Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Administering Hormone-Blocking Drugs to Seven-Year-Old Children Pushes Ethical Limits

Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Boston Children's Hospital, has launched a clinic where he administers hormone-blocking drugs to children as young as seven years of age. Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which these children allegedly experience, is classified as a mental disorder. A GID diagnosis involves someone whose biology and physiology is indisputably male or female, but subjectively this person has a desire to be the opposite sex. Children that are diagnosed with GID later in life often abandon the desire to be the opposite sex.

Dr. Spack administers either luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) or medroxyprogesterone, which blocks estrogen or testosterone to delay the onset of puberty. The result would stop girls from developing their menstrual cycle, breasts, and other normal female characteristics, and it would stop boys from developing a deeper voice, facial hair, and other normal male characteristics. The dangers involved in children taking these drugs include permanent infertility, increased risk of breast cancer, and more confusion about who they are.
Shortly after stopping children from reaching puberty, cross-hormones are taken to simulate the puberty of the opposite sex. Estrogen is given to boys and testosterone is given to girls, physically transforming these children into the gender they want to be. The final step would involve removal of male or female organs and plastic surgery.

In 1966, Johns Hopkins University started performing the nation’s first "sex reassignment" surgery in its Gender Identity Clinic. In 1979 the university hospital stopped performing these surgeries when it was discovered that the patients' well-being did not improve and the procedures were destroying healthy organs. The hospital decided the best treatment was through psychology, focusing on healing the mind.

Seven-year-old children are thinking about video games and riding their bicycles, not about artificially transitioning to the opposite gender. Since Gender Identity Disorder is purely subjective, it is dangerous and unethical to give drugs to children to block the onset of puberty. Gender Identity Disorder is a mental, not a physical disorder. We do not treat anorexia with liposuction and we should not treat gender confusion with plastic surgery.