A Website For Teens As Young As 13-Years-Old Provides Detailed Instructions On How To Get Hormones As A Transgender Minor, Without Help Of A Parent Or Guardian
A website is providing detailed instructions for, “How to get hormones as a transgender minor,” even including how to do so, “Without help of a parent or guardian.”
Transgender Map, intended, “for young people ages 13 and above,” opens to a welcome page that says, “This free website shows how to make a gender transition.” Students questioning their gender might be able to find this content beginning with resources provided by their own school. Resources from schools may then, in turn, refer to other resources. This may make information more accessible, especially if a curious teen is following a rabbit-hole, of sorts.
The Salinas Union High School District in California provides multiple options in their LGBTQ+ Library Resources, including the Salinas High School’s library resources where the Trans Teen Project – Santa Cruz County Trans Resources website is given. At the Trans Teen Project’s website, a student is able to receive multiple results after a search query of the word: hormone. The second queried result is a hyperlink titled, “Obtaining Hormones and Anti-Androgens as a Minor: Overview (from Transgender Road Map).” Once on this website, a teen with gender dysphoria seeking information could find the following message:
“Even if you do not think you can start hormones yet, you should think about taking a hormone blocker to make your puberty stop. This is one of the most important things you can do at your age. Try to find a way if you can.”
Yes, you read that correctly, “…one of the most important things you can do at your age.” Then going further to say, “Try to find a way if you can.”
This webpage then poses the question, “What are hormones?” before stating, “These drugs help your body develop to match your gender identity.” The two bullet points that follow claim, “These drugs have been safely used for decades by transgender adults,” and, “They are used for the same purpose in gender diverse youth.” The website did not appear to provide medical evidence to support these claims. They did, however, provide a disclaimer and a note that says, “Disclaimer: This is medical talk, not medical advice. Some of this may not apply to you. It is presented without warranty. It may contain errors or omissions. You must do your own research. Note: This page is for young people ages 13 and above.”
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The following video from Amaze.org is an additional resource on this website. The video’s narrator says, “If you feel you want more time to explore how you feel about your gender before your body starts to change, it’s important to talk with a parent, counselor, therapist, or doctor about the feelings you have regarding your gender. After some discussion and counseling, you may be referred to an Endocrinologist.”
Less than a minute into this, “Puberty and Transgender Youth,” video for children and teens, we see the main character already referred to an Endocrinologist then injected with puberty blockers.
Transgender Map’s website then expresses, “I hope you will get hormones with help from loved ones and healthcare workers. You may have a hard time finding a healthcare worker who will help you without a parent or guardian who says it is OK.” But their website goes even further to say:
“If you do not think your parent or guardian will help you, there are other ways.”
This is where the website’s advice goes in another direction. On the portion of their site titled, “How to get hormones as a transgender minor,” they begin by advising, “For young people who are sure they want to make a gender change, getting on hormone blockers and maybe hormones can help a lot. You need to be sure, though. Hormone blockers will stop your puberty. If you stop taking them, your puberty will start again. Hormones may change your body so you can not make children. If you are not an adult yet, these are the ways you can get them.”
Remember, this website is intended for children as young as 13.
The first recommendation is to get hormones as a transgender minor, “With help of a parent or legal guardian,” and continues, “This is the easy and safe way. I really hope you will come out to your family and have them help you with medical transition.”
The site then states, “The only reasons to get these drugs without their help is if you might get hurt or killed, kicked out of the house, sent away to: a place run by your faith; a private school; a residential treatment facility; another family member who won’t help you, hurt in terms of money: no more money for education; no money if they die (inheritance); no more allowance or spending money; no more money for activities, forced into non-affirming or religious “therapy”, forced to stop activities (hobbies, sports, etc.), cut off from seeing people who support you.”
Incredibly, termination of allowance or spending money is included in the list as part of the only reasons to get these drugs without a parent or guardian.
Before warning that, “These other options are not as safe,” the site instructs:
“How to get hormones as a transgender minor…Without help of a parent or guardian.”
The first suggestion offered is to contact a family planning clinic, i.e. Planned Parenthood. Advice recommended states, “At this time, only some Planned Parenthood health centers have hormones for trans people. Even fewer can help young trans people. The best way to find out is to call your nearest Planned Parenthood health center. If you cannot get hormones, you may be able to get blood tests done. This can help if you are taking drugs without medical supervision.”
Importantly, there are not only very serious risks involved in obtaining and taking drugs without medical supervision, especially as a minor, but this action is against the law, which the website seemingly recognizes.
The advice continues, “Some young transfeminine people have been able to get birth control pills or other drugs with hormones through a clinic. Birth control pills are not what you need. They have low doses of feminizing hormones. You would need to take a lot. They also do not have much androgen blocker, which is important for stopping you from going through puberty.”
In one of the more alarming pieces of advice, the website suggests getting hormones, “From adult friends and peers,” before explaining, “You might ask a trusted friend or family member who is over 18 to help you. You will need to come out to them. There is a chance they might tell your family, so think hard before talking to someone. If you know trusted adults in your area who are making a gender change, you may be able to get one of them to help you. Do not ask people you meet online, even other people who say they are like you. Only ask people you have already met in person and trust.” Astonishingly, the website advises:
“You can ask them to order what you want from an online pharmacy. Then you can pay them. They need to know this is probably against the law.”
Obtaining and dispensing medication for those the medication is not prescribed to is not just probably against the law. This is indeed a violation of the law and a serious crime, especially if injury or death occurs as a result.
Wanting to get a medical opinion, I spoke with Pharmacist Ariel Davis who says, "The medications, even though they are hormones, are not benign. They have side-effects. They have consequences. They can cause cancer. They can cause hormone disruptions that lead to an emotional imbalance, that lead to suicide or aggression. The role of the Pharmacist dispensing these medications is to ensure they are appropriate for the patient they are prescribed for. If the adult patient turns around and hands them to a minor, there's no way of knowing if that medication is appropriate for that minor.”
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The website further suggests to obtain hormones, “From your doctor,” by explaining that, “Though this is rare, some young people have been able to get this just by asking. Tell them you have a problem that you do not want to discuss with your family. If your doctor agrees not to tell, then ask about what you want. This may not work, but if you trust your doctor, you can try. Another way is to start hormones from another source, and then tell your doctor that you do not want to take them without a doctor. Some doctors may help you to lower the chances of hurting yourself.”
Multiple options are provided to obtain hormones without a parent or guardian. The next piece of advice is to pursue this, “Through legal options,” by explaining how, “Some minors go to court to get legal emancipation from their parents. This is not easy to do, but an emancipated minor can make medical decisions without permission from their parents or guardians.” Next, the website states that, “Some minors are able to demonstrate that they are mature enough to give informed consent for medical decisions. This mature minor doctrine can in some cases be used to get medical care without parental consent.”
Two more suggestions follow. Next is for, “Traveling outside your country.” While this does not describe the cost or means of transportation or all of the risks involved, this explains that, “Minors can not do this without permission from your family.” The website offers an alternative:
“You could have an adult friend do this for you, but it is against the law to bring prescription drugs back into the country. Many people in towns near the US border used to go to Canada or Mexico for prescription drugs. This is harder to do now.
Parents may be shocked to realize that this content is being promoted to minors as young as 13, especially when the advice appears to trivialize legality.
The detailed advice concludes with the option of, “Ordering online or by mail.” This segment states, “Some people order hormones from online pharmacies. This can be an option for those who do not want others to know about their hormone use. Buying and importing prescription drugs without a prescription is probably against the law where you live. Because it is against the law, you might lose the money you paid: No drugs sent; Fake drugs sent; Drugs taken by police at the border.” After stating that this is against the law, the website states, “If you wish to take that risk, go here: How to order hormones online.”
After much additional advice provided on dosing and options for mail-delivery, detailed advice is provided for, “Getting a US post office box as a minor.”
What we are witnessing in society is a serious lack of public concern and
care for the overall long-term health and well-being of minors. Approaching these serious and even life-altering decisions in a laissez-faire way is more than risky, not to mention, serious legal repercussions could occur as a result.
Ironically, the advice of this website for teens to obtain hormones with the help of an adult friend or peer is provided with a warning which states:
“Do not ask people you meet online, even other people who say they are like you.”
The website builders might take their own advice by recognizing that they, too, are unknown to those they are advising. They might consider how this web-content could be acted upon by a young teen under emotional distress. If acted upon, this advice could place the minor in a very serious and even dangerous situation. We cannot avoid the question, “How is it ethical for anyone to be providing this advice, online, to a minor child whom they have not met?” This generation of young people deserve greater value, dignity, and compassion.