Doctor says children should be banned from getting tattoos – but it’s to have sex change surgery

Make it make sense! Woke professor of pediatrics says children should be banned from getting tattoos – but that it’s fine for them to have sex change surgery and take puberty blockers

  • Dr. Cora Bruener, a professor and pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said children under 18 don’t have the ‘agency’ to decide to get a tattoo
  • Bruener was commenting on a case involving a Crystal Thomas, a New York woman who was arrested after allowing her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo
  • Despite her fears about children’s ability to undertake something as ‘permanent’ as a tattoo, Bruener previously advocated for ‘gender affirming’ treatment
  •  In 2018 Bruener signed an American Academy of Pediatrics statement endorsing ‘not reversible’ gender-affirming treatments for children
  • The statement advocated for puberty blocking treatment in adolescents, hormonal therapy and even for gender-affirming surgical procedures

A University of Washington Medical Center professor said there should be laws preventing children from getting tattoos, despite previously signing a declaration that kids should receive sex-change treatments if they want it.

Dr. Cora Bruener, a professor and pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, was commenting on a case involving a Crystal Thomas, a New York woman who was arrested after allowing her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo.

Though tattoos are illegal in New York for people under 18, other states do not ban them if parents give consent. 

Bruener told the New York Times she thought children under 18 don’t have the ‘agency’ to adequately make a decision about placing a ‘permanent’ mark on their body, and that laws should be put in place to prevent them from doing so.

Despite her fears over children’s decision making abilities, in 2018 Bruener signed an American Academy of Pediatrics statement endorsing ‘not reversible’ gender-affirming treatments for children.

The statement advocated for the use of puberty blocking treatment in adolescents, hormonal therapy – which it noted was only ‘partially reversible’ – and even for gender-affirming surgical procedures.

Dr. Cora Bruener, a professor and pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital, said children under 18 don't have the 'agency' to decide to get a tattoo

Dr. Cora Bruener, a professor and pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said children under 18 don’t have the ‘agency’ to decide to get a tattoo

In 2018 Bruener signed an American Academy of Pediatrics statement endorsing 'not reversible' gender-affirming treatments for children

In 2018 Bruener signed an American Academy of Pediatrics statement endorsing ‘not reversible’ gender-affirming treatments for children

Bruener spoke with The Times after Thomas, 33, was arrested in October for letting her son get a tattoo. 

With Thomas’ consent, her son got his name inked on his forearm in block letters by a neighbor and amateur tattoo artist Austin Smith, 20.

Thomas was found out after her son went to the nurse at his school and asked for Vaseline to rub on the still healing tattoo.

The mother was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and her son was taken away by Child Protective Services.

Speaking to the Times, Bruener supported expanding legislation to protect children from taking steps as permanent as receiving a tattoo.

‘It is a permanent mark or a symbol you are putting on your body, and I don’t think kids under 18 have that kind of agency to make a decision,’ she said. 

‘We need to look at these laws again.’

Bruener also co-authored an American Academy of Pediatrics statement advising about some of the medical dangers possible for adolescents receiving tattoos and piercings.

Bruener was commenting on a case involving a Crystal Thomas, a New York woman who was arrested after allowing her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo

Bruener was commenting on a case involving a Crystal Thomas, a New York woman who was arrested after allowing her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo

Despite Bruener's fears about children's ability to undertake something as 'permanent' as a tattoo, Bruener previously advocated for 'gender affirming' treatment

Despite Bruener’s fears about children’s ability to undertake something as ‘permanent’ as a tattoo, Bruener previously advocated for ‘gender affirming’ treatment

But in the 2018 Academy of Pediatrics statement titled ‘Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents,’ Bruener and other medical professionals expounded on the benefits of allowing children and adolescents to decide to take sweeping actions to permanently alter their bodily makeup.

The statement advises that ‘that youth who identify as TGD [transgender] have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space.’

That treatment includes ‘puberty blockers’ which delay or prevent the onset of physical characteristics which would otherwise develop based on one’s chromosomal makeup.

Thought the statement characterizes such hormonal treatment as ‘reversible,’ it notes that one of its benefits its preventing bodily development enough so that patients can avoid gender-affirming surgery later. 

‘It reduces the need for later surgery because physical changes that are otherwise irreversible (protrusion of the Adam’s apple, male pattern baldness, voice change, breast growth, etc) are prevented,’ the statement reads.

A trans rights campaigner shouts 'shame on you' while pointing at a row of de-transitioners, seated in the bottom left, at a hearing of Florida's medical board on treatments for trans youth

A trans rights campaigner shouts ‘shame on you’ while pointing at a row of de-transitioners, seated in the bottom left, at a hearing of Florida’s medical board on treatments for trans youth

Cat Cattinson, 30, a singer and musician from northern California, transitioned from female to male but later regretted her procedures and detransitioned. Trans campaigners harass those who exit the community and call detransitioners 'liars and grifters and just try to invalidate everything we say,' she says.

Cat Cattinson, 30, a singer and musician from northern California, transitioned from female to male but later regretted her procedures and detransitioned. Trans campaigners harass those who exit the community and call detransitioners ‘liars and grifters and just try to invalidate everything we say,’ she says.

Cat Cattinson transitioned from female to male and went by the name Tony, but experienced medical problems and stopped taking testosterone. This picture shows her during her detransition

Cat Cattinson, has detransitioned back to female and now campaigns against giving puberty blockers to children

Cat Cattinson transitioned from female to male and went by the name Tony, but experienced medical problems and stopped taking the male hormone testosterone in an effort to detransition and reverse the procedure

Bruener’s contrasting comments come as a report from UCLA found that the number of adolescents identifying as transgender has nearly doubled since 2017 when the same report was last compiled.

The report found that 1.4 percent of adolescents between 13 and 17-years-old identified as transgender, and 1.3 percent of young adults between 18 and 24 do. Only .5 percent of adults identify as transgender.

As those numbers soar – with some saying wider acceptance of gender fluidity has led to people feeling more comfortable about expressing how they feel about themselves, and others cautioning that teenage social pressures are fueling the spike – the debate has raged about when people should be allowed to choose to undergo potentially irreversible gender-affirming procedures.

Proponents have argued the lives of children who identify as transgender would greatly benefitted by being allowed to undergo such surgeries as the oppressive presence of their own body would be lifted.

Critics caution that it is foolish to allow people who are not even allowed to vote or drink alcohol to take such drastic measures until they are old enough to understand the long-standing implications.

Some young people who used drugs or surgery to change their gender but later regretted their procedures and sought to reverse them are warning of worsening abuse from the transgender community they’ve walked away from.

De-transitioners, as they are known, speak of online vitriol, doxxing, harassment and death threats after they made the tough decisions to exit what they describe as inward-looking and even ‘cult-like’ trans groups.

Tensions between trans activists and de-transitioners spiked this month at a meeting of Florida’s medical board, where sex change interventions for children were restricted. Insults were hurled, bomb threats were posted online. 

Trans rights activists shouted over their opponents at the hearings, called out ‘bigot’ and ‘shame on all of you’, and vowed to dox board members, by publishing their private phone numbers and other details online. 

Trans people eschew de-transitioners for ‘invalidating their narrative,’ Cat Cattinson, a de-transitioner from northern California, told DailyMail.com. 

‘I’ve seen the level of hate really escalate to the point that any time a new de-transitioner shares their story online, they get dogpiled by thousands of trans activists, bullied, ridiculed, and of course death threats,’ said Cattinson. 

‘For every de-transitioner with a public platform, the new trend has been to call us liars and grifters and just try to invalidate everything we say.’

Cattinson, 30, a singer and musician, grew up as female but identified as male from the age of 13. She took testosterone, went by the name of Tony, and made plans for breast-removal surgery.

But the drugs started having negative effects on her heart, and deepened her cherished singing voice. She decided in 2020 to stop the injections and begin her de-transition back to being a woman.

She was among a group of de-transitioners that addressed hearings of Florida’s medical board, which on November 4 voted to forbid the state’s doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and hormones, or perform surgeries, until transgender patients are 18.

Republican politicians in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma have taken steps to restrict such treatments for children, but the decision in Florida was the first time limits were imposed by a US medical board, albeit one aligned to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A spokesman for the board said they had to draft extra law enforcers and hired a private security firm for the controversial hearings, as various social media users threatened to ‘mail pipe bombs’ to the 14-member panel. 

Sinead Watson, from Glasgow, Scotland, lived as man from the age of 23 and had a double mastectomy, but realized at age 27 that she had made a terrible mistake, and detransitioned at 28. She spoke out on social media this week about widespread harassment from the transgender community she was leaving: 'I was sent rape and death threats,' posted Watson, pictured earlier this year. 'I was called a hideous freak show.'

Sinead Watson, from Glasgow, Scotland, lived as man from the age of 23 and had a double mastectomy, but realized at age 27 that she had made a terrible mistake, and detransitioned at 28. She spoke out on social media this week about widespread harassment from the transgender community she was leaving: ‘I was sent rape and death threats,’ posted Watson, pictured earlier this year. ‘I was called a hideous freak show.’

To live as a man, Watson took the male hormone testosterone for years, which has left her with a gruff voice and facial hair she removes every two days

To live as a man, Watson took the male hormone testosterone for years, which has left her with a gruff voice and facial hair she removes every two days 

Many doctors, mental health specialists and medical groups argue that treatments for transgender youth are safe and beneficial, and some say they are necessary to prevent teen suicides, though rigorous long-term research is lacking.

Definitive data are hard to come by. According to Pew Research Center, some 5.1 percent of adults younger than 30 are trans or nonbinary. Somewhere between 8 and 13 percent of them revert to their gender at birth, according to various estimates.

A Reddit group called ‘detrans’ has 41,500 members who share their experiences about dodgy doctors, stigma and other issues, including ever more ‘hateful, angry’ online posts in transgender forums.

Cattinson says the growing number of outspoken detransitioners has changed the conversation.

A Massachusetts-based detransitioner who goes by the name Shape Shifter transitioned from male to female, but encountered appalling medical issues. He has since detransitioned, identifying as a gay man with a feminine look. He has faced intimidation and harassment after publically criticizing transgender ideology. He was branded a lackey of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for testifying at the Florida hearing, and is now considering whether to buy a gun for self-defense

A Massachusetts-based detransitioner who goes by the name Shape Shifter transitioned from male to female, but encountered appalling medical issues. He has since detransitioned, identifying as a gay man with a feminine look. He has faced intimidation and harassment after publically criticizing transgender ideology. He was branded a lackey of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for testifying at the Florida hearing, and is now considering whether to buy a gun for self-defense 

‘We’re at a really critical time right now, where we have the opportunity to safeguard kids from making irreversible decisions they’ll regret,’ she added.

‘Public awareness has helped us get to this turning point, where people are realizing what’s going on and agree with us detransitioners.’    

A detransitioner who goes by the name Shape Shifter also spoke in Florida. The 32-year-old from Massachusetts says he was ‘brainwashed’ into believing he was female and undergoing chest surgery, a penis removal and the creation of a ‘neo-vagina’.

He soon regretted the procedures, which led to fistula and other devastating consequences. He says he realized he was simply a gay man who liked showing his feminine side, and began to detransition.

He told DailyMail.com he was ‘still in shock’ from the vitriol he experienced in Florida, where trans activists called him a ‘Nazi’, ‘fascist’ and a DeSantis lackey who was paving the way for the ‘genocide of trans kids’.

‘I’m already high anxiety person — this is definitely making me feel uneasy,’ said Shape Shifter, who keeps his real name private for professional reasons. 

Though transgender issues have gained special significance in the US and frequently feature in ferocious ‘culture war’ rows between liberals and conservatives, they also stoke divisions in Europe.

Sinéad Watson, from Scotland, began her medical female-to-male transition in 2015 at age 24, but was regretting her full mastectomy and other procedures within three years. She stopped taking testosterone in 2019 as she detransitioned.

She this week told her 45,000 Twitter followers about how her public statements about reverting to female were met with claims that she was a ‘liar, fake, shill and (funniest of all) a right-wing Christian sock’.

‘I was sent rape and death threats,’ she posted.

‘I was called a hideous freakshow. Hundreds of accounts with anime and furry pfps told me it was such a shame that my last suicide attempt had failed. I deserved to suffer.’  

Camille Kiefel, 32, from Oregon, now regrets her double mastectomy and is suing the therapists who recommended it 

Another detransitioner, Camille Kiefel, 32, from Oregon, also spoke in Tallahassee about her regrets over her double mastectomy. She describes pro-trans campaigners crowding around her as an ‘unnerving intimidation tactic’ as she left the hours-long session.

‘They definitely wanted to make it clear that we weren’t welcome,’ she told DailyMail.com.

Kiefel recently launched a legal case against the therapists who in 2020 green-lighted her breast surgery, saying they should never have approved the procedure for a young women with her mental health conditions, when alternative non-invasive treatments were available.

She calls it an ‘abhorrent misdiagnosis’ that left her ‘mutilated’, unable to breastfeed and unlikely to find love.

The world of transgender activism is ‘cult-like and very dogmatic’, Kiefel says, and ‘de-transitioners challenge that belief system.’ They want her silenced in case her story has ‘negative consequences for trans people’, she adds.

‘A lot of it is just talk, but there are lots of scary people out there,’ she said. ‘Being doxed is a concern. There are things I’m doing to try and keep myself and my family safe. It’s just concerning.’

Putting numbers on the explosion of children seeking gender care 

The US has seen an explosion in recent years in the number of children who identify as a gender different from what they were designated at birth. Thousands of families are weighing profound choices in an emerging field of medicine as they pursue what is called gender-affirming care for their children.

The spotlight fell on trans-identifying Sunny Bryant, 8, earlier this year, when Texas lawmakers declared illegal the hormone treatments she was planning to take  upon reaching adolescence

The spotlight fell on trans-identifying Sunny Bryant, 8, earlier this year, when Texas lawmakers declared illegal the hormone treatments she was planning to take  upon reaching adolescence

In 2021, about 42,000 children and teens across the United States received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, nearly triple the number in 2017, according to data Komodo Health, a technology company, compiled for Reuters. Gender dysphoria is defined as the distress caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and the one assigned to them at birth.

Overall, the analysis found that at least 121,882 children ages 6 to 17 were diagnosed with gender dysphoria from 2017 through 2021. Reuters found similar trends when it requested state-level data on diagnoses among children covered by Medicaid, the public insurance program for lower-income families.   

Gender-affirming care covers a spectrum of interventions. It can entail adopting a child’s preferred name and pronouns and letting them dress in alignment with their gender identity — called social transitioning. 

It can incorporate therapy or other forms of psychological treatment. And, from around the start of adolescence, it can include medical interventions such as puberty blockers, hormones and, in some cases, surgery. In all of it, the aim is to support and affirm the child’s gender identity.

These medical treatments don’t begin until the onset of puberty, typically around age 10 or 11. 

But families that go the medical route venture onto uncertain ground, where science has yet to catch up with practice. While the number of gender clinics treating children in the US has grown from zero to more than 100 in the past 15 years — and waiting lists are long — strong evidence of the efficacy and possible long-term consequences of that treatment remains scant.

Puberty blockers and sex hormones do not have US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for children’s gender care. No clinical trials have established their safety for such off-label use. The drugs’ long-term effects on fertility and sexual function remain unclear. 

New Yorkers took to the streets of Manhattan to participate in the Reclaim Pride Coalition's (RPC) fourth annual Queer Liberation March, which in June focussed on transgender rights among other issues

New Yorkers took to the streets of Manhattan to participate in the Reclaim Pride Coalition’s (RPC) fourth annual Queer Liberation March, which in June focussed on transgender rights among other issues 

And in 2016, the FDA ordered makers of puberty blockers to add a warning about psychiatric problems to the drugs’ label after the agency received several reports of suicidal thoughts in children who were taking them.

More broadly, no large-scale studies have tracked people who received gender-related medical care as children to determine how many remained satisfied with their treatment as they aged and how many eventually regretted transitioning. The same lack of clarity holds true for the contentious issue of detransitioning, when a patient stops or reverses the transition process.

The National Institutes of Health, the US government agency responsible for medical and public health research, told Reuters that ‘the evidence is limited on whether these treatments pose short- or long-term health risks for transgender and other gender-diverse adolescents.’ 

The NIH has funded a comprehensive study to examine mental health and other outcomes for about 400 transgender youths treated at four US children’s hospitals. However, long-term results are years away and may not address concerns such as fertility or cognitive development.

 — By Reuters

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