The New York Times is facing a backlash from across the political spectrum for its report delving into the potential effects of puberty blockers, with some critics criticizing the paper for finally acknowledging concerns about the long-term effects they have on children, while others accuse the Times of transphobia.
“They have delayed puberty, but is there a cost?” the Times asked in its headline. “Puberty blockers can ease the suffering of young transsexuals and buy them time to weigh their options. But there is growing concern about long-term physical and other effects.’
The Times reports: “As the number of teenagers identifying as transgender rises, drugs known as puberty blockers have become the first line of intervention for the youngest seeking help. Their use is generally seen as a safe — and reversible — way to buy time to weigh a medical transition and avoid the pain of growing into a body that doesn’t feel right… But as more teens identify as transgender — in the United States, according to estimates, 300,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 and countless others – there is growing concern among some health professionals about the effects of the medication, a New York Times investigation found.
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The story points to “emerging evidence of potential harm” from puberty blockers, based on scientific papers and “interviews with more than 50 doctors and academic experts around the world.” The main problem is that the suppression of estrogen and testosterone during puberty affects bone density, which may not recover.
“But two analysis studies that tracked the bone strength of trans patients while using blockers and during the first years of sex hormone treatment found that many do not fully recover and lag behind their peers,” the Times wrote. “This could lead to an increased risk of debilitating fractures earlier than would be expected with normal aging—in your 50s, not your 60s— and more immediate harm to patients who begin treatment with already weak bones, experts say.”
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The Times highlighted how countries of Europe limited the use of puberty blockers, comparing it to the “polarized” debate taking place in the US, noting that only Republicans are pushing to ban them from being given to children. The story also offered testimonials from children who had positive and negative reactions to puberty blockers.
The Times report drew derision from critics social networks mocking their newfound nuanced coverage of puberty blockers.
“Watching the New York Times slowly, painfully correct course is fascinating [pediatric] transition over the past few years is still a long way off, but a lot better than, say, four years ago,” responded Helen Joyce, author of Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.
“Finally, some serious reporting from the NYTimes about the risks of puberty blockers to children. But the authors blame the right for toxic politics around the problem. Not a word about the abusive behavior of trans activists towards responsible critics like @jessesingal,” American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Christina Somers tweeted.
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“This article is very detailed! I was surprised they didn’t mention the possibility that children who take blockers may never experience normal sexual function as adults, but still! Shorter changes at the NYT,” wrote journalist Kathy Herzog.
“So glad we’re allowed to say this now that the NYT is literally a decade late on this story,” quipped conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
The report was also revealed by progressives.
“I think the NYT promoting anti-transit policies isn’t really trying to appeal to the right, it’s trying to make the ‘just ask questions’ position the mainstream,” New Republic staff writer Melissa Geara Grant tweeted.
“The New York Times has become the American BBC. The entire organization is engaged in spreading anti-transgender propaganda that is not supported by any major medical organization. They are fueling fear of treating transgender people in ways that limit people’s rights. trans youth They should be ashamed,” activist Erin Reed wrote.
“Last year, I had a very long conversation with the NYT recruiter, giving her contacts and advice to help them accurately and respectfully tell about transgender lives. I sent her the names of brilliant reporters. Do you know what harms children? Transphobia,” 19th News LGBTQ+ reporter Kate Sosin slams the Times.
“[T]These NYT moral panic stories never address the fact that trans people get *too much medical care* when the opposite is true anyway,” said HuffPost reporter Molly Redden.
“If only there was a trans person whose voice regularly appeared in the NYT opinion pages,” wrote author Jenny Boylan.
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A spokesperson for The New York Times told Fox News: “This is a deeply researched piece on an important issue in public discourse in the United States and elsewhere. The report is based on interviews with more than 50 medical and academic professionals, as well as trans teens and their parents, who decided to share their personal experiences with puberty blockers to help inform other families facing similar decisions.”
The spokesperson continued: “As medical research on the use of puberty blockers in transgender-identifying teens develops, and as younger patients are prescribed the drugs, it is important to share these findings and experiences with readers. We welcome discussion based on this reporting and encourage feedback that informs our audience and public discourse. Ultimately, that’s the goal of thorough, research-based journalism like this.”