The FDA and Other Federal and State Regulators Should Enact Commonsense Controls on Transition Treatments

Federal and state regulators should take steps to curb harmful and unnecessary transition treatments. They already know that the drugs used for gender transition can have dangerous effects.

Lawmakers should stop funding Planned Parenthood and other organizations, such as K-12 schools, universities, and hospitals, that promote or provide gender transition treatments. (Planned Parenthood is “the second largest provider of transgender hormone therapy services” nationally. It gets approximately half a billion dollars from taxpayers annually).

Lawmakers should prohibit transition treatments on patients who have autism, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, severe cognitive disabilities, sexual trauma, schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorders rather than physical disorders of sex development or “intersex” disorders. Even gender transition advocates acknowledge that the “majority of transgender individuals do not have a disorder of sex development” (see also Auer; Dessens; Inoubli; Meyer-Bahlburg; Pang).

Lawmakers should prevent courts from forcing parents to go along with transition treatments on their own children.

Lawmakers should eliminate “anti-conversion therapy” laws that might prevent doctors from providing helpful alternatives to gender transition—such as counseling. People who suffered from gender dysphoria say that such alternatives can be extremely helpful.

The FDA should strengthen its testosterone drug warnings and require drug labeling changes to clarify the risks of using drugs without FDA approval for gender transition purposes.

Finally, lawmakers should investigate the influence of gender transition profiteers and advocates in a wide range of organizations, including hospitals, universities, medical journals, professional associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association, K-12 schools, and National Public Radio. Profiteers may include wealthy investors, drug and device companies, and doctors who provide transition treatments or serve as “expert” witnesses or paid promotional speakers or consultants for drug companies.

Lawmakers Have Done Little Good

Conservative lawmakers have done little to combat harmful and unnecessary gender transition treatments on young people. Liberal politicians (and journalists) have promoted the gender transition fad. The Obama administration promoted gender transition even though the FDA under Obama said that anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) drugs, which are used for female-to-male transition, are dangerous.

The FDA in 2013 said: “Both boys and girls may also experience mood swings and aggressive behavior” from AAS drugs “that mimic the actions of the male sex hormone testosterone.” It called teenagers and AAS drugs a “dangerous” combination.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2016—under Obama—said that such drugs could cause “paranoid…jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions” and “impaired judgment,” plus “angry feelings and behavior that may lead to violence.” Moreover: “Anabolic steroid abuse may lead to serious long-term, even permanent, health problems.”

The FDA in 2014 warned doctors not to overprescribe testosterone drugs for men. An FDA panel had already rejected a testosterone drug for women in 2004 because of safety concerns. Testosterone drugs and GnRHa drugs were (and are) not FDA-approved for gender transition purposes or for females in general. The FDA in 2015 said:

“Testosterone products are FDA-approved only for use in men who lack or have low testosterone levels in conjunction with an associated medical condition…such as genetic problems or chemotherapy.”

Why then did the Obama administration promote the transition fad, which entails the use of dangerous anabolic-androgenic steroid/testosterone drugs in biological females?

How Obama Promoted Transition

In the Obama administration, the Department of Health and Human Services declared that healthcare providers receiving taxpayer dollars must support the transition fad or lose their federal funding. The Department pressured health insurers to cover gender transition treatments. The Departments of Justice and Education declared that schools must support the transition fad in order to receive Federal funds.

Women’s health advocates, for many years, had pleaded for more careful attention to biological sex differences in medical research, because sex differences can affect the development of health problems and the safety and efficacy of drugs or other treatments (see Bangasser; Becker; Cahill; Clayton; Davies; Fattore; Freire; Gillies; Hayden; Klein; Li; Loke; McCarthy; Ngo; Rodenburg; Soldin; Woodruff; Yang).Yet during the Obama administration, tax-funded researchers began to focus on gender identity in both mental and physical health research.

In 2015, the National Institutes of Health awarded $5.7 million for a study described as “the first in the U.S. to evaluate the long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth.” All of the co-investigators were leading transition advocates: doctors who were already providing or referring many young patients for gender transition treatments, and who in some cases were also consultants for drug companies that sell transition drugs. Such doctors are extremely unlikely to report that transition is harmful, partly because any report of harmfulness might trigger medical malpractice lawsuits.

If the U.S. were funding a first-ever study of the outcomes of highly controversial cancer or diabetes treatments, and the only investigators were doctors who profited from the treatments or served as consultants to drug companies that profited from the treatments, then presumably this would raise questions about conflicts of interest, biased research, and misuse of taxpayer funds (see Berger; Cannon; Friedman; Ghooi; Lexchin; Sismondo).

President Obama’s administration promoted the gender transition fad in many different ways. His Secretary of Defense announced that the Pentagon would move to allow transgender people to serve openly. His Attorney General made a speech denouncing North Carolina’s bathroom law. Hillary Clinton, acting as Secretary of State, enacted a new rule making it easier for transgender people to change their identities on their passports. She called for the Justice Department to collect more data on “transphobic violence.” She garnered political support from a group called Trans United for Hillary.

The U.S. Department of State sought to appoint transgender ambassadors and funded transgender activists around the world (see also “International Trans* Fund” 2015 p. 3). The White House announced the importance of advancing transgender rights globally. Mr. Obama used his last day in office to help transgender immigrants.

Former Obama officials have signed on to an amicus brief in support of female-to-male teenage transitioner Gavin Grimm (see also Gersen).

Former Vice President Joseph Biden in 2017 called transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time.” Yet Mr. Biden, as a senator, had sponsored a law tightening regulations for anabolic-androgenic steroids and providing $15 million for education programs to teach kids about the dangers of steroids:

“Steroid use by young people is a serious health issue. A lot of kids don’t know [how] harmful this stuff really is,’ said Biden, Co-Chairman of the Senate Drug Caucus.”

Unthinking Support for Dangerous Treatments

The Obama administration’s support for the gender transition fad may be explained partly by the fact the Hillary Clinton wanted to win the 2016 presidential election. To do that, she needed support from gay and lesbian voters and donors, who are traditionally strong Democratic constituents. Many lesbians and gays strongly oppose the trans fad, but there is a public perception that most of them support it. Perhaps for that reason, Hillary Clinton became the first Obama associate to push the trans fad forward:

“Over her quarter-century of national public life, Clinton mostly has enjoyed broad support from LGBT voters, donors and activists, but many of them considered her a laggard on the litmus-test issue of marriage equality, which she didn’t endorse until 2013. And during her surprisingly drawn-out primary fight with Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton consistently was cast as the more centrist candidate….

But five years before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage and President Obama lit up the White House in the colors of the rainbow, Hillary Clinton and her staff at the State Department made a change that for thousands of people was exactly that—revolutionary. Clinton enacted a new rule making it easier for transgender people to register their identities on their passports. Sexual reassignment surgery was no longer necessary; all that was required was a doctor’s note. At the time, this was the most pro-transgender action by the federal government ever” (Kruse 2016).

Why might Mrs. Clinton and other federal, state, and local politicians assume that this move and other pro-transition moves would help them politically? Why have neither federal nor state regulators tried to stop the transition fad? Why have voters in the U.S. and other countries allowed the gender transition fad to spiral out of control without demanding commonsense controls by lawmakers? The answer to all of these questions appears to be the same: Many people—especially young adults, whites, and political liberals with higher socio-economic status—now believe that unthinking support for gender transition treatments is compassionate, helpful, and akin to support for gay and lesbian people (see Brown; “Transgender kids”).

They could not be more mistaken.

Young lesbians and gays are exceptionally likely to undergo gender transition treatments (“Research”; “The surgical suite”). Therefore, they are especially likely to be hurt by the adverse brain effects, sterilization, disfiguration, and other harmful effects of those treatments. Despite that, a subset of gay activists—and politicians seeking to win their campaign donations and votes—have supported the gender transition fad. In contrast, other lesbian and gay activists fiercely opposed the gender transition fad long before most heterosexuals knew that the fad existed (see also “Breaking”).

Advocates have portrayed access to transition treatments as a civil rights issue. For some people, the civil rights label can justify anything. “Civil rights” justified cigarettes for women and drugs for “female sexual dysfunction.” Now it justifies the use of “gender affirming treatments”—which can include drugs, surgery, and other things—for people with psychosis, autism, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

It justifies transition surgeries for women with rape-related PTSD and men who were sexually abused as children.

It justifies drugs and surgery for a young woman with mental health difficulties who has come to believe that transition is “The Cure for all of the emotional pain you’re feeling.” It justifies a therapist allowing that patient to believe that her only options are “transition now, transition later, or live your life unhappy/commit suicide.”

It justifies puberty-blocking drugs for a cognitively disabled, adopted boy “of African descent” who said that “he did not like boys, and did not want to be a boy” after being “ostracized and bullied by boys at school.”

It justifies transition surgeries for minors without parental consent.

It justifies everything that seems politically correct and puts money in the pockets of doctors, drug companies, and wealthy investors.

Standing Up to Powerful Men…and Women

Who are those investors? Bilek (2018) says:

“I found exceedingly rich, white men with enormous cultural influence are funding the transgender lobby and various transgender organizations. These include but are not limited to Jennifer Pritzker (a male who identifies as transgender); George Soros; Martine Rothblatt (a male who identifies as transgender and transhumanist); Tim Gill (a gay man); Drummond Pike; Warren and Peter Buffett; Jon Stryker (a gay man); Mark Bonham (a gay man); and Ric Weiland (a deceased gay man whose philanthropy is still LGBT-oriented). Most of these billionaires fund the transgender lobby and organizations through their own organizations, including corporations.….

Along with support by pharmaceutical giants such as Janssen Therapeutics, the health foundation of a Johnson and Johnson founder, Viiv, Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, major technology corporations including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, Dell, and IBM are also funding the transgender project. In February 2017, Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Yelp, PayPal, and 53 other mostly tech corporations signed onto an amicus brief pushing the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit schools from keeping private facilities for students designated according to sex.”

Other companies supporting the trans fad include Twitter, Tumblr, Target, Yahoo!, Intel, Etsy, Ebay, Chase, Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, DropBox, Yelp, Spotify, Airbnb, Linkedin, Shutterstock, and dozens of others (see Allen; Haughey; Turner).

Goldman Sachs began paying for employees’ transition treatments years ago and continues to signal its support.

Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co, who is “starting to look like Corporate America’s shadow president” because of his frequent “trips to Washington…to press a broad agenda with a range of influential policymakers,” also appears to be a trans fad supporter and investor in medical-related enterprises that might profit from the trans fad.

Companies may find that “virtue signaling” on trans issues gives them some protection against criticism on other issues where they may be found wanting:

“Since the adoption of same-sex marriage in the United States, transgender issues have been presented as the struggle’s next frontier. Transgender bathroom use has received immense attention….This issue was a great opportunity for big business, including porn companies to turbocharge their reputations while conveniently turning a blind eye to or committing serious human rights violations” (Feró 2017).

Lawmakers might not wish to defy any of these wealthy trans fad supporters simply to protect young people with autism, psychiatric disorders, cognitive disabilities or lesbian/gay orientations. But that’s their job.

It’s their job, too, to stand up to women who promote the trans fad. That includes women  who provide transition treatments or serve as “expert” witnesses on trans issues or as paid promotional speakers or consultants for gender transition drug companies. It includes women affiliated with transition giant Planned Parenthood (see also “International”) or with K-12 schools, universities, hospitals, medical associations, media organizations such as National Public Radio, teachers’ unions, or other organizations.

Regulators—including the FDA, other federal health agencies, and state medical boards—should always rise above politics to protect vulnerable young people from harmful treatments. When lawmakers allow, encourage or require regulators to fail in that regard, then voters should hold lawmakers accountable: Demand commonsense controls for gender transition treatments. Vote out lawmakers who oppose them, regardless of their Republican, Democratic or other party affiliation.

Don’t make excuses for lawmakers who cannot be bothered to protect vulnerable young people from horrific medical abuse. Demand commonsense controls for gender transition now.