The Problems with Biden’s Gender-Affirming Guidelines

The federal government’s treatment of gender has some issues
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In a move to “inform parents and guardians, educators, and other persons supporting children and adolescents with information on what is gender-affirming care,” the Biden Whitehouse recently released their “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People” guidelines. 

The phrase “gender-affirming” is close-minded and even dangerous; it’s an approach to transgenderism that disallows any option to young people experiencing gender dysphoria than transition. This approach is especially harmful given the number of people who desist once it is too late. It is even more troubling considering the suggested treatments, which include social affirmation, puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries.

In the resource, the different forms of care are labeled as reversible, partially reversible, and not reversible.

The most reversible — at least in theory — and the approach suggested for “any age or stage,” social affirmation encourages transition in the young person’s social setting — “gender-affirming hairstyles, clothing, name, gender pronouns, and restrooms and other facilities.” Social affirmation is the least invasive but it isn’t painlessly so. Many detransitioners have spoken of the inertia they felt once they began to socially transition and the pressure which prevented them from changing their mind.

The next step of care recommended by the Biden White House is the use of puberty blockers; as with social transition, this treatment is claimed to be reversible. Puberty blockers involve the use of “certain types of hormones to pause pubertal development.” The claim that puberty blockers are reversible is not without controversy. According to the NHS Treatment Guidelines in the U.K., “little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria,” going on to say that “it is not known what the psychological effects may be.” When you take into consideration that roughly 98% of children who take puberty blockers go on to take cross-sex hormones, their designation as “reversible” is disingenuous at best.

Hormone therapy, which is also recommended for young people by the Biden administration, can include the use of Testosterone for Female to Male (FTM) transitioners and Estrogen for Male to Female (MTF). These hormones, which the administration labels as “partially reversible” are being recommended for people from early adolescence onward. Here are some of the potential side effects: osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems; infertility; vaginal atrophy, which can make sex painful; erythrocytosis, which impacts red blood cells, slowing the blood flow; reduced sexual function in males; and an increased risk of heart attack for transmen.

The only treatment assigned “not reversible” on the list of “gender-affirming care” is surgery. This would include the euphemistically named “top surgery” — more accurately labeled either mastectomy or breast implantation. The soft language of the guidelines describes top surgery as the creation of “male-typical chest shape” or surgery done to “enhance breasts.”

Continuing the use of euphemistic language, the administration recommends “bottom surgery,” which would include phalloplasty, vaginoplasty, and castration. Recommended, irreversible surgery also includes “facial feminization” and “other procedures.” Though the guidelines state these would be used “typically” in adulthood, they also make room for the possibility of their use on a “case-by-case” basis in adolescence. When these gender-affirming practices are being made, for children, and at times without parent permission, the recommendation for irreversible surgery should rightly be seen as horrifying.

Each of the proposed treatments for gender dysphoria recommended by Joe Biden and his administration comes with potential risks and downsides. The fact they are being recommended for young people, who we know as a group don’t have the capacity to weigh the costs and benefits of their decisions and the long-term impact on their lives, is another among an increasing number of indications that this administration is more interested in scoring points with their base than it is in doing what’s best for the youth of the nation they’re sworn to protect.

Jason Anger
Jason Anger is an educator from Wisconsin, a father, and a part-time bartender. He is a regular contributor to Chalkboard Review, where he is also a fellow and member of the social media team. He has been published in Chalkboard Review, City Journal and National Review.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chalkboard Review team.

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