The Economist Article Points Out What Conservatives, Skeptics Have Been Saying For Years About Sex Changes For Kids

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Font Size:

An April 5 article in The Economist highlights what many conservatives and skeptics have been saying for years about gender transitioning in minors.

The piece argues American health associations that specialize in transgenderism are making suggestions about trans-identifying youth that are not grounded in sound science. The Economist article claims the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has analyzed the psychological effects of puberty blockers, “for its part,” but the study allegedly did not find high-quality evidence. The Endocrine Society (ES) focused on the side effects of puberty blockers rather than studying any kind of “mental improvement” brought about by sex-change operations, according to the article.

In contrast, several European nations such as Sweden, Finland, France, Norway and Great Britain, take a markedly different approach to youth experiencing gender dysphoria. Though these countries believe therapy is a good first step, they are far more skeptical when it comes to pharmaceutical elements of treatment than the U.S., according to the article.

Sweden, for instance, paused hormone therapy for minors after a surge in trans-identifying minors raised eyebrows among officials. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) adopted new guidelines on trans-identifying youth, tossing out the “gender-affirming” model of care and establishing psychotherapy as the first line of treatment.

The piece also casts doubt on whether puberty blockers, which are often suggested for gender dysphoric youth, are as beneficial as they are said to be. The Economist points out that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2020 found little evidence puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones had a positive impact on mental health for patients. (RELATED: KJP Says Trans Community Is Under ‘Attack’)

Furthermore, many of the papers NICE analyzed were of low quality, according to The Economist.

“Most studies followed only a single set of patients, who were given the drugs, instead of comparing them with another set who were not,” the article reads. “Without such a ‘control group,’ researchers cannot tell whether anything that happened to the patients in the studies was down to the drugs, to other treatments the patients might be receiving (such as counselling or antidepressants), or to some other, unrelated third factor.”

In regards to those who decide to stop the transition, there is not much data. It is very possible the number of “detransitioners” in the world is undercounted, according to The Economist.

“One problem is that those who abandon a transition are likely to stop talking to their doctors, and so disappear from the figures. The estimates that do exist vary by an order of magnitude or more,” the article reads. “Some studies have reported detransition rates as low as 1%. But three papers published in 2021 and 2022, which looked at patients in Britain and in America’s armed forces, found that between 7% and 30% of them stopped treatment within a few years.”