The Dangers of Giving Hormones to Kids with Gender Dysphoria


4 years ago



Abigail Shrier

2 appearances

Abigail Shrier is an independent journalist and author. Her latest book is "Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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And now they're telling, they're watching these, they're these influencers, which is another thing. You know, you have these trans influencers and they promise these girls that if they just go on T, everything will get better. And the problem... Why do you think they do that? Okay. So why do they... A couple of reasons. So one is, testosterone has certain good effects. So it delivers a euphoria and it suppresses anxiety. And anxiety is one of their biggest problems. So they go on it and they feel great and they can't wait to tell their friends. It makes their period go away and it redistributes fat. So now these girls feel like, I just beat puberty. I feel amazing. I want to tell everybody how great I feel. And they are brave all of a sudden, they're braver and socially bolder. The problem is, of course, what they don't like to talk about online is all the really dangerous stuff that comes with testosterone too. Like it leads to heart infertility, like risk of cardiovascular attack, risk of heart attack goes way up. There's body hair, facial hair. But don't they want that? So I think... The body hair, facial hair part? For now, but it's permanent. A lot of this... Body hair is permanent? It can be. What about when trans women, when a man transitions to a woman, don't they lose a lot of their body hair? They lose some of it, but some of them are... I mean, everybody's different, but some of them are stuck with a five o'clock shadow for life. How does a kid know whether they are someone who's being easily influenced and someone who is giving in to this anxiety and you are a part of the way you're describing a contagion amongst your friends versus someone who's genuinely trans? Like someone who genuinely is born in the wrong body? So we have a hundred year diagnostic history of gender dysphoria. We know what it is. It's not guesswork. We know that it is in this whole history, it typically presents in early childhood ages two to fours when we see it starting. And it was overwhelmingly boys, little boys who say, no, mommy, I'm not a boy, I'm a girl, call me a girl. Only want to play with other girls. Only want to play with girl toys. And sometimes they hate their sexual organ. I mean, sometimes, you know, it's a severe, persistent, consistent feeling. And then a lot of them would grow out of it and some of them wouldn't and they would become what we used to call transsexuals. Now we're seeing an explosion of young women, you know, suddenly deciding they're trans with their friends and they are doing it in friend groups. They'll have a whole friend group of trans kids. They are, you know, doing it after social media emerging. Transgender adults never did it because of social media and it certainly never won them friends. So what about women that were trans? Like you say predominantly, it's boys who wanted to be girls. But what about girls who wanted to be boys? So that existed too. And that also typically began in early childhood. And most of these kids have left alone would outgrow it. So gender dysphoria is something that, you know, most kids, even if they experience the real thing will outgrow and some won't. Yeah, I was reading an article about gender dysphoria. They were talking about it. First of all, even saying gender dysphoria, I think is hate speech now. I don't think you're supposed to. It's in the DSM. I know. Is the whole DSM hate speech? Yes, everything. You're hate speech. Okay. But you know what I mean to me? Everything's hate speech because people are gone, they've gone so wacky. But they were talking about there was a study done on men who experienced gender dysphoria at a young age and then transitioned to become gay and just became gay, just were gay. And they realized like this was just a part of their process and they're happy as a gay man and they didn't transition. So that's very typical. Most of these kids would emerge as homosexual adults. The thing is just like if we're cool with people being trans, and we are obviously, especially adults, why is it better? Do we like this idea that if you just leave them alone, they become gay men? Or would we, I mean, how many of them would be trans if they were encouraged in that direction? How many of them, are they happier this way or that way? Like this is a very human problem. By human problem, I mean, there's not really a good answer. Human problems are slippery problems where it's like you're developing, particularly you're talking about young people. We're hijacking their development. You're deciding, okay, have you made a decision? You know what you're going to do forever? All right. We're going to jump in now and we're going to stop your reproductive cycle. We're going to jump in now and introduce hormones that were never in your body. And we're going to, well, a little bit, tiny mouse. We're going to jack it up to the roof like fucking Hulk Hogan. And you're going to be a different person now. And I hope you can make this decision at 17 that will affect the rest of your life. I hope you're mentally capable of doing that. That's a tall order. It's a tall order and there's no medical oversight right now. We have no idea what long-term testosterone use does to a female's body at 10 to 40 times what her body would normally have. We don't know. We can talk about the risks, but we don't know. But it's not presented to people as a highly experimental medicine, which it is. It's not reviewed by an institutional review board. They make it sound like it's something you can just sign a waiver for and no big deal. Why is that? Why is there no review? Why is there no oversight? Why is this so free and loose? I mean, is it a sign? Is it a good sign that we're like more progressive now, more open-minded? But because of that, things have gotten a little slippery in terms of what we celebrate and what we should rationally step back and objectively analyze and say, hey, is this really the right way to handle this? I think one of the things that happened was in 2012, WPATH, which is the Transgender Health Organization, worldwide organization, changed to an informed consent model, saying that people should be able to get the drugs they want or claim to need based on their own recognizance. You sign a form, you're aware of the risk, and then you get it. And the problem was maybe they felt that there was too much gatekeeping, as they call it, or too much questioning. They felt that there were people who weren't getting the medical care they needed. The problem was you hit 18, and the age of medical consent varies by state. In Oregon, it's 15. It varies. And you hit that age. You can get it. You walk out the door with it. In Oregon, it's 15. That's crazy. You're not even a fully formed person. No. And you don't need your parents' approval. Oh my God. We were talking before we got on the air about children, like really young children transitioning. You were saying that most people who transition know when they're very young. That's a hot button topic for people. Children and hormone blockers and children. What I keep going to is if you are a woman, and you know you're a woman, why do you need to get these hormones injected into your body? Why can't you just be a woman? I'll call you a woman. What are we doing with all these hormones? Why are we completely... In Oregon, you're a person who says, I need to transition to be a woman, and I know that I need a chemical that I've never had in my body before. And if I get that chemical injected, then I'm going to be happy. And if I get surgery, then I'm going to be happy. This is what I'm supposed to be. So the big problem with this is that you're making all the decisions that normally a doctor would make in any other... And you're doing it at 15. Any other area of medicine, a doctor makes that. They say, hold on. I know you think you need whatever, an opioid, but just relax. Let's see what you're... I mean, that's effectively what facilitate the opioid crisis. Doctors just handing over the prescription pad, and we're seeing that right now with anybody who claims to have gender dysphoria. They get it. They self-diagnose. They say, no, no, no. I know it's my problem. They don't have a mental health professional who says, oh, wait a second. Hold on. You have very high anxiety, depression. You have a lot of other mental health stuff going on. Let's deal with that first. Any therapist who dares to say that might violate one of the 19 conversion therapy laws we now have in 19 different states. There's 19 conversion therapy? I think it's 19, yeah, which bans so-called conversion therapy, even on gender identity, which means that therapists could lose their license if they say, hold on, I know you want to transition. I know you think your problem is gender dysphoria. Let's talk about some of your other problems. Wow. So a therapist, if you're a 15-year-old kid and you come to a therapist and you say, all my friends are going trans, and I think I'm trans too, the doctor has to essentially go with you on this little path you're on? The doctors feel that they have to. I mean, the number of association, American Medical Association, Endocrine Society, I mean, you name it, American Pediatric Society, all these medical professional organizations, most of them have adopted affirmative care, which means their job is to affirm the patient's self-diagnosis with regard to this one issue. I mean, it's turning doctors into, I don't know, life coaches, right? I mean, they're- How much time have we been doing this for? How long has the time period, when this really started to escalate? The last decade. We've seen it fly across the West. I mean, it's in Canada, UK, Scandinavia, we're seeing numbers across the West. All of a sudden, it's teenage girls. It's the very same girls who spread every other contemporary hysteria, or every other hysteria. Boy, it makes you feel like there's a lot of lawsuits coming. I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, these girls are getting these things so easily, and they're 15, they're 16, they're 17, they're 18. How many did you interview when you were doing this book? So I conducted almost 200 interviews. So how many teenage girls, or specifically? I actually don't know. I interviewed a lot, a lot of people, and a bunch of adolescent girls as well. More than 10, more than 20? Yeah, more than 10, but I don't know. I have spreadsheets for this. Did you interview ones that were happy with the transition? Yeah, I did. Still very young, but I interviewed influencers, and I interviewed parents, and I interviewed adolescent girls. Some of these girls have stayed with their transition and claim to be happy. Maybe they are, some of them, but the problem is if you find out objective things about their lives, are you still in school, or did you drop out? Did you cut off your family, or did you not? Do you have friends? What's your social life like? What's your job? Do you have a regular job? Very often, the picture is a dark one. It's not a good one. Isn't that just the case with a lot of people in general though? I mean, especially people that have the kind of problems that they have to begin with, and they make this gigantic decision. The question is, did this decision of transitioning help or hurt, and where would they be if they didn't? You were talking about them before, saying they were already in a dark place. They're already awkward, teenagers, the kind of girls who cut themselves, kind of girls who are prone to anorexia and witchcraft. They're dealing with someone who doesn't have a rosy future already. Right, but I think we used to call that angst, teenage angst. They got past it. The problem is, oh yeah, you're right, not everyone, but now they're getting prescriptions. They're changing the whole course of their lives so easily with no medical oversight. What kind of numbers are we talking about? How many people are doing this? Okay, so the numbers are harder to track in the United States because we don't have centralized medical care. Here are the numbers that I can tell you. Gender is for you used to afflict 0.01% of the population, so one in 10,000 people, so probably no one you went to high school with. But today, we already know that 2% of high school students are identifying as transgender, and 2% of high school students, you're talking about 1.1 million teenage high school kids in America. Two percent. Two percent. When did this happen? In most of the McGrawls. Really? Most of the McGrawls. Really? Well, I mean, the number, we can just look at the number of gender surgeries, and we see that in 2016, between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender surgeries for biological females quadrupled. So we know they are the biggest and fastest growing population. Wow. That's a stunning number. Two percent, you go from 0.1%. Of the whole population. Of the whole population. To 2% of high schoolers. The vast majority of them are teenage girls. What is the majority? We talk about 80%. What is the number? I don't know. But most of them are teenagers. For every indication. More teenage girls. We know that, I can give you a bunch of other statistics. One of the reasons it's hard to know exactly how many, aside from the fact that we don't have a centralized control of this, is because you don't need an actual diagnosis of gender dysphoria to get testosterone. So you just go in and get it. You don't need the diagnosis in England, where you have a centralized medical care and you do need a diagnosis. They know that the numbers for adolescent girls are up over 4,000%. Holy shit. So you knew all the stuff before you wrote the book. This was all the numbers that... Well, no. It came out in the course of writing it. Yeah. So that had to kind of affirm your idea that this was a real problem. I mean, everywhere I looked, it seemed to be a real problem. It wasn't. And nobody wanted to talk about it, but it's real. Well, because even when we're talking about it, I'm like, oh, here's a landmine. Oh, here's a landmine. Like everything we're saying. If you talk at all about trans people, you run the risk of pissing people off and offending people and staying out. You're going into an area where it's... Unless you are 100% in support of their decision and their rights and you celebrate them, you're going to get in real trouble. Right, but that's why we have this problem. Because nobody will talk about it. Because parents will call me and say, I've been pro LGBTQ my whole life. I just don't think this is right for my daughter. I can't even talk to my friends about it. I'll get fired for my job if anybody finds this out. But my daughter's not... She's got a lot of problems, but gender dysphoria is not one of them. Like I don't think this is right and I don't think it's going to cure her. And if you have to work and you're at work all day, how much time do you have to even convince your daughter? Your daughter is with her wacky friends eight hours a day. And she's on the internet and the promise her school, her school's already filled out a form calling her Jimmy, right? For a year they don't even tell you.