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Idaho doctor stressing the importance of medical treatments for transgender youth

According to Dr. Marvin Alviso, who has 40 trans youth patients, children who come in at the age of 12 and 13 are only given social affirmation.

BOISE, Idaho — House Bill 675 -- now in the Idaho Senate -- would ban transgender children under the age of 18 from getting medical treatments to assist with their gender transitions. 

Prohibited treatments would include puberty blockers, hormone treatments and gender affirmation surgeries. 

Marvin Alviso, a Family Medicine Residency of Idaho doctor, has been seeing transgender patients of all ages for over seven years. Alviso has growing concerns about the future of the transgender community if the bill passes.

"We know that these medications and counseling with medications, that these will help alleviate the very tumultuous puberty that children already undergo," Alviso said. "So, imagine if you are a transgender undergoing puberty with this gender dysphoria as well, it’s too much."

During the House debate on the bill Tuesday, HB 675 sponsor Rep. Bruce Skaug (R-Nampa) cited quotes from a study.

"Children as young as 11, 12 and 13 are getting puberty blockers, which are inserted surgically,” Skaug said.

According to Dr. Alviso -- who has 40 trans youth patients, children who come in at the age of 12 and 13 are only given social affirmation. Which means, they have discussions about their identity and pronouns they wish to go by. 

He added that puberty blockers are not introduced until a child reaches puberty. Once children reach that point and both parents give consent, puberty blockers are administered, though not surgically.

“They are not inserted surgically, it’s an injection," Alviso said. "There is a medical condition called central precocious puberty, so it exists in medical science. I myself have a niece that has central precocious puberty, so they start puberty at the age of seven or eight. They are very young when they start menstruating. They have chest development already, so your goal is to stop this puberty until they are old enough, so you are just pausing puberty.”

RELATED: Bill that bans youth transgender treatments in Idaho heads to Senate

Alviso said putting children on puberty blockers does not sterilize them, but rather puts a pause on their puberty. Of his 40 youth patients, 14 of them are on puberty blockers. Once a child has been on puberty blockers for two years -- by around 16 years old, hormone treatments begin, with parental consent. 

From that point on, they are monitored every three to six months to make sure there are little to no negative side effects. Side effects can consist of weight gain, high blood pressure and a change in mood. Alviso said it is important for teens to have access to hormone treatments earlier than the age of 18.

"By the time you are 17 or 18, you have the features already that you don't want, so we are trying to avoid for that them," Alviso said. "For people transitioning to female, we are trying to avoid for them to have masculine features, which will be very hard to stop once it’s there already.”

Alviso said he has seen treatment and medication succeed for the youth who are transitioning. Since he has been working with the trans community, Alviso said he can recall only one time where a patient regretted the decision to transition.

"This is a very dear topic to me, because I have been doing this for the past seven years and I've seen improvement in all facets of life in these patients and stopping, like, you are driving these patients to commit suicide,” Alviso said.

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