Transgender madness in Vermont
The State of Vermont is on the verge of paying for the mutilation of the reproductive organs of children in the name of "affirming gender identity." Alas, this is not satire.
The Burlington Free Press enthusiastically reports:
Vermont health insurance regulators are planning to tweak Medicaid rules so transgender youth no longer have to wait until age 21 to seek gender-affirming surgery.
The changes are aimed at removing barriers for people seeking a suite of surgeries in order to alleviate gender dysphoria, a conflict between a person's gender identity and physical gender, said Nissa James, policy director for the Department of Vermont Health Access.
Gender-affirming surgeries covered by Medicaid include 16 types of genital surgery, as well as breast augmentation or mastectomy, a surgery that removes the whole breast.
Under the subheadline of "a medical necessity" [Really? Do children die if they don't get the surgery?], the paper reads:
The changes would be "enormously positive" for transgender people in Vermont, especially individuals in their late teens, said Dr. Rachel Inker, who runs the Transgender Health Clinic at the Community Health Centers of Burlington.
"Having young people have to wait until they were 21 just didn't really make any sense," Inker said.
If Doctor Inker is a medical doctor, she should know about brain development:
The rational part of a teen's brain isn't fully developed and won't be until age 25 or so.
In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain's rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.
In teen's brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing — and not always at the same rate. That's why when teens have overwhelming emotional input, they can't explain later what they were thinking. They weren't thinking as much as they were feeling.
What doesn't "make sense" is allowing children whose brains are not yet fully developed to make irreversible decisions that will change their lives.
I have great compassion for children who feel that their physical bodies are not congruent with what they want to be. But among me and my friends during our teen years, we felt that way all the time. Not tall enough, too heavy, not athletic enough, not pretty or handsome enough...all the teens I knew felt that their bodies were failing them and experienced "dysphoria" — the fancy way of saying unhappiness.
At least Vermont children will have to get their parents' permission before embarking on life-changing mutilations. That places genital mutilation on the same level of seriousness as a school giving a child an Ibuprofen pill.
Hat tip: Roger Luchs.