A leading gender dysphoria expert in Finland is speaking out against transgender treatments for minors, telling local media the vast majority of children outgrow sex and gender confusion.
Dr. Riittakerttu Kaltiala, chief psychiatrist at Tampere University, home to the country’s largest pediatric gender clinic, explained to Helsingin Sanomat, a local newspaper, that “four out of five” children expressing gender confusion move past those feelings by adolescence.
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She told the outlet it is common in development for children to strongly express feelings at odds with their biology and urged parents to understand most kids will self-correct in puberty.
“That’s why it’s wise to monitor the situation, give the child peace of mind, and treat the family’s anxiety and possible related problems,” the psychiatrist said.
Kaltiala is particularly concerned about early intervention as children experiment with “different identities,” because they are “prone to suggestion.” During the developmental process in adolescence, children begin to understand who they are. But by allowing kids to determine whether to legally change their sex markers and subsequently undergo transgender treatments and surgeries — most of which are irreversible — adults are, according to the doctor, thwarting that natural discovery process and inflicting harm.
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Early intervention sends the message to a child that only one choice — embracing transgenderism — is the “right path,” she said.
The psychiatrist’s comments come as Finnish lawmakers have approved legislation allowing transgender people 18 years and older to legally change their sex markers on government-issued documents by self-declaration, without having to provide psychiatric assessments or a medical certificate proving they are infertile or sterilized, according to ABC News.
Many, including the transgender activist group Seta, are pushing for the law to include minors. Kaltiala, however, is opposed to lowering the age limit.
The Finnish doctor is also speaking out against the oft-repeated narrative in support of early intervention for children expressing gender dysphoria: the suggestion that, if they are not affirmed in their chosen sexual identity, they will commit suicide.
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She described the claim as “purposeful disinformation” and “irresponsible.”
“Mentally healthy young people who experience their gender in a way that differs from their biological body are not automatically suicidal,” Kaltiala explained.
She added, “It is not justified to tell the parents of young people experiencing transgenderism that the young person is at risk of suicide without corrective treatment and that the danger can be countered with gender reassignment treatment.”
Kaltiala does not recommend medical intervention until adulthood.
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