please do inquire! For young women, we suggest harvesting eggs before surgery, in the event they ever want to have children and can afford surrogacy.
There are some transphobes out there (also known as TERFs) who insist on robust research and evidence for the efficacy of transitioning children and young adults. Do not be deterred by them! They hate your children and, for reasons unknown, demand proof that these well-established treatments actually work. Gentle suggestion: don’t Google any recent gender related news from the following countries: Finland, Sweden, France, the UK, and Norway. These are known to be conservative backwaters run by religious fundamentalists. Probably best to avoid any news out of Europe altogether.
You and your child are about to set off on an exciting new phase of their life—an irreversible, unproven journey. This experience requires courage, faith, and a mind closed off to the exploration of any alternative treatments or explanations for gender dysphoria. Thousands of children have been down this path already. Will yours join them?
The Gender Affirmation Clinic