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A Canadian paediatrician is taking a stance against a recent CBC article suggesting that the medical field largely supports gender-affirming care and giving kids hormones or puberty blockers.

Dr. J. Edward Les said the doctors quoted in the article do not speak for the majority in Canada.

“It saddens me that we have division within the pediatric ranks in Canada; but the truth is that Dr. Wong and Ladha do not speak for me, nor do they speak for many of us,” said Les.

During the last five years, when Les has been writing about and speaking out on the issue of gender-affirming care for children, he said that more and more paediatricians and family doctors have been reaching out to him, indicating agreement with his position. 

“But the issue has become so poisoned politically and ideologically that they fear taking a public stance,” said Les.

Les wrote an article with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute on Monday, Time for an intervention — an urgent call to end “gender-affirming” treatments for children, largely discussing the Cass Review and its “alarming findings.” 

The Cass Review, commissioned by England’s National Health Service in 2020, and released this year found that much of the evidence supporting various transgender healthcare interventions for children was slim. Alberta Premier Danielle Smith recently touted the review as “the most comprehensive review of the medical literature and the science behind this.”

Les told True North that the review speaks to the claim that “‘substantial observational data’ supports the ‘efficacy and safety’ of these treatments — and she demolishes that premise as sufficient to launch children down an irreversible path of transition that renders them lifelong medical patients, and often infertile.”

The Cass Review led to puberty blockers being banned for minors in England.

Meanwhile, the CBC article criticized the Cass Review, with numerous doctors suggesting that the review came from a place of bias or was politically motivated.

The article also featured doctors speaking about the effectiveness of puberty blockers and the importance of counselling and thorough assessment for minors considering gender-affirming care.

True North previously reported on CBC’s own investigation, which showcased Quebec teens being rushed into gender transitions and some teens receiving prescriptions in minutes.

Les said that children aren’t allowed to drive, buy alcohol or cigarettes, or get tattoos. Yet, they are inexplicably allowed to make decisions with life-long implications for their health and fertility.

In CBC’s article, Dr. Sam Wong, president of the paediatrics section of the Alberta Medical Association, spoke to the issues around double-blind placebo-controlled trials for puberty blockers and the issues they entail — with the taker of the placebo eventually becoming astutely aware that they are not really taking puberty blockers.

The article also featured Dr. Tehseen Ladha, who spoke about the imperfect evidence often found in pediatric medicine.

However, Les argued that there is a better metric that has stood the test of time — common sense.

“Common sense tells us that it’s impossible to change one’s sex; common sense reminds us of the validity of the mammalian binary construct,” he said.

“I think it must be very difficult for pediatricians like Drs. Wong, Ladha, and others who have been so vocal in supporting gender affirmation, to be confronted with the mounting evidence that the concept was constructed on such a porous foundation of weak evidence. But porous it is — and it’s beginning to crumble, thankfully,” said Les.

The United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and France are among the countries that have begun to pull back or stop altogether from the practice of blocking puberty.

Les said that he has been constantly accused of being a “transphobe” but that he harbours no hate in his heart for anyone. 

“But in one sense, I am very much ‘transphobic’ — I’m deeply afraid of what the future holds for the many children who have been caught up in the false gospel of gender fluidity; and I grieve for them and for their families,” he said. 

While long-term studies on gender dysphoria and puberty blockers are limited or flawed, Les pointed to a recent study which concluded that most feelings of gender non-contentedness in youth dissipate over time.

“Gender non-contentedness, while being relatively common during early adolescence, in general decreases with age and appears to be associated with a poorer self-concept and mental health throughout development,” concluded the study.