Young people use the internet to construct transgender identities & parents need help to understand this.

So we recommend @Transgendertrd ’s excellent new essay on youtube influencers, which you can download free here:…

The ‘social laboratory’ of the internet is widely acknowledged. GIDS itself sponsored a D.Psych thesis by Xinyi Lee, on “transgender youths’ experiences of using social media”, based on 11 patient interviews. Download it here:
As Dr Lee wrote, “parents & clinicians [should be] working together in ensuring that social media use does not pose a risk… it is important for parents to be equally aware of the nature of social media platforms and the potential benefits & risks posed”

In a section called “I found out how to be trans on YouTube” Dr Lee says YouTubers are seen by these GIDS teens as “an authority figure on how to be trans”. One “ascribe[d] more significance to a single person expressing their experience online than …more objective sources.”

“For many of the participants, their first encounter with the word transgender was through online social media. .. It is therefore useful for clinicians … to have a discussion around what constitutes their awareness of trans matters and to distinguish facts from opinions.”

Important to ask “questions about these young trans ppl’s relationship with social media, remaining mindful about whether opportunities online for more troubling kinds of interactions & information have influenced their perceptions… & have a discussion on the risks posed”.

Social media is a powerful way for marginalised communities to gain a voice. As Dr Lee’s research suggests, there are also risks for vulnerable teens working out their identities and life problems. As much as our children are the first ‘digital natives’,

we are the 1st generation of parents raising children with unfettered daily access to such a vast ungoverned resource. Children can connect with complete strangers & encounter extreme views, or unrealistic or troubling ideas about themselves.

Sadly publishers, govt and policymakers seem uninterested in grappling with the harm that’s being done; indeed, it’s often framed as progress.

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More from @BayswaterSG

16 Sep
A thread about seamless transition – not of gender, but from childhood to adult life. How well does the NHS support vulnerable teens with gender distress as they move into adulthood? And, as parents of those teens, what might we want a gender service to look like? /1
@NHSEngland is thinking how to support under 18s distressed about gender. Its contract with @TaviAndPort for GIDS has expired & a new one needs working out. The @Hilary_Cass evidence review is part of this periodic look at GIDS. /2…
Two things have changed since GIDS was last reviewed:

1. Rise of adolescent-onset gender dysphoria: young ppl with complex needs presenting in their teens, requiring careful, exploratory assessment. /3
Read 40 tweets
28 Jun
*just published*

New analysis of Dutch and UK outcomes for early pubertal suppression concludes that "results were more negative than positive for the English females”, who became more dissatisfied with their bodies.
It "question[s] widespread assumption that outcomes from Netherlands can be generalised to other countries” 20+yrs after Dutch model was introduced, “strongest evidence for treating GD with GnRHa comes from observations of between 41 & 57 subjects - lacking any control group”
Our NHS gender service now treating thousands of children each year for gender dysphoria (GD) must be able to rely on good quality evidence, to assure families and society that good outcomes will ensue.
Read 8 tweets
4 Jun
In 2010/11, GIDS and UCL began a research study into the use of puberty blockers for gender dysphoria - the ‘early intervention study’ (whose results are still unpublished). In their ethics application form, they said:

“concerns have been expressed in the following areas: …>>
“1. It is not clear what the long-term effects of early suppression may be on bone development, height, sex organ development, and body shape and their reversibility if treatment is stopped during pubertal development."

“2. It is argued that it is possible that early suppression may affect brain functioning and gender identity development by influencing the pesistence of the GID and fixing transgender beliefs.”

Read 9 tweets
18 May
Some people make their living agitating for children to gain access to puberty blockers (PBs). They want teenagers to celebrate their bodily distress as a human right – as if their identification as 'trans' were a solution to their problems rather than a manifestation of them.
We seek a realistic conversation about the rise in demand for & growth in supply of blockers in recent yrs & how we can set a better path for gender-distressed children. We intend to foster this discussion with govt, health & education authorities. Below we set out one concern
Early treatment with PBs in the NHS is based on a Dutch initiative to improve outcomes for children who'd later have sex-reassignment surgery. The earlier in life you began medical interventions, the better you'd pass in later life, which improved psychosocial functioning.
Read 21 tweets
23 Dec 19
For @BBCPanorama Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford Univ, analysed the evidence about medical interventions for gender dysphoria in children. (The Times, 8 April 2019). This is what he wrote. >>

Prof Heneghan wrote:
"You would think, when it comes to children, the testing and evaluation of medicines would be robust — ensuring the utmost safety. Well, you’d be wrong." >>

"The mess we have gotten ourselves into with the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents highlights all that is concerning with the present use and evaluation of powerful medicines in this age group." >>

Read 9 tweets

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