Politics Foreign Affairs Culture

De-Transitioners Inspire States to Fight Child Sex Surgeries

Horror stories from kids who blocked puberty and altered their still-developing bodies are becoming difficult to ignore.
The 11-Year-Old Best Friends Transitioning Together

Bills are pending in statehouses all over the country that would make it a felony for minors to undergo a medical transition.

The lines are clearly drawn, with support for the legislation coming from gender critical feminist groups and conservatives, and opposition being waged by trans rights activists and the mainstream media. While Republican lawmakers in South Dakota, Colorado, Missouri, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Kentucky work to criminalize and ban the surgical and medical sterilization of minors, they are being vilified in the press, their motives reframed as bigoted and hateful.

What these brave legislators have done, however, is to actually listen to those who have undergone transitions before reaching a mature developmental age. In some cases, these victims of trans advocacy in medicine opted for surgery and drugs to alter their brains, bodies, and appearances before going through puberty. 

The Washington Post writes, “The debate mirrored the nation’s culture wars, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers disputing not just medical facts, but also morality, parenting and the role of doctors in American life.” But this is not about ideology; it’s about children whose bodies are being intentionally harmed under the guise of a solution. Gender dysphoria has become the only psychological condition that’s routinely treated with millions of dollars in surgeries and drugs that prevent human development.

Vox put it this way: “should any of the bills become law, they would effectively cut off many adolescents from medically necessary and, often, lifesaving treatment for gender dysphoria.” It goes on to frame this as a debate over culture: “Bills banning trans care for kids are the new bathroom bills, part of conservatives’ larger culture war against trans people. Conservative media and politicians have been fanning the flames for this fight for years in hopes of rallying the base over a nonexistent threat—a threat that only puts trans lives…in danger.” Lawmakers argue that it is these children’s lives they’re trying to save.

For its part, the ACLU vows to fight the South Dakota bill if it’s enacted into law.

And The New York Times notes, “Medical professionals who treat transgender youth said that the medicines could be lifesaving, helping to diminish anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior. For many transgender teenagers, the development of their bodies during puberty—particularly the growth of breasts—can deepen their psychological stress.”

But of course it can: puberty is stressful. Every human being who has reached the age of maturity knows this. It’s a stress we must all learn to cope with so that we can become adults, not ignore it—or cut it out—so we can keep our children’s bodies forever. “Trans affirming care” could just as easily be called Peter Pan care, where kids who fear adulthood in their own God-given bodies can be medically prevented from ever having to grow up.  

Natasha Chart, board chair of the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), testified before the South Dakota House, which just passed HB1057, a ban on minor transition surgery.

“We can all be sure that humanity hasn’t suddenly developed a new type of child that needs their sexual function removed before adulthood,” Chart said. “Though sadly, I’ve now seen years of press coverage of girls who sound much like I was, saying they want to be boys, and damaging their bodies to prove it. Doctors shouldn’t help kids take out their sadness and anger on the only bodies we can ever have.” She urged lawmakers to vote yes to “forbid the sterilization of these young people.”

An attorney who was formerly with the ACLU and is now with WoLF testified as well, taking the constitutional approach. “If this bill is enacted into law, and if it is ever challenged on constitutional grounds,” Dansky posited, “one question will be whether the law is protecting a legitimate state interest. In other words, does South Dakota have a legitimate interest in protecting the integrity of the bodies of minors? And the answer must be that of course it does.”

Trans activists countered by stating their own personal preferences:


It’s clear, however, that Annie on Twitter is interested only in becoming her own avatar. It’s not so much about becoming female as it is about morphing into a personal creation of your own making. This is a project that any adult is welcome to undertake, but one that should not be medically available to children. Sterilizing surgery and drugs should not be anything like standard practice for kids. 

The procedures being promoted look like a parade of horribles. For girls who transition to present as male, the pharmaceutical intervention involves puberty blockers, which prevent gonadal development, resulting in early menopause and sterilization, along with uterine atrophy, leading to a need for a hysterectomy. 

Puberty blockers are often touted as merely pressing pause on puberty. But the truth is that puberty is a once in a lifetime event, and if the body misses its window, it doesn’t come back. These drugs do not delay puberty; they stop it.

There’s a case in the UK where the mother of a transitioned young person is suing the Tavistock gender clinic, saying that children were fast-tracked into treatment for which they were not adequately able to consent. Psychotherapist Marcus Evans, writing for Quillette, says that the current climate of fear surrounding the debate is a problem that is getting in the way of care. When people are afraid they will be called hateful and bigoted simply for raising concerns, they don’t raise them.

Those who advocate an unquestioning ‘affirmation’-based approach to trans-identified children often will claim that any delay or hesitation in assisting a child’s desired gender transition may cause irreparable psychological harm, and possibly even lead to suicide,” Evans writes. “They also typically will cite research purporting to prove that a child who transitions can expect higher levels of psychological health and life satisfaction. None of these claims align substantially with any robust data or studies in this area. Nor do they align with the cases I have encountered over decades as a psychotherapist.”

Detransitioners are out there, and they are telling their stories. While trans advocates have tried to silence them, saying that those who detransition were never really trans in the first place, their stories show why a practice of “watchful waiting” is far superior to one that injects cross sex hormones and surgically butchers healthy bodies.

Blair White, a trans woman and YouTuber who writes for The Post Millennial, recently spoke to a detransitioned young woman. “My puberty was medicalized,” states Elle. “From a young age, I dealt with mental health problems that ultimately put me on a path of trying to fix myself to figure out what was wrong with me.” She goes on to cite the deepening of her voice and growth of facial hair as huge regrets that came as a result of taking testosterone.

The Pique Resilience Project in the United States is getting the word out that trans-affirming care is not the magic cure-all that so many want us to believe:

In the UK, meanwhile, Charlie Evans founded the Detransition Advocacy Network to bring together young people who regret their transitions. There are more people reaching out to her than she has the bandwidth to cope with:

So why does Elizabeth Warren believe the next education secretary should be vetted by a nine-year-old trans child? Does she have any idea what she’s talking about? 

Guidelines are now being drafted as to how to take kids away from their parents if the parents are not on board with transitioning. These offer “three potential avenues for providing gender-affirming care over parental disagreement: legal carve-outs to parental consent, the mature minor doctrine and state intervention for neglect.” They were drafted by medical professionals who are affiliated with New York University, University of Michigan School of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, and the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic. 

My good friend’s daughter is currently transitioning. It was a surprise for my friend, because her daughter had always been at ease with herself, happy to climb trees and read and play with dolls and play video games. It was the onset of puberty that made her child feel disquieted in her body. With very little therapy, she was prescribed testosterone injections. My friend had concerns, but was convinced by her daughter’s therapist that suicide was a certainty if she didn’t go along with her daughter’s wishes. 

After a while, my friend’s child stopped taking her injections. 

The more people become aware of the adverse effects of transitioning youth, the more they will oppose it. Trans should be considered an adult condition. Now that lawmakers are becoming aware of just how severe the medically prescribed treatment for this psychological condition is, they have an obligation to protect the children.

Libby Emmons is a playwright living in Brooklyn, New York. She has written for The Federalist, Quillette, and Arc Digital, among other publications. You can follow her on Twitter @li88yinc.



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