Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Puberty Blockers And Medical Lies

At last! The New York Times says we can openly question puberty blockers. But should we recognize their authority over the discourse?
Screen Shot 2022-11-15 at 10.45.55 AM

From Live Not By Lies:

What makes the emerging situation in the West similar to what they fled? After all, every society has rules and taboos and mechanisms to enforce them. What unnerves those who lived under Soviet communism is this similarity: Elites and elite institutions are abandoning old-fashioned liberalism, based in defending the rights of the individual, and replacing it with a progressive creed that regards justice in terms of groups. It encourages people to identify with groups—ethnic, sexual, and otherwise—and to think of Good and Evil as a matter of power dynamics among the groups. A utopian vision drives these progressives, one that compels them to seek to rewrite history and reinvent language to reflect their ideals of social justice.

Further, these utopian progressives are constantly changing the standards of thought, speech, and behavior. You can never be sure when those in power will come after you as a villain for having said or done something that was perfectly fine the day before. And the consequences for violating the new taboos are extreme, including losing your livelihood and having your reputation ruined forever.

People are becoming instant pariahs for having expressed a politically incorrect opinion, or in some other way provoking a progressive mob, which amplifies its scapegoating through social and conventional media. Under the guise of “diversity,” “inclusivity,” “equity,” and other egalitarian jargon, the Left creates powerful mechanisms for controlling thought and discourse and marginalizes dissenters as evil.

It is very hard for Americans who have never lived through this kind of ideological fog to recognize what is happening. To be sure, whatever this is, it is not a carbon copy of life in the Soviet Bloc nations, with their secret police, their gulags, their strict censorship, and their material deprivation. That is precisely the problem, these people warn. The fact that relative to Soviet Bloc conditions, life in the West remains so free and so prosperous is what blinds Americans to the mounting threat to our liberty. That, and the way those who take away freedom couch it in the language of liberating victims from oppression.

“I was born and raised in the Soviet Union, and I’m frankly stunned by how similar some of these developments are to the way Soviet propaganda operated,” says one professor, now living in the Midwest.

Another émigré professor, this one from Czechoslovakia, was equally blunt. He told me that he began noticing a shift a decade or so ago: friends would lower their voices and look over their shoulders when expressing conservative views. When he expressed his conservative beliefs in a normal tone of voice, the Americans would start to fidget and constantly scan the room to see who might be listening.

“I grew up like this,” he tells me, “but it was not supposed to be happening here.”

... A Soviet-born émigré who teaches in a university deep in the US heartland stresses the urgency of Americans taking people like her seriously.

“You will not be able to predict what will be held against you tomorrow,” she warns. “You have no idea what completely normal thing you do today, or say today, will be used against you to destroy you. This is what people in the Soviet Union saw. We know how this works.”


We have seen this dynamic play out in the way the Narrative has been managed around Covid. And now, at last, it seems to be playing out with the transgender youth issue. One was forbidden to discuss the dangers to young people of putting them on puberty blockers. People like Jesse Singal, who is in no way a conservative, was denounced viciously by trans activists for questioning the wisdom of puberty blockers. But now, The New York Times has poked its authoritative head above the parapet with this story. Excerpts:

As the number of adolescents who identify as transgender grows, drugs known as puberty blockers have become the first line of intervention for the youngest ones seeking medical treatment.

Their use is typically framed as a safe — and reversible — way to buy time to weigh a medical transition and avoid the anguish of growing into a body that feels wrong. Transgender adolescents suffer from disproportionately high rates of depression and other mental health issues. Studies show that the drugs have eased some patients’ gender dysphoria — a distress over the mismatch of their birth sex and gender identity.

“Anxiety drains away,” said Dr. Norman Spack, who pioneered the use of puberty blockers for trans youth in the United States and is one of many physicians who believe the drugs can be lifesaving. “You can see these kids being so relieved.”

But as an increasing number of adolescents identify as transgender — in the United States, an estimated 300,000 ages 13 to 17 and an untold number who are younger — concerns are growing among some medical professionals about the consequences of the drugs, a New York Times examination found. The questions are fueling government reviews in Europe, prompting a push for more research and leading some prominent specialists to reconsider at what age to prescribe them and for how long. A small number of doctors won’t recommend them at all.

... But there is emerging evidence of potential harm from using blockers, according to reviews of scientific papers and interviews with more than 50 doctors and academic experts around the world.

The piece is a deep and detailed dive into the issue. It contains anecdotes like this:

The 11-year-old in New York, who had begun puberty and started at a new school, was increasingly distressed — refusing to bathe or go to class and, for the first time, expressing a desire to no longer have a girl’s body.

When the parents consented to blockers in 2018, they hoped the drug would bring emotional stability and time to consider next steps.

“If everyone thinks this will help, and it’s reversible, then we need to give this a chance,” said the mother, who asked that her name be withheld to protect the family’s privacy.

The first two years were promising, with the patient, by then a teen, taking Prozac in addition to the blockers. But at the start of the third year, a bone scan was alarming. During treatment, the teen’s bone density plummeted — as much as 15 percent in some bones — from average levels to the range of osteoporosis, a condition of weakened bones more common in older adults.

The doctor recommended starting testosterone, explaining that it would help the teen regain bone strength. But the parents had lost faith in the medical counsel.

“I was furious,” the mother recalled. “I’m thinking, ‘I worry we’ve done permanent damage.’”

We in the West have been running this grotesque experiment on desperate young people and their families. The medical authorities and political leaders who kowtow to them have abdicated their responsibility to go carefully with these irreversible interventions. True, they claimed that these things were reversible, which has been at best debatable -- at best. What happened is that trans activists captured the institutions. Children whose bodies have been permanently wrecked, and their families, are the collateral damage. Imagine the pain of parents who consented to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for their psychologically suffering child, based on medical advice, and who now have to bear the cross of knowing that they did not protect their child from these ghouls.


These past three years, with the Covid issue but not just that one, have wrecked the authority of institutions. Do you trust doctors, in general? I do not. I did prior to Covid, trans, and Black Lives Matter. But we have seen very, very clearly how quickly medicine can be and has been captured by radical ideologues. My children are older now, but if they were still small, I would never, ever, ever allow my kids to be alone with a physician. Ever. Similarly with the matter of teachers in elementary school, middle school, and high school. They (teachers) have aligned themselves with the radicals, against parents. Not all teachers, and not all doctors, do this -- but how are parents to know if their children's doctor(s) and teachers are trustworthy?

I don't understand why there has been no backlash against all this. They really are coming after our kids. This is not conspiracy theory. We were harshly instructed that we couldn't talk about facts that could challenge the Narrative -- on Covid, on trans, on race -- and still can't do it until and unless institutions like The New York Times decide we can discuss these things.

We have to stop living like this. We have to. Look at the damage to the lives of flesh-and-blood people from the elites deciding that we cannot discuss these things, because exercising free speech to debate these matters is "dangerous" or even an exercise in bigotry. Don't you see what's happening? It's all about control.

The American Psychological Association has a detailed set of guidelines for writing about psychology and medicine. One of them says:

Pronoun usage requires specificity and care on the author’s part. Do not refer to the pronouns that transgender and gender-nonconforming people use as “preferred pronouns” because this implies a choice about one’s gender. 

I thought "preferred pronouns" was a neutral way of talking about the pronouns an individual wishes others to use. It was yesterday. No more. See how this works? “You will not be able to predict what will be held against you tomorrow. You have no idea what completely normal thing you do today, or say today, will be used against you to destroy you. This is what people in the Soviet Union saw. We know how this works.”

Notice this, from the APA:

See what they're doing there? "It's science! Trust the science!" You are expected to surrender to all these demands, because it's Science, and Science Has Authority.

Next week, activists will decide that the Narrative demands another change. Eastasia will always have been at war with Oceania, because Science Says So, you bigot.

Back to the Times story. While I am grateful that we can finally discuss this stuff, because one of the Narrative Controllers has deemed it possible, it infuriates me that we live in a dysfunctional society in which a relatively small number of people control public discourse. They are doing this for the cause of controlling us, and exploiting us. I'm sick of it.