Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, the highest ranking transgender individual in the US Government, has been criticized for claiming that many medical professionals especially pediatricians support "gender-affirming care," as the medical industry has voiced rather strong opposition to puberty blockers in the last years.
In an interview with NPR at the Texas Christian University, Levine's said, "there is no argument among medical professionals - pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. - about the value and importance of gender-affirming care," Fox News reported.
Her comments come as a response to questions about Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado's fact sheet around a similar theme which strongly warned against adolescents transitioning in any case.
Levine's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines, "gender-affirming care" as an irreversible surgery, "typically used in adulthood or case-by-case basis in adolescence, with social affirmation at any age along with puberty blockers during puberty and hormone therapy starting during early adolescence.
Levine explained in detail that there exists an evidence-based standard for the evaluation and treatment of trans people, formulated by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
She even went ahead to name the medical associations and societies that support this evidence based standard for gender affirming treatment, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, from the [American Medical Association], from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.
Florida Surgeon General Ladapo however, deduced a slightly different conclusion and further stated his state will not follow federal guidelines about "gender-affirming" care. Soon after he released a new fact sheet that contradicts the claims made by HHS for the gender dysphoria treatment of children and adolescents.
Revealing a "lack of conclusive evidence, and the potential for long-term, irreversible effects," the Florida Department of Health warned against social transition, puberty blockers, hormones and surgery as treatment options for minors, as per Daily Mail reports.
Even after all this, Levine has dubbed the Florida surgeon general's decision as one "based upon political considerations" and called it "not appropriate. "We need to stand against that both from a medical and public health point of view," Levine said. "The language of medicine and science is being used to drive people to suicide."
Many countries however have now started to prohibit the use of puberty blockers for those under 18 years of age due to a rise in harmful and undesired side effects. An example can be a case in Sweden, where a young transgender man suffered terribly from liver damage, mental health issues and a condition called osteopenia wherein the bones become so weak they break very easily as well as unexplained weight gain all as a result of the puberty blockers.
The medicine was essentially meant to be utilized as a 'pause button' on puberty, giving some time for the minor to decide whether to choose sex-change surgery and go ahead with complete transition or proceed with cross-sex hormones.
But very little research about the repercussions on an adolescent's body has prompted several European countries to talk about outlawing the use of puberty blockers completely. In the United States also the majority of the medical industry has been repeatedly warning against the use of puberty blockers for the past few years, citing concerns about the steady rise in the number of children being given the medication and then suffering the consequences.
These also include the well-known Dr Marci Bowers, a world-renowned vaginoplasty specialist and Erica Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the University of California San Francisco's Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic, both of whom are transgender women.