On Tuesday, news broke that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a study on mostly minors who purported to identify as transgender, in which they were given cross-sex hormones over the course of two years. Two of the study’s participants ended up committing suicide, and 11 more experienced suicidal ideation. Lawmakers and doctors are expressing outrage that taxpayer dollars were used to fund a study that caused death and irreversible harm to children.
The study, entitled “Psychosocial Functioning in Transgender Youth after 2 Years of Hormones,” was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January and was conducted by the Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of California at San Francisco, and the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago under a $477,444 five-year grant from NIH. It studied 315 participants aged 12-20 who identified as transgender or nonbinary, 240 of which were minors.
Each participant was given cross-sex hormones over the course of the two-year study, meaning that they were given hormones of the opposite biological sex in order to appear more like the opposite sex. Despite claiming that “appearance congruence, positive affect, and life satisfaction increased, and depression and anxiety symptoms decreased” among the participants, the study went on to acknowledge that two people died by suicide and 11 people experienced “suicidal ideation” (“a broad term used to describe a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide”).
“It is sickening that the federal government is preying on young people and using our taxpayer dollars to advance its radical gender ideology,” Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.) told The Daily Signal. “We are rightfully demanding answers from NIH, and we are committed to holding those responsible accountable for this tragic loss of life.” Brecheen is one of 15 Republican lawmakers that signed a letter to NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak expressing “grave concerns” over the study.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that chemically transitioning children is not safe, the NIH plans to give more than $10.6 million to experiment on children and adolescents through 2026,” the letter states. “We are deeply concerned about your agency’s use of taxpayer dollars to advance experiments on children who will be irreversibly harmed by radical gender ideology.”
Doctors are also expressing serious concerns over the study. During Wednesday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a pediatric endocrinologist and former president of the American College of Pediatricians, pointed out that the study was conducted using questionable methodology.
“It’s a very unusual study in that it’s not like other studies where you have unified criteria across the centers, a set of consent forms that’s uniform for the whole project,” he explained. “[Most studies] are governed by an institutional review board that’s independent … and they require a very strict consent form for adolescents. They have a safety committee, which is a separate entity which has no financial interest in any way with those doing the study. So it’s a very clean and solid way to stop a study and examine it when things go wrong.”
“That does not apply to this study,” Van Meter continued. “For some reason, it’s not a standard study. Nothing was standardized by it. Each center was doing just what they wanted to do and what they continue to do. And they call it an ‘observational study’ to get out from under the regular kinds of regulations which [would] have stopped this study in its tracks. The sad thing is … the two deaths are unconscionable.”
Van Meter, who also serves as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine, went on to note that a total of $5 million was originally granted for a five-year study.
“It’s perverse that they’re [publishing] this study [with] the first two years [of] data … as a study hailing success of their programs. It is an absolute sham with faulty reasoning [and] faulty representation. … I was at the Pediatric Endocrine Society meetings in San Diego just over this past weekend, and it was lauded by the interest groups as being one of the most concrete studies to show the benefits of their labor and their ideology. And clearly it doesn’t show that.”
Van Meter further detailed the health outcomes that result from giving minors cross-sex hormones.
“They will be sterilized, first of all, that’s the baseline of the horrific nature of the outcomes,” he underscored. “On top of that, there is the side effects of the medications that create disease. … We have known about [that] in medicine for as long as we’ve known about hormones and their effects going back into the early 1920s. … [T]here’s plenty of data from top to bottom to show that every one of the drugs they’re using has adverse consequences. The overall lifespan of the transgender population is half that of the U.S. population. … [T]hey’re creating medical problems that would not have otherwise existed. And these poor individuals not only are sterile, but they are sexually incompetent. They have no ability to have any real sexual function moving forward when their organs are fried by cross-sex hormones. Their brain [development is] adversely affected, and the adolescent age bone density is taken apart and they end up having frequent fractures in adulthood because of that.”
Van Meter continued, “It’s just a panoply of disease that otherwise would not have existed if the child had been counseled and walked through the process, which is the real international standard of care — to not medicalize this, but realize it’s based on mental health issues, and resolving those mental health issues essentially resolves the transgender affirmation or the transgender identification in [over] 90% of all these kids.”
The endocrinologist additionally emphasized how many European countries are “10 years ahead” of the U.S. in determining that there is “no proven benefit to mental health and likely a deterioration of mental health” due to gender transition procedures through the use of broad systemic reviews of the literature. In October, Van Meter highlighted the fact that the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, and France have all taken steps to restrict minors from being able to undergo irreversible gender transition procedures.
Perkins further observed that efforts like the NIH-funded study will likely be remembered with “shock and horror” decades from now, just as the Tuskegee syphilis study is today.
“You’re absolutely right,” Van Meter responded. “And hopefully it will be sooner [rather] than later that the real reality breaks forth and the world knows how evil this concept is of taking healthy children with mental health problems and throwing hormones and surgery at them to create a solution which does not work and never has worked. You know … there’s going to be maybe a million plus children around the world who have been permanently damaged. And that is the sad thing. You know, my heart says we need to do this yesterday and shut this down.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.
Family Research Council
To read more articles from the Family Research Council click here.