Love, affirmation, and acceptance seem to be the name of the game these days, especially when it comes to anything concerning gender identity. Such a view is taking hold not only in the political world, but in the scientific and research world as well.
This fact is underscored by a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Recognizing that pediatricians are dealing with increasing numbers of children wrestling with gender dysphoria, the statement seeks to present advice and research on the topic for those in the medical community.
The advice given, however, leaves out some important research, a fact which family physician, psychologist, and author Dr. Leonard Sax points out in a public comment on the statement.
According to Sax, research suggests that when it comes to gender dysphoria in children, particularly boys, the “wait and see” approach is often the more practical and less invasive way to treat the disorder. He cites several studies, the first which found that more than 60 percent of boys who were gender dysphoric around age eight “did not persist in gender dysphoria” ten years later. Likewise, a 2012 study found that nearly 90 percent of gender dysphoric seven-year-old boys no longer struggled with the condition by the time they reached age 20, leaving Sax to conclude that “the majority of boys who identify as gender-dysphoric prior to the onset of puberty will not persist in gender dysphoria after the onset of puberty.”
So how does the American Academy of Pediatrics get around such research? As Sax explains, they label it “outdated,” and then suggest that doctors who try to dissuade children from gender changes are out of line and ineffective. The irony, however, is that the American Academy of Pediatrics report uses even older research to justify the more aggressive, non-wait and see approach to transgender children. Even more ironic is the fact that this older research applies not to children, but to transgender adults.
After making these pointed observations, Dr. Sax concludes:
“Common sense suggests that a 3-year-old boy who says that he is a girl should be subject to some degree of watchful waiting before the boy is put in a dress and has his name legally changed. But such common sense is notably lacking from Rafferty & Committee.”
Does Dr. Sax have a good point? Is society so eager to affirm and advance those who struggle with gender dysphoria that it overlooks common sense and solid research?
Professor Allan Bloom once noted that “all parties in a democracy are jeopardized when passion can sweep the facts before it.” Is this what we are doing when we allow devotion to political correctness hold sway over good old common sense?
[Image Credit: Flickr-Ivan Bandura CC BY 2.0]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.