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Leading doctor wants you to know puberty blockers are ‘incredibly safe’ despite cruel Arkansas ban

Vic Parsons
·2-min read

The head of trans healthcare at one of the largest hospitals in the US has reminded the public that puberty blockers are an “incredibly safe” and “reversible” treatment for transgender children.

Dr Joshua Safer, executive director at Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City, was speaking to NPR alongside Republican Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson – who recently tried and failed to veto a bill restricting gender-affirming treatments, including puberty blockers, for under-18s.

“The reason I vetoed the bill,” Hutchinson said, “is because we did not want to interrupt a treatment that the parents had agreed to, the patient agreed to and the physician recommended.”

Hutchinson was overruled by Republican lawmakers, and Arkansas became the first US state to ban puberty blockers for trans kids. But Safer said that in his medical experience, puberty blockers are a “conservative options and they are reversible”.

“Puberty blockers are used in a number of medical situations, specifically so that hormones can be adjusted to a certain degree, and then they can be stopped, and things will revert to how they were,” he said.

“When we use these medications for transgender kids as well as for kids with precocious puberty, they’re incredibly safe,” Safer added. “That’s the reason why they are the conservative go-to medication for these kids.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is preparing litigation in Arkansas, stating that the anti-trans bill “will drive families, doctors and businesses out of the state and send a terrible and heart-breaking message to the transgender young people who are watching in fear”.

“This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over – and we’re in it for the long haul,” said Holly Dickson, executive director of ACLU in Arkansas.

Dozens of similar bills attacking trans people, backed by the anti-abortion Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, are making their way through legislatures across the US.