It is a fact that transgender children tend to grow out of their diagnosis of gender dysphoria. This is a fact the American Psychological Association, one of the main organizations most responsible for setting policy on transgender children, has acknowledged in statements. The scientific community takes this into account when dealing with these children. Children are also not in any way given hormones or anything that could have serious negative effects until they’re at least 13-16 years of age.
The reason the scientific community wants to treat transgender children is to reduce suicidal behavior. A study was performed on transgender patients, asking them many questions, particularly “Have you attempted suicide, yes or no?” and “How supportive are your parents or your gender dysphoria, very unsupportive, unsupportive, supportive, or very supportive?”. Of the participants who had “very unsupportive parents,” as in parents who aggressively rejected current transgender medical treatments for their child, 57% of those participants attempted suicide. And for the participants who have “very supportive parents,” or parents who emotionally supported their child and let them transition, only 4% had attempted suicide.
“Consideration of suicide was common, and was reported by 35% of youth whose parents were strongly supportive and 60% of those whose parents were not strongly supportive. Particularly alarming is that among this latter 60%, nearly all (57%) had actually attempted suicide in the past year. In contrast, only 4% of those with strongly supportive parents attempted suicide.”
Current medical and psychological policies on transgender children are about filtering out children who lose their gender dysphoric feelings by adulthood. The following information is taken out of the guidelines for raising transgender children set out by the endocrine society:
For a psychologist to diagnose a child as having gender dysphoria, the child must meet 6 or more out of eight of these diagnostic criteria for a condition called gender dysphoria in the DSM-5:
A child must show they have flipped internal rewards and punishments for gendered behavior, and they only diagnose children who exhibit very, very reversed gendered behavior. Gendered behavior is biological in origin. A Boy simply liking dolls will not be diagnosed as gender dysphoric however, he would have to have other symptoms like strongly rejecting masculine play, a strong rejection of masculine parts of his body, a desire for parts of his body to be feminine, or insist that he’s actually female or that he wants to be female.
When a pre-pubescent child is diagnosed as having gender dysphoria, nothing is done to them medically. This is because children have no problem passing as the opposite gender, so treatment is not needed or given yet. Just letting the child dress and act how he or she wants eliminates the brains internal punishments for undesired gendered behavior. However many children still have discomfort with sexed parts of their body. The parents simply let the child dress differently, and the child’s peers don’t realize the child is not entirely the gender they’re presenting. This goes on until the ago of puberty.
At the age of puberty, many children no longer have gender dysphoria and doctors leave those children alone. These children usually stop dressing as the opposite sex, stop using different pronouns, and live as their natal sex. For the rest of the children who are still gender dysphoric, doctors then administer puberty suppressing medication. This medication delays puberty so that the child can have more time to see if their gender dysphoria passes and because blocking puberty lets the child pass as the opposite gender. These medications can be stopped at any time and the child will go through puberty as normal, with no loss of fertility or other serious side effect.
As the children mature into teens after puberty, more and more children stop being gender dysphoric. Then, at the age of 12-16, is when gender dysphoric feelings are considered to be permanent, the teens with the more severe the feelings getting treated sooner. This is when cross-sex hormones are introduced. These hormones are what gender dysphoric people use to quite nearly become the opposite sex, and if you’re not aware of their effects, I’ve outlined them in a short summary in another post:
These do seriously change the body, and there are some negative effects in this treatment. However these treatments do counter the negative symptoms a transgender person has when living as the natal sex, such as depression and suicidal behavior. So for a gender dysphoric person, they are necessary.
However giving someone hormone therapy who then regrets it is bad, and should be avoided. At 13-16 psychologists are thoroughly confident that gender dysphoria in a patient is permanent. Psychologists who work with transgender teens have reported a regret rate that is even lower than the small regret rate gender dysphoric adults have (which is around 1.8%). The University of San Fransisco has found that zero of the transgender teens who were treated in childhood in their facilities regretted a gender transition:
“Concurring on this matter, UCSF (University of California San Francisco) states that the small amount of data collected “supports the notion that gender constancy is certainly in place in adolescence.” They find that adolescents who present with a transgender identity go on to be transgender adults “100 percent of the time.”