I received this comment a few days ago. The theme is a common one among trans activists and gender specialists nowadays: They not only think they know how to diagnose “true trans” children. They are confident that social transition, puberty blocking, and cross sex hormones (with concomitant permanent sterilization) will lead to happy trans adults.
I’ve reproduced the comment here. (Boldface emphasis is my own.) My response is below.
People are always mixing up Gender Non Conforming Only children, GNC Only, (usually first defined by their parents) and transgender children (those who show strong cross gender desires and associated Gender Dysphoria, GD, if thwarted).
Now GNC Only (little or no transgender desires and the associated GD) will fairly often, but not always by any means, end up bi-sexual, gay or lesbian as adolescents and adults and be happy with their gender (maybe after some exploration).
GNC with strong GD will nearly always retain that into adolescence and adulthood and at some stage transition or die.
So it is important to separate them out, which to be fair for a very young child can take a few years to work out, hence the WPATH ’support and wait and see’ approach.
The longer a child expresses transgender desires and has GD then the more likely they are really transgender. But, an important but, a child with strong GD may not be a ‘typical’* ‘sissy boy’ or ‘tomboy’. though they will almost certainly show GNC behaviour of some kind and strongly express transgender wishes.
A lot of that depends on how introverted or extroverted they are. The quiet, shy, sensitive and introverted child suffering terrible GD may not express themselves much in public as very GNC even though they may want to. Everyone forgets this point…… not every kid is a blazing extrovert and public performer. This explains the common issue of the child only expressing their transgender feelings at early adolescence, before that they were simply too shy and sensitive and hid it carefully.
The other issue is the treatment of some GNC Only kids, who if you do the ‘drop the Barbie’ stuff to them means you are making them act ‘straight’, which is cruel and if not actual SOCE** it is pretty close.
GNC Only behaviour by itself will not ‘make’ someone transgender, which seems to be the fear by some.
GD plus GNC means they are almost certainly transgender and almost never will change and if you try then you are playing Russian roulette with their lives. There is only one treatment for GD that works, transition***.
So the issue is selection and it is not that hard, although it will never be perfect. A 2012 study on CAMH children showed the only statistically significant factor (logistic regression) in their ‘persistence’ was the strength of their combined GNC/GD scores. So their own tests showed good measures to predict outcomes, which were a lot higher that the commonly stated ‘80% desist’ (based on lumping the two groups together).
A rough ‘back of the envelope’ calculation shows that maybe only 5% of GNC Only diagnosed kids are really transgender (diagnosis is never perfect). BUT, maybe as much as 80% to 90% of GNC + strong GD ones are (based on CAMH published numbers).
The majority, by far, are of course GNC Only with transgender children being a minority. CAMH’s own numbers (awhile back) stated that 70% of the kids they saw were GNC Only.
*And what is a typical ‘sissy boy’ or ‘tomboy’ anyway? This is usually just parent paranoia and absurd social ‘norms’.
**Sexual Orientation Change Efforts = sexuality reparative therapy.
***transition can mean socially or fully medically to the opposite gender, it can also mean becoming ‘gender queer’ or similar.
LisaM, first let me acknowledge that you are not arguing in your comment for full medical transition for all “transgender children.” In fact, you say that some kids may just want to “transition” to be “genderqueer.” But really, that is simply a matter of personality. We don’t need to label it with anything to do with “gender,” unless you believe in gender stereotypes. So it’s nonsensical to say such kids would be “transitioning” to anything–they’re just expressing their unique personalities, as well they should.
But apart from that statement on your part, I’ve done enough homework to know that medical transition is indeed the goal and outcome in an increasing number of pediatric cases. Much of my response will be addressing that outcome.
You don’t disagree, in the main, with the decades of peer-reviewed data that show most GNC kids will desist. What you and the other WPATHers are arguing about is the small core of kids who persist in their dysphoria as preadolescents.
WPATH activists and gender specialists are pretty confident that they’ve come up with a way to separate the “truly transgender child” from the merely “gender nonconforming” (GNC). GD + GNC = transgender for life and in need of transition. To hear them tell it, it’s a slam-dunk. They eschew the older research because they say the net was cast too widely; that the “truly trans” kids were lumped in with merely gender nonconforming.
Here’s what I’m willing to grant:
- There are a minority of kids who appear to be more persistent in their desire or claim to be the opposite sex.
- Some of those kids might continue to want to “transition” as adults.
- Some of the older studies may have been less specific in weeding out the more dysphoric from the merely GNC children.
- Responsible, ethical clinicians don’t want to create “false positives” i.e., kids being trans’ed who would have grown out of it. They aren’t ogres.
Beyond that? What do you and other trans activists have to support medical transition of children?
- Your own memories and anecdotal experiences of wanting to be the opposite sex as children
- A recent study by Kristina Olson showing that kids who are already being socially transitioned really do identify with stereotypes and prefer the lifestyle of the typical child of the opposite sex
That’s pretty much it.
You claim “there is only one treatment that works for gender dysphoria, transition.” But there is zero proof that the medical transition of children will produce happy adults decades later. There simply isn’t.
History and science don’t support the “transition early or suicide” narrative:
- Show me the data proving that gender dysphoric children in earlier times didn’t end up living happy lives; that they committed suicide in the days before hormonal and surgical interventions were widely available.
- Show me the data that dysphoric kids who are medically transitioned will be happier at 40 than kids who weren’t transitioned.
- Show me proof that the very act of transitioning kids doesn’t create persistence. Especially because “social transition” is now being started earlier and earlier, when children are at their most impressionable and the brain is most plastic. Do you know anything about normal child development?
- Show me the data that the “two spirit” and GNC people in other non-technological cultures (that trans activists often co-opt) spend their days wanting to kill themselves because they can’t have surgery and hormones.
- Show me proof that there is any such thing as innate gender identity.
- Show me the data that these children won’t feel suicidal later on in life, after the “honeymoon phase” of transition has long passed. (In point of fact, way too many young people who are gender nonconforming, gay, or trans-identified have suicidal thoughts, and transition hasn’t prevented self harm in many.)
What is the big rush to transition kids, to prevent them from experiencing the “wrong puberty”? I believe it is driven by adult trans activists obsessing about the fact that they didn’t–or still don’t–“pass” well enough. It’s about how realistic a facsimile of the opposite sex the endocrinologists and surgeons can manufacture.
The engine that drives this pediatric transition juggernaut is the memories and yearnings activists carry about their own childhoods. That’s what this whole medical-legal-media child transition craze is based upon: The anecdotal accounts of adult trans.
Anecdotes are fine, as far as they go. But why don’t trans activists give as much weight to anecdotes by formerly dysphoric people who are glad they were born before transition was a thing for kids?
Based on their own retroactive wishes, trans activists are betting that all these kids who are being socially transitioned, puberty blocked, and sterilized are going to be happy adults — at 30, 40, 50 years old.
LisaM, in the name of helping these kids “pass” better as adults, it goes without saying that you and other activists also think it’s worth sacrificing a few false positives. As you said, “it will never be perfect.” Tell me: How many false positives do you think will be acceptable in the future? Regretful adults who were puberty blocked, sterilized, and operated upon, only to discover that they changed their minds later?
We’re talking about clinical guesswork with extremely high stakes. And it’s coupled with an activist strategy that is making it illegal to have a control group of kids who didn’t receive such “treatment.” The only “control group” will be future regretters (like you said, no diagnosis is perfect) who will haunt courthouses and psychotherapists’ offices long after the damage is done.
In the name of preventing the “wrong puberty,” you want to interrupt the natural course of development by blocking puberty and preventing these kids from discovering who they are without medical interference. You ignore the fact that a puberty-blocked kid also has blocked brain development because puberty isn’t just about secondary sex characteristics. It’s also about brain maturation. And by preventing natural puberty, you deny them the right to a first sexual experience in an unaltered body. You give these kids what they say they want, thinking you are doing the right thing, contradicting decades of clinical practice, neuroscience, and child developmental psychology in thrall to a non-evidence-based belief in innate gender identity.
You think it’s all worth it—the sterilization, the false positives, the denial of puberty–because you have convinced yourselves that these kids will be happy adults.
But you don’t know that. Even the top doctors in the field admit it. The Dutch pioneers in the field of pediatric transition are uncertain.
You and your compatriots spend a prodigious amount of time and energy fighting for children to be permanently sterilized and irretrievably altered. What would happen if, instead, you and the other trans activists formed lobbying groups to fight for full acceptance and understanding of gender nonconformity? Make the idea of having to “pass” a thing of the past, so that a little boy or girl would see adults and children who dressed and behaved and did anything they wanted, without the need and the encouragement to think there is something wrong with their bodies. Do you really think most of these “true trans” kids would still want to “transition?” Or that, at a minimum, they couldn’t just wait until adulthood to make the decision?
Trans activists believe strongly that transgender should be depathologized and seen as a normal variation in human experience. But there’s an inherent contradiction here. Setting aside the question of whether insurance and the medical system should pay for any and all interventions for something that is a “normal variation,” if it’s normal to feel “trans” or “genderqueer,” why don’t you fight for normalization of gender nonconformity? What’s wrong with a 6’2 man in a dress? A normal variation shouldn’t require modern Western medical intervention, should it? Not everyone, everywhere in the world can afford that, can they?
Think of what you could do with your time and money, fighting for acceptance of children to be who they are, without thinking there’s something so wrong with their bodies that they have to be cut and drugged to feel whole. Think of the good you could do instead of agreeing with preschoolers that they might “really” not be a boy or girl.
“Girls can be anything! Just because you like/play/feel [fill in the blank], you’re still a girl. A really cool girl!”
How on earth can anyone think that making it easier for an impressionable young child to want to undergo permanent medical changes is the most compassionate path? Wouldn’t it be kinder to fight against the need to conform to stereotypes in the first place?
Reblogged this on There Are So Many Things Wrong With This.
I tried to do a ‘like’ this but it didn’t work. And I really liked this one!
This is one of your best ones yet. Laying out exactly that set of ideas, that are close to my heart, of change the world so people don’t feel like they need to conform to these friggin stereotypes. That is the thing that needs doing. Running around justifying these bizarre surgeries and hormone treatments is not a thing that needs doing.
And that this is coming from the retroactive yearning of the adult activists. Thank you. We all have that notion in our heads I think but you put it beautifully into words.
You have to write a book about all this.
Also if gender dysphoria/sex dysphoria exists it would have to be a form of body self hatred like body dysmorphia. Because that exists. There is no evidence that an innate and fixed gender identity exists. Given that, it’s hard to see how someone who has that would be helped by getting these mutilating surgeries. They may have a psychiatric condition where they feel that their body is terribly abnormal. But after they have the surgeries that would actually be true. The idea that mutilation would prevent suicide in body dysmorphic people seems more than a little unlikely.
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Thanks! I don’t understand what the deal is with likes and comments going haywire in WordPress sometimes. I have no solution (I’ve tried) but I’ll try to look into it again.
As to a person being revolted by their own healthy body parts, I suspect when you really strip away the desire to conform to stereotypes, there would be a very tiny core of people left who actually do have a real aversion to their bodies. Why does **anyone**, trans activist or not, want to promote the idea that that is a “normal variation”? And more, that it is untreatable by anything except medical transition? Of course, this is all part of the “T” successfully co-opting the message of the LGB, but LGB aren’t demanding surgeries and hormones for the “normal variation” of homosexuality. It’s why it seems so obvious to me that the REAL goal of trans activism ought to be a celebration and promotion of gender nonconformity, such that all stereotypes would be broken down for men and women. Then all you’d have left is a very few people who hated their bodies, and how could you call it anything but body dysmorphia? Then clinicians could help those people feel ok about themselves and hopefully avoid extreme medicalization. There might be a few adults left who really did want to transition, but they’d be much rarer.
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Exactly. Although there would still be the autogynephiles wanting to transition. But if transition had been stigmatized as a bizarre overreaction to whatever the proffered problem it was supposed to solve was then maybe the autogynephiles would never have developed this idea that that was something to shoot for. And they’d be just like the “regular” sexual fetishists cross-dressers. They would just do it all with clothes.
Which reminds me I’m still waiting to hear which of the two really ghastly possibilities was the one that drove the invention of the “sex change” procedure. And indeed the idea of someone changing from a man to a woman or vice a versa. It’s like something out of for friggin Greek mythology. Will it be the autogynephiles, or will it turn out it was invented to be a gay “cure”? I feel sure at some point I will see a blog post or something mentioning a study by an historian that will give the answer. It won’t be edifying.
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Really fantastic writing!
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Thank you, as ever, for your thoughtful, insightful, focus on children’s well-being. Only problems I can see here is something only the trans cult will see as a problems–and one for which some will no doubt wish for your death by fire or by rape by a sharp weapon: your focus on the well-being of children (and the adults they will become); your reference to normal child development and the value of nurturing that development (as opposed to short-circuiting it); your insistence on asking them for credible evidence of their claims; and your challenge of their assumptions a) that it’s ok to mutilate and sterilize kids, even if ‘a few mistakes are made’ and b) that there is any value at all in judging a child’s future health and happiness based on childhood GNC.
As for myself? These are some of the biggest reasons I’m so grateful for your work.
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Thank you back! You know, I think a lot of the people driving this really, sincerely do believe they’re doing the right thing for “trans” kids. Many of them were unhappy as children and they think this is the holy grail. They think they see themselves in these kids. But they’ve lost the plot, because when you really come down to it, this is a faith-driven enterprise. There is no other area of pediatric medicine where wishing and hoping for a good adult outcome could justify the complete remaking of a child’s body and brain.
I tend to harp on the sterilization angle because it’s such a huge “side effect,” and because no one outside the blogosphere seems interested in pointing it out. Hello–sterilizing kids is rightly seen as a human rights abuse in any other context.
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I think they believe they ARE helping kids. I think they think today’s ‘transkids’ are like they were in their youth.
But the fact remains that the strongest transactivists in this area are natal men who’ve transitioned. The idea that they have a complete grasp of the forces pressuring ever-increasing numbers of young natal females to consider themselves ‘not girls’ is misguided. The two situations aren’t remotely the same. The insistence that we’re just dealing with one phenomenon here, and thus there is one potential treatment path, one potential outcome, one ‘right thing to do’ — yeah, that can’t be right. It just can’t. That makes zero sense.
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Puzzled, you are so right. There is a different phenomenon going on here with teenage girls -who have usually taken the Tumblr pathway to trans. Their sudden, late-onset presentation should ring some alarms bells!
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“It is all so tragic, that’s why i am such a fervent supporter of trans kids so they never have to go through all the crap I (and so many others) did.
My life would have been so much better if I could have transitioned as a kid/adolescent, but it was impossible in my era.”
This is the line of reasoning often given to rationalize the trans-ing of children. These fervent advocates are blinded by their own childhood memories and assume all “trans kids” will benefit from transition.
These trans activists don’t realize how harmful gender stereotypes are to our kids (because they don’t realize the impact it has had on themselves). We should affirm that girls can like math and climb trees and that boys can like ballet and knitting. Then we wouldn’t see as many kids be uncomfortable in their bodies. Like this person who felt the need to mimic his father and reduce his feminine behavior:
“Amazing the lengths we went to, to ‘fit in’. As a kid I watched my father and his friends so I’d copy how they sat and moved….sigh.
Even as an adult I’d ‘police’ myself to make sure I wasn’t acting ‘feminine’…..double sigh.”
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overwhelmed I agree passionately with everything you said. And I just want to add about the activists: why do they think they know how to make medical diagnoses? They clearly don’t since they don’t understand the differential diagnosis. Which is a process where the doctor is supposed to be determining if the patient who has all the symptoms of Disease X, also has all the symptoms of the superficially similar Disease Y. It’s a picky and painstaking process. But it’s also intrinsic to making diagnoses. And to not giving people the “false positive” diagnoses that 4thwave is always quite rightly talking about. The fact that the trans movement has no real response to the false positive issue shows that either they completely don’t understand what they are doing in this medical thing, or they really don’t care about transitioning girls who will then realize this is all wrong for them. (I can’t say “who really don’t need to transition” because I don’t believe anybody does.)
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“My life would have been so much better if I could have transitioned as a kid/adolescent, but it was impossible in my era.”
Let me guess, this is a male who wishes his face looked less masculine and he could “pass” better as a pretend woman – and that is the basis for his advocacy of sterilizing kids by early medical transition.
LisaM’s comment on 4thwavenow is almost identical (or maybe is identical) to comment made on the WPATH Facebook page.
The quotes I used are actual quotes from this same Facebook commenter.
This type of conversation is exactly what we need. We need to tell young children that their choice of toys, games, activities, friends are fine and accepted. We need to tell young children that their bodies are perfect as they are. We need to teach children to love themselves as they are–that they add value to the world just as they are. They are not in the wrong bodies. We as the adults in society are pushing our gender stereotypes on these children. Fit in the box for your sex, or you are wrong and need to be fixed. I think most of us don’t realize that we’re doing it.
The fact is that if these medical interventions were available for children 40 years ago, many people like me would have been encouraged to transition. I’m a hetero female, but I loved sports, building with legos, catching tadpoles, etc. as a kid. In high school, I was most comfortable in jeans and t-shirts. I could not imagine becoming a cheerleader. Nobody seemed to worry about any of it. If my parents were worried, they never told me.
When my daughter was little and liked Buzz Lightyear instead of Barbie, wanted to play sports and video games, I thought it was cool. She was just like me. I let her play. Our mother-daughter bonding time now involves watching football together. We go to other sporting events together. We talk about our favorite teams and athletes. It’s fun. Why do people think she needs to be a guy? Why do people push her on social media to transition? Why do people try to make her feel like something is wrong with her? Why are people so hell-bent on ruining my daughter’s life, and the lives of so many other daughters and sons with medications and surgeries?
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That was excellent, TheMom. And reminded me how when I was in junior high in the mid-70s if a girl was really really into sports, that hadn’t become mainstream yet, she was immediately labeled a ‘lezzie’. We didn’t even know what sex was let alone homosexuality. But that’s what you had to be if you were a girl jock. And this trans jazz is the same superficial crap.
I myself hate sports, but I could see this happening to girls around me. Sports was like the great god we were all supposed to worship. Until it was girls doing it and especially being good at it. Then it’s like, oh that’s bad.
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Agreed!!! Let kids be kids and let them explore their interests without judgement and pressure to conform to any gender stereotype.
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Extraordinarily well-written and well-argued. It should be required reading for all people who on jumping on the transmania toboggan. Thank you.
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4thwave, it might just be me but I think the cartoon in this link without intending to perfectly sums up one aspect of the small children and trans thing. That you in particular would appreciate it. It’s a dinosaur costume rather than a cross sex costume. But: small child emotional dynamic. 😆
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As to gender dysphoria, what is it like.. terrible is the only word I can use to describe it.
Now there are many differences in how people experience this, but by talking to others my particular experience seems fairly typical.
You feel ‘wrong’ all the time, your body is wrong, I had a kind of ’phantom memory’ of parts that should have been there and were not, with having bits I did not want being there all the time. As a child I prayed I’d grow out of being a boy. My body was a prison I was trapped in.
You have to censor your public presentation and actions endlessly, you can never relax. You live in a state of permanent low level depression (melancholia) with ‘peaks’ at various times that are near crippling. Sometimes combined with terrible anxiety as well. And anxiety combined with depression is no fun at all.
Suicidal thoughts come to the fore often, because it is simply unbearable at times.
Somehow you try and hang on and try to function pretending to be another gender, acting everyday of your life. Distractions such as all consuming intellectual or physical/sporting activities, workaholism, drug taking, alcoholism are common escapes. As is excessive risk taking. One trans women told me that she (in her previous male life) joined the military because she hoped some enemy would kill her.
And it never, ever goes away no matter what you do. You can try anything you want, therapy, self curing, drugs and all the rest …and it is still there. Year after year, a cancer in your psych eating away at you.
I’d so love all those who dismiss it as ‘nothing’’ or even ‘non existent’ to have to suffer it for just one month and then see what they say, after they have been pulled out of being a curled up in a ball crying all the time.
Then the blessed relief when you transition and can just be yourself. To feel ok, just like anyone else, to have some peace of mind without this endless conflict going on.
Many don’t make it, it is just too hard to live with. You can poo poo the suicide rates all you want, but that does not make them not true. I know several that have, and others that nearly have, ended it (all pre transition). I know my own battles with suicidal thoughts, even from early adolescence. And indirect suicide is probably much more common than direct, such as ‘inexplicable’ car accidents and drug overdoses.
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LisaM, I am publishing all four of your comments (submitted on different posts), but will just reiterate the 4thWaveNow comment policy. This blog exists as a place for parents and others as an alternative to the thousands (millions?) of sites that are in accord with the trans activist point of view. I deliberately set up this site because there was nothing like it in existence at the time. In fact, you have a platform all over the Internet, and the regular contributors and commenters here are very well acquainted with views like yours. May I suggest that you read a bit more deeply into our point of view? Because apart from this site, there are very few other places where you’ll have that opportunity, apart from rabidly conservative, homophobic outlets.
Dysphoria is real, of that I have no doubt. And far from “pooh-poohing” suicide rates, I’ve said repeatedly (in these posts and in many comments) that there’s no doubt GNC, trans, and gay people have a higher rate of suicidality.
What I question is that medical “transition” is the answer for most. People who don’t fit into gender stereotypes are bullied: that is the core of the problem. And to the extent that parents and other important adults don’t support their kids who defy stereotypes, they are exacerbating the distress.
But transition—even being a role model for others—didn’t save several teens last year. Wanting to commit suicide is a serious mental health problem, and trans activists should be ashamed of themselves for constantly using the horror of teen suicide to quash critical thinking and terrify caring parents. The effect is to prevent clinicians from addressing underlying depression and other issues apart from simply making it all about a desire to change sex.
If your aim is to do more than come here to shame parents who love their kids, please read some accounts written by formerly dysphoric—and yes, suicidal—adolescents who grew up to be healthy gay men and lesbians. People who in childhood and adolescence were convinced for a time that they were really the opposite sex. More and more people are telling these stories. The facile response is, “oh but they weren’t really trans.” But their accounts are often nearly identical to those I’ve read from trans adults.
If we are to take your story and that of other trans adults seriously—and I, for one, do—you must also take the stories of people who were dysphoric but grew out of it just as seriously. People who thank their lucky stars that “medical transition” wasn’t an option when they were children.
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To quote LisaM:
“People are always mixing up Gender Non Conforming Only children, GNC Only, (usually first defined by their parents) and transgender children (those who show strong cross gender desires and associated Gender Dysphoria, GD, if thwarted).”
The most serious problem with confusing sex in children today is that it is not just average people that confuse children and mistake them to be transgender (when the child does not meet gender stereotypes) , no – it is Psychologists, Doctors, Surgeons who also make this grave mistake. When medical professionals are in error, they administer unnecessary hormones and surgeries to a once healthy child or adult. The patient may only come to realize later in life (as many people who go on to regret their surgeries or have de-transitioned once they realize that they are not transgender.)
When the patient needs help to return to their original sex, the Doctors are limited in what they can offer, there is no help from the Transgender Law Center and the gender therapists who originally made the wrong diagnosis shrug their shoulders and turn their backs.
Another issue that complicates matters in communicating about gender and creates confusion is that the language used to describe gender has changed radically under the pen of transgender activists. Academics and activists coin phrases and new definitions for gender. Terms like “cis” “gender-noncomforming” “non-binary” are used to describe gender even though the majority of people may not subscribe to transgender perspectives on gender identity. People who are not transgender may define what it is to be a “male” or “female” quite differently and consequently, their definitions are often rejected as “transphobic” but why do they not have the right to their own opinion?
You may say that it is about personal freedom but transgender activists step over other people’s freedoms when they do not allow natal women to peacefully gather. The great majority of women’s gatherings include transgender women yet, when “natal” women wish to be allowed their own space, they are harassed, the participants are called “TERFS” by trans-activists. Events like the Michigan Women’s Music Festival are shut down. I have heard of only one other such festival … in Australia … and it is also experiencing extreme pressure to be inclusive to transwomen.
I have never attended an event for “natal” women only. This is now a privilege the very few women will ever have.
Imagine what it would be like if transgender activists wanted to gather but “cis” people insisted on being included even if they didn’t understand how to be respectful in such environments?
What if a “natal” female kept using the word “Tranny?” The word can’t be even be used to describe transvestites without an uproar from transgender activists. You may say that is totally different – but look how many times you have use to term “cis” in your communication on this blog. We have respectfully used proper gender pronouns with you but did you didn’t even think to use the term “natal” when reaching out to “educate” us.
Most of us try to be as respectful as possible in communicating about gender as we learn quickly that to use terms like “natal” or “birth sex” may have us quickly labeled as transphobic or worse, trigger a rant form a transgender reader about the rates of suicide in the transgender community. Believe me, we don’t want any more of you jumping off cliffs, and we try our best to be sensitive and respectful but it would be nice to have little reciprocity.
These conversations are not easy for any of us. And creating new biased language makes clear communication even more challenging.
But I have to wonder if our bending backwards to support transgender ideology is actually enabling a dysfunctional culture where those of us who identify with our birth sex feel that we must deny our own reality in order to support the unscientific and dangerous transgender narrative.
The limiting transgender narrative that is supported by people like LisaM, affects not only people in the transgender community but children who might have otherwise grown up to adjust and naturally progress beyond dysphoria if they had not been told by overwhelming societal messages (that has arisen through the proliferation of transgender ideology) that their gender expression is somehow abnormal. A gender questioning kid gets the message today that something is pathologically wrong with their expression of gender an that they must be gender-nonconforming, non-binary, gender queer of transgender when fifty years ago, they would have just been another quirky kid … (maybe even, another quirky gay kid.) But you know, I don’t even think that gay part would have been talked much about back then.
And so now, we have these conversation more often and I think that can be a good thing. But conversations are meant to go both ways.
We, as people who identify comfortably with our birth sex despite having experienced dysphoria (or even despite some ongoing struggles with dysphoria) should have the right to be equally heard and respected. Our stories should not be erased from social media, marginalized or labeled as “transphobic” simply because our way of expressing ourselves and our identity cannot be found in the transgender “dictionary” or “trans-encyclopedia.” Some of us have tried to adopt transgender terminology but even when using all of the politically correct terms, we are not allowed to ask respectful medical questions without being seen as the opposition.
LIsaM, You may not realize that many of us have worked for your right to equality. You may not realize that we are very concerned about your health because we value you as human beings. Many of us have children, friends and family who have been diagnosed as transgender. You may not realize that we are not the enemy.
When you call us “cis” know that it is as offensive to some us us as the word “natal” is to some of you. But notice, we did not censor your posts even though our posts are censored and removed for simply asking questions in public forums. (I respect the right of Transgender groups to exclude non-transgender participants. I am talking about mainstream, public discussions about gender where views questioning transgender theory, the safety of transition or the medical credibility of practitioners are unwelcome and are often removed.)
We can go anywhere on the internet and hear your story LisaM. Some of us (educators and professionals in medicine) are even legally require to promote the transgender narrative as medically sound (despite the unnerving truth that we witness so many of you suffering long after transition.)
This blog, is one of the very few places that we can speak without being silenced.
Regarding making kids act “straight” this is not the forum for that. What would a “straight acting” kid act like anyway? We want to kids to just get be kids.
LisaM, you may think that we need tutoring but please know that we have already been well educated in your perspective through the media, WPATH and transgender politics.
I notice no one here is commenting on my point about GNC kids being forced into being ‘straight acting’ as the CAMH GIC did.
The transgender community is accepting of all the range of gender identities (part time, full time, gender queer and all the rest) sadly the cis world …. not nearly so much.
I have many friends right across the whole spectrum, fully medically transitioned, partially, part time, gender queer, androgynous, straight, gay, lesbian and bisexual… and all the rest.
Rather than force ‘gender conformity’ on people we accept and rejoice diversity in them.
It is not transgender people forcing gender conformity on others, it is parents, schools, other children, politicians, priest, pastors … all cis people.
Perhaps rather than denying being transgender actually exists and getting ‘information’ from transgender hate sites it might be an idea to actually talk to trans people, writers and activists and find out what we are really like. How we live our lives (pretty ordinary actually), the issues we face (many), the terrible battles with gender dysphoria we had pre transition. Overall we are pretty nice people.
Perhaps a reading of the WPATH Standards of Care might be an idea, where it explicitly states that alternative gender roles are an option that are to be given and explained to the child and parents. That help connecting with parent/child support groups be supplied by the therapist.
Fully medically transitioning transgender people are actually the minority (about 25%).
However I note the hypocrisy that is often displayed about this. If you don’t fully medically transition you are a ‘man in a dress’ or a ‘girl crossdressing as a bloke’. I note all those who are against legal gender recognition without full medical transition and yet are also against full medical transition…..sigh.
Just for the record ..you cannot ‘make’ someone transgender, any more than you can make them gay, or lesbian, or heterosexual, or cis. The hysteria over ‘social media making them trans’ echoes the exact same things said by homophobes about ‘making kids gay’.
As an aside I do laugh at the endless accusations that are made that somehow we (tiny number) trans people are reinforcing gender stereotypes. Yep that is what I must be doing when I go to the shops in my jeans and daggy top with my hair a mess looking like all the other cis women there…….
On a more serious note, telling someone “their bodies are perfect as they are” changes precisely nothing and is just another example of being lectured at by cis people who are unable or unwilling to actually listen. Your body is perfect to you and I am happy you find it so, mine wasn’t for me, it was horrible, a prison I was trapped in from 6 onwards.
I note some ‘lip service’ about accepting gender non conformity being made. Sadly this is far too often not true, as too many GNC Only children suffer terrible prejudice against them by their socially conforming/conservative parents and family.
This is proven by the large amount of support for Dr Zucker and the GIC on their work stopping GNC behaviour in non-trans children.
If a person really believed in supporting GNC behaviour in kids, then they would be cheering the end of the GIC and the forcing of mom-trans kids to be ‘straight acting’. The deafening silence about that by many does not surprise me one little bit, unfortunately.
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One thing we likely agree on, LisaM, is the lack of acceptance for “gender nonconformity.” I’ve never been “gender conforming” myself, and neither (from what they write) are most of my regular commenters. And being no spring chicken, I can attest that it’s gotten much worse in the last few decades, with all the pink-is-for-girls, blue-is-for-boys, gendered toys and all the rest. But you know, the very language you and others use—words like “genderqueer”, “part time,” etc.—indicates a belief in stereotypes, and that someone who defies such stereotypes needs a label pertaining to “gender.” A person who is “genderqueer” is merely expressing a personality or a style. Thirty years ago, a man or woman who didn’t conform to some stereotype didn’t need that label. So why promote language like that? It only contributes to young people, in particular, feeling they don’t fit in, without having to define where they fall on a “spectrum” instead of just being who they are. I strenuously object to all the trans activist organizations that are going into schools and talking about “gender.” Kids don’t need this! They need the freedom to be who they are, with no one planting ideas (and indeed, that’s exactly what it is–planting ideas) that how they play or dress or behave needs to be labeled as anything other than “kid.”
As to dysphoria, one thing I’ve learned since first starting to research this issue is that dysphoria is indeed a very real experience. Contrary to your assumption, I have talked to trans people, and quite a few don’t agree with you about transitioning children (I think many trans activists refer to those folks as “truscum” and don’t seem to have a lot of respect for them). But not everyone who has experienced dysphoria as a child—even extreme dysphoria—has ended up identifying as trans later. I linked in my post to one of many stories I’ve now been hearing from women who had terrible dysphoria, but grew out of it and are now happy lesbian adults. I also recently posted about the phenomenon of preemptive conversion of young lesbians to “trans men.” If you aren’t seeing this phenomenon you haven’t been paying attention.
I notice that dysphoria is often talked about when justifying transition for kids, and adults like you often recall your own dysphoria (and I believe you). But these same activists are now pushing for transition to be available to people who don’t have dysphoria or distress of any kind. Then medical transition becomes a lifestyle choice, and again, you must not have been paying attention if you don’t see how many teens see it as just that. Activists want to have it both ways: transgenderism is an inborn trait for which the only definitive treatment is surgery and hormones, or it’s a fluid non-distress-based self-identification that shouldn’t require “dysphoria” to qualify for the same treatment.
As to many trans people being nice, I don’t doubt that most just want to mind their own business and have a happy life like anyone else. My issue isn’t with civil rights and respect for people who identify as transgender. My problem is with the activism that has (1) normalized medical transition of children who should be left alone and supported to be and discover who they are without a gaggle of professionals interfering with their lives, and (2) turned being trans into a social fad for teens (again, if you aren’t aware of this, you aren’t paying attention) who are led to think hormones and surgery are the answer to many other issues they face as adolescents.
Whether you and your compatriots want to admit it or not, there’s major trans social contagion going with teenagers on social media. And especially, young lesbians. It’s not “hysteria” to observe that previously non-dysphoric girls suddenly decide they’re trans after binging on social media. And the fact that we are seeing desisters in that group, who admit they were influenced by social media, makes it even clearer.
With all due respect, while I fully believe you that you felt your body was a prison you felt trapped in, what has become taboo to even ask anymore is: why? Why would your natural, healthy body—which in fact you have defined as “not you” from a young age—feel like a prison? That body was you. “You” is not just your thoughts and ideas.
To the extent that the Toronto clinic would have been discouraging or shaming gender nonconformity in children, I don’t agree with those practices. At all. Forcing someone to be “straight acting” is the last thing I or anyone who comments here regularly would condone. Anyone who has read even one of the blog posts or comments would know that. But to the extent that Dr. Zucker wanted to help children accept and not reject their healthy bodies, I don’t consider that an evil. The idea to me (if it’s not obvious already) is for people be actually ”gender expansive” (one of the many terms I’ve heard used by trans activists). To be encouraged to be happy as who they are (i.e, with an untampered-with body and mind, which are one whole unit, whether you want to see it that way or not) and to be celebrated for dressing, acting, playing, and appearing in any way they wish. That is true liberation, not the belief that only a surgeon and an endocrinologist can make you whole. Plenty of people throughout history have embodied true gender nonconformity, and they didn’t need the APA, the AMA, or WPATH to “fix” them first.
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A few more thoughts re: your dismissive statement that you can’t “make someone be transgender” and our concerns about social media and contagion.
4thWaveNow includes several first-person accounts from families wherein the formerly trans-identified teen desisted, and several others from formerly dysphoric women who decided not to transition. Bloggers are starting to write about these experiences. (The mainstream media is completely uninterested in hearing these stories.) Young women who nearly transitioned but thought better of it are starting to tweet about it. Some credit their parents with helping them prevent a lifetime of injections and surgeries. Like this one:
I also have received many comments from parents whose kids announced they were trans, and to a one, the “gender therapists” they consulted agreed (sometimes without even meeting the kids) that indeed, the kids were trans **simply because they said they were**, full stop. Whether it’s your intention or not, THIS is exactly what you and other WPATH members are promoting: “cultural humility,” the end of gatekeeping, extensive medical services to any and everyone who simply says they are trans. (I notice no one is fighting for these medical services for DEtransitioners–wonder why that is?).
I get regular hate comments from complete strangers telling me I am “abusing” my “son”–my “son” who has desisted, on her own, from thinking she was trans.
I see zero respect from trans activists, zero humility (yes, humility) about my family’s story, and that of many others who are starting to speak up. Trans activists seem to want to claim every child or teen who says they are transgender as their own. But they aren’t yours to claim as “trans” by wresting them away from their (according to many of you) clueless “cis” parents, family, friends, and others who actually know and love these young people. We actually know about underlying or longstanding mental health issues. We see our kids change literally overnight from happy-in-their bodies to “I’m trans” because of the propaganda they imbibed in a Tumblr binge. We’re not bigoted, unsupportive parents.
We object to the sheer hubris of trans activists, who see nothing at all wrong with sneaking binders in plain brown wrappers to teens behind their parents’ backs; see nothing wrong with telling kids in online forums to abandon their families and seek support from online adult trans; who see nothing wrong with proclaiming as a “trans man” any same-sex attracted girl who has sought relief from internalized homophobia through YouTube transition videos. It’s pure, unmitigated hubris to claim our kids as yours, as transgender, simply on their own (not infrequently temporary) say-so.
This growing community of parents is sick and tired of being shut out of a process that entails huge and irreversible changes to our children. We’re tired of being told to shut up and ignore our own parenting instincts, to just trust a bunch of strangers who bring their own biases to the table. Quite a few of us are fighting for our lesbian daughters and gay sons to get a chance, as generations have before them, to discover their sexuality without interference; without the gender-based labeling by activist organizations that push their genderist philosophy in schools–in preschools, for gods sake.
To the trans activists, this is the message from parents in this community: We’re not coming into your family situations and trying to tell you what to do with your private lives. We’re not interfering with how you raise your kids. We want you to stop intruding on our private lives, by promoting medical treatments to young people, by setting up Internet forums to secretly talk to our kids. What you’re trying to do is in contravention to all settled knowledge about child and adolescent psychological and sexual development.
Stop trying to drive a wedge between young people and the parents who love and know them far better than you ever could.
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I think your terminology is a bit mixed-up here LisaM, or at least it’s confusing to understand when you include gay, lesbian and bi-sexual in your ‘spectrum’ as these are not gender identities but sexual orientations – based on biological sex and nothing to do with gender. All these people would be ‘cis’ according to your definition.
I absolutely agree with you that gender conformity is enforced by the whole of society, but to equate this with a denial of ‘transgender’ doesn’t make sense. Encouraging gender non-conformity would mean acceptance of boys playing with dolls and wearing dresses, and girls having cropped hair and liking football. Kids shouldn’t be told they need to change sex to do that, that’s sending the opposite message. ‘Alternative gender roles’ should absolutely be allowed for both sexes, we shouldn’t bat an eyelid about that and it shouldn’t be labelled ‘transgender’ (or given any label for that matter).
Children will ’embody’ distress about enforced gender roles. A child’s thinking capacity is immature and undeveloped, so a child will experience confusion through the body – in other words, the body is ‘wrong.’ In fact it’s the whole pressure to conform to gender norms that’s ‘wrong’ but a child can’t work that out or frame it in any other way. Young children are not capable of abstract thinking.
I’m sorry that you experienced such pain through your body when you were a child, but this is no evidence that your body was the ‘wrong’ one. We need to be very careful about basing our diagnosis of children on adult trans people’s retrospective analysis of why they felt the way they did as children, because of memory’s tendency to confirm adult beliefs. There is also no ‘control’ group with which to make a comparison, ie. you have no idea of how different your path may have been had you been fully accepted for who you were, with no pressure to conform to either gender stereotype.
There would be no ‘gender confusion’ if society wasn’t so heavily invested in fixed gender roles, and we should really be looking at the root cause of children’s distress, not jumping to confirm children’s immature and confused belief that their bodies are wrong and need fixing. I disagree that you can’t ‘make’ someone transgender; socially transitioning a child and then delaying puberty so that they remain in a state of suspended childhood would be enough, at least until they reach the age of full maturity (around 25) and are fully capable of self-reflection, awareness and understanding.
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“Rather than force ‘gender conformity’ on people we accept and rejoice diversity in them.”
The entire trans belief structure is based on labeling personalities based on “types” and their relation to restrictive gender roles –social constructs based on a sex hierarchy. It’s not a matter for rejoicing . It reifies the regressive idea that the expression of likes/dislikes and talents are somehow tied to physical sex, and as such, promotes the imposition and perpetuation of sex stereotypes which *result* in children feeling wrong about their bodies solely based on the social stigma of violating those stereotypes.
If any of you *truly* wanted to “depathologize” issues of gender nonconformity in children and adolescents, you’d leave them alone. You’d stop telling them that something is wrong with them and help them understand that *gender is not sex,* and that they can resolve their difficulties without life-long medical intervention.
There isn’t a person that has commented on this blog that hasn’t been adversely affected by these gender roles. Not one. Not us, not you. The difference between “cis” and “trans” are the labels that your lot chooses to arbitrarily assign others based on *your* perception and false assumption that gender roles are benign to those of us who choose a different path. That most of us have chosen to reject these gender roles and overcome them as much as we could (as well as to change the society that promotes them) rather than to alter our bodies to accommodate them in *no way* diminishes the pain and suffering that these roles have inflicted on us directly or through the harm inflicted upon our children.
Your “laugh” at the ability of the “tiny number” of transpeople to influence the discourse and promote the *inculcation of children* into what has become, due to the heavily funded proliferation of messaging on social media and mainstream media, a “cult” of gender is a direct insult to every single person who has suffered as a result of it, and believe me, people *are* suffering from it. The virulent unremitting personal attacks against those who would speak out against both the legal and medical “naturalization” of social stereotypes has created a McCarthyesque environment of bullying and censorship in which parents and even professionals have come to fear for their personal and economic security by merely *questioning* the practices so promoted. I have to tell you, the people who have been harmed by it—those struggling to deal with detransition or the dysphoria resulting from the promotion of genderism and its aftermath –fail to find to find the humor.
The very *idea* that you would feel compelled to lecture *us* on the difficulties faced by gender defiant children and adults is rich. Have you not read any of the comments on this site? These are issues that have directly affected and harmed us, and your attempts at portraying us as having gained our understanding from “transgender hate sites” is nothing more than an attempt to discredit both our personal experience and the thousands of hours we have spent poring over professional and academic research *including virtually every version of standards that WPATH has issued.*
You have made your choice –as an adult –and you will live your life as you will but it is not your place to live your life vicariously or to enact your desire to have transitioned earlier through the children of others. THEY ARE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS. They do not have the mental capacity, emotional maturity or life experience to make decisions that will permanently alter the rest of their lives, and no amount of projecting your own personal regrets will alter this fact.
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THEY ARE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS. They do not have the mental capacity, emotional maturity or life experience to make decisions that will permanently alter the rest of their lives, and no amount of projecting your own personal regrets will alter this fact.
Thank you fightingunreality, I am so grateful to you for writing this! My daughter is being stolen from me, what mother wouldn’t fight fight fight?
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WOW!😍 These three comments by fourth wave, Stephanie and fighting unreality would make a great introduction to the transgender ideology and phenomenon for somebody who had only heard schlocky mainstream media crap about it. These analyses of gender in trans are perfect. If somebody wanted to write an intro I would suggest using this stuff and then putting in some factual information about what Tumblr is and does, the ‘sparklegenders’ a.k.a. non-binary, Demiboi, that stuff. And what autogynephiles are. that would make a really nice little pamphlet. Just saying. 😉
There are people who do not identify as transgender but who have throughout their childhood and adolescence (or even in adulthood) experienced severe body and gender dysphoria.
There are people (like myself) who have experienced body/gender dysphoria and have successfully found ways to feel at ease in their bodies and to live their lives authentically as their birth sex without adhering to any gender stereotype.
You may not have heard our stories because we are often marginalized and censored on other public sites discussing gender.
4thwavenow provides a site where we are free to speak our truth and have a chance of being heard.
There are different reasons that a person may feel extreme discomfort with their body that have nothing to do with transgenderism. There are many different approaches that people can explore to help them find peace and grow comfortable within their bodies.
The “cure” for gender and body dysphoria that is almost invariably supported by transgender activists is SRS and/or hormones but this path is riddled with risks and challenges and these treatments can cause a great deal of harm when they are administered to someone who is not transgender, or who, after more self-realization, comes to learn that they identify best with their birth sex (despite not aligning with gender stereotypes).
It seems that gender questioning minors should be given every opportunity to learn about the ways that people experience gender, their physical bodies in relation to gender, and lifestyle. Gender questioning minors who suffer from body dysphoria should be supported in learning about different ways of working with body/gender dysphoria and the depression that is so often associated.
But many transgender forums do not allow “no hormones or no surgery” perspectives to be discussed freely as viable possibilities in treating dysphoria. Transgender activists generally shun discussions of this nature as equating to “reparative therapy.”
But maybe it would make more sense for these activists to listen to the real life experiences and process of healing from body/gender dysphoria because these are just as valid as their own.
You are so far off base in your judgment of this community on 4thwavenow. You obviously have not even bothered to read the posts. No one here wants to force any kid to act in any way that is unnatural to them. We want children and adolescents to confidently explore their interests and identities freely without the pressure to conform to rigid gender stereotypes. If a boy wants to play with dolls and a girl wants to play with trucks, that is great … our point is that these same children should be free to be themselves and should not be shoved into a clinical pathology box.
A child should be free to express themselves in ways that are completely counter social “norms” of gender without being diagnosed as transgender.
Some children may experience extreme feelings of body and gender dysphoria that have no relation to “transgenderism” but may be deeply rooted in societal pressures, objectification, sexism, and/or trauma.
We should support the mental and emotional health and well-being of children and if a child is showing signs of body/gender dysphoria, emotional instability, self-injury, depression and/or suicidal ideation, this child needs quality mental health support not hormone blockers, hormones and surgery. These interventions are not approved by the FDA, they are experimental and pose serious health risks.
Let young gender questioning people grow up to make decisions about their bodies for themselves – allow them to be supported emotionally at home, in their communities and when they need professional help, by qualified mental health professionals who are trained in treating childhood depression and won’t jump to blaming everything on “gender incongruence.”
The deaths amongst gender questioning youths have skyrocketed since transgender theory has created a “medical condition” from what was once a path to self-discovery.
If bullying is the problem – let’s tackle that … if social intolerance is the issue – let’s take that on … but in doing so, let’s support the child to help them reach adulthood in one piece.
Some of transgender teenagers may be able to gain popularity and become Homecoming King or Homecoming Queen (as they have been featured in the news) but there will always be jerks snickering in the crowd or making some rude comments or waiting to punch them in the gut when you least expect it.
I don’t want to hear of another transgender Homecoming King killing himself. I don’t want to see another transgender Homecoming Queen crying her eyes out on the news. These kids are killing themselves because they cannot get the validation they crave – because they cannot go back in time and change their bodies as newborns so that they can match some impossible ideal (imposed upon them) of what a “boy” or “girl” should look and act like.
Kids need support to build strength from within. They need to learn to love themselves. Young people need to learn that above all things, they are good enough as they are and that they can rise above these obstacles. They also need to look around and notice the kid in a wheelchair that nobody talks to, the “fat” girl who kids throw food at, the only black kid on campus who is treated like crap – by even the teachers, the gay kid who gets tripped in the hallway and called “fag”, the recent immigrant kid who gets called a “wetback,” the poor kid who wears hand-me-downs and has nothing to eat at lunchtime and the Muslim kid who got a black eye at recess yesterday … Kids need to know that they aren’t alone in being “different.”
If we can strengthen a child’s sense of self worth, they will be more resilient. They won’t have the same desperate need for validation that I see in kids diagnosed as “transgender.” They might even become leaders and the kind of kid that can reach out to help another kid get back on their feet.
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Excellent comment, Juniper. Thank you.
“The deaths amongst gender questioning youths have skyrocketed since transgender theory has created a “medical condition” from what was once a path to self-discovery. ”
Rather than assisting these kids with self-acceptance, these self-referential clinicians are supporting the children’s belief that there *is* something wrong with them that they alone can “fix.” As a result, rather than resolving the conflict of self and society (the hallmark of adolescence which leads to maturity) and coming to terms with and developing their own as yet undiscovered strengths, the kids fixate on what they’ve been led to believe is flawed or missing and which can only be attained outside of themselves. Altogether, they come to obsess about what they don’t have –that *one thing* that will make everything better –rather than discovering through conflict and resolution, what they do have and what they can come to be.
4thwave, after all my yapping about not being able to do “likes” it was entirely my fault! I changed the cookie setting on my browser. Boy is there egg on my face. 🍳
I am so sorry for wasting even a moment of your time with my stupid screwup. 😬
It’s fine, because you’re probably not the only one. What cookie setting should people have to prevent this problem?
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On the iPad the good cookie setting is “allow from websites I visit”. And the bad setting was “allow from current website only”. Which I suppose means it purges the cookie for the website as soon as I have left it. But in reality means it purges the cookie for it as soon as I press “post” and the webpage reloads. Which has the effect of signing you out.
Without having had the experience I did and troubleshooting it I wouldn’t have realized there was any real difference between those two settings. Apple’s simplified way of doing things in iOS wasn’t super easy to use this time.
Bravo. You really should at the least write an ongoing opinion piece in the guardian or huffpost to counter all the transmania they promote. A voice of sanity in a sea awash with so obviously voices coming from pain, confusion and influenced by mental health problems. I can’t help but wonder where this is all leading before it hopefully implodes: will the trans and their allies next tell us that they can tell when a fetus is trans and so the mother should be injected with toxic drugs to insure the baby will be born with it’s true “gender identity” and the doctors can immediately do their diabolical surgery before it takes its first breath? And may the implosion come quickly before too many more young lives are ruined, hopefully not past repair. What we are seeing is child abuse, pure and simple, without accountability and allowed because the deafening silence of the majority. Though I do believe that the majority believes ultimately what we believe. Please do write a book.
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Thanks for your support. The major news outlets don’t seem very interested in publishing an alternative point of view. At least not yet.
What you say about fetuses may not be far from the truth. In Canada, parents of a baby girl filed a human rights complaint because they were asked to indicate sex on the child’s birth certificate.
It’s true that the general public is not buying this stuff. But the general public is going to have to start finding a way to be heard over the propaganda.
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As a historian, I completely agree about how there’s zero evidence in history of transkids, or a rash of suicides among cultures with a long history of third genders. So many conditions and diseases were described and identified centuries or even millennia ago, even if not with the most accurate information or their modern names, so why are we supposed to believe such an exploding phenomenon would have no mentions in any old medical literature, early psychological case studies, or vintage diaries and letters? It would’ve been blamed on something like evil spirits, frigid mothers, or humoral imbalance, and the doctor who attached his (or her) name to it would’ve been happy for the fame.
Even if these people want to try to claim they always existed but were just deep in the closet, that can be easily debunked too. Though we’ve only started seeing larger, more visible percentages of gay people and left-handers in modern history, there’s extensive, obvious evidence for the existence of both for thousands of years, and how they were forced to switch their natural inclination or hide who they truly were. Apart from cross-dressers, I’ve never seen anything in all my years of historical reading and research to indicate anything even remotely similar to this contemporary explosion.
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According to LisaM, myself and the other commenters here simply don’t have trans people in our lives; otherwise, we wouldn’t be critical of the trans movement. Speaking for myself, I know nothing could be farther from the truth. At one point in my life, I had a very close relationship with a MtF. I’ve also met many “transmen,” and a good friend of mine decided to “transition” to male in her early twenties.
I can tell you that this female friend of mine did not describe the type pain around her relationship to her body that LisaM describes. It had never occurred to her that she might be “trans” until the couple years prior to when she decided to transition, when she became very immersed in queer literature and culture. When I asked her why she thought she was really a guy, she said it was because she hated getting a period and having breasts. Without missing a beat, I told her I struggled with the same issues. She seemed genuinely shocked.
I think many, if not most, people who currently are transitioned, forget about all the time they wondered if they were “really” trans. Yet it seems to me, if transgenderism truly was biological, there wouldn’t be this period of wondering “am I trans?” followed by embracing the identity and weaving a narrative that one has “always been” this way.
I have some sympathy for this, because I think it is something many gay and lesbian people, myself included, do. (well, I did it in the past). And I don’t believe sexual orientation is biological, so that argument doesn’t work with me. There is quite a bit of evidence that social factors affect sexual orientation. For some people, it is even a choice, though for most of us, it’s not that straightforward.
There is tremendous pressure among young lesbian and bisexual women to identify as anything BUT women. Most go with being “genderqueer” and saying they are “not women,” though some decide to transition. And many more spend nights wondering if they are “really” men. To me, this seems like a phenomenon that is very specific to this time and place. If LisaM thinks this is impossible, then she is out of touch with the reality of many young women’s lives.
Finally, I find LisaM’s statment, “Your body is perfect to you,” incredibly offensive. How does LisaM know anything about the relationship “4thwavenow” has to her body? Besides, I know of almost no women who think their bodies are perfect. Saying one’s body is perfect the way it is was something “4thwavenow” recommended telling to CHILDREN! I latch onto this because I often get the feeling transwomen have no idea how much many born women struggle with accepting our bodies. It really is a lifelong struggle for many women.
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I’ve been circling around this post for days because it was particularly powerful and is also a punch in the gut – where are our lesbian role models who could speak up and push back? When I was going through my trans-phase I showed my mom a clip of the FtM who was up for Men’s Health’s “Man of the Year” (please don’t get me started) and while he was giving his history as a lesbian I was watching Ellen closely. And I personally felt so very torn. Ellen has done so much for positive lesbian visibility and yet couldn’t say anything, but I still wonder if she felt as I did, like something had been lost in transition. “He still has her eyes,” my mother said.
Regarding respect for dysphoria, I haven’t talked much about it but I became acquainted with a transwoman online many years ago and for a time we were very close friends. There is a long complicated story around it all, but I do remember reading her emails describing her dysphoria and my heart just ACHING for her. Nightmares about having her male genitals torn off and waking up happy, that kind of thing. It was honestly heartbreaking. And I always felt a very keen sense of sympathy and compassion for her on surprisingly common ground, especially considering I was in denial about being gay at the time. Growing up as a boy, though, she had an extremely “dominant-male” father who pushed and pushed her to “be a man.” “Be a man like your brother, drive a truck like me, what’s wrong with you?” I related so well with that, with all the constrictions and expectations placed on me to “be a woman, what’s wrong with you?”
Little did I know all that would have me fantasizing about being rid of all my female parts ten years later. The core reasons were the same as my transgender friend’s. Neither of us had been allowed to be who we were. She just took the path of transition and I found another way.
I would love to hear an account by a transperson of any sort who was 100% supported in their lack of gender-role conformation and still transitioned. I frankly don’t even know if it’s possible in our society. Even if you’re lucky enough to have family and friends supporting you (which is rare) then you still have to face society at large, looks of derision everywhere you go, unfair treatment, and in some cases outright violence. Of course a person is going to want to disappear into the other sex. Of course it’s easier for an “effeminate” man to be a woman and it’s easier for a “masculine” woman to be a man. Easier in theory, at least. And maybe for some it does work out better in the end.
But if we could turn all that around – somehow, somehow – would there still be transgender people? That’s the question. I know there would still be homosexual and bisexual people – in fact I think there would be a lot of happy gay people – but in a world where boys could play dress-up and girls could be warriors without being made fun of, in a world where women didn’t have to wear makeup but men could if they wanted, and everyone could express their sexuality the way that most suited them, where would the concept of transgender even appear? If there are no lines being drawn then what’s the point of drawing them?
I think about my MtF acquaintance sometimes and remember all she’s been through – daily doses of female hormones which have been shown to have negative effects on the male cardiovascular system, painful electrolysis for hair removal, thousands of dollars of surgery, daily anxiety about passing, and behind her, the major activism to allow any individual who identifies as a woman into women’s spaces, the push for society to recognize all trans people as their chosen identities, legal movements to allow sex markers changed on passports and birth certificates and on and on… when what would happen if we put all of that time and money and motivation behind teaching compassion and individuality and acceptance at a young age, for everyone?
Heh, that’s why I waited so long to post on this. I just can’t deal with it without a thousand words. Overwhelming.
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[LisaM:] A 2012 study on CAMH children showed the only statistically significant factor (logistic regression) in their ‘persistence’ was the strength of their combined GNC/GD scores.
I imagine the study referred to is the PhD thesis by Devita Singh, who was supervised by Kenneth Zucker. It is freely available online: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/34926/1/Singh_Devita_201211_PhD_Thesis.pdf
From the abstract: ‘This study provided information on the long term psychosexual and psychiatric outcomes of 139 boys with gender identity disorder (GID). Standardized assessment data in childhood (mean age, 7.49 years; range, 3–12 years) and at follow-up (mean age, 20.58 years; range, 13–39 years) were used to evaluate gender identity and sexual orientation outcome. At follow-up, 17 participants (12.2%) were judged to have persistent gender dysphoria. … the most common long-term outcome was desistence of GID with a bisexual/homosexual sexual orientation followed by desistence of GID with a heterosexual sexual orientation. … Social class and severity of cross-gender behavior in childhood were significant predictors of gender identity outcome. Severity of childhood cross-gender behavior was a significant predictor of sexual orientation at follow-up.’ (pp. ii-iii)
It is clear from the later discussion that what the author means by this last sentence is that this is a significant predictor of *homosexual* orientation. See for example: ‘Within the desistence group, the boys who were more cross-gender identified developed a bisexual/homosexual sexual orientation and the boys who were less extreme in their cross-gender identification developed a heterosexual sexual orientation.’ (p. 205).
Singh’s findings on social class are particularly striking: ‘The bisexual/homosexual persisters had a 13% increase in odds of coming from a lower social class background compared to the bisexual/homosexual desisters.’ (p. 115)
‘However, within the two groups of desisters, social class did not predict outcome at follow-up. Thus, in this sample of boys with GID, social class was a predictor of gender identity outcome, but not of sexual orientation outcome per se. These results cannot be compared to previous follow-up studies as social class data were not published. There are a number of potential explanations for the relationship between social class and persistence of gender dysphoria such that social class may be a proxy for a number of factors, including familial stress, parental psychopathology, peer relations, attitudes towards effeminate gay men, and attitudes towards homosexuality …’ (p. 174)
Whatever the precise explanation, Singh’s evidence indicates that ‘gender identity disorder’ in boys is socially constructed to a significant degree.
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I think that creating a safe environment where people are free to be their authentic selves regardless of their gender expression would dramatically help people to sort out their feelings of wanting sex re-assignment surgeries. If society was affirming of gender expression and actively protected people’s right to be free from discrimination and violent attacks, people may be able to understand if their discomfort with their gender and sex is related to external factors such as societal pressures to adhere to rigid gender stereotypes or if their feelings of wanting surgery are related to something that is internally motivated. As the laws are granting more rights and are validating the gender identities of people who identify as transgender and choose to NOT have genital surgeries, more people may realize that these surgeries may not be a requirement for them to live as the gender that they identify with. I feel that until a person has the freedom to live as the gender expression that suits them without the legal requirement to change their body, it will be difficult to be certain that SRS is pursued as a means of escaping a painful existence more than a step to try to alter one’s anatomy to better match one’s inner perspective and gender identity. If surgeries and hormones are pursued out of a pressured choice where people feel that they have no other option but to “transition” if they want to express their gender in a way that is contrary to mainstream cultural norms, many people will ultimately be disappointed to learn that it is difficult if not impossible to gain validation. I feel that social problems of sexism, homophobia and violence against outliers, play a huge role in causing people to feel that they have few viable options for an authentic life outside of “transition” if they wish to live in ways that are deemed “unnatural, sinful,or deviant” from culturally dominant gender stereotypes.
So – Yes … I agree with you!
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I have been reading for a while, and appreciate your gender critical analysis, and your careful collecting of news stories/narratives about trans children, even if I do not agree with all of the conclusions that you come to.
Above you ask about other studies beyond Christina Olson’s research, and I am curious what you think about more recent data from the Amsterdam clinic which shows that adolescents and young adults who were given blockers and cross-sex hormones are as happy/have as high self-esteem as their peers?
e, Vries A. L, JK McGuire, TD Steensma, EC Wagenaar, TA Doreleijers, and PT Cohen-Kettenis. “Young Adult Psychological Outcome After Puberty Suppression and Gender Reassignment.” Pediatrics. 134.4 (2014): 696-704. Print.
I don’t know if the paper is available or if it is hidden behind a firewall. But here is a news article addressing the findings.
While it is a very small sample–and there may be other factors that contribute to the youth’s over well-being, like having supportive families, it seems to indicate that this cohort at least is doing well. Of course, this doesn’t follow them until they are 50, since we have only allowed children to transition in the last 15 years or so, we won’t have that data for a couple decades more!
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