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Gender change needs thinking about carefully

Fionola Meredith is right to fear for the 11-year-old with transgender problems.

While not wishing to comment on this particular case, I would point out that Dr Paul McHugh, former chief psychiatrist in Johns Hopkins University in the US, has written of the dangers of this issue. His department stopped gender reassignment treatment in 1970 due to the problems ensuing, especially depression and suicide.

A study in Sweden showed that many of those who had surgery eventually became depressed and were 20 times more likely to commit suicide than other people. Also, very importantly, many who did not have invasive treatment eventually found their feelings dissipating.

And as Dr McHugh pointed out, no matter what surgery, hormone treatment or pills were given, the person's DNA was still the same, as there are only two sexes, male and female.

In the rush to accommodate every type of sexual expression, it might be wise to think of the long-term health, especially of prepubescent young people, before doing something so radical.

Mrs Stella Wilson


Belfast Telegraph