American Girl book author relied on doctor who pushed puberty blockers, breast binding

American Girl dolls are seen during American Girl celebrates debut of World By Us and 35th Anniversary with fashion event in partnership with Harlem's Fashion Row on Sept. 23, 2021, at American Girl Place in New York City.
American Girl dolls are seen during American Girl celebrates debut of World By Us and 35th Anniversary with fashion event in partnership with Harlem's Fashion Row on Sept. 23, 2021, at American Girl Place in New York City. | Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for American Girl

An American Girl book advocating for the use of experimental puberty-blocking drugs to give girls more time to think about their "gender identity" appears to have relied on the expertise of a doctor who has advocated for the use of breast binding and genital tucking. 

As first reported by The Christian Post, the book, titled A Smart Girl's Guide: Body Image, advises children can talk with their doctors about "medicine" to delay puberty without stating the risks associated with the drugs nor the fact the U.S. government hasn't approved puberty-blocking drugs for that purpose.

The book, available in stores and online, also advises children to talk with a doctor about wearing clothes or using pronouns to resemble the opposite sex.

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"If you haven't gone through puberty yet, the doctor might offer medicine to delay your body's changes, giving you more time to think about your gender identity," the book states. 

"Parts of your body may make you feel uncomfortable and you may want to change the way you look. That's totally OK," one excerpt of the book reads. "You can appreciate your body for everything it allows you to experience and still want to change certain things about it."

The book appears to direct girls who question their gender to organizations that will help them transition if the adults in their lives do not support the decision. 

Credit: American Girl
Credit: American Girl

In an op-ed published by CP, Anne Young, an American mother of two young daughters, contends that the book "cast doubt on a child's ability to trust the adults in their lives" and tells girls, "if you don't have an adult you trust, there are organizations across the country that can help you."

"The book mixes truth about embracing natural beauty with lies about denigrating the body. This is a toxic mixture that will only confuse them," Young wrote.

Responding to criticism of the book from parents following Young's op-ed, American Girl offered a defense in a statement provided to USA Today, saying the book was "developed in partnership with medical and adolescent care professionals." Additionally, American Girl states the book "consistently emphasizes the importance of having conversations and discussing any feelings with parents or trusted adults."

In a follow-up op-ed published in CP on Tuesday, Young noted the book's author, Mel Hammond, recognizes Dr. Carly Guss on her website as a person who helped "bring this book to life."

Guss is an adolescent medicine specialist at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In a Nov. 1 article published in the JAMA Pediatrics medical journal, Guss advocated for puberty blockers for gender dysphoric children, stating that the drugs, in some cases, eliminate "the need for subsequent surgery."

Guss contends that the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone "delays the development of irreversible pubertal changes and, in some cases, eliminates the need for subsequent surgery." However, the use of puberty blockers to delay puberty in gender dysphoria children has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Although advocates claim that puberty-blocking drugs are completely reversible, the American College of Pediatricians has warned that temporary use of puberty-blocking drugs has "been associated with and may be the cause of many serious permanent side effects including osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures,  cognitive impairment and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility."

In July, the FDA warned that gonadotropin-releasing hormone drugs can cause brain swelling and vision loss in children who take them, citing six cases of children between ages 5 and 12 who exhibited "a plausible association between GnRH agonist use and pseudotumor cerebri.”

Guss also promoted using breast binders and genital tucking in the adolescent clinic guidelines she authored for Fenway Health. Chest binding is the process of flattening out a woman's breasts so the chest looks more masculine.

According to WebMD, risks of breast binding can include breathing difficulties, breast tissue damage and can potentially lead to cracked ribs. 

"They think that partnering with medical and adolescent care professionals should make parents unquestionably trust their advice," Young wrote. 

"As soon as I read about some of the research Guss is involved in and, more damningly, some of her public commentary, the way Hammond phrased and advocated experimental hormone blockers started to make sense. Reading Guss’ work, the deceitful language became more clear."

"The word 'medicine' sounds values-neutral whereas 'puberty blockers' increasingly strike people as strange and even dangerous amid greater awareness of the dangers of these drugs, which have been used to chemically castrate sex offenders," Young wrote. "Concurrent with this growing public awareness in the U.S., nations like Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom are moving away from this treatment protocol for gender dysphoria. Even The New York Times has started asking questions about the costs of blockers." 

Penny Nance, CEO and president of the socially conservative group Concerned Women for America, condemned the American Girl book in a statement sent to CP on Thursday. 

"What happened to teaching girls that they are beautiful just the way they are?" she asked. "Advocating that young girls consider altering their bodies through puberty blockers or surgery exploits vulnerable and impressionable children."

"In the same way that it would be dangerous to tell a young, underweight girl struggling with an eating disorder to consider gastric bypass surgery, why are we encouraging a young girl struggling with her female identity to mutilate her body?"

Nance said parents have long trusted doll companies to send positive messages to their daughters, but now "those days are gone."

"Parents need to stop buying goods from woke corporations pushing this dangerous and manipulative agenda on their children," she concluded. 

American Girl did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment. 

Many individuals who underwent gender transitions but now regret the decision are speaking out, saying they weren't adequately warned about the dangers of taking puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones or undergoing genital surgeries to alter their bodies. 

Seventeen-year-old Chloe Cole, a California resident who detransitioned, stated that she did not comprehend the effect that the drugs and surgeries would have on her body. 

"I really didn't understand all of the ramifications of any of the medical decisions that I was making," Cole said at a public hearing in Florida this July.

At 13, Cole started taking hormone blockers, then testosterone, a male body hormone. By age 15, the teenager underwent a double mastectomy to remove her breasts. 

"I was unknowingly physically cutting off my true self from my body, irreversibly and painfully," she said. "I don't know if I'll be able to fully carry a child, and I might be at increased risk for certain cancers, mainly cervical cancer."

"And because I do not have my breasts, … I am not able to breastfeed whatever future children I have." 

Another destransitioner, Helena Kerschner, started identifying as a boy at 15 while struggling with an eating disorder. In a documentary that premiered in September on Fox Nation, titled "Transgressive: The Cult of Confusion," Kerschner said she felt encouraged to transition through the social media website Tumblr. 

Years later, however, Kerschner regretted the decision, and she stopped identifying as a boy, stating that she had "a big realization moment where I just realized how much I just regretted this whole thing, and I was wrong, and that I'm not trans."

"And it was like the cloud just lifted, and I immediately became a normal person again. I immediately became myself again," she added. 

Last year, the Christian conservative group One Million Moms launched a boycott against American Girl over an LGBT storyline tied to its 2021 Girl of the Year doll. The doll has an accompanying book, Kira Down Under. In the book, Kira visits an animal sanctuary operated by her great aunts in a same-sex marriage. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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