“Transsexual children as young as 12 should be given drugs to postpone puberty and make it easier for them to change sex at the age of 16 if they still want to. That’s the suggestion of the controversial draft guidelines, the first of their kind, issued last week (13 December 2008) by the international Endocrine Society.
The guidelines state that transsexual children and young teens who have begun early puberty should be given puberty-blockers to avoid inevitable changes to their bodies, which they perceive as out of line with their true gender. In the worst cases, these changes can drive children to self-harm or even suicide.
The idea is to buy thinking time for young people so they can decide if they want to begin a sex change using hormones when they are older. Puberty-blockers would also make life easier when transsexuals become adults. Male-to-female transsexuals for example, will not have the deep voice, masculine bone structure and body hair associated with adult men.”
Geddes, Linda, Delay puberty in transsexual teens, New Scientist 13 December 2008, p.8-9
Reactions to delaying puberty:
Puberty-Blockers are a very immediate way of controling personal evolution. Issues arise with the age in which children make the decision to take the treatment – could they be used on a whim? For fashion? Or by ultimate pushy parents who want to buy time for their children to gain extra years of schooling for the best exam results? Alternatively perscribed by the state in the water supply to surpress reproduction in the under-classes (note to self – buy bottled water)?
Organisations and researchers to note:
International Endocrine Society
Henriette Delemarre-van de Waal, Leiden University (a clinic in Netherlands which has prescribed puberty-blockers to more than 70 under 16s)
Russell Viner, Institute of Child Health, London (experience of transsexual teens)
Marvin Belzer, Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles (treated several 12 and 13 year olds with puberty-blockers)
Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, Free University of Amsterdam Medical Center (helped write the guidelines)
Bernard Reed, trustee of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society in Ashtead, UK (hopes guidelines will encourage UK doctors to consider the option of early treatment).