Decisions about Puberty Blockers
The Pre-Teen years (approximately 9-11) are a particularly important time in the life of a Transgender Child, (and Family) because this is the first time that a possible medical intervention could be started. Decisions about using use ‘Puberty Blockers’ or ‘Puberty Inhibitors’ are typically made at this time.
Puberty can be intensely stressful and uncomfortable for a gender variant child – as their body would acquire typically male or female attributes. Many Transgender people report having felt desperate, depressed and hopeless when their bodies began to change in the ‘wrong’ way. A child might have been able to put their gender-variance out of their minds for long periods of time, but if puberty starts this is no longer possible.
The ‘blockers’ serve to block or delay these characteristics so that 1. The child doesn’t have to experience the discomfort of acquiring body characteristics that are unwanted, and 2. A later medical transition to the other sex would be easier and require less medical intervention – especially for a Male-to-Female transition.
for natal boys they block:
- Testosterone and its effects
- facial hair growth
- the growth of adam’s apple
- male angularity and musculature
- growth of body hair
for natal girls they block:
- feminizing hormones and their effects
- breast development
- fuller hips and typical female fat distribution
Puberty blockers would be prescribed by a Pediatric Endocrinologist (M.D. Doctor), familiar with Transgender medicine after the child and family had worked with a knowledgeable gender therapist. They would typically be administered by a monthly injection or by an implant method. The effects are believed to be reversible should the child stop taking the blockers. Some interventions can be made with Puberty blockers even if the child has already reached puberty (such as stopping menstruation in natal girls). Most insurance companies do not cover this type of treatment, although that has been slowly changing and it can be expensive.