Tumblr snags another girl, but her therapist-mom knows a thing or two about social contagion

Below is a comment recently submitted to 4thWaveNow by (yet another) parent of a girl who discovered the trans-trend on social media. This mom just happens to also be a psychotherapist.

Update: Please see the comments section for a lively and important discussion about the state of psychotherapy for trans-identified kids–including the controversy about what is (and isn’t) “conversion therapy.”

In a time when major professional organizations representing social workers, therapists, and school counselors are fully aboard—hell, they’re steering–the trans-kid bandwagon, it’s refreshing to hear from a therapist who hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid.

But surely there must be many others who have doubts? Given the stunning disconnect between (on the one hand) the established knowledge about child and adolescent development in both neuroscience and psychology (things like identity formation, executive function, magical thinking, and neuroplasticity, to name only a few important lines of study), and (on the other hand) the simplistic mantra “if you say you’re trans, you are!” touted by “gender specialists,” there has to be some cognitive dissonance churning the minds of thoughtful clinicians.

We’ve heard from a few of them. In Exiles in Their Own Flesh, therapist Lane Anderson wrote that her skepticism about the transgender trend, along with her commitment to professional ethics, eventually drove her to resign her post working with trans-identified adolescents. Psychoanalyst  David Schwartz was featured in a post highlighting his insightful critique of the “inflated idea” of transgenderism.  And blogger Third Way Trans, a detransitioned man/former trans woman who is a graduate student in psychology, does yeoman’s work presenting a more nuanced view of transgenderism and identity politics.

Perhaps skepticaltherapist’s words will move a few more mental health professionals to speak up on behalf of our kids? We can hope.

by skepticaltherapist

There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the crew is introduced to a mysterious alien video game. It slowly infiltrates the minds of the crew, and Wesley Crusher and another young ensign watch as the adults around them slip into addiction. Wesley begins to sense that something is amiss, and goes to find Captain Picard. He is so relieved to find the Captain and to be able to confide in him. As Wesley leaves, we see the Captain reach into his desk with sinister sangfroid and take out a gaming device. He too has been infected. As we suspected, the game is really an insidious mind-controlling apparatus that will allow an alien race to gain control of the ship.

star trek

That is what this trans madness feels like to me. When I first began to hear this emerging in the young people around me, I felt confused. As a dyed-in-the wool liberal, I felt I should be accepting and affirming. As a therapist and long-time student of human nature, it just doesn’t make sense to me that people are “born in wrong body” except for perhaps in extremely rare cases. I believe there are “true” cases of transsexualism, but the number of those affected must be vanishingly small. Why all of a sudden did it seem to be everywhere?

When thoughtful colleagues and friends started talking matter of factly about five- and six-year-olds who were being supported and affirmed in choosing another gender, I was stunned. How could that possibly be anything other than very confusing for a young child? What was I missing? I must, I at last concluded, be getting truly old.

The alien mind control device made its way into my home about two years ago when my then eleven-year-old daughter begged me for a Tumblr account since her friends all had one. Foolishly, I consented without looking into it further. I wish I hadn’t. This trend toward all things pan/bi/non binary/gender fluid/trans, etc. has generated a huge amount of energy among kids my daughter’s age. I had been watching it with some degree of suspicion and concern. But last month the degree of my alarm grew. She started dropping provocative hints, such as asking us if she could get a buzz cut. I found some writing she had left around the house, where she wondered to herself whether she were “really a girl.” She was very excited a few weeks ago when a new friend came out as trans.

It isn’t that I am a hating ogre. I think if I really believed that my kid were profoundly unhappy in her body, that this narrative was coming from her and not from social media and the kids around her, I would be reacting very differently. I would also have a different reaction if I could convince myself that gender identity experimentation were essentially harmless. Girls want to pretend to be boys? Sure! Why not? But it is absolutely chilling to think that, these kids who are just doing what teens do, get support from the adults around them that let them get stuck in the experiment so that many of them wind up permanently changing their bodies.

For the record, this is a kid who has never had any gender nonconforming behavior at all. She has always been a girly girl. As a toddler and young child, she had several “crushes” on boys. She has always been very consistent in having fairly typical “girl” interests, with few to no “boy” interests. She has always been interested in art and dance at school. She is a little socially anxious, and that is about the only thing that makes her susceptible to this, I think. Probing further, she admitted that she has been binding, and has asked her friends at school to call her by a gender-neutral name. She also told us that she had begun researching testosterone. Luckily, her interest in this started just a few weeks ago, as best as I can tell.

After that conversation, I was a wreck. In spite of having taken a sleep aid, I woke up at four am that night, my heart pounding out of my chest. I started googling again, as I had done before, trying to find some place on the internet not infected by either the “trans is terrific” narrative, or hateful speech from the other side. Search term after search term returned similar results. “Trans peer pressure,” for example, returns article after article about how trans kids need support against bullying and peer pressure. Finally, “social contagion trans” brought me to this site.

Such a huge, huge relief. I feel like Wesley Crusher finding the one other person on board the Enterprise whose mind hasn’t been taken over.

Her current school is a wonderfully progressive and nurturing. But the school administrators all seem keen to jump on the “trans is terrific” train. They proudly proclaim to prospective parents that there are several kids transitioning in the upper school. It seems like this fact is sort of exciting to everyone, and establishes without question their all-accepting super liberal cred.

I have decided that the cult indoctrinators have had free access to her beautiful thirteen year-old-brain for two years now, and that it is time that I intervene and fight for my daughter. I am so grateful for the clarity I have found on this site. Because of this blog and the stories shared here, I am feeling cautiously optimistic that we may have been able to pull her back from this brink. We have closed her Tumblr account. My husband and I have been confronting her about thinking she is trans. We haven’t been yelling or ugly or angry. We have just been telling her what we think, how we are seeing things. Partly because of this blog, we have been able to avoid going through the, “Really? Well if you say so. That is great, I guess!” stage. Right when we got wind of this, we have just been very up front that there is something dangerous going on in society and that we will not tolerate her playing around with this. We are going to continue talking to her.

As a mother and a therapist, I have been stunned and saddened to the extent by which I feel silenced, both personally and professionally. I am afraid to discuss my concerns about my daughter with friends for fear of feeling judged and being accused of being a horrible mom who will damage my child. (Certain friends of mine have circulated petitions decrying thoughtful op-ed pieces in major newspapers that were approaching Caitlyn Jenner’s transition with some well-considered feminist questioning.) I am afraid of speaking up in professional circles about the phenomenon more generally for fear of drawing ire and misapprehension. It is so frightening to think that therapy for my daughter doesn’t feel like a safe option, since the process might be so easily hijacked just by the mention of the word “trans.”

As a therapist, I mostly work with adults. A common reason for seeking therapy is being at a place where you are wondering about leaving your marriage. When a woman (or man) comes in, they usually say something like, “I haven’t been happy in my marriage for a long time. My husband isn’t a terrible person, but I just don’t know if I can stay.” What I don’t say at that point is, “Well, if you are wondering that, it must mean that you need to leave the marriage. To stay any longer would be a terrible mistake. Here is the name of a divorce attorney.”

Ending a marriage is a huge deal. There are enormous consequences for several people, even when children aren’t involved. It isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. When a client says to me that they are thinking of leaving, I believe my job is to help create the space for them to explore this as a possibility without judgment in either direction. I want to provide complete acceptance of all of their explorations. It isn’t my job to interpret their feelings or tell them what to do. I listen. I ask questions. I reflect back what I hear. I neither rush them forward nor try to hold them back. It is a slow careful process of discernment, as it should be. There is a marriage in the balance.

I believe that open-ended non-judgmental exploration is the very essence of the therapeutic process. The current prohibition on exploring a patient’s feelings of gender dysphoria seems a perversion of this process. I would feel that I had done someone a terrible disservice by imposing an external yardstick on someone’s private decision as to whether to divorce. The potential for harm is so great! How much greater is the potential for harm when we are talking about impressionable young people electing to undergo permanent sterilization?

This is very lonely, and very frightening.


132 thoughts on “Tumblr snags another girl, but her therapist-mom knows a thing or two about social contagion

  1. I empathise except I don’t see people being bi or pan as inauthentic or a problem, or – if they’re going to hear about sexuality so young – young girls hearing about these descriptors being a problem. I think bi and pan apply to many people, including me – I am bi romantic and it was helpful for me to hear I’m not alone in that and to have a descriptor apart from bisexual, which never fit as bedroom wise I only have physical desire for one sex.


  2. Also I’m not sure I find bi gender a problem. I stand to be corrected but doesn’t that just mean wanting to express yourself in both feminine and masculine fashions, and in having both feminine and masculine personality traits – because that’s how you’re comfortable and happy? With no claim to be the opposite sex, or to try to change sex, just a genders thing? It seems honest and useful enough for people to say they feel both masculine and feminine.


    • The issue with “bigender” is the same as all the gender “identities” – as a descriptor as an interpretation of gender roles, like you say, someone feeling in-between masculine and feminine roles, it’s a fine descriptor. But that’s not how the kids on tumblr use it.

      Tumblr gender identities are based on a personal, innate “feeling” of gender which, for most of them, is the same as their sex. A person may be “AFAB” (assigned female at birth) but convinced they *aren’t really female in their sex* but rather were misinterpreted by the doctor who looked at their infant genitals and are actually male, female, neither or both. “Bigender” “genderqueer” “non-binary” etc. are all being used to identify out of native sex, to disassociate with being female in any way shape or form, and actual biological sex is thrown out the window.

      This ends up causing a lot of confusion especially among young people. One of the scariest things on tumblr is how the trans cult is, for the most part, run by males who identify as these neutral genders who are preying on susceptible females who are also identifying as these neutral genders. It’s very much the same oppressive dynamics we see everywhere else, but it’s all veiled by these identities. A non-binary can’t oppress another non-binary like a man can oppress a woman, right? Even though one clearly has a penis and the other a vagina – one clearly has male socialization and the other clearly has female socialization – and they’re all falling victim to the same usual social patterns, just under a veil of other words.

      I just told someone on tumblr a week or so ago I look forward to a time when all these gender-identity terms can be used to describe actual interpretations of gender. There’s no problem, for example, with a woman who knows she’s female but says she interprets gender roles in a “gender neutral” way. It’s the erasure of biological sex that’s the problem, and teenagers, especially, don’t seem to have the analytical skills to see through it.

      Liked by 13 people

      • So they’re using it to say their bodies are wrong and being female and just feminine are disparagable? Not good. About social roles, I think they differ so much from social milieau to social milieu, I cannot feel it’s a widespread social problem, just some people’s problem, which is not good and no doubt needs addressing but it’s outside my experience.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Nienna, I appreciate your comments about bi and pan not being a problem or inauthentic. I agree, and I am very grateful to thissoftspace for articulating the difference better than I can. I will also say that I was a little concerned that groups of 11 and 12 year olds were feeling necessary to define their sexuality in such a fine-tuned way. I was worried at the time that my daughter might feel pressured by all of the discussion to prematurely settle on something that she didn’t really understand yet.

        In addition, I have noticed that there is a kind of pattern. Some kids (certainly not all) will first come out as pan, then become a trans ally, then announce that they are trans.

        Maybe another way of saying the same thing is that I don’t have a problem with someone coming out as bi or pan sexual. I am suspicious,however, when this declaration is made in the context of the social contagion that seems to be going on.

        Liked by 5 people

      • ““Bigender” “genderqueer” “non-binary” etc. are all being used to identify out of native sex, to disassociate with being female in any way shape or form, and actual biological sex is thrown out the window.”

        I got into a minor argument with someone on another forum on this trend of “opting out” of womanhood. I wonder how AFAB people who identify as something other than female — a lot of whom are still read as female — experience sexism. Unless you’re ensconced in an academic bubble, the world isn’t going to recognize your “identity” because you feel it hard enough. The only time I “feel” like a woman is in the context of sexism. I think this is pretty common, but trans politics says that if I don’t feel like a woman, than I must be something else. Or so at home in my cisnes that I can’t conceive of being truly uncomfortable in my own skin. Neither of these things are true.

        If it sounds like I’m oversimplifying or being sarcastic, I think these are still legitimate questions to be asking. Full disclosure: I’m still something of a libfem, but a realistic one, and one who’s become entirely frustrated and disillusioned by how rigid the discussion surrounding gender has become.

        Liked by 5 people

      • It’s not just teenagers who don’t have the analytical skills to see through it. It’s journalists too.🙁

        Liked by 8 people

      • @Kperfetto: “The only time I “feel” like a woman is in the context of sexism”
        YES! BINGO! A THOUSAND TIMES THIS! *ahem* Sorry to shout but this is precisely my life experience over more than 50 years.

        Liked by 4 people

    • We really need to get rid of the idea of masculine and feminine fashions and traits entirely, so ‘bigender’ wouldn’t really be helping even if no suggestion of discomfort with their bodies were involved. Don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a single person, not even ‘girly girls’ or macho guys, who actually do completely conform to the social constructs of femininity or masculinity – it’d probably be outright impossible to manage, if you think about it, and it doesn’t even stay constant across times and cultures. The notions of feminine and masculine traits are nonsense in the first place, they are all simply human traits, and clothing isn’t intrinsically gendered, nor are interests. It’s all just stuff. Stuff that humans of whatever sex can appreciate the aesthetics of and want to look like, and stuff that anyone can be interested in. Allowing the notions of masculine and feminine stuff just allows sexism to be perpetuated. I’m not feminine when I knit and masculine when I blow stuff up in video games, I’m just me, and adult female human.

      (Agree on biromantic, though, that term does make sense)

      Liked by 9 people

      • I don’t think that feminine means exactly the same thing as womanly or girl-like, or masculine exactly the same thing as man-like or boy-like. And yes across cultures and times, how feminine/masculine women are supposed to be, and how masculine-/feminine men are, differs widely. But, to me femininity does have a strong, natural relationship to womanhood, and masculinity to manhood. I feel that in how they tend to relate to others, and particularly in one to one relationships, and, even more so, in close and family relationships, women tend to treat others in a more feminine fashion, and men relate to people in a more masculine way. Like, I’m interested in science, and I can be very logical, but if I met you in non-cyber life, and you approached me to talk about something personal, I’d respond to you mainly intuitively, and with a desire to be compassionate. I feel a generally or often intuitive and sensitive man, who loves to express himself in the arts, would be less inclined to, and the more you registered on his radar as a one-to-one interactor, the more that would be likely to be. Like with all anomalies, people who don’t fit into this scenario aren’t necessarily a problem – quite the contrary! But, extreme cases of only masculinity in women, and only femininity in men, to me seem kind of like emigrants who’ve taken on the ways and values of their new culture. Usually, occasionally, I’ll notice the attitudes of their original cultures slipping out of them, and, I feel I can never know when they might return to expressing their original cultures very fully. Because, they have a disconnect with their original culture, which is their roots, their home, and it’s not unusual for people to become like their parents or their origins as they mature, or age.

        I don’t see any of the above as a problem. I actually think that it’s a good thing. So yes I’m not a radical feminist. But, I don’t believe, except possibly in very rare cases, that people have a personality which is the same as if they were the opposite sex. Or, except rarely, that they can change sex socially and as regards personal relationships. People may genuinely believe about themselves that they are/can, and in the latter case, have; but, I think we often can’t see ourselves in the ways that others experience us.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I love the Star Trek analogy. I am troubled by the thought that females who like things that are societally considered , “masculine” To me, this runs counter to feminism. I grew up believing I can like or do whatever I want without worrying whether the activity is considered more masculing or feminine. ), t I preferred superheros to dolls, does that mean I feel more like I man? Well, I don’t. I have no doubt that there are some, rare, individuals, who feel disassociated with their body. However, I don’t even understand how someone feels like a man or a woman, I am me, and I happen to be a woman. When I asked my child to explain what, “they” mean about being genderqueer, I didn’t get an answer that satisfied my skepticism.

      Liked by 7 people

      • Just for me personally, I see being a woman or a man as being about how we relate to others in personal, non professional and non formal senses. It’s gender neutral what we enjoy doing or excel at, though certain interests and pastimes tend to be liked by females and males.


  3. SkepticalTherapist, I’m so glad you found your way here, and really appreciate the thought and perspective in your post. I have a fourteen-year-old nephew and an eleven-year-old niece, and often wonder if (or when) they’re going to stumble into the same things your daughter has. Tumblr is such a minefield, and it’s a shame because it’s also a great place to share interests and fandoms, learn about other social issues, see beautiful places around the world and lots of cute cats. It is saturated with queer theory, however, and it is actually difficult to enjoy all that other stuff without running into a post here and there embracing the trans narrative no questions asked.

    So I’m glad you’ve unplugged your daughter’s tumblr for now. I hope she is able to come back to herself, reconnect with who she is and what she enjoys. Maybe even with a bit more curiosity about what a girl is capable of (the one good thing I got out of my trans experience) but with her female identity intact.

    Your description of your therapy practice – giving space – is so compassionate and so wise and so appreciated. My parents with through a difficult divorce while I was in my teens, and I know how important a good therapist was to them. We all need that space when looking at ourselves, the questions and issues that erupt in our lives. If only it was offered more ubiquitously for those of us struggling with gender, instead of this hands-off “the hormones are right over there” approach. Thank you for speaking up about it here, and I hope the content and community here at 4thwavenow can help you feel less alone.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Tumblr is absolutely full of pornography. You see it even if you take steps to avoid it. Parents need to know about that part of it if nothing else. Even if you think all the gender stuff on tumblr is acceptable you will be hard pressed to find an adult that thinks graphic pornography is okay for children to access.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Good point. If nothing else, maybe the porn will be a deterrent from parents letting their kids have tumblr until they’re 18. The pre-frontal cortex does take longer to develop but an 18-year-old is probably better equipped to deal with the gender-worshipping than an 11-year-old.

      Tumblr does pretty much allow users to self-regulate and so a lot of porn blogs refuse to tag their porn as porn.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Therapists are speaking up. We’ve been speaking up for years. Our associations’ leadership WILL NOT LISTEN to us. They respond by pointing to all the LGBT organizations that support the gender narrative and tell us to get with the program. NASW is being completely led on this issue by so-called gay rights groups. A slightly more conservative psychologist organization has been giving a little space to the dissenters to dissent, but that’s only a start.

    There is a lot of guilt, I believe, among the mental health professions and professional organizations for the number that was done by them on lesbians and gay men. Psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers were instrumental in the persecution of gays in the 20th century and this is the way of atonement. Trans is the new gay, and they’re going to do it right this time. Until there are well funded LGBT organizations vocally opposing this, things aren’t going to change.

    One of the things that is happening is that in some areas therapists are refusing to refer and steering clients away from therapists who have drunk the gender kool-aid. That wouldn’t work in a rural area like mine, where there aren’t enough therapists, and the gender specialists probably have so much business they’re not feeling it (I wouldn’t know), but they have lost the respect of their colleagues forever. When the public returns to its senses over this, these people will be hurting for referrals. So there’s that to look forward to. And the lawsuits. But right now, you’re more likely to be in trouble over opposing this madness than in going along with it. And the impulse among professionals is to lobby other professionals rather than the public. I was talking to a therapist who was giving me an earful on what she thought of gender therapy and she was actually rubbing her hands together and saying “I can’t wait for these people to get sued!” I have my doubts that they will be held accountable in that way. But we can dream.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Meanwhile those of us who’d like to find thoughtful therapy for our kids are completely screwed. As are our kids. I have lost most of my respect for your profession over this. I’m sorry but that’s the truth.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you so much for your perspective as a therapist as well – I’m so glad there are so many professionals out there who are seeing everything clearly and trying to pull back the curtain, so to speak. The wrenching of everything by the big “LGBT” organizations is just another reason why I’m so behind the movement to “drop the T”. The trans narrative is hijacking what it means to be gay/lesbian/bi for its own purposes, and the language, especially among young people, is getting blurry and confused. I was reading about a recent talk at a college campus about the “relevance of lesbians” and most of the young people were all behind the word “queer” instead of gay/lesbian. In most circles “queer” is coming to be equatable to “trans” in some way, and the LGB aspect of men and women is slowly being erased, even within our own communities.

      I do see a lot of lawsuits over early transition/puberty blocking coming down the pipeline, though – or at very least a lot of anger and regret. Maria Catt wrote a very foretelling piece about it recently on her blog. And as she says, we all will have to be ready to pick up the pieces together.

      Liked by 8 people

      • Wow, can they be any more lesbian-hating? These groups have turned into parodies and it would be funny if it wasn’t so bad for lesbians. As a lesbian, I definitely don’t want to be included in the alphabet soup mess or associated with trans in any way. It has nothing to do with me.

        Despite what revisionist history says, back in the 1970s lesbians had their own communities and there was no alphabet soup. Some lesbians had a somewhat uneasy alliance with gay men to campaign for civil rights, but that was it.

        As for the queer thing, it does have a lot of connotations with trans. But, it’s also a less-lesbian word that you can use to imply you’re “open” to letting men have sex with you so you won’t be accused of being a terf.

        Liked by 9 people

      • I don’t think the lawsuits will happen. How will an 12 year old given lupron and forever altered by massive doses of testosterone, ever even know what they would have been like as an adult if they never transitioned.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I really think the crux of why so many liberals/progressives/leftists are afraid to speak up about the trans-kid trend is that publications and organizations that **used** to represent lesbians and gay men have absorbed transgenderism into their mission. No, it’s worse: Transgender issues have completely dwarfed and supplanted that former LGB mission–to the point that these organizations promote and celebrate stories of young lesbians and gay men “transitioning.” If organizations that (nominally) support LGB see nothing amiss in grooming kids to believe they’re “really” the opposite sex, why should anyone else?

      Until gay and lesbian people start speaking up in large numbers against it, the trans-kid juggernaut will keep plowing along.

      There are a few voices in the wilderness calling to detach “T” from LGB, like this one: http://lgbvoice.org/claytons-essay/

      Just a couple of days ago, USA Today (about as mainstream-bland as you can get in US media) published a piece from a man arguing for a “divorce” between LGB and T.

      Liked by 8 people

      • That USA Today article was written by a gay Republican who used to work for Pat Buchanan. I wouldn’t expect many gays and lesbians to fall in line behind him.

        Liked by 2 people

      • When I see comments about how this or that opinion must be silenced because it came from a person who was this or that political affiliation, I realize how many hurdles we have before our society can reach a rational stage on this.

        I’m glad that this blog emphasizes that the people who come here anonymously are diverse, and should be respected as such.

        My family is about half Republican, and the rest are mostly libertarian or center-leaning Democrats. Most are Christian. They are all as gay accepting as any family can be, and as willing to treat trans people decently, hear their stories, and consider the evidence when it comes to our own precious child.

        But the evidence about transition “treatment” is only 100% disturbing. We cannot and will not accept it, not because of any political ideology on our part, but because all human beings have a moral duty to protect their children from lies, especially when those lies can hurt them.

        And so we quietly work behind the scenes to protect our child, knowing that our Republican- and Christian-hating community now hates children as well. And if we speak up about our concerns, we will be ten times more hated and harassed than those who come out and say “I’m a leftist and *even* I have problems with this.” As though “even” leftists having worries somehow magically makes a concern legitimate that wasn’t legitimate when the exact same concern was held by a non-leftist. What utter brainwashing.

        How can our society allow a child to discover his or her innate value when we can’t allow grown adults their own opinions? How can we expect our community to stay out of our kids’ developing sexuality when we so eagerly welcome that community’s efforts to “transition” the minds of kids who harbor conservative or Christian ideologies? Public schools in my community do that explicitly, and I know our community is not the only one.

        Years before this trans mania came out, my child came home crying and vomiting because she’d been given a social studies text that talked about “European people” cutting little children’s hands off in a “lust for gold” and that everywhere Europeans have gone “it’s been the same story.” Since grade school my child’s class has been straw polled to find out how their parents are voting, and families that are deemed incorrect are outed. The most popular way to bully a kid at my child’s school is to spread rumors that they are Christian or Republican, even if they aren’t. One of my child’s friends, who is a self-identified libertarian child of communist parents, confessed that he was sad about the political divisiveness in this country and tired of all the riots in our city. The next day he learned that his male friends, who had been mad at him because of an argument about tennis shoes, had outed him to the school as an “Actual Nazi.” He’d spent the day having those words yelled at him in the halls and the cafeteria, and by afternoon broke down crying in the middle of Chinese class.

        We have to be able to see that there is a connection between such closed-mindedness toward other people’s morals and ideologies, and people’s unwillingness to speak up. Until we fix that as adults, how can we even begin to protect our children?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear that more therapists are starting to notice some of what is going on. I think that is a potential upside to all of the increased visibility about these issues. I think in the past a lot of non-gender specialists would assume these issues were complicated and outside their expertise and refer to the gender specialists. This is really not an unreasonable thing to do, if you haven’t looked deeply into these issues.

      The assumption that only trans people should be listened to on trans issues is a large problem, which leads to much of what is going on. When you refer to “a psychologist organization that is allowing space for dissenters to dissent” who are you referring to? Are you referring to the APA or some other organization? I would really like to find these dissenters. I know that my blog is not really the right venue for trying to shift things among professionals and I am looking to try to have more of these conversations in professional circles and advocating for things.

      I know the APA at least has some more conservative elements compared to NASW. As troubling as the APA guidelines were for working with trans clients, at least some reviewers outside the committee forced them to include something about there being no scientific consensus about trans children desisting so that is something.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Your insight about therapists referring to gender specialists because they feel out of their depth is correct, but I think that this is going to change soon and in many cases is already changing. All it takes is getting a client who is the mother or wife of a someone in the midst of transitioning to start wondering, and that’s happening more often. People considering transition seem to have quite a network, so I assume this is how most trans people find therapists. As for where the somewhat more open professional dissent is, it’s with psychologists, not psychiatrists, and certainly not social workers, who are suckers for progressive branding. Not that there aren’t a few social workers who are quietly dissenting, but I don’t know of any open dissent. I haven’t talked to any psychologist friends lately, so it may be awhile before I get a cite for those articles. I’ll leave a comment here if I find them.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Bu then, there was that very successful class-action law-suit filed by parents regarding False Memory Syndrome in the 90’s! So, LAWSUITS CAN be filed with SUCCESS! Remember the “Satanic Panic” where people reporting histories of trauma became convinced by therapist’s “leading questions” that their parents were Satanic cult members? Many clinics were shut down. I remember the Haling Place in Laguna beach, CA on the evening news because of charges against them for medical negligence and they were NOT the only clinic that went under. It was landslide as one after the other went down. After that – I never heard of any newly diagnosed cases of dissociative disorder. Miraculous. But I sure did start to see a rise in Transgenderism. Hmmm … what a coincidence …

      Here is an interesting clip from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation’s web site: fmsfonline.org:

      Despite the fact that obtaining informed consent has long been an accepted part of proper care, nearly every complaint charges the defendant therapist with failing to inform the patient that the techniques used are capable of generating false memories or that the diagnosis of MPD (DID) is controversial. The patient therefore lacks information necessary to give an informed consent to the treatment or to consider an alternative form of therapy.

      How many children (or adults) diagnosed with “transgenderism” are being informed that the treatment is “controversial?”

      Liked by 3 people

      • The weird belief in Satanic ritual abuse had this other component which was the belief that that causes Multiple Personality Disorder. Which I only recently learned.

        There is a fantastic book called Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan that came out in the last decade. And it is astonishing. It describes how Multiple Personality Disorder got invented by this intellectually-sleazy deranged psychiatrist who was treating the actual young woman who was called Sybil in that schlocky book from the 70s. If like me you find yourself waiting for the lawsuits in trans, while you’re waiting you would probably enjoy this book. The magnitude of the lying, inventing of fake symptoms and fake explanations for them was gargantuan. I don’t want to give any bits away for those who will read it. It’s fun in that ‘OMG, this is horrendous!’ way. And you would be allowed to stop thinking about gender for five frigging seconds. 😌

        Liked by 4 people

    • I’ve had the same thought. I left paralegal work many years ago because I didn’t like the ambulance chasers, but they have my blessing in this case. There are going to be consequences when these poor sterilized kids are old enough to hire lawyers. But that’s no consolation for those of us trying to prevent it from happening in the first place—to our own flesh and blood no less.


  6. “It isn’t that I’m a hating ogre” — OMG! That line so resonates with me!

    I was talking with some relatives – who asked my opinion – about a young female relative who recently came out as trans and I told them that a couple of years ago I would go along with the line about being-born-in-the-wrong-body, but -and this is a weird coincidence since it came up before the young relative “came out” – I started doing some research on the issue to write a letter tot he editor responding to an article in a magazine I’ve read for years. As I read and thought about it, I came to the conclusion that there can’t possibly be a human born into a body that is the “wrong gender”. Where is the “opposite gender” homunculus located? There’s no science behind any of this, but the science that *does* make sense to me is the social contagion hypothesis – especially now that more girls than boys are “coming out”.

    Of course they acted horrified and afraid I would say something that would drive our trans relative away (showing me that she must be dropping some kind of hints that would make them fear she would cut off contact with the people who are paying for her college education and health insurance), even though I repeatedly reminded them that I was only telling them my research and feelings because *they asked me* and I repeatedly said *I wasn’t going to volunteer info/feelings to the “trans”relative* because I don’t think she cares how I think/feel about these issues. (During my holiday visit, “trans”relative didn’t bring it up at all – as I expected. We talked about iPhones) In fact, I told them I’d figured when she was 6 or 8 that she would grow up to be a lesbian – and I hadn’t mentioned that to anyone, including “trans”relative, in all those years. (I guess it’s easier to be scared of the skeptic than to be scared of the person who is claiming a physical impossibility – one who, like the girl written about above, used to be a somewhat girly girl – long hair, ballet lessons – I pictured her growing up to be a lipstick lesbian)

    Sadly, when it first came up, a few months ago, one of the relatives who was acting so horrified agreed with me that social contagion was probably what was going on. But this relative has since read a book by a woman who claims her daughter came out as a prepubescent and seems to buy the storyline now.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. scepticaltherapist ~ I’m an education professor having the same issues exactly. I have a lot invested in hiding my identity as my daughter wants privacy – which is silencing. I think parents with our concerns need to start claiming some ground for the sake of all our children.

    Liked by 5 people

      • Perhaps I am a simpleton, but why is the idea of gender vs. sex so important? Why can’t you be the female sex or the male sex and do whatever you like, unconcerened about gender identity? Maybe the word, “transexual” which used to be utilized, is more accurate than, “transgender” to characterize people who feel as though they are in the wrong body. I don’t see why we need to be concerned about where we are on the gender scale. It is confusing and psychologically harmful as I see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Bad mother? Hardly, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The current trans kid philosophy is that good parents should accept it without question when their seven year old announces that they are trans, and to socially transition them right away, followed by puberty blockers, and then cross-sex hormones.

    Yet if that same child announced instead that they wanted to get married to the seven year old next door or that they wanted to join the army, parents who would react in the same way that parents are expected to react to a trans announcement would be rightly seen as bad and irresponsible parents. They would be told that parents should be parents and guide their children and to keep them from making choices that they don’t have sufficient cognitive development to make informed choices about.

    It is in recognition of the fact that human cognitive development takes approximately two decades that we have laws prohibiting children from living independently, getting married, voting, smoking, drinking, consenting to sex, joining the armed forces, and so on. Nor are parents permitted to allow their children to do these things contrary to the law. These laws are to protect children when their cognitive development has not yet reached a point where they can make fully informed choices by themselves. And transgenderism, something that is a permanently life changing decision that removes a person’s fertility and makes them a permanent medical patient, shoud be a something that is legally prohibited until one is old enough to fully understand the decision they are making.

    It’s understandable that kids might not like the stereotypical expectations associated with their sex or that they might think that their lives might have been easier had they been born a member of the other sex. But it’s nothing more than magical thinking to believe that one actually IS the other sex in the wrong body simply because their personality, personal style and interests do not “match” the stereotypes associated with their sex. But who says one has to “match”, anyway? After all, personality traits, personal style, and interestes are not innate to one sex or the other. They are merely stereotypes meant to emphasize or call attention to one’s sex, not determine what that sex is in the first place. And we must remember not to confuse what is customary with what is natural or necessary.

    Better just to let the kids be themselves with their individual personalities amd like whatever it is they like. It doesn’t make them any less of a girl or boy if they do. After all, when I was a kid with a non-stereotypical personality, a “tomboy”, as a kid, no one, including me ever thought that made me really a boy. It was just my individual personality.

    As far as “true transsexuals” go, yes “gender” dysphoria is a real diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean the proper treatment is to enable the symptoms through hormones and/or surgery, as there’s really no such thing as being one sex born into the “wrong” body of the other, as the brain isn’t a sexed organ. After all, anorexics are not treated with weight loss diets, nor given lipsocution. Rather, they are given treatment to help get to the root of why they have the symptom of seeing their dangerously thin bodies as very fat and to help them see them accurately and to make peace with that. Similarly, a better treatment for the transgender patient would be to get to the root cause of why they see their bodies inaccurately that cause the symptom of believing that they are really the other sex in the wrong body. After all, it’s our biology that determines whether we are male or female (or intersex), not our feelings. As the old saying goes, feelings aren’t facts.

    Liked by 9 people

    • I love what you said about the rights that are held in abeyance until adulthood – joining the military, marrying, drinking, etc. We also don’t let parents vote their kids’ votes (like a stockbroker proxy voting at a shareholders meeting).

      I would add that there’s something these young kids can’t know yet – which is the immense pleasure and deep bonding that sex can bring into one’s life. Even if they’ve done some adolescent experimentation, they can’t possibly have experience of the deep connection, trust and loyalty my husband and I feel with each other that would not be possible without fully-functional organs. To let children – or even young adults – who have not yet experience the pleasure and connection that only physical intimacy can bring into their lives to throw away the very organs necessary to achieve connection with another human is unconscionable.

      Liked by 7 people

  9. I love skeptical therapist’s description of how to give clients in therapy space to explore, to understand themselves better, to look at how their actions will effect others they love, to go beneath the surface presentation. This is what well trained, experienced and thoughtful therapists do. We may use different models, but we share a commitment to a process of discovery and choice based on knowing oneself in this deeper way. We need to be very careful not to become tools of a misogynistic and homophobic culture, and we need to fight any constraints on our doing the work we are ethically bound to do. Parents need to to ask questions of any potential therapist, and meet with them prior to introducing your child to them. There are therapists who will want to work with them and their child to discover ways out of what troubles them that do not buy into the current transgender narrative and medicalized model. (An independent practitioner will have more freedom to shape their practice than those in agency or hospital practice.)

    Therapists need to be upfront that we do not support the use of off label puberty blockers for any child, nor any cross hormone or surgical intervention as a treatment for dysphoria. We can maintain our ability to hear our clients share their struggles in a nonjudgmental way, while not supporting behaviors that are harmful to body and mind. We need to hold the healthy possibility, even during the most confused or self destructive periods any of our clients are going through. To support delusion and self harm would be to abandon our commitment to supporting healthy responses to life’s many difficulties. As a therapist and a parent of a young adolescent daughter, I find it so helpful to read this blog, as well as radical feminist perspectives, and stories of detransitoners. I do wonder if gender critical therapists may need our own forum as well to support each other!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Starrymessenger, I am really happy to provide a place for therapists like you to share your observations and concerns. And I would also love to see a website exclusively for gender skeptical clinicians as well. Power in numbers! Please keep commenting and sharing here, either way.

      Liked by 4 people

    • May I suggest you figure out a way to market yourselves in this manner for online therapy so that parents who live in places where this type of therapy is illegal? Many of us are stuck in that no therapists in our states can even do what you described above.

      Liked by 6 people

      • I am not a legal expert, but my quick review on the internet showed that 4 states (Oregon, California, Illinois, New Jersey) and the District of Columbia “prohibit licensed mental health practitioners from subjecting LGBT minors to harmful “conversion therapy” practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Conversion therapy is an approach that offers a “cure” for gay or transgender identified minors, and my understanding is that this type of “therapy” involves aversive techniques, including administering shocks. We should all be opposed to coercive attempts to create change.
        In my state, my ability to practice is subject to the licensing board for my discipline. I am not required to follow guidelines set by WPATH. I am not a member of a professional organization for my discipline, so I am not sure is other practitioners who are members of APA or NASW are required to follow guidelines established by these organizations. If so, someone who disagrees could drop their membership. I believe it is the licensing boards that hold the actual power to regulate practice.
        I see no reason that a therapist can’t explore all the aspects of someone’s gender dysphoria, especially as that relates to history, messages from society and peers, and the expectations and realities of the choice to move forward wth hormonal treatment and surgical modifications. As long as a therapist isn’t trying to change someone’s experienced identity (which we know from developmental psychology and neurology continues to evolve through adolescence and early adulthood), then this approach seems to do no harm.
        Parents could look into their state’s regulations for mental health providers (by discipline) to see if I’m missing something in my understanding. In those states that prohibit conversion therapy, you could research the wording of the law. When you interview a therapist or psychiatrist, being armed with some of the work of therapists sited at 4th wave and thirdlwaytrans might be helpful to see if there is a good fit.
        Online therapy may be an option, but at least this “older” therapist has learned to work best with my clients in the room with me. No reason not to explore this, as others may be already comfortable working online.
        I don’t have solutions to suggest for some of you in underserved areas, just some perspectives which might lead to other research in your own communities.
        I follow this site regularly and I’ll try to post anything I find that I think might be useful. And as a mom, I am learning from all of you in this community as well.

        Liked by 2 people

      • This is a great comment. But a question: My understanding is that “conversion therapy” nowadays can mean anything that might help a young person feel comfortable in their own bodies and NOT continue identifying as transgender. I follow WPATH closely, and most of the clinician-activists (the two roles seem to have merged, from what I’ve seen) regularly label even subtle therapeutic interventions as “conversion therapy” that should be condemned. Definitely we should dig into the language used in the statutes which have been passed in states that outlaw conversion therapy, but I think it now encompasses a lot more than brutal aversion techniques…?

        Liked by 4 people

      • My understanding is that conversion is an attempt to change someone’s identity. To consider ways to alleviate depression, including forms of gender and body dysphoria, or to help a family establish a legitimate treatment plan for any mental health issues while establishing family boundaries on behaviors that are and are not permissible for their minor children, is not the same as setting out as a goal in treatment to change sexual orientation or gender identity. If WPATH is distorting the laws for their agenda, well… WPATH does not regulate therapists in ANY state, nor is their interpretation of these laws in 4 states an interpretation that holds any force to compel therapist’s to change their well grounded professional approaches to mental health treatment.

        Liked by 3 people

      • starrymessenger, I like your interpretation of anti-conversion therapy laws. I am in total agreement with these laws if it means that homosexuals will not be coerced into changing their sexual orientations.

        I am NOT a lawyer, but when I read the law–I will use Illinois as an example–it is not exactly clear how it impacts trans-identifying persons. I believe the legislation was very poorly worded and is actually confusing. It reads like “gender expressions” and “gender identity” were just tacked onto what was initially strictly a bill designed to protect homosexuals. But I think if a therapist used the WPATH and the APA for further clarification of the law, they may believe it was unethical to even question a person’s gender identity.

        Link to the Illinois legislation: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/99/HB/09900HB0217enr.htm

        “Sexual orientation change efforts” or “conversion therapy” means any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, as defined by subsection (o-1) of Section 1-103 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings towards individuals of the same sex. “Sexual orientation change efforts” or “conversion therapy” does not include counseling or mental health services that provide acceptance, support, and understanding of a person without seeking to change sexual orientation or mental health services that facilitate a person’s coping, social support, and gender identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, without seeking to change sexual orientation.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, since I’ve hired and fired two therapists and interviewed everyone associated with our insurance, I’ve found out that “conversion therapy” in my state means even working to explore gender identity. If a teen says she’s trans, then that’s that and anything other than expressing pride in that child’s identity is forbidden.

        I’m not paying for THAT.

        Liked by 5 people

      • I think you did the right thing to fire the therapists. I wish I knew a way to ensure you would find an experienced, well trained practitioner, but hope you will keep trying. Definitely review your state laws on conversion therapy and registration requirements for the discipline of the therapist you are planning to meet with. Share your perspective from your experience and research. Don’t let them meet your child until you understand they way they will work with a presentation of transgender.
        I think a family therapy model can be really useful for teens and their parents, with individual confidential sessions with the teen to build trust and gain greater understanding.
        If a therapist has bought the “you are who you say you are model” then likely they are not experienced with young people whose identity is being established and is naturally in flux. And to explore the process in which a young person is coming to know themselves is very different than establishing a goal of treatment to “cure” them of their “identity”. Is it your state’s law or the interpretation of that law that is the problem? Would you be willing to post the statute here at 4th wave?
        My sense is the problem is more with a social justice vs. clinical perspective, and with the training young therapists may be getting, as well as agency and hospital practices which can dictate practice models that are acceptable to the institution. Look for a senior independent practitioner who is not a gender therapist or specialist.
        I hope you find a resource for your family!

        Liked by 1 person

      • FWIW, I happen to know that the California law only applies to sexual orientation change efforts and not gender identity (and only in minors). It is getting misreported on some of those summary sites. There was an effort to amend the law to include gender identity but it hasn’t passed yet as far as I know.

        Liked by 2 people

      • This is in reply to starrymessenger and thirdwaytrans:

        I am a parent in the midst of this in California. I appreciate that you think it’s not actually happening that professionals in California are interpreting a broadly-worded law in this way, but it IS happening.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’d like to add something here as well. Starrymessenger stated that therapists aren’t allowed to try to change a client’s “identity,” but therapeutic exploration of gender dysphoria is just fine. The problem is, many young people walk into a therapist’s office totally prepared to say the right thing to “prove” that they are really trans. The coaching goes on all over the Internet, as has been talked about many times on this blog, as well as on the excellent site transgenderreality.com. In addition, a person doesn’t necessarily have to say they have “gender dysphoria” to be diagnosed as trans. In fact, the next revision of the International Classification of Diseases, ICD 11, will likely get rid of that diagnosis entirely and replace it with “gender incongruence”, which explicitly will not require dysphoria or distress for a diagnosis of transgender.

        If “conversion therapy” as it is currently understood consists of challenging a young person who insists that they “identify” as the opposite sex, then a therapist will be pretty much hamstrung to do anything to counter that. I have to agree with Katiesan and others who say that therapists are already feeling muzzled, and are currently avoiding any challenge to a kid’s self diagnosis because they are afraid of being accused of “conversion therapy.” Teens nowadays know that all they need to do is to tell a therapist that they have “always felt this way” and that they “know” they are the opposite sex. The taboo against challenging a teen’s “identity” is a very ominous sign for any kind of true psychotherapy that in earlier times would probe for underlying issues. Clinical judgment is becoming illegal.

        Liked by 6 people

      • I think there is room for exploration. If a family and minor child want to pursue the WPATH model, then I would send them elsewhere, while first sharing that there are other views about how they can get help with any distress they are experiencing, and that in my professional opinion the use of off label puberty blockers, cross sex hormones and surgical modification have potential harms. I would urge any young person to wait until after the brain more fully develops the areas of judgment, in their mid 20″s, before setting on any life altering path. I would suggest that they will be more sure of many aspects of their identity after adolescence, and I would present what is known about “desistors”. I would acknowledge that if their transgender identity persists than they will have options to pursue what they feel is best for them as an adult. It would be easy to find the gender therapists to refer to if that’s what they and their families are looking for. If a parent requested help for themselves, their child or family, and were open to an exploratory and family problem solving approach than I see no reason that we couldn’t proceed in that direction. Even the APA guidelines (NOT standards of care) note that there is more than one approach to treatment for these minor children. Good therapy would never be a rubber stamp of a self diagnosis in these instances. Parents in this community know what the gender therapists offer. WPATH and social justice oriented workers (I really hesitate to call them clinicians) are pushing this agent, but I don’t think the law is going this far at all. I hope parents will push back, maybe by getting legal clarification, and as thirdwaytrans suggested, being armed with the law to discuss with a potential therapist. I really hope that all who seek responsible, experienced therapists will find one. As some of the other posts on 4th wave from therapists indicates, not everyone has drunk the kool aid.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your comments have given me some hope that there are more Kool-Aid teetotalers out there. But it sure would help if these therapists would go PUBLIC with their skepticism. The fact that we aren’t seeing that says an awful lot, doesn’t it? That we have to beat the bushes to find them? And I speak from experience when I say I went through 10 phone interviews before I found a therapist who would openly admit to ANY doubts about transing kids, and even she was lukewarm and equivocal. The trans-skeptical therapists have let the narrative be controlled by the gender specialists screaming “Transition or suicide!” That can’t go on if anything is going to change. Surely there are enough of them that they can start to organize and band together in some way, to give hope and heart to parents like the ones who congregate here? If enough of them do, they’ll be noticed by the media; there will be interviews. There will be support for them, though there will also be plenty of condemnation.

        My fear is that we have a narrow window of opportunity. The way things are going, it may become illegal to even talk to a child about alternatives to transition and full “affirmation” of their “identity.” I have not seen a single news article, a single therapist–nothing–on the phenomenon of social contagion leading to all these suddenly transgender teens. It is not even acknowledged, yet it is patently obvious that being trans or nonbinary or gender fluid is a social TREND. How can therapists work together to have a more visible presence to fight for kids who absolutely do NOT need hormones and surgeries? No one is speaking out about the basic truths, known for decades, about adolescent development and the power of peer pressure. All of this stuff is so obvious, yet trained mental health professionals are mum. What can be done?

        I hope someone reading this has some ideas, because it really is an abdication of responsibility for the entire profession of clinical psychology and social work to essentially hide, to expect desperate parents to somehow ferret out help for their children, when not a single one of those therapists will publicly speak out so parents can find them. We are talking about saving thousands of kids from a lifetime of needless surgeries and drugs. The stakes are incredibly high, and parents feel discouraged and alone when they realize no one has their back. I beseech any therapists reading this to seriously consider finding a way to connect with each other to start to build an alternative organization or Internet presence, a beachhead. Because trust me–your voices are being lost and the people who want to outlaw even questioning this headlong rush to transing kids are in the driver’s seat and accelerating fast. Time is short.

        Liked by 4 people

      • I realize I didn’t address the anti conversion law issue. I believe that these therapists do not have to interpret the law in the way some are and I can only hope that some therapists take the approach skepticaltherapist and others have described in their posts to 4th wave, to provide quality counseling services to all. That’s true non discrimination.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry, I thought I had posted back earlier. I am a mom who comes to this site because of my concern for the world my daughter is growing up in, and to get support from a community of parents who share a similar gender critical view. I also happen to be a clinical social worker with 30 years experience. I have not meant to imply that I don’t think what you and other parents are experiencing in dealing with mental health professionals is not happening, or that some therapists are interpreting the anti conversion therapy law in a way that they feel dictates their clinical practice. I know it is happening and it disturbs me. I have known many wonderful therapists and many limited, inexperienced and even incompetent ones over the years. As thirdlytrans is noting, training for new therapists is playing a role in spreading this trend.
        I posted to share my views that these conversion laws do not dictate clinical practice except in the area of establishing goals to “cure” sexual orientation and possibly gender “identity”, that WPATH does not dictate practice, and that APA and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy guidelines are not standards of care, but “practice parameters” to give guidance but not to dictate clinical practice.
        I wish you and other parents the best as you look for the resources you need for your family.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Starrymessenger, your analysis would be good defense for anyone brought to account by licensing boards and liability lawsuits. I think we do have to avoid going too far down the rabbit-hole about how this will play out in the actual courts. We don’t really know yet. What we do know is the effect the uncertain regulatory environment is having on clinical practice, and how this effects parents who are trying to find competent therapy for their children.

        Liked by 2 people

    • The legal train is rolling; the transactivists are pushing it hard. I don’t see any slowing it down as long as there is no counter-narrative from within the psych profession. Maybe Zucker’s lawsuit(s) will have some effect on making people think harder. i don’t know.

      Like Overwhelmed, when I read the IL law I feel like the ‘gender’ stuff was just inserted into a law written regarding gay conversion therapy, like a couple raisins thrown into the batter at the last minute. I am pretty sure our esteemed IL legislators did not think about it very deeply. (IL is a debacle across the board, but that’s another story.) Between the groupthink and the chilling effect of law, even badly written law … yeah, I don’t think many therapists are willing to tackle this beast. Much easier to refer to a “gender specialist.”

      The school social workers are getting some strong indoctrination as well.

      As long as the “experts” insist that they can absolutely tell the difference between the “merely” nonconforming and the “true” trans, and as long as they continue to report 100% success with their blocker/hormone/surgery protocol (because they have done so well screening out the “merely nonconforming”) … this story’s not gonna change.

      There’s nothing more powerful than a bad idea packaged as a good, brave, kind, progressive, necessary, lifesaving idea.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am more and more convinced every day that the people in charge of and driving the conversation regarding psychiatric treatment of children and identity are the Ministry of Truth.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi skepticaltherapist,

    I really appreciate your Star Trek analogy. It’s so crazy-making when everyone is saying things that you know can’t be true, or when they’re behaving differently but they won’t believe you when you point out that they are. It reminds me of men who abuse their female partners, to be honest. They construct a narrative that you know doesn’t reflect reality, or they act weirdly or behave like pricks and then insist that you’re the one who’s behaving weirdly for pointing it out. And they can often convince the people around them / you to believe their version of reality, too, so you’re completely on your own.

    The only parts where I disagree with you are where you state that your concerns stem from the fact that it’s social media influencing your daughter and not her coming up with the idea on her own, and where you point out that your daughter was a “girly girl” as a kid with primarily “girl” interests. I’ll challenge you to wonder if anyone could come up with a “trans” identity totally on their own and devoid of any cultural or societal influence given that, except in cases of severe neglect, there’s no escape from our culture’s and our society’s messages.

    Regarding “girly girls”: A big part of the “trans” issue for me is that being female doesn’t automatically mean that you must be interested in “girly” or “feminine” things like the colour pink, wearing dresses and so on, and being male doesn’t automatically mean that you must be interested in “boyish” or “masculine” things like trucks, robots and so on. Conversely, a person liking “feminine” things doesn’t mean that they must be female regardless of their actual birth sex, and a person liking “masculine” things doesn’t mean that they must be male regardless of their actual birth sex.

    In other words, even if your daughter had grown up liking “masculine” things then she would still be female, a girl, a young woman, and as a young teenager she could still have been vulnerable to Tumblr cults convincing her that she’s not female – in fact, they may have held even more weight with her given her “gender non-conforming” interests as a child.

    I love the point that you make about divorce counselling. If somebody came into a counselling session with a problem to sort out or some questions to ask about themselves, then a good counsellor would explore the matter with the patient and help them to find the answers that they need. Why, when it comes to “trans” and gender issues, does it appear to be more about pushing the patient in a particular direction? Especially when it’s an expensive, ongoing and life-changing direction? How do so many people accept this unquestioningly?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Social media is such a powerful influence on these kids. There are a mind-boggling number of youth on Tumblr claiming to be trans. So many of them professing that transition has improved their lives greatly. If tweens, teens or young adults (especially those uncomfortable in their own skin) become immersed in this culture, they are much more likely to start thinking they are trans too. That it will be the solution to all of their problems.

      I just read an article the other day about medical professionals pointing to social media as the reason for the big increase in young anorexic patients. I’m glad that at least there is a connection being made for this illness. I just wish gender doctors and therapists would admit the influence of social media on the increase in gender dysphoric kids.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Adding my own anecdotal evidence, FWIW — my daughter came out as trans a couple of months after joining Tumblr, and despite being 15 at the time, had never even given so much as a hint of wanting to be a boy. She had always been something of a quirky girl, yes, but never, ever before Tumblr did she say or act as if she wanted to be a boy or felt like she was not a girl.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Tumblr is a minefield for any young person with even the slightest of “issues”. Even a cursory surf through will find pockets of posters with clearly untreated mental health problems, who are not encouraging each other to seek help, but reinforcing each other’s maladaptive thoughts and behaviours as some sort of “identity”. It’s the pro-ana model, expanded to all sorts of problems.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Excellent writing skeptical therapist. You are demonstrating great integrity and you should not feel ashamed for doing what you know in right for your child. It must be very difficult for you, both personally and professionally. You love your daughter and you want to support her but how can you support what you are certain is a dangerous path for her? And at work, there is so much pressure to keep your head down, mouth shut and cover your “assets” – as so may other mental health providers seem to be doing.

    This does all seem like science fiction doesn’t it? … a Star Trek episode gone awry (complete with tribbles).

    The trans narrative emphatically insists that there is a difference between sex and gender and that for them, the brain and body simply do not match up. Transgender activists vehemently assert that “gender congruency” is essential to survival and the only way to achieve “congruency” is through “transition”.

    The idea that a gender non-conforming child must “Transition or Die” is repeated like a cult mantra.

    Definitions change faster than I can keep up with (and I have only been observing this phenomenon for five years). It seems that feelings of “body dysphoria” are not even a necessary requirement to identifying as “transgender” anymore. In contrast, surgeries are even being approved for people who identify as “androgynous” these days.Yet, the latest trend seems to involve to seeking full legal rights of “transition” while retaining one’s genitals. (At least, this will help people to have the ability to desist more easily, when needed). But it is kind of a gender free for all right now. Everyone wants rights and validation but defines being transgender is intangible and fluid – completely mercurial, (including the toxicity).

    It feels like a gender limbo competition. The rules keep changing and the bar of (transgender) social responsibility and medical ethics has fallen dramatically. How LOW can it GO? Legislators, educators, medical practitioners and psychotherapists are forced to bend over backwards to meet increasingly rigid demands. Eventually, the whole thing will collapse. But in the meantime, how many kids will get hurt?

    Language is being twisted and concepts of sex have become increasingly distorted. It is difficult to talk about anything related to the sexes without fumbling into absurdities in this new transgender identified world where “Men” get pregnant and “chest-feed” their babies? And where sex is “assigned” at birth? Like the doctor hands out a gender assignment? Well, I guess I never got the memo because I never turned in the assignment – yet, I am perfectly female.

    Gender is not recognized as social construct by transgender activists. Gender is prioritized as an innate “condition” that determines sex.

    The idea of what it is to female or male has been reduced to restrictive 1950’s gender stereotypes (restored) compliments of modern “gender theorists”. And there is no recognition of people who do not fit into those shiny new, tiny little boxes. According to the transgender narrative, The “Butch Dykes” and “Queens” are the ones who must be delusional and who live in cowardly denial. There is no mention all of the people who defy gender stereotypes and thrive. They are dismissed today and erased form history.

    And “desisters” they have it even worse. They are renounced as “fakes” – their existence is completely denied. If a person wants to de-transition, they are out on their own as far as the transgender “community” resource centers are concerned.

    And if you are questioning the trans narrative, you have learned quickly that anyone who raises concerns or dares to speak out is silenced as a “TRANSPHOBE”. Anyone who asks for scientific evidence, medical studies, social accountability, freedom from medical negligence is labeled a “hater” or a “TERF”.

    Be prepared to be censored.

    Discussion of other approaches in communicating with gender questioning kids is now classified as “reparative therapy” and is strictly forbidden.

    Who is supporting quality mental health support for transgender teens? They need support to help them to process their experiences and to learn ways to cope with depression or to address the pressures that come with bullying and/or the feeling that they don’t “fit in”. Who is providing that support when the focus of “treatment” is narrowed to changing one’s body in order correct public perceptions and gain acceptance?

    Where are the LONG-TERM studies to prove that “transition” is really working and that hormone treatments can be physically tolerated on a long-term basis?.

    Where is the conversation about the root causes of dysphoria, especially when the onset occurs AFTER puberty in a child who has never previously exhibited signs of dysphoria?

    “Treatment” for Transgenderism requires social validation in all facets of life, surgery, hormones, legal document changes and a myriad of public accommodations.

    When a child is misdiagnosed as transgender, even when it is obvious to those who have known the child form birth (most) everyone feels compelled to silence their doubts, walk on eggshells and comply with these “therapeutic” requirements. They are forced to enable and support “transition” lest they be judged as “transphobic”.

    What concerns me most is that not only are we dealing with the unbridled “social contagion of transgendersim” but we are dealing with the well-documented phenomenon of “suicide contagion”. Every talk, including Ivan Coyote’s new TED Talk and Dr. Norman Spack’s TED talk, latest newspaper articles, magazine and other media reports, make regular mention of the high rates of suicide attempts in the transgender community. Transgender activists use these statistics as leverage to support social transition which involves access to sex-specific bathrooms and full access to all sex-specific spaces and later to justify medical “transition” with hormone blockers, surgeries and life-long hormone administration. (And incidentally, gender clinics are guaranteed a patient for life). Transgender activists use transgender suicide attempt statistics to manipulate the public in a way that is comparable to how a mentally unstable teenager might use the threat of self harm to manipulate an overwhelmed and desperate parent. It disturbs me that we, as a society are buying into it – hook, line and sinker.

    I wish this was just a creepy Star Trek Episode. We could just change the channel and forget about it but this is real life and it is affecting our friends and our immediate families. (And “gawd” help you if you happen to be a medical professional or an educator).

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Good article and the Star Trek analogy is fitting. I am glad that you haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid and aren’t going to be setting your daughter up on a path of irreversible, harmful, and totally unnecessary surgeries and hormones just because it’s the “open-minded” thing to do right now. When I was a kid, at least most of the fads just involved questionable music, hair styles, clothing, and makeup. In other words, stuff that was reversible if you eventually decided not to be an emo or skater punk forever. A lot of my friends wanted tattoos, but guess what you have to be 18 to get one and have money for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Skepticaltherapist, the Star Trek analogy is so appropriate. I remember watching that episode and thinking that surely when Wesley Crusher approached stable, rational Captain Picard that he would put a stop to the madness. But, no, Captain Picard had been infected as well. Of course, Wesley saves the day by the end of the episode.

    I wish our current contagion could be resolved as quickly. But when the heads of organizations of social workers, therapists, teachers and school counselors have even bought into the “affirm kids as trans when they say so, no questions asked” narrative, you know it will last a while. And these organizations are trying to influence State Governors. This is from the link provided by 4thWaveNow in the introduction to this post:

    “We, as organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, are deeply alarmed at
    the flurry of bills introduced in state legislatures around the country this year that would directly
    harm transgender people, and particularly transgender students. These appalling proposals
    would compromise the safety and well-being of the young people we all have the duty and
    obligation to support and protect.”

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Counseling Association
    American School Counselor Association
    Child Welfare League of America
    National Association of School Psychologists
    National Association of Social Workers
    National Education Association

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am sitting in the same boat with my 16 yr old son! He had never shown any signs of gender dysphoria of any type. 4 months ago he moved in with his father, started dating a girl who is a self proclaimed transgendered and hanging out at school with all new Trans friends.
    Even as all 4 of his parents (yes we all work together) tell his counselor and Psychiatrist all of our concerns and observations of how we just don’t see this as a gender dysphoria problem they only tell us to get on board and be supportive. We feel like no one is bothering to helps us look for the root of this issue so much as they are just trying to ride the social wave of what is “right” at this moment. I don’t even know what else to do anymore or where to go for real help.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Scaredmom, glad you made it here.

        I’m with SkepticalMom, unfortunately the psychiatrist may be doing your son more harm than good. It may be best to fire him/her.

        I think if my daughter had continued seeing her first therapist (very into the no questions asked, just affirm and accept approach), she would be firmly entrenched into being my son. I fired her, though, and was fortunate enough to find another therapist who delved into the underlying reasons my daughter felt disconnected with her sex. Thankfully she feels comfortable being female again.

        Anyway, it is sad but true that some mental health professionals can actually contribute to a child’s problems. If you try to find another therapist to work with your son, here is some advice from a therapist on how to find one:


        Liked by 1 person

  15. I have a question for all these FTT girls – if they are “really” boys, are they going to register for the draft? It would be the honorable thing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’D like to say firstly pretty irrelevant considering the topic at hand is more emotionally and physically devastating to not only our children but our entire familes.
      That being said…..the current politicians want girls to sign up for the draft now anyway.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s irrelevant. I was thinking of this as a way of testing whether such girls have really thought this through and testing their commitment. Part of the damage is that these young girls’ consciousness has been colonized by these ideas/trends and asking directly “how committed are you? Have you thought this through?” will only get you standard answers.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that they should register for the draft if they are really male. However, the draft is not such a scary thing post-Vietnam. After all, no one has actually been drafted since I was a kid in the early 70s. That might as well have been the Jurassic era from the POV of today’s kids.


      • Thanks, lovetruthcourage,

        It is exactly that out-of-left field quality that I thought might be helpful distinguishing between watching Tumblr videos & absorbing social contagion, and giving actual thought to the ramifications. Because, of course, the ones whose “decision” is driven by Tumblr videos/social contagion would describe what they’re doing as thinking.


  16. Hi skepticaltherapist,
    I am new to this blog, and, like you, felt a tremendous sense of relief when I found it. My daughter’s journey seems to be very similar to yours’: going from very little non-conforming behavior earlier, to a rather sudden, strong conviction that she really is a boy. Her interest in transgenderism began when she was almost 13, having entered puberty with relative ease over a year earlier. She is now 15, she’s using binders and is insisting that we call her by a new name and male pronouns. I thought I would go along, thinking that maybe this is just something she needs to get through, and in time it would become less urgent. But I find that I continue to think that there is something really wrong with this scenario, and that the real issue that is at the heart of her unease is not being dealt with. My daughter and I have open communication, have talked frankly about sexuality and her developing body. We talk about about almost everything together, through lately it seems that the topic of gender dominates most of our conversations. And this brings me to question how best to handle this with her. My husband and I have assured her that we love her no matter what, that we have her best interests foremost in our hearts, and that she can trust us unconditionally. Nevertheless, she is well aware that we are not “on board” with her being trans. And therefore, I feel that whatever we say (and especially whatever I say), she responds to with opposition, as to an argument. It was interesting to read that you and your husband seem to tackle the issue head-on with your daughter, and I hope you can share some thoughts about what you think is are some good ways to communicate your concerns without excessively antagonizing the teen. Or, should I even worry about some antagonism, given what else might be at stake.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Justfrank, I am sorry you are going through this. I am happy to share more of what we are doing here, although of course every situation is unique. I think we were lucky hear that we were already aware of and concerned about this trend so that when it came up, there was real clarity. We didn’t even entertain this notion, but shut it down without rancor or noise. Just a clear “no.” Sometimes I take a minute to say something to my daughter about what I am seeing, but I say my piece and then drop it so that it doesn’t become an argument. I think getting her off the most toxic places on the internet has also been hugely important.

      Maybe kids are hoping and expecting that the trans announcement will have this tremendous power, that it will change the power dynamic in the family and get everyone reacting to them with concern and alarm. And if you just don’t buy into it, maybe that diffuses the power of it, you know? But as I said, I know we were lucky because we caught it early.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I loved your comment about how a good therapist doesn’t immediately push divorce when someone comes in complaining about a failing marriage. That’s skipping so many steps, and takes away all the time necessary for exploring what’s at the root of these problems, and what is to be done in response. I’d also compare it to the Jewish tradition of turning away a potential convert three times just to make sure the intentions are sincere and the person really, really wants to join the tribe. I had a Reform conversion at 18 and a Conservative conversion at 24, and it wasn’t an immediate process. (I needed a re-conversion because of certain legal issues with some of the witnesses on my certificates having signed in absentia, NOT because I felt my first conversion were invalid after I became more observant.)

    I’ve been so shocked to discover how many of these supposedly trans young people only declared this identity after binge-watching YouTube videos and hanging around Tumblr and Reddit. Here I innocently thought there was just more visibility and people brave enough to be themselves in the modern era, the same reasons for why we see more gay people and left-handers now. (Handedness is one of my areas of amateur expertise and interest, so I like to draw parallels when it’s applicable.) Now I just want to bang my head against the wall at all the disturbing things I’ve discovered after hitting peak trans. It’s so sad to see these healthy, attractive young people deforming their bodies and poisoning themselves. One of the FTMs I follow on YouTube has already reported several health problems. Another FTM on a group channel has complained about how her doctor won’t just give her “T” immediately, and dares insist on several notes from other doctors and psychologists. She’s reported she’s allergic to it anyway, yet still wants to get injections.

    I’ve been afraid to speak up when some of my SJW-type friends, both online and in real life, start up with the rah-rah trans Kool-Aid spiel. How did we so quickly reach this point where anyone matter-of-factly stating basic biological facts or simply questioning a narrative is jumped on as some horrible bigot calling for genocide?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Carrie-Anne,
      Your reaction to trans almost perfectly mirrors mine.

      Some years ago, someone I knew through work (but didn’t know well) announced he was trans. I accepted this without research as I accept any person in my life, however tangential.

      It was reading/watching videos of what “trans” people say about themselves, and then researching and considering the science (individual cells will always contain either the XX or the XY the person was born with, surgery produces largely non-functional results) that caused me to question the trans agenda.

      There’s a difference between being unhappy with one’s lot in life and having a bodily defect. I have GI birth defects that cause me a lot of misery. It’s shocking to me there are MDs so willing to inflict new and life-long medical problems and real, physical suffering on people with perfectly functional bodies.

      Also appalling is how some trans videos depict people who seem so happy to openly despise anyone un-conflicted about the physical reality of our sex. The made up word “cis” seems to have been chosen for its hissing sound – which in our culture is associated with disapproval – and also seems designed to make being un-conflicted-about-sex sound like a product of not thinking very much about oneself and one’s place in the world, contrasted with the “deep thinking” it would take to “question” one’s physical sex. I can see the appeal in this – especially for teen girls. Teen girls love to think their thoughts are so very deep.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cis (“on this side of”) and trans (“across, through, over”) come from Latin and are used in chemistry to denote isomers. So, cis isn’t exactly a made-up word, except in the context of “gender” (actually sex role stereotypes) matching biological sex. Yes, I am a chemist. 🙂


      • lovetruthcourage
        I recently heard a different explanation of “cis”:
        “comfortable in skin”

        In fact, if you google “cis” “comfortable in skin”, there are 9180 references.

        The wikipedia entry about cisgender says it’s from the Latin prefix, which means “on the side of” – which doesn’t sound like it came from chemistry terms.

        I suspect the chemistry terms were not the origin, and if trans activists are aware of them at all, it’s only as an afterthought.


      • So, some are claiming that “cis” now means “comfortable in your own skin”? So, the assumption is that heterosexual women and girls who accept their biological sex are “comfortable in their own skin?” That must be news to every single woman who has suffered from an eating disorder or any type of existential angst— and there are a lot of them! Most people are likely not entirely “comfortable in their own skin.” Is it any wonder in a highly judgmental and superficial society hung up on appearances— a society that outright equates a woman’s worth with her pulchritude? And those of us who are athletes, have things about our bodies which we could (theoretically) endlessly improve to be even better at our sports.

        As far as the chemistry comment, you have it backwards. The Latin came 1st. The chemistry term is straight-up Latin— “cis” meaning “on this side of” (as you noted) and “trans” meaning “across from” or “opposite from.” These terms are mainly (but not exclusively) used in organic chemistry to denote certain configurational isomers called single-bonded diastereomers. I know this for a fact, because I am a professional chemist. I am not guessing. This is basic, sophomore level college chemistry, nothing exotic or high level. (Many Greek and Latin words and prefixes are used in chemistry.)

        I do not know the origin of the transgender movement co-opting these words. I do not think it impossible that an early so-called “trans-person” picked up these terms in the most obvious place he / she would encounter them— in chemistry class. If so, this is very clever, as few Americans understand anything about science in this day in age. Throwing out a few science-y sounding Latin words is intended to make them look intelligent and cutting edge, when they are, in fact, totally clueless.


      • “Cis” was originally a Latin preposition, used by the Romans to refer to geographical position: for example, “cis Rhenum” means “on this side of the Rhine”. “Trans”, a much commoner word in Latin texts, means “across; on the other side”.

        Chemists borrowed these terms in the nineteenth century; the earliest citations in the Oxford English Dictionary are dated 1888.

        The earliest citation in OED for “cisgendered” is 1994, from the Usenet newsgroup alt.transgendered. The earliest citation for “cisgender” is 1997, from the same source. The earliest citation for “cis” is also 1997, from another Usenet newsgroup, soc.support.transgendered.

        So this usage of “cis” was originally coined by a transsexual/transgender person who had some knowledge of classical Latin and/or chemistry, and it probably spread mainly by way of the internet.

        The meaning of “cis”, “cisgender” and “cisgendered” in the passages quoted is quite clearly “not trans”, nothing more.

        The online Urban Dictionary acquired definitions for “cisgender” and “cisgendered” in 2004:

        Not transgender, that is, having a gender identity or gender role that society considers appropriate for the sex one was assigned at birth. …
        John is cisgendered, he just holds to his role as a stereotypical male.”


        The earliest citation in OED for “cisgender” in a printed text is from Serano’s book Whipping Girl (2007). A check on Google Books shows that Serano also uses “cisgendered” and “cis”.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. To add to the conversation about Conversion Therapy; there is at present debate and open disagreement within the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) as to whether to apply the ban on Conversion Therapy to include Trans people; and even a lack of agreement as whether such therapy is ever used in relation to Trans people.


    It has become a political issue within the BACP, and a top LGBT therapist, Dominic Davies intends to resign from the BACP over it. Following this a BACP member, Karen Pollock, has penned an open letter to BACP in support of the inclusion of T with LGB in what is known as the ”Memorandum of Understanding”, a statement made by BACP on Conversion Therapy. Within 48 hours over 80 professionals from the fields of therapy and diversity had signed Pollock’s letter. The governors of BACP will decide on 4th of March whether to sign the updated ”Memorandum of Understanding”.

    I wondered what exactly is meant by Conversion Therapy in this instance. When my ex was in his teens over 3 decades ago he went to his doctor, as his need to cross-dress was causing him distress. He was told that they could arrange for him to have therapy which consisted of being sat in a room whilst dressed as a woman and verbally insulted and humiliated by people. Not surprisingly, he never went back to a doctor for many years. Such attempts to ”convert” someone’s identity are quite clearly wrong. Moving forward some 30 years, and some things have changed. I doubt if any therapist would offer to treat someone in this way today. The open letter clarifies what the signatories intend by conversion therapy in 2016……

    ”Given the evidence that both in practice, and perception trans people experience the talking therapies as a negative, hostile or transphobic space in so many instances, we call upon the BACP to send a clear message that in order to comply with the Ethical Framework members must not offer conversion therapy (here defined as therapy to change someone’s feelings around their gender identity so that they conform with the gender which was assigned at birth). There seems no logical, or ethical reason to exclude trans people from the memorandum of understanding which the BACP signed in 2015 for LGB people.”

    So, this could be construed as banning even verbal suggestions or questions that may challenge someone’s view of their gender identity if it doesn’t correspond with what is called ”the gender which was assigned at birth”, and which I had always known as ”birth sex”. It all comes back to self-identity, no lower age-limit applies.

    Dominic Davies, on his Pink Therapy Blog, where he sets out why he won’t be renewing his BACP membership, has this to say……….

    ”However, how are therapists supposed to be able to deliver competent and ethical therapy without specific training about gender, sexual and relationship diverse clients? For example, without knowledge of the specific mental health needs and socio-cultural contexts in which minority stress and micro aggressions contribute to much higher rates of depression, suicide and self harm, (with bisexuals and gender variant people having significantly poorer mental health than lesbians and gay men). Research into self harm amongst trans people shows that over 40% of trans people have attempted to take their lives or self harmed, about how relationship dynamics are often different amongst LGB people; about working with gender variant young people. There has been a 400% increase in referrals to the child and adolescent Gender Identity Development Unit at the Tavi and many therapists in community settings are working with young people and their families around gender identity issues. We are increasingly hearing stories from trans people about poor understanding of their issues. Including accounts from gender non-conforming young people being encouraged to follow to gender roles appropriate to the sex they were assigned at birth (i.e. boy’s shouldn’t play with dolls or dress in female clothing etc).”

    More here……http://pinktherapyblog.com/2016/02/17/why-i-am-resigning-from-the-british-association-for-counselling-and-psychotherapy/

    Clearly, working with gender non-conforming and trans-identifying kids is a mine-field, even among ”experts”; and Dominic Davies also has other disagreements with BACP that he voices on his blog. Maybe they should all start listening to parents like those who post on 4thwavenow and start taking into account factors such as social contagion in young teenagers, if they want to truly understand why so many kids are being referred to the Tavi (Tavistock and Portman Hospital in London). I also detect worrying shades of the reasoning which was used in the ousting of Dr Zuker.

    Whatever the answer is to providing therapy to young gender questioning people I don’t think it can be magically found by latching the T onto LGB yet again for all the reasons that 4thwave pointed out at her March 2nd at 8.44am comment above.

    Sorry this turned out to be a long comment, but thought some of the therapists here on this post might like to see what is going on in the UK.

    Also, thanks to Stoptranschauvinism for blogging the link to the original BuzzFeed article.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. So I am reading all of the stuff about conversion therapy and the risks therapists would take, and I agree that my profession is part of the problem here and I would like to see what I can personally do to help. But I have another question. What in the heck is up with the physicians? Where are the medical ethicists? Who are the doctors who are performing these procedures? What is going on in their regulating bodies? Is anyone aware of any dissenting voices?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, here’s the Dutch docs who invented this whole thing, now fretting about the ethics of it all:


      Thanks a lot, Dutch docs. Thanks a lot for fretting about it at this late date.

      Norman Spack in Boston is the “pioneer” pushing it in the U.S., and the model for those who have started up similar gender clinics all over the place in a very short time. He’s an endocrinologist who once liked to use chemicals to mess with the anatomy of tadpoles. But it’s obviously more interesting to apply the magic of hormones to kids and adolescents because the results are so damned, well, interesting.

      Harry Benjamin of WPATH fame, also an endocrinologist, was a father of the movement, along with Kinsey (sexologist) and John Money (psychologist). Kinsey and Money, eh, considering your field, I’m sure you know about them and their kinks.

      Really, though … the endocrinologists can’t help themselves, I think. It is astounding, esp when you apply T to a natal female, what a simulacrum of the opposite sex can be produced in relatively short order. Superficially, it seems magical. I think the temptation to play God here, especially if you convince yourself that you are also HELPING people while you are pioneering in your field, must be very, very strong. (Just like the Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Biederman made a name for himself pioneering the widespread diagnosis of “pediatric bipolar” for kids with extremely difficult and volatile behaviors. They all think they are “helping” but they are also getting famous, and financially well compensated, for their “pioneering work.”)

      Rob Garofalo in Chicago, whose pediatric gender clinic is funded by wealthy transwoman Jennifer Pritzker, said that he convinced the administration of the hospital (Lurie Children’s) with this pitch: “If you give me the green light to do this now, we will forever be leaders in the field. And if you don’t, we’ll just be followers. And I’ve never been good at being a follower.” (I think Garofalo, a gay cancer survivor, is a thoughtful guy. I think he believes he is helping. Still, he doubts: “The pushback in my own mind is my Hippocratic oath: ‘Do no harm.’ How can I know that I’m doing no harm in the absence of scientific data to support these interventions? I wish we had generations of outcomes research to fall back on, but right now we don’t. We ask these families questions that they can’t really know the answer to. No one can.”

      Here’s his story: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/June-2015/Doctor-Rob-Garofalo/

      See also this excellent 4thwave blog:

      People like you, skepticaltherapist — we know you’re not getting rich on the work you do. The vast, vast majority of ppl in your field are only trying to help. But these hormone jockeys … eh, I would not trust them as far as I could throw them. The track record for extreme physical interventions to address psych distress is not good. And IMO, it is easy to let hubris defeat doubt when you believe you are relieving suffering, and when there are upset families in your office looking for a fix, and when there is a loud drumbeat from activists and media telling you you’re on the right side of history…..

      Liked by 5 people

    • It concerns me that it is actually the law to prohibit offering modalities that may be helpful to a child who is experiencing body dysphoria or depression, even when such a child may not be clinically appropriate for the diagnosis of transgenderism. If such a child walks into an office and says “I don’t feel like a girl. My body feel like it is not my own and I hate it” the therapists may feel inclined (or legally required) to ask “what name shall I call you? And what gender pronouns do you prefer?” rather than asking, “It must be painful for you to discuss these feelings. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable with me. I want to help. Please tell me more about your personal history”.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I know some parents here have taken their kids initially to their pediatricians and been told, first thing, that they should go to gender therapists or clinics and start their teens to transition. The opposite reaction is that a lot of people think that the mental health field treats this in a serious manner and does some actual gatekeeping and assessment. HA!

      Every mental health professional I know has informed me that questioning my daughter about her identity or pushing back against her is simply wrong and that teens have to be gone along with regarding this aspect of their personality. Seriously — not one person has listened to us as the people who have, at the very least, lived with this kid her entire life and know about her development and behavioral history and all that. She says trans and everyone falls in line. There’s no assessment. How can you assess something when you agree it’s a neutral-to-good situation?

      And that’s the real problem. No one with any power can understand that the ideal should be to encourage identifying as a healthy person in the body you have. No one talks about the dangers of blockers or hormones or surgery. It’s all proposed as no big deal. And my kid has some pretty spectacular disordered thinking. Telling her that she CAN become a boy and that THAT will solve all her problems? It’s hard to fault a kid — but I’m losing patience with other adults. Other adults, mind you, who aren’t going to have to live with the outcomes, just get paid. They don’t think very hard about it or have convinced themselves that all of this is a good thing and then they virtue signal with it. “Oh, look — I’m a good person because I would never question this. It wouldn’t be the thing the right kind of people do.”

      I just want some reality, please. I’m not transphobic — I’m worried for my kid. She’s tanking in every aspect of her life because she’s mentally ill and everyone with the opportunity to help her is pretending that promoting something which is never achievable — that she’ll be male — is going to make her life better. And I am convinced that pushing her to hormones and surgery and A LIE will cause her to never be in a place to be mentally healthy and may well shorten her life.

      But, I’m the bad guy, here. I’m somehow trying to silence and ruin my child. When did everything go so freaking topsy turvy? With so many kids presenting in this manner, you’d think more serious professionals would at the least be critical and cautious.

      Liked by 5 people

      • The irony is that children who are truly being abused are not getting the care that they need and responsible parents like you are being shamed.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I am in the midst of this with my 15 year old daughter and could echo so much of what you have said. I have firmly but quietly fought back to both her and her therapist that we will be exploring and making no decisions for quite some time. I am viewed as an disruptive and dismissive.

        Her anxiety has spiked since her trans announcement and in a break down yesterday she cried about how the binder was supposed to make it all better. I feel horrible because I think that she has been sold the idea that a binder, or a haircut or my acceptance of her new name, will fix her real issues around anxiety, coping with feeling out of place and her teenage loneliness.

        Liked by 2 people

      • For AI — hang in there. just made a long comment on the ‘tumbler snags another girl’ blog to another mom; the comments on that post might be helpful to you. Wishing you strength and wisdom.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Al, glad you have found 4thWaveNow, but sorry that you are going through this.

        Unfortunately, if you are fighting your daughter’s therapist, this may be a sign that you need to fire him/her.

        I know my own daughter was highly stressed while she identified as my son. I think she originally embraced the trans identity as a way to alleviate her depression and anxiety, but all it seemed to do was to make her feel worse.

        Our kids are being conned into believing that changing who they are will make their problems go away.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I have watched this talk a couple of times. I really respect her IO for finding her way to happiness without taking hormones and having multiple major surgeries. Kudos to her parents for just letting her “be” instead of trying to force her into the girly box or putting her on hormone blockers to delay puberty.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, someone had suggested this TED talk on another thread here on 4htWaveNow … what that you?? If so, “Thanks you” or to whoever it was who reminded me of this great talk.I had watched it previously but I had forgotten how “spot on” she was! I noticed this posting at the bottom of the talk:

        This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxWomen 2012, an independent event. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page.

        I hope that more people will write to TED organizers and ask for empowering discussions about gender form free-thinking perspectives that demonstrate that one does not need to adopt any gender role or stereotype to live “authentically”. Young people need to learn that many people explore their identity and personal expression of gender without ever yielding to the pressure of conformity.

        Throughout history, people have lived very well without hormones, without surgeries and before the (rather recent) term “transgender” was ever coined. People continue to live well and defy social pressure as they do what feels right without caring about how people regard their expression of “gender” or if people try to impose restrictions based on their sex. These people often go on to do remarkable things without the need to fit into any one category or to “join” any one restrictive group. Such people tend to identify as artists, scientists, writers … over any limiting term that may be used by others to define them.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. Thank goodness I found this site. My 15 year old daughter told me this week that she feels she may be trans, and like the author above, I can’t get to sleep and am madly googling. This is a girl who’d never identified or even pretended to be a boy growing up? I feel instinctually that, for her, this isn’t true. I’ve been in a panic as to how to respond. Thank you all so much for giving me this lifeline.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeez louise, contagion much? (Let me guess, Cari. Your daughter’s got some social issues at school and she’s a user of social media and/or youtube. God, this story is so familiar now — the announcement and the frantic parent googling in the wee hours.)

      15’s a tough age. That’s when my kid made her “announcement” as well. (It may make you feel somewhat less panicky to hear that my kid is now 2.5 years past that point and still dressing “boy” and, alas, binding, but also still a self-identified girl at school and everywhere else.)

      My heart goes out to you because I have been there, in the panic and the fear and the grief. Most of us who comment here have been there. I continue to be flabbergasted at the narrative that the moms in these scenarios should just come to celebrate their kids’ bravery at “becoming who they’ve always been” and are not to grieve the kid their kid is attempting to kill. (That’s how it feels, yes? That’s how it felt to me. Told we must be brave and supportive and progressive, and to shove down the truth that we are ugly-crying alone in the bathroom because we know that a treatment that involves amputation of healthy organs and experimental messing about with the endocrine system is suspect, to say the least.)

      I’d be very, very careful in identifying a therapist — there is advice elsewhere here for that. And unless your kid is super-depressed, and clearly in need of immediate professional assistance, my advice would be — stay close, and labor to find some distractions for her to get her mind of the gender obsession. Is there anything else she is particularly interested in? Especially any kind of physical activity that could make her feel a little less disassociated with her body?

      Unless your child is in a suicidal place (in which case immediate action is necessary) … I would avoid any sudden moves. I would tell her these are huge decisions ideally made by an adult and that she has time to consider them and that anyone who tells her she has to take immediate action does not have her best interests at heart.

      Just some thoughts. Hang in there. I feel for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cari, glad you found us. There are quite a few parents here that are going (or have gone through) this. I hope that at least gives you a little relief.

      Puzzled has given excellent advice so I don’t have much else to add. Just keep trusting your gut instincts. You are a good parent, not transphobic. And don’t let all of the abundant misinformation (“once your child says they’re trans, they will always be trans”) get to you. It is simply NOT true.

      I wish you luck. Hang in there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cari-
        Pretty much the same thing happened to me when my 14 y.o. daughter announced that she was transgender last October. My story echoes so many others, I won’t repeat it here. Beyond cutting her hair short and wearing boy jeans and sports bras she hasn’t done much else. We have had many conversations since her announcement and I think she is coming around to realizing that the fact that she is an unconventional girl doesn’t mean she was really supposed to be a boy.
        She got the idea she was transgender from the Internet so we talked about all the bad information that is out there. One “professional” she watched on YouTube stated that if you even ask the question “am I transgender?” it means that you probably are. Total nonsense. I agree with other posters that having your kid keep busy (and off the internet) helps them.
        I read 4th Wave Now’s blog from the beginning and it really helped me to educate myself about the whole issue and it gave me confidence to listen to the voice in my head that kept saying “this doesn’t make any sense!”
        I panicked also when she first told us so I know how awful it feels. I hope you can take comfort that there are a lot of us out here.


    • Hi Cari. Depending on how firmly this idea has taken root, I think it can matter to take a firm stand and tell her how you feel and what you know. My own approach has been to avoid long lectures, but to occasionally share one or two strongly worded ideas while we are driving somewhere, then let it drop again for awhile. So for example that it is a normal thing to feel like you have one part that is masculine and another part that is feminine, that this does’t make one trans, or that when I was her age I was sure that I didn’t want children, but I would have been devasted if I hadn’t been able to, etc. Just one idea at a time for a couple of minutes every few days. I have to believe she is hearing something.


  21. I found your post really articulate and I feel for you as a parent in the current climate wanting to keep your daughter safe from harm. I am also very suspicious of the trans movement, both because its magical thinking and its misogyny and homophobia.

    I have come across a lot of criticism for my views – 3 people defriended me on facebook for my views and I was called nasty and sneering so on. This was in response to a link I posted from tumblr with t 500 gender identities you could choose from. It is true I was poking fun at it – it seems utterly ludicrous to me. I was accused of being uncaring about people going through a rough time with their gender idenitty.

    Yet I find it hard to believe anyone trying to choose between aerogender and vapogender is really in that much of a quandary, rather that they are more likely to be some hippsterish white guy deciding on how to give themsevles an air of interest and signal to the world how right on they are. Someone with actual dysmorpia is a different thing entirely.Like you though, I agree they must be very small in number.

    I was chilled to realise that the tumblr thing was not just ridiculous harmless fun but eating into the brains of the next generation with some worrying consequences. I too would be terrified if I thought my child had been infected by this idea and was considering testosterone therapy. I would be equally terrified if I thought they were genuinely trans because the idea of my child having major surgery and whether it was the right thing for them and so on.

    I have been reading a lot of pro trans stuff recently to try and get a hold on their mindset and having to defend my position on facebook to staunch attack. As a result I feel I have drunk some of the kool aid and so found myself reading your post from their perspective. So forgive me for playing devils advocate.

    The parallel is frequently made between gay and trans. And its certainly intersting to swap the two for a different perspective. If your child started reading about gayness on the internet and then left literature round the house before admitting that they thought they might be gay, your reaction looks how I suppose it looks to trans activists. Whilst Im sure you weren’t disowning your daughter, no doubt if you had said to her “Stop this gay nonsense immediately, Im not having it. Your’e not gay, its social contagion” then it would seem in these more enlightened times quite reactionary.

    You say, I know my daughter and sh’es always been a girly girl and I don’t think she’s trans and again this would be taken as, I know my son and he’s not gay. The idea being even as a parent how can one know ones childs mind in all matters. In the current lingo you could be accused of denying your daughters lived experience.

    On the subject of your role as a therapist you say you would never tell the client to leave a marriage immediately but would open a space for a dialogue and let them work through the possibilities. That you would be non prescriptive. It could be said, ah but this isnt what you did with your daughter, who in the analogy you told, stop even thinking about leaving the marriage, I forbid it.

    Even saying this to you is an interesting thought experiment which.gives me a little bit of an idea of how it might feel to be a trans activist, the self righteousness and moral superiority of being right on and calling out people of the transphobia they didnt realise they had. (Of course transphobia is everywhere now, as no critique of the movement is allowed). I can see the appeal it has in giving people the oppportunity to feel tapped into a higher truth which they just need to educate lesser beings about to allow them to escape their bigotry. There is very much a feeling of religious patronisation and outrage at the apparently bigoted views of those out of sync with the current ideology.

    I think this thought experiment is also useful to work out why the issues I have mentioned do not apply and how one could counter argument them successfully. Its very difficult because the social contagion to which you refer used to be a fear about gayness. The UK government no less had a law to prevent gayness being discussed in schools lest it promote it and children be infected by the gayness.

    It seems quite ludicrous now. On one hand I can see their point in terms of the fact that children are open to suggestion and there is an element of gayness determined by environment and epigenetics. I know several men who are bisexual with they attribute to childhood sexual abuse from men. However if these kids at shcool had started having opposite sex partners for a while because it was a fad I don’t see that as anything bad. Its unlikely to lead to them being gay,butso what if it did. I suppose one could argue that the continuance of the human race might be in jeopardy if it was really this possible to catch gayness. Maybe this was the governments concern – a lack of taxpayers. However it did seem to smack of homophobia with it being seen as undesirable in general. It reveals fear and ignorance.

    What then of transness? What if it is catching – why might that be a bad thing. Here I think if every kid started cross dressing and taking up opposite sex activites as determind by stereotypes then Id say that it would be a good thing overall. Its good to break free of gender norms and experiment. if your daughter wanted to get a buzz cut and live as a gender non cornfoming girl then it could give her an intersting insight into the world observing how she was treated. The danger though lies in the possibility of her beeing given hormone blockers or self administering with testosterone (I dont know how avialable this is to kids as a street drug).

    It is the medicalisation that is the problem and the happiness for therapists to not question childrens motivation in any way. Again the parallel with the gay angle. It is seen as insensitive to say “yeah but how do you really know you’re gay, you’ve not had sex with a girl yet”. No one of course asks straight people the same question regarding homosexuality. We think that we should trust our teenagers perceptions of themselves. Yet again though, if there were putting it on as an affectation to be cool in their peer group or to shock their parents it doesnt really matter. After all, even with a huge social force behind you theres probably a limit to how long someone can continue to sleep with the same sex if it really isn’t for them. Many women tried to do this in the 70’s in feminist movements. Being gay at will isnt that easy.

    Yet with transness its far easier to to convince yourself – after all we are all a mixture of masculine and feminine traits. We could say well whats wrong with being trans. So what if half the population tun out to be trans. If they arent taking hormones then well it proablbly isnt a problem, other than the whole bathroom issues and lack of womens space. But obviously if hormones or surgery is introduced then its worrying because the effects are permanent, certiainly for testosterone. And there is a risk of sterility though I don’t think this is so great from hormones, only from surgery.

    To say well what does it matter if a fair proportion o f kids have a sex change as soon as they hit 18, it trnsphobic to think its a bad thing, seems wrong but why if theres nothing wrong with being trans. I guess its wrong because its hard to beleive that there are that many people who really are experiencing body dysmophia so they may regret it. Also that they would have sterilisied themselves before their pre frontal cortex had developped.

    It seems to be the medicalisation which is the problem. That if there was just a big craze for kids to be gender non conforming or swap genders maybe half just to shock and scare their parents, well it would be fine. Its the fact they are shipped off to gender specialist at the drop of a hat for treatment that is the concern. It reminds me of the Salem witches in the Crucible. The elders of the community believe the girls.

    What arguement can be used for disbelieving kids who present with gender dysphoria, or rather less disbelieving but rather questioning their underlying motivations, liek unhappiness with gender roles or contagion. Yet again thouth with the gay analogy it seems problematic. Can you think here of a salient difference?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if the medicalization of transgenderism wasn’t happening, I still think there would be a problem with pathologizing normal behavior(both in adults and children). As you say, we’re all a mixture of “masculine” and “feminine” traits- so why the need to call them masculine if females have them, or feminine if males have them? The use of the word trans itself implies that there is a wrong way to be male or female, as much as cis implies that there’s a correct way.

      The underlying problem is that trans and cis ultimately don’t mean anything. We all have different personalities and different interests, most of which are shaped by our environment and socialization. None of it has anything to do with gender. Homosexuality, on the other hand, does mean something: You have a sexual preference for members of the same sex. What about trans? You have an interest in things not considered appropriate for people of your sex.

      So right there, trans implies that OTHER PEOPLE have a problem with your personality and interests… why is the solution to change yourself, or to tell yourself that there’s something wrong with you? Change the minds of those other people, challenge their perception of what’s appropriate for people of your sex… as homosexual activists did.

      At their core, I see the two arguments as being fundamentally opposed: Homosexual men and women fought for social acceptance, to change society’s view of them. Trans activists are fighting to alter themselves in order to be acceptable to society’s view. It’s bizarre that the two were connected.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Maria —

      I think a lot of us ‘good liberals’ have had these thoughts, asking ourselves if there is just some latent moral ‘phobia’ or some such informing our feelings about our kids’ putative transness. Asking if we can open ourselves to this, no matter how initially shocking.

      But it’s not the same thing as having a gay/lesbian/bi kid. In fact there are several other things going on, as far as i can tell.

      Some of these kids have genuine, body-dysmorphia style obsessions about their genitals and/or (in females) breasts. These people seem fairly akin to people with anorexia or other body dysmorphias in that they see these bodies or body parts as alien and repulsive. Surgeries don’t always appear to fix this situation. I have to believe that the kind of therapies applied for anorexia would be the kind of therapies appropriate to these ideas.

      Some of these kids (eh, no point in obfuscating, these are natal boys) have autogynephilia. Some natal boys are so-called ‘true transsexuals’ — homosexuals with a strongly feminine self-image and presentation. If the ‘true transsexuals’ were accepted in society without a lot of flak, some of them might not seek physical transition. As for the autogynephilics — that’s a sexual thing driving the desire to be the other; there are counselors who deal with sexual obsessions of all types, should the person want to actually change. Which isn’t the case for all.

      Some of these kids want to be ‘the other’ as a protective mechanism, due to a history of sexual abuse.

      And some of these kids (now, I’m talking about girls) are looking for relief from the pressure act out ‘girl’ in a way they don’t like and can’t embrace. They much prefer ‘boy stuff,’ they don’t want to mess with makeup and hair and all that business, they see how women are treated in society and frankly think it’s bullshit. Some of them are scared of males and select BEING male as a way to deal with the fear. They’re horrified by menarche and other body changes and don’t see any positive payoff for the pains that these changes bring. Some of them are socially awkward and think it’s because they just don’t “get” how to “do” girl, and think life would be a lot easier as a boy. Many (not all) are not-yet-out lesbians dealing with internal/external homophobia.

      They’re looking to opt out, and it’s a lot easier to take that route when society is telling you that anyone who presents like you and who likes the things you like is defacto “not female.”

      So there is a lot going on here, under the umbrella of “I think I’m trans.” And frankly, yeah, the medicalization of kids/adolescents/young adults whose brains are not yet fully developed IS the issue. If there were a TEMPORARY way to explore that, like there’s a temporary way to explore being Goth or whatever, I’d be OK with that. But there’s not. You start putting T in a natal female body and there is no easy way to walk that back after not very many months of treatment. You use blockers followed by opposite-sex hormones and there’s no easy way to restore fertility (in fact for a lot of kids likely no way, period). Use of hormones w/o blockers may or may not make a person infertile, and obviously surgeries will have an impact as well.

      The questions you ask are largely social/existential questions, and the questions I am dealing with as a parent are primarily physical do-no-harm questions. (For sure, I am also very concerned re my kid’s emotional health and I don’t think transition has proven itself over time as a road to long-term emotional health, but set that aside for a minute.)

      As a parent, it’s my job to protect my kid from danger as much as humanly possible. And to me, the risk of unnecessary surgeries (in my kid’s case, that would be elective double mastectomy followed by total hysterectomy) and the risk of messing with the endocrine system in a way that has NOT been proven safe over time are non-trivial risks. Saddling my kid to a long-term complicated expensive relationship with the med/psych/pharm industry is also non-trivial.

      Those are decisions adults get to make for themselves. Those will be decisions my kid gets to make for herself when she is no longer a kid, regardless of what I think is going to be healthy for her. As an adult. Meantime, I’m going to try my damnedest to keep her from doing stuff that is risky before she has reached a maturity level that would allow her to make a reasonable assessment of the tradeoffs. I know my kid, and I know her current maturity level and … it’s not there.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your going to the trouble of coming up with the thought experiment. I think a lot of what is wrong in American politics today is a belligerence that is driven by a refusal to believe someone on the “other side” might have a point. So I applaud your deeply-considered efforts above.

      Now, for my response, here’s some differences I see between the gay/lesbian activists who began to come out in the 1980s/90s and the trans activists of today:

      1. Gay & lesbians request of society was that they be left alone to be who they were, and not be forced to live on the terms of the majority. Gays didn’t demand that the majority change how society functions, for example, how bathrooms were allocated. Trans, on the other hand, demand that society accept that to achieve their “real” selves, they require high tech medicine in the form of hormones & surgery, as well as society changing to suit the trans activists’ desires – for example, instead of lobbying for their own trans bathrooms, demanding to use women’s restrooms, lock rooms & DV and homeless shelters.

      2. Gays & lesbians of the 80s/90s formed their own organizations. Trans “activists” instead of forming their own groups, jumped onto the coattails of the gays and in some cases have even taken over organizations formed by gays & lesbians, including organizations created to get donations to fund treatment for HIV/AIDS. Why not just form trans organizations from the get-go?

      3. Trans activists have taken over intersex organizations created primarily to encourage doctors & parents to leave infants intact to decide as adults what they want to do about their particular and very rare situation, and use the existence of these extremely rare birth defects to claim that gender is a “spectrum” and again, using the efforts and organizations of other people to push their agenda, instead of creating their own organizations.

      4. According to a 2012 study from Sweden, as well as the conclusions of Johns Hopkins University, that went from pioneering trans surgery to not doing those surgeries at all any more, post-surgical trans people have a far higher rate of suicide compared to people with gender dysphoria who don’t have surgery. Also, there were 4 suicides in LA in 2015 of trans teens who had the full support of their families & community, so “accept me as trans of I will die” doesn’t seem to be an accurate version of what’s going on.

      As for your question about what argument can be used for disbelieving kids who present with gender dysphoria? There are many. For example, why is it that ancient civilizations like Greece & Rome (and even the ancient Hebrews, as evidenced in the Bible) knew of the existence, and rarity, of homosexuals, but there aren’t ancient reports of people miserable because they felt they were born the wrong gender? People complained about body fat before liposuction became an option. If trans were a thing, wouldn’t someone have noticed before the hormones & surgery to mimic the opposite sex were developed?

      Where would the “opposite gender” self exist? Although human brains exposed to testosterone and estrogen at different levels have certain differences, humans of both sexes produce both. How would a human of one sex “know what it feels like” to be the opposite sex? Just because they label a feeling as such doesn’t make that feeling accurate. People can be wrong about what is wrong with them, or even think they have something wrong with them and have nothing wrong. Pseudocyesis is the name for when a woman thinks she’s pregnant – even to the point of growing a baby bump – when she’s not.

      Kids, especially tweens & teens, are particularly vulnerable to social contagion, there’s even a name for it the Werther Effect (From the novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther” about a depressed youth who killed himself, which was followed by an epidemic of suicides). The fact that young girls claiming to be trans went from very rare among trans to outnumbering males – and girls being far more susceptible to social contagion compared to boys (for example, mass psychogenic illness, as happened in Upstate NY 2012) suggests social contagion far more than it suggests “my true self is a boy”.

      How to confront such a young person is a different matter – people who reject a diagnosis of factitious disorder or mass psychogenic illness suffer symptoms far longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Maria. Thank you for your thoughts.

    Your thought experiment is interesting. I believe that it is the main reason that moms everywhere AND therapists are likely to respond to the trans announcement with acceptance and support. I believe that I might have responded with at least half-hearted or equivocal support if I hadn’t read this blog and otherwise been educated to this issue beforehand.

    And yes, you are 100% right that the issue is the medicalization. If these treatments were unavailable until one was 30, this would be much less of a problem. I agree that living life as the opposite sex for a few years without medical treatments being the end result could be an interesting and enlarging life experience. Yes, the concern is that these kids are going to “sterilize themselves before they have a prefrontal cortex.” That is this issue. That is why I am concerned about the trend among youth. Adults want to do this? I don’t care. This isn’t about hating or judging or morality. It is about the principle that children and young people should be protected from unnecessary, permanent, major, serious medical procedures.

    As for your last analogy between being non-prescriptive with patients and how I am not doing that with my daughter, it doesn’t stand. It is not my job to be prescriptive with patients. It absolutely IS my job to be prescriptive with my 13 year old. If a 13 year old came to see me saying she was trans, I wouldn’t be prescriptive with her either. I would try to help her explore her experience. I would not immediately assume that she was trans and that medicalized treatment was required.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think that for many of us parents, the biggest issue is the medical issue. As a parent, I cannot sign on to making my teenage daughter a lifelong medical patient. To me, this is what it must feel like to have a child with a cancer diagnosis. Sheer terror. It is totally beyond my comprehension that ANY medical professional recommends treating any trans-identifying person (adult or child) medically without recommending therapy. Aren’t doctors supposed to “do no harm”? Injecting my child full of hormones that aren’t supposed to be at those levels in her body is doing harm. Removing healthy body parts and the potential for complications after surgery is doing harm. Sterilizing healthy young people is doing harm. Do we tell an anorexic that she’s fat? Do we let teens get multiple plastic surgeries because they are unhappy with their looks? No, we don’t.

      My daughter, as a teenager, has NO IDEA what it’s like to be a 30-year-old. She knows nothing about the impact of a serious medical issue on a person’s life. I’m in my 40s. I cannot even imagine how taxing it would be on my body if I had been on testosterone for the last 30 years. My daughter can’t imagine what that is like because she has no frame of reference and no adult life experience.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Thanks so much for this blog! What a great resource. I commented on the “peer pressure” post, but thought I would comment here as well since this blog post is newer and hits home.

    I’m in the same situation as so many of you with a 15 yr old girl who has recently announced that she’s really a boy. Poor mixed up kid drank the Tumblr kool-aid. I’m also a left-leaning gay and lesbian friendly mom who is having a hard time with this.

    She wrote us a letter proclaiming that she was our smol son. I told her I would always love her no matter what, but I have not told her okay we’ll treat you as a boy now. I have tried to not be completely dismissive and have been avoiding using her given girly name and have been calling her by her family nickname (non gender specific and we use a lot of nicknames around here anyway). I am not calling her by her made up preferred boy name. She goes by her real name at school anyway. I’m avoiding saying “girls it’s time to go” and say “kids it’s time to go” instead. And I’m just trying to avoid pronouns in general with her out of respect for her struggle with this, but that does lead to some awkward sentence construction. I’m not going to call her a he or they. She has a wise beyond her years 12 year old sister who sees straight through the Tumblr mess. She said, “I don’t like Tumblr. Everyone on there is like “I i.d. as a genderqueer toaster and my preferred pronouns are basket, biscuit, and basquette.” Funny kid.

    We haven’t let the mixed up 15 yr old go too far with it in real life, but I think she’s been id-ing as genderqueer masculine or something like that on Tumblr for almost a year. I’m not really fluent with all the labels. (Don’t really like labels in general.) In hindsight I wish we had been much more engaged with her on social media. Our new plan is to make her friend/follow us on all platforms. I have not told her that yet (my husband was sick last night, and I need back up on that). I’m afraid she would really dig in her heels on everything especially including the gender identity if I just completely pulled the plug on Tumblr. I did talk to her about cutting back on computer and phone time in general, which will be tough for me, too, but good for me.

    I unfortunately bought her a pair of boys underwear the other day that she threw in the basket at the last minute at Target. I think the washer might accidentally eat those. I’m okay with boys shorts or shirts, but we don’t need boy undies, and she can wear all the sports bras she wants, but no binding while I’m paying for it, and she can’t keep a dime in her pocket so she won’t be able to buy it herself.

    I’m trying to reel her back in a little at a time. I don’t want to talk about it too much and make it into a big hill to die on. Yet I’m wanting to stick my foot in the door to her new boxed-in identity as a boy and keep her from locking herself in and also give her some wiggle room to get back out. Really I just want to say “NO!”. I did say to her that I thought it would be better to leave her options open and she didn’t really like that idea. She said she tried that for 2 years (her time frame keeps shifting, she has a tendency to exaggeration) and it made it worse.

    It’s tough, though, because it’s so tied in with LGBQ and I have no problem with experimenting with that at all. Love is love and you might have a girlfriend for awhile and then maybe a boyfriend next. That really doesn’t bother me at all because I think it doesn’t necessarily change the core of who you are and how you see yourself, at least not as much now. Maybe it did in the 70s and 80s. I don’t know I’ve always been straight (although on the receiving end of a lot of passes from Lesbian and Bi women). Being trans just changes everything about who you are. And it’s so not this kid. She was a very girly little kid, loved the pink and sparkles, etc, but upon reaching puberty/8th grade became more uncomfortable with it all.

    I’m very not-girly. Hate dresses and skirts. Live in jeans and t-shirts. Don’t wear make-up, etc. And actually my 15 yr old is much girlier than I am. Up until the past week or two she’s been wearing make-up and was wearing a two piece Lands End bikini bathing suit at the pool last year.

    Anyway, do you parents who have been there and have successfully extracted your kids think I’m on the right track with this? I’m trying to:

    1. acknowledge the struggle/don’t belittle or be dismissive
    2. but also don’t enable/ no male pronouns, no male nicknames, no binding; haircuts and clothes okay
    3. be very loving and caring
    4. cut back on computer and phone time
    5. make both our girls engage with us on social media (new family rule for everyone)
    6. offer other labels for why she might be “weird” (I’m going with her diagnosed Anxiety and also being a Highly Sensitive Person — I think she’s desperate to find a reason other than being 15 for why she feels so mixed up)
    7. talk up feminism (I think part of the appeal is the social justice angle and being part of an oppressed minority)

    Can you add anything to my list of strategies?

    (references for Highly Sensitive Person: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kasiagalazka/26-signs-youre-a-highly-sensitive-person#.jpMGqlwMG <– good one for the kids, lots of cute Buzzfeed pictures; for the more science-minded: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sense-and-sensitivity/201406/new-research-shows-empathy-in-hsps-brains and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135587/ . I don't really love the labels, but this one seems fairly harmless and might help some kids feel both more special and not so weird — they're just Highly Sensitive.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if your daughter is athletic or enjoys working with animals but maybe getting her involved as a volunteer at an animal shelter, a farm or if possible, finding a way to get her involved with horses may help her. It sounds like an odd suggestion but working with animals and even farming is very therapeutic. These suggestions are also something that you could do together … even as a family. Working with animals or farming is also something that a girl who is exploring her strength can enjoy … it is not a stereotypically “girly” activity (whatever that is) yet it is something that develops compassion, patience and nurturing qualities. It might bring you all closer too. It is hard to hold a puppy and remain angry with your Mom, especially if she is holding a puppy too! The physical exercise is also a healthy way to get into feeling more comfortable with one’s body.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Excellent suggestions! Working with animals is a great suggestion and exercise and sports are well known ways of boosting body confidence and self image. There is nothing like exercise for getting in touch with oneself!


  24. Thanks for the suggestion Juniper. That’s not really this kid’s area of interest. It would be for my younger daughter, though. We did go to see a friend’s baby kittens the other day, though and they liked that. (My younger daughter was in heaven.)

    My gender-confused daughter is actually fairly girly when she lets herself be. She’s also really into cosplay (dressing up as anime characters and going to comics conventions). She’s been sort of cross-dressing with that, being both female and male characters, which is pretty common in that world. You’ll see these big hairy bearded guys dressed as Wonder Woman or whatever. She has or had plans for awhile with a friend to fancy dress as a couple of female characters (ballgowns and all that) and bought fabric to make it just a month or two ago before she came out to me as id-ing as trans. I think I’m going to do what I can to continue to encourage that. She was a female character at a convention I took her to at New Year’s.

    Right now she is looking super boy-ish. She cut her hair, dyed it bright red, and is sporting her new boy clothes from Target. It’s not a look I really like.

    On the positive side, though, I did get her to follow me on Tumblr and let me follow her (she probably has multiple accounts, but at least let me in the door a little bit). Hopefully I can be a bit of a grounding presence there for her and if I reblog some positive stuff maybe she’ll get some good messages that way.

    Tumblr is a weird place. I have actually had an account there for a long time, but just followed some benign photography and nature blogs before this and rarely checked it. There are so many people SOOOO into all the labels and acronyms.

    I guess that’s something that a lot of teens are drawn toward. A friend was telling me about talking to her niece when she was a teen and the niece was describing her friends by saying what their “things” were, ala, “Sophie is deathly afraid of spiders, that’s her thing. Cara can’t stand chewing sounds, that’s her thing. Bethany has anxiety, but loves scary movies, and Rachel hates clowns.” I’m wondering if the acronyms of Tumblr aren’t playing into a common developmental stage in teens.

    So, I’ve started following some feminist blogs (social justice!), some INFP and INFJ (Myers-Briggs) blogs, and some HSP (Highly Sensitive Person blogs). I know she won’t necessarily look at my stuff that much, but I will reblog some of that and ask her directly to look at it and maybe, just maybe, plant a seed in her head that she could be one or all of those labels, too — a feminist HSP INFP. And then we can hopefully begin to feed that instead of the unhealthy gender-obsessed labels.

    Before she followed me on Tumblr I think she went in and deleted a bunch of stuff, which I am absolutely great with. I don’t want to see it and I don’t want her to have it there. I think if she just knows that Mom _could_ be watching then she might think twice before reblogging some stuff. I wish I had done this when I first let her on Tumblr.

    On another positive note I had a long talk with my 12 yr old about all this. She’s really very mature and has known about the gender stuff for awhile, but hadn’t wanted to tell me because she didn’t want to “out” her sister. She hates Tumblr, loves her sister, but HATES Tumblr with a passion. I told her I didn’t care if they wanted to date boys or girls and she interrupted me to say, “I like boys”. I have to admit I did breathe a little sigh of relief. Just traditional teenage love angst worries with that one hopefully.


  25. Thank you. Just thank you.

    What a relief to have finally found someone thinking about and questioning some of the same things that I have been about my 15 year old son who identifies as a transgender girl. Parenting this child (as well as our other 3) around this issue for the last 2 years has been incredibly confusing and difficult and yes, LONELY and ISOLATING.

    We have found a psychotherapist who is asking all of the tough questions and exploring the answers, with both our child and with us. We interviewed many, many therapists before deciding with whom to trust the care of our child. Even with such support, this has been, and continues to be, an incredibly difficult and complex situation.

    Taking the long view of transgender & transition in our child’s life has not been a popular position in the eyes of him (of course), some extended family, and some in the community. Everyone wants immediate and visible transition. Standing firm in our approach to slow things way down and allow/encourage him explore in therapy all aspects of this is difficult and takes nothing but grit to stay solid with that goal. It is hard. (A sense of humor helps.)

    Liked by 2 people

  26. “It isn’t my job to interpret their feelings or tell them what to do. I listen. I ask questions. I reflect back what I hear.”

    How refreshing.


  27. I’m not sure if this is the best place to post, but this blog entry probably most closely resembles my experience with my daughter. I didn’t want to derail the current discussions under the new blog entries, but I hope this will spark further discussion.

    Recently I came across a New York Times article called “Why Do Girls Tend to Have More Anxiety Than Boys?” http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/why-do-girls-have-more-anxiety-than-boys/?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=1

    These sentences caught my attention:

    “Why is it that girls tend to be more anxious than boys? It may start with how they feel about how they look. Some research has shown that in adolescence, girls tend to become more dissatisfied with their bodies, whereas boys tend to become more satisfied with their bodies. Another factor has to do with differences in how girls and boys use social media.”

    They linked to this study: The Skinny on Body Dissatisfaction: A Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Girls and Boys http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1540456/ . This study explores some previous work on adolescents and the stage where they identify strongly with gender stereotypes and the correlation with anorexia and other issues in girls.

    That got me wondering how anxiety about the adult female gender stereotype plays into what is going on with girls like mine. My daughter (who is currently somewhat id-ing as male, but I’m not playing along) is not a tomboy or butch, but she is anxious and fairly socially unconfident. Is her discomfort with the adult female stereotype leading her toward being trans? She has been struggling a lot this year with anxiety and depression and I’m sure a lot of that is due to her conflicted feeling around trans-ness, but she has always had a lot of issues with anxiety.

    I think key here is that my daughter has no picture of her future due primarily, I think, to her diagnosed anxiety. I think it makes her too anxious to even contemplate what she will be like in the future — having a job, living on her own, etc. I think she just can’t see herself as a grown woman and it makes her anxious to imagine that. So finding a community on Tumblr and seeing all the trans activity on there among other socially awkward comic and anime geeks (her tribe) she just opts out of being an adult woman one day by choosing trans instead. I don’t think she really wants to be a boy so much as she doesn’t want to be the stereotype of an adult woman, or an adult in general with all the responsibilities that go along with being a grown-up.

    It’s really kind of funny because I am very much not a stereotypical girly-girl woman. Maybe if I was more feminine she would feel a little more pressure to conform to that ideal, but I’m very much a jeans and t-shirts, no makeup, kind of woman, so she doesn’t have a good model of stereotypical femininity in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insight, MomWantingToTurnITBackAround. I believe my daughter has similar reasons for wanting to escape womanhood/girlhood — fear of growing up and being responsible for herself, fear of intimacy and being expected to “put out” sexually, fear of the academic rigors of college, fear of moving off to college and making new friends, fear of being seen as a sex object or a lesser human than a male, etc. etc. etc. Being trans allows a sort of Peter Pan existence as a non-woman/non-man. She can sort of hide in the murky middle and not be expected to live up to the responsibilities of either an adult woman or an adult man.

      This article compares girls identifying as trans to girls with eating disorders/anorexia:
      I think the author is definitely on to something.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @MomWantingToTurnItBackAround
      Very interesting and relevant about differences between teen girls and boys regarding body dissatisfaction, anorexia, etc. Thank you for posting.

      Another similar condition is body dysmorphic disorder, for which successful cognitive behaviour therapy treatments have been recently developed. There, as with anorexia, the obvious compassionate treatment is to ADDRESS WHAT’S IN THE MIND, ABOUT the body, not to radically mess with the body to match self-perceptions which – however firmly held – do not correspond with physical reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for continuing the discussion. I will definitely check out the article.

    For my kid, I’m not sure if she actually has any issues with her body, weirdly enough. She’s been wearing sports bras some, but not exclusively, and seems happy with most of her non-gender specific body parts. She doesn’t obsess over the size of her nose or how tall or short she is or how thin or fat. For my kid I’m guessing that identifying as trans, or choosing not to identify as a-person-who-is-going-to-become-a-woman has less to do with body dysphoria than it has to do with anxiety about growing up and the future. I’m sure there is some rebelling against society’s stereotypes, too, or “wanting to be different” as my dear old mom used to say. She’s got pink hair right now, but I think it’s more about the mindset than body image with her.

    I’m sure for other kids it’s very different, but I do think the social contagion is a huge factor that ties it all together. Kids are dissatisfied about themselves in some way (body, anxiety about the future, depression, etc) and since “TRANS” is out there they latch onto it as a cure for whatever ails them.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I am glad I found this article – out of the blue my 14 year old daughter told me she is transgender – no signs at all! I personally think she has got caught up with all the social pressure, etc. I really want to find a therapist for her to talk to but I want someone who is neutral on the subject and not go in with the idea that she is transgender. I really don’t want to start her down that path… What type of questions should I be asking when I interview therapists?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Pingback: The trans agenda is a cult, and we have to fight against it. | The Prime Directive

  31. Thank you for your honesty. Hearing my own fears echoed by an actual therapist is heartbreaking. “It is so frightening to think that therapy for my daughter doesn’t feel like a safe option, since the process might be so easily hijacked…”

    We have lived that experience. Our child was already in multidisciplinary therapy for unrelated issues when this suddenly came up, after zero gender history, after coincidentally starting at a trans-trendy high school. We consulted her trusted long-time therapist, and I revisited a former therapist of my own. Both are old souls, seen everything, close to retirement. Their initial reaction echoed our own: complete shock, and acknowledgment that there are disturbing things going on in their profession and in our community. Both offered to do some poking around.

    Then suddenly they changed too. At my second visit with my own therapist, she’d called the lawyer for one of the psychological associations and informed that my very young teen was already old enough to seek gender services on her own in this state, although “parents also have some rights” which “makes things murky.” She now told me, “you may have to accept that this is going to be a reality for your child.”

    When her own therapist (who was in his last week of practice) got back to me with a referral, he had been talking with his gender-specialist neighbor, who recommended the new therapist who would be taking the office of the retiring one, who reassured me that the new therapist was very moderate and “supports a wait-and-see approach where appropriate.” Where appropriate? When would caution ever NOT be appropriate? Whatever happened to first do no harm?

    I don’t feel safe talking about this to any therapist in this community. I don’t feel safe sharing this with my child’s pediatrician. I don’t feel safe talking about this to the other parents of kids involved in this problem at my child’s school. No wonder my child doesn’t feel safe in her own skin! I only feel safe with my own family and a few close friends, and anonymously on skeptical forums like this. Many of our neighbors and acquaintances are militant. I know people who, if my child wanted, might actively try to intervene behind our backs. It makes me wonder if this is what parents felt like when their children were being lured by the Nazis, or Shining Path, or Khmer Rouge, or Mao. When extremist politics infiltrate the normal push-and-pull between parent and adolescent.

    I’m tired of being scared. I’m going to start asking the school to view sex ed info before I consent to it, and if necessary pull my poor kid out. And I’m going to that psych referral, and asking point-blank: Are you going to body-shame my child into self mutilation? Anything less than “no” and the conversation ends and our family does DIY therapy on our own. I guess “first do no harm” sometimes means “patient heal thyself.” What a shameful time we live in.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Just to update, we have since learned (thankfully, from heartfelt talks with our child) that when she became curious about this a year ago after hearing that some kids at her school had transitioned, she asked her DBT therapist–to whom she’d been sent to learn physically healthy ways of distracting from anxiety over school and her longterm medical diagnosis!–and the DBT therapist just immediately affirmed and started encouraging her. With zero consideration of her history, zero consultation with us or any of the rest of the care team, and zero concern that encouraging this might have additional consequences (besides all the obvious ones) for a kid with a diagnosis of brain injury with executive function disorder (with which testosterone would wreak havoc), and cerebral palsy w/ muscle incoordination and pain (which a binder would have made much worse).

      That version of the timeline, which I believe, is the opposite of what the therapist told me, to my face, when I found out (through accidentally intercepting a text message between them). She told me she had no idea. She doesn’t know I saw proof to the contrary. She has been summarily fired and all contact cut off, and the strange thing is that when I explained why to my daughter, my daughter seemed almost relieved.

      After explaining to my daughter why we wouldn’t be going back, I showed her a couple of carefully chosen desistance testimonials, starting off with the one from Cari talking about what she wished therapists had told her instead of just immediately affirming her. She wished she’d been told that there were other ways of handling body dysmorphia and anxiety besides transitioning. I asked my daughter whether her DBT therapist ever mentioned that there were other alternatives. Her eyes got very big, and she said, “no, she just said one should take it slow, and there were many ways to get the process done.” In that moment, I think I saw the therapist’s poison exorcised from my kid’s head. Thank God.

      We’ll have tough times ahead, no doubt. It’s terrifying to think of all the damage done during that year that this was being promoted behind our back by a trusted adult that WE had brought her to and endorsed as an authority. But at least now things are in the open and, despite a few eye rolls and tears, mostly positive. I’ve read that’s a good sign–that kids who take the news of a parents’ skepticism that way tend to have good outcomes. Dear God, let that be so.

      Meanwhile, I just want to emphasize to folks that we live in an era when one must unfortunately be very, very cautious about whom one entrusts one’s child to confide in. Even if it’s for an unrelated issue. Lots of people consider themselves “informed” about this who aren’t.


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