Puberty Blockers are harmless, so kids should have them anyway

You will see this raised by people other than transactivists; many governments, even, still peddle this line. The truth about puberty blockers must be told. We would ask:

  1. Got any proof of that? 
  2. Decisions and successful surgeries depend on puberty – how can you make a decision without prejudicing the possibility of trans surgery being effective?
  3. Do you think being a prepubescent 18 year old is good for anyone?

The statistics show that the overwhelming majority of gender questioning people who go on puberty blockers go on to cross-sex hormones. So this is not a step to be taken lightly. By contrast, the majority of children given supportive therapy and time appear to outgrow their gender discomfort and go on to be adults happy in their own bodies, frequently same-sex attracted and often gender non-conforming

NICE and various other bodies have recently reviewed the evidence on puberty blockers. Their review confirmed earlier suspicions – the puberty blockers are not reversible, have significant negative after effects, and are no longer prescribed in the UK for this purpose; after further studies, several other countries have also stopped. The NHS has removed the suggestion PBs are reversible from its website. 

Leaving that aside, decisions about gender reassignment pathways should be made in the knowledge that these may well impact sexual function, balancing this against other considerations. How can a child who has not got a sex drive consent to give it away? They have no idea what it is. The High Court reviewed the evidence in Keira Bell’s case, and found that young people could not properly consent to this course of treatment. 

Moreover, for girls in particular, there is little to be gained in blocking puberty. There is no evidence that they will end up “man-sized” any more than they would without these blockers. Their hips might be slightly narrower, but their breasts would probably develop and have to be removed anyway. We are looking at a few years of mental discomfort to wait and be sure – surely no one should decide something so permanent for the child to avoid a temporary period of discomfort?

For boys, male puberty often puts the would-be transitioner outside female norms in height, shoulder width, etc. However, in the case of boys, if they DO transition eventually, they need a man-sized penis for successful penile inversion to create a neovagina. Without that tissue (and maybe even with it), the tissue used is likely to be from the bowel, and it will always smell as if that is where it is from, too. This is a highly undesirable outcome. 

Finally, of course, even if you feel you are convinced that you have to allow puberty blockers because the child is unhappy, are you going to make them happier by making them stand out in the class? Will that little boy enjoy being a little boy when his friends are grown up 18-year-olds? Will that help him adjust to his discomfort with his body? Will it make a dysphoric girl happy to be the only prepubescent student in the class at 18?

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