Those state bans on gender-transition treatment for minors are a problem because it means children risk going through “the wrong puberty,” according to a top Biden administration health official.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Health and Human Services assistant secretary, spoke out against the red-state prohibitions against underage puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries in an interview on ABC’s “Nightline.”
“Adolescence is hard and puberty is hard. What if you’re going through the wrong puberty? What if you inside feel that you’re female, but you’re going through male puberty?” said Dr. Levine, the first Senate-confirmed transgender official.
Dr. Levine, who transitioned from male to female as an adult, was accused by critics on the right of giving politically motivated medical advice.
“This is the expert parents are supposed to trust?” asked Nicki Neily, founder of Parents Defending Education.
Ann Vandersteel, president of the Zelenko Freedom Foundation, took issue with the idea that someone can experience “the wrong puberty.”
“Well sir, first of all there’s no such thing as ‘the wrong puberty,’” tweeted Ms. Vandersteel. “You get the body you’re born with and that’s that.”
Not the Bee, the Babylon Bee’s non-satire news site, said that Dr. Levine “continues to make himself the center of attention on the entire ‘trans’ health debate and this statement from the HHS secretary really takes the cake.”
Rachel Levine defends gender-affirming care for children who might be ‘going through the wrong puberty’ https://t.co/g2EF3Wbw1Z
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) July 18, 2023
Others pointed out that in 2019, Dr. Levine cited an advantage of starting a medical sex transition post-puberty.
“I have no regrets because if I had transitioned when I was young then I wouldn’t have my children. I can’t imagine a life without my children,” Dr. Levine said at a meeting of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.
During the “Nightline” segment, Dr. Levine said that “for pre-pubertal children, there are no medical procedures done. The standard of care allows them to explore that with therapy.”
Last year, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health lowered its recommended minimum age for cross-sex hormones from 14 to 16, and for breast removal to 15. The group also said most genital surgeries can be performed at 17 instead of 18.
The organization kept its recommendation to start puberty blockers at the earliest stages of puberty, which for girls ranges from 8 to 13. Boys typically begin puberty a couple of years later.
“Gender-affirming care is medical care. Gender-affirming care is mental health care. Gender-affirming care is literally suicide-prevention care,” Dr. Levine said.
The segment called “Identity Denied: Trans in America” aired on July 14.
Nineteen states have passed laws restricting gender-transition procedures for minors. Most of those laws prohibit hormones and all the laws ban surgeries, according to the American Principles Project.
• This article was based in part on wire-service reports.
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