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What do doctors in France think?

(DeepL)


A survey just published in the Journal International de Médecine (JIM) shows that 84% of healthcare professionals are in favor of banning hormone treatments for transgender minors.


https://www.jim.fr/medecin/actualites/pro_societe/e-docs/exclusif_les_professionnels_de_sante_tres_largement_favorables_a_linterdiction_des_traitements_hormonaux_pour_les_mineurs_transgenres_198322


Exclusive: healthcare professionals overwhelmingly in favor of banning hormone treatments for transgender minors


Paris, Tuesday August 1, 2023 - According to our survey, 84% of our readers are in favor of a moratorium on hormone treatments for transgender minors.

In recent years, the question of how to care for and integrate transgender people into our society has become a major issue in public debate, involving political, legal, philosophical and, of course, medical and ethical issues. Opinions are often passionate, making the possibility of a calm debate unfortunately illusory, all the more so when the issue concerns children and adolescents.



Survey conducted on JIM.fr from June 26 to July 27, 2023

In recent years, the number of minors claiming to suffer from gender dysphoria has risen sharply in Western countries, and even the analysis of this phenomenon is open to debate: some see it as a sign of greater acceptance of the phenomenon in our society and a salutary liberation of speech, while others see it simply as a "fashion effect".


Sweden, Finland and the UK ban hormone treatments

When it comes to caring for transgender minors, it's hard to strike the right balance between the need to take account of their feelings and discomfort, and the need to protect them by preventing them from making irreversible decisions, especially as adolescence is often a troubled period when everyone is searching for their identity. While the trend in recent years has been to accept hormone treatments, such as puberty blockers, for transgender teenagers, the issue is now increasingly debated and some countries are backtracking on these tolerances. Conservative US states such as Florida and Texas have recently banned hormone treatments for transgender minors, as have more progressive countries such as Finland and Sweden.

The latest country to introduce a moratorium on access to hormone treatments for transgender teenagers is the UK. In early June, the National Health Service (NHS) decided to suspend access to puberty-blocking treatments for minors until further notice. The British health authorities justify this decision by citing "the absence of a clear consensus on the nature of gender dysphoria and its appropriate clinical management, and the lack of clear evidence of the appropriateness of hormonal treatments for minors".

In view of these uncertainties, notably the large number of transgender minors suffering from psychiatric disorders and the few high-profile cases of transgender people who have regretted their transition, should France follow suit and ban hormone treatments for minors?

Only 9% of healthcare professionals in favor of hormone treatments

For our readers, there's little debate on the issue: according to a survey carried out on our website between June 26 and July 26, 84% of healthcare professionals are in favor of a ban on hormone treatments for transgender minors, as in the UK.

Only 9% of our readers believe that teenagers suffering from gender dysphoria should continue to be prescribed hormonal treatments (notably puberty blockers), while 7% prefer not to comment on this thorny issue.

In France, there is currently nothing to prevent transgender minors from undergoing hormone treatments or, in theory, sex reassignment surgery. While surgery is not performed on minors in practice, there are major differences in the way specialists treat them, due to the lack of official recommendations. For the time being, only the Académie de Médecine has expressed an opinion on the subject, urging doctors in a February 2022 opinion to exercise "the utmost medical caution" in the care of transgender minors, because of the risks of regret.

More precise recommendations on the subject from the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) are expected in September. Will HAS experts follow the example of their NHS counterparts, as JIM readers hope, by banning hormone treatments for transgender minors? It's hard to believe they'd dare take such a risk, given the highly political nature of the issue and the attention it attracts.

Quentin Haroche



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