Update: the Ministry of Education has denied stopping the student from getting hormone therapy.
Two days ago, a transgender student at a Singaporean junior college shared his experience of the Ministry of Education blocking his efforts at undergoing hormone therapy on Reddit. The story spread across Singaporean social media, eventually being picked up by The Online Citizen. Quite predictably, left-wingers are expressing support for the student and condemning MOE.
They are also ignoring the consequences of hormone therapy.
Minors and Hormone Replacement Therapy
In Singapore, Junior College is a pre-university institution that prepares students for the GCE ‘A’ levels or International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Typical JC students are between 16 to 19 years old. Singapore’s age of majority is 21 years old.
Hormone replacement therapy is a regimen designed to stop the production of sex-specific hormones and introduce hormones of the opposite sex. In the case of male-to-female transgenders, hormone replacement therapy introduces estrogens to induce feminization and suppress testosterone levels, and antiandrogens to prevent the development of male sexual characteristics.
Hormone therapy is a lifelong process. It also has significant life-altering consequences, all of them harmful—and for minors, their long-term effects are unknown.
Hormone therapy carries significant health risks. These include:
- Halting genital growth in men and permanent damage to sexual function
- Bone loss
- Bone and joint pain
- Mood disorders
- Memory loss
- Reduced IQ
- Heart and circulatory difficulties
Not only that, the effects of cross-sex hormones are irreversible, and the long-term effects on minors and young adults are unknown.
Undergoing hormone therapy as a child leads to a lifetime of poor health and high medical costs. Not only that, hormone therapy does not work. It does not reduce the need for mental health services. It does not take away the patient’s intense distress.
Gender dysphoria is a psychological disorder. Altering biology and outward appearances does not address the underlying inner disease. It only compounds the issue by creating a host of new diseases, above and beyond the existing psychological disorder.
The doctors who pushed for hormone therapy are pushing child abuse. The MOE was right to intervene.
Comorbidities are also common with gender dysphoria. Changing biology with addressing the inner psychology leaves these comorbidities to fester.
In the case of the original poster, he states that he has ‘severe autism’. Transgender people between three and six times more likely to be diagnosed with autism. In addition, the student states:
I used to attend an all-boys’ primary school and it was the worst period of my life – I couldn’t fit in and constantly got bullied because I was ‘too soft’ and ‘needed to man up to the bullies’. Despite being there, I always wanted to dress like girls, have a typical female hairstyle etc. Things took a turn ever since I entered a co-ed secondary school; I started making more friends and understanding my identity.
The poster also adds that in JC:
My classmates and subject tutors are highly supportive.
Transgenderism among children is a social contagion. According to a research report from Brown University:
None of the young people Littman studied would have met the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for diagnosing childhood gender dysphoria, the study says. However, a very high rate, 62 percent, had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or neurodevelopmental disability before their gender dysphoria began.
Nearly half of these children (48 percent) “experienced a traumatic or stressful event prior to the onset of their gender dysphoria,” the study says, such as parental divorce, a death in the family, a romantic breakup, rape or attempted rape, school bullying, family relocation, or a serious illness. Nearly half (45 percent) had been harming themselves before coming out trans. The parents of most of these children also reported they were bad at handling strong negative emotions.
“The majority of respondents (69.4%) answered that their child had social anxiety during adolescence; 44.3% that their child had difficulty interacting with their peers, and 43.1% that their child had a history of being isolated (not associating with their peers outside of school activities),” says the study.
Parents described intense group dynamics where friend groups praised and supported people who were transgender-identified and ridiculed and maligned non-transgender people. Where popularity status and activities were known, 60.7% of the [children with gender dysphoria in the study] experienced an increased popularity within their friend group when they announced a transgender-identification and 60.0% of the friend groups were known to mock people who were not transgender or LGBTIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or asexual).
The poster experienced significant bullying in school. Autism brings significant difficulties in social interactions. After attending secondary school, he began ‘making more friends’ and ‘understanding my identity’. As the report notes, a child experiences increased popularity within their friend group when they announced transgender-identification, and when a majority of the friend group mocked people who were not transgender.
The poster didn’t go into many details into his secondary school or JC life. However, social acceptance is a powerful, life-changing experience for children, especially children who had experienced bullying and have severe autism, and he had peers and teachers who were ‘highly supportive’ of his transgender identity. Seen through the social contagion theory, this could be an underlying cause or contributing factor of the poster’s identity.
Duty to Protect
The Ministry of Education has a duty to protect children from harm. This includes self-inflicted harm, and harm from other children.
As the sections above discuss, hormone therapy leads to a number of health issues, all of them glossed over by the left-wing alternative media and transgender advocates. The long-term effects of hormone therapy are especially pronounced for children. Blocking hormone therapy was the only sane measure.
The school authorities also imposed additional discipline. In the poster’s words:
In addition, if I became unable to fit in the boys’ uniform if I somehow got hormone therapy, I would be expelled from school, instead of being allowed to wear the female uniform. The principal’s explanation for this was that ‘due to your presentation, you would be as disruptive to the school environment as a student with severe autism’.
Seen through the lens of social contagion, preventing a transgender student from presenting as transgender limits the spread of transgenderism among students. This in turn reduces cases of gender dysphoria, improving health among the students.
The MOE’s response and the principal’s statements were certainly blunt, and lacked key context and information. To a confused teenager undergoing intense mental distress, they could add to his suffering. Yet by taking the long view, the MOE and the principal were right.
TransgenderSG claims that preventing children from accessing hormone therapy is a ‘violation of basic human rights / child abuse’. There is no human right to hormone therapy, and there is certainly no right to push unsafe treatments that will create lifelong medical issues. What is child abuse is pushing for minors to undergo hormone therapy with the expectation that it will be the solution to their problems, even though it will cause significant health problems.
Transgender SG further adds that transgender students killed themselves because their schools or MOE prevented doctors from giving them HRT. Transgenderism is associated with high rates of suicide. 84.8% of transgender people contemplated suicide, while 50.3% attempted suicide. The common argument among transgender advocates is that giving transgender people HRT and other medical treatments will prevent them from killing themselves.
This is emotional blackmail. This approach focuses intensely on the suicide risk to push for drastic procedures that cause permanent and irreversible damage. The reality is much more complicated. Some studies that push for hormone therapy to reduce suicide risks are of poor quality, with no control groups, follow up or cross cultural comparisons. Conversely, other studies demonstrate the hormone therapy increases suicide rates. Long-term registry studies suggest poor transition outcomes. Compounding matters is that transgender children are coming out at a time when they hear a constant narrative that they will kill themselves if they do not transition, which increases both the risk of suicide and the stated threat of suicide. The full picture can be found here.
Hormone therapy, and transition in general, does not necessarily lead to better mental health outcomes. Conversely, hormone therapy definitely leads to poorer physical health, and has unknown long-term effects for youths. The constant pushing of the suicide risk narrative while ignoring health issues aims to manipulate society into rapidly accepting therapy and ignoring the consequences.
Transgender people, along with everyone else on the LGBTQ spectrum, experience a great deal of suffering. It can be especially pronounced in conservative societies like Singapore. This does not in any way justify allowing minors to destroy their bodies. Neither does it justify bullying, mockery, or other harms. Treatment of transgender youths should be based on compassion and reason. That includes preventing them from harming themselves, and those around them.
The poster’s suffering is caused by gender dysphoria. Not a defect of the body, but the feeling that his body does not match his gender identity. It is this feeling that should be addressed. It is a mental illness, not a physical one. The appropriate course of action is psychological treatment to address these feelings, not changing one’s biology to suit a disordered mind.
The great tragedy of rushing towards hormone therapy is this:
Between 65% to 94% of children with gender dysphoria outgrow their feelings of dysphoria.
Taking puberty blockers and commencing physical interventions increase persistence of dysphoria.
With counseling, compassion, and time, it is highly likely that the poster can naturally resolve his feelings of gender dysphoria.
By undergoing transition, he never will.
Every day, the world tilts closer to the madness depicted in Babylon Blues.