Published December 16, 2021
This week, EPPC Kate O’Beirne Fellow Mary Rice Hasson and EPPC President Ryan T. Anderson filed an amicus curiae brief in Tingley v. Ferguson, a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a law in Washington state that effectively mandates that therapists serving minors use a “gender-affirmation-only” approach and that denies effective psychotherapy to minors seeking psychological help to explore alternative pathways, including the possibility of desisting from a transgender identity.
The brief states, in part:
Across the globe, gender specialists and whistleblowers have raised alarm over the scant evidence supporting gender-affirming protocols and the mounting evidence that gender affirmation causes harm to minors. In the wake of extensive evidence reviews, several leading European gender clinics recently ended or curtailed gender-affirming interventions for minors. Extensive psychotherapy, open to exploring alternative diagnoses and non-invasive ways of managing gender dysphoria, is emerging as the first-line response to adolescent identity distress.
In the United States, influential gender therapists admit that gender identity “conversion therapy” laws have exerted a chilling effect on therapists, preventing them from offering minors the careful psychological assessments and counseling they need. These transgender-affirming psychologists warn that, without in-depth psychological care to address psychological co-morbidities and to explore the roots of their dysphoria, some minors will pursue body modifications that they will end up regretting. Research on “de-transitioners” confirms that regret is real, and likely to increase in a clinical environment where minors bear the weight of self-diagnosis, and professionals must rely on adolescent claims of certainty.
We urge the Court to consider the serious ethical concerns surrounding the Law, which effectively mandates a “gender-affirmation-only” approach and denies effective psychotherapy to minors seeking psychological help to explore alternative pathways, including the possibility of desisting from a transgender identity.