Just 1 per cent of trans teens detransition after starting medical treatment, study shows

Trans teenagers during a Trans Youth Prom in Washington in May 2023.

Just 1 per cent of trans teens detransition after starting medical treatment such as puberty blockers or hormones replacement therapy, according to a new study.

Research published in the medical journal Jama Pediatrics earlier this month revealed that of all the under-18s referred to a youth gender service in Australia between 2014 and 2020, just one per cent detransitioned after beginning to receive medical treatment such as hormones or puberty blockers.

The study featured 548 under-18s referred to the Child and Adolescent Health Service Gender Diversity Service, at Perth Children’s Hospital – the only service in Western Australia – during that period.

While 29 patients (5.3 per cent), reportedly re-identified with their birth-registered sex before or during their assessment, only two (less than 1%) did so after starting to receive puberty blockers or similar hormone treatment.

This means that more than 99 per cent of those who followed through with puberty blocker treatment did not detransition or regret their choice.

The study concluded that “longitudinal follow-up studies, including qualitative self-report, are needed to understand different pathways of the gender identity experience”.

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The results seem to debunk claims made by anti-trans groups that physically reversible medical treatment, including puberty blockers, for trans teens should be banned over fears that they could regret the decision later.

This argument has been used to justify hormone treatment bans across at least 22 US states, including Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma, according to research from Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in November.

It is believed that at least 35.1 per cent of all trans youth live in states that have passed bans on gender-affirming care.

“The attack on gender-affirming care is relentless and changing every day,” the HRC said. “In a co-ordinated push, led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, legislators across the country have overridden the recommendations of the American medical establishment and introduced hundreds of bills that target transgender and non-binary youth’s access to age-appropriate, medically necessary care.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has been tracking proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced this year, reports at least 99 bills across US states that restrict healthcare to some degree.