Hard Questions at the Holidays – Medical care for trans minors

This December, we’re talking about #HardQuestionsAtTheHolidays. The holidays can be hard for LGBTQ+ folks and their families since extended family might be confused or unsupportive. We’re looking at questions folks might ask and how you can answer them.

Today’s question: “doctors are forcing children to transition/forcing medical stuff on young children”

Our answer: That is not happening. Young children don’t medically transition. Transition in children is just things like names, haircuts, clothes – all fully reversible and noninvasive.

Depending on the vibe of the conversation, you can absolutely choose whether and how much to engage with the questions. If someone is genuinely curious or confused, you can explain that medical transition care for minors is carefully applied.

Young children don’t receive any medical transition care, and in tweens/teens going through puberty, care (if it is received at all) it’s limited to puberty blockers, which are fully reversible – a person can stop taking them and then go through puberty.

None of this care is given without supervision and consultation of both doctors and mental health providers – doctors are certainly not giving out hormones like candy!

WebMD (I know – but it’s actually a good summary!) gives a good overview of what transition care looks like in minors, which you can share with anyone who has questions: https://www.webmd.com/sex/features/trans-access-to-care

If the vibe of the questions is more hostile, you can absolutely shut the conversation down! So much misinformation is getting shared about transition care in minors and talking to someone who’s not arguing in good faith, just trying to “trap” you, generally goes nowhere.

Unfortunately, if they’re not listening, just repeating talking points they heard somewhere, you’re probably not going to be able to change their mind, but you will upset and frustrate yourself and any of your LGBTQ+ loved ones around. A simple “that’s not true” + a subject change gives them less opportunity to upset you and share their misinformation with others.

Especially if the conversation’s not about care in general, but about your own child’s care, you can 100% shut it down. Private medical decisions are private! Families can be inappropriately nosy about all kinds of medical decisions, but that’s no excuse.

And remember, if you need support, we’re here for you! Email the office at info@gbpflag.org, contact our helpline at  https://gbpflag.org/helpline/,  or check out a support group: https://gbpflag.org/greater-boston-pflag-support-groups/