TW: Medical transphobia
Earlier this year, in August, the American Academy of Paediatrics shut down all debate around the legitimacy of gender dysphoria and disallowed doctors who questioned the medical importance of gender-affirmative care such as hormone blockers for adolescents and surgical procedures that aid in transitioning, from their annual conference. Research presented at AAP’s National Conference & Exhibition also confirmed that use of puberty blockers during the care-work for trans kids can significantly reduce depression and suicidal thoughts/ideation in them.
On the other hand, we are seeing news reports from a Hindi publication called Hindustan, sensationalizing the comments from a conference of transphobic paediatricians (belonging to the Indian Academy of Paediatrics along with Growth Development and Behavioural Paediatrics at the GDBP Conference) in Agra at Hotel Samovar Crystal. The medical professionals there, according to the report, said that gender dysphoria was earlier a concern among those assigned male at birth (AMAB) but is increasingly being found among those assigned female at birth (AFAB) too. As expected they blamed western influence and perceived it as a trend adopted from ‘economically developed’ nations (as if their body of paediatric knowledge and its production is entirely homegrown?).
A certain Dr. Piyali stated that children, starting at the age of 3, begin to think about sex (unclarified whether this is a verb or biological markers) and starts to differentiate themself from the ‘opposite sex’. The report quotes her as saying that trans-kids begin to experience their gender differently than what they have been assigned from as early as the age of 3. She also points out that suicidality is often a symptom of deep gender dysphoria. Here she takes a strange turn and urges parents to ‘lovingly explain’ binary gender stereotypes, roles and norms to the child, effectively preaching conversion therapy.
It is worth noting that just a week ago, the Kerala High Court told its State Government to formulate guidelines so as to combat and crackdown on conversion therapy practices, which registered an uptick during COVID-related lockdowns over the past couple of years, making homes unsafe spaces for LGBT folx, young and old alike.
The article also claims that ‘same sex’ marriages are common among those who experience trans-ness, effectively muddling up several different experiences and identities experienced by individuals, and reducing them to an easily-digestible variant of queerphobia. They go on to resort to biological essentialist arguments around gender, while also relegating vulva-owners to reproductive labour in a marriage.
Finally, the paediatricians seem to admit that if the young person grows up advocating for their trans experience and continues to feel the same way after becoming an adult (if adulthood isn’t yet another legal fiction…), then they may be provided hormonal therapy and access to gender-affirming surgical procedures. Only then can trans-folx lead ‘normal lives’, the report declares in its final sentence.