As gender identity becomes the center of the America’s culture war, one early advocate says it’s time to hit the brakes.
Erica Anderson, a transgender psychologist who has assisted hundreds of teens through transitions, is concerned the practice has gone too far.
She warns that children and teenagers are making life-changing decisions because they want to be “trendy” and are pushed into it via peer pressure on social media platforms.
Anderson, also a member of the American Psychological Association committee working on guidelines for transgender health care, is especially horrified that clinical diagnosis is increasingly skipped altogether.
She cited a 13 year old patient whose pediatrician prescribed testosterone even though the child had never met with a psychologist. Anderson says such precipitous actions could be viewed as malpractice.
“For a while, we were all happy that society was becoming more accepting and more families than ever were embracing children that were gender variant,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
“Now it’s got to the point where there are kids presenting at clinics whose parents say, ‘This just doesn’t make sense.”
She believes the dramatic rise in teens seeking gender transitions is driven by peer pressure and the wider acceptance of trans issues.
“To flatly say there couldn’t be any social influence in formation of gender identity flies in the face of reality,” she said. “Teenagers influence each other.”
Dr. AJ Eckert, medical director of the Gender and Life-Affirming Medicine Program at the Anchor Health Initiative in Stamford, Connecticut who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, said the idea that trans children need therapy before transitioning is stigmatizing.
“Forcing transgender and gender diverse youth through extensive assessments while their cis peers are affirmed in their identity without question conveys to [them] that they are not ‘normal,’” Eckert said.