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Researcher at Kansas children's hospital recommends taking 'gender dysphoric' kids away from parents who won't agree to medical transition

Maura Priest compares parents who do not want their children to have access to medical interventions to the physical abuse of children.

Christina Buttons Nashville TN

The Children's Mercy Kansas City Youtube channel published a video of a speaker who advocated for the government to intervene if parents refused to let their trans-identified children medically transition.

A segment from the video was shared on Thursday by popular social media account Libs of TikTok, "Professor at Children’s Mercy Hospital says not giving a child puberty blockers is a form of psychological abuse and suggests parents should be held criminally liable and the state should intervene."

Maura Priest, a philosophy professor at Arizona State University, who is an "occasional visiting researcher" at Children's Mercy Hospitals, argues that children who identify as transgender have a "fundamental right" to puberty-blocking drugs without parental approval, and that children are "harmed psychologically and physically" by their parents when they refuse to give it to them.

The webinar, entitled "Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: When Parents Mean Well But Do Harm, (Mar. 9, 2018)" comes from a paper published of the same name by Priest in the American Journal of Bioethics. The caption from the Kansas Children's Hospital YouTube page reads, "In this webinar, philosopher Maura Priest, PhD, defends the right of transgender children to transition. Moreover, she argues that the state has a duty to protect these children from the serious psychological harms, including higher risk of homelessness, self-harm, and suicidality, associated with non-supportive parents refusing medical assistance for gender transition."

In the webinar, Priest compares parents who do not want their children to have access to medical interventions to the physical abuse of children. Priest relies on the debunked affirm-or-suicide myth to make her assertions that children are at risk of harm if denied puberty-suppressing treatments.

In her research, Priest cites deeply flawed studies that, at most, find loose correlations between "affirming" interventions and improved mental health. But these studies that claim "trans" youth are at elevated risk of suicide are commonly compared with average mentally healthy teenagers, which is deeply misleading. When researchers compared "trans" youth with teens suffering from similar mental health problems, there was virtually no difference in suicide rates between the groups. "Trans" youth are not any more suicidal than teens with garden variety mental illness, which means that failing to "affirm" a child’s transgender identity does not drive suicidal behavior.

Children's Mercy Kansas City has their own pediatric transgender healthcare program called "Gender Pathways Services" located in the Endocrine Clinic. An article from 2016 on their website reads, "With 150 children already in the program ranging from ages 4 to 17, the list of referrals is much longer. As the only program of its kind between Dallas and Chicago, children travel to Kansas City from surrounding states to receive services."

"In our Gender Pathway Services (GPS) clinic, 17% of our patient population is under 13 years old," their website reads. "Children can conceptualize themselves as gendered individuals as young as 2-3 years old. Very young children may question gender-based expectations or assert that they are a different gender from the sex assigned at birth."

According to Dr. Jill Jacobson from Pediatric Endocrinology at Children's Mercy Kansas City, "Children as young as 18 months can feel gender dysphoric, and struggle with the way they feel and think of themselves because there is a discrepancy with the assigned gender. Toddlers can also be very intuitive and may ask questions, such as why they’re in the wrong body or why they were given the wrong name."

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