Former Fox News host and conservative expert Megyn Kelly likened gender-affirming care for transgender youth to conversion therapy that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation.
appearing on the Eric Bolling: Balance broadcast on Newsman last Tuesday, Kelly commented on a Fox News Profile by Ryland Whittington, a 14-year-old trans boy living in California. Bryan Llenas of Fox News, correspondent for the American Newsroom program, interviewed Whittington and her family about the experience of coming out and transitioning.
The story was seen as largely positive, as the Whittington family was accepting of Ryland’s transition, and his mother, Hillary, was quoted as saying, “I’d rather have a living son than a dead daughter.”
But the positive coverage of transgender topics – which conservatives have seized on as a cause they speak out against – has angered many Fox News viewers. Kelly also criticized the cover.
“He is irresponsible to air it like this as a celebration,” Kelly told Bolling in the interview, accusing her former employer of “hiding facts from parents.”
“The problem is, Fox News Channel’s mission isn’t to do MSNBC-like reporting, is it?” she says. “Fox News Channel’s mission is to make sure they include the context that is ignored by all other stations and in 2022, in particular, we know there is so much more to this story.
“It’s irresponsible to air it like this as a celebration without pointing out to parents who are going through this, the significant downsides of jumping on it without making sure you’re in that very, very small percentage of cases where gender dysphoria might actually to be a thing.
She then cited a study claiming that 70% of children with gender dysphoria, or the feeling that their body does not match their identity, will grow out of it if they are simply left alone, without receiving treatment.
“[I]not in many cases they just turned out to be gay,” Kelly said of the study subjects. “And it’s like it’s a weird form of conversion therapy by default. And so not to point out the significant downsides of what happens to these kids when you put puberty blockers on them when you put hormones on them transgender — by the way, when it’s done to girls, they’re sterile, they can I have no more children and you can go down the list.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, recently released a report claiming that studies finding that gender-affirming healthcare interventions help prevent suicide “fail to show a causal relationship and have been poorly executed” , and asserted that suicide rates actually increase among trans youth who have access to gender-affirming treatments. The Heritage Foundation says many studies showing benefits for young people who receive gender-affirming treatments are scientifically flawed and driven more by political agenda than science.
That said, a study published last yearwhich was conducted by Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry and republished in March, touts findings that contradict Kelly’s claims and those of the Heritage Foundation.
Puberty blockers – which are considered ‘fully reversible’ – allow for a so-called ‘pause’ in pubertal development that gives young people more time to discover or examine their own gender identity, according to the study. The study claims that delaying puberty to promote physical development consistent with a child’s gender identity is “associated with better mental health outcomes, improved functioning and life satisfaction”.
The study authors say that hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery can also significantly reduce gender dysphoria.
“Although less common than other forms of gender-affirming care, medical procedures, such as thoracic surgery, can be performed on older adolescents who have shown consistent and persistent gender identity, are stable in regarding their mental health and benefit from parental support. “, write the authors. “These decisions are made by a multidisciplinary team of medical experts in collaboration with the teenager and his parents. In particular, according to a recent study in JAMA Pediatrics, transmasculine adolescents who have undergone thoracic surgery report significant relief from dysphoria and very few regrets. Genital surgery is generally not performed until an individual is 18 or older.