Dr Phil, America’s controversial prime-time TV psychologist, slammed the medical community this week for rushing to put gender-confused children on hormonal therapy or give them reassignment surgery. 

Appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Dr Phillip McGraw, 73, said he was shocked that America’s leading child doctor group had endorsed the treatments despite countries like the UK and swathes of Europe restricting them due to fears about long-term side effects. 

He said: ‘It’s interesting they choose words like gender-affirming care. That’s interesting that they call it that but really what they’re talking about is hormonal therapy or sex reassignment surgery on children.

‘All of the major American medical associations have signed off on this… and I have never seen those organizations sign off on anything with less information as to whether or not it does long-term harm of anything in my life.’ 

Data shows that roughly 3,600 children as young as 12 received gender-affirming surgery between 2016 and 2020 in the US – which includes breast removal, genital reassignments and facial tweaks.

The American Medical Association (AMA) supports gender-affirming care, which includes hormone therapy and has written to politicians expressing opposition to legislation that limits the options physicians and families have when making decisions for gender-diverse pediatric patients.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports gender-related treatments for children and Dr Brittany Allen, a member of the AAP’s LGBTQ Executive Committee said doctors should consider puberty blockers and hormone therapy at appropriate ages for trans youth. 

Guidelines from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE) recommends hormone therapy for adolescent patients with misaligned gender identity for more than six months who have undergo mental health counseling and ‘have the capacity to make medical decisions.’

Dr Phil, who holds a PhD in psychology but has not been licensed to practice since 2006, went on to say that by rushing children into hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery, doctors were causing the youths harm.

He added: ‘I thought the deal was first do no harm. We cannot say in good conscious that this does no harm because it does [do] harm.’

The number of children identifying as trans has increased, with gender dysphoria diagnoses rising and the number of children on hormone therapy also increasing. 

A 2022 report from the Williams Institute using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 1.6million Americans 13 years and older identify as transgender – including 1.3million adults and 300,000 youths.

Of all 13- to 17-year-olds, 1.4 percent identify as trans – the highest percentage among five different age groups ranging from 13 to 65 years old. 

Across the United States, the most teens identify as trans in New York (three percent) and the least identify as trans in Wyoming (0.6 percent). 

A separate 2022 report from Kimodo Health found the number of gender dysphoria diagnoses among patients six to 17 years old nearly tripled between 2017 to 2021, rising from 15,170 to 42,160.

Similarly, the number of kids diagnosed with gender dysphoria on puberty blockers rose from 633 in 2017 to 1,400 in 2021. Hormone therapy was used in 4,200 children aged six to 17 years old who had previously been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, an increase from 1,900 in 2017. 

Another 2023 study found that the number of gender reaffirmed surgeries (GAS) has increased substantially in the US, with breast and chest surgery the most common. 

The number of genital surgeries increased with increasing age. 

The study found 3,600 children between 12 and 18 years old underwent GAS yearly in 2020. 

The TV doctor blamed social media and the internet for the rise of children identifying as transgender, claiming that being exposed to content on the topic leads kids to want to ‘distinguish’ themselves. 

Dr Phil said: ‘I think a lot of it is owing to social media platforms and the internet… You read about it. You see it on social media. And, you think, well, I can distinguish myself in this way. 

‘There is a social contagion effect. So people can jump on the bandwagon. But they’ve done things that can’t be reversed. I think that’s really tragic.’

Dr Phil continued, saying teachers who support or try to help children struggling with their gender identity are not qualified and may hide the situation from a child’s parents. 

The host of the podcast, Joe Rogan, added: ‘These people that are teaching these kids, do we even known them? You don’t know them… They could be insane. It’s not like the threshold for teachers is so high.’

‘You see a lot of these weird people teaching classes and you don’t necessarily want them giving advice to children about decisions for the rest of their life.’  

He also added that young children are impressionable and may be subject to suggestion.

Mr Rogan said: ‘And here’s an important point that people need to really take into consideration. There’s a reason they have little kids become suicide bombers – because you can talk kids into almost anything. You talk them into believing in Santa Claus. 

‘You talk kids into believing in all kinds of ridiculous s*** because they’re really young. You can easily convince them in one way or another that they’re anything – that they’re queer, that they’re trans.

‘You can 100 percent convince some kids of all kinds of things.’

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