Teen suicide is the most horrible thing imaginable, and we all need to do whatever we can to prevent it. Gender dysphoria—the pain resulting from a sense of dissociation from one’s own body and biological sex—is a very real phenomenon, as anyone who has experienced it will tell you. After one of these tragedies, the dominant message is that suicidal ideation in people who are “gender non-conforming” is solely the result of transphobia and the lack of (usually) parental support for “transition.” Parents, family members, and anyone else who was not fully on-board with the young person’s desire or efforts to change his or her gender are vilified, often to the point of death threats and stalking.
But maybe, just maybe, some of these young people want to die because 21st century society has given them the message that they cannot live their lives legitimately and happily in the bodies they were born in if they do not conform to gender stereotypes. That if they don’t like “girly” things or are “sissy boys,” or if they identify with and enjoy pursuits and body ornamentation traditionally associated with the opposite sex, they and their families must push for a medical diagnosis that will commit them to a chronic, expensive health condition involving lifelong drug treatment and repeated plastic surgeries; that they will have to live like Type 1 diabetics, requiring treatment for the rest of their lives. How can all of this pressure to conform not contribute to a sense of hopelessness and despair?
When a young person takes his or her own life, we must absolutely ask “why.” But a teen suicide should not shut down an open-minded discussion about root causes and conditions. Blake was out as trans. While Blake faced a lack of family support for “transition,” things seemed to be improving. The high school was open-minded enough to allow Blake to be their homecoming king. Blake was an activist with a purpose, well respected by many, with a long life to look forward to. Is the reason for Blake’s suicide simply that society or family weren’t supportive enough of the dominant transgender paradigm, or could there be a more complex explanation? Is gender therapy the only answer for a gender non-conforming person in pain?
I write this not to trigger hate or anger against any person, no matter how he or she identifies. I write as the parent of a gender non-conforming child whom I love more than anything on earth. Reading about another teen taking their own life is awful. But Blake’s suicide does not make me question gender politics less: it makes me question more.
Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.
I want to make sure you see this, 4thWaveNow, originally linked at GenderTrender. This is an essay published in the Journal of Medical Humanities (a scholarly journal) in 2013 by a woman (then a Columbia grad student, now a prof at Amherst) regarding the ethics and social implications of using the ‘suicide/disaster’ narrative to prompt ’emergency’ treatment of gender identity disorder in children and adolescents.
Click to access sadjadi-2013.pdf
The closing comment is particularly apropos and gets to the meat of this issue, IMO:
“… we should pause on the paradox of helping and saving the “transgender child,”
from the development of bodily features incongruent with their gender identities, through a
narrative of suffering and abjection of transgender adult life. Is this account trans-friendly, as
currently perceived, or does it inadvertently promise the prevention of visible transgender
More and more, I believe “prevention of visible transgender adults” is a very strong driver of the whole “early treatment” model, allowing ppl to make sterilization decisions for their children that would be criticized by ethicists if any other group of children (for instanced, disabled or “racially undesirable” groups) were involved.
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Interesting. Thanks for that link. The suicide card is played over and over by trans activists as a way to railroad parents into thinking medical transition of children is the only way. It need to be exposed and discussed openly, not used as a bludgeon to cow parents into silence. Will read the linked study in detail and comment more later.
It’s not just the adult activists who are saying it, although I can’t stand the “I’d rather have a live son than a dead daughter” line. The kids themselves also use the suicide statistics as a way of getting their parents to agree to medical intervention. They trot out the stats and play emotional blackmail.
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Good writing on the irresponsibility of the “transition fast or die” narrative — and how adults fail young, possibly trans people — by an adult transwoman; found at the invauluable StopTransChauvinism blog.
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The threat of my child’s suicide is exactly what is preventing me from parenting her. I want to protect her, I want only what is best for her and I know changing her gender is not it. Especially not yet…she’s only 14. She says she wants blockers and I’m like no way! But only in my head, because if I tell my daughter that, society is teaching our kids that if you don’t have your parent’s support, then you kill yourself. How messed up is that?!?
Hi Lisa. To answer your question, it is very messed up. First, kids who never experienced an inkling of wanting to be the opposite sex are being led to believe they are transgender for any number of common occurrences, for example if a boy is sensitive and enjoys the company of girls, or if a girl prefers khakis and loafers to sparkly or revealing clothes. Then, these kids are taught that when they come out as trans to their parents, the parents should basically throw a big celebration and right away take the kids to the doctor for medical intervention, and if the parents balk or resist, the parents are abusive. The next step given to these kids by the internet trans teen handbook is to start cutting and/or threatening suicide. Yes, this is very messed up, and dangerous.
It’s written all over the internet, over and over and over and over, that puberty blockers (GnRH agonists like Lupron) are “safe and reversible.” Would your daughter be willing to listen to doctors and scientists rather than other kids on the internet? If so, please tell her about the dangers of blockers. Not only do blockers halt physical development, they halt brain development, and IQ may drop. Additionally, a number of physical ailments, including degenerative disc disease, joint pain, osteopenia and more have been reported by patients who have used GnRH agonists as children and adolescents. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/women-fear-drug-they-used-to-halt-puberty-led-to-health-problems
Have you registered at the parents forum? If not, please consider it. You’ll find lots of parents dealing with situations similar to what you and your daughter are going through. Follow this link, click on “register” in the black bar near the top of the page, and follow the prompts to register. Once admin activates your membership, you’ll have access to the entire forum rather than just the few pages that guests can see. https://gendercriticalresources.com/Support/index.php