The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) will be holding an Introduction to Gender Identity and Expression webinar on Monday, hosted by a trans activist who advocates for children to be put on the experimental medical sex change pathway without prior psychological assessment or counseling.
Kaeden Seburn, an activist social worker who self-describes as "a non-binary, transmasculine, white settler, and a trans community organizer, activist and educator from unceded Algonquin territory," will be speaking to parents and caregivers interested in the topic of gender identity on Feb 13, but Seburn’s website has information pamphlets full of dangerous misinformation about child sex changes.
In one pamphlet, titled "Stop Assessing Us: A Message From Trans Youth," Seburn says "if a child or youth tells you that they are trans or non-binary then they are. Children of any age can know and express their gender identity. There is no test to determine whether someone is trans. Only the individual can know or determine their gender identity."
Seburn, the former Trans and Gender Diversity Student Support Coordinator for the OCDSB, then goes on to state that assessments prior to accessing puberty blockers, hormones, or surgeries are problematic because children "who are not trans" do not have to go through such assessments, clearly overlooking the obvious fact that children "who are not trans" are not seeking to be chemically castrated, be pumped full of opposite-sex hormones, or have healthy body parts chopped off.
Seburn acknowledges that gender dysphoria is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), but states that the condition is not a mental illness. No explanation is offered to support this claim. Readers are just supposed to take Seburn’s word for it.
Seburn advocates for the immediate social transition of every child who announces a transgender identity, claiming that "socially transitioning does not have any permanent or irreversible impacts." This is in direct contradiction to the findings of the independent review of England’s youth gender service that found "it is important to view [social transition] as an active intervention because it may have significant effects on the child or young person in terms of their psychological functioning."
Then there is medically inaccurate information about puberty blockers, which of course Seburn believes should be "available to youth in a timely manner at any time after the start of puberty."
"Hormone blockers have very little risk and no permanent effects," says the activist invited by the OCDSB to give a webinar to parents of gender-confused youth. "Children and youth should not be required to prove their gender identity or be assessed for transition readiness to access them."
Blocking the important developmental stage of puberty with powerful drugs comes with a growing list of side effects. From bone density issues and the impact on fertility to concerns about cognitive development, these drugs are far from harmless. Last year the FDA added a warning to the drugs used off-label as puberty blockers stating that they can cause a "pseudotumor cerebri," or a false brain tumor caused by a surge in spinal fluid. This condition can cause permanent vision loss.
Seburn pushes the idea that puberty blockers are a pause button to give the gender-confused young person time to figure out their identity, and that is indeed what the drugs were intended to be. However, it has long been observed that almost all children who are put on puberty blockers go on to take cross-sex hormones, meaning that the drugs are better thought of as a start switch for further medical transition. In the past, most children would desist and become comfortable with their birth sex after going through puberty.
One theory as to why this might be is that the maturity and identity development that occurs in those crucial years is precisely what is needed for a child to accept his or her body. Therefore, to block puberty means to block the natural cure for gender dysphoria.
Seburn does not believe that coexisting mental health issues should prevent a young person from transitioning because "a youth who is not trans would never have their puberty halted because of uncertainty related to a mental illness."
The activist deemed a suitable expert on the topic of gender by the OCDSB also advocates for youth to have access to sex-change surgeries upon request. Seburn explains that in "Ontario there is no minimum age of consent for health care decisions and children can make decisions about their own care and their own bodies."
"Given proper knowledge about a treatment’s outcomes, youth should be able to make informed decisions without the need for a thorough assessment."
Remarkably, Seburn’s website reveals that the young activist was influential in encouraging the local gender clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to remove barriers to care and fast-track children onto the medical sex change conveyor belt.
In 2018, the Support And Education For Trans Youth (SAEFTY) group to which Seburn belongs conducted a survey of just 53 youth who complained about the "excessive numbers of assessment appointments," as well as other "gatekeeping" issues.
"We were able to have two meetings with staff in the clinic, as well as one meeting with Alex Munter, president and CEO of the hospital, to discuss the results and our recommendations," says the group’s website.
The SAEFTY report recommends to the pediatric gender clinic that "any youth who have reached Tanner Stage II should be able to access hormone blockers upon request, when provided with the necessary information to provide their informed consent," and that "youth should not be required to complete an assessment of their gender identity in order to access hormones blockers, given that this treatment is entirely reversible and that its purpose is to relieve distress and allow additional time for thought and exploration."The American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2018 position statement endorsing child sex changes is cited frequently throughout the report as reason for CHEO to fast-track children into sex change procedures, but the position statement was so riddled with flaws that Canadian sexologist James Cantor published a scathing rebuttal in 2019, stating that the "AAP told neither the truth nor the whole truth, committing sins of commission and omission, asserting claims easily falsified by anyone caring to do any fact-checking at all."
The Post Millennial has contacted the OCDSB and Seburn for comment.
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