'Social transition' isn't as harmless as it may sound

'Social transition' isn't as harmless as it may sound

'Social transition' isn't as harmless as it may sound

In response to a government oversight and research organization's revelation about preschoolers seeking gender transitions, a pediatrician asserts that children's lives are being irreversibly disrupted.

The American Accountability Foundation (AAF), which uses investigative tools to educate the public on issues related to personnel, policy, and spending, recently shared in a tweet that the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Children's Health has had children as young as 4 years old visit the clinic for so-called transgender consultations.

AAF's tweet links to a 2021 report from MUSC revealing the average age of a first visit to the transgender hormone clinic was 13.6 years (range: 4-18 years). The hospital also states its hope that that "in the future … more patients and at younger ages will be referred to affirming providers so that medical options such as pubertal suppression and mental health support can be discussed with patients and families."

However, according to the hospital, the report reflects historical data and "does not reflect an official statement form MUSC leadership." Also, the hospital assures AFN that 4-year-olds have not and are not receiving hormone therapy to align or change their gender identity, as it "is not appropriate medical practice in pediatric endocrinology."

While that may be so, American College of Pediatricians President Dr. Quentin Van Meter recently told the "Washington Watch" radio program that what is taking place is anything but benign, and it is happening at "almost all the university-based transgender clinics."

Van Meter, Dr. Quinten (American College of Pediatricians) Van Meter

"Children are being brought in at young ages, as young as 4, sometimes even younger in southern California. The transition that's happening at that young age is not a medical transition or a surgical transition, but a social transition," he submitted. "That sounds benign, like something reversible, but a social transition is a disruptive event in the life of the child that's opening a Pandora's box. It's very hard to put things back in a box once you've torn that box open."

The abstract includes data collected through 2020 – when the average age of the first appointment "with parental/guardian consent" was between 13 and 14 years old. Some of those patients reportedly received hormone therapy or, depending on their care plans, pubertal suppression therapy. But since the Appropriations Act went into effect in July 2022, MUSC says it has taken steps to comply with the law, meaning only patients between the ages of 16 and 18 may move forward with hormone therapy after assessment, appropriate counseling, and with the participation and consent of "all parents or legal guardians."

Regarding the desire to see "more patients at younger ages" in the future, MUSC says it encourages freedom of thought and inquiry, but acknowledges its duty to comply with 2022-2023 Appropriations Act, which prohibits the use of hospital appropriations to fund or support any action furthering the gender transition of a minor child under 16 years old.