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Myths About Gender-Affirming Care

Myths About Gender-Affirming Care

Updated: Jan 30

There are numerous myths, falsehoods, and flat-out lies being used to justify anti-trans legislation and attacks against gender-affirming care. In this post, we take a look at some of the most common myths and explain what they get wrong.



Myth 1: "De-transitioning is common."


The desire to de-transition after gender-affirming care, particularly surgery, is rare. Many studies find that only about 1% of those surveyed regret transitioning. This means fewer adults regret transitioning than regret getting breast implants or plastic surgery.


De-Transitioning Among Youth


The Trans Youth Project is a recent study from 2017 to 2022. Its purpose was to provide the first estimates on retransition within trans youth. The sample size included 317 initially binary trans youth between the ages of 3 and 12. Over five years, the youth participants and their parents reported data on their current gender identity.


The results found that by the end of the study, 94% of the children continued to identify with their binary trans identity. Another 3.5% later identified as nonbinary, and only 2.5% of participants identified as cisgender.



Myth 2: "Transitioning does more harm than good."


Some claim that puberty blockers lead to side effects like infertility and abnormal social and mental development. In reality, there is no substantial evidence backing these claims. The only way puberty blockers interfere with fertility is by pausing the production of sperm or eggs. However, it is not permanent, and production can start again by stopping treatment. Puberty blockers have been shown to have positive effects, such as reducing suicidality in trans people.


Myth 3: "Kids are too young to understand gender."


It’s also falsely believed that children are too young to understand something as complex as gender and what they identify as, or that being trans is “just a phase.” Although many children and adolescents go through phases and explore their identities, the notion that they’re completely clueless is false.


Most children can identify their own gender by age 3. As they continue to socialize, they’re able to recognize the disconnect between their actual gender and the one they were assigned. It’s common for trans people to have dysphoric thoughts at an early age– most dysphoria occurs by the time they’re 7 years old.


 

References


20220420-gender-dysphoria-press-release | Florida Department of Health. (2022, April 20). Florida Health. https://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2022/04/20220420-gender-dysphoria-press-release.pr.html


Branigin, A. (2022, April 20). Florida memo on gender dysphoria contradicts leading medical guidance. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/20/florida-gender-dysphoria-memo/


Caputo, M. (2022, June 3). DeSantis moves to ban transition care for transgender youths, Medicaid recipients. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/desantis-moves-ban-transition-care-transgender-youth-medicaid-recipien-rcna31736



Fenway Health. (n.d.). Puberty-Suppression-Risks-and-Benefits-English.pdf. https://fenwayhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/Puberty-Suppression-Risks-and-Benefits-English.pdf


Most Gender Dysphoria Established by Age 7, Study Finds. (2020, June 16). Cedars-Sinai. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/most-gender-dysphoria-established-by-age-7-study-finds/


Olson, K. R., Durwood, L., Horton, R., Gallagher, N. M., & Devor, A. (2022, July 13). Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/150/2/e2021056082/186992/Gender-Identity-5-Years-After-Social-Transition?autologincheck=redirected


O’Neil, T. (2022, July 11). California ex-trans teen backs Florida ban on Medicaid funds for transgender medical interventions. Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/health/california-ex-trans-teen-backs-florida-ban-medicaid-funds-transgender-medical-interventions


Turban, J. L., King, D., Carswell, J. M., & Keuroghlian, A. S. (2020). Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation. Pediatrics, 145(2), e20191725. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-1725

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