End The Abuse of Transgender Children & Youth

The tragic death of Leelah Alcorn has sparked awareness of the struggle transgender children and youth face when they do not receive support of parents, caregivers, family or community while being subjected to the evils of reparative therapy.
PORTLAND, Ore. - Jan. 5, 2015 - PRLog -- TransActive Gender Center staff recently attended a community vigil in remembrance of transgender Ohio teen Leelah Alcorn. Leelah took her own life after years of suffering emotional and psychological abuse from a variety of sources including, but not limited to her parents, her community, the church she was required to attend and the counselors and therapists practicing reparative therapy that she was forced to see.

Many of these individuals (and their counterparts nationwide) are affiliated with religious communities that reject the authenticity of transgender people's identities. They fail to practice the most fundamental humanitarian principle of mutual respect and the tenet of most care providers to "first do no harm."

For these reasons and other factors that TransActive Gender Center has been aware of and deeply concerned about for several years, we are announcing the launch of TransActive's End The Abuse (ETA) national initiative. We will focus on expanding understanding of what consitutes child abuse and medical neglect in regards to transgender and gender diverse children and youth.

Key aspects of End The Abuse will include education and advocacy around the dangers of denying adequate, ethical and reputable psychological care and medical interventions to children and youth experiencing (to varying degrees) gender dysphoria.

Statistics exist that clearly demonstrate transgender children, adolescents and young adults are at substantially increased risk of suicide as a result of caregiver rejection or indifference, or failure (for whatever reason other than lack of awareness that care options exist) to allow access to gender affirming and competent care.

Numerous peer-reviewed studies confirm providing access to social gender transition and medical treatments such as pubertal suppression and gender affirming hormones (at a minimum) positively impact the psychological, developmental, educational and physical well-being of transgender children, youth and adolescents.

Professional medical and mental health organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, The American Psychological Association, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, The Endocrine Society, the National Association of Social Workers and many more support the position that affirmation of transgender children and youth identity and expression is the most effective and ethical approach to obtaining positive outcomes.

This immensity of this undertaking is daunting, but not discouraging. TransActive Gender Center will welcome collaboration with allies and professionals from virtually every aspect of society, including (but not limited to) the medical community, school and child care personnel, public employees, law enforcement and family court systems, the mental health field, the clergy, social service systems, attorneys, firefighters and more.

There are efforts by other organizations and individuals to ban the use of reparative therapy on minors in the United States, and TransActive Gender Center wholeheartedly supports those efforts.

TransActive founder and executive director Jenn Burleton was very clear about where the Center stands on this:

"We need to put these credentialed child abusers out of business. Sending a gender dysphoric child or youth to a reparative therapist is akin to sending an autistic child to someone who believes that shouting at the child to pay attention and make eye contact is an effective clinical approach."

Society, in general does not support the withholding of proven effective care based on 'moral' or 'philosophical' beliefs with regard to a child's need for dialysis, chemotherapy or cleft palate repair. Yet societal functionaries routinely allow parents, caregivers, legal guardians and others to inhibit or deny access to medically approved preventative and responsive care for transgender children and youth.

TransActive Gender Center believes the best way to "fix society" as Leelah Alcorn pleaded with everyone to do, is to help society better understand a simple and undeniable truth - that knowingly denying these children and youth access to care that can enhance their quality of life and indeed, save their very lives is not only inhumane, it's negligent and abusive.

Our staff is in the early stages of refining the organizational strategy for End The Abuse and we will be sharing that in the days and weeks to come. This will not be a short-term challenge - and we will need the guidance, collaboration and support of many professional, allies and organizations.

If you are a professional ally in the governmental, educational, medical, psychological, legal, research or social services fields and would like to join the End The Abuse initiative in some capacity, please contact us via email at: endtheabuse@transactiveonline.org

Working together we can begin the work of ending the pain inflicted on transgender kids as a result of ignorance, indifference or misguided spiritual and political leadership.

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Tags:Leelah, Transgender, Suicide, Children, Abuse
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