The Bulwark on Puberty Blockers for Minors: ‘Their Benefits Outweigh Possible Side Effects’

Micky Wootten | October 27, 2022 | 11:37am EDT
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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) – As the government of Florida seeks to clarify its state guidelines on how to treat minors experiencing gender dysphoria, The Bulwark published an article criticizing the “authoritarian” Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for seeking to prohibit what they call “gender affirming care” for minors.

"What’s happening in Florida has nothing to do with science; it’s all about fueling political polarization," writes Alberto Cairo in The Bulwark. "Ron DeSantis is a man of theoconservative and authoritarian inclinations, as his rhetoric and actions suggest, and he has presidential ambitions. He’s also a keen observer of what his most ardent supporters want, such as the desire to attack those whose existence they find offensive while claiming that they do it for our own good."

On April 20, 2022, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado released the following guidelines on the “Treatment of Gender Dysphoria for Children and Adolescents”:

-- Social gender transition should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents.

-- Anyone under 18 should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.

-- Gender reassignment surgery should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents.

-- Children and adolescents should be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider.

On Oct. 28, the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee will be hosting a “rule workshop and meeting” to “discuss and develop draft rule language related to practice standards for the treatment of gender dysphoria.”

A transgender male (biological female) who had her breasts surgically removed to appear like a male.  (Screenshot)
A transgender male (biological female) who had her breasts surgically removed to appear like a male. (Screenshot)

The Bulwark article, “The People He Needs to Be Hurting: Understanding Ron DeSantis’ crusade against transgender care,” was published on Oct. 24. In the piece, Alberto Cairo, reveals that his son is "a transgender boy," apparently meaning a biological female who thinks she is male.

Cairo calls Lapado a “political hack of a surgeon general” and claims his guidelines are “part of a broader campaign against transgender care which at times has been motivated by ignorance, zealotry, and rank partisan politics.” 

Additionally, the article claims that Lapado’s guidelines run contrary to “current standards of care used by all major medical organizations,” and are “based on cherry-picked and misrepresented evidence.”

The author acknowledges that so-called “gender-affirming care” has “many uncertainties” but asserts that “a majority of up-to-date scholarship suggests it is beneficial.”

According to Cairo, puberty blockers “have been used for decades with no public outrage about it,” and “from what research we have at the moment, their benefits outweigh possible side effects.” Additionally, the article asserts that “there are no negative medical side effects to social transitioning.”

The claim that puberty blockers “have been used for decades with no public outrage” links to a study published by the International Journal of Transgender Health, which argues that puberty blockers are not being provided to children experimentally.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The author cites a study published by AJ Eckert to back up his claim that puberty blockers’ “benefits outweigh their potential side effects.” Eckert is described as “Connecticut’s first out nonbinary doctor,” and has numerous financial ties to transgender health care.

The author dismisses the “regret rate” from de-transitioners as “small,” and argues that “the fact that some people cease or revert treatments is not a reason to deny those treatments to a larger population.” 

According to The Bulwark, opponents of so-called “gender-affirming care” are driven by a “desire to attack those whose existence they find offensive.”

The author of the article makes clear that he has a personal relationship to the matter: “Let me tell you what youth gender-affirming care looks like based on my experience as a parent: It is a long, cautious, and individualized process that involves teams of therapists, psychologists, medical doctors, patients, and families.”

The author does not mention the fact that England’s NHS has recently opted to abandon its model of providing gender-affirming care to minors.

The author also does not mention information gathered by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (NBHW), which led the country to reverse its course on its transgender care policies in February 2022.

This information identified a rising number of de-transitioners that experience post-transition regret, and found the risks of hormonal interventions to outweigh the potential benefits.

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