Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (11):743-752 (2020)

Brian D. Earp
Oxford University
In this article, we analyse the novel case of Phoenix, a non-binary adult requesting ongoing puberty suppression to permanently prevent the development of secondary sex characteristics, as a way of affirming their gender identity. We argue that the aim of OPS is consistent with the proper goals of medicine to promote well-being, and therefore could ethically be offered to non-binary adults in principle; there are additional equity-based reasons to offer OPS to non-binary adults as a group; and the ethical defensibility of facilitating individual requests for OPS from non-binary adults also depends on other relevant considerations, including the balance of potential benefits over harms for that specific patient, and whether the patient’s request is substantially autonomous. Although the broadly principlist ethical approach we take can be used to analyse other cases of non-binary adults requesting OPS apart from the case we evaluate, we highlight that the outcome will necessarily depend on the individual’s context and values. However, such clinical provision of OPS should ideally be within the context of a properly designed research study with long-term follow-up and open publication of results.
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2019-106012
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References found in this work BETA

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
Beyond Binary: Genderqueer as Critical Gender Kind.Robin Dembroff - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (9):1-23.

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Citations of this work BETA

Who is Phoenix?Roberto D'Angelo - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (11):753-754.
LGBT Testimony and the Limits of Trust.Maura Priest - 2021 - Journal of Medical Ethics (x):200-201.

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