4thWaveNow contributor Overwhelmed is the mother of a daughter who previously identified as transgender. Her daughter is now comfortable being female even though she chooses to eschew conventionally feminine clothing and sports a short haircut.
Overwhelmed can be found on Twitter: @LavenderVerse
Why does the public seemingly trust that gender doctors know what they are doing? Well, one of the reasons is the frequent media portrayals of trans kids. Children who have recently undergone medical transition are being presented as success stories, even though no one knows the long term consequences of gender-affirming treatments.
I came across this article on the University of California San Francisco website. It covers the transition of three children—two who have puberty blocker implants and one, a natal female named Oliver, whose treatment has included puberty blockers, testosterone, a double mastectomy with chest contouring, a hysterectomy (at 16 years old!) and plans in the near future for the first in a series of phalloplasty surgeries. The article also highlights the involvement of three gender-affirming pioneers—Dr. Ehrensaft, Dr. Rosenthal and Joel Baum—whom I will discuss a little later in this post. But first I will focus on Oliver.
Oliver’s story (which I’ve pulled from three separate articles) starts off as expected—a young child uncomfortable in dresses who likes short hair and playing baseball. When puberty started, it caused a great deal of distress. Suicide was considered. And then:
A few months before his 15th birthday, …stumbled across the word “transgender” online. He read about people who had had medical treatment to align their bodies with their gender identity – their inner sense of who they are.
“Bam, my life changed,” he says. “It lifted a major weight to find out I could do something about all this pressure I had been feeling.”
At first Oliver’s parents, especially his father, didn’t accept that their daughter was really their son.
“It took me a bit to become a really supportive dad,” ….
For months they didn’t speak. But in the end, reading the suicide statistics for transgender teens brought him around.
“My kid’s not going to kill himself,” …. “I don’t care what he is, as long as he’s a productive person in society, and he needs all the support we can give him.”
Oliver was taken to UCSF’s Child and Adolescent Gender Center.
By age 15, Oliver… was on a dual regimen of testosterone, plus puberty blockers to keep his endogenous estrogen from competing with the male hormones.
While he had to endure a second puberty, and he’ll need to take testosterone for the rest of his life, he’s had no second thoughts about transitioning.
The summer after his sophomore year, he had “top” surgery – a double mastectomy and male chest contouring – in San Francisco. To pay for the procedure, which was not covered by insurance, he used earnings from years of showing and selling pigs at the Tuolumne County fair.
“It’s a lot of money for a 15-year-old,” he says of the $8,000 price tag. “But I appreciate it every day.”
His family’s insurance also wouldn’t cover a puberty blocker implant, so… at first chose cheaper but “gnarly” monthly shots. Later, concerned about unknown long-term effects of the blockers, and hating the painful shots, he opted for a hysterectomy at age 16 – performed by the same family doctor who had delivered him.
In June, he’ll undergo the first in a series of “bottom” surgeries to create male genitalia.
His only regret, he says, is not finding UCSF’s Gender Center sooner. “To not go through the wrong puberty, those kids are lucky,” he says. “That’s a team effort. You have to show [gender dysphoria], and parents have to catch it.”
Oliver’s story has been published in at least three media articles, likely reaching a large audience. The teen has also been influential in Oliver’s small town high school where at least four other transgender students have since come out.
An increasing number of children like Oliver are announcing they’re transgender, and families are looking to the experts in the field for guidance. Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, a clinical and developmental psychologist, is one of a number of pediatric gender-affirming pioneers in the San Francisco Bay area. She is Director of Mental Health and founding member of the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center. She is a well-known proponent of the gender affirmative model and has authored two books on the subject. Ehrensaft has a private practice in Oakland and serves on the Board of Directors of Gender Spectrum.
Her credentials seem impressive, but there are concerns that her stance could unnecessarily pressure parents into eventually medically transitioning their children. She’s often quoted in news reports about trans kids. Here she is in the Duluth New Tribune article from above, rationalizing the dramatic increase in trans-identifying kids seeking treatment:
“We have lifted the lid culturally,” said developmental psychologist Diane Ehrensaft, whose Oakland, Calif. practice has seen a fourfold increase in the number of gender-questioning kids in recent years. “These kids have always existed, but they kept it underground.”
She is also quoted in the UCSF article:
“When a child says, ‘I’m not the gender you think I am,’ that can be a showstopper,” says Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, the Gender Center’s director of mental heath as well as a private-practice psychologist in Oakland. “Some parents say, ‘Not on my watch. No way am I signing off on a medical intervention. When they’re 18 they can do what they want.’ I say, ‘You’re absolutely right, you’re the ones minding the shop, but let me share with you the risk factors of holding back.’”
A parent swayed by Ehrensaft’s logic may believe that, contrary to historical records, there were always this many trans kids. This could lead parents to disregard the impacts of social contagion. And she tells parents that being cautious and holding back medical interventions until their child is 18 could lead to serious “risk factors.” Suicide seems to be implied.
Stephen Rosenthal, MD, is another pediatric gender-affirming pioneer in the San Francisco Bay area. He is a founder of the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center and currently serves as its Medical Director. He is also the program director for Pediatric Endocrinology, director of the Endocrine Clinics, and co-director of the Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD) Clinic. Additionally, Rosenthal spends time as a professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF and conducts research. Currently, he is participating in an NIH-funded study of pediatric medical transition.
He has stated that “these kids have a very high risk of depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Not treating is not a neutral option.” He promotes early treatment—puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sometimes surgeries—to alleviate these symptoms without any proof of long term relief.
Under his direction, the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center has grown substantially. It opened in 2010. By 2012 there were 75 patients and currently there are over 300 patients with about 10 new referrals a month. Business is booming. Clinics are being added in San Mateo and Oakland. The UCSF Gender Center network isn’t the only place in the San Francisco Bay area offering pediatric gender affirming treatment. Stanford and Kaiser Permanente provide similar services.
What could be driving all of these children to seek treatment? Well, the San Francisco Bay Area has been well-educated by Gender Spectrum, a “national advocacy group for gender expansive youth whose mission is to create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.” Many schools in the area have hosted training sessions by Gender Spectrum. The goal of gender sensitivity training is to increase acceptance and decrease bullying, but it’s likely that some children get confused by the information, leading to a rise in referrals to gender clinics.
Joel Baum, MS, is an advocate for pediatric gender affirmation. He is the Senior Director of Professional Development and Family Services at Gender Spectrum and is the Director of Education and Advocacy for the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center. He co-wrote Schools in Transition, A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools, which I discussed in this blog post. He has spoken in schools, at conferences (mentioned in this 4thWaveNow post) and, according to this article, promotes transgender awareness on radio shows.
Per the article, it was Baum who helped Emily and her husband realize that their son was really their daughter (Kelly).
One day Emily got a call from her husband, who was in his car listening on the radio to Joel Baum, MS, the Gender Center’s director of advocacy as well as the director of education and training for the Oakland-based nonprofit Gender Spectrum. “You’ve got to turn on the radio,” he told her. “I think this is our kid.’”
Emily was horrified to learn about the high rates of harassment, school failure, and suicide among transgender youth. “I couldn’t talk about it without weeping. I kept going to all these images in our culture for transgender people, that they’re on the edge, disenfranchised,” she says. “I was thinking, ‘I can’t lose my kid. I don’t care what her gender is. I’ve got to get on the other side of those statistics.’”
Her path forward, she says, was “unconditional acceptance of my child’s truth.”
The family started regular visits to Gender Center clinics and let Kelly be their guide. She grew her hair long. In third grade, she switched her masculine birth name to a gender-neutral nickname. At age nine, she transitioned socially, becoming “she” to relatives, friends, and classmates.
Intensely private, Kelly wanted no emails to parents, no classroom announcement. Just a quiet switch in pronouns. Her elementary school administrators and teachers – faced with their first transitioning student – were “incredibly supportive,” says Emily, who sought out staff training and put Kelly in a classroom with only one student who knew her from “before”: her best friend.
Now 13, Kelly has a matchstick-sized implant under the skin near her left bicep to suppress the male hormones her body produces. She’s blossomed into a “beautiful, smart, artistic, empathetic, fun kid,” Emily says. “I’m like, ‘Whoo! I hit the jackpot.’ But it was definitely a process and a journey for our family, and our daughter, to come to understand who she was.”
Ehrensaft, Rosenthal and Baum are promoting treatment for gender dysphoric children based on unproven theories, not solid evidence. There has been a dramatic rise in trans-identifying youth, but instead of questioning why, Ehrensaft says that the increase is due to hidden trans kids coming out. Rosenthal seems to believe that pre-emptive treatment (leading children to become permanent medical patients with unknown long term side effects) is worth it to potentially avoid future depression, substance abuse and suicide. Baum doesn’t appear to consider that transgender advocacy can lead some impressionable kids to mistakenly self-diagnose as trans. Or, that it can affect how parents interpret their children, potentially leading their gender defiant kids unnecessarily down the path of transition.
And each uses suicide statistics, flawed as they are, to justify early intervention. I’ve seen many parents in news articles state that the motivation to go along with transition was to avoid suicide. Parents are scared and feel pressured. They want to keep their children alive, no matter what. They don’t feel like they have a real choice. “I can either have a live son or a dead daughter” (or the reverse) is a common saying. When parents trust the advice of gender experts, they will accept puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, mastectomies, and hysterectomies as necessary. Unfortunately, though, this approach does not guarantee a live child.
Tremendous pressure is being placed on parents to provide gender affirmative “support.” Media articles never quote these pioneers recommending what we do at 4thWaveNow—to support our children in defiance of gender. We allow our children to choose their haircuts, clothing and interests. We accept them as is, without pressuring them to conform to societal expectations. We urge caution and encourage reflection on what it means to be male or female. We consider the long term impacts of medical interventions. We don’t rush into gender affirmation via pronouns or treatments. We want to avoid suicide in our children, but realize that the underlying reasons are more complex than the trans kids media articles portray. And some of us have had success with this approach.
There is a great deal of trust being put in the experts in the field, but we need to remember that they are pioneers in the strictest sense. They are still developing new ways of thinking about and treating gender dysphoric patients. The process is not complete. Gender science is rapidly evolving and changes to treatment protocols are likely. Today’s success stories may not be tomorrow’s success stories. The trust in experts should be viewed from this perspective.
Thank you for writing this post. The biggest thing for me is that we don’t have data supporting the notion that transition reduces suicide rates. What happens to that pre-transition suicidal kid who grows up and finds out that there is no way to actually change their sex? That the hormones are forever? That they have a lifelong fight with their own body to stave off nature? I can imagine that would be so difficult for a person who has already been suicidal to try and tackle. Does a 10-year-old REALLY have a solid concept of what life will be like after 40 years on testosterone?
It’s devastating to hear stories of kids/young adults who have committed suicide after transition, when they had the full support of their families and friends. I’m not buying that it’s because of society not accepting them as the only reason. If not being accepted made people suicidal, we’d have a much smaller population. We all need to learn that we can’t control how other people think. Otherwise we spend our lives as victims.
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‘We all need to learn that we can’t control how other people think.’ This is brilliant! Thanks
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I have seen this as a huge problem for a lot of trans-identified teens I know. (I now know several in real life, all FTM, all under 18, all have support of family and friends. But there is no social contagion… right?) They can’t handle that there are people in their lives who don’t instantly view them as the sex they are trying to be. They can’t handle it when someone slips up and uses an undesirable pronoun. They get angry, have panic attacks, lash out, etc. They don’t understand why every single person around them doesn’t see them as male. They haven’t learned that they can’t control how other people think, and how other people perceive them.
Teens are generally self-centered. It’s not a knock on them–it’s just reality. They are trying to find their way in life and it’s hard to see things from another person’s perspective. I know I had all of the answers and my parents knew nothing when I was a teen. My parents couldn’t possibly understand anything I was going through. What I discovered later (through life experience, becoming a parent, etc) was that I didn’t know sh*t when I was a teenager. My life as a teen was SO much easier than what my parents experienced when they were young. I am so thankful now that my parents were there to guide me, and in some cases, to protect me from myself.
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You are so spot on in your description of how brittle these kids are – can’t handle “wrong” pronouns, can’t handle people who’ve known them as a girl for all their lives don’t instantly act like they’re boys, can’t handle honest questions about the gender claims. (For videos showing how oblivious to the lack of facts to back up their claims while demanding that their opinions – and opinions that they agree with – be treated as definitive evidence that their take on “gender” is absolutely the most accurate depiction of reality any human has ever developed, see Justin Dennis on You Tube).
To me it looks like they know, on some off-and-on conscious level, that their claims are nothing but claims, and they can see as well as newborn infants can, that one of the easiest things to size up about any person, is the person’s biological sex.
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“What other people think of me is none of my business” has become a really useful and almost soothing mantra for me.
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There is 30 year Swedish research on sex changes, it does not end well, like lobatomies and repressed memories and multiple personalities the trend of the day psychiatric industry does not care what happens to our youth, it is not their children, we need to video tape them laughing all the way to the bank, since the Dens are out of power it is time to te examine pushing all this crap
thirdwaytrans has a very good vlog on the whole “identity” issue, and how toxic it can be to strongly identify as “trans” rather than something looser (aka “person with gender dysphoria”). highly recommended. https://thirdwaytrans.com/
totally agreed that any self-image that relies on constant reinforcement by others is a dangerous thing to embrace. indeed, we CAN’T control how other people think.
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I have watched that vlog by TWT, and thought it was really helpful. I really wish there was greater focus on how to treat dysphoria without medical transition. What I am learning is that for most people, transition doesn’t make the dysphoria go away. I think many teens expect to be “cured” once they transition. That doesn’t seem very realistic for anyone, regardless of age. No matter what they decide to do, they still need helpful strategies for dealing with dysphoria.
Reblogged this on A butterfly's diary.
Mumsnet (U.K. Blog site) has an interesting discussion on topic following TV documentary on subject. Many share frustration of not being able to trust professional. One mum revealed that CAHMS told her they were no longer allowed to counsel her away from gender dysphoria. New guidelines meant this would be seen as conversion therapy. My daughter was told by the CAHMS she looked like a boy. This cement eyed her thinking and still haunts her. Thankfully, I stopped taking her and left her to desist herself, which I think is beginning. I would live to know how Overwhelmed helped her daughter resolve her issues.
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Mumsnet … has an interesting discussion … following TV documentary on subject
Can you provide a link to this? I have had a look on Mumsnet, but haven’t been able to find it. It sounds useful.
I will try meanwhile Google ‘mumsnet transgender kids on the edge’ very lrngthy thread revealing common sense and frustration. Threads on same topic previously.
Managed to post section on my blog. Hopefully includes an insightful video from a Skeptical over or of the trend,
punkworked, I hope your daughter is starting to desist. That is awful that CAHMS told your daughter she looked like a boy! It is so sad that the help you seek for your child may actually cause more harm than good.
How did I help my daughter resolve her issues? Well, I believe what benefited her the most was finding a competent psychologist willing to explore her underlying mental health issues. Unfortunately, this kind of therapist may be difficult (or maybe impossible) to find in some areas.
When she first announced she was transgender, I admit that for quite a while I couldn’t stop discussing this topic and I asked a lot of questions, just trying to wrap my head around the whole situation. After a while, though, I felt that these long talks were starting to drive her away. I tried to minimize bringing up gender. If I did talk about it, it was brief, to the point. No judgement, no emotion, just fact. I learned to bite my tongue quite a bit.
I let her dress how she liked, and get her hair cut as she liked. I kept reminding her that girls can like these things. It didn’t make her a boy. I never called her a male name or pronouns, nor did I let her wear a binder. I think it is appropriate to have boundaries, although every parent will develop their own depending on their child.
Her psychologist asked her what her thoughts about being female were. (For some reason I didn’t ask that question, I had focused on why she felt male.) I’m not going to divulge what my daughter said, but I will say that it was illuminating and tied into her underlying issues.
It was a long process for her to feel female again. She seemed to back away from being trans in stages. At first she was desperate for pronouns/binders/hormones/surgery. A while later she thought she would be male without having medical interventions. Still later she said she was “just human,” and eventually she came back to me as my daughter.
I feel for you, punkworked, and everyone else out there in the same situation. I know how it feels. It is heart-wrenching to watch your child despise her (or his) body, to want to alter it in irreversible ways. You believe this is very likely a short term belief, but the treatment your child is demanding will last forever.
I wish I had more advice than this. I wish there were more mental health professionals willing to help our children with gender dysphoria (without automatically affirming their trans status). I hope that things will change. The sooner the better.
Please take care of yourself. Buy yourself treats, cut yourself some slack. You need to last through what may be a very long ordeal.
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Thank you. Your approach echoes mine. In addition I did not agree o petition school for trousers. She has lost friends, gained unhelpful ones, but her highly logical mind is starting to refine the thinking. I agree it is a symptom and I pursued an ASpergers assessment which while inconclusive helped as her own research helped her realise some differences were less about gender and more about relationship difficulties with girls.
Punkworked: Thank you very much, that link on your blog is useful.
I was shocked by the story of the mother who, very wisely, rejected puberty blockers and hormones for her gender-dysphoric child, with the result that the child is no longer receiving counselling from the Tavistock or any other service. Because there is no provision for treating gender dysphoria other than by medicalized transition. Shocking.
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That information needs circulating. Otherwise confusion becomes a journey with a pre determined outcome. I am particularly aware that it is MTF and their cheerleaders driving this, while girls who don’t want to be Baries get coerced. Some day on the future it will be called entrapment, their will be lawsuits and exposures
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“One mum revealed that CAHMS told her they were no longer allowed to counsel her away from gender dysphoria. New guidelines meant this would be seen as conversion therapy.”
This is terrifying. What’s actually going on is that lesbian girls and gay boys are being converted. How did we fall this far backwards? How can so many people not see this for what it is?
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Those stories are so absolutely horrifying! We can probably all think of at least a few things we felt so certain about in our teen years, only to change our minds later on? While I’m horrified at how many people under eighteen these days are getting tattoos and piercings (as though it’ll kill them to wait till they’re legal adults), at least that’s reversible if you change your mind when you’re older. Having your breasts and uterus removed can’t be reversed.
I do see parallels between the social contagion and trendiness of a trans identity and the popularity of body modification. While I developed a genuine, lifelong passion for the history and culture of body modification, a lot of people only get tattoos and/or piercings because they think it’s cool and all their friends are doing it, and then they lose interest after awhile. People who realize they’re not really trans at all are going to have more than just some minor scars when this is all over.
WHY is this transtrending being held to such a different standard than other things involving teenagers? Most parents wouldn’t sign for permission for a 15-year-old to marry her or her partner because “We’re in LOVE, and we’re going to live happily ever after for ever and ever and ever!” I’m honestly never surprised to hear about a divorce involving a couple who married in their teens or early twenties, just as I won’t be surprised to hear more and more stories from people who come to the realization they mutilated their bodies for nothing. I doubt many of them know they’ll have to keep injecting hormones for the rest of their lives and regularly dilate a neovagina, not the risks of phalloplasty and metoidioplasty.
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Your comment about teen marriage is spot on, and one that I hadn’t thought about before. If my teen daughter came to me and said she wanted to marry her teen boyfriend, my answer would be a resounding hell no. It would be a mistake. That wouldn’t mean that their love wasn’t real. People’s feelings and ways of dealing with things change as they get older. Life experiences change how people see the world, their partners, and themselves. Parents have the benefit of many more years of life experiences to help them make decisions about what they think is best for their child.
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I have to wonder if there is something psychologically similar in parents who would permit a 15 year old child to marry and those who would permit a 15 year old surgical &/or hormonal “transition” – and also if there’s a parallel with parents in a community that encourages such behavior – say FLDS parents signing on for a 15 year old daughter marrying her 40+ church elder and a parent with a “trans” kid who is part of a larger “trans” supportive community.
Also, when I think of decisions made in childhood/teen years, some are regretted even before adulthood. I recall how hard it was to tell my parents that, after 2 years of lessons, I didn’t want to take violin any more. And violin playing isn’t even an “identity” demanding recognition from the larger society.
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https://youtu.be/xXAoG8vAyzI the link is to Crash Course “human sexuality is complicated” on YouTube. They have a massive following in American schools. Most of their videos are great. I take issue with this one. It may partially explain some of the rise in teen transgenderism. Have a look and let me know what you think. The video has been there for 4 years.
II think 25 is a good cut off point for people to make a decision if they want to transition or not.
By this age most people will reach a balance between groupthink (social contagion, peer influence) and critical thinking. Those who don’t probably never will anyway.
Younger than that, I believe that peer influence, indoctrination (especially in college), puberty, afteraffects of puberty, etc, clouds the judgement.
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One thing that jumps out at me is how the potential negative outcomes of not enthusiastically participating in some young person’s transition seem to be unexamined scare tactics. A teen who is identifying as trans who doesn’t get treated as opposite sex, or doesn’t get hormones or doesn’t get surgery, is “at risk” for depression, “substance abuse” or suicidal thoughts/suicide attempts (notice the lumping together of vastly different phenomenon). For one thing, aren’t non-trans kids also potentially “at risk” to get depressed, or try drinking or smoking weed, or becoming suicidal at some point in their lives? And would it not seem crazy to be so afraid a kid might at some point “use drugs” (in the US, the statistically most likely “drug use” is smoking some weed, never every single day and never to the point where it causes failures in school or work), to allow the child to take physical steps to resemble (and yet never actually be) the opposite sex, when taking those steps increases not only health complications throughout life, increasing risks of cancer, for example? If you could look back at an adult loved-one’s tumultuous teen years and recall some experimenting with beer and weed, versus the life-consuming phenomenon that is ‘trans”, does the experimenting with weed seem so terrifying as to justify encouraging dangerous physical attempts to fight reproductive reality?
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Taking hormones that you body doesn’t need IS substance abuse.
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Trish, your comment is spot-on and highlights the fact that folks involved in this, on the child and teen side, are really pushing a specific agenda and not just “disinterested purveyors of truth.” You’re absolutely right that, technically at least, everybody who’s alive is “at risk” for something! What does that even mean?
What it really means, I think, is that parents, deep down, know this stuff is dangerous or at the very least highly risky. They have to be scared out of their wits, literally, before they’ll go along with turning their kids into guinea pigs. Being accused of being “a bad parent” is one of the worst things that can happen and these guys know just the buttons to push. Of course it would be any parent’s absolute worst nightmare to be accused of contributing to their own child’s suicide (ever hear of Prayers for Bobby?).
It’s becoming more and more apparent to me, as things go on, that medical “transition” is the goal. Not just “a” goal or “a possible goal” but THE goal. Using exaggerated threats of suicide, drug use, and depression to scare parents into signing off on dangerous and sterilizing medical treatments smacks of “by any means necessary,” frankly.
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Thanks, worried mom,
Someone in comments on an earlier post on this blog referred to “weaponizing” a parent’s fear that a child might commit suicide. I think that concept sums up very well what is going on here.
Somehow these trans activists have got our society treating the situation as if THEY are the ones with the kid’s best interest at heart, and the parents, as well as anyone who points out that no matter how many hormones & surgeries, a person’s XX or XY isn’t going to ever change, are agenda-driven Blue Meanies, bent on being obstacles of these kids’ (or maybe the trans activists’) happiness.
“A teen who is identifying as trans who doesn’t get treated as opposite sex, or doesn’t get hormones or doesn’t get surgery, is “at risk” for depression, “substance abuse” or suicidal thoughts/suicide attempts (notice the lumping together of vastly different phenomenon).”
I noticed that as well. And in the next sentence, the surgery purveyors/quacks claim that all the depression, substance abuse and suicidal idealization/thoughts/attempts suddenly — and magically — vanish after the trans patients receive surgery. Yet, the purveyors/quacks still maintain that most or all of the trans people suffer mental illnesses and other negative emotions because of a discriminatory, transphobic public. Contradiction, much?
Obviously, transgenders have been and continue to be discriminated against. In the USA, transgenders are viewed with at least suspicion and often disgust, because there are many people with frankly creepy fetishes and are cross-dressing for bad reasons like infamy and self-gratification. BUT, there are citizens who do recognize that transgenders may be or are mentally ill, and they need help. Of course, the quacks want to paint anyone who sympathizes with and wants to help transgenders with undiagnosed/untreated mental illnesses, because it hurts their (the quacks’) bottom line. The quacks and their sometimes ignorant purveyor friends will try to silence sympathizers of the transgenders (and us!) in any way they can. It’s definitely an uphill battle.
To be clear, I’m not denying that there are bigots who hate all transgenders, including in the USA. But there are way more bigots who hate all transgenders in the Middle East, where “cross-dressing” can be punished with the death penalty….
Oops, missed a phrase. It should be: “the quacks wants to paint anyone who sympathizes with and wants to help transgenders’ undiagnosed/untreated mental illnesses *as hate-filled bigots*, because it hurts the quacks’ bottom line.”
This is what happens when I write at 2AM. I hope I clarified and edited things correctly.
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I knew what you meant.
Absolutely, and it’s so out of line with how depressed and suicidal kids (and adults), and those with other serious conditions, usually get treated. People have rung up with a child actually in crisis (not just hypothetically at risk), begged for help, only to be told no beds are available – where is the urgency then? Where is the seriousness it’s being treated with in the case of trans kids? I listened to a radio program recently with the heartbreaking story of parents (and these were pretty well informed parents, the mum was a emergency doctor) struggling to get any help for their anorexic daughter, while she was getting more and more seriously ill. Kids can be actually be in immediate danger and not get this kind of attention, sympathy, or help.
I don’t think they really think trans kids will kill themselves and I don’t think they care, it’s just a blackmail tactic.
I totally agree the “at risk” trans kid storyline is just a blackmail tactic. But since the 2015 event in LA when 4 trans teens with full support from family, friends, support groups, school districts all on board killed themselves, I wonder how long they’re going to keep trying to use the “at risk trans kid” suicide threat. Also, the Swedish study, most comprehensive ever, paints a picture in which post-transition people are at much higher risk of suicide than people with gender disphoria who never transition.
Where does anyone find a competent therapist who is willing to explore a declaration of being transgender? Our newly minted legal adult child made this declaration a few months ago to the therapist they were already seeing for other serious issues . As per our child, congratulations were offered for their bravery and a gender clinic within the same health system was contacted during the same session. Our child wishes to use family health benefits to begin a medical transition and the therapist encouraged our child to tell us that they are transgender so that the process can begin ASAP . Our child has been largely isolated from the outside world due to the other physical and mental issues and came to this revelation in that isolation and after much Internet interaction.
We were told at a “courtesy session” with the current therapist to step out of the way and simply offer unwavering support or we did not have to be included in this process that child is exercising their adult rights. Our child has other medical and psychological issues and is totally dependent on us, financially and otherwise. The therapist made it clear that alternate arrangements could be made to facilitate this without our financial cooperation and also dangled the promise of new like friends to our isolated child as soon as the process is begun.
After many hours and hours of our research, it seems as though our child is almost following a script . Asking any questions as to how and why they now believe they are transgender is “rude”. Suggesting that they explore their feelings is wrong. We are trying to impede them. It is so, it is not to be questioned and permanent medical intervention must begin immediately. Ironically, our child has themselves said that transition will not necessarily alleviate their other mental health issues and they do not expect to ever be truly happy . They have been more depressed since sharing their status with us. Due to the unresolved mental health issues and the emotional immaturity stemming from the illness related isolation, we would question our child’s ability to make any major life decisions. I know that same therapist has spent over a year talking about educational goals. Yet, gender change gets instant validation?
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(sarcasm to follow) I have to love how the trans activist community has so warped our society that asking questions like, “How did you know you’re trans or what convinces you this is so?” is too rude to tolerate. And that such a “rude” question can justifiably be met with anything from screaming f bombs, dumping a bottle of pee on someone’s head (as happened to Lauren Southern for stating there are only 2 sexes), internet mobs trying to get people fired from jobs (as is currently happening to a Canadian professor, Jordan Peterson, for resisting demands he use made up pronouns) – I”m not Canadian, but some of the most egregious examples of trans activist behavior is going on there at the moment.
The situation you describe, Maria, makes me so angry. If there are people available to befriend your socially isolated child, why would the socializing have to wait until certain amounts of chemical &/or surgical interventions have happened? Are these hypothetical friends a carrot to encourage your kid to take steps your kid might not yet be ready to take
I’m going to spitball this, as a desperate idea. Does this kid have other interests – sci fi, model building, drawing, history? Maybe even if it’s just an online group (similar to how 4thwavenow operates for us), it could give your kid access to longed-for social activity without getting the trans-pushers’ hackles up by overtly resisting them (maybe even throw them a compliment like “you made me aware my child needs more social contacts, so I am facilitating this”). One thing I’ve been meaning to explore for my own interest is an internet archeology project, which is an example of an interest you might suggest your child pursue. An archeologist named Sarah Parcak, has massive amounts of satellite photos that need to be looked at by human eyes in order to rule in/out whether ancient structures are under the surface (Parcak has already found a 4th pyramid at Gisa and a Viking smelting operation in eastern Canada).
I wish you and your kid the best. Don’t let the trans activists get you down.
Yes, it does seem as though like friends might be a substantial carrot in moving the transition process along to the medical side. When they move to the medical transition, they will be directed to support groups within the health system where they meet people and make friends. To the best of my knowledge, the therapist has never suggested support groups for any prior issues, only solo activities meant to get our child out of the house.
Our child absolutely must begin medical transition as soon as possible as per therapist. The therapist seems to have forced an in-office revelation of to facilitate this action. Our child was supposed to have made the transgender revelation to us at a therapist’s appointment the week before but suddenly felt too ill to go. The transgender revelation was then postponed to the next appointment and our child was very ambivalent as to whether we came along (absolutely fine if we had something else to do), even up to and during our departure for the appointment.
Our child’s new identity has online support and the backing of a therapist who now dismisses the other serious issues in our child’s life, even after treating the child for those issues for some time now. I often wonder if my child isn’t the therapist’s experiment in gender identity. The therapist made it clear that this was unfamiliar territory for them, but still wishes to continue to treat our child. Some part of me thinks that this borders on malpractice. Our child has an established relationship with the therapist ( and doesn’t have a lot of those, in general) and the gender identity issues are being validated, so I am evil for suggesting another path.
Our newly adult child had a long standing hobby/activity. They exhibited a keen interest. They had goals within the activity. To further pursue the hobby, they were moved to a more active club. Within that club, there was an established group/order and our child had to jockey for a place of their own within it. There was some social discomfort, as there would be in any similar situation. Our child seemed to have found their place when a medical condition limited their steady participation. After that, they tried to keep their hand in but became more of a guest than a continuous participant. Afte the recent gender identity revelation, I asked if the child ever felt any gender dysphoria while in any way participating in the activity. I was very specific and tried to cover any area where dysphoria might have caused discomfort. The answer was “No”.
Our child seems reluctant to begin any new activities until the obtain their new physical and legal identity. They also seem to have rather unrealistic expectations as to the speed and effects of transition. This almost seems like a “do-over”
Again, our newly adult child had zero inkling of gender dysphoria, until they spent a great deal of time alone with the Internet. All of life’s prior social discomforts can now be explained by gender dysphoria and cured by a transition, even though they self-report that do not recall feeling dysphoria in the past.
I’m so sorry, Maria. “Bamboozled” is the word that comes to mind when reading about how the therapist is treating your child. It sounds like malpractice IMHO. I wish I could offer better advice; I just wanted to say how sorry I am.
The more you write about this situation, the more furious I get that any human beings would treat a fragile human being like your kid is being treated. It’s the kind of thing that medical professional societies should have a procedure for addressing, but I’m sure in your situation that is not the case.
Your and your child’s story is such a counter to the trans activists’ narrative:
Everything is wonderful in PostTransLand, all post-transition people are blissfully happy, while pre-transition people are miserable and targets of “hate speech” (aka questions like: how is this physically possible? how do you know it applies to you?) and anyone who wants you to take the local train there, instead of the express train, is refusing to support your identity and is Actually Destructive to your life and identity.
You and your kid seem to me to be a much more realistic example of what is going on in families that aren’t on the TransTrain such as is depicted on “I am Jazz”: Parents are startled by a sudden announcement of a new identity, no question this is the Real Deal, professionals treat concerned adults in the person’s life like obstacles at best (if not enemies), all other issues in the “trans” person’s life go unattended and the kids are trained to search among in our words and society in general, for “evidence” of “transphobia”, cementing an us-against-them worldview which isn’t good for anyone, and for a person with the fragility of your child is frankly unconscionable.
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