In response to a new proposal by the UK government to make it easier for people in England and Wales to change their legal gender, the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) issued a warning that allowing people to change their gender as a matter of personal choice could cause grave harm, particularly to those people who are in genuine need of mental health care.
Dr Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the CMF commented: “Such a dangerous change would encourage the view that gender identity has nothing to do with a person’s biological sex, it is a merely a social construct. This new ideological dogma has no evidence-base in science and self-declaration would appear to reinforce it as if proven fact.”
He added: “There is considerable evidence (see here and here) that amongst those who present with gender incongruence there is an elevated prevalence of co-morbid psychopathology, especially mood disorders, anxiety disorders and suicidality. A Dutch study has also reported the co-occurrence of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and gender dysphoria. The incidence of ASD in a sample of 204 children and adolescents with dysphoria (mean age 10.8) was 7.8%.”
He warned that self-declaration would deprive individuals of contact with mental health professionals at the time when their assessment and advice could be crucial especially when rates among young girls seeking transition services has leaped 4,000 per cent in just a decade.
Dr Saunders continued: “There is a real risk that people who require psychological support and specialized psychiatric treatment would not receive it. This is of particular concern for teenagers, struggling with the turbulent effects of puberty, social transition and identity issues in general. Pursuing legal gender transition may harmfully distract a young person from addressing psychological issues such as anxiety and depression that may complicate gender dysphoria or even be at the root of it, with the help and support of mental health professionals and others.”
He goes on to criticize proponents of the changes to the law as having no proof that radical therapies such as puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormone treatment will prevent adolescents from attempting suicide. If anything, findings show that there is a need for serious scientific research into the causes of gender dysphoria and the risks of medical transition.
The CMF position is in line with that of the American College of Pediatricians who issued a statement last year in which they conclude that “Conditioning children to believe the absurdity that they or anyone could be ‘born into the wrong body,’ and that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”
They cite the same lack of scientific research into the long-term effects of radical transition therapies.
They also call attention to the fact that those medical professionals who are against the prevailing trend to allow children as young as five to determine their own gender are being silenced and branded as “hate groups” by proponents of transgenderism.
In fact, the College has been officially branded as a “hate group” by the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) even though their opinions are based upon sound scientific evidence.
Regardless of the cultural pressures to conform, the facts must not be ignored.
“The prevailing rush to treat adolescents with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones is not based on robust evidence that this approach results in lasting, improved mental health outcomes,” Dr. Saunders concludes. “The treatment is highly experimental.”
According to John A. Di Camillo, PhD, BeL, staff ethicist at The National Catholic Bioethics Center, genuine healing for those experience gender confusion must encompass the whole person in full realistic terms of a body-soul union and note merely in relation to experienced desires and whatever physiological modifications are feasible.
"Only bodily acceptance efforts can offer authentic healing in response to gender dysphoria, while all forms of gender transitioning, from psychological counseling to cross-sex hormones and surgical 'reassignment' always contradict the good of the whole person."
Even in the case of contrary opinions by respected medical associations, "Catholic health care must swim against the current," Di Camillo writes, "proactively affirming the Christian understanding of the human person in medical practice while refusing to perform, allow, or deliberately facilitate any form of gender transitioning."
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