Children as young as ten years old may start medically transitioning genders and girls may have their breasts removed, according to a pediatrician and LGBT advocate.
Dr. Gerald Montano is an adolescent medicine physician at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh as well as the assistant professor of pediatrics for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
In a recent interview with Rep. Dan Frankel (D-PA), Montano sought to dispel misinformation about “gender-affirming care” for children between the ages of five and 10.
Children under ten, he said, are referred to a therapist who is qualified to “make them feel comfortable” with how they feel about themselves. For ten and up, however, Montano said it depends on where they are with puberty.
Especially females may show signs of secondary sex characteristics at that age. This, he said, may lead to some being “distressed.”
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Despite asserting that the vast majority of surgical procedures involving gender reassignment are not done until the child turns 18, these procedures do happen. Dr. Montano said it is an intensely personal choice between the child, their parents, and medical professionals.
In the United States and globally, there is considerable debate and even pushback against the lobby that wants medical transitioning to begin before puberty. Many international experts recommend waiting on this process until the young person is 18.
There is a wide divergence when it comes to puberty-blocking treatments, and some health professionals are opposed to these options for those as young as 10.
Just last month, the Food and Drug Administration warned that puberty blockers may cause loss of vision, brain swelling, and other serious risks. There are also reported connections between the use of puberty blockers and a brain tumor-like condition found in six girls younger than 12.
Still, defenders of this medical practice continue to insist it is perfectly safe.
Decisions that adults make for themselves are exactly that. But having children who have not even experienced puberty make lifelong decisions that in some cases cannot be reversed is troubling. And 10 years old is not a proper age to begin making those choices.