A professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who is involved in a LGBTQ+ “special interest group” claimed that parents must start including gender ideology in their families before a baby is born.
“This is my favorite topic,” =Lauren T. Roth, a professor of pediatrics at Einstein and a physician in the division of academic general pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, said. The doctor has specialized knowledge of transgender medical interventions on children diagnosed with dysphoria.
“Like, this is a normal thing. And we have to understand that gender is on a spectrum. There’s not just men and women,” she said. “Sometimes [a child’s gender identity] matches the chromosomes or the genitals that they were born with, but sometimes it doesn’t.”
Roth also said children can have a nonbinary identity, or be genderless.
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“There’s also a term non-binary, which means you’re someone who doesn’t necessarily identify with the categories of woman or man. You may identify as both as neither or somewhere in between on a gender spectrum,” she said. “And when we talk about younger children, we often use the term gender expansive. These children may not necessarily follow the social norms of gender.”
In June 2021, Dr. Roth said gender ideology must be adopted by parents “at birth or even before,” and proceeded to criticize the colors pink and blue for putting “expectations” on a baby.
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“So it honestly starts at birth or even before,” she said. “I really think we need to try to stop making everything pink and blue [and also] avoid this huge gender reveal party.”
“You know, it’s okay to be excited when you find out that your baby’s a specific sex. You know, people have dreams about what they want their families to be, but it’s really important not to push all those expectations on your child.”
Dr. Roth went on to claim that babies can develop their gender identity as young as 18 months old.
“Toddlers starts to notice physical differences and develop gender identity as early as 18 months to two years. They might begin talking about gender, playing dress up, having these established gender roles as early as age three or four.”
She also suggested parents can initiate gender-related conversations early in childhood in order to “give them space to explore” what gender they are.
“If your child was assigned male at birth and one day they tell you, ‘I want to wear pink sparkly dress. Instead of saying what a lot of people say, ’Boys don’t wear dresses, girls do.’ How about you know, say something like, ‘Tell me more about why you want to wear a dress today.’”
“You know be open and curious and just start the conversation. I really think having open conversations like that and just asking questions allows your child to share a little bit about themselves. And it shows that you support them, and it gives them that space to explore who they are.”
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On the national level, Dr. Roth serves as co-chair of the LGBTQ Health and Well-Being Special Interest Group of the Academic Pediatric Association, where she is working to bring standardized training to future pediatricians.
Dr. Roth, whose research includes a pediatrician’s role in transgender medical interventions on children, has lectured at and hosted workshops for Einstein medical students and helped develop a “culturally humble” care curriculum for Montefiore residents relating to LGBTQ+ health.
Montefiore provides transgender medical interventions on children such as cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers, also called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRHa), a class of drugs which suppresses sex hormones by continually stimulating the pituitary gland.
Proponents of puberty blockers argue that stopping the natural biological process of children can lead to better outcomes for transgender kids since it provides families with time to consider their options, and for a child to further explore their identity before progressing to permanent drugs such as cross-sex hormones and surgeries.
A recent research publication by top Swedish doctors called the hormones for children with gender dysphoria “experimental.” They proceeded to sound the alarm of GnRHa’s potential to permanently damage a child’s full bone maturation.
Karolinska Institute’s research systemic analysis of existing medical literature led to a conclusion that GnRH analogues were found to delay bone maturation and mineral deposits, which may not be fully restored even with the introduction of sex hormones.
There are also unknown effects on how GnRH will affect the brain of a child with gender dysphoria in the long term. Last year, the FDA identified six cases of children taking GnRH agonists, which presented “a plausible association” to causing increased pressure around the brain which can eventually lead the organ to swell.
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Regarding a child’s sexual function, Dr. Marci Bowers, who is the president of World Professional Association for Transgender Health, said that GnRH introduced at a critical puberty stage can cause a child to become inorgasmic.
“Every single child who was or adolescent who was truly blocked at Tanner Stage 2 (at the first signs of sexual development) has never experienced orgasm. I mean, it’s really about zero,” she said.