Hippocrates rolls in his grave: In search of the dysphoric trans tweens of yore

As pediatric-transition skeptics, we 4thWaveNow parents are routinely drenched with trans activist Kool-Aid. Distilled down to its most concentrated form, this toxic brew consists of the following ingredients:

  • Truly transgender children of all ages must be “affirmed” in their (innate) gender identities, and then helped along the road to eventual medical transition: hormones and surgeries, leading to irreversible physiological changes, including likely sterility.
  • Medical transition must be instigated as early in life as possible, so that the young person will “pass” better as the opposite sex.
  • The only alternative to strict adherence to this “affirmative” approach to parenting and psychological/medical care is: risk the suicide of our children. Parental support for gender “nonconformity” (aka gender defiance) without also endorsing the idea that a child can actually change their sex is inadequate–and tantamount to child abuse.

Because activists insist that there are “truly transgender” children whose gender identity is hard-wired at birth and impervious to change, it must follow that transgender children have always existed. It cannot be a new or contemporary phenomenon, but rather an intrinsic reality based on genetics and biology. Being transgender is thus culture-independent and—given the slow pace of human evolution—it must have been present since before the dawn of human civilization.

Throughout human history, there must, therefore, have been children/teens who would rather have died than to carry on living in the “wrong” body.  These children and their families would have thus urgently sought care to fundamentally transform their wrong bodies—else, suicide.

Trans activists must surely believe this; otherwise, they would be implicitly saying that trans children are a modern phenomenon—thus raising the question of whether it is the result of cultural or social factors. Such an admission would be anathema to most activists, who believe that “gender identity” is inborn and not subject to social and cultural influences.

So, if transgender children have existed since the dawn of humanity, and if the only cure (as activists and gender specialists insist) for intense childhood gender dysphoria is medical transition, then there can be no doubt that there would be historical records of such miserable transgender children. Right?

Let’s investigate, then, and go straight back to the ancients of Western civilization: the Greeks and Romans, who not only practiced medicine in a highly sophisticated and methodical manner; they also were painstaking historians, leaving behind meticulous written records of every aspect of their complex civilization.

Greek and Roman physicians were skilled technicians, treating not only common ailments, but also performing complex surgical procedures. Brain surgery—as well as trepination—the drilling of holes in the skull to relieve various afflictions– was a key endeavor, with skulls from thousands of years ago bearing the evidence. (Related, archeological evidence of trepanning has been found from all over the world since  the dawn of human civilization)


Many surgical instruments have been recovered from Greek and Roman archeological sites, and the ancient physicians documented their craft and the outcomes.

These surgeons weren’t squeamish about experimentation, and no part of the body was off limits. Their treatments included spinal surgery, cataract resections, and even repairs of urethral strictures—certainly a delicate operation by any measure. They were intimately familiar with all parts of the human anatomy; many vaginal and anal speculums have been found along with other surgical instruments.

Roman surgical instruments found in Pompeii

There were even plastic and cosmetic surgeons in the clinics of ancient Rome and Athens.  They performed nose jobs, ear lobe repairs, and

“a form of ancient cosmetic surgery was also practiced. Excess skin or tissues could be trimmed from various parts to improve the appearance. Freed slaves also were common customers of branding removal. While an expensive procedure, being able to mask the history of service as a slave was a valuable operation in Roman society.”

Surgeons were not averse to operating on genitalia,  either.  According to this site (which links to multiple university sources),

…the most common operation appears to have been male de-circumcision. Reversal of genital mutilation, which might have been the result of religious observance or mischance, was an important procedure which one would seek in order to avoid embarrassment when appearing naked at the baths or in the gymnasia.

 Artifacts are one thing; but given the extensive write-ups these physicians left behind, if they had been doing SRS or treating desperate “trans teens,” we most certainly would find documentation of that in their medical manuals and records.

The notion that a child could be “born in the wrong body, creating such a sense of misery that the child and his or her family sought relief via medical intervention—is there any archeological or documented evidence of that amongst the ancients?

Try as I might, I was unable to discover any evidence of ancient trans kids who so hated their own bodies that they demanded either psychological or medical interventions. No records of boys wanting to hack off their penises or girls desperate for “top surgery” to remove their despised breasts. It’s quite certain, given their zeal for surgical interventions, that the ancient physicians would have been more than happy to oblige; after all, if they could perform surgeries to treat urethral strictures and cataracts, a double mastectomy or penile remodeling would not have daunted them. Even experimental attempts would have been documented.

And what of suicidal behaviors? Trans activists (and their media handmaidens) often warn that failure to prevent the “wrong puberty” in a truly transgender child may lead to suicide.  If “transition or suicide” were the ironclad certainty activists insist it is, there would have been a sufficient number of ancient Roman or Greek trans tweens threatening to kill themselves unless freed from their “wrong bodies” to have merited at least a mention in the prolific works of ancient historians and physicians.

Because indeed, the Greeks and Romans did write extensively about suicide; it was a well known phenomenon at that time, discussed by philosophers and historians alike. Without doubt, suicidal children offing themselves because of the unbearable misery of being trapped in a mistaken body would have been well documented.


Death of Cleopatra–Arthur

So—as it appears to me on investigation– if these young people were not clamoring for medical treatment to assuage their intractable gender dysphoria, how were they coping?

Here’s a thought. Maybe these gender-defiant kids mostly grew up to be….gay, lesbian, or bisexual—as most would today, notwithstanding the current conversion of many one time LGB young people into “straight” FtMs and MtFs?


In contrast to the dearth of written evidence for the existence of “transgender children,” there is copious literature and art documenting the existence of homosexuality in the ancient world.  A search on Google Scholar turns up thousands of hits and images (here is but one). And–not to put too fine a point on it or go too far afield–a search in scholarly or popular biology will turn up many thousands of articles documenting the existence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom (see source links at bottom). I couldn’t find a single article, however, on the incidence of bonobos or chimpanzees–our closest DNA relatives–who had attempted to yank or bite off their genitals or mammary glands.

Then of course there are the shamans and spiritual leaders—the “third gender” and “two spirits” who have played an important role in many human societies.  This post would not be complete without a brief digression to touch on the transgender lobby’s penchant for coopting gender defiant and/or homosexual historical figures and defining them as “actually” transgender (as morally questionable, in my view, as Mormons posthumously “baptizing” Auschwitz victims).  These gender defiant people were often treated as visionaries and given important roles as spiritual leaders in the community.

Clearly, these “two spirit” people didn’t place a premium on “passing.” It’s highly unlikely that a highly revered TWO spirit shaman would have been heard indignantly screeching, “Two spirits ARE women. Period!” It’s also unlikely that these two-spirit people would have asked a physician to amputate or rejigger their sexual organs. Why would they? They weren’t trying to “pass” as something they were not. They were TWO spirited.

But back to ancient gender-defiant children. What can we conclude, given the lack of historical evidence of young people insisting they were born in the wrong body? What are we to make of the current society-wide focus on these kids—whom we are told must be put on the road to transition, post-haste?

It seems obvious that the idea of desperately unhappy trans children is a recent phenomenon. In terms of the “need” for medical transition to treat intractable “gender dysphoria,” which modern trans activists tell us is the ONLY cure to prevent suicide, there is no historical record of such children.

Could it be that the very notion of a child being born in the “wrong” body is a modern invention–an iatrogenic disease with an iatrogenic cure? Dare we believe that gender defiance and the eschewing of sex-stereotyped social roles were not only more accepted in earlier times, but even held sacred? So sacred, in fact, that such gender defiant people celebrated rather than despised their own bodies?

We like to think that human societies have progressed, and in many ways, of course they have. But I’ll take the long-ago silence of Hippocrates and Herodotus on the question of “trans children” as a sign that these ancients were a bit more in touch with reality than the true believers in today’s Born in the Wrong Body religion.

131 thoughts on “Hippocrates rolls in his grave: In search of the dysphoric trans tweens of yore

    • I would love it if others would hunt through ancient historical documents to find even one mention of even one child who wanted to die because they were “born in the wrong body”. Adults who care about these kids should not be disseminating the notion. And journalists who unquestioningly repeat it are just as much to blame.

      Liked by 10 people

      • As far as I know you are absolutely right. No such cases can be found.

        But under the Roman Empire there were many children — pre- and post-pubertal boys — whose genitals were surgically operated on in order to turn them into not-men: eunuchs. These were slaves, of course. Their own feelings did not come into the matter.

        They were castrated so as to make them more attractive to adult males who used them sexually; it meant that they did not mature fully and stayed looking younger and more feminine. Some were prostituted, others kept for the sole use of their owners.

        Are there parallels to what is happening now? I am afraid I do strongly suspect that there are, and that the erotic fetishisation by sections of the public of certain ‘transgender’ children who have caught the attention of the media, and also, more generally, of the idea of the ‘transkid’, is one of the elephants in the room that almost nobody is talking about.

        Liked by 5 people

      • I have read up fairly extensively on Roman civilization/society and you would think that if ANY society would have mentioned this phenomenon, it would have been the Romans. I’ve read up less extensively on other ancient cultures, and whilst I have seen references to homosexuality, lesbianism, and what we would call cross-dressing, no mention of transgenderism that I can remember.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Early psychiatrists were very keen on discovering various syndromes and naming them after themselves — e.g., Cotard’s syndrome (where the patient believes himself to be dead); Capgras syndrome (where the patient believes that other people have been replaced by a double); DeClerembault’s syndrome (where the patient believes that a famous person is in love with them); the familiar Tourette’s syndrome, etc. One might also ask why no psychiatrist ever named childhood transgenderism after himself if it really was a thing. After all, it not only involves the patient’s belief that he’s the other sex, but it’s supposedly associated with other distinct symptoms like an urge to cut off penises; repeated declarations from the child that he’s the other sex; and suicide. I’d love to hear trans activists’ explanation for why no enterprising doctors in history who encountered transgender children seized the opportunity to be immortalized as the discoverer of this rather dramatic condition.

        Liked by 8 people

      • Anonymous til this shit blows over

        I bet the reason the “discoverer” of transgenderism in children didn’t name it after himself is that his last name was Money, and if people who were unaware of the guy himself (or the tradition of naming syndromes) heard transgenderism in children called “Money Syndrome” it would be far too obvious what’s going on…

        Liked by 10 people

      • Oh, my. Anonymous until this shit blows over, and Trish, you made me laugh out loud with Money syndrome. I’m reading this a year too late, and you’re probably not here to see my reply. But thank you for the sorely needed levity.

        And Artimisia, thank you for your observation about the fetishizing of “trans” kids. I completely agree.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Where does one go for help?

      2 months ago, my Son, age 30 informed us of his “secret”. He says he doesn’t want to be woman but doesn’t feel like a man.

      I need some help and guidance to get this turned around … fast as he is seeing a Christian based Therapist.

      This has been devastating. We are so sad and scared for him.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I am in the same boat–devastated and scared. My daughter wants to be male, but she is only 14. It seems like mosts therapists want to help these confused people transition. A
        Christian based therapist should be safe–I hope he can help your son. My daughter refuses to have anything to do with God or Christian therapist.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I am so sorry you’re going through this. Trouble is, most health professionals these days are totally sold on the trans agenda. It can be hard to find one who won’t just railroad your child onto the oh-so-fashionable transition path.

        But there are some excellent online resources. I would recommend youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org. They may even be able to recommend a suitable counsellor for your child. Also gendercriticaldad*s blog. He’s going through what you are. There are Reddit subs as well where you’ll find support: GenderCrital and Gender_Critical.

        Good luck with it all.

        Liked by 5 people

  1. I heard of sex changes as far back as the1930s (think: “the Danish Girl”) but they were very, very rare. I knew of sex changes that were being done in my twenties (1970s), but again, very very rare, done only on adults after EXTENSIVE psychiatric vetting, and certainly NOT on minors. Before that, I would think that there may have been genuine transgendered individuals, but it was not possible to transition, so they generally identified as LG or B. Lesbian and gay individuals I have known in my life did not want to be the opposite sex and would have been very vocal about it had they been asked.

    I really think that the trans cult is preying on impressionable pre-teens and teens to swell their ranks. I can see a young child being uncomfortable about their gender expression–I was and remained that way through a good part of adulthood until I came out–but they eventually developed either into heterosexuals or LG or B–certainly not transgendered. Also playing into, IMO, in some cases, are parents who want a child of the opposite sex and persuade their really young child that they are the opposite sex (the sex the parent prefers). And then we have parents who are really uptight about gender non-conformity. Also, there is a movement in some Evangelical circles (very small at present) to adopt the Iranian idea that homosexuality is an abomination, but that transgenderism is not. All of these must be fought in the interests of children. I venture to say that fully 95%+ of so-called “transkids” are simply gender nonconforming or are LG or B.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. As a historian, I really enjoyed this post! I’ve been immersed in all things historical for almost as long as I can remember, and I’ve never run across any firsthand accounts of trans-identified children and teens in bygone eras. Many cultures had third genders (e.g, Two Spirits, Sworn Virgins of the Balkans, the Hijras of India), as well as a long history of cross-dressing, but no young people threatening to kill themselves if they didn’t go under the knife and get drugs right now.

    I’m very angry and frustrated at the transactivists’ attempts to pain gender-defiant people and women who cross-dressed to participate in male society as trans. Refusing to kowtow to a collection of sexist stereotypes doesn’t mean someone must really be the opposite sex, just as a woman who masqueraded as a man to fight in a war or seek greater career opportunities didn’t secretly wish she had male anatomy. For example, a transactivist made a historical revisionist comic about Elsa Jane Forest Guerin (a.k.a. Mountain Charley), pretending she was a transman instead of a woman who played the role of a man to better support herself and her children, and to get revenge on her husband’s murderer. The artist used male pronouns throughout the comic, and referred to this woman as a man, against all historical evidence. (The comic is at http://pigeonbits.tumblr.com/image/141546655938, and Mountain Charley’s real story is at http://digging-history.com/2014/03/19/wild-west-wednesday-elsa-jane-forest-guerin-a-k-a-mountain-charley/).

    Liked by 10 people

      • Yes they have and Mulan as well. Virtually any female historical figure who ever dressed in men’s clothing for survival or to access a profession denied women is now being claimed by transgender activists.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, trans co-opts a lot of GNC historical figures. That doesn’t surprise me. I was surprised reading the latest edition of Ms when they did it though! The credited Stonewall to trans activists. Wow. Talk about historical revisionism. Gay drag queens =/= trans! Stunning, but not so brave. Here is the reference citation:

      Ms., Summer 2016, p.7 “Milestones” item 6:

      “The Stonewall Inn became the first-ever LGBT monument in a declaration by President Obama. It is the site of the historic, trans-woman-led Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern LGBT rights movement.”

      Yep, what a load of manure! How young does Ms think its readership is?!

      Liked by 6 people

  3. What a great analysis, 4thwavenow. You continue to do such an invaluable service for families who are in the “support but delay” camp with their gender-defiant kids. I’d never have had the strength to perform “support but delay,” long term, without the valuable insights you keep bringing here … as well as the stories of others who post here.

    It’s a scandal that YOU, the anonymous intelligent blogging mom, have to do this instead of the intelligent med/psych professionals and JOURNALISTS who ought to be doing it. (There are a few exceptions, but a precious few.) I guess it’s going to take malpractice suits to get that situation to change. sigh.

    Meanwhile….. Vive la logic!

    Liked by 8 people

      • Surely you must know how important what you’re doing is? Maybe we need to tell you more often. I love this blog. My kids aren’t involved in all this gender bollocks but I love them passionately, like most parents, and can strongly sympathize

        Liked by 3 people

      • 4thwavenow,
        I’m with sophieijameson!

        You’re doing such important work, not only your research and maintaining that info on the internet, but creating a place where all of us can freely comment and question what’s going on with the sudden claims of gender being incompatible with bodily sex. When I get bummed out about being the only one in the family who has any doubts about our relative’s announcement of being trans, I come here and see that others question – and have even better questions than I do.

        This helps more than you can know.

        Liked by 6 people

      • Thank you so much for this blog. It helps reaffirm my position that this is all madness. When my daughter started to transition, my husband and I were the only ones that thought that a lifetime of hormones and permenant body altering surgeries was not the answer to her problems. We were thought of as unsupportive and uncaring bigots. Thank you for bringing together caring people who thought they were alone.

        Liked by 6 people

  4. So glad I found this blog. I recently had a relative come out as transgender (MTF.) It was something I’d never really thought about much before and I’d always just assumed it was all about people who felt they were “born in the wrong body.” However the things that my relative were saying didn’t seem to match this…it was mostly about wanting to look pretty and he seemed to get off from dressing in women’s clothes.

    The more I researched the more I found didn’t make sense. I think I hit “peak trans” when I saw a blog post claiming that “biological sex is a social construct.” How could anyone believe something like that? Trans ideology started to seem like nothing more than a cult like Scientologoy or the Moonies.

    The worst part about the whole thing is that it seems being trans has become a new cool subculture for young people and I think a lot of the “trans or die” screaming on places like Tumblr is of the “lame parents just don’t understand” variety.

    How do we get this information more widely known? Seems the media doesn’t want to touch it. Do we need to start sharing shock-value memes saying things like “Gay kids across America being sterilized in new modern genocide”?

    Liked by 9 people

  5. 4thwavenow,

    Thank you so much for offering evidence to counter claims that books written by currently-living people justifying their current trans identity by claiming to have felt this way as children and by people who claim to have detected trans identities in their grade-school aged children.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Yes, how do we get mainstream media to cover this? There are so many well-meaning parents out there being told that it is a case of “medical transition or die” and the only thing that will keep their child alive is hormones and surgeries. And all the things that school counselors give you to read are all about how this happened in the womb when the fetus’s brain was bathed in opposite-sex hormones through some endocrine mishap, thus turning the child into a transgender being from birth. There is this conflation of “born this way” as it pertains to gays and lesbians and the experiences of teens who self-diagnose with GD. Are any mainstream outlets covering the self-mutilation aspects of this and how much it has in common with things like anorexia and cutting? Or how frequently a GD declaration in teens coincides with an “impulse control disorder” like hair pulling or OCD? Or how medical practices and gender centers, plastic surgeons, etc., are capitalizing on this? And shouldn’t someone besides less-than-a handful of independent web sites largely relying on voluntary contributions and donated labor be sounding the alarm about the social contagion/mass hysteria dimensions to this? This is madness. The carnage of young people’s lives left in this wake is nothing short of a travesty. This is a lost generation of kids who can never get their body parts, or their puberty, or their full brain development, or their fertility back.

    Liked by 10 people

    • The only thing I see in the media is jumping up and down with the trans pom-poms. I think they are too scared of being labeled bigots by trans activists.

      We might start to hear a different story once the lawsuits start pouring in – malpractice against doctors who rubber-stamped these procedures without offering any alternatives.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Very well said Helen.

      As of July, my older son, 29 has declared he has gender dysphoria (self diagnosed). His Mother, younger Brother and I are devastated and hurt.

      He is convinced this is the path he is taking but looking back at his childhood days do not support this. Currently, he has been seeing a faith-based licensed counselor.

      I feel very fortunate to have finally found this website but we need help to turn this around and get back our Son.

      He also informed us he has a drinking problem and at times, has been suicidal.

      What do we do? What steps do we take?

      Does he need a psycho-therapist? A Psychiatrist?

      Any words of wisdom and guidance would be so much appreciated.

      He has resolved inself to go down this Road. I haven’t but I need help sooner than later.

      Thank You so much.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hi Bob, I’m so sorry to hear about your son. He (and you) may benefit from reading thirdwaytrans.com , which is written by a former transwoman who detransitioned back to being male.

        It sounds like your son has troubles far beyond gender dysphoria. Because your son is an adult, he makes his own medical and health decisions. I don’t know what you can do other than to try and persuade him to get help.

        If he is suicidal and addicted to alcohol, perhaps he needs to be admitted to a rehab/psych hospital? I don’t know that a faith-based counsellor is equipped to handle all of his needs, and serious ones at that. What are the counselor’s qualifications? I am no doctor, so I am in no position to advise you regarding a hospital stay vs. counseling, but it does sound as though your son is deeply troubled and needs something more intensive than an hour a week with a counselor.

        Could you persuade your son to get a psychiatric evaluation? How willing is he to ask for and accept help in this matter? Is your son married? Does he have a wife who could persuade him, or children who need their father? If your son does get psychiatric help, could you persuade him to work on his addiction, suicidal feelings, and other problems, and waiting to see if the dysphoria is helped as a result?

        Do you have any insight as to why your son might want to transition or what is causing his dysphoria? Is there a chance your son is gay and ashamed of that fact, and thinks becoming a “woman” would somehow make his attraction to men more acceptable? Some men are aroused by dressing in women’s clothing or by the thought of being a woman. Some men feel they don’t measure up in terms of masculinity and feel they are failures at being male, so they must actually be female. Would your son be willing to work on whatever his issues are, or work on accepting himself as he is, rather than asking to transition?

        As I already stated, I am not a doctor, but I sure do hope your son agrees to get some more intensive help than what he is currently receiving, and work to resolve all other issues before making a decision to transition. Best wishes to you both.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes. Your son really needs to see a psychiatrist to start on some medication. Faith based is wonderful!! It was actually recommended to me by a past trans person. Unfortunately it has been hard for me to find anyone for my daughter…. But we did find a group that helped her be her so far and not buy into the trans. Unfortunately we are back to square one because it was a two week program. Anyhow!!! Meds for my daughter has brought HER back. She is still holding on to the trans… But it’s definitely a smoke screen for her other issues.


    • Maybe the mainstream media that has been cheerleading this gender nonsense should ask Target about how well it went when then announced their women’s restrooms were available for everyone (I notice that as much as MTTs want to use the women’s room, the FTTs also use the women’s room. Like women’s rooms are famous enough for being overcrowded & having long lines)

      Target announced it will be spending $20 million to install individual room style restrooms by November (thinking about the Christmas rush much?)

      Liked by 3 people

    • As a professional scientist (chemist), it just galls me how counselors would give out pro-trans, religious (belief-based) propaganda that is not scientifically sound. There is ZERO evidence that people are trans due to cross-sex hormones in the womb. NONE! That is a hypothesis that remains untested, and that is all it is. None of these trans kids has a mom whose hormone levels in the womb were actually tracked through pregnancy. Even if her hormones were tracked, how do they compare to controls? Even if they were different, correlation isn’t causality. Causality in science is damn near impossible to prove. 90% of people involved in fatal auto accidents ate carrots in the last couple of months, so does recent carrot eating CAUSE 90% of fatal auto accidents? Of course not. DUH! So, how can one unilaterally declare that hormone levels in the womb cause transgender identity with zero evidence and quantification?! People need better critical thinking skills and they should be taught in public schools.

      Liked by 5 people

      • And even if there IS a biological/hormonal contribution to people feeling like they align more closely with the opposite sex, it does NOT follow that everything but their brains is “wrong” and must be surgically and hormonally altered. The most interesting study to me is one showing that prenatal testosterone is associated with “gender nonconforming” play behavior in children. There is a weak relationship between prenatal testosterone levels and later identification as transgender. Now, why would a girl who prefers to do the things boys do decide her body was wrong? Where would she get that idea? There is NO evidence that hating one’s body is innate, because that is what the pediatric trans lobby is pushing: body hatred. My investigation of ancient physicians/historians leads me to believe that the gigantic logic leap from “behaves and prefers lifestyle and accoutrements typical of opposite sex” to “MUST alter body or commit suicide!!” is wholly a modern, iatrogenic condition. For those interested, the study relating prenatal testosterone levels with GNC play behaviors in girls is here: http://www.eje-online.org/content/155/suppl_1/S115.long

        I discuss it at some length in this post:

        Liked by 5 people

      • 1. I do not see a sample size. Do you know it? It is probably small, ie not scientifically representative. Otherwise, they would feature that info more prominently, I think. 2. Hormone levels in the womb were never directly measured. The moms were on meds that influence testosterone levels, but there is no actual data on t levels in the womb. 3. A single study proves nothing. Results must be replicated by other groups working independently. We must be cautious in our interpretations.

        Thanks for posting this study! It is interesting and follow-up is much anticipated.


      • Same here! I am also a chemist and I know causation is hard to prove. This hormone thing has shown up before as a pseudo-science attempt to explain homosexuality. As in, gay men must be feminine and have more estrogen than hetero men and lesbians must be more masculine and have more testosterone than hetero women. I have a friend with really bad PCOS who is hetero, and her testosterone levels are a lot higher than mine. I also have PCOS, but not as bad as her. I also didn’t have PCOS when I came out of the closet as a teenager. I know because I was pretty sick (from other causes) and had a ton of endocrine tests done at the time.

        And it’s never made sense and is just a bunch of stereotyping. Plus, these myths are pretty harmful to the well-being of lesbians and gays and just plain not true.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think people are just uncomfortable with the fact that not everything in life is known. We really have no idea why some people are homo or bisexual. Yes, homosexuality may be linked to genes and other things, but it is unproven. Science does not know everything about everything and never will. We can only hypothesize, test, and use the data and evidence to come up with theories. We also don’t know why people subjectively feel that they are trans. However, there is ample evidence that many come to this conclusion after bingeing on social media, or finding an accepting “tribe” of other youth who call themselves transgender. Every kid wants to belong and feel loved and accepted.


  7. I have noticed this before too. You know who is doing the unpaid labor of trying to draw attention to this issue? With a few exceptions, it is MOTHERS. I have been in touch with dozens of people doing this work in the US and the U.K. All are passionate, intelligent, and deeply caring. It isn’t all mothers, or even all women. There are some dads,some gay men, some straight men all volunteering their time and donating their money to protect kids.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Over the transom today:

    “HBO Is looking for Documentary Participants
    The documentary series, VICE on HBO, is working on a segment about transgender youth, including increasing medical and social support options available to children, teens, and their families. VICE is an Emmy Award-winning documentary series covering news, culture, and politics, shining a light on underreported stories from around the world.
    We’re hoping to connect and film with some families on a more in-depth level, particularly anyone who has a child getting ready to start cross hormone therapy, or considering starting cross hormone therapy.
    We’d like to accompany a couple of families over time as they and their child go through the experiences of starting cross hormone therapy. Alongside interviews with doctors who are pioneering research into cross hormone therapy, we are looking to hear from families living through these experiences. In order to do justice to this important story, we feel it’s crucial to hear from families firsthand. We are hoping to follow along on a doctor’s appointment and get to know these families better at home.
    We know that these are personal stories and would love to chat further with you about the project and the ways that you might feel comfortable participating, before you consider filming with us. If this is something you and your family might be interested in, or just want to chat informally to learn more about the piece, producer Nicole Bozorgmir at: Nicole.bozorgmir@vice.com or at 203-249-3621.
    Here is some more information on VICE on HBO in case you’re not familiar with the show:
    VICE is a global news platform, producing immersive journalism in 36 offices around the world. Our documentary series, VICE, airs on HBO. The program received a 2014 Primetime Emmy in the “Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series” category. The show’s aim is to refresh the news magazine format and reach a young, global audience.”

    Just in case you’d like to sacrifice your child’s privacy and future prospects for your very own 15 minutes of fame! Funny, too, how VICE does not appear the least bit interested in connecting with any families that do NOT want to drug and permanently alter their child, or even why that might be…

    Liked by 5 people

    • It’s important to emphasize that the filmmakers are specifically looking for children who are about to start cross sex hormone treatment. Especially for girls, this is a one-way street to permanent, irreversible changes, including but not limited to: increased body hair, deepened voice, damage to the reproductive organs leading in many cases to the need for hysterectomy, and more. For the children who move directly from puberty blockers to cross sex hormones, permanent sterility is another outcome.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. I was reading more about these gender specialist doctors today…they seem like a bunch of quacks. They remind me of “DAN” doctors for autism…offering false hope in a bunch of bogus therapies.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m 15 and honestly I feel like this whole sudden trans thing is certainly a phase. Thank God I don’t buy into things that easily. Unfortunately this phase is pretty much everywhere. Even in my school, there are transgenders and genderfluids, where there were none before. They’re the kind of people who spend like 90% of their time on the internet and have ugly Tumblr hairstyles. It’s horrible.

    A majority of my friends support them too and call me a horrible friend for being skeptical. Some of my friends who were once normal have now adopted this phase, and the worst part is that they’re sensitive and if I tell them it’s obviously a phase, they’ll probably cut themselves. At this point I just feel like I’m the odd one in my school. I don’t want to make friends with these kind of people. It’s a phase that literally ruins people’s lives once they grow out of it.

    I’m not a crazy religious person, but in a way I feel that it is evil and destructive. No offense to people with actual dysphoria, just a jab at people adopting this idea because they’re going through puberty and they aren’t sure who they really are. Chances are, if you say that’s who you REALLY are, it isn’t. You’ll grow out of it within a year.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you “Why” for your very insightful comments. You are the best kind of friend to have. You seem honest, and have the integrity to stand up for what you believe. As a parent of a now young adult who is in the throws of transition, I wish my daughter would have had a friend like yourself to see things critically, instead of social trend followers. Don’t change. You are truly awesome.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi been around for quite a time now. Always reading and being thankful that I have found like minded people. Relieved that I can get rid of the guilt of not getting on the trans train that’s taking us to an unknown destination; I just couldn’t bring myself to buy that ticket.
    The point that I would like to add is that we have a younger generation who do not seem to be mentally capable of dealing with the reality of what life is about. My thought is that previous generations/cultures/civilisations were perhaps mentally stronger?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Have any moms or dads of teens on this list tried contacting the head researching doctor of the Mt. Sinai Medical School study on rapid teen onset of GD and social media use? Her name and contact info is list on the research call. I wonder if she might know some responsible professionals who she could refer parents to — likely mostly in the NYC area though — of doctors who would be consider patiently exploring these issues over time with the teen involved instead of simply writing the Rx for cross-hormones and fast-tracking the surgeries. It looks like the peak age for this wave of teen onset is age 16. With lots of care and intensive therapeutic support, a 16-year-old would have 2 full years to explore these feelings of GD, trying different approaches, and deal with any underlying issues, and then if they still felt the same way could still do medical transition at 18 when they are of age and more mature. She has got to know someone who would be willing to work along these lines — not “conversion therapy” but really taking the time and care to explore the issues fully instead of jumping to permanent health-impacting interventions — giving the teen time and space to explore it in its various dimensions and to think though possible outcomes.

    Therapists have got to realize that when 6 kids in a class of 60 all come out at the same time that many of these kids are not actually trans but affected by the power of suggestion and peer suasion. What dangers and risks of misdiagnosis for those teens who are caught up in the cultural moment and a particular peer climate of conformity to the transtrend as reinforced by social media interactions. If I were a therapist, the idea that I was possibly helping to maim a child and destroy the rest of their life, including their ability to have a family one day, when this teen just needed more space and time to figure things out, would haunt me. Before prescribing medical transition, wouldn’t you prescribe a 16-year-old an active summer without electronics in a beautiful natural setting like on an Outward Bound experience or something of that kind? Anyway, the Sinai doctor may have some sort of helpful referral list. Worth a try. I’m sure she is getting the worst kind of flack from activists, so what she is doing is incredibly brave and the research data is desperately needed.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. So this came in today, promoting a new book entitled The Transgender Teen by two authors from Gender Spectrum:

    “There is a generational divide in our understandings of gender. Designed as a guidebook for parents and professionals, The Transgender Teen is a comprehensive guidebook that helps to bridge that divide by exploring the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising a teenager who may be transgender, non-binary, or otherwise gender-expansive.

    The Transgender Teen is accessible for any reader – no matter where you may be in your understanding of gender. This book helps you stay connected to the teen in your life, even when you may disagree. While focused on teenagers, it is helpful for parents of transgender, non-binary, or gender-expansive children of any age.

    Confusion, fear, and lack of information can be overwhelming for any parent. The Transgender Teen provides information that is essential to trying to help your child navigate their world by sharing the author’s years of experience working in the field with extensive research and personal interviews.”

    Apparently the book went into wide release on September 13 and will be sold on Amazon and other places.

    Looking at the description of the book from a parent’s view, it’s remarkably patronizing. It’s obvious that the viewpoint being promoted is that we are the ignorant parents who need educating (note the “confusion” and “lack of information” language that starts the third paragraph). Further note the news that there is “a generational divide in our understandings of gender.” I have heard things like this many times – “the children are leading the way! How exciting!” I’m glad the children aren’t leading the way in our understanding of how to drive semi trucks or do brain surgery, though. It’s so interesting how our experience, intuition and wisdom, as parents, is systematically disregarded by the trans-lobby in favor of the incredibly arrogant assumption that we could not possibly have anything to contribute to this discussion. Or possibly care just a tiny bit more about our children than do strangers with a sexual agenda…

    Liked by 4 people

      • Yeah, parents are the ones with the real world experience, and yet they are the ones who “just don’t understand.” We do understand, and that is why we want to protect young people.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about this trend being portrayed as “exciting.” Several times I’ve seen it labeled a “gender revolution.” That our kids have somehow evolved this new way of thinking about themselves and it is nothing but wonderful. There are educated adults–gender doctors, therapists, university administrators–saying this. They are literally in awe, feeling privileged to watch the process unfold.

      They *are* witnessing something likely to be of historical importance, but not in the way they think. I believe we will look back on this and see it as another disastrous medical fad. You would think we (as a culture) would learn from our past mistakes.

      As for that book. I’m familiar with writing from Gender Spectrum. And, you’re right, condescension to parents is to be expected. There seems to be this assumption that with enough “education,” parents will get on board and “support” their child through whatever medical interventions he/she chooses.

      I’m sure a lot of parents initially hesitate to follow this approach, that it seems counterintuitive. They know their child and realize that he/she is not suddenly mature, wise and responsible enough to make life-changing decisions about hormones and surgeries. But if parents read this book, which likely emphasizes the “transition or your child will commit suicide” message, I’m sure some will be convinced to follow the advice of Gender Spectrum.

      To sum up. Children are being convinced due to social contagion that they are trans. Parents are pressured into allowing medical interventions because they want to keep their child alive. And many professionals, blind to the above influences, are enabling and celebrating the altering of children’s bodies.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. Thank you both for your interesting replies!

    I had another thought about this today… that is, there is virtually nobody on the pro-trans team who does not have a vested interest in encouraging people, especially young people, to take the trans route. Think about it. If you are a parent who allowed or facilitated these drastic, irreversible changes in your child (and often, as you point out, against your initial judgment or instincts), it would be horrendous ever to think it might have been a mistake. You will continually need affirmation that your radical choice was the best one. Similarly, if you are a trans person yourself, again, you will be incredibly invested, especially if you did something permanent about it, in the idea that you made the right choice. Finally, anybody who does pro-trans counseling or supplies pro-trans medical care clearly has, at the very least, a financial interest, not to mention the need to maintain professional credibility and stature.

    This is one reason why the choices and questions around the trans issue are so terribly difficult for parents. The information and advice that are billed as impartial or disinterested is anything but!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’ve thought about this post (and a few recent others) quite a lot. I’m not exactly on side (as you know, 4thWave) but there’s a few reasons (apart from morbid fascination) that I check your site regularly. I am supportive of my child’s transgender identity, I think it is utterly real and I think early cross sex hormones MIGHT still be the way for him to lead the happiest and most genuine life that he can. However, I also feel strongly that 4th Wave is correct in saying that transgender people and trans allies are very reluctant to look closely at sterilisation – and this needs to be a conversation conducted far more openly than it is right now. I also agree with others here that the “transition or die” narrative needs far greater scrutiny that it gets anywhere.
    So here’s a thought, 4thWave and supporters: would you, between you, be able to sponsor a PhD student or a research fellow to do some scrupulous meta-analysis? You’ve garnered a lot of support for this article and others like it, but let’s get real: you didn’t actually search though “ancient historical documents”. You trawled the internet. That’s pretty much what I do, too. I imagine that you and all your readers and helpers juggle busy lives and unless someone’s actually paying you to go and have a look at cuneiform or papyrus sheets or whatever, this is what we all do. We sift through vast amounts of digital data and try to make sense of it.
    In this case, you couldn’t find evidence for what you were looking for – ie records of suicidal trans teens in Greece and Rome – so you concluded that they didn’t exist. All you’ve really managed to articulate is that you couldn’t find anything by running some web searches, unless I’m missing something.
    This might satisfy your supporters, but it doesn’t provide any serious academic medical, sociological or psychological board or society anything they can sink their teeth into. You’re really just shouting into an echo chamber. Everyone here will just agree with you anyway, because you’re telling them what they want to hear.
    Personally, I might still find serious, peer reviewed research questionable. It’s incredibly hard to keep an open mind about transgender issues and to remain free of ideological biases. But I still want real answers for my own child and children like him. It strikes me that you have a large enough readership to take this to the next level.
    What do you think?


    • Well, I’ve done more than just trawl the internet. I have been all over Italy and spent time at their historical sites (and historical sites in many other countries, for that matter.) In places like ancient Pompeii (which I’ve seen with my own eyes, thanks), decorative mosaic tiles with sexual themes are incredibly common, and not just in brothels, but in homes. None of them are of “transgenders.” ZERO! However, nearly everything else under the sun has been depicted, no matter how controversial or depraved. This is not the extent of my experience, just a tiny slice. I agree with 4th Wave Now. You are grasping at straws big time. You are asking for proof of nonexistence, which is a fool’s errand. It is incumbent on you, as a member of the entirely belief and faith-based Gender Religion to prove your case, not to insist that others prove a negative.


      • I’ll give Curious Mother credit for at least understanding the point of the post: That there is no historical evidence of children so dysphoric that they killed themselves because they were “born in the wrong body” and couldn’t be surgically altered. Given that the Romans and Greeks were fearless surgeons, and given that ancient historians meticulously recorded everything about their lives, it’s ludicrous to pretend they would somehow simply leave out all the suicidal trans kids from their writings.

        The threat-of-suicide weapon is being used to terrify parents into medically transitioning their children, and it is reprehensible. Were there cross-dressing, “gender nonconforming” people in ancient times? Of course. Was there a religious cult involving self-castration? Yes. If anything, there is evidence that “gender nonconforming” people were accepted in a way they are not now. And for anyone to suggest that the advent of modern medicine to chemically and surgically alter children is some sort of boon for the gender-defiant is disingenuous at best.

        Carrie Ann, a frequent commenter on this blog, is a historian and I’m certain she will have something to add to this discussion very soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Now, I didn’t want to change the subject too much, but one fascinating place I got to visit and study history in is Egypt. They have extensive historical writings and depictions. None relate to transgenderism or kids committing suicide because they wanted to be the opposite sex. The depictions do relate to almost every other part of life, from the mundane to the extraordinary. Many of these carvings are 5000 yrs old and there are also papyrus writings that are very old. Yes, I’ve seen them in person, not from an internet trawl. Similarly, when I was in Nepal, there is an ancient wood building (4000 yrs old! Not a typo— 4000 yrs old) in Kathmandu that graphically depicts sex acts and variations, and none was related to transgenderism. Trans is a new religion, not an old reality. These are just a couple more examples from other ancient civilizations that I have actually laid eyes on. I do not have time to discuss all of the places I have seen. However, the idea that we all just get our ideas from trawling the internet is not accurate. I have been all over the world several times over.

        Liked by 2 people

    • ‘4thWave and supporters … let’s get real: you didn’t actually search though “ancient historical documents”.’

      After reading 4thwave’s post above, I searched through Francis Adams’s three volume translation of Paul of Aegina, a physician who compiled a medical encyclopaedia in the 7th century AD. He based it on the writings of earlier medical writers like Hippocrates and Galen. Many works now lost were still available in his time. He has a section on lycanthropes (classical ‘furries’ who imitated wolves and were considered by ancient physicians to be mentally ill) but nothing about children or adults who believed themselves to belong to the opposite sex. (You can find this work on the Internet Archive: search under Paulus Aegineta.)

      I pulled Bullough and Bullough, Cross Dressing, Sex and Gender, off my bookshelves and reread Chapter 2, on the ancient world’. I looked up specific passages in various classical authors, including Herodotus, Suetonius, Herodian and Dio Cassius. The Herodotus passage (on Scythian males who ‘became women’) I studied in a parallel text (Loeb edition) so as to check the precise words used in the original Greek. I also consulted a commentary on Herodotus and various other works.

      This was all very interesting, but there was nothing in the Bullough work or any of the original sources I looked at about children or young people who believed they were ‘really’ members of the opposite sex, let alone who threatened suicide if not allowed to ‘transition’.

      Your dismissive reference to ‘trawling the internet’ suggests ignorance of how scholarly research is conducted nowadays. Before I posted my comment above I did indeed ‘trawl the internet’: that is to say, I made use of some of the specialist search tools that are helpful to researchers. I used the advance search function on Google Books and also ran searches on Google Scholar.

      These days very large numbers of scholarly articles are available on or via the web, either freely available or accessible through subscription services. I downloaded and read some academic articles that looked as though they might have a bearing.

      These included articles on eunuchs in the ancient world, including the famous Galli, the self-castrating priests of Cybele. I looked up some of the sources that were cited, including a poem by Catullus (Poem 63). This deals with the origin myth of the Galli: the self-castration of the divine hero/god Attis. Latin is a gendered language; not only pronouns but adjectives and participles are gendered. In the opening lines of the poem Catullus uses masculine endings for the words that qualify Attis, but after the hero has castrated himself, Catullus switches to feminine endings.

      This and other sources indicate that males who were castrated were considered to have been feminized in some sense. So let’s be clear: the Roman world, certainly, had a conception of ‘transition’ from male to female, or at least from masculine to feminine, effected by surgical intervention in the form of castration.

      We don’t, though, read anywhere of boys who ‘knew’ they were really girls when they were children, and who dreamed of the day when they might grow up to castrate themselves (or be castrated by a surgeon). Maybe that is because eunuchs (including child eunuchs) were quite a familiar sight; nothing very exotic about them, and much to pity.

      Here is a quotation from Juvenal’s sixth satire:

      mangonum pueros vera ac miserabilis urit
      debilitas, follisque pudet cicerisque relicti.

      A real and pitiable impairment blasts the boys who belong to the slavedealers, and they feel ashamed of the scrotum and chickpea* with which they are left. (My translation)

      *slang term for a tiny penis.

      These are boys who were castrated before puberty, whose genitals will never develop. They are analogous to the prepubertal boys nowadays who are given so-called ‘puberty blockers’ that prevent their genitals from maturing. Except that the eunuch slave boys understand what has been done to them. Nobody troubles to lie to them.

      And here is a passage from Catullus’ poem on Attis. Here again, Catullus changes the genders of the words; in the second line Attis, still only beginning to realise what he has done to himself, is masculine, ‘ipse’, but the participle ‘allocuta’ has a feminine ending:

      ita de quiete molli rapida sine rabie
      simul ipse pectore Attis sua facta recoluit,
      liquidaque mente vidit sine quis ubique foret,
      animo aestuante rusum reditum ad vada tetulit.
      ibi maria vasta visens lacrimantibus oculis,
      patriam allocuta maestast ita voce miseriter.

      ‘… iam iam dolet quod egi, iam iamque paenitet.’

      So after a gentle sleep, no longer gripped by madness, as soon as Attis considered in his heart his own act and saw with a clear mind what he no longer had and where he was, with a surging soul he raced back again to the water. There looking out across the infertile sea with eyes from which the tears poured down, she addressed her homeland miserably with a sad voice, thus:

      ‘… Now, now I grieve for what I did; now, now I regret it.’

      (My translation.)

      Liked by 5 people

      • Thanks Artesemia, I should have guessed with that pseudonym that you’d know much more than me about this. That excerpt from Catullus is haunting, and sad.
        I threw out a challenge with my ‘trawling the internet’ charge that, as you’ve articulated clearly, I can’t fully substantiate. A lot (even most) scholarly work is done with the help of the internet in current times.

        Lovetruthcourage and Carrie Ann’s travels are interesting too, but as individual observations, they don’t add a lot of weight to the thesis 4thWave wanted to prove.

        I’ll try again to articulate what provoked me about this piece and also what I want to suggest:
        My observation is that good, scholarly practice is still lacking on all sides of the ‘debate’ about transgender children. As 4thWave often says, it’s a minefield for parents to navigate – there’s so much misinformation, bad science and media hysteria. It’s often about ideological biases but it shouldn’t be: it HAS to be about best practice for the health and safety of children. I might disagree with many here about what this looks like, but I’ll concede there’s a dearth of good research and evidence based information no matter what ‘side’ you’re on.

        So firstly, I was wondering if this movement has funds enough to do this properly. Many have observed that it’s mainly mothers (albeit with some notable fathers) that put in the unpaid work to try and fathom the phenomenon of transgender children .

        I don’t have the time myself and I’m not sure I’ve really got the will. But I’d very much appreciate work on this:
        *from people who are trained in the disciplines that they write in. I want to hear more from neuroscientists, geneticists, biologists, sociologists and anthropologists (I hadn’t thought about ancient historians much but what you say is very interesting, Artesemia)
        *from people who have less personal investment than everyone here (including me) and who make any ideological and philosophical biases clear
        *from people who have the access, skill and time to correlate, analyse and disseminate as extensive a study as possible from our current body of human research and knowledge. It would be wonderful if it could be international, cross-cultural and multigenerational.

        Perhaps I’m dreaming, particularly on that last point. Still, I hope I’ve made clearer what I was trying to say . . .


      • Curious Mother:

        1. My observation is that good, scholarly practice is still lacking on all sides of the ‘debate’ about transgender children.

        Absolute prerequisites would be precise definitions of a) ‘transgender’ and b) ‘transgender children’.

        At this point ‘transgender’ is an extremely ill-defined term, and it is growing vaguer and more elastic all the time.

        2.the ‘debate’ … HAS to be about best practice for the health and safety of children. … I’d very much appreciate work on this …

        On what, exactly? Can you formulate in specific terms the key questions that you would like to see investigated?

        Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been steeped in history almost as long as I’ve been able to read, and have read countless firsthand historical sources, books about history, historical fiction, older literature, and old diaries. Not once, in about 30 years of having pursued my near-lifelong passion for history, have I ever run across any accounts of, e.g., little boys screaming by their breeching ceremonies and insisting they were really girls, or girls demanding they go by male names and would someday grow phalluses.

      What we do have, however, are long histories of third genders in many cultures, people who physically presented as the opposite sex but managed to live healthy, happy, normal lives without any drugs or surgery. We also always had gender-defiant children, so-called “tomboys” and “effeminate” boys, who often turned out to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The majority, also then as now, grew out of it by adolescence, or forged an adult identity that didn’t conform 100% to a rigid set of stereotypes.

      Many of the gender-defiant girls, whatever their sexual orientation turned out to be, just didn’t want to be forced into a role they saw as restrictive, boring, and stupid. Older books and memoirs or semi-fictionalized accounts of real girls’ lives in bygone eras are replete with so-called “tomboys,” girls who hated wearing dresses, were always playing with their brothers and boys instead of their sisters and other girls, preferred to do active things like climb trees and ride horses instead of tatting lace and serving tea. When these girls declared they should’ve been born boys, or wanted to be boys, they didn’t mean that literally. They meant they wanted the kind of life boys were guaranteed, and didn’t want to be forced into a girly role after their parents decided they were “too old” to do the “tomboyish” thing anymore.

      People, including my own great-grandpap, have told ME I should’ve been born a boy or asked if I’m sure I’m not really a guy, because I don’t do the stereotypically girly thing and always preferred male company, being one of the guys, instead of hanging out with 30 best friends and giggling about cute boys. But unlike today’s generation, when my great-grandpap said I had a boy’s body wasted on a girl, he didn’t mean he really saw me as a boy and that I needed to pretend to be a boy.

      To quote from one of the posts in a 12-part series I did earlier this year:

      There is ZERO evidence of transsexual children in history. Just to give a few examples, diabetes and cancer were known about and described as far back as Ancient Egypt, hemophilia was first identified and described in the 10th century during the Golden Age of Islam, and the first well-documented case of a probable autistic child was in the 18th century. There’s extensive, obvious evidence of left-handers and gay people throughout history, even if we see far more visibility in the modern era. Aspies and autistics are also better-diagnosed, instead of locked away in loonybins or viewed as eccentric.

      So where’s the evidence of a plethora of transsexuals prior to the modern era? Don’t you think any doctor or psychologist would’ve loved to attach his (or her) name to a new disorder and write all about it? They would’ve observed such behavior centuries ago and used pseudoscientific explanations like frigid mothers, humoral imbalance, or evil spirits. Where are all the reports in old medical manuscripts, old literature, or vintage diaries of little boys screaming when they started wearing breeches or girls insisting they go by male names?

      What we DO have evidence of are long histories of third genders in many cultures. For example, the Hijira of India, Two Spirits of various indigenous cultures in North America, Sworn Virgins of the Balkans, the Waria of Indonesia, and the Fa’afafine of Samoa. There’s also a long history of cross-dressing. The first sex change operations and cross-sex hormones were actually used as attempted “conversion therapy” for gay men, justified by a pseudoscientific misunderstanding of gender expression and sexual orientation. Iran now pressures gay people into getting sex changes for those very reasons.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Artesemia:

        Your first question is a tough one to answer. Personally, I wish our family had avoided the label ‘transgender child’ longer than we did. I use it because it’s the easiest way to describe what my child experiences. It’s not a term he likes or uses very often.
        I think the person conducting the research would need to set the terms and definitions. I find it hard to take Diane Ehrensaft’s ‘apples and oranges’ idea on board (just too twee) but it’s clear that adequate delineation has been lacking in research up until now. I’m expecting some here to disagree, but I think, as far as possible, it would be an advantage to distinguish between kids that have a fluid or creative idea of gender, and those that insist their identity does not match their body or their assigned gender. It would be important (and one would hope this was part of the methodology) to state: “for the purposes of this research, ‘transgender’ is defined thus . . .”
        As for “what I’d like researched”. Well, I’m just one parent with a wish list, but for what it’s worth, here are some things I’d like to know. I’ll start with the small scale, qualitative stuff and work up to what it would be great to see longitudinally:

        * Social contagion: Perhaps some mixed method stuff: some surveys and then some focus groups. It would need to be investigative at the point rather than conclusive (although maybe some recommendations could come out of it).
        * Re above: it would be great to do it comparatively, so across different communities, racial, social and economic groups – perhaps even different countries.
        * Discourse analysis – some ideas: the ‘transition or die” narrative; the “born in the wrong body” narrative and the “sparkly dresses, Barbie etc” narrative. I think this is where 4thWave has already been very effective, and provocative.
        * Suicide. This needs to be a far more extensive study, and mixed method. We need a collated meta analysis of cross cultural conceptions of suicide (already done, but needs compiling) and ‘types’ of suicide and suicidal behaviour. We need extensive surveys (with control groups of teens, for instance) that distinguish suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts and completed suicide. This needs to be compared to surveys with trans identifying teens We also need to study completed suicides in the trans community, the reasons for it and recommendations for prevention. And . . . so much more. This one is hard for me to consider as much as I think it’s necessary to do.

        * Philosophical, sociological, historical and anthropological analysis of concepts of childhood, of ‘nature’, of science, nature, gender & the body. I’m being a bit broad here (as I’m running out of time and this is what I’d actually like to do, sometime in the future).

        * Longitudinal studies of desistance, persistence, and life ‘success’ in trans -identity youth. (More to say here, but I’m out of time).

        Good luck all, these are my thoughts. I’m going to bow out again for now.


    • You know that mythology isn’t proof of reality, right? Or do you think those Centaurs (half men / half horse) things are for real?


    • Tiresias was turned into a woman because Hera was livid at him for trampling mating snakes. It had absolutely nothing to do with having had a transsexual identity. Tiresias was also later turned back into a man. Claiming a mythological figure as trans is as ridiculous as trying to trans historical figures like Joan of Arc and Mulan because they donned “male” attire.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Yeah, OK, otherkin. Frankly, I can see why the Tumblr kids get tired of identifying with humans. I’m not trying to ‘prove’ anything with Tiresias. My point is only that a paid, qualified researcher would help your cause.


      • I’m sure you know that this research has been complicated and questioned by many factors, Katiesan. I would love the desistence literature to be rigorous, comprehensive and convincing. It’s not.


      • Yes, more and better research is always a good thing, but Curious Mother skipped over a very important point— how does she expect proof of a negative? How does she expect a “qualified researcher” to prove that suicidal trans kids did not exist long ago? She rejects all research as insufficient and unconvincing, and also rejects the lack of historical records supporting trans. How does one prove nonexistence? I am pretty sure that the Loch Ness monster is a legend, but how can I scientifically prove that such a thing never existed? I can only say that there are no fossil records, or remains of one, that have been found. For that matter, God is a similar matter. God may or may not exist, but if God does not exist, how does one prove nonexistence? Evolution is a real thing, but it doesn’t prove that there is no God.

        The point of another one of my post wasn’t so much that *I* have interesting anecdotes about my travels, but rather, anyone else would discover the same things. I traveled in Egypt with a recognized expert on Egyptology, BTW. Yet, research done online is “trawling the internet” and going to these places, and personally seeing the historical artifacts, and reading the old texts, is “anecdotal.” I am a “qualified researcher” myself, yet anything I can say is going to be insufficient for a true believer. A better questions is “On what does Curious Mother base her belief in the entirely faith-based trans religion?” Ironically, she is the only one citing anecdote in her child’s personal experience.

        I do agree that the change agent is the one responsible for proving their position. And to Curious Mother’s charge, there is plenty of qualified research on the other side.

        For people supporting the trans religion, nothing is good enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetruthcourage Interestingly, I spent about two years of my life with low vision and, towards the end of that period, ‘legally blind’. A friend shared the James Hilman quote with me: “The wound and the eye are one and the same”. It’s still a provocation for me, or a koan, if you like.


      • katiesan, I spent some time trawling. I’ve written about it on my own blog (and quoted Bryn Tannehill, which I’m sure won’t satisfy you). I would like to go back and look at the peer reviewed papers again. From memory (I can’t access at the moment), I looked at the Dutch model, including Cohen-Kettinis and Steensma, Americans like Olsen and Canadians like Zucker. All are guilty of ‘confirmation bias’, small samples (difficult to address) and conflating gender questioning with gender insistent (possibly even more difficult to address).
        I think it’s even more problematic to think about what ‘desistance’ looks like. I’m not happy with what I’ve written so far (much more is needed and what I have here is a very personal perspective) but if interested, I’ve put some of my thoughts here:https://raisingorlando.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/desist/


  17. To CM – one thought that immediately came to mind upon reading your “we need more research” suggestions – I understand where you are coming from in feeling that more information from an unbiased or non-ideological perspective is helpful. To some extent, of course, this is impossible. Pretty much everybody in the social sciences has an agenda of one kind or another. The hope is that use of the scientific method, together with a commitment to the ethics of responsible research, will yield conclusions that are helpful to all. When we read that the pro-trans lobby is, for instance, advising its adherents to “spam” surveys, we grow doubtful about that lobby’s commitment to an unbiased search for the truth.

    I also feel that, when someone or some group is advocating for a sweeping overhaul of both social norms, and previously-established standards of medical care, perhaps the onus is a bit more on the side of the “change agent” than on that of the status quo. Particularly where, as here, the trans lobby is agitating for the whole-sale sterilization of minors, and the advisability of their becoming life-long medical patients using strong and untested drugs, and enduring major surgeries, it would seem that there ought to be a better scientific grounding than there appears to be. In other words, these are extremely harsh and radical things that the trans lobby is advocating for children and young people – and advocating, for that matter, to be used instead of other less invasive and destructive means. What disturbs me, and so many of the other parents on this blog, is that there appears to be little in the way of data underlying this movement, rather than ideological claims and accusations of “trans-phobia” when concerns are raised, however mildly or politely.

    Liked by 5 people

    • What you say makes a lot of sense. As someone who works in humanities, I automatically question claims to ‘objective’, ‘unbiased’ research. I do think it helps to name ideological biases. Part of my own bias and perspective is shaped by having a 12 year old child who told us he was a boy and that girl’s puberty would “be like death, except worse than death” before he ever knew what social media really was (he was nine). We support him, but we’re also wary of setting him on a limiting path when he’s still so very young.
      I only pop up here from time to time as our family’s story really doesn’t fit with the stories here. I’ve come to acknowledge and accept that there’s lots of different stories, particularly when you take different cultures, epistemologies, social systems and social practices into account.
      Whether or not it behoves the ‘change agent’ to do the research, it would benefit those advocating caution to do their own. It’s tough, admittedly – as many drug companies, medical establishments and tertiary institutions are more likely to fund an invasive approach at this point in time.
      I’m only one person, so others have probably thought more deeply about what this research might look like. I’ll put some considerations below Artesemia’s questions.


  18. CM, I do have sympathy and empathy for you in your situation. It is horrible, to see your child in such distress, and of course as parents we all want to do what we can, to try and take the pain away. I actually do get that, on a variety of levels.

    What I guess I would ask you to consider, and perhaps do some research of your own, is what exactly your child’s life is going to look like if your child attempts to change gender. Not now necessarily, but in 10, 20, 30 or more years. You probably haven’t read all the posts on this blog, but I have a child who, not for trans reasons, became a life-long medical patient. He will be forever tied to doctor’s appointments, tests, treatments, and drugs. HE HATES IT. He first became ill when he was just about your child’s age, and honestly I couldn’t possibly have imagined all the consequences that would flow from the fact of his illness. Maybe he is the worst-case scenario, but do talk to young adults or teens who suffer from chronic illnesses, to see what their experience is like.

    The other issue to be very clear-eyed about is that going ahead with a “transition” will mean extraordinary limitations for your child in terms both of employment and future relationships. It may not be pretty, but the truth of it is… it’s immensely more difficult for a trans person to get a good job, especially a job that involves dealing with the public, and the pool of potential romantic partners will become, in essence, zero or close to it. Your child cannot possibly appreciate or even imagine the set of disabilities that will ensue from this decision (not to mention, obviously, the giant unknown of all these treatments in the first place).

    Finally, I know you are aware of this, maybe from other children or certainly intellectually but – all of us are engaged in helping our kids and teens emerge into adulthood and through the bumps and bruises of being unhappy and even having more serious problems. Every parent I know has to help her child navigate through some difficult situation or another. All of us want to take the pain away and none of us can.

    Think about this – if the option of “transitioning” your child were off the table, just couldn’t be done at all for one reason or another – what would you do? I’m assuming, you’d do what you could to give your child the love and support and caring that your child needs to be healthy and strong to face life in the body your child was born with. So… do those things! Instead of the trans things!

    Liked by 6 people

    • I appreciate your respectful and empathetic response, worried mom. I think I’ve read all of 4thWave’s posts since their inception. I started off by sometimes piping up and saying, “That would never happen”, only to discover that it had, and it does. I’m thinking of things like the “sudden onset” that 4thWave talks about or the teen that gets diagnosed with dysphoria and walks out with a script for T on the same day. Frankly, as an Australian resident, I’m still incredulous. I’m also sympathetic to the UK and British Moms who have rallied around to tackle this phenomenon.

      Our own experience is quite different. Yes, I’m completely freaked out by the thought of sterilisation, medical interventions and cross sex hormones. From my own trans acquaintances and friends, I understand that it’s not quite like the dire and exhausting experience you’re having with your ill child but it’s still not anything I’d ever, ever wish on someone, let alone a child who I love dearly.

      What has helped me considerably are trans people who gently remind me (often) that it’s not my transition and that (we hope), it will not be my husband’s and my decision. In Australia, our kid will have to have “Gillick competence” – not a perfect assessment but a test nonetheless – before cross sex hormones are approved. I wish there wasn’t so much cost and red tape but I largely think this is a good thing.
      I see my job to educate, guide and support my kid to grow into himself and to understand his life options as fully as possible. I remind him daily of the options to continue on the boy’s football team, wearing what he likes, having the interests and the self efficacy that he does. He has grown up with lesbian aunties, cousins and friends. He has many different role models around him.

      So, we’ll see. But if my kid is one of the small number whose sense of self will be resolved by cross sex hormones and SRS then we will support him in his decision. Completely.

      It’s not a perfect situation. I don’t want to keep defending our decisions in this group, as I think there’s points of difference that will never be resolved because our situations and our life experiences are so different. Sometimes I despair at the polarisation between ‘trans religion’ (what IS that?) and the TERF position. They’re slurs on both sides that blur more complex, personal positions. Maybe we’ll find some common ground one day.

      I began by commenting here that the foray into ancient Rome and Greece was interesting but didn’t really illuminate the current day situation with treatment for gender diverse/trans kids – and that I wish we all had money and time for proper research. I still wish that.

      In the meantime, I read everything but then I’m pretty guided by the kid in front of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. CM, in the blog that you linked here, I see that you already have your child on hormone “blockers.” That’s not being in “neutral, information-gathering mode,” that’s somebody who’s already pretty darn bought in. This choice is already affecting your child’s physical and mental development and maybe if your child is lucky, some of these effects can be erased – but maybe they can’t be. I’m sure you hope you’re right about the choice you’ve made on your child’s behalf.

    Also – and I don’t want to sound snarky here but – did you ever think about just laying off gender-related subject material? You said that you ask your child “every day” about gender-related issues like presentation and activities – obviously your child is getting the very strong message about what’s important to you. Sometimes benign neglect is a much healthier strategy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, good point – I don’t actually ask him daily. I overstated that as I tend to feel defensive here. I just anticipate the criticism that we’ve brought into gender stereotypes – also that one can never return from a social transition.
      You’ll also mostly get the impression on this blog that social transition automatically leads to blockers which automatically leads to cross sex hormones and surgery. This seems true for some and maybe it’s true in the US. It doesn’t correlate with my observation and experience


      • In all published studies (see: Dutch) and by the account of gender specialists 100% of puberty-blocked children have proceeded to cross-sex hormones and therefore were sterilized. Bring evidence to the contrary.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. 4thWave: that’s one of the problems, isn’t it? There’s not any published evidence to the contrary yet because there’s only one longitudinal study that’s been done – the Dutch one. At least, that’s all I’m aware of (would be very happy to be directed to any other studies that have been done). I was aware that Kristina Olsen was currently leading a longitudinal study (although I don’t feel that hopeful about it). A bit of Googling revealed that Robert Garafolo is, too.

    In Australia, as maybe you know, Georgie Stone challenged the Family Court in 2011 (re:Jamie) so that transgender children and their parents could access puberty blockers without going through the legal system.

    Since then, more children (including my child) have been prescribed blockers. This group of kids are still pretty self-limiting (ie they’re the ‘persisters’), in that referrals and psychiatric assessments are needed before endocrinologists appointments are granted. Once at the endocrinologists, kids are assessed again. It’s unlikely (although of course anything is possible) that a child who wasn’t very definite would get this far.

    In relation to not proceeding to cross sex hormones after blockers, I’m anecdotally aware of two adolescents. Of course, I’m also aware of social ‘transitioners’ who have ‘desisted’ – as I’m sure we all are.

    In relation to two things I’ve been thinking about that worriedmom said: firstly, it would be great to not think about gender all the time. I phrased it badly before, but I guess I mean that I try to keep options open for my kid. I try to make it clear that he can do what he wants to do and present as he wants to present whatever his gender identity is. Of course, gender bias is a bit like racial bias in that once you’re aware of it it’s hard to go back to being oblivious. Still, my son said recently that “being trans was the least of his worries”, which I took as indicating that we’re doing something right. I definitely don’t think it’s healthy to think about gender or sexuality every moment of every day – although I think this is harder to do if you’re in a minority or have to fight to be yourself.
    As for making decisions and then being in a certain ‘camp’ or on a certain ‘side’: it doesn’t feel like that. Parenting, most of the time, feels more to me like you listen and observe, make a decision, and then listen and observe again. I don’t think of my child’s as being set in stone – although as I’ve made clear I still worry about the ramifications of decisions we’ve already made in allowing him to take blockers. There are still many more decisions to be made in the future, with different trajectories.

    In allowing our kid to take blockers, I think our whole family made the decision that we had to make. He was running in front of cars and jumping out of windows. Now he’s not. In that situation, it doesn’t matter what the statistics do or don’t say. You do everything in your power to alleviate distress. I don’t regret it at all. I hope that my kid never will either – and he’s certainly grateful for blockers right now. We did what seemed best at the time and then we hoped for the best. And you use whatever power you’ve got in order to do the best that you can.

    I know I’ll never convince any of you. I think that’s partly because what you’ve all experienced with your kids is very very different. I’ve heard the pain on these pages and I really do wish you all find the resolutions that you need. I don’t think I’ve got more to add right now – except a few links which I came across today and which may be of interest – or not. There’s not a lot of benefit in continuing to defend our decision, or any decisions we make as a family in the future. Like everyone, we’re doing the very best that we can.


    Click to access Info-Sheet-Transgender-affirmation-extended-version.pdf



    • I am sorry that your child was attempting to commit suicide. My daughter has expressed both suicidal manipulation and has presented as what I observed as actual suicidal ideation (although has never attempted to actually kill herself) and the manipulation is fucking infuriating and the ideation is terrifying. And, when my daughter socially transitioned herself, it did not make her happy or help her live her life more productively — it was actually when she became genuinely suicidal and she was hospitalized multiple times.

      Why do you feel you have to convince us and change our minds? Has anyone here told you that you’re doing it wrong? Or are you just upset that everyone who has a kid who says they’re trans aren’t pushing for the treatments you feel your kid needs?

      From the things you said about Australia, it sounds as if the protocol in place is what most parents here would appreciate — experts who diagnose and I’m assuming a tier of treatments? So, children and teens who present are started on interventions which range from least invasive — like lifestyle changes — and then move on to more involved — like therapy and treatment for existing mental health issues — and finally onto the seriously invasive preparing for transition because the simpler interventions didn’t work? Because to me, at least, that sounds like actual diagnosis and thoughtful treatment and it would acknowledge that every child IS NOT THE SAME. See, that’s all most of us here want — for experts to see our individual kids for themselves and not as a one-size-fits-all. To acknowledge that there seems to be some new situations with teen girls who seem to be grasping onto a trans identity when they had no issues at all with being female until social and psychological issues started to become very apparent.

      I always use the analogy of someone presenting with stomach pain. You never immediately say, “Oh — you have cancer because you told us you have pain. Let’s put you on chemo and we’ll get you into surgery as soon as possible.” No, you make sure the person’s been eating normally. Then discuss if the pain is constant or intermittent. Run some basic tests. Maybe you discover an allergy and you cut out that food and the pain stops. Maybe the pain gets worse and you do more tests. And the x-rays come back and it IS cancer and you start intensive interventions.

      I really do think that there are people who identify as trans and various therapies don’t work and eating better and exercising and sleeping well and being more engaged in enjoyable activities and being supported as GNC isn’t very helpful and therapy doesn’t make a difference and only transitioning seems to work. But you have to try the intermediate steps because transitioning anyone who says trans is like telling everyone who presents with stomach pain that they have cancer — it’s NOT TRUE and it’s too extreme. But, while maybe not in Australia, that is what is happening in other countries. I was called a transphobe BY A THERAPIST I WAS INTERVIEWING because I mentioned that I had reservations about jumping into trans acceptance for MY kid with both feet because I thought she had some major mental health concerns and behavioral issues. That kind of disrespect is poisonous. Most of us here have had educators and professionals essentially pit us AGAINST our children. And, you and other commenters do the exact same thing. It is either insinuated or outright stated that we hate our kids and want to control them. THAT is hateful and serves no purpose.

      My daughter has a major mental illness. I am beyond frustrated that it took SEVERAL YEARS for professionals to acknowledge that we, as parents, were telling THE TRUTH. That we have always been trying to aid our daughter, but that we felt pretending that she was male was, in her case, only going to exacerbate her true, underlying issues. And, in fact, it has. It’s been time wasted.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oh Katiesan, I’m sorry. I NEVER reveal this on my own page – as it’s read by people we know – but actually it’s my daughter, the ‘cis’ one, who had the most frightening suicide attempt in our family. She took a very large overdose – at thirteen – and nearly stopped her heart. Since then I’ve always urged people, “Look after the siblings”. I have a sense of the agony you’re going through and I’m so so sorry. For us, it’s been a nightmare. I’m sure it has been for you too. Wishing you and yours light and peace x


    • I can appreciate that you are doing the very best you can for your child. You are making the decisions that you believe are what your child needs at the time. I can imagine that none of the decisions your family has made have come easily.

      The major issue that I have is that random strangers are doing everything they can to take away my right to do what I think is best for my child. Every kid is different, and therefore treatment plans should be individualized. They are not in the case of transgender. Children diagnose themselves, and any adult that doesn’t immediately get on board with transition is considered a horrible monster.

      The people you mentioned that are doing longitudinal studies all have a vested interest in keeping the trans train rolling down the tracks full speed ahead. These studies are also funded by individuals and foundations with the same interests. They are using children who are already receiving their services. I honestly don’t see how their studies will be scientifically sound. I have looked at some of their organizations, and I don’t see ANY evidence of therapy services for children to deal with their dysphoria without social or medical transition. What little therapy there is is all about how to live as a trans person. I would not let any of those people anywhere near my kid.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes. The “longitudinal studies” are short term (5 years in the case of the $5 million NIH grant given to the top pediatric transitioners in the United States), and the cohort will consist solely of children who were socially transitioned, went on to puberty blockers, and then cross-sex hormones–i.e., children conditioned since early childhood to believe they could actually change sex. There is no control group of children who were supported in defying gender stereotypes yet not coddled in the delusion that they could actually be the opposite sex. So the “studies” from the outset are fatally flawed by confirmation bias. Who can know how some of these children would have fared without all this tampering and “affirming,” simply allowed to grow up without the promise of “transition” as children have in all generations prior? We will never know, because trans activists and their media handmaidens have made it politically incorrect for anyone to actually conduct an unbiased, controlled study. Curious Mother trusts these gender specialists to look out for the best interests of her child. This blog exists for those of us who simply aren’t willing to entrust our children to the tender mercies of these people, whose idea of “support” is emotionally blackmailing parents into sterilizing their own 11-year-old children. No thanks. You can wait for the studies. We will continue thinking critically. Lobotomy was once seen as a way to escape the rigors of the human condition as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t reply to 4thwave’s latest comment on this, so I’m replying to my own. Thanks to 4thwave for keeping up with the trolls! I don’t know how you do it all. I certainly don’t have the energy for all of the negativity.

        Katiesan: Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking.

        I no longer care how many times I’m called a TERF or whatever other awful names the trans activists come up with. I will do everything I can to keep my daughter from becoming a permanent medical patient. I refuse to support the misguided notion that a person can change gender. I refuse to contribute to my daughter becoming a weak, special snowflake adult who will crumble and attempt suicide when someone doesn’t use preferred pronouns or because she has breasts. I am trying to help her work through her problems, keep her healthy body, and have the tools necessary to deal with all of the challenges that life will throw at her.


      • I think Curious Mother is genuinely doing what she thinks is best for her kid. It’s unfortunate that her top online advisors seem to be late-transitioning trans women, from all appearances. I don’t actually feel her motive in posting here was nefarious. But her obvious need to feel validated in the choices she has made for her daughter is what overrides in the end, and it’s the same each time she has reappeared. I do hope all goes well for her and her family, despite my irritation at her trollish behavior in her last comment.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I just want to say that I feel nothing but compassion for you CuriousMother. My daughter recently made a half hearted suicide attempt mostly in despair about peer relationships, but it led me to be willing to use a masculine name and pronouns at home to ease her distress. And I am pretty clear with myself that if she had come to us pleading dysphoria before puberty hit and before culture and social media had a chance to be an influence that I would have very seriously considered puberty blockers. Because she remains so conventionally feminine (for lack of a better term) I remain skeptical of her diagnosis and because the triggering event that led her to become anxious and depressed and then start engaging in self-harm was being targeted for sexual harrassment at school because she was the first girl in her set to develop and start puberty I can’t shake the feeling that she is fitting someone else’s narrative to what is very real pain around her body. I don’t think there are easy answers here, and I am most uncomfortable with what I read here when it seems to be an outright rejection of transition. But I have been relieved to find a community of similarly minded folk who think that transition should not be the only option. I watched a video by a woman who desisted yesterday who described the alternative as reconciliation. I hope that my child can reconcile herself to the body she is in, but I also understand that it will be her choice to make. Like you I am just trying to find the best way to support her as a parent and muddling through. And I see a lot of trans people commenting on some of these gender critical blogs and expressing their concern about the trendiness of something that has been a real struggle for them, so I feel some optimism that there can be a more nuanced discussion when caring people come together and talk in the way that you have here.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not going to presume to speak for any other parent about their particular family situation. What I will say, though, is that it will take decades to know whether the currently puberty-blocked kids who then go on to cross sex hormones (at this point, that is 100% if you listen to the top specialists in the field) are going to be happy as sterilized, permanently altered adults. The only reason “trans kids” are being treated before adulthood is so they will “pass” better as imperfect impersonations of the opposite sex. It’s all about passing. I fail to understand why adults think it is better to indulge the idea that this goal of “passing” is so worthwhile, rather than helping children feel ok about themselves. To endorse the idea that something is fundamentally wrong with a child’s healthy body, such that they may need years of hormone treatments and surgeries to continue to “pass” as something they fundamentally are not (otherwise, why do the treatment in the first place?). This idea that children must go through these treatments, rather than waiting until adulthood to decide if that’s what they really want, is very recent. Will some of these children grow up to want the treatments? No doubt. But for those who don’t, what a great gift it would be not to deny them all the possibilities of life–INCLUDING growing up without constant tampering by doctors, psychiatrists, and “gender specialists.” Including growing up in a body crafted by evolution, not a surgeon or an endocrinologist. To discover themselves sexually (which, if you read accounts, is often the reason some people decide not to “transition” after all). I have great empathy for all of us parents who are struggling, in one way or another, with this issue. But I do not believe this historically recent trend to insist that children must transition early in order to “pass” better is something positive. I think it is profoundly sad. And while your family, Curious Mother, may be feeling this is a better alternative than what you had before, the devastation currently being experienced by so many families who testify here is the direct result of this incredibly radical change in how we view childhood, sex, adolescence, and the human condition in general. The great hubris of human beings, to believe we can change the very foundation of what it means to be a sexually dimorphic mammalian species, and call it “progress”… and call it more real than the intricate intelligence of nature and evolution… I find that something to deeply mourn.

      Liked by 5 people

      • This isn’t really getting anywhere, is it?

        I completely agree that when ‘gender specialists’ (whatever that means) resort to a singular transition narrative then we should all be deeply concerned. I agree that the largest current studies of trans youth seem to be lacking control groups – which they need.

        I think I would have done very similarly to the mothers who have responded to me here (very empathetically, I should add, which I appreciate very much). If my child was already in their teens, suffering the social effects of being a girl, then suddenly convinced that they were transgender via social media I would be deeply, deeply suspicious. I would certainly not be sanctioning immediate medical intervention. I would probably be part of this group.

        I was struck particularly by the impression that katiesan left with me, of screaming into a wilderness when no one is listening, where everyone distrusts your parenting, where everyone seems determined to feed you a ‘line’ and to denigrate your judgement. I’ve felt like that too (and I’m not referring to this blog, btw, but to early experiences of trying to convince teachers, doctors and family that my child’s experiences were real, valid, and not something that I’d just made up).

        I’ve observed that each conversation I’ve had on this forum over the past two years follows a similar trajectory. I read something that makes me break my silence. I comment. There are responses – and I also appreciate that. This blog breaks the typical pattern of most blogs in that it hasn’t trailed off since its inception. It’s always lively and responsive.

        Usually, some people decide I’m just a troll from the trans cult. Others respond more thoughtfully. I discover something I hadn’t realised, or considered so much. It feels like something productive is happening.

        But in the end it feels like any possibility of mutual understanding is shut down.

        I share our personal stories with some reluctance. However, it seems one thing that we pretty much all agree on is that there’s a paucity of good research. In the meantime, stories are all we have.

        So, I write that my kid was running in front of cars before he was on blockers. 4thWave responds that early medical intervention is *all* about passing. I concede that medical specialists treating my kid have been cautious, careful and questioning. I’m told I’m not thinking critically. I point out that the future is not set, that my child is not sterilised, but I’m not only told that I’m mistaken (based on one study of 55 children on the other side of the world) but that I’m a ‘monster’ for ‘entrusting’ my child to the ‘trans lobby’.

        It reminds me of a certain presidential candidate who is certain that they have the ‘best temperament’ and that everyone else is either lying or a little bit stupid.
        Oh well.


      • Great. Right. Compare me to Donald Trump, that’s the ticket. It’s not that you are lying or stupid–you obviously are neither, Curious Mother. And no one called you a “monster.” But just because you have chosen this path does not mean you can come over here–a blog you already know isn’t onboard with pediatric transition–and expect not to be challenged. You’ll notice I don’t comment on your blog. There’s a reason for that. By comparing gender criticism to Donald Trump, you’re edging into troll territory. Just like the trolling you do on Twitter.

        And it isn’t just that 55-child study that says 100% of puberty-blocked children go on to cross sex hormones. It’s Johanna Olson, Diane Ehrensaft, Norman Spack, and all the other top clinicians in the field. They are sterilizing children. They are permanently altering children who are too young to understand the consequences. I’m not going to candy-coat or soft-pedal that just because you have decided to come back over here. No one has insulted you. But now you’re starting to insult us, so it’s probably time for you to retreat again. I was happy to host a discussion between you and others, but now you’ve crossed the line, as you have repeatedly in the past.

        You are certain you are doing the right thing by your child. So why would you come over here to try to convince us of that? This blog isn’t here to make you feel better about your choices; to validate your decision to allow gender specialists and endocrinologists to intervene in your child’s development. This blog exists to provide an alternative for parents who feel railroaded by a billion-dollar lobby which has essentially silenced anyone who questions the wisdom of “sex reassignment” for youth. You have lots of support everywhere but here. Plenty of people patting you on the back.

        In contrast, the families who don’t buy pediatric transgenderism, whose lives are being destroyed, have almost no support. You have absolutely no idea what a holocaust this is, do you? You have no idea whatsoever what our families struggle with, with NO ONE–NO ONE!–on our side, in the media, in medicine, the law. You have no clue–and it shows.

        How about you respect the pain of parents here instead of trolling, instead of looking for validation?

        Do I sound angry? I am. Because you are over here peddling the suicide/self-harm angle too. By saying and now repeating your point that your child was self harming, by essentially saying that medically transitioning your daughter was the only way to deal with it, you are only contributing to the immoral emotional blackmail which is the reason so many parents are falling prey to turning their children into lifelong medical patients. There is no evidence that “transition” is the cure for self harm, no matter how many times parents are bludgeoned over the head with it.

        If you think the answer to your child’s self harming behavior is to assure that child that s/he is really a boy, fine. Do what you need to do. God knows, you’ve got plenty of support for doing that. But 4thWaveNow isn’t here to give you warm fuzzies about that choice. Sorry if that upsets you, but you don’t need us for your warm fuzzies, anyway.

        For those unfamiliar with Curious Mother, on Twitter, she is a fan of Parker Molloy, Andrea James, Lynn Conway, and other late-transitioning trans women who have made a career of harassing feminists and anyone who dares to contradict trans activist dogma. Andrea James attempted to destroy Michael Bailey by–among other things–posting photographs of his young children with sexually suggestive captions. Curious Mother, nevertheless, “likes” and retweets “Ms” James’ words of wisdom. She also enjoys making fun of “TERFs” in her Twitter feed. In short, she is far more inclined to trust the “wisdom” of late-transitioning heterosexual men than “cis” mothers like us, despite her claims of sympathy on our behalf. While I always hope she comes back here for sincere reasons, it sometimes seems she wants to undermine us–like other “concern troll” trans activists. One of many examples, a “lighthearted” tweet making fun of “TERFs”:

        Liked by 5 people

  21. It’s another blog – and the tweet title is not my own. I retweeted that particular blog post on impulse not knowing it would appear with that tag. I’ve thought about taking it down & just haven’t, as I don’t use Twitter that much. Having said that, TERFs are a thing: there really are radical feminists out there who despise transgender people, particularly trans women. Weirdly (I’m not sure why you’ve done this) that particular screenshot is a quote from Germaine Greer, who has certainly said some awful and very misguided things about transgender people.

    The Twitter account you’ve found is the one I use so that I can indeed inform myself about transgender activists. I also on occasion retweet things support Safe Schools and the Australian marriage equality bill.

    But forget it. I’m not a ‘concern troll’ katiesan, I’m not trying to convince you to change your actions at all. I don’t have any sinister intentions, difficult as that might be to believe, and I’m sorry if I hurt you. I have difficult, complicated and often contradictory thoughts about transgender lives and the life my kid is trying to build for himself. But here I go defending myself again.

    I admit I suspected you’d rise to the bait with the Donald Trump reference, 4thWave. I admit it was a cheap shot. It came from the place where I despair of North Americans, and their inability to see beyond their own shoreline. I’m frankly terrified, for reasons far beyond the ethics of transgender health care. I’m going to take this as a memo to look after my family, put gender issues to the side as much as possible, and go and fight climate change.


    • For the record, I didn’t “find” the Twitter account. You’ve used it repeatedly to tweet at me/attempt to bait me and other 4thWaveNow contributors, so it’s no secret. And saying Germaine Greer is “misguided” tells me all I need to know. Thanks for that clarification.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having followed this entire thread, even though it is now a year later, I must say that I think you have been incredibly restrained.

        I, too, live in Australia. I am against redefining Marriage, particularly due to the “mandatory” insertion of hypersexualised materials into schools. Unsurprisingly, in the state I live in, there has been an exponential rise in children being presented to the clinic at the Royal Children’s. Hospital.
        It is interesting that CM conflates redefining Marriage, hypersexualising other people’s children without parental knowledge/consent, rejecting credible research, suicide, trolling, contempt for North America, snarky anti-President comments, and climate change activism.
        The state with the mandatory education agenda has a Socialist government, and it has poured millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to push their ideas on to children. The same pattern exists in other Australian states.
        It is extremely difficult to get access to any counter-information to the “Safe Schools” rhetoric. Why? The vitriol, trolling, bullying, threats of rape (anal rape is particularly popular), death threats, physical blockading, loud noises/shouting, etc.

        This support site is difficult enough to find in the first place (search engines!) without it being destroyed by trolls.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I quote from the comment policy, “The purpose of this blog is to give voice to an alternative to the dominant trans-activist and medical paradigm currently being touted by the media. Preference is given to commenters who are also gender-critical, though respectful questions/comments countering this view will be considered.”

      Look — your plan seems to be what all the pro-trans commenters do — come in, pretend to be sympathetic, and then try to convince everyone that you know best. That you’re the best parent EVER. You’re so much better than we poor, misguided people. You parent the child in front of you, dontcha know? As if we’re doing our parenting by remote control. As if we’re the ones getting some kind of recognition for doing what we think is right. You’ve had to fight for what you wanted. Except, you know, seemingly not so much. So you come searching for people to preach to and try to convert.

      I don’t follow you on Twitter; I don’t frequent your blog. I honestly do not understand people who distinctly disagree and then seem upset that they can’t convince us to change our wicked ways.

      I’m done judging other people, but you should probably just go talk about how we’re so mean and hateful and poor, poor you.

      Honestly, reading your posts is actually painful. It’s like you don’t have any idea how to cope with anyone who fundamentally disagrees with you and yet is doing nothing but that. It’s as if you can’t help yourself. You seem to kind of get that other people are speaking to you in good faith and then you are abusive and nasty. And, I’ve had enough of your blather.

      No, you don’t get to decide how I feel about you. You may think that you’re not a concern troll, but you are. Through and through.

      TL; DR: Bye, Felicia.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Pingback: Where are the transgender people in other eras? | The Prime Directive

  23. Pingback: Will The Surgery Kings And Queens Be Allowed To Topple Transgender Military Service? | Non-Binary

  24. Pingback: I’m A Transgender, Decorated Veteran. I Oppose Military Sex Changes - The Right Side of News

  25. From a FB post by Wayne Dynes, editor of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (1990)

    “The current sense, reported by many trans people, that they have, respectively, a female soul trapped in a male body and a male soul trapped in a femaie body, is not a cultural universal but an acquired motif. The origins of the motif have been explored by my late friend Warren Johansson in the text that follows. Among other things my mentor Warren was an accomplished Hebraist. He shows how the thinking of the rabbis of former centuries could be creative and influential. This piece is intricate, despite its short length, and merits close attention.


    This term refers not to literal incarceration or confinement but to an aspect of gender dysphoria – the idea that a human body can contain, locked within itself, a soul of the other gender. In their adhesion to this self-concept, many pre-and postoperative transsexuals unknow­ingly echo a theme that has an age-old, though recondite history.

    An important advance was achieved by the pioneer in the struggle for homosexual rights Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1824-1895). Ulrichs formulated the notion that the Urning (as he called the male individ­ual attracted to his own sex) was endowed with anima muliebris corpore virili in­clusa, “a female soul trapped in a male body.” He took the concept from the two-volume work Eros: die Männerliebe der Griechen (Glarus and St. Gall, 1836-38) by Heinrich Hoessli. This Swiss homosexual writer had in turn pur­loined it from an article in the Munich Allgemeine Zeitung that dis­cussed the kabbalistic belief in the trans­migration of souls (Hebrew: gilgul naphshot).

    Foreign as this idea is to the ra­tionalistic mind of the twentieth century, and to the Biblical and Talmudic periods of Judaism as well, it is first mentioned by Saadiah Gaon (882-942. Gaon, the spiritual leader of Babylonian Jewry, rejected it as an alien doctrine that had found its way into Judaism from the Islamic cultural milieu. Yet the belief in transmigration took firm hold in the earliest center of Kabbal­istic thinking in Spain, Girona in Catalo­nia, and the notion that a female soul might be reincarnated in a male body is first expressed by Jacob ben Sheshet Gerondi (about 1235) in a work entitled Liqqute smkhhah uphie’ah (Gleanings of the For­gotten and Unharvested), printed at Ferrara in 1556. Later, Isaac ben Solomon Luria (1534-1572), the head of the kabbal­istic center at Safed in Galilee, made it an essential part of his doctrine. His oral teaching was incorporated in a book writ­ten by his disciple Hayyim Vital between 1573 and 1576 entitled Sha’arhagilguh’m (The Gate of Transmigrations).

    According to the Kabbalists, the ultimate destiny of the soul is – after de­veloping all those perfections the germs of which are eternally implanted in it – to return to the Infinite Source from which it first emanated. Another term of life must be vouchsafed to those souls that have not yet fulfilled their destiny in the nether world and have not been sufficiently puri­fied for the state of reunion with the Pri­mordial Cause. Hence the soul must in­habit one body after another until after repeated trials it is able to ascend to the “palace of the Heavenly King.” In the second half of the thirteenth century the Zohar had declared: “All souls are subject to transmigration.” Luria further taught that as a rule, the souls of men transmigrate into the bodies of men, those of women into the bodies of women; but there are exceptions.

    The soul of the patri­arch Judah was in part that of a woman, while Tamar had the soul of a man (a fanciful interpretation of the story in Genesis 38: 12-26). Tamar’s soul passed into Ruth, so that the latter could not bear children until God had imparted to her sparks from a female soul. Some Kabbalists considered that the transmigra­tion of a man’s soul into the body of a woman was a punishment for the commission of sins, such as man’s refusing to give alms or to communicate his own wisdom to others. The wide diffusion and reception of the Lurianic version of the Kabbala ensured that many Jews of a mystical bent would entertain the belief down to modern times.

    Metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls, is a characteristic theme of Indian thought, from which the Jewish motif just discussed may ultimately derive. Some Hindus today explain male homosexuality by saying that the individual had previously lived as a woman.

    Ulrichs’ formulation, strictly speaking, applies only to the “subject homoerotic” – the individual who feels himself a member of the opposite sex and plays the female role in relations with members of his own sex. As a scientific theory such a notion, because of the mind-body dualism which it entails (not to mention the belief in reincarnation, which has been relegated to the realm of the occult), has no solid basis.

    Yet the reiteration of Ulrichs’ views in the work of later homosexual writers kept them alive into the twentieth century, and may have contributed to the rise of the practice of transsexualism and its underly­ing belief system, which Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) never encountered even in the enormous body of casuistic material that he assembled in his lifetime.

    Pre- and postoperative transsexuals cherish the belief that some quirk of nature has con­fined them in bodies of the wrong genital sex. In the Hollywood film Dog Day After­noon (1975), which was based upon a real incident in Brooklyn a few years earlier, the character Leon asserts that “My psy­chiatrist told me I have a female soul trapped in a male body,” and more re­cently even advertising has taken up the theme, as in a telephone company poster with a cartoon character declaring “I feel that I’m a 516 trapped in the body of a 212.”

    In this way a doctrine of medieval Jewish mysti­cism entered the folklore of the gay subculture, passing thence into American popular culture as a metaphor for a profound state of al­ienation.”

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I think the ancient Roman world’s closest analog to the modern transgender trend is a group you haven’t mentioned — the persons known as galli, males who castrated themselves at their own will, and afterwards behaved and dressed like women of their culture and epoch. It wasn’t exactly the same, because the galli believed their life-style was a religious calling — they were devotees of the goddess Cybele, also known as the Magna Mater. Also, they carried out the amputation themselves, rather than paying a doctor to do it. Still, considering their example, I can’t agree that gender dysphoria is as purely modern as you seem to think…


    • The specific point of this article is that desperately suicidal trans CHILDREN have no historical precedent. The current crop of “affirmative” gender specialists are terrorizing parents with misuse of adult suicidality statistics and convincing the world that children must be put on puberty blockers and get surgery as early as possible. There is zero evidence of this supposed pediatric emergency until the last decade or so. If adults want to pursue surgeries and other treatments, that’s their prerogative. But they’ve pulled children into it, and that’s what’s highly disturbing to our community.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I looked up the citation to that claim about Emperor Elagabalus on the Wikipedia article (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/80*.html), and found it’s from a book written by Roman–Greek historian Lucius Cassius Dio, titled Historia Romana. Book LXXX, the specific citation in question, depicts Emperor Elagabalus as flouting many sexual taboos and religious traditions, and other historical sources bear out the fact that he was extremely eccentric and decadent, with one of the worst reputations of any Roman emperor. However, we can’t believe every single claim about him, since some sources are clearly unreliable and overly salacious, more interested in telling a juicy story or promoting a certain political or religious POV instead of truthfully conveying history.

        From my reading of the sources, it seems most likely that Elagabalus was what would today be considered a very flamboyant, effeminate, gender-bending gay or bisexual man, not someone who was trans by the 21st century perspective. We can’t force our modern POV on people from a much different era and culture. Context and intent are everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for replying to my message. I agree with most of what you’ve written. I seriously doubt whether “affirmative therapy” is in the long-term interests of gender distressed kids, even if it seems to make them happier in the short them. And the meme that parents have to choose between “a live daughter or a dead son” (or vice versa) is both simplistic and manipulative…

        Recognising childhood gender dysphoria does not necessarily mean “children must be put on puberty blockers and get surgery as early as possible”. Didn’t Kenneth Zucker and his associates work extensively with dysphoric kids via methods like play therapy and counselling?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do agree we can’t trust every single claim about Elagalabus. However, I am interested in one specific claim, that he offered a reward to any surgeon who would furnish him with female genitalia. This claim had to come from somewhere.

        It can be genuine, proving my point. Or it can be false, but then it had to be present in the culture, so it could be used as a damning lie. If you don’t know that “foo bar” exists at all, you can’t ascribe it to your enemies and hope others will read it as bad.

        I certainly agree that modern identities do not apply at the time, though this works for “gay” as well as “trans” (the Greeks and Romans did not have a concept of sexual orientation). The specific question is whether there were children desiring altering of their male genitalia to female form. And it turns out that, if we use the modern definition of “child” as a person under 18 (a big if), there apparently was at least one who was at least claimed to desire exactly that. The claim was either true, or a lie that was written to sound true to contemporaries. And if it were to sound true, it means such a desire among such people was not unknown.

        At the time, of course, Elagabalus would not have been seen as a child. But the advantages and disadvantages of modern extension of childhood are an entirely separate discussion.

        (As an aside, the separation between “gay” and “trans” as forms of male transgression is quite recent. In the 1930s Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld worked on both and it was he who led Lili Elbe through the first modern surgical transition. In the 1960s the Stonewall riots included both kinds of people with no clear separation again; Sylvia Rivera, then calling herself a drag queen, later developed a more specifically trans identity. So of course a distinction that came up within the last half of a century did not exist in ancient Rome).


      • Again, the point of the post you are responding to (emphasizing again here not just for you, but for others who seem to have missed it): The unethical campaign of trans activists that OMG-it’s-an-emergency, must medically transition tweens/teens else SUICIDE! is new. If children/teens could not BEAR to continue life in their bodies–if that is really true–there would be massive history written about it, starting with the Romans/Greeks and carrying forward into the modern age. Even if medical procedures were not tried on these children, the history of this medical emergency would be a matter of historical record. It is not. All by itself, this proves it’s a contemporary fad, a contagion. No one (including this article) is claiming there weren’t people in history who wished they were, or pretended to be, the opposite sex. Completely different point from SUICIDE OR TRANSITION YOUR KID.

        Liked by 4 people

      • I will admit I’m skeptical about the veracity of any one off comments in Roman histories, since they’re notoriously vehicles for bad gossip. It also says Elagabalus had scouts at the Olympics looking for men who were well-endowed so they could be brought back to Rome so they brought one back, but then his boyfriend didn’t like it and gave the athlete some kind of anti-Viagra. It could also be interpreted that he was into BDSM. This is not what I would call tasteful.

        I really dislike putting any type of modern identity labels on Romans, even ones like ‘bisexual’. It’s fine to say the Galli did this and this and this, but were they transgender? Well, no, because ‘transgender’ only makes sense in the framework of 21st century Western culture. (And for that matter, ‘transgender’ of 2017 and ‘transgender’ of 1987 are not really the same identity either.)

        And frankly I don’t even agree that they would be transgender today! Apuleius’ description sounds like bad drag queens to me. There are gay men who castrate themselves, and some even remove their genitalia. They’re very clear about not being trans.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK, let’s take a closer look at the Elagabalus story.

        Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, often called Elagabalus, became Emperor of Rome in 218, at the age of 14. In 222, when he was 18, he was assassinated by soldiers of the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s personal guard).

        He came from a Syrian family and worshipped a Syrian god, Elagabalus, after whom he came to be nicknamed. He tried to establish the worship of his god in Rome: that was fine, the Romans had no objection. But he went too far when he attempted to elevate Elagabalus above Jupiter and the rest of the Roman pantheon. Traditionalist Romans were outraged.

        During the few short years of his reign, a large number of people, many of them prominent, were killed on his orders. Among those murdered were an unknown number of young boys whom he is reported to have sacrificed to his god. He also acquired a reputation for an exceptionally lurid sex life.

        One of the main sources for his reign is a History of Rome by Dio Cassius. Dio lived through the events of Elagabalus’s reign. He was a Roman senator, so was well placed to know what went on — and also to hear all the gossip, true or otherwise.

        Unfortunately, the part of Dio’s book that deals with Elagabalus is lost. It is only known from the work of later historians who have variously compressed and paraphrased the original text.

        The account of how Elagabalus tried to arrange for an operation to give him a vagina is only represented by a couple of brief passages by different historians. Here are my translations, as literal as possible:

        1. He took his outrageous behaviour to the point where he demanded that his doctors should construct a woman’s pudenda for him by means of a surgical operation, offering them an enormous fee to do this.

        2. Avitus,* so Dio says, begged his doctor to use his skill to make him double in form by means of an incision at the front.

        *Avitus was Elagabalus’s family name.

        [Text used: Loeb]

        Note that we do not know the context or the details. One thing that is clear is that he was not asking to have his penis cut off, or to be made into a woman. He wanted to appear androgynous or two-sexed: “double in form”.

        We don’t know why. But there are things we *can’t* read into this: the modern concept of ‘gender dysphoria’, for one. He wasn’t rejecting his sex; rather, he was seeking to augment it.


    • I mentioned the Galli in my comment above.

      At the time, I tactfully refrained from referring to the well-known episode in Apuleius’ Golden Ass (2nd century AD). The band of Galli he describes are an itinerant crew of sex-obsessed, self-harming effeminates who address each other as “Girls” and wear bad make-up. They operate a fake oracle racket and eventually fetch up in gaol for the theft of a gold cup.

      How many modern transactivists would recognise themselves in that lot is — a question.

      Setting that aside, I do not think modern transgenderism is remotely a single phenomenon with a single specific aetiology. Relevant here are a couple of very interesting linked posts by Miranda Yardley:

      1. Common Threads And Narratives of Transgender Children And What This Means For Our Lesbian And Gay Populations

      2. Pornography And Autogynephilia In The Narratives Of Adult Transgender Males

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Artemisia. Thanks for drawing my attention to what you wrote about the galli in the comment section, which I overlooked before. I’m glad you mentioned Apuleius’ book, the Golden Ass with its description of their self-harm and the way they called each other “girls”.

        You ask how many modern transactivists would recognise themselves in that lot? I don’t know, as I’m not a transactivist… As a child I experienced some uncertainty about my gender; however I am now a middle aged cis man with a longstanding interest in Goddess religions, including the Cybele-worship which Apuleius mocks in the Golden Ass, and the Isis-worship which he depicts a lot more favorably.

        Whether or not transgenderism has a single aetiology, I don’t know. I do think the experience(s) behind it are real and powerful. Whatever their foibles, do you think the galli cut their parts off just to make money?


      • Whether or not transgenderism has a single aetiology, I don’t know. I do think the experience(s) behind it are real and powerful.

        Ponder the experience of a boy who from the time he was small has been told that he is actually a girl: the grounds for this being, apparently, that when he was four years old he once asked his mother if her “parts” were like his, and on being told they were not, said that he wanted to have his “cut off” when he was older. That is powerful, all right, but in what sense is it “real”? (This anecdote was recently reported in a PhD thesis.)

        Whatever their foibles, do you think the galli cut their parts off just to make money?

        I shouldn’t imagine so. If they were merely itinerant conmen, they wouldn’t have needed to castrate themselves: they could quite easily have faked it.

        But with specific reference to the Galli depicted in The Golden Ass: Apuleius makes it very clear that they are not truly devoted to the service of a Divine Mother when he has them commit sacrilege against ‘the Mother of the Gods’, Juno/Isis, by stealing a golden cup from her temple.

        Apuleius himself, as I am sure you know, had very probably been initiated into the cult of Isis.


      • “Ponder the experience of a boy who from the time he was small has been told that he is actually a girl: the grounds for this being, apparently, that when he was four years old he once asked his mother if her ‘parts’ were like his, and on being told they were not, said that he wanted to have his ‘cut off’ when he was older. That is powerful, all right, but in what sense is it ‘real’? (This anecdote was recently reported in a PhD thesis.)”

        At least in the sense that it will have real consequences, not necessarily happy ones.

        It sounds like that family is gripped by what might be called the Cybele-Attis complex. If they looked at what the myth says about the grief of Attis after what he did to himself, perhaps they would have second thoughts about the way they are raising this child…

        “But with specific reference to the Galli depicted in The Golden Ass: Apuleius makes it very clear that they are not truly devoted to the service of a Divine Mother when he has them commit sacrilege against ‘the Mother of the Gods’, Juno/Isis, by stealing a golden cup from her temple.”

        In fairness to the Galli, I would have thought misappropriation of church property could happen in any religion…

        What I find more interesting than the story of the stolen cup, is the depiction of self-whipping and self-laceration, which seems to have been something the Galli did publicly, as part of their mystique. Apuleius credits them with “amazing fortitude” in bearing the pain this must have caused.

        Do we conclude from all this that transgenderism in young people has no ancient precedents? Or do we conclude that yes, there may be precedents (even if we’re not quite sure what age range the Galli were) but the precedents give grounds for caution?

        “Apuleius himself, as I am sure you know, had very probably been initiated into the cult of Isis.”

        Yes. Reading what he says about Isis and her worshippers in the final section of the Golden Ass, I had no doubt he was writing as a devotee rather than simply an entertainer.

        Perhaps something we can learn from Apuleius today, is that we don’t have to take a gender binary view of gods and goddesses (as suggested in books like “Goddesses in Everywoman” and “Gods in Everyman”).

        The Divine Mother can be a healing presence for boys as well as girls, just as God the Father can be healing presence for girls as well as boys. Do you agree?


      • In fairness to the Galli, I would have thought misappropriation of church property could happen in any religion…

        I was careful to say “with specific reference to the Galli depicted in The Golden Ass”. I imagine Apuleus had some grounds for his evident beef with the Galli, but that doesn’t mean that all the Galli, at all periods, were like the men he describes in his novel.

        Do we conclude from all this that transgenderism in young people has no ancient precedents?

        At the present time, transgenderism is being defined so extremely widely that it would be pretty well impossible for there not to be historical phenomena capable of being co-opted into the narrative.

        What 4thWave is saying in her post, however, is that there is no recorded precedent for the current epidemic of children and young adults’ being hurried down the path to ‘transition’ while their parents are informed (mendaciously) that this is required to save them from suicide.

        The Divine Mother can be a healing presence for boys as well as girls, just as God the Father can be healing presence for girls as well as boys. Do you agree?

        Speaking personally, I can only say: I know that kind of mysticism is helpful to some people. It doesn’t resonate with me.


  27. I’ve just written a series of points, outlining how I see the trans movement and its relation to Roman and other history…
    1. Yes, the transgender movement is a religion-like belief-system.
    2. Its beliefs have been developed and adopted not only by persons who think of themselves as trans, but also by a range of allies, including therapists who think of themselves as affirmative and parents who think of themselves as supportive.
    3. It is teaching its beliefs to very young children, as well as to teenagers and adults.
    4. It routinely uses threats of self-harm to gain its objectives.
    5. In terms of its specific terminologies and practices, it is a new movement, which began to develop in the twentieth century.
    6. But it’s grounded in a psychology that is not new — an age-old tendency to identify with and imitate (or learn from) people of the other sex. There are many historical expressions of this psychology, the ancient Roman Galli movement being one expression…


  28. Pingback: Trans-identified kids & the media – what makes a child transgender? | Lily Maynard

  29. Pingback: “But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans!” | Lily Maynard

  30. You say that the Romans might well have been happy to perform sex-reassignment surgeries if there had been a desire for them… and yet history shows the opposite is true. There WERE people who wanted a crude version of the surgeries available to trans people today — take, for instance, the example of the Roman slave who was exiled for voluntarily undergoing a castration to show devotion to the goddess Cybele, whose followers underwent castration and lived as women (“No Roman, not even a slave, could castrate himself ‘in honour of the Goddess’ without penalty; in 101 BC, a slave who had done so was exiled.” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybele#Priesthoods).

    To be exiled from a vast empire like Rome as a penniless slave is to be forced to leave everything that’s familiar to you behind and very likely to die… that’s what the Romans did to anyone who tried to emulate the traditions of this ancient Anatolian sect which was allowed to exist on the fringes of society but never to be adopted by the legitimate Roman citizenry. That’s how hard the Romans policed any attempts to alter one’s sex. And your argument is really that Roman surgeons would’ve been happily writing all about SRS if only anyone had ever asked them? That’s absurd. It was a death sentence as a Roman to pursue it.


    • You missed the gist of the article. Read the first few paragraphs. If there were KIDS who claimed to be the opposite sex AND so miserable in their own bodies that they killed themselves (as activists and unethical gender clinicians tell us), there absolutely would be a historical record of this epidemic of child suicides–going back to antiquity and up to the last 15 or so years when pediatric medical transition commenced.

      There isn’t.


    • janxa: ‘There WERE people who wanted a crude version of the surgeries available to trans people today’ — This is not disputed. We’ve already discussed the Galli, the priests of Cybele. See several of the comments above. However, the Galli were adult males, not children.

      To reiterate what has been said several times already, beginning with 4thWaveNow’s original post: we don’t read anywhere in ancient texts of boys who ‘knew’ they were really girls when they were children, and who dreamed of the day when they might grow up to castrate themselves (or be castrated by a surgeon).

      With regard to the story you mention:

      First, do bear in mind that Wikipedia is not a reliable source; it is at best a starting point for an investigation. In this case it cites a secondary work, In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele by Lynn E. Roller (University of California Press, 1999). Roller cites an obscure Latin author called Julius Obsequens, who probably lived in the 4th century AD. He compiled a Book of Prodigies (signs and wonders) from material he found in Livy’s Roman History and other works. Much of his source material is now lost.

      Under 101 BC, he writes: ‘A slave belonging to Q. Servilius Caepio castrated himself in honour of the Ideaean Mother [Cybele], and was sent away in exile across the sea, never to return to Rome.’

      You say: ‘To be exiled from a vast empire like Rome as a penniless slave is to be forced to leave everything that’s familiar to you behind and very likely to die…’

      What makes you think that the slave was a Roman native? He could well have been born elsewhere. He may have been a captive of war. Or he may have been born a slave in some other place and sold to a Roman master. In any event, there is no reason to believe that exile ‘across the sea’ was a sentence of death. The Mediterranean world beyond Italy was not some trackless wilderness. And parts of it were already under Roman control.

      Roller (p. 292) notes that ‘exile was a comparatively mild punishment for a slave.’ I am inclined to wonder whether the slave was sent overseas to one of the foreign sanctuaries of Cybele, perhaps in Greece, perhaps further afield. The slave, after all, had made of himself an offering to the Goddess. The Roman authorities would not have wanted to show her disrespect; might have made her angry.

      Whatever the case, it is clear from its inclusion in a Book of Prodigies that this was an exceptional event for its time.


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