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Posted in L'Expresshere.

Anne Perret, child psychiatrist, Caroline Eliacheff, child psychiatrist, Céline Masson, psychoanalyst, Nicole Athéa, endocrinologist, Sonia Timsit, psychiatrist, Sylvie Quesemand Zucca, psychiatrist, Claire Squires, psychiatrist, Laurence Croix, psychoanalyst, Jean-Pierre Lebrun, psychiatrist, Pascale Belot -Fourcade, psychiatrist, Anna Cognet, psychologist, Xavier Gassmann, psychoanalyst



Is the “transgender” child a new symptom of our democratic societies?

For several years, childhood professionals have been confronted with gender transition demands that challenge: being born in a bad body and wanting to change it.

A subject that fascinates - "clinically correct" - currently in vogue both in the media and among some childhood professionals.

Could these children be the new symptoms of the neoliberal system, to which the classifications currently in vogue seem to assign them? Diagnosed as "gender dysphoric" in the DSM5, they are added to the long list of symptoms now grouped under the behavioral heading, after ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and the many "dys" supposed to cause state of children's difficulties in entering learning. It is a new language that circulates, in connection with ideological discourses that invade the field of the clinic. This diagnosis of "gender dysphoria", related to neurodevelopmental disorders, recalls a certain "normative" evolution of classifications in child psychiatry subservient to pharmaceutical companies, thus eliminating any singularity. 


The exponential increase over the past ten years in requests for “transition” among minors, mainly among girls, highlights the importance of the social issues inherent in this clinic. The anatomical difference between the sexes seems to be a major obstacle to a supposed development; getting rid of it would be liberating. Under the pretext of questioning binarism, we are witnessing the emergence of a certain dogmatism which claims – in the name of certain theories – that anatomy is only an epiphenomenon, that the self-determined child should be able to choose his sex. according to his feelings.

But what does a child feel when the onset of puberty is often unbearable? Can we solve the ordeal of puberty metamorphoses with chemical blockages? These very young people are caught up, in their search for identity, by models that are now of a social nature: the testimonies of young trans people through social networks are a powerful factor in new identifications, which lead to requests for reversed identity. . The singular, transgressive and marginal aspect of the transition is particularly rewarding at this period of life.


But the medical response represents a risk and this is completely obscured both in documentaries and programs on transidentity and in scientific articles that are always too cautious. There is a major risk of making a healthy child a lifelong patient due to the initiation of aggressive hormonal treatments. The irreversibility of these treatments is not only linked to their medical effect, but also to their social effects: once installed in the reversed gender identity that the young person has claimed, the ties of dependence established with the medical team , the family upheavals that this request has generated, the status acquired with peers, all these factors will then hinder possible returns to the original identity, compromising their future and their procreative capacities.


The requests from these teenagers arrive “formatted”. It is always about the same discourse, the same claim, the same requirement: to be born in a bad body, to feel that one belongs to the other sex, to be assigned to the sex to which one does not belong. This discourse is conveyed by social networks that offer new ideals that promise these young mountains and wonders. It is no longer in their own subjectivity, in their own body, that these young people find answers to the very legitimate questions they ask themselves, but on social networks, which the medical profession complacently relays in a second time. The question of “transidentity” should not be understood here as a symptom but as a fact. The watchword is to take the request of these young people to the letter and support them in their transition, with the perspective of bodily transformations. The argument invoked and used to put pressure on parents in particular being that of the risk of suicide, as well as the right to happiness for their child. As such, scientific medicine must intervene as quickly as possible in order to stop the puberty process and allow better efficiency of medical and/or surgical transition treatments. It is up to the child and the adolescent to carve in the real of the flesh, to remake a body, to self-generate in the name of an ideal of technology and science, which is not without evoking the dynamic sacrifice of a new religion. The paradox being that on the grounds of depsychiatrizing transidentity, medicine, instrumentalized, is called upon to serve the child and his family as surety and reliable knowledge. The question of adolescence with what it presupposes of questioning about sexuality is completely obscured. The complexity of this clinic is not taken into account and the finesse of the necessary listening, perfectly denied.  Both the dimension of extraordinarily changing temporality and the metamorphosis of the body (and its sometimes extremely painful effects), both specific to adolescence, are obscured. These social issues are visible in the specialized consultations where the teams are crossed by divisions and by a radicalization of the discourses which can prevent any work of clinical elaboration.


To deal with it,Call from the Observatory of Ideological Discourses on Children and Adolescents”, emanating from a multidisciplinary collective, challenges childhood professionals (doctors, shrinks) to invite them to question these medical practices on children diagnosed with “gender dysphoria”. This call from the Observatory focuses on the ideological discourses accompanying the transition paths of these children and adolescents. Direct medical and/or surgical interventions on their body with their often irreversible consequences call into question the preservation of the physical and psychological integrity of the child. They question the field of child protection, the best interests of the child, as well as the notion of consent of minors. This Appeal emphasizes the development of the child, the short, medium and long-term effects of treatments, as well as the consequences of interventions on puberty in the founding process of subjectivation of adolescence. He wonders about the difficulty of having access to the statistics of requests for detransition among these children and adolescents, who have grown up in France and abroad, as well as the problems of psychological or psychiatric suffering expressed by these children and adolescents, accompanying -or not- transition requests. We also observe in the media and in particular on public service television channels, programs all going in the direction of promoting sex change without any information on the long-term consequences. The “demand” is likely to continue to jump exponentially, which worries even some older “trans” people.


The Observatory concludes on the general confusion in the name of the good of the child, on the current legislative void surrounding these practices and on the need to clarify the law as the United Kingdom has just done.

It is the responsibility of doctors, we call on them not to initiate irreversible treatments on the bodies of children and adolescents who could, once adults, file a complaint against the medical teams for mutilation.



(1) This diagnosis of “Gender Dysphoria” in the DSM5 is currently being replaced by that of transidentity and gender incongruence in international classifications. It no longer belongs to mental disorders but to the “sexual health” section of CIM11.

(2) Treatment of “gender dysphoria” with puberty blockers and hormone antagonists.

(3) Observatory of ideological discourses on children and adolescents: impact of medical practices on children diagnosed as “gender dysphoric” Observatory site

The “transgender” child or childhood challenged

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