I thought i was saving trans kids: Transgender children have faced a long-standing history of discrimination, marginalization, and violence. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is essential to provide affirmative and supportive care to trans children to promote their physical and mental health. However, some people may perceive this care as harmful or inappropriate. As a result, individuals who believe in supporting transgender children may find themselves fighting an uphill battle. In this article, we will explore how some individuals who believed they were saving trans kids may have unintentionally contributed to harmful practices.
The Dangerous Concept of Conversion Therapy
Conversion therapy, sometimes called “reparative therapy,” refers to a set of practices and treatments aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This practice has been debunked by various medical associations, including the American Psychological Association, which found that the practice is harmful and ineffective. Conversion therapy has been linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide. Transgender individuals who have undergone conversion therapy often report feeling traumatized and violated.
Unfortunately, some people who think they are helping trans children have advocated for conversion therapy. They may see being transgender as a mental illness or a phase that a child will grow out of. These beliefs are not supported by medical evidence and can cause severe harm to transgender children. Any medical treatment or care provided to transgender children should be based on affirmative, supportive, and evidence-based practices.
Gender Identity and Dysphoria
Gender identity refers to an individual’s sense of themselves as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. Gender dysphoria refers to the distress a person experiences when their gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria, but those who do may seek medical interventions, such as hormone therapy or surgery, to align their body with their gender identity.
Medical interventions for gender dysphoria are safe and effective when provided by qualified medical professionals. However, some individuals who think they are helping trans children may advocate for harmful interventions or treatments that are not backed by medical evidence. For example, they may advocate for puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones without proper medical oversight. These treatments should only be provided under the supervision of a qualified medical professional who specializes in transgender healthcare.
Supporting Trans Children
Transgender children require support and affirmation to promote their physical and mental health. This support includes using their correct name and pronouns, providing access to medical care, and creating safe spaces where they can be themselves without fear of discrimination or violence. Transgender children may also benefit from therapy, support groups, and social services that cater to their unique needs.
It is essential to note that supporting transgender children does not mean trying to change or suppress their gender identity. It is harmful to force children to conform to gender norms that do not align with their identity. Instead, it is crucial to affirm and validate their gender identity and support them as they navigate their journey.
Transgender children face many challenges in society, including discrimination, marginalization, and violence. Supporting transgender children requires affirmative, supportive, and evidence-based practices that prioritize their physical and mental health. While some individuals may think they are helping trans kids, advocating for harmful interventions or treatments can cause severe harm. It is essential to promote practices that affirm and validate transgender children’s gender identity and provide them with the support they need to thrive. So i thought i was saving trans kids.