Don’t be put off by the title. This paper, by Michael Biggs, is on the “Dutch Protocol”; the name given to the pioneering use of puberty blockers, driven by clinicians who claimed to be able to identify those children destined to become “transsexuals”. The title serves as a reminder of the claims made to justify this experiment; a model which was adopted by the Tavistock, U.K. main “gender” clinic.
I will add the paper at the end. My reading is very much through the lens of a parent, with a child who believes in the idea of being “born in the wrong body”. I have researched this issue, full-time, for five years so I am pretty steeped in the ways of the “gender woo woo”. In my opinion Michael Biggs is one of the stalwart researchers in this field and he deserves global recognition. This is why I have given him his own series which you can access here. 👇
Here is the abstract for the paper I am covering in this post. As you can see this experiment is 25 years old, the evidence base is thin and some of the claims made are not only implausible, but, at this stage, it is clear, some are demonstrably false.
The paper opens with an explanation of the history of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone agonist (GnRHa) drugs to suppress puberty. It was first proposed as early as the 1990’s at the precursor to what became the World Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Biggs outlines how these drugs were proposed as a way to “resolve” a disordered “gender identity” . The drugs marketed as a “solution” for this condition do need our attention and they are not licensed for this particular condition.
It’s worth pointing out that the brand name for the puberty suppression drug used in the U.K. is triptorelin which is made by Ferring Pharmaceuticals. I covered Ferring before because they donated 1.4 million to the Liberal Democrats. You can read this post here 👇. Ferring Pharmaceuticals funded some of the research covered in this paper as will crop up later.
Biggs provides a summary of the origins of the theory of “gender identity”; the setting up of gender clinics for children and how medical intervention, initially rare, became the standard treatment at gender clinics. Some, like Harry Benjamin, were, formerly, comsidered to be operating at the reckless end of the spectrum but his use of testosterone and double mastectomies has now become the norm. There has also been a push to lower the age for these interventions. (In the U.K the youngest reported child, in receipt of puberty blocking drugs, was 10 years old.)
One of the key proponents of earlier medical intervention was Peggy Cohen-Kettenis.
This is one of her patients; a teenage lesbian who underwent testosterone, a double mastectomy, hysterectomy and the removal of her ovaries.
Some of the research, purporting to provide an evidence base for this treatment, was a follow up of 22 subjects who were treated at the Utrecht clinic. One of the problems with the, seemingly positive, results was that comparison was made to an older cohort when attitudes were less tolerant. In addition the younger group were only followed up at an age before any regret over the inability to conceive/ reproduce would, possibly, have emerged.
Another case study presented an “adolescent transsexual” who has a similar back story to Johanna. FG was also a Lesbian with a disapproving father.
FG would go on to have a similar medicalised pathway.
One would assume some advances in the kind of surgeries available to females but this is a recent photo of someone who has had surgery to create a faux-phallus. These images suggest the results leave a lot to be desired. This is a graphic image but people need to see what we are doing to these young women.
FG was considered a success story but this is what she reported when followed up in later life. Feeling of shame and inadequacyand an inability to sustain a relationship.
This is the conclusion Cohen-Kettenis drew about F.Gs experience. 👇
Below is also the story of Nancy who opted for voluntary euthanasia rather than live with how she felt about her post-operative results.
The belief in an innate gender identity underpins the drive for these extreme interventions. Cohen-Kettenis, and other like minded people, sometimes use the analogy of a kind of “intersex of the brain” and were keen to find evidence that supported this belief. There are studies that make the claim that there is evidence of “trans” identified brains matching those of there target sex. These studies are flawed in a number of ways, They either fail to control for homosexuality, neuroplasticity / are tiny samples and one even included males on female hormones, which are known to shrink the male brain. I remain unconvinced by this “research”.
Cohen-Kettenis undertook further research in 2006 which was funded by the pharmaceutical company Ferring Pharmaceuticals who, as mentioned above, make triptolerin; the U.K. brand of the puberty suppressing drug.
Under Cohen-Kettenis, the number of children undergoing puberty suppression began to increase, markedly, but the criteria appeared strict. Formally it was required that patients must have had “gender dysphoria” since childhood; family should consent and there must be no competing mental health issues. However, this was not always adhered to; one patient was prescribed, over the objections of the parents, despite being in an institutional facility because of a physical disability. Another U.K child was prescribed, over the phone, when the U.K. clinicians refused to prescribe.
The Dutch protocol scrutinised
One of the key issues examined was the claims of “reversibility” of the puberty suppressing treatment. Suffice to say, this claim does not survive rigorous analysis, There are known impacts such as decreased bone density, documented drops in IQ and, for boys, stunted genitalia which is clearly a problem for any male who stepped off the medical pathway. The stunted genitalia was also a problem for males who want to use their penis to create a facsimile of female genitalia, as we shall see.
The second claim challenged was that this was a “pause” or a diagnostic tool to allow identity exploration. In fact 95% to 98% progress to cross sex hormones. In other words they don’t step off the medicalised pathway. This raises the concern that these children are blocked from sexual maturation and thus from a realisation they were homosexual, a common outcome for these children.
We know that proto-gay kids are vastly over-represented at gender clinics so are we denying these potential homosexuals the chance to accept and embrace their sexuality? Biggs highlights that the clinic were preoccupied by how well their subjects could “pass” as the target sex, if they had puberty suppressed. There was less emphasis on sexuality and the studies, referenced above, which emphasised homosexual outcomes, began to be downplayed in later work.
This paragraph! I have said before that more concern was expressed for sex offenders put on these drugs than for children!
In the London study we only have one girl who opted not to progress to cross sex hormones. She reported no sexual feelings in the two years post cessation.
It does not get any easier to read. The stunted genitalia creates surgical complications and resulted in the death of one boy.
Biggs covers the ex CEO of Mermaids who obtained these drugs for her son via Norman Spack, in the United States and also Jazz Jennings. Marci Bowers, Jazz’s surgeon also raised another aspect about these treatments
The paper examines the evidence for the impact on bone density, the missing homosexuals we would have expected to desist from a “trans” identity and the appearance of private provides like Helen Webberley at Gender GP. He also considers the lack of longitudinal data that follows these children into adulthood. The Tavistock Clinic claim, rather conveniently, the follow up is illegal. Here is Bernadette Wren speaking this year,
You can watch Wren’s full explanation here:
The statement, below, by Biggs, to me, has a significant bearing on the, purported, obstacles to robust follow up and longitudinal data,
Cohen-Kettenis, herself agreed follow up needed to be at least 20 years.
Bigg’s paper offers a good account of how we got here and identifies some of the key proponents of a medicalised path for purported “juvenile transsexuals”. He challenges claims of the reversibility of puberty suppressing drugs and questions the ability of clinicians to ensure they are not sweeping up gay males and Lesbians into their patient pool.
More alarmingly he explains how the results from the Tavistock trial were only revealed after concerted pressure. Their reluctance to publish begs the question. Did they know?
Are we creating a new kind of human? Bernadette Wren 👇
He ends with a concerning story about an Austrialian girl who has refused cross sex hormones and opted to stay in a permanently pre-pubertal state.
Here is a link to the paper: I recommend reading the entire thing.
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