Earlier this month, the wife of a Lutheran pastor posted an update to her Facebook page, announcing her 11-year-old child — a transgender female — endured something “hard and scary” at the beginning of November.
One of Jamie and the Rev. Christopher Bruesehoff’s children, who was born male, now identifies as a female and goes by the name Rebekah. On Nov. 1, Rebekah “had her second surgical procedure to place a hormone blocking implant in her arm to prevent her from progressing farther into puberty.”
In her post, Bruesehoff described the procedure as “medically appropriate, medically necessary, life-affirming, and often literally life-saving treatment.” It’s still not clear, though, what kind of lasting effects (read: damage) this kind of hormonal treatment can have on a child.
Introducing puberty-blocking medications and therapies for the off-label purpose of treating gender dysphoria presents concerns regarding neurological development and bone growth. The experiment of giving gender dysphoric kids hormone blockers also calls into question how they should be treated medically, according to Dr. Rob Garofalo, director of gender and sex development at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
“There are so many unanswered questions around the long-term consequences, and whether your health risk profile really becomes that of a male or female,” he told PBS’ Frontline. “If we start testosterone today, will you have the cardiac risk profile of a male or female as you grow older? Will you develop breast cancer because we’re administering estrogen?”
One such puberty-blocking drug, Lupron, has been linked to serious issues with bone development. A report from Stat News pointed to a 20-year-old from South Carolina diagnosed with osteopenia, a 25-year-old from Pennsylvania with a cracked spine and osteoporosis, and a 26-year-old from Massachusetts who underwent a total hip replacement after being on the drug as a child.
The treatment of gender dysphoria in children is so experimental and carries so many potential unknown risks, some have called it child abuse. Last week, Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer and podcaster, described it as “evil.”
Shapiro said minors should not be permitted to undergo gender transition therapies and surgeries, much like the care the Bruesehoffs’ child is receiving, because children are “not capable of consent,” legally speaking.
Aware of these criticisms, Rebekah wrote about it last month on Facebook, attempting to disabuse anyone of the notion that giving gender dysphoric children puberty blockers is akin to parental abuse.
“To say that I am being abused by being allowed to live an authentic life is not only nonsense (the statistics clearly show that kids who are supported in their gender identity thrive while kids who are not supported struggle deeply), it’s also a slap in the face to victims of ACTUAL abuse,” wrote Rebekah.
This is not the first time the Bruesehoffs have been public about Rebekah’s transgenderism. In the summer of 2018, Rebekah spoke at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering. There, Rebekah talked about being made “in the image of God to be me.”
“I’ve learned that by being who God has called me to be, by telling my story, hearts and minds are changed,” added Rebekah. “I can change the world.”
Continuing along, Rebekah is participating in the forthcoming Disney+ show, “Marvel’s Hero Project,” a web-based TV series that will follow the lives of young kids (real-life heroes) seeking to make positive changes in their communities.
Rebekah wrote on Facebook, “I can’t wait to share my message of hope and acceptance with the world in” Marvel’s Hero Project.
“I decided that I needed to keep speaking for the people who need the message of hope and acceptance,” Rebekah said in the video teasing the upcoming Disney+ series, which debuts Tuesday, Nov. 12.