The Myth of "Reliable Research" in Pediatric Gender Medicine: A critical evaluation of the Dutch Studies-and research that has followed

J Sex Marital Ther. 2023;49(6):673-699. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2022.2150346. Epub 2023 Jan 2.


Two Dutch studies formed the foundation and the best available evidence for the practice of youth medical gender transition. We demonstrate that this work is methodologically flawed and should have never been used in medical settings as justification to scale this "innovative clinical practice." Three methodological biases undermine the research: (1) subject selection assured that only the most successful cases were included in the results; (2) the finding that "resolution of gender dysphoria" was due to the reversal of the questionnaire employed; (3) concomitant psychotherapy made it impossible to separate the effects of this intervention from those of hormones and surgery. We discuss the significant risk of harm that the Dutch research exposed, as well as the lack of applicability of the Dutch protocol to the currently escalating incidence of adolescent-onset, non-binary, psychiatrically challenged youth, who are preponderantly natal females. "Spin" problems-the tendency to present weak or negative results as certain and positive-continue to plague reports that originate from clinics that are actively administering hormonal and surgical interventions to youth. It is time for gender medicine to pay attention to the published objective systematic reviews and to the outcome uncertainties and definable potential harms to these vulnerable youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans