Child Gender Dysphoria Treatment Pioneer Speaks Against Puberty Blockers

Dr. Susan Bradley, a Canadian psychiatrist and pioneer in child gender dysphoria treatment, has expressed her concerns about using puberty blockers to treat gender dysphoria in children. Bradley recently spoke with the Daily Caller about her current position against the popular model of affirming children’s transgender identities and using puberty blockers to alleviate their distress. She stated that this approach she once participated in could cement a child’s confusion and ultimately hinder their growth out of gender dysphoria.

Bradley started a pediatric clinic focusing on gender-related conditions in 1975, offering a therapy-focused approach to treating children with gender dysphoria. She found that most of the clinic’s patients grew out of their feelings of being transgender over time. However, around 2005, the clinic began prescribing puberty blockers to gender-dysphoric children. This model has since become widely adopted by medical establishments worldwide, including in the U.S.

Bradley now expresses regret that her clinic participated in the prescription of puberty blockers for gender dysphoria, which she now believes can have longer-term effects on children’s growth and development, including making them sterile and affecting their bone growth.

Before the widespread implementation of the “gender affirmation” approach, Bradley said many doctors maintained concerns that puberty blockers could make temporary gender confusion permanent by affirming a child’s sense of actually being the opposite sex. The drugs also prevent the bone density surge that typically occurs during puberty, with some patients experiencing lifelong bone issues.

Bradley now believes that most child patients who identify as transgender are actually on the autism spectrum or suffering from borderline personality disorder. She said autistic adolescents are particularly prone to obsessive thinking and body image issues, which make them more vulnerable to being convinced they are the opposite sex. They are thereby led to seek medical interventions such as puberty blockers or hormones.

The number of professional skeptics of puberty blockers have grown in recent years amid high-profile scandals involving pediatric gender clinics prescribing blockers to halt the healthy puberty of children as young as 10, allegedly without adequate psychological screening.

Bradley’s opinions on puberty blockers have evolved. She now urges a cautious exploratory approach to gender distress based on her decades of experience. Although she acknowledges that transitioning is beneficial for some adults, she believes that the decision to undergo medical interventions such as puberty blockers or hormones should not be made by children who are not yet capable of fully understanding the long-term implications of their decision.