American College of Pediatricians issues fiery statement condemning child gender transition

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A coalition of pediatricians, health policy groups and conservative organizations is calling on medical professionals to stop promoting transgender medical treatments for children.

The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) and allied groups styling themselves as “Doctors Protecting Children” have published a declaration urging mainstream American medical associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics to abandon support for so-called “gender-affirming care” for transgender youths.

“As physicians, together with nurses, psychotherapists and behavioral health clinicians, other health professionals, scientists, researchers, and public health and policy professionals, we have serious concerns about the physical and mental health effects of the current protocols promoted for the care of children and adolescents in the United States who express discomfort with their biological sex,” the declaration states.

Affirming that sex is a biological characteristic and that medical decisions “should not be based upon an individual’s thoughts and feelings,” including their self-professed “gender identity,” the groups assert that what is currently accepted as best practice treatments for gender dysphoria is actually harmful for patients. Their view is disputed by the larger medical community, which has established that gender is a social construct, not an inborn biological realty, and that validation and affirmation of a person’s internal self-identity are in their best interest. 


Person holding transgender flag

A coalition called “Doctors Protecting Children” argues that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatments and other “gender-affirming care” for transgender children and adolescents lack evidence showing their effectiveness as treatments for gender dysphoria.  (Adobe Stock)

The American Medical Association (AMA), for instance, states on its website that “improving access to gender-affirming care is an important means of improving health outcomes for the transgender population.” 

“Receipt of gender-affirming care has been linked to dramatically reduced rates of suicide attempts, decreased rates of depression and anxiety, decreased substance use, improved HIV medication adherence and reduced rates of harmful self-prescribed hormone use,” the APA claims.

The federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services, also supports transgender medical procedures for children and adolescents, calling it a “supportive form of health care that may include medical, surgical, mental health and non-medical services for transgender and nonbinary people.” 

“Research demonstrates that gender-affirming care improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse children and adolescents,” the Office of Population Affairs (OASH) at HHS has said.

However, several European countries, including the U.K., Sweden, Finland, Norway and France, have pushed back on the use of puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery for children and adolescents. The U.K. last year, for instance, announced a rollback on the availability of hormone treatments, limiting them to clinical trials exclusively.


Dr. Cass protester

Trans rights activists take part in a protest against the ban on hormone blockers on April 20, 2024, in London. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

In contrast to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care for transsexual, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, Doctors Protecting Children argues that permitting children to socially transition before puberty does not improve their mental health and social well-being outcomes. 

The declaration cites various studies to support its claims, including the Cass Review, a controversial independent report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service that documented practices and care for children reporting gender identity disorders.

Named for its primary author, Dr. Hilary Cass, the 388-page review found medical professionals reported “no guidance, no evidence, no training” regarding gender disorders and were “afraid” to discuss the topic. It concluded that evidence supporting transgender medical treatments for children and adolescents was “remarkably weak.” 

The Cass Review has been criticized by WPATH and transgender rights groups, which claim it ignored recent evidence that supports transgender medical procedures as beneficial for transgender minors and made “assumptions about transgender children and adolescents which are outdated and untrue, which then form the basis of harmful interventions.”


Men's and women's bathrooms

Doctors Protecting Children cited several studies that show puberty-blocking drugs did not have significant benefits for young people experiencing gender dysphoria. (iStock)

Doctors Protecting Children said the Cass Review and related research from the University of York “further demonstrate the failure of the WPATH, American Academy of Pediatrics and Endocrine Society protocols.” 

The coalition argues that research shows there is a lack of evidence that social transition in childhood has any positive or negative mental health outcomes; that puberty blockers succeed in suppressing secondary sex characteristics but demonstrate “no changes in gender dysphoria or body satisfaction”; and that there is insufficient research on the long-term effects of cross-sex hormone therapies to determine if they are beneficial or harmful.


“Psychotherapy for underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and autism, as well as prior emotional trauma or abuse should be the first line of treatment for these vulnerable children experiencing discomfort with their biological sex,” Doctors Protecting Children states.

The coalition calls on the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to “follow the science and their European professional colleagues and immediately stop the promotion of social affirmation, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for children and adolescents who experience distress over their biological sex (emphasis original).”

“It is time that these American medical institutions follow the science and the lead of our European professional colleagues and cease to promote protocols that harm children, including the promotion of social affirmation, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for children and adolescents who experience distress over their biological sex,” said Dr. Jill Simons, pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians. 

AAP, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, AMA, APA and AACAP did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

More than a dozen Republican-led states, including Texas, have already acted to ban or limit the use of puberty blockers on minors, with fierce opposition from American medical groups. 

Fox News Digital’s Melissa Rudy, Anders Hagstrom and Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.

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