According to Sexologisk Klinik, nearly 500 potentially transgender children have been referred by their doctors for special treatment since 2015 – this year until October, there have been 134 children. The youngest was just four years old. Considering the figure was only four in 2014, it’s a notable change.
The Sundhedsstyrelsen health body ruled in 2016 that special treatment and hormone treatment should become available for children aged over 11 who define themselves as a gender different from the one they were born with.
More girls than boys
It might surprise many, but girls who want to become boys outnumber boys who want to become girls by three to one. As assessment decides whether they should be eligible for get ‘stophormoner’ hormone therapy, after which they can be recognised as transgender.
The therapy delays puberty – so breast growth, testicular growth, menstruation, pubic hair etc.
The youngest transgender person in Denmark is Kim Storm, who was born a girl but wishes to be a boy. He started his hormone therapy to suppress puberty when he reached 11 years old.
Later Kim, who will receive hormone treatment for the rest of his life, will receive testosterone therapy to go through male puberty.
Uncertain long-term side-effects
Katharina Maria Main, a professor at the Clinic for Growth and Reproduction at Rigshospitalet who is responsible for the hormone treatment of the transgender children, believes that hormone therapy is the right thing to do.
That being said, she admits the long-term side-effects are not verified yet.
“We don’t have sufficient evidence that hormone treatment is safe on a long-term basis. We don’t know what effect regular oestrogen injections for 70 years will have on a body with Y chromosomes,” Main told DR.
However, Main and other experts tend to agree the risk is worth taking in light of the mental difficulties the children might encounter over the rest of their lives.
Decisions should be made before too late
One of the known consequences is the high risk of infertility. This is why Marcus Bøgelund-Bock, a nine-year-old who identifies as a boy, and his parents are thinking long and hard about him getting treatment and later an operation.
“He always said he would like to have children. But if he has to live as a man, he will not have his own biological children,” Line Bøgelund Bock, Marcus’s mother, told DR.
Since the assessment for hormone therapy usually takes six months and should be completed before puberty to have a full effect, nine-year-old Marcus has to make the decision about taking life-long treatment soon.
That’s quite a decision for someone so young.