Facts and Info for Concerned Parents
Want to learn more about the common misinformation, and the available data? Take a look….
We are the parents of teens and young adults who have unexpectedly and suddenly announced they are transgender, while never showing any signs of distress or gender non-conformity in childhood. Many are driven by discomfort with their biological sex (gender dysphoria). Our aim is to inform the public of something we know more about than anyone else: our own children.
We are keenly aware of the current widespread views on gender identity, and current and past prejudice against the LBG community. Politically we are on the left and on the right. We live in big cities and small towns.
We strongly believe that teenagers and young adults should not be given unproven drugs  (puberty blockers and cross sex hormones) and/or gender change surgeries that may leave them sterile and worse, until their brains are fully developed, which usually occurs around age 25. Our vulnerable teenagers have been falsely assured that hormones and surgeries will fix all or almost all of their problems, and when they transition, they are committing their bodies to a lifetime infusion of hormones which contradict their biology. These treatments are all off-label and thorough studies are lacking. However, dangerous side effects are already known, as these drugs and surgeries negatively impact bones, heart, brain, fertility, sexual functioning, and life expectancy .
Almost all of our children have other psychological issues such as Asperger’s, ADHD, OCD, Processing Disorders, and/or childhood trauma. Many are gifted. Many are gay or are not sure of their sexual orientation. Some have never even had a first kiss, or other romantic or sexual contact. Many have eating disorders. Most, if not all, could be seen as “socially awkward.” We understand our children from observations over the course of their lives since we have taken care of these children from birth.
These teens frequently have challenges in their lives, but people like them often turn out to be very successful, once they've learned to accept themselves for being different and learn that being different is a good thing. Many seem to not understand that being uncomfortable with one’s body is actually a normal part of growing up. Many now think they were “born in the wrong body” .
Several of these confused kids believe that if you don’t like your body, you can start over with a new one. They mistakenly believe you can just take hormones and magically transform into the opposite sex. These beliefs are as compelling and harmful as an anorexic’s distorted beliefs that if they lose weight they will be ok, “good enough”. They believe they can get rid of their old selves, instead of dealing with the natural consequences of puberty and growing up.
The reality of the process is, of course, quite different [4,5]. In some cases, gender discomfort has been found to be secondary , so puberty blockers and cross sex hormones will not cure the cause of distress. In the same way, you would not affirm anorexics and assure them that, because they feel fat, they must be fat, or offer them stimulants to facilitate the weight loss — and if the feeling of being overweight persists, offer bariatric surgery or plastic surgery to reduce the size of the body part that is most troublesome.
Most of our kids have obsessed over a series of toys, schemes, trends, or identities as they’ve grown, and they are nowhere near finished growing up. Some of us were punk rockers or hippies ourselves. We know that people change over time. Years ago, options for identities did not include being transgender; instead, young people became Goth or Emo, for instance, and then grew out of it over time. These were harmless identities that did not need irreversible hormones or surgeries for the young people to participate in them.
All of our kids also have been seeking belonging. Young people who have later “detransitioned” [4,7] — who stopped being transgender — tell stories of feeling like outcasts, unhappy with their bodies, and then, once in the transgender community, are happy to belong.
Why do so many of our youth think they are transgender more today than before ? Although people speak of the LGBTQ community, only those who are trans require experimental and often dangerous medical intervention and surgery to belong. This makes being transgender drastically different from being gay. In some cases, in fact, the wish to transition is due to the wish to not be gay. This is conversion therapy!
Our children and young person often conclude they are transgender from what they’ve learned in their school health class, from their friends, or from the internet. A social contagion aspect has been documented [9,10], as many teens start identifying as trans in online or in-person friend groups, or with their siblings. Being transgender also comes with the allure of social status, praise and belonging to a special group.
The children (often badly misinformed) make their own diagnoses, and there is only one response offered at gender clinics: the clinics affirm  and validate these new identities without question. Many therapists and pediatricians believe that if children self-diagnose by saying they are trans, then they are trans. The next step is to push them onto experimental hormones and surgeries. Accompanying underlying mental conditions  or trauma are often ignored. Some therapists have told us that it is unfair to require that a trans-identifying child or teen should have to wait to transition until their underlying mental health issues are addressed. There is a misguided belief that offering our vulnerable young children experimental treatments and surgeries immediately, without question, is somehow equitable. This is medically irresponsible and dangerous. Anything besides affirmation is considered conversion therapy . Tragically, this means it is acceptable to coach a vulnerable kid into being trans but not out of being trans.
Our children learned not only misinformation from the internet, but instructions on how to transition, including a “coming out”  script to tell their parents. The script typically contains a number of these elements:
“I hate my body and I’m depressed. ”
“I’ll run away if you don’t support my transition.”
“I’ll commit suicide if I don’t transition.”
“Everyone at school loves and supports me as I am. Why can’t you?”
“I don’t enjoy doing what other boys/girls like, so I’m transgender.”
Their internet sites [9,13] also advise them on what to say to doctors and counselors about being transgender in order to get treatment quickly, sometimes including an effort to demonize parents in favor of an affirming new family. Parents and children are also falsely told (even by medical professionals) that their kids are at immense risk of suicide. Wouldn’t they rather have a “living daughter then a dead son?”
Among younger children showing strong gender dysphoria before puberty, multiple studies show that around 80% come to accept their biological sex without medical intervention . There have not been any studies or follow up to know how many kids who develop gender dysphoria in our children’s age group (12-25) would also accept their biological sex without medical treatment.
Many of our kids mistakenly believe that no one gets better unless they take hormones and/or get surgery. Misguided kids who will not be helped by transitioning get swept up in this craze due to the relative ease of obtaining drugs and surgeries. Did you know 18-year-olds are even able to obtain hormones after one visit to a gender clinic, Planned Parenthood, college health services, or online, just by stating they are trans ? These kids are not old enough to drink; yet they are considered old enough to make decisions that put them on track for experimental medication for the rest of their life.
And what if they change their minds, or find they are mistaken? Detransitioners are people who transition and then transition back to the gender matching their natal sex . Our kids are told that hardly anyone does this, since there is (shockingly) no reliable estimate  for how many people do so. As of early July 2021, there were over 20,000 young adults on www.reddit.com/r/detrans, https://lostintransition.info and www.Detransvoices.org. Please read their stories. The money and approvals pour in to help children transition but there is no support for the youth who have been misled into thinking this path was the right one for them .
Medical and other professionals who have tried to go slowly or sound the alarm have often done so at great personal and professional risk ; others who are very influential have told us they are aware of exactly what is going on but are afraid to speak up. It is not news that young people often enthusiastically jump into popular trends, in the moment and with friends, and throw caution to the wind. The horrific part is that the professionals and authorities that they and we trust are just as misinformed as our kids [11,12].
We understand everyone wants to make things better for trans identified kids, but who is behind the rush to these risky and experimental treatments? The number of “gender clinics” for children and adolescents has risen, from only one in 2007 to over 65 today. A growing number of physicians practice “transgender medicine,” promoting unproven, very profitable hormonal and surgical interventions on children, all based on the ideological “belief” that any “gender identity” is “valid.” These Gender doctors promote themselves as experts even though there is no prior knowledge or degree required.
Gender transition is big business . Doctors, hospitals, treatment centers, surgeons and pharma companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars on transitioning children and are supported by a powerful transgender lobby. The FDA has not approved these puberty blockers and/or cross-sex hormones for the treatment of children and young adults in this way. This absolves the drug companies of responsibility for harm, in spite of the fact that some of the medications have severe (and sometimes fatal) effects [7,19]. Again, this has become a profitable business! For example, to treat one young person with the puberty blocker Lupron costs $1,747/month, while Triptodur costs ~$3,000/month .
Remember the Hippocratic Oath: first do no harm. Children are being harmed. These drastic medical interventions, widely applied and unsupported by scientific evidence, are a medical scandal like the crises of opioid addiction, multiple personality disorder, repressed memories, and lobotomies . Why are journalists scared to call out this phenomenon?
A 2019 Swedish investigative documentary  revealed the extreme lack of supporting evidence for these treatments, resulting in a drastic policy change in that country. A judgment in the UK restricting the use of puberty blockers was handed down December 2020  in favor of Keira Bell, a young woman who regretted her transition but only after she received puberty blockers, hormones and a double mastectomy. The court found that children and teens are incapable of giving informed consent to such treatment options. An investigation is also underway into the associated (main UK child and adolescent) gender clinic. More lawsuits will follow.
How many more of our children have to be harmed and families destroyed? Some of our stories:
“After years of being bullied during middle school, my socially awkward, anxious, gifted, emotionally sensitive 15-year-old daughter, fell into the belief that she was non-binary and later trans masculine. It all began when she started a new high school and became friends with older students who were questioning gender norms. She had also been suffering from an eating disorder for years, which compounded her anxiety. The more she researched online, the more anxious and fixated she became. Now that she is 22 (and diagnosed with existential OCD and autism), her 15-year-old sister has come into this belief system too after learning about gender identity during the sex education class in 7th grade. This curriculum (selected for our district by a trans woman) is grooming smart, sensitive, kind, naïve teens into believing that thoughts and feelings matter more than our biological reality. ” California
“My intensely shy gifted ASD son has always felt different, socially a bit lost, and then crushed when he didn’t get into his dream university. Missing his many friends back home, he spent his first term in college online, afraid to socialize. There he met someone trans who helped him conclude that he was a woman and that he could only be happy with hormones.” Oregon
“My anxiety-ridden, highly gifted child has been hearing for years from teachers about his inattention and disruptiveness in class as opposed to the girls. In 8th grade he shot up 6 inches in the first half of the year and had extended meltdowns over his struggles completing assignments. He then announced that he was trans despite never even having any friends who were girls.” Florida
“My highly gifted, socially awkward 14-year-old went looking for information on the internet. His searches were “Why am I so different from everyone else?” and “Why am I uncomfortable with my body?” He came across information about limiting food intake and being transgender and thought it was interesting and really “fit”. He then binged on trans Tik Tok videos and entered trans subgroups on Reddit, where he was told he was definitely trans — and here we are. He was accepted with open arms and even “coached” by 20-year-old trans adults on how to come out, how to transition and how to navigate his parents. He now states that he is a girl and believes he is lesbian. He has rewritten his childhood to fit this new narrative.” Texas
“In treatment this year, our teen learned the scientific causes of anorexia and evidence-based methods to cope with the related distress. The treatment center also taught baseless notions about gender: that "transgender essence" causes gender dysphoria, how to socially and medically transition, and (falsely) that only this transitioning will reduce distress and prevent eating disorder relapse or suicide.” Michigan
“My son is highly gifted and got a late Asperger’s diagnosis at 15. He always struggled to fit in, and I think was treated worse by his peers than we ever imagined. When he went looking online, they said he was trans. Later when he went to a camp for gifted kids he was praised and lauded for being trans. He finally found his group and something positive about himself. He has told me that transitioning will get rid of all his pain. The pain of being different, of being made fun of, and of not understanding why you don’t fit in. He thinks it will all be gone if he transitions.” Pennsylvania
“My 14-year-old daughter preferred the company of boys because there was less drama. She went to a new school in seventh grade where the topic of gender identity was explored during Diversity Week. This, combined with a high stress work load, her feelings for another girl, and one of her friends coming out as trans sent her down the rabbit hole on the internet where she was told if she thinks she is a boy, that she is. She has self-loathing, depression and anxiety and seems to be using a male identity to hide from who she really is.” California
As parents we are trying to raise awareness. The dangers our children and young adults are facing are in fact another tragic facet of the existing poor medical care for trans-related issues . If even one vulnerable child is harmed from puberty blockers, hormones, and having healthy body parts removed, and certainly more than one has been harmed [4,7,22,23], shouldn’t a decision to provide this treatment be approached with the utmost of care? And yet, there is an irresponsible rush  to prescribe these experimental, sometimes ineffective, sometimes harmful, and sometimes even fatal treatments. If we don’t take action to safeguard their mental and physical health, we stand to damage a whole generation of children irreparably.
Calls for studies: Docs Say Gender-Questioning Kids Need Better Science (2019), WPATH standards of care (2012): “It is difficult to determine the effectiveness of hormones alone in the relief of gender dysphoria”, Correction of a Key Study: No Evidence of “Gender-Affirming” Surgeries Improving Mental Health (segm, 2020), BMJ spotlight: Gender-affirming hormone in children and adolescents (Heneghan and Jefferson, 2019), Gender dysphoria: scientific oversight falling between responsible institutions should worry us all (Byng and Bewley, 2019, full text), paper on lack of randomly controlled MTF hormone trials here: Antiandrogen or estradiol treatment or both during hormone therapy in transitioning transgender women (Haupt, 2020)
Some examples: When Transgender Kids Transition, Medical Risks are Both Known and Unknown, see also 
For example, see No One Is Born in 'The Wrong Body' (Malone, Wright, Robertson, 2019)
Advice for gender dysphoric teens (Callahan, 2018), detransitioning info at beginning and references listed at end, Dagny on social media, gender dysphoria, 'trans youth,' and detransitioning (Dagny, 2019), The Detransitioners: They Were Transgender, Until They Weren't (Herzog, 2017)
For example: Counselling and Mental Health Care of Transgender Adults and Loved Ones (Fig. 1, Bockting et al, 2006), Gender dysphoria in Asperger’s syndrome: A caution (Parkinson, 2014), When your teen says they’re Trans (Singal, 2018), Taking the lid off the box, (Clarke & Spiliadis, 2019), Transgender medicalization and the attempt to evade psychological distress (Withers, 2020), also footnote 11
Andrew Sullivan: Questions About Youth Gender Transitions (Sullivan, 2019), note the 2.2% regret rate he quotes, as do many young people, is for surgery and for (older) people who agreed to be sterilized first, not generally relevant for the current cohort of children and young adults. The Game Plan for when Transition Hasn’t Worked Out (Callahan, 2019,) Talking About Talking to Doctors (Callahan, 2019)
See chart at www.segm.org for UK gender clinic referral numbers. For ages 12-18, 39 kids were referred in 2009, rising to 1,497 in 2016, about 25% boys. US numbers are unavailable.
Is Gender Dysphoria Socially Contagious? (Kenney, 2019), Keira Bell lawyer warns on internet coverage of transgender issues (Guardian, 2020)
One Size Does Not Fit All: In Support of Psychotherapy for Gender Dysphoria (D’Angelo et al, 2020), Why I Resigned from Tavistock: Trans-Identified Children Need Therapy, Not Just 'Affirmation' and Drugs (Evans, 2020)
Affirmation policy based on misquoting the published literature, see, e.g., Transgender and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents: Fact-Checking of AAP Policy (Cantor, 2019), What the media gets wrong on gender reassignment - The Spectator World https://spectatorworld.com/topic/media-wrong-gender-reassignment-transgender/
“Irreversible Damage”, (book, Shrier, 2020), e.g., How To Tell If You Are Transgender, Ty Turner
Gender dysphoria in adolescence: current perspectives (Kaltiala-Heino et al, 2018)
Planned Parenthood (Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy) will provide cross-sex hormones to any 18-year old who claims a transgender identity after one visit, list of colleges and universities that Cover Transition-Related Medical Expenses Under Student Health Insurance, and online provider, www.Getplume.com
For example, CAMH settles with U of T professor Kenneth Zucker over 2015 report (Firing of Prof. Ken Zucker), Bath Spa University 'blocks transgender research' (2017), Philly Trans Health Conference Cancels Sessions on Detransitioning (2017), Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria controversy (attacks on Dr. Lisa Littman who coined ROGD term, 2019)
See, e.g., Sex Reassignment Surgery Market Statistics 2020-2026 Global Report (Global Market Insights, 2019), which predicts $1.5 billion for surgeries in 2026
Searchable FDA adverse reports database, check, for instance, for Lupron, Triptodur, spironolactone, www.drugs.com/sfx (under “for Healthcare Professionals”)
Why DID or MPD is a Bogus Diagnosis (Lazarus, 2011), The strange and curious history of lobotomy (Levinson, 2011), Forget Me Not: The Persistent Myth of Repressed Memories (Ley, 2019), The Surprising History of the Lobotomy (Tartakovsky, 2019), The Opioid Files: Follow The Post’s investigation of the opioid epidemic (2020), Parallels Between Lobotomy and Childhood "Gender" Transition (Ayad, 2020)
Trans Train documentary (2019): part I (part II (part III (https://t.co/hxbYfddKcn?amp=1)
Puberty blockers: Under-16s 'unlikely to be able to give informed consent', BBC, Dec 1, 2020, After the Keira Bell verdict - An English ruling on transgender teens could have global repercussions (Economist, 2020), Keira Bell: The High Court hands down a historic judgment to protect vulnerable children (Transgender Trend, 2020), Doubts are growing about therapy for gender-dysphoric children The Economist, (2021), There's No Standard for Care When it Comes to Trans Medicine | Opinion (Newsweek, 2021)
Gender identity is hard but jumping to medical solutions is worse (Callahan, 2019, the Economist), Karolinska Guideline Regarding Hormonal Treatment of Minors with Gender Dysphoria at Tema Barn - Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital (Segm.org, 2021), Dysphoric (2021) A four-part documentary series https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRU9NIX0AA143z2QKukQcOqS96qriKGyw, Trans Mission: What’s The Rush to Reassign Gender? Documentary (2021) http:///youtu.be/rUeqEoARKOA, Inside the 'rush' to reassign the genders of kids (New York Post, 2021)