There are plenty of controversial topics to discuss regarding transgender issues, but among the two most controversial are puberty blockers for young children with gender dysphoria and the efficacy of gender transitioning story.
In the story of a young child named James and an activist named Walt Heyer, the two issues converge — or intersect, as some might say — in a dramatic manner.
James is the subject of a bitter custody dispute that could have lifelong consequences for him. According to his father, his mother says he prefers to be girl named “Luna” and dress in women’s clothing. Yet, when he’s with his father, Jeff Younger, James prefers to dress as a boy and shows no sign of gender dysphoria.
Younger claims on his website SaveJames.com that James, now 6, has been dressed as a girl by his mother since he was 3. He also claims that his son is undergoing “social transitioning” therapy as a prelude to receiving puberty-blocking drugs as early as age 8. The therapy is meant to make it easier for a full gender transition therapy at an older age, as the drugs inhibit features like facial hair and Adam’s apples germane to biological males.
In Heyer, Younger has found a high-profile advocate.
“The case of James is very troubling to me because I know how the story unfolds,” Heyer writes in a piece for The Federalist.
“My grandmother dressed me as a girl when I was 4, 5, and 6 years old. Like James, I was far too young to comprehend the long-term consequences of being encouraged to cross-dress at such a young age, much less fight back. In my child’s mind, it felt good to be the center of her attention. Now I call what grandma did to me ‘child abuse’ because her grooming of me as a female negatively affected my entire life.
“In adulthood, I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and underwent unnecessary cross-gender hormone therapy and surgical gender change,” he continues. “I lived eight years as a woman and tried my best to make it work, but after surgery I still had gender dysphoria. Even worse, I was suicidal. Before giving me hormones and surgery, my medical providers should have helped me explore the possible psychological roots of my desire to escape into a female persona, but none did.”
Heyer began re-identifying as his biological sex and has since been a staunch adversary of the vast expansion of the procedure. As he notes in his article, published Wednesday, the vast majority of young people with gender dysphoria grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood.
Yet, for those given puberty blockers, a paper by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health notes that “in a follow-up study of 70 adolescents who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and given puberty suppressing hormones, all continued with the actual sex reassignment, beginning with feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy.”
That’s one study, but a world of difference which could suggest the puberty blocker drugs themselves could affect outcomes in gender dysphoria. That’s not a trifle when it comes to children like James: Studies are mixed as to whether gender transitioning actually helps, with two major studies showing doctors finding the procedure ineffective and higher mortality rates among those who underwent reassignment surgery.
Even the Obama-era Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, certainly not a covert hive of transphobia, found that “(b)ased on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria” and refused to cover the procedure.
Heyer says the results of the process on James would be horrifying.
“Puberty blockers and the following step, cross-sex hormones, are known to cause serious side effects, including infertility. Children are not able to understand these consequences or give informed consent,” Heyer writes. “James is on track to be given these drugs.”
“Another opinion is so clearly needed. It’s easy to see why this father is alarmed and fights so hard for his boy. An intervention is clearly needed and needed now. A second opinion needs to come from someone who is not a cheerleader for diagnosing gender dysphoria and preparing a child for a sex change. The ideal counselor will explore the family dynamics and other contributing factors.”
More importantly, he says, he’s spent time with James and his family and says that if the child is putting on an act while he’s with his father, it’s certainly an impressive one for a 6-year-old.
“Jeff and I drove across town to the mother’s home to pick up the boys,” Heyer writes.
“As we pulled up, the front door opened, and the two young boys came flying out. James was dressed as a boy, like his brother. Into the backseat they went, saying hi to their dad and to me before they started talking about Ninja Turtles and other things they had done at school. Not one smidgeon of gender dysphoria or ‘girl talk’ appeared during the drive back to the Scott home.”
“I observed James’ mannerisms, voice inflections, and interactions, looking for evidence of gender dysphoria. I can emphatically say that during the two hours of the visit I saw no sign of gender dysphoria. James indicated no desire to be a girl, nor did he behave like a girl or talk like a girl during the entire time. Both James and his brother happily engaged with the four Scott children and the adults. Both were talkative, demonstrated strong vocabularies, and eagerly showed off their artwork created during a previous playdate.”
Instead, this all seems to manifest when he’s with his mother, who has pressed the court into transgender therapy with Jeff Younger footing the bill, according to the father.
Heyer isn’t a medical professional, although he’s an expert on his own experience, I suppose. He’s also well-versed in the treatment regimen for transitioning when gender dysphoria has been diagnosed, which is called the Dutch protocol. He says that it’s normalizing parental “grooming.”
“Social transition is the first step. James’ mother has enrolled him in first grade as a girl with a girl name and dresses him as a girl for school,” he said. “Social transition for a young child is not harmless. It’s grooming. My grandmother dressed me as a girl when I was 4, 5, and 6 years old, which led to my own gender confusion.”
But this is what’s being pushed as compassionate and progressive among liberal activists at the moment, even though we have roughly zero idea what will happen to children treated with the Dutch protocol 10, 20, 30 years down the line. Our knowledge is limited as to what damage puberty-blocking and this cocktail of pharmaceuticals will wreak on the bodies of individuals who made these choices long before they were adults — if there was any volition in the first place.
That’s not progressive. That’s abusive, and it’s time that society started realizing that. It’s one thing when an adult decides to transition on their own, even if we can debate the efficacy of the process. It’s quite another when it’s done to children as young as 8, people who don’t have the ability to comprehend decisions they’re making about their health and are at the mercy — or the whim — of parents who have their own agenda.
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