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Letters to the Editor: What ‘trans kids need lots of therapy’ gets wrong

Clinical therapist Erica Anderson looks at her reflection in a mirror
Clinical therapist Erica Anderson has raised questions about the sharp rise in youth coming out as transgender.
(Paul Kuroda / For The Times)
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To the editor: I am a physician quoted in the article “A transgender psychologist has helped hundreds of teens transition. But rising numbers have her concerned.” As evidenced here, transphobic views garner the most attention and largest platform.

Therapy is often a crucial part of the gender-affirming approach, helping families accept and nurture their trans child and helping the child develop coping skills and deal with dysphoria-related distress. In the gender-affirming framework, being trans is not considered a disorder that needs to be reversed.

Gender-affirming care is multilayered and looks different for everyone, depending on age, the timing of puberty and family attitudes.

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Extensive therapy is not supported by evidence and often delays lifesaving interventions. Gender exploration is essential for all youth and should be encouraged when desired and led by youth. Coercing trans youth into it rides the fine line of conversion therapy.

Trans youth deserve love, support and thoughtful medical care. At Anchor Health, where I practice, we emphasize an approach that centers our patients and supports them in their gender affirmation, regardless of what that looks like.

AJ Eckert, D.O., Hamden, Conn.

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To the editor: Amid increasingly acrimonious public exchanges about gender identity and transgender individuals in society, this article on the reservations expressed by psychologist Erica Anderson is a paradigm of balanced, well-researched journalism.

The collegial discussion between Anderson and author Abigail Schrier embodies the fine art of public discourse as it should be conducted, especially because their interchange focuses on a highly charged and controversial subject.

As an endocrinologist, I am alarmed by the extent to which the Endocrine Society has embraced the politicization of this subject so ardently, essentially stifling debate and marginalizing physicians and scientists who have serious reservations about proselytizing the advantages of “gender affirming” protocols over potential adverse effects.

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As this article points out, there is a serious dearth in long-term outcomes research in the management of individuals with gender dysphoria. Thanks again to The Times for publishing a balanced piece.

Dr. C.F. Sharp Jr., Pasadena

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To the editor: Being gender nonbinary does not necessarily mean one is in need of medical or pharmaceutical measures.

The reaction on the right to people coming out as transgender or nonbinary is due to its uncovering of how cisgender people are taught to be so. Most people would be firmly nonbinary if not trained and pressured to be as gender-extreme as possible.

It is true that having a nonconforming identity makes life more difficult, and in our current culture where parents try to erase any difficulties, drugs or surgery offer a potential quick solution for nonbinary children.

Perhaps if more people lived proud nonbinary lives with their biological bodies, the culture would become more accepting of everyone’s uniqueness.

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Harlan Levinson, Los Angeles

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