YA misinformed and fast tracked on hormones
Our adult teen recently told us he had dysphoria, on top of his other significant struggles. We were relieved to hear he was going to talk with a therapist to help figure himself out, and started educating ourselves. We learned that the number of people whose dysphoria becomes distressingly painful, in our son’s age group, is exploding(“ROGD” for some), and that for this group the necessity, effectiveness and safety of different possible treatments, hormones, for instance, is unknown. It’s complicated, and often unclear what will help. For hormones in particular, treatment guidelines advise that other issues should first be evaluated and/or managed, as studies show that many other issues (including his) can even cause dysphoria or make transitioning much more difficult. It’s also sadly become political, to the point where studying or discussing people who “detransition” is controversial. We found some helpful leads here, here, here, here (person who resigned from UK national gender clinic), here (research background list), here and at www.segm.org .
In this information chaos, our son became convinced from being online that he should start hormones immediately, telling us hormones were the only way to feel better, so that he needed them as soon as possible (false), that risks are low (false, not much is known, they are used off label so drug companies cannot usually be held liable, and have dangerous side effects), that only 2.2% of people who transition regret it (irrelevant, from a study not about hormones). When I asked a parent of a very happy trans young adult for advice, I was told these same untruths, plus lectured on how my son would commit suicide unless he got medication right away (also false, thankfully). We also learned that people are told to immediately affirm someone who is questioning their own gender, as any exploration of gender identity is “conversion therapy.” (There are issues with this claim!).
What happened next shocked us--a psychologist quickly agreed to start him on medication, even saying, with no justification, that his other problems could perhaps improve with cross-sex hormones. Our young adult believed the trained professional (which in a sane world would be the right thing to do). So on top of everything else on his plate, he is now on dangerous medication with irreversible consequences. It will throw a wrench (it produces a “second puberty”, what could go wrong?) into his already severely distressed system; he is young for his age and vulnerable.
I would like advice on how to help him get the support he needs, from us and elsewhere, including exploring his gender identity. We also can't figure out how to be there for him, especially while he does something we think is very dangerous and unwise.
(If you want to attack me because I want my son to be supported, to have careful informed medical care and to be informed himself, please don’t bother. And don't worry, we are of course using his preferred pronouns. Thank you.)