Why We Need to Read the Cass Report on Gender Ideology

The report should be used at all levels to counter the pseudoscience of altering kids’ bodies in the name of mental healthcare.

By Published on May 7, 2024

Recently, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service released an almost 400-page report on the state of “gender identity services for children and young people.” It’s named the “Cass report” after lead researcher and pediatrician Hillary Cass, who served as chair of an independent review that was commissioned by NHS of Great Britain. It is the most comprehensive evaluation of the available evidence and “sets out the recommended clinical approach to care and support they should expect, the interventions that should be available, and how services should be organized across the country.”

The Shaky Foundation for “Gender-Affirming Care”

Contrary to the standard narrative peddled by trans activists, the report affirmed that so-called “gender-affirming care” is built on “shaky foundations.” Far from being settled, the evidence supporting the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change surgeries to “treat” gender dysphoria is “remarkably weak.” According to the report, most of the studies cited in support of social, chemical, or surgical “transition” were found to lack the quality required to reliably and safely guide clinicians and families in caring for gender dysphoric young people.

Ultimately, concerned individuals should be emboldened by the Cass report to resist the lies of gender ideology that masquerade as certainty.

Specifically, the report found that, given the “lack of long-term follow up data,” the effects — both positive and negative — of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on minors remain almost entirely unknown. It’s unclear how these so-called therapies “impact gender dysphoria, mental or psychosocial health” as well as “cognitive and psychosexual development.” What’s more, none of these interventions guarantee or predict “which children and young people will go on to have an enduring trans identity” or not. In other words, kids who are encouraged to pursue “gender transition” have no evidence-based guarantee that these therapies will help them in the first place. And yet we do know that these same therapies come with permanent consequences.

Most shockingly the report concluded, “For most young people, a medical pathway will not be the best way to manage their gender-related distress.” And it continues, even those who insist on chemical or surgical transition will need clinicians who can address “wider mental health and/or psychosocially challenging problems” that they face.

Public Policy Moves Should Follow the Science

This does not mean that the debate about best practices for treating gender dysphoria is over in the U.K. or the U.S. It will certainly continue. Concerned parents, healthcare professionals, and teachers need to know about the Cass report. It vindicates the skepticism that many have regarding the sexual and gender orthodoxy of our day. Despite what activists have said, “gender transition” is not a neutral “next step” in the history of medicine or human “progress.” Instead, as the Cass report makes clear, “gender-affirming care” is a step backward. It’s unreliable, unproven, and unethical given what we did not know — particularly to talk about it as if all the science was settled. It fails to cure the very condition it is claimed to treat. Ultimately, concerned individuals should be emboldened by the Cass report to resist the lies of gender ideology that masquerade as certainty.

Moreover, it should embolden government officials and policymakers to put a halt to the pseudoscience of gender transition, not to mention allowing revolutionary gender ideology to influence things like the rewriting of Title IX.

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Thankfully, at some level, this is already beginning to happen. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court upheld Idaho’s law prohibiting the gender transition interventions for minors. However, much more work remains to be done. Just the other week, a federal judge ruled that trans-identifying men can compete in women’s sports, and the Biden Administration’s new Title IX regulations basically enshrined gender ideology when it comes to education and education-related programs across the country.

What the Cass report shows us is that none of these policy moves follow the science. Instead, the new regulations will only lead to more harm, prioritizing an ideology that’s now more controversial than ever over and above parents’ rights and the wellbeing of children. Given how entrenched gender ideology has become, youth struggling with gender dysphoria — not to mention their parents — need the help of elected officials, judges, and policymakers. They don’t need this false science to be forced upon them.

So please, be informed. Read the Cass report and share it with others. If you are a parent, educator, or healthcare or government official, and you want to know more about the harms of gender ideology on America’s youth, one resource is the Identity Project. The Identity Project is a library of on-demand videos produced by a coalition of 30-some organizations including the Colson Center. It is a comprehensive set of resources on issues of sexuality, identity, marriage, family, and what it means to be made in the image of God. Visit identityproject.tv for a free trial.

 

John Stonestreet serves as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He’s a sought-after author and speaker on areas of faith and culture, theology, worldview, education and apologetics.

Jared Hayden (M.A., Religion) is a Breakpoint contributor at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Originally published on Breakpoint.org: BreakPoint Commentaries. Republished with permission of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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