‘She was a guinea pig under one of the top experts’, Female detransitioner sues American Academy of Pediatrics

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Isabelle Ayala, a 20-year-old from Wellington, Florida, has initiated a lawsuit against the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and her Rhode Island doctors, alleging that she was rushed through a medical transition from female to male as a minor, with insufficient consideration for her well-being.

Ayala’s experiences form the basis of a documentary produced by the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), the New York Post reported.

“I just really don’t want this to happen to other vulnerable young girls,” said Ayala to the publication. “I don’t want puberty to be the enemy. I don’t want our natural biology to be the enemy.”

Ayala’s transition journey began at the age of 14, influenced by traumatic childhood experiences, including sexual assault and early puberty. She turned to the transgender activist community on Tumblr, where she learned to emphasize suicidal ideation to expedite receiving a testosterone prescription.

“I learned that from the internet that… I had to convince [my doctors and family] that if they don’t affirm me, I’m gonna kill myself,” she explained.

Dr. Jason Rafferty, a transgender health expert, diagnosed her with gender dysphoria and recommended hormone therapy after a brief consultation, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit contends that Ayala’s other mental health diagnoses, including autism, ADHD, and PTSD, were largely ignored by her healthcare providers.

Ayala claims that despite starting hormone therapy, she attempted suicide less than a year later. The lawsuit highlights Ayala’s struggles with ongoing physical and mental health issues resulting from the testosterone treatment, including unwanted body hair, vaginal atrophy, altered bone structure, and Hashimoto’s disease.

By age 17, Ayala began to identify as a woman again, inspired by a YouTuber who had detransitioned. Her lawsuit, filed in October, names seven doctors and 15 John Does, accusing them of civil conspiracy, fraud, and medical malpractice. Dr. Rafferty, specifically named in the suit, was involved in drafting the AAP’s guidance on gender-affirming care while treating Ayala.

Ayala’s case is notable for directly targeting the AAP, alleging that the guidance underplayed the risks of treatment and asserting that she was a “guinea pig” for this developing guidance.

“She was a guinea pig under one of the top experts in this field of so-called gender medicine,” said IWF director of storytelling and the documentary’s executive producer Kelsey Bolar. “She was hitting rock bottom, and he continued to put her down this experimental path of medicine.”

She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as she continues to endure the medical consequences of her transition. Her case, featured in the IWF’s “Identity Crisis” series, aims to highlight the complexities and potential pitfalls in the treatment of transgender youth.

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