Letter to the Editor

Published by The Washington Post on 12/10/2021, in response to a fear-mongering article by two psychologists advocating for more gatekeeping for trans youth, one that took soundbites of quotes from my Queering Health Youtube channel and disregarded the 3 pages of essay I sent in describing the gender-affirming medical approach.

For a full review of the original article by myself and Dr. Matt Goldenberg, please see here.

I am a gender-affirming medical doctor identified in Laura Edwards-Leeper and Erica Anderson’s Nov. 28 Outlook essay, “The mental health establishment is failing trans kids.”

The essay misrepresented gender-affirming care, which is nuanced, complex and comprehensive. The writers mischaracterized transgender youths and pushed a damaging pseudoscientific narrative that serves to further limit health care for an already underserved, marginalized and vulnerable population. The writers leaned on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s standards of care but failed to note that the standards acknowledge the damaging and irreversible consequences of an incongruent puberty, reject the stereotype of trans psychopathology and include harm-reduction strategies.

Contrary to the anti-trans arguments spread throughout mass media and repeated by the writers, research shows that detransitioning and regret are rare, trans youth suicide rates are alarmingly high, and trans children supported in their identities have better mental health outcomes. One of their most egregious lies was that those opposed to gender-affirming care are being silenced. This article was proof that isn’t true.

Trans children deserve love, support and thoughtful medical care as much as cisgender children do. Pieces such as this are responsible for the closure of gender clinics, anti-trans sentiment and the spate of laws and regulations targeting trans youths.

AJ Eckert, Hamden, Conn.

The writer is medical director of the Gender & Life-Affirming Medicine Program at Anchor Health.

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AJ Eckert (they/he) is Connecticut’s first out nonbinary trans doctor and Medical Director of Anchor Health’s Gender and Life-Affirming Medicine (GLAM).