K-12 schools morphing into indoctrination hubs: Parents share their stories

Seemingly overnight, US public schools have been transformed into no-questions-allowed re-education centers for inculcating the notion that children as young as 4 or 5 years old can be innately transgender, and that any student, of any age, who claims to be or “feel like” the opposite sex is entitled to use not just private bathroom stalls, but shared locker rooms and showers designated for the sex s/he “identities with.”

As a result of this imposed sea change in US school policy, there has been a growing pushback from parents across the nation; the battle is raging fiercely, having recently reached the Supreme Court in one important Virginia case. And yesterday, it was announced that a federal judge had issued a “nationwide injunction” to halt the Obama administration’s directive to open school bathroom/locker room facilities to any student on the basis of their stated gender identity.

The mainstream media continues to (inaccurately) present the issue as between two clear opponents: Right-wing, homophobic and transphobic reactionaries, vs. the virtuous progressives and forward-thinking people who unquestioningly support President Obama’s “guidance” to force public schools into compliance with trans activist demands.  (Regular 4thWaveNow readers will know that most parents who congregate here are of the liberal/Democratic persuasion.)

Parents who have questions about the wisdom of this exercise in social engineering are ignored, marginalized, and even deliberately excluded from decisions about how their children are treated during the school day (and on overnight field trips, as well). A few months ago, 4thWaveNow contributor Overwhelmed wrote a post about the situation in US public schools, and yesterday, a very important post, “Gender Activism in Schools,” appeared on the blog Youth Transcritical Professionals, written by a parent named Emily, who has been embroiled in a battle with her 4th grader’s public charter school and school district.

The brawl at Emily’s school–Nova Classical Academy, in St. Paul, Minnesota–started and then escalated when the parents of a 5-year-old demanded opposite-sex toilet access for their son-now-trans-daughter.  According to Emily’s account, the school went from being a place where all parents’ views were respected, and where they had consistently enjoyed a major role in setting school policy, to a very different situation: a school where administrators and teachers knowingly hide information from parents in the name of adhering to an ideology that may neither be questioned, nor tailored to the needs of all the children and families in the school community—not just those who claim a trans identity.

I highly recommend that you read all of Emily’s post, and then ask yourself: Is this the way major social change should take place in a representative democracy? Should the executive branch subvert the checks-and-balances of the US legislative and judicial branches of government to bend a balking populace to its will?

Here’s a slightly tangential thought experiment. Trans activists are forever comparing their efforts to that of the fight of gay and lesbian people to attain civil rights.  But twenty or thirty years ago, can anyone imagine that adult gay and lesbian activists would have dreamed of demanding that public schools identify and “affirm” those kindergartners most likely to grow up to be gay or lesbian (the adult outcome for most “gender nonconforming” children)?  Back in the halcyon days of the LGB and women’s liberation movements, the idea of bringing children as young as 5-years-old into a discussion about private body parts,  or whether LGB people are “born that way” would have been beyond the pale—let alone any such initiatives being mandated by the President of the United States.

Emily wrote to ask us to reblog her post. We went a step further: We asked parents in our blog community if anyone would like to share their own experiences with their children’s schools vis-à-vis transgender issues and rights. From the accounts we’ve received so far, it’s evident that private schools are also affected, and the situation in UK schools is very similar.

Several of the below contributors (most of whom are not at liberty to identify themselves publicly), as well as Emily, who wrote the original post on Youth Transcritical Professionals, are available to participate in the comments section below.  Please feel free to add your own school-based experiences to the discussion.


Parents weigh in: School experiences


Nervous Wreck says:

My 18-year-old daughter’s very sudden decision to transition only happened after she herself learned as a public high school senior about the whole concept of transgender from classmates. It provided her an answer that made sense to her…a highly intelligent girl who never quite “clicked” with other girls. For her it was the power of suggestion from a classmate. How much more powerful the suggestion might be if it had come from the instructor?

Where I live, the public schools give a presentation to the parents about the sex education/STD materials that will be presented to students in the various grades. Parents are allowed to watch the very same videos that our students will watch, and parents are given the option to opt their student out of these presentations. Our students are not mandated to learn sex education from our public schools. We parents have the choice to teach our own students at home if we so desire.

Why is it not the same with gender identity materials? Are the health instructors expected to teach these materials as scientifically proven when it is not? Even if I didn’t opt-out of these materials, I want to know what the schools are teaching so I have the opportunity to have my own discussion with my child.

This all makes me sound terribly conservative doesn’t it? But I’m a life-long Democrat. I just happen to have a spiritual life that helped me as a youth to accept that our bodies are a gift to accept as is, simply a vehicle for carrying our spirit around. One does not have to be “conservative” to have a spiritual life….let’s put an end to the “right/left” notion about gender identity.  I myself have certainly never felt pinned down by gender stereotypes.


 Gary (New London, MN) says:

Early in the spring of 2015, a number of NL-S school district residents met with the school board to express concerns about their proposed transgender policy. This controversial policy was presented without any advance notice to parents or the community.  We were stunned that the Board of Education and the administration chose to ignore our request to delay its adoption.  Very few have had the opportunity to become aware of the policy, or to read and understand its implications. A simple delay is a most reasonable request. Why the rush?

Are we in this community ready for a policy that allows boys to use the girls’ locker rooms and girls’ bathrooms and to participate on the girls’ athletic teams? That will be the almost certain result if the school board’s proposed transgender policy is adopted.

The proposed policy states that the school is committed to “maximizing the social integration” of transgender students. This means that boys who at any time wish to see themselves as girls can do anything in schools that the girls do. These boys can use any of the girls’ facilities and participate on any of the girls’ sports teams.

We weren’t misled by the superintendent’s statement that it may be that transgender students could use “gender neutral” bathrooms and showers. Other schools tried that approach only to find themselves sued by GLTB lawyers and then forced to open all girls’ facilities to the boys.   “Maximizing the social integration” for transgender students does not allow for keeping the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms and showers separate.

Our Board’s proposed policy says that “sex is assigned at birth.” What kind of fantasy is that? My own experience is hearing the doctor or nurse say, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” I have yet to hear the doctor ask, “Which sex shall we assign this to baby?”

Aren’t schools supposed to teach our kids about the real world? This new policy requires our schools and teachers, by word, example and policy, to substitute a fantasy world for the real world and force our kids to conform to a make-believe world where biology isn’t real.

And what about the nonsense that putting our kids into a fantasy world will supposedly lower suicide rates? There is no evidence that such is the case. But, when we enter fantasy land, there are no limits to where it takes us, because truth and reality no longer matters.

We need to provide safety to all children, and many see this policy, as written, as harmful to every child. Keep in mind that most gender-confused children lose their confusion by the time they reach their 20’s. We all want all children to feel loved and accepted. Are we really helping them by affirming their confusion, rather than helping them address the underlying issues causing it?

After much deliberation and many revisions to the policy, the school board refused to remove the most objectionable wording that was contained in the policy; that being:  No one will be denied access to opposite-sex bathrooms or shower rooms.

We formed a community group in order to better equip us to oppose the ‘Gender Inclusion Policy’ (as they later labeled it), and with the help of numerous parents and concerned citizens did convince the school board to table the proposed policy until further guidance has been initiated either by the courts or other educational entities.


Miriam says:

Last February, a 15-year-old boy who claims to be a girl walked into the girls’ locker room at the school my child attends and began to undress in front of them. The girls, who were changing for basketball practice, some without shirts or shorts, were shocked and upset by the boy’s presence, so they ran out of the locker room wearing towels to a bathroom to finish changing. The boy tried to use the girls’ locker room again two days later, but was prevented by one of the girls’ boyfriends, who stood in his way. The girls in the locker room were devastated; they hadn’t been warned that boys would be allowed to use the girls’ locker room.

I got together with a few other mothers and we called the police to notify them of ongoing indecent exposure at the school. Then and only then did the school write an email to a few of the parents to inform them that there was a transgender girl (biological boy) using the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. The letter looked almost identical to the one that the Palatine school district used to notify families of bathroom use regulations. Additionally, the school told parents that we did not have a choice in the matter. They said we could home school our children if we didn’t like it.

The school then hosted a LGBT information night for parents and a day training session for students and teachers. The gender training facilitator used the “Gender Unicorn” as a visual aid for the students. The concerns of parents about mixed bathrooms were dismissed and there was no interest in finding a compromise. We discovered that our school had been hiding the fact that there was a boy in the girls’ room for over a year. They never said a word until the police got involved. Also, we were told that the district is “required by law to allow the boy to use the girls’ bathroom and locker rooms.” The same boy, who has been allowed to be a member of the girls’ basketball team and the girls’ marching band, has also demanded to sleep in the same hotel rooms with girls on band trips, but he has so far been denied.

A district elementary teacher reported that she was told by the administration that she was required to allow her students to use opposite-sex restrooms if they “identified” as the other sex. A female elementary student was even told to use the boys’ bathroom, simply “because she likes to do ‘boy’ things” and prefers pants to dresses. They claimed the law required telling her that.

genderunicorn1

Don’t believe the rhetoric about gender identity laws simply allowing someone to pee in peace; it’s not just about the bathrooms!

I would encourage parents everywhere to go to school board meetings. Be proactive and ask your athletic director to make sure your children have access to an alternate changing, showering, and restroom area.


ThinkingMom says:

Emily’s story has struck a real nerve with me.  My children have been attending a school very similar to the one that Emily’s kids attended, in another state.  It has been a great school and was founded on classical teaching.  My older child started having issues with what we are now learning is a borderline personality disorder, and possibly autism spectrum disorder.  She struggled with the large amount of homework at that school so we moved her to an associated charter school.  There, she was friendly with several kids who were identifying as “gender non-conforming.”  They started doing lots of cosplay, and copious Internet use – YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, DeviantArt.  Suddenly, my daughter started dressing differently, cutting her hair short, and even started some drug use.

Now in public school, she started going by a male name and male pronouns.  The public school, of course, has the policy to accept whatever kids present as, without parent consent or knowledge.  Each of the teachers and counselors I have dealt with are very apologetic about not being able to respect the parents by using given names, but have apparently received a directive to “make the student feel accepted and comfortable.”

The longer my daughter has gone by male pronouns and a male name, the more anxious, depressed, and rebellious she has become.  At home, she generally acts the way she has always acted, no pretense of male persona, no voice altering.  But she becomes irate when we don’t use her preferred name and pronouns because after all, “HE is accepted and admired at school by friends for being so unique”– we just are ignorant and don’t see who HE really is.

I will tell you who SHE is: She is still the sensitive, creative, intelligent girl who loves to take walks in nature and collect wildflower bouquets and unique rocks and bugs.  She still gets compliments on her beautiful singing voice, on her beauty, and her kindness.  But now, with all the “support,” she cusses like a sailor, sits with her legs wide apart and talks loud and abrasively, rude and crude, when in public.

The schools are just making things worse by making this a part of the education system.  It is something that should be dealt with by professionals, therapists, counselors–and by the families.  It makes things so much worse with the open and blatant pandering to the activists.  These kids are suffering and the help they need is NOT to become the poster child for their school, or their community.  The pressure to continue on the path of transition is now so intense, just because everyone is now watching.

What it is becoming is another platform for activists who use children as pawns for their activism.  It keeps the real problems – mental health issues – hidden and undiagnosed.  Self acceptance is so important for every human being.  Why has it become such a taboo subject and so many are working against it for the sake of permanent damage – hormones, medication, surgery – that will not even touch the real issues?

I do agree with one thing: School should be a safe place for all kids.  ALL KIDS. 
So why are the rest of the kids, the ones who aren’t suffering from these mental health and identity issues, being pushed aside?  Their feelings about themselves, the world, their friends and life in general, are being squashed and treated as unimportant compared to the few kids whose parents are intent on pushing the agenda on everyone, maybe for their own 15 minutes of fame and attention?  I am not saying it’s the parents’ fault in every situation, since every one of these situations also have a lot of other professional adults involved.  I just see this as such a tragedy for everyone involved.  We need to stop it now.  With this new school year, I see the problem getting worse, much worse, before it ever gets better.  But it has to get better, for the sake of our kids and the future for all.


Jane says:

I took this photo over the summer. This appeared on the main bulletin board in a progressive private school that goes from grades 7 through 12. Tuition at this school runs about $30k per year. Most upsetting thing to me about this poster is that “female” has nothing to do with biology: “Female: identifies as a girl. Does not necessarily refer to genitalia.” Might as well teach creationism.

School poster

This is not the only progressive private school in the area to have swallowed trans ideology.


UKMum says:

This is happening in UK schools too. My daughter is one of seven other trans-identifying girls who live within a square mile of us that I know of (clearly social contagion).

One day, she and another trans student knocked on the door of the school counsellor’s office, and requested to be known by boys’ names and pronouns. She told them that we, her parents, were ‘not supportive’ and it was therefore kept secret from us. She was given a new ID badge, all the school records were changed and she was helpfully advised right there and then that she would have to change her name legally by deed poll if she wanted to write her new name on her exam scripts. (So of course, that is what she eventually did!)

The first I knew of this was when the school ‘slipped up’ and sent me a text communication with her boy’s name on. I was driving, pulled over to read the text, and then spent half an hour crying in a layby, until I felt stable enough to continue driving. What a shock!

I wrote to the school, telling them that we were considering having her assessed for Aspergers, pleading that this affirmation by adults in authority would not help at this stage, that this had come out of the blue, etc. I felt it was wrong that she wasn’t interviewed individually by the counsellor and that two kids going together on the same day to request the same thing, should have raised alarm bells about ‘influences.’ Also, as she was wearing a new ID card, with a male name, if she was involved in an accident, she could potentially receive the wrong treatment, since her emergency contacts (us and her grandparents) do not use that name, nor would hospitals be able to access her medical records. (How would they find them, since they are not in this new name?) I felt this was a duty-of-care issue, and the school relented and told her she would have to just use the first initial of her birth name on her card, whilst it was still her legal name.

Of course, within weeks of being known as male at school, she developed dysphoria and felt that she now could no longer go out without a chest binder. Next, she began to be dysphoric about her voice and to intentionally lower it…then a new way of sitting, and beginning to be aggressive and swearing a lot. All of this was completely out of character. Our family and friends have looked on aghast at the rapid decline of our sweet, sensitive, funny, overthinker. It is a nightmare.

Our scepticism has caused great damage to our relationship which has all but broken down, with both sides feeling hurt and disrespected.

During part of the time we were going through all this, our daughter attended a girls’ school. While one might think single-sex schools would be immune to some of this, the official GSA in the UK has now begun the process of replacing the word ‘girls’ with ‘pupils’ so as not to misgender anyone.

Now I don’t want my daughter to go to University because I am afraid that she will be encouraged further down the road. And as she is now an adult, we will just have to stand by and watch her disappear.


Skepticalmom says:

Well-meaning adults need to understand just what they are encouraging kids to do when they give blanket acceptance to all things trans.  Well-meaning school administrators and parents just don’t realize what sort of damage they are doing to kids when they apply transgender ideology within their schools. Although trans is associated with gay rights and acceptance, trans is a much different animal. Of course we want to be accepting of all children, but should we accept, without question, children’s fantasies and false beliefs? While compassion is admirable and necessary, it is not an act of compassion when adults lead children to believe they are or can become the opposite sex.

We are allowing young people to be drugged and even surgically altered, based upon their personal, self-identified beliefs — which have no basis in science. Not only is trans ideology based upon belief rather than scientific fact, the end result is kids who are tethered to the medical system, receiving ongoing medical treatment, for the rest of their lives. School are accepting this and encouraging it. They should be teaching science instead.

Well-meaning adults also may not know that most kids who say they are trans grow out of it if left alone (in other words, no social or medical transitioning) to mature into adults. Well-meaning adults may also not know that many kids who claim to be trans have pre-existing problems such as past sexual abuse or physical or mental trauma, or have mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. There is also a correlation between autism spectrum disorder and kids who claim to be transgender. These issues need to be carefully, thoughtfully and thoroughly explored and sorted out by professionals. Unfortunately, however, current medical protocol allows kids to be socially transitioned immediately upon self identification and begin medical transition shortly thereafter.

My own family is quietly and privately struggling to get my teen daughter past her feelings of not wanting to be female. She is making progress with the help of a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. She says doesn’t want to be a man — it’s just that she doesn’t feel comfortable as a woman. Yes, this is progress. Yet, if well meaning teachers, parents or administrators invite the trans political machine into our school, I can guarantee you all progress would be lost as she would feel encouragement or even pressure to further her male persona.

My child’s school doesn’t know what we are dealing with at home. In order to help other students who might be dealing with the same issue either now or in the future, I would like to warn our school’s administrators and counselors of the dangers and junk science behind transgenderism, and the fact that teen girls, especially, are falling prey to trans social contagion. I would like to help implement a program that teaches both boys and girls about the dangers of todays easy-access internet porn. However, I must wait until my child is out of our school system, as I can’t risk them finding out about her problem and encouraging it.

Families should be allowed to deal with these situations privately, allowing their therapists, psychiatrists and physicians to do what is right for each individual patient. It is harmful to our kids when schools encourage them to believe they are something they can never be (the opposite sex), or encourage our kids down the path toward dangerous, invasive, unnecessary and never ending medical “treatments.”


TheMom says:

My daughter goes to a very large public high school. As she has not come out publicly, she has not experienced any issues. I do know that her school last year was looking at changing bathroom and locker room policies in anticipation of accommodating trans students. They had one openly trans student a few years ago (FtM), and that student used the bathroom in the nurse’s office, which the student did not find acceptable. But the student graduated and moved on. The school board said that they have a dilemma because their current policy doesn’t allow students to use individual locking bathrooms. Students could go in there and commit suicide, do drugs, have sex, etc. and it would be very difficult for security to get in the bathroom. So they were looking at options. They already have changed their PE policy, stating that students are not required to wear a PE uniform, and that students don’t even have to change for PE if they don’t want to.

Meet Dr. Winters: computer scientist, “empty nest mom,” & top pediatric transition expert

Some of the most vocal and vociferous proponents of early medical transition for other people’s children are late-transitioning biological fathers. (Note: While most of these individuals now call themselves “moms,” the fact that their contribution to reproduction was undeniably via biologically male gametes—aka “sperm”– cannot be simply “identified” away.)

Many of these individuals weaponize the fear that gender-defiant kids will kill themselves if not socially transitioned, puberty blocked, and moved on to cross-sex hormones and surgeries at as young an age as possible.  But there’s something hypocritical about their belief in the “transition or die” orthodoxy: Many of these MtF activists–who no doubt consider themselves “truly trans”–transitioned later in life, yet somehow managed to avoid suicide themselves, enjoying long lives as men with lucrative and productive careers (quite a few in typically male-dominated professions such as the military, technology, and finance) and the opportunity to father offspring.

Kelley Winters, PhD., is one of the most prominent trans activists agitating for medical treatment of trans-identified children. Dr. Winters is on the International Advisory Panel for WPATH, is a member of the Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) Expert Working Group, and is a board member of the youth-transition-promoting organizations Trans Youth Family Allies  and  Gender Infinity. The TYFA bio page lists many other accomplishments:

She has presented papers on the psychiatric classification of gender diversity at annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association of Women in Psychology. Her articles have appeared in a number of psychology and psychiatry journals and in two books.

The Gender Infinity website has more about the “empty nest mom.”

gender infinity

These are lofty achievements, but not unusual for a PhD.  What exactly are Dr. Winters’ credentials? Prior to transitioning, Winters, as a man, had a successful career in microelectronics design and research (mentored, as Winters says at the link, by another well-known computer expert and MtF activist, Lynn Conway, known for attempting to destroy the career of sexologist Michael Bailey, who had the audacity to write a book based on his research findings.) Winters’ PhD is in engineering and, in addition to trans-related activities, Winters is a photographer and retired computer engineer.

Kelley Winters is considered an expert on the medical transition of children, not because of any special training or demonstrated expertise in child or adolescent psychology, or a background in clinical research. Kelley Winters is a top speaker, writer, and expert on behalf of the medical transition of gender dysphoric children by virtue of the fact that Kelley Winters .… is trans.

As one of the most frequent commenters on the WPATH Facebook public group page, Winters’ commentary and opinions are almost always deferred to by the MDs, therapists, and other gender specialists in the group. Winters expends a lot of verbiage claiming that the top experts in the field of gender dysphoria have it all wrong in their decades of peer-reviewed research demonstrating that the vast majority of gender dysphoric kids desist from a trans identity.

Winters is most active on WPATH threads addressing the treatment of trans-identified children and teens—typically arguing, as yesterday, for less gate-keeping and more widespread availability of hormones and “corrective” surgeries for minors under the age of 18.

Winters corrective surgery for minors

Kelley Winters, PhD. in computer engineering, thinks there is “no basis in evidence” that teens ought to wait to make permanent life-changing decisions (aka “corrective” surgery). They can’t get a tattoo or use a tanning bed, but they sure as heck should be entrusted to undergo major surgery and sterilizing drug treatments. According to Winters, any reasoned suggestion that minors might lack the cognitive wherewithal to make such decisions is “purely political.”

Winters does raise one good point in that comment. Puberty-blocked kids do feel, rightfully, that they are left behind in prepubescence while their non-trans peers go through puberty and begin to explore themselves as sexual beings.  Gender doctors have created an iatrogenic problem, with an iatrogenic solution. The problem: Block puberty, thus freezing the kid in arrested childhood while their peers move on, making them naturally impatient for puberty themselves. The solution? Dose them with sterilizing cross-sex hormones and major surgeries as young as 12 or 14 years of age.

As does occasionally happen in the WPATH echo chamber, a commenter in the thread raises the question of whether youth are fully equipped to understand the magnitude of the decision they’re making.

 I am a little concerned about glossing over some of the sticky issues, though. .. For example, part of the socialization experience many youth experience can involve severe pressures to conform (including penalties for not conforming). Some unknown number of youth might be conflicted about genital reconstruction, or not want it at all, and yet be ill-equipped to resist these pressures. There is precious little support for gender-non-conforming girls or boys, or women or men, and even less for people who refuse that binary altogether. Can we spend as much energy on supporting people (youth and adults) who are in that middle or “other” ground as we do helping them move towards our culture’s comfort zones? Is it always a disaster to be different? I also wonder, should we be concerned about decisions affecting reproductive capacity? Many youth may have little awareness that as adults they may desire not only to raise children but also to play a specific role in genetic parenting. What discussions or support would need to take place in order for a youth to make an informed choice about a surgery that would limit reproductive capacity? (I never wanted children “of my own” either as a child or as an adult. But I know any number of people for whom this was a strong desire acquired in adulthood.)

The commenter makes some excellent points about supporting gender-defiant kids in general, as well as pointing out the fact that many young people have no clue what it means to choose to be infertile.  But Kelley Winters, PhD. in computer engineering, isn’t particularly worried about the maturity of trans kids. In fact, in Dr. Winters’ professional estimation, trans kids are more mature than their “cis” counterparts, endowed with the rather unusual adolescent ability to predict how they’re going to feel 20 or 30 years down the road:

Winters trans kids are more mature

“Virtually all of the trans youth I’ve been honored to know were remarkably conversant and thoughtful beyond their years on their own reproductive decisions.”In what universe are the judgments and assertions of 14- or 16-year-olds predictive of their future judgments and opinions? Young teens don’t get to vote, drink, marry, sign a contract (except, apparently, the one giving their “informed consent” to medical transition),  even get a tattoo—but by virtue of thinking they are the opposite sex, they are “mature beyond their years” when it comes to deciding on major surgery and chemical sterilization?

In the same comment,  Winters, who managed to live into adulthood to father biological kids, plays the suicide card, aka “better sterile than dead”:

Winters suicide

The specter of suicide (misused as always) is usually the conversation stopper, and this thread is no exception. But one point of interest here is how Winters started the thread– with a discussion about the trans reality TV star, 15-year-old Jazz Jennings, who has been on a testosterone-blocking implant and cross-sex hormones since at least age 14. Anyone who has recently watched TLC’s “I am Jazz” is aware that medical transition has not prevented this teen (by Jazz’s own admission—in episode 2, season 2) from feeling suicidally depressed, socially isolated, and in need of antidepressants (themselves known to carry a risk of increased suicidality in adolescence)—as well as a yearning for “the classical boobs you see on TV.”

I’ll ask the question I’ve asked before: Why are trans activists like Kelley Winters—particularly adults who transitioned later in life and are themselves parents (and grandparents in some cases)–so very interested in promoting early medical transition of other people’s children? Winters, like others who survived to transition as adults after passing on their genes, isn’t just agitating for the rights of transgender adults in housing, employment, or (even) bathroom access. They devote most of their advocacy to the medical transition of young people.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They likely are convinced (or have convinced themselves) that this is the best thing to do for kids who say they want to be the opposite sex. Adult MtF transitioners who are also biological fathers, like Kelley Winters (and like this person I engaged on Twitter last month) believe that, in hindsight, if given the opportunity themselves in childhood, they’d have chosen medical transition with all that would have entailed–including, evidently, foregoing parenthood. How do they explain this to their own kids, I wonder?

But maybe–instead of promoting suicide contagion and the idea that a healthy young person’s body can be “wrong”–trans activists like Kelley Winters would be better off expending their energies on self-reflection; on the glaring fact that they themselves lived into adulthood without the need of a surgeon’s knife, an endocrinologist’s needle–or prepubescent sterilization.

Gender Critical Dad is fed up with the bucketloads of doublespeak

Gender Critical Dad is a brand new blog by the father of a teenage girl who—after coming out as a lesbian at age 14–has now decided she is in fact a trans man. They live in the United Kingdom.

As far as we know, this is the first skeptical blog created by the father of a self-identified trans teen.  Click on over and check out his blog. He’s already got several interesting posts up, from the perspective of a “stroppy bugger” (his term).

Gender Critical Dad is available to respond to questions in the comments section of this post.


What inspired you to create your own blog, as a “gender-critical” dad? Did you find other gender-critical blogs or resources that helped motivate you to start your own?

I think it was several things: A displacement activity, to find some use for the anger and restlessness that ran round and round my mind since I realised the danger that my daughter was in; a catharsis, a chance to tell my story, make some sort of sense of it, get a reality check. Was I a horrible person for not “supporting them on their brave journey”? The blog is a place where I can get things out without burdening friends and my partner.

Hopefully my story will encourage others—maybe especially fathers–who are going through the same thing and let them know that the things they perceive and how they feel, are valid and real.

The current predominant narrative of trans kids is very much one of brave kids finding their true selves, supported by loving friends and a family who courageously struggle to come to terms with this brave new world.

I, as well as other parents are telling a more real narrative that features anxious, confused kids, scared of the adult sexuality portrayed in an ever more pornified world and feeling unbearably cramped by the tightening gender roles, desperately looking for an alternative. That scary world includes people encouraging them to identify as trans, sometimes mistaken but well meaning, sometimes for sinister motives. It includes organisations which have infiltrated academia, the NHS [UK National Health Service], and education. It includes a cult with all the manipulative features we would recognise from Scientology or the Moonies.

GC Dad

I’ve used the name “Gender Critical Dad” because it was the most accurate name I could think of. I hope it is taken as a mark of respect to the subReddits with that name and the important work done by radical feminists that I depended on to make sense of my feelings about the transgender dogma.

I have no wish to claim any ownership of the term gender critical. I am using it because it is catchy and memorable, and it will hopefully help me get my story out to other people being hit by transgender. If more people think about wider gender critical ideas and take a more respectful look at radical feminism, that’s fantastic.

4thWaveNow has been an enormous influence, showing me that other people have stories similar to mine, and also demonstrating how telling those stories can give comfort, strength and support to other people. I am also inspired by https://youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org/ and https://rebeccarc.com/ for providing a very sane, calm and well-reasoned critique of transgender.

Have your views about your daughter’s transition evolved since she first announced she was a trans man?

Yes, before I hit Peak Trans, my image of a transgendered person was Hayley Cropper from Coronation Street, a quite dignified person, who had taken a well thought out decision and just wanted to carry on with life as a woman.

The reality I discovered was very different, a world of aggressive men using trans as an excuse to invade women’s spaces and get a kick out of intimidating them. An ideology that, while claiming to be liberating people from assigned gender, actually re-enforces gender roles and then tells vulnerable young people that the only way out is to mutilate themselves, start a life time of drug dependence and nurture an obsession with appearance and other people’s perceptions, claiming it as victimhood.

We were glad to see your new site, since so few fathers seem to be weighing in publicly about the transgender youth trend. Most of the contributors to 4thWaveNow are mothers. Why do you think that is? Is there a reason why dads would hesitate to make their views known?

I think most men, especially those on the left side of the political spectrum, are scared of being seen as intolerant and bigoted. It’s a very “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation. I think most men have no problem with gay men or lesbians, but really don’t believe in the reality of a gender identity separate from biological sex and would find the logic of genderist dogma farcical. The idea of someone, straight faced, explaining that trans women can have a female penis, but are just as much women as biological women would be met with the derision it deserves by the majority of men.

These men might be sympathetic to Hayley Cropper, but also have an understanding of what autogynephilia is, even if they have never heard the word. If they were exposed to the wild west of queer theory and gender identity politics they would find it both ridiculous and sinister.

The difference between what they feel and what they see everyone else express, is a massive source of cognitive dissonance and very difficult to make sense of.

A lot of dads are understandably, desperate to keep some sort of relationship going with their kids and partners, and they may be unaware that other people are experiencing the same feelings so go along with the trans narrative. Many may not be able to cope with the difficult feelings caused by the cognitive dissonance and end up estranged from their children and partners.

4thWaveNow has a couple of posts focusing on Jay Stewart and the organization Gendered Intelligence in the UK. What has been your experience with Gendered Intelligence?

I initially assumed they were some sort of gay and lesbian or feminist support group. What I found from looking up their web site and from https://youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org/ was they are both a trans cult, a trans pressure group and an increasingly lucrative business.

I went to some meetings that were open to parents. I found a small group of young people, all looking younger than their age, some anxious parents and  two strapping blokes who looked like parody transvestites from “Little Britain.” It was a deeply creepy experience and I realised just how perfect a set-up it was for grooming vulnerable young people and setting up dependencies that could be exploited the day they turned 18.

To be honest I only read anything from them to get an idea of what they are doing that directly affects my daughter, I really do not need to wind myself up. The more I see of them, the more they remind me of Scientology, but they are stealing young people’s healthy bodies, not just gullible rich people’s money.

You have written that your daughter originally came out to you as a lesbian, but now says she is a trans man. Obviously you are skeptical of this switch. How does your daughter explain it to you? Why do you doubt it? Does she know about your doubts?

Communication on the topic is difficult at best. It always ends up in rows [UK English for “arguments”] which I do not handle well, so I tend to avoid the subject, so a lot of what I think about this may be supposition.

She says that she has never felt happy as a girl and that once she came out to friends and teachers, she has never been happier.  She tells us that everyone else accepts her new gender and she passes effortlessly. We know from personal experience that this is untrue. It also sounds just like so many stories on the Gendered Intelligence website or any other pro-trans site.

I’ve known a lot of lesbians from a previous job I had, and they were all wonderful, open and friendly people. My daughter seemed to be developing into a very stylish lesbian before the trans thing started. But now she’s withdrawn, ashamed of her body and obsessed with her appearance.

She knows exactly how I feel, but as I said, I don’t handle rows well.

How are you handling the transition? Do you use “preferred pronouns,” and have you purchased a binder?

I’m determined to not be an enabler, so I will not use preferred pronouns, but otherwise I try to keep my opinions to myself, not always successfully. If I try to discuss it, we will end up rowing and I will push her further into the cult.

Somehow she got hold of a binder. I pretend not to notice when she wears it.

Did your daughter show any signs of being gender dysphoric as a young girl?

This question is impossible to answer without either accepting or confronting a lot of the assumptions behind the trans ideology. I’m a stroppy bugger so here we go.

If you look up the symptoms of gender dysphoria on the NHS (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gender-dysphoria/Pages/Symptoms.aspx), you get a list that includes:

  • disliking or refusing to wear clothes that are typically worn by their sex and wanting to wear clothes typically worn by the opposite sex
  • disliking or refusing to take part in activities and games that are typically associated with their sex, and wanting to take part in activities and games typically associated with the opposite sex
  • preferring to play with children of the opposite biological sex

…all of which is just sexist bollocks. Most people would display these “symptoms” at some time in their lives.

Next in the list of GD symptoms we have:

  • feeling extreme distress at the physical changes of puberty

I grew up a boy, I was late to puberty and not at all happy about that. I can understand why puberty is a bigger challenge for girls, who might well have learned about puberty blockers from the internet. So this too must catch a lot of people.

  • disliking or refusing to pass urine as other members of their biological sex usually do – for example, a boy may want to sit down to pass urine and a girl may want to stand up.

My brother went through a stage of sitting to pee; he had somehow got the idea that that was why women lived longer.

  • insisting or hoping their genitals will change – for example, a boy may say he wants to be rid of his penis, and a girl may want to grow a penis.

As a late developer, I was convinced I was under-endowed. How would I have reacted if offered the chance of being a special snowflake who would grow into a beautiful lady?

So we are left with:

  • insisting they’re of the opposite sex

Girls get a shit deal, since they have to live up to ridiculous beauty standards. Boys watch enormous amounts of porn and that influences the pressures they put on young women. Aspects of puberty that my generation accepted or even celebrated, like pubic and underarm hair, are now deemed repulsive. Young women are expected to be a ridiculous hybrid of constantly available sex toy, pure maiden and pre-pubescent little girl. As I have discovered, post-trans, lesbianism as a distinct, respected culture and role model has disappeared–to now be a category on You-Porn or a pretense of autogynephilia.

Is it any wonder that a lot of young women these days see no alternative to trans?

Kids are weird. That’s just what they do, so just let them be weird kids for a while. Don’t call it either a mental illness or some mismatch between their bodies and a mythical gender fairy that can be cured by surgery, a lifetime of hormones and bucket-loads of doublespeak.

So when you get right down to it, asking whether my daughter ever showed signs of gender dysphoria is a really stupid question. The only answer is “probably no more than you”.

If my daughter lives life for a while as a woman, lesbian or straight, actually has relationships and then comes back to me as an adult and says that she would be happier as a man, then I would think very hard about it and  try to understand.

Do you know other parents “in real life” (vs. online) who share your gender-critical views?

No, although I have ‘come out’ to some close old friends and colleagues. Once I’ve explained the reality of what trans is, they seem to accept my version.

How does your partner (your daughter’s mum) feel about all of this? Do your views differ?

My partner agrees with me and shares my views on gender identity, but is much better at navigating the thin line between enabling the delusion and losing communication, so can still to some degree communicate with our daughter. Still, my partner often ends up being told by our daughter how terrible we are. She really has been a rock; at times I have been close to crumbling and she has always been there for me.

Are you observing other teen girls in the UK who are also transitioning to male?

I see some around town. It’s heart-breaking, these young women, who could be beautiful and confident, who could be enjoying the freedom of youth and all the chances to explore themselves and the world. But now heads down, huddled, painfully self-conscious, anxious, making pathetic attempts to pass, but I’m sure, that at some level they know that people are only pretending to believe it.

How does your daughter’s school handle her transition?

They encouraged and colluded with it without telling us. They gave her a new name badge and use preferred pronouns. One teacher seemed quite proud of how she had supported our ‘special lovely’ daughter. Yes I’m furious about that, but can’t bring it up without outing and alienating her. Someone might be getting a present of Sheila Jeffreys’ Gender Hurts book at the end of term.

How can we support what you’re doing?

Keep doing what you are doing. Let people know that there is another story and that the gender identity dogma is a lie.

I’d love to see us get organised and start acting collectively, but I know that will be very hard, with everyone needing to protect their and their kids’ privacy.

We need to reach out and let people know that there is dissent and that the dissenters are not horrible people. We need to separate rejection of the trans ideology from homophobia and let people know that there is no scientific validity to gender identity and that there are other ways of tackling gender dysphoria.

I’m sure there is a story here that a good investigative journalist could really run with. It reaches from grubby little men in girls changing rooms, through to some very powerful people, all the time trapping and exploiting young people. I haven’t a clue how to get that story out.

 

Do No Harm: An interview with the founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals

A new organization has formed for therapists, social workers, medical doctors, educators, and other professionals concerned about the rise in transgender diagnoses among children, adolescents, and young adults. Youth Trans Critical Professionals was founded by a psychotherapist and a university professor just a few short weeks ago. The organization has a website (already publishing thought-provoking pieces from professionals), a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and many followers. If you are a professional skeptical of the transgender youth trend, please visit the website and consider contributing to the effort. Your anonymity will be protected at your request.

4thWaveNow recently interviewed one of the founders of Youth Trans Critical Professionals. She is available to respond to your questions and remarks in the comments section below this post.

ytcp logo.png

Why did you start this organization for professionals skeptical of the trans-kid trend? What is your personal interest in this matter?

I’m going to start by saying something that I will probably say several times. Our main concern is with medical intervention in children and young people that leaves their bodies permanently altered and/or sterilized. We don’t have a moral issue with people identifying as transgender, and believe that those who do should be protected from discrimination like any other minority. However, the medical treatments for children who identify as transgender are risky, not approved by the FDA, and permanent. With any other condition, we would be bending over backwards to find other ways to support these children without resorting to major medical intervention, and would turn to puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery in only the rarest and most extreme cases. It is very disturbing to the originators of youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org that these treatments, whose long term effects are not well-studied, are being offered very casually for a condition which isn’t even clearly defined.

I have a private practice where I work mostly with adults, although from time to time, I do see adolescents. I first became aware of this issue because parents were coming in describing kids struggling with gender identity. I started to notice a pattern: an anxious, depressed, or socially awkward kid who spent a lot of time on social media would announce that he or she was “trans,” often requesting access to cross-sex hormones shortly after this announcement. Every one of the mothers in my practice who reported this behavior was incredibly supportive of her child. These moms may have shared feelings of confusion or concern with me, but their initial reaction toward their child was always acceptance.

The first time I heard this story, I didn’t make much of it. It sounded like normal teenage experimentation to me, and I admired the mom’s openness to accepting her child. However, as I saw more of these cases – and I saw the cases progress to the point where the child was demanding medical intervention – I became concerned and wanted to learn more.

What I found once I started looking was that more and more young people are identifying as trans, often after bingeing on social media. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom, there is a tremendous feeling of excitement around this issue among many adults. I found out that administrators at private schools were boasting about “several kids transitioning” at their school. I heard this from more than one school while I was researching this. They shared this as evidence, I think, of how truly progressive and accepting their school is. However, I find it really odd that no one blinks an eye when four kids are transitioning in a grade of sixty kids. Given how rare transsexualism is believed to be, doesn’t that alone ring a warning bell?

The more I learned, the more disturbed I became. Where were the critical voices? Where were the adults familiar with child development speaking out for young people who are in danger of being swept along on a current that may carry them towards sterility before they have even finished high school?

I was shocked to realize that many of my fellow therapists appear to have uncritically bought into the narrative about trans children that goes something like this: 1.) gender identity is a legitimate thing. You cannot question it without being bigoted. 2.) Children know their own gender identity. 3.) If you do not immediately and uncritically affirm a child’s professed gender identity, you will be doing that child grave harm, and may even induce suicidal behavior, 4.)  The best and only treatment for a child who professes to have gender dysphoria or claims to have a gender identity other than that associated with his or her sexed body is transition – social, medical, or both. It doesn’t matter whether that child has comorbid mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, autism, substance abuse or bipolar disorder. 5.) Once a child has professed his or her gender identity, the adults around that child should follow his or her lead, providing whatever treatment and accommodations are requested by that child.

There is nothing about the narrative outlined above that is beyond controversy and shouldn’t be open to questioning. The construct of gender identity is poorly defined and lacks coherence. It surely shouldn’t be the basis for subjecting our kids to irrevocable body changes and sterilization. Assuming that children have some mysterious knowing about their gender identity seems like poor practice. Children are often very sure of things at one moment in time and believe something completely different a week, a month, or a year later. Child development is a fluid process. Refraining from immediately affirming a child’s gender identity brings with it no documented harm. The oft-quoted figure about suicide among transgender youth is a misuse of statistics. Many children (and adults, for that matter) feel significant distress about an aspect of their body or identity. Usually, therapists explore many ways to support a person facing this kind of discomfort. Sometimes medication can bring relief. Sometimes, exploration brings a new understanding. Sometimes, discomfort must be borne as we come to terms with a difficult or disappointing reality. Why the rush to change the body? Permanently?! Of course we as adults should be putting the brakes on a process that is leading toward permanent sterilization. Of course we should. Where were the other professionals who also believed this?

There is such a dearth of professional voices calling for restraint and caution in turning to medical intervention. Pediatricians, social workers, psychologists – most professional groups state that we must affirm a child’s gender identity. While we appreciate the intention here to be supportive of gender non-conforming kids, it seems the greater value ought to be protecting children from unnecessary medical procedures that often result in sterility; a central aim of youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org is to raise awareness of this.

Yes. Where are the child and developmental psychologists on all of this?  Much of what transgender activists promote seems to fly in the face of what we know about child and adolescent developmental psychology. It has been understood for decades that young children confuse fantasy with reality; that adolescents try on and shed different identities;  that children are conditioned by what they experience; that a child or adolescent’s sense of self is anything but rigid. Have you heard from any skeptical child psychs, and what will it take for some of them to start speaking out?

So far, I haven’t heard from any, but I imagine we will. You are right, and you phrase the issues very clearly. Kids do try on different identities. And we as adults don’t do them any service by privileging gender identity as some special, separate category. There is nothing innate or special or sacred about gender.

And kids have very strong feelings about what they want, and they often confuse things they want with things they need. It is so incredibly difficult to watch out child be in psychic pain. It can send us flying into action as we try to make their suffering stop. But part of our job as a parent is to use our discernment as the adult who knows them best to learn when to listen to the manifest story they are telling us about themselves, and when to listen to a deeper story underneath that.

I was talking recently with a friend who has a daughter in college. She was telling me about the awful, awful time she went through when he daughter was 13. The girl was obsessed with getting an iPhone. She cried nightly about how terrible it was for her not to have one, how it was damaging her social life and making her isolated and depressed. She was visibly distraught over this issue being any reasoning. She begged for it literally as if her life depended on it.

Thinking of this issue with trans kids, I said to her, “At least you knew that she wasn’t going to come to any grave harm if you didn’t give her an iPhone.”

My friend surprised me by saying that at the time, she felt confused about whether she was doing great harm to her daughter by not giving her a phone. “Between the peer pressure and the advertising, I was almost convinced that I was doing her grave psychological damage.” Imagine how hard it would be to stand up to a teen’s desperate demands for hormones if you had mental health professionals telling you that you were damaging your child by withholding them!

I suppose the point is that just because our kids want something very, very badly doesn’t mean that we have to capitulate or surrender our adult judgment. Teenagers don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex. We can’t abdicate our responsibility as their parent to say no when what they fervently desire may be harmful for them, or at least may have consequences they aren’t capable of fully appreciating.

Do you believe there are truly transgender children? Are they different from the teens who claim to be trans because of social contagion?

What a complicated question! Let me break it into a couple of parts.

First of all, there is no question that there has been a huge increase in kids identifying as trans. Much of this increase is certainly due to social contagion. Kids are getting exposed to this on social media, where they are taught that “if they are asking whether they are trans, they probably are.” Look, most teenagers go through a period of feeling intensely uncomfortable in their own bodies. I think that for many of these kids, this is an expression of that discomfort. Forty years ago, maybe more kids developed eating disorders. Twenty years ago, they were cutting. This is the current way to express that nearly universal adolescent discomfort. We all need to feel that we fit in, and that we stand out. Identifying as trans hits both of those criteria big time. You go to school and announce you are now Joe instead of Jo, and let people know you want to be referred to by a different pronoun, and in many schools, you are met with excited acclimation from peers. You are different in an exciting, trendy way. At the same time, you can feel a part of the other kids who are also embracing different gender identities. It must be very heady.

So I do believe that there is a huge social contagion piece, and this is one of the things that I don’t hear other people talking about much. This matters a great deal, because it has probably happened that some anxious, socially awkward kid has come out as trans as a way of gaining acceptance and belonging, and has gotten so much support and affirmation that she has continued down the road to take hormones. In short order, she had permanently altered her body – a deepened voice, facial hair, baldness, increased risk for certain diseases – and maybe this wasn’t for her, really? Or not for her forever? But now this person has to live with those consequences forever. Testosterone and other cross-sex hormones are not tattoos that carry trivial risks, or can at least be hidden easily. This ought not to be a life-style or fashion decision, and for some kids at least, I am convinced it is. I realize this is an incredibly unpopular stance, but this is what I am seeing from my little perch.

Of course, there are those who identified significant distress with the sex of their body before transgenderism became a cause celebre. I have read the stories about two-year-olds who ask why God made a mistake. Some of these stories are pretty compelling. I am not an expert in this area, and when I read these stories, my strongest reaction is that I am grateful I have never had to be the person responsible for making a decision about such a case. I’m not at all sure what the right thing to do is, but I will say that I could imagine that transitioning might be right in some cases.

There is an Atlantic article about this from 2008 that I found very interesting. It profiled several of these kids who are “persistent, insistent, and consistent” starting at an early age. Some of the Canadian kids were treated by Dr. Kenneth Zucker. The article describes some of the things involved in the treatment such as “taking all the girl toys away.” I admit that made me cringe. Really?! Who would want to do that to their child? However, at the time the article was written, Chris, the child in question, had grown up to be a gay, effeminate man who had a healthy, intervention-free body.

My understanding is that when Zucker’s team assessed a gender dysphoric child, they closely examined the family system, considering carefully different dynamics that were in play, and then crafting an individualized treatment plan that might involve several different kinds of interventions. I believe that enforcing gendered toys was something that was done in some cases, but was accompanied by other therapeutic interventions that took into account the whole family dynamic. The ultimate aim was to help the child feel comfortable identifying with his or her natal sex.

The article also followed an American child who had been affirmed early, and had begun to live as a girl. And it made reference to the social media star Jazz Jennings, who was profiled by Barbara Walters. I found the reaction of the Canadian parents to this practice of early affirmation very compelling, so let me quote from that part of the article. (The bolding is my own.)

The week before I arrived in Toronto, the Barbara Walters special about Jazz had been re-aired, and both sets of parents had seen it. “I was aghast,” said John’s mother. “It really affected us to see this poor little peanut, and her parents just going to the teacher and saying ‘He is a “she” now.’ Why would you assume a 4-year-old would understand the ramifications of that?”

“We were shocked,” Chris’s father said. “They gave up on their kid too early. Regardless of our beliefs and our values, you look at Chris, and you look at these kids, and they have to go through a sex-change operation and they’ll never look right and they’ll never have a normal life. Look at Chris’s chance for a happy, decent life, and look at theirs. Seeing those kids, it just broke our hearts.”

So I think, if I had a little boy who insisted he were a girl, and I could do this terrible thing of enforcing gendered play, or I could do this terrible thing of altering his body and destroying his ability to have his own children, which would I pick? If I knew I would have a healthy, happy, whole gay man at the end of it, if I had a reasonably good guarantee that would be the outcome, I would much rather pack away the Barbies. The personal and social difficulties of back-tracking on a childhood or adolescence spent transitioning will inevitably be immense. If a child has been transitioned from a young age how will they know, or be able to begin to articulate, that a mistake has been made? At a recent at Cambridge University seminar entitled ‘Gender Non-Conforming Children: Treatment Dilemmas In Puberty Suppression‘ it was stated that 100% of children on puberty blockers go on to transition; it’s clear there is absolutely no going back on medical intervention.

In any case, those of us who started youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org would argue that transition is always an option into adulthood. I am familiar with the view that when someone transitions as a child, they have a better chance of “passing” in adulthood, but given the very real risk of later regret, I think we might decide that medical transition is a choice to be made by full-fledged adults only.

How do you answer charges that you are promoting harmful reparative therapy on trans youth? How is this different from trying to turn gay kids straight?

Well, I’m not sure I believe that we should try to “talk kids out” of believing that they are trans, first of all. If a fourteen year old kid came into my office and said, “I’m pretty sure I’m gay,” or “I am gay,” I would say, “Tell me about that! What is that like for you? How long have you known? What lead you to first wonder about your sexual orientation? What is hard for you about knowing this? What kind of support do you need?”

If a fourteen year old kid came into my office and said, “I think I am trans,” or “I am trans,” I would ask similar questions: “Tell me more about that? What does that mean to you? Help me understand your internal experience that leads you to know yourself as trans? What kind of support would be helpful in addressing this? When did you first start to wonder?”

The purpose is both cases would be to do the thing that therapy is meant to do – to explore our experience so that we can understand it more deeply.

There are a couple of differences. First, while I would be interested in hearing from the gay child about his particular way of experiencing his gayness, we all have a pretty clear idea of what that means. A gay boy experiences sexual attraction to other boys, and not so much with girls.

The notion of gender identity, however, is much less clear. If a boy of fourteen were to tell me he is really a girl, I would want to know about that experience. What does that mean? In what way do you experience this inner sense of femaleness? How does this experience manifest for you? What are the different ways of understanding this experience? Is it a consistent experience, or is it subject to variation? How does this experience influence your understanding of yourself?

Sexual orientation and gender identity are actually quite different and these differences justify different approaches. Sexual orientation has shown itself to be quite stable. Most gays and lesbians knew from very early on that something was different. These feelings aren’t dysphoric, although they may cause distress because of homophobia. It isn’t dysphoria, it is just an awareness of who you are. It isn’t a sense of being wrong, or in the wrong body. And it doesn’t tend to change. These feelings are generally stable throughout the life span.

This isn’t the case for gender dysphoric kids. We know that a majority of them will naturally desist. Unlike sexual orientation, gender identification does tend to change for the large majority of dysphoric kids.

The other major difference – and this is the heart of the artichoke – is intervention. Gays and lesbians are not seeking intervention. They just want to love whom they love. My hypothetical gay boy client and I would be free to discuss and explore his experience of being gay and his coming out process without any high stakes medical decisions hanging over our heads. If I knew that my hypothetical trans patient would not have access to medical intervention until she was, say, 25 years old, she and I could spend our therapeutic hours exploring her experience as a trans woman, and I could offer support for the difficulties involved in being different in this way.

My goal for therapy with a trans kid would be to provide a warm, judgment free space in which they could explore their gender identity and what it means for them without a rush to medical intervention. I wouldn’t aim to convert. No. But I wouldn’t want to close in on this being the final answer, since I know that so many gender dysphoric kids will desist of their own accord.

I would hope that no one would ever be shamed or persecuted or made to feel unworthy or respect and love because of these feelings. I would argue that there is another approach in between rejection and affirmation, and possibly the word for that would be acceptance. I accept you as you are. I support you. I am curious about what you are going through. I want to hear more about your experience. And I accept that your sense of your own identity might change, and I will accept you then as well. But in any case, I would hope to delay medical intervention until the person was at least 25 years old.

Maybe the last thing to say about this is the most controversial. It isn’t really clear what exactly “gender identity” even means. It appears to refer to a subjective inner state, but when pressed, those who identify as trans will often resort to gender stereotypes in describing their discomfort. Forgive me, but I am not going to want to send any person down a conveyor belt toward permanent mutilation and sterilization over a self-diagnosis of an inner state.

Gender is a social construct. If gender is the problem, why on earth change the body? Is seems obvious that the right thing to do is to change or even abolish the construct altogether. Changing the body to fit the social constructs we have around gender only serves to further entrench the constructs we are trying to escape – and these are socially, not biologically constructed; there is no evidence that gender identity is innate.

What is your vision for Youth Trans Critical Professionals? What do you ultimately hope to achieve?

Initially, we are hoping to solicit posts from 100 professionals writing on the trans child trend from how they see it. By doing this we aim to assemble the first collection of voices of Youth Trans Critical Professionals to evidence our mutual concern. There is a meeting being planned, and we are also discussing the possibility of co-authoring a book. Ideally, we would like to help move the needle on this conversation, hopefully resulting in clearer standards of care that protect gender dysphoric and nonconforming young people from unnecessary medical intervention and permanent sterilization.

How can a group of anonymous professionals make a difference? Without a public face and voice, who will believe you are who you say you are?

Anonymity certainly limits our credibility at this point. Many of us are contending with constraints of professional institutions which broker no dissenting views. It is our hope to speak out publicly once there are more of us. In the meantime, I hope that we will be judged by how we write and think. I believe that people that read the site will know that we are striving to do this in order to protect children from unnecessary medical procedures and permanent sterilization, not out of hatred or bigotry. In addition, some professionals working with us are also friends and relations of children and young people identifying as trans and need to remain anonymous to protect their loved one’s privacy.

In the few weeks the site has been live, have you heard from other professionals who want to be on-board?

The site has been up for less than two weeks, and it has already been viewed over 2,000 times. The overwhelming majority of the comments have been positive. (I have not deleted any comments, if that tells you anything. One person wrote a critical comment, which I approved.) And yes, professionals are reaching out and asking how they can be involved not just from professions allied to medicine, but teachers, youth workers, practitioners of law, artists and writers and so on.

How can parents find therapists and other medical providers who will resist the current trend to diagnose kids as trans? There are no public directories, while there are tons of  published resource lists of “gender specialists.”

What a good idea! Perhaps we could gather the names of such providers and maintain a directory. This would be a great resource because families are telling us they reluctant to access services because they do not trust service providers to tread a sensitive line between gender confusion and medical intervention.

As a therapist, how would you suggest a parent deal with a child insisting they are trans? The current trend seems to be “affirming” the child’s identity, no matter how old the child is.

Well, this is another complicated question. Obviously, we always want to communicate love and acceptance of our children. We can accept and affirm our child and respect their struggles and personhood without necessarily affirming a professed identity.

Part of what makes this a thorny problem is that there is no neutral stance. If we affirm the kid’s gender identity, we likely tip the scales in favor of a trans identity. If we look for other ways to express our support and empathy for our child, we likely tip the scales the other way. Given that even doing nothing is not a neutral intervention, we have to ask a difficult question. Is desistance a better outcome? If we had to choose which way to tip things, what is the right way? For me, it is clear that, all things being equal, desistance is a better outcome because it avoids invasive medical procedures and sterilization. Whenever a young person is engaged in keeping the conversation about their trans identity open, they may feel comfortable deferring medical intervention which will have the side effects of irreversible sterilization – at least this puts growing maturity on their side.

There is also the very critical issue of social contagion. I believe that many kids identifying as trans for the first time as teens – and perhaps many younger kids as well – have “picked this up” from social media. Parents are not infallible, but we are likely the best judges of whether our kid is truly suffering from deep-seated gender dysphoria, of whether the gender issue is a way to express other issues.

If a parent has a teen who comes out as trans, I would be interested in knowing the following:

  • Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
  • Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?
  • Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
  • Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
  • Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?

If the answers to these questions are pretty much “yes,” I would actually suggest that the parent state firmly and clearly that they do not support their child’s transition. I realize this is heresy. I would, as David Schwartz suggests, stop talking about gender. Anxious and depressed teenagers may learn that they can get a rise and a reaction out of adults when they mention gender. Addressing only the gender dysphoria instead of the underlying issues does these kids a huge disservice.

We know that social media sites like Tumblr and Reddit are fertile ground for social contagion and that many children start talking trans following immersion in these worlds. We know it’s easier said than done, but disconnecting them from the internet, especially social media, does give space for developing more self-reliant thinking. For some families it may be possible to remove a young person from their environment completely. Three months spent in nature away from screens, or overseas, or volunteering in a challenging environment may serve as a “hard reset,” allowing them to focus on something other than themselves. (After all, gender dysphoria is in essence very solipsistic.) Of course not all families have the networks or necessary resources to broker new horizons for their child in these ways. Parents are telling us it is extremely difficult to work out the best ways to support their child. But we are gaining increased confidence that saying ‘no’ to your child’s trans aspirations can inspire your child’s confidence for reflection. All parents try to keep their children away from dangerous trends sweeping youth culture and the trans trend requires the same vigilance.

I do believe that parents can have an impact. Letting a kid know that you don’t buy the gender identity drama, stating plainly that you love them as they are, but you don’t want to see them destroy their health and sterility can have an impact. They might roll their eyes, but I believe they hear you. At least if they ever look back in regret and despair they will know that you tried to protect them.

How can we support you?

If you know a lawyer, doctor, therapist, academic, nurse, teacher, guidance counselor or other professional who deals with young people and questions this trend and is thoughtful, please send them to our website! We are hoping to solicit 100 professionals to post on the site over the next few months. They can reach us from the site, and can send us material to post – anonymously if they wish.

Send parents, trans youth and their allies to the site too. Our aim is to cohere strength amongst and between us to bring serious, committed and critical attention to the dangers of trans orthodoxy.

Better sterile than dead: How trans activists justify destroying the fertility of minor children

Note: All screenshots in this post are from publicly accessible websites.

Update 4/4/16: Lisa Toinen Mullin, whose comments on the WPATH Facebook page were featured in this post, has responded in the comments below. Please see the 4thWaveNow response here.

Update 4/1/16: How do the gender specialists and trans activists square their cavalier promotion of “trans-kid” sterilization with this: Many trans men have a fervent desire to be biological parents. By all indications, these people treasure their fertility. There are apparently so many of them that there’s a whole movement afoot to cleanse the language of birthing and reproduction of any trace of femaleness, in order not to offend trans men. For example, midwives are now admonished to say “pregnant person” instead of pregnant woman. And “vagina” and “breastfeeding” may be triggering, so must be replaced by “front hole” and “chest feeding,” respectively.

What say you, activists and pediatric transition promoters? Why would you want to deny trans kids the same opportunity to procreate that many trans men have?


I’m sure some of my regular readers must get tired of the constant reminder that puberty blockers followed by cross sex hormones results in permanent sterilization of preadolescent children. Many would probably call what I do harping. Why do I include this point in nearly every post I write?

Is it because I think every (or even most) trans-identified kids will grow up to want to be biological parents? Am I a proponent of replenishing the already overtaxed planet via endless childbearing? Am I biased in favor of reproduction because I am myself a parent?

Nope. It’s pretty damn simple. I just happen to hold the view, seen once-upon-a-time as a matter of common sense and ethics, that healthy minors should not be sterilized for any reason. That no adult has the right to sterilize a minor. That the capacity to bear offspring is a basic human right, and that a child’s reproductive capacity should be guarded by responsible adults against anyone who would even think about taking that right away before adulthood. That, by definition, no child or teenager can predict whether they’ll want to bear children later in life. (Having children is pretty much the last thing on the mind of tweens and teens—for good reason. How many 10 or 12 or 14 or even 20-year-olds have any concept of what that choice would mean?)

Duh?

But not sterilizing kids is no longer a “duh” to journalists who write parrot trans activist talking points about “trans kids.” In fact, evidently some global uber-editor has decreed that this side effect of pediatric medical transition is so unimportant, is so worth it, that it doesn’t even merit a media mention. Very rarely do I see even a sentence acknowledging the guaranteed future sterility of trans kids who have followed the typical path from blockers to hormones. And I have never seen a mainstream journalist take up the issue as a moral conundrum, something to investigate in more depth.

So as long as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the rest of the Fourth Estate (more like, the Fifth Column) continue to ignore that kids are being sterilized, this obscure blogger is going to keep drawing attention to that fact.

You’d think at least a scientific journal would deem child sterilization a worthy subject to discuss. But no. Even the venerable Nature, one of the most highly respected journals in science, which recently published a much-shared piece about new NIH-funded research on adolescent guinea pigs trans teens, says NOT ONE WORD about sterilized kids.

Very likely no one touches this topic because, well, it’s kind of a taboo. It’s a dirty little secret that trans activists would rather the general public not think too hard about. I mean, most sane people would raise a question or two about the wisdom of sterilizing kids.  (In my personal experience, there are two ways to get good liberals to do some critical thinking about trans issues: mention child sterilization or the fact that most gay/lesbian people don’t even fully realize and claim their orientation until their early 20s, long after medical transition commences.) After all, it’s even controversial (and, ahem, worth writing an article about) to talk about sterilizing severely disabled children. It’s even difficult for young adult women in their 20s or older to get their tubes tied.

The aforementioned Nature article is currently being discussed on the public WPATH Facebook page, and to my surprise, and to their credit, a couple of pro-trans clinicians actually put forward the fertility question as a troublesome aspect not covered in the article.

rixt

Who can argue with this simple declaration?  But as we’ve seen, activists and gender specialists are very eager to push the age for medical treatments lower and lower—be it “top surgery” for trans boys or genital surgery for trans girls. Why bother with the blockers at all, if (contrary to any evidence) little kids know they’re trans from the get-go? And sterilization? Nothing more than a “strawman” according to one trans activist:

LisaM strawman

Oh, pshaw. Only “cis” heterosexuals concern themselves with silly things like “protecting fertility”–in children.  And anyway. LGBT adults tend to have fewer kids, so we’re safe to assume these trans kids probably won’t, either.

lisam gay lesbian

Two concerned clinicians seem to recognize who’s really propping up a straw man here:

Rixt Arlene.jpg

Rixt Arlene part 2.jpg

She says it: “I do not think teenagers can really understand what this loss may mean to them.” Not only that. She points out another little detail that isn’t discussed in the mainstream media: Children who go from blockers to cross sex hormones can never develop mature gametes–that is, it will be impossible for these people to ever produce their own biological children, because their body’s capacity to generate sperm and eggs will have been forever curtailed.

Bravo, clinicians. Even though you are enabling these kids to forfeit their future fertility (despite your admitting there may be problems in “30 or 40 years”), it’s good to see someone standing up for the reproductive rights not only of “trans” kids, but also gay and lesbian parents.

But the activists (whose only claim to authority is their own transgender status) are unswayed in their fervor to promote sterilization of other people’s children.

LisaM cisnormative

Although society recognizes that minors don’t have the cognitive wherewithal to vote, drink, sign contracts, or even use tanning beds safely, it’s simply “cisnormative logic” to be concerned that they might not fully understand what it means to be irreversibly sterilized at 14.

And what argument by a trans activist would be complete without reference to the transition or suicide!!! meme (despite no evidence that transition is the cure for self harm in teenagers, and despite the constant misuse of the 41% suicidality figure by activists and a prostrate media)?

better sterilie than dead.jpg

Better sterile than dead. The adult trans activists have spoken. Other people’s minor children are “trans people” who will absolutely choose suicide over their future fertility.

Listen to your trans elders, kids, and ignore any doubts voiced by your parents. Statistics show that you’re less likely to want kids anyway when you grow up, and if you do? The Brave New World of medical technology will fix you up.

Not that you teens are the least bit interested in talking about having kids anyway. Childbearing? Who thinks about that? If anything, you’d be more interested in hearing about the latest advances in neovaginas or phalloplasty technology. And while you’re waiting for your genital surgery,  discreet panties with a “thick cotton crotch insert to mask the genitals” and teeny bopper packers can tide you over.

Nothing wrong with your body that the truth can’t cure: Guest post

This guest post by “fightingunreality,” a regular commenter on this blog, is the second in an ongoing series of accounts by women who at one time experienced gender dysphoria or the desire to become the opposite sex—but who turned away from “transition” without undergoing hormones or surgery. (The first in the series is “Abandoning the Ship of Woman,” by guest poster “Dot.”)

I am looking for more guest posts from formerly dysphoric women and girls, of all ages, who did not take steps to “transition” medically. There are some fine writings/blogs authored by detransitioned/detransitioning women who did embark upon medical transition but returned to embracing their femaleness; I will leave it to those women to continue elucidating their experiences for us. One excellent blog by a detransitioned woman is that of Maria Catt, who wrote powerfully yesterday about the hazards of transition and specifically testosterone—both from the perspective of someone who has used “T” herself, and as a worker in a medical clinic which served transgender people. Another fine blog by a detransitioned woman is “Hot Flanks,” who writes sensitively about her journey home to female after years of trans-identification.


Nothing wrong with your body that the truth can’t cure

by fightingunreality

As one of many women who have faced some of the issues confronting teenagers who call themselves “transgender,” I feel reasonably certain that, had these girls been born in an era before the all-out indoctrination that has taken place in the past decade, they would not only not be seriously considering altering their bodies; they would be developing a framework for understanding why they ever felt the female sex was not their own.

Such dysphoric females would most likely eventually connect, as I have, with other women who had the same difficulties–even if those difficulties remained unspoken. Instead of demanding hormones and surgery, these girls would be learning to cope with the ongoing changes that take place as they gradually mature, physically and socially. And it wouldn’t be easy, but nothing of importance ever is. Especially during the teenage years.

I imagine a self-identified trans teen reading this and thinking, “Eh, what could she possibly know? She was never ‘really trans’.” In response, I ask: What IS “really trans”?

Dysphoric teens often talk about depression and anxiety spiking during their middle school years, when their bodies begin changing in ways they don’t want and can’t stop; changes that feel wrong.

Do you have any idea how common these feelings are? For the longest time, I wouldn’t talk about them because I thought they were weird and embarrassing. But it turns out that a lot of my friends felt the same way and weren’t talking about it either. Nothing seems right when your body starts to change, and it doesn’t help that the hormones that are causing the changes fuel emotional highs and lows that are really intense and hard to handle. I know it doesn’t really seem like it, but things get a lot easier to deal with. It just takes time.

I remember this time period very well. I panicked. I was depressed. I didn’t know what to do because I could not imagine myself becoming what I believed it was to be a woman. I was neither like the women I knew nor those I saw on television. The idea of having to buy or wear a bra was repugnant. As a result, I did the only thing that seemed logical at the time: I hid my breasts and tried to carry on as if nothing had changed. I wore layers and vests and spent a lot of time worrying about other people noticing.

I remember feeling ashamed, especially when my older sisters made fun of me for trying to deny this development, or alternately, for acting or feeling like I was a boy (something that I never verbalized for fear of perpetual teasing). I had been obsessed with becoming a boy prior to hitting puberty, and what I considered to be my body’s betrayal seemed like the ultimate cruelty. Like some sort of unfair punishment.

Remembering those times, I wonder what it would have been like if I’d had someone I trusted who I could talk with about it–someone who understood the depth of my despair, who’d been through something similar. I did not have any such confidante. Yet in retrospect, I consider myself extremely lucky, because what I also did not have–which virtually every other child and adolescent has now–is someone who would have reinforced my belief that I really was meant to be a boy; that I was “trans.” I have to tell you, I would have bought into that belief with everything I had because I did not want to be female. I did not want to wear dresses or makeup, bleed every month, date boys or get married—ever. Being “trans” would have been the perfect out for all of those things, and once your body starts to develop, the pressure is on. Everything changes.

Thinking back, it was around age 5–the time when I started kindergarten –when I began to realize I wasn’t quite like the other girls. To be honest, I can’t even remember what activities the girls engaged in because I didn’t pay much attention. I guess it must have been dolls, since the note inscribed on my very first report card said that I didn’t like to play with them, but instead played with “trains and boys’ toys.” It made it seem like it was a bad thing–like I was bad–and I can recall from that point on a growing alienation from whatever it was that “girl” was supposed to mean. I actually remember at one point feeling sorry for *them,* for the girls, as if I weren’t one myself.

By the time puberty hit, my friends were all boys, so I guess you can imagine the additional issues that started to develop right along with my budding breasts. Suddenly the pressure was really on from the adults to act more ladylike, and there came rules about spending time alone with the boys and separating us for activities. We couldn’t play together as easily. There was increasing snark from the girls at school who marked me out as “other” for my failure to socially conform. I didn’t really need to hear their comments, though, because my changing body was a constant reminder of how I was supposed to behave and look which had nothing to do with how I felt about or saw myself. I felt trapped.

Worse, it wasn’t just the girls who had become suddenly self-conscious about their increasing need to conform: the boys who had been my peers and best friends began to see me as “other,” too. It didn’t matter that I was just as good as any of them when it came to sports, or that in a fight I would most likely win. I was a girl, and that alone altered the dynamic in our little group. It was even worse outside of our circle of friends. Individually, my friends seemed the same, but around the other boys, it was like they had to prove something to each other. Influenced by their own surging hormones, some of them began to make sexualized comments to impress each other with the pretense of worldliness, and the situation became increasingly intolerable. Former friends would dis me in the presence of others in order to get a laugh or to prove their masculinity. Hanging out with a girl wasn’t cool at this age unless it had some sort of sexual connotation. My sense of betrayal was devastating and complete.

It was at this point that I found myself alone. No longer accepted as a peer, I was closed out of the boys’ club and realized that I had little in common with the girls.  I hadn’t really learned the rules very well, and from what I saw, I didn’t want to. Girls seemed helpless sometimes–interested in things that were incomprehensible to me. They began to cover the backs of their notebooks with popular boys’ names, plus theirs, surrounded by hearts. I just didn’t get it. It was pretty clear that I did not really fit in: I was not like them, and I certainly wasn’t going to grow up to be like their moms who I understood even less. I had no role models–I knew no one like me. As an adult, I can acknowledge a multitude of contributing factors, but at the time I could see only one real source of my pain: my body had betrayed me. I was alone, I was depressed, and I couldn’t see any way out of my situation. I felt like a mistake and I too often just wanted to be dead. As it was, I did what I could to simply hide. I sought invisibility and spent a lot of time by myself.

What if, along with my rejection of my maturing body, my growing depression, the loss of my peer group and my increasing alienation, I’d been told that there was a cure? I, along with a number of my friends, have asked that question. What if I’d been told that I must have a “male brain” or that there was science that showed that I had a “medical condition” that caused all of the problems? What would I have done? It didn’t happen, fortunately, but I think I understand my former self well enough to know: I would have attributed all of my social difficulties to that “condition.” I would have believed that if I could just fix that “condition,” all of the other issues would be resolved or at least lessened. They were, after all, entirely related to being the wrong sex. Weren’t they?

Having been raised in a very religious household, I actually believed as a young child that god would give me a boy’s body if I prayed often enough and hard enough. As a result, every time I was made aware that I was, in fact, a girl, I would repeat my litany with the sincere belief that my prayers would be answered. I would imagine myself as having changed, as having all the qualities I believed that entailed. When I showered, I’d plaster my soapy hair to my head so it would feel and look short. I’d shape lather on my face in the form of a beard, imagining how I would look when things were “fixed.” Each time, as my fantasy washed away, I would experience an even greater disappointment in the reality I faced. The more I engaged in the fantasy in its varying forms, the more distressed I was at what was: my body seemed to grow worse and I prayed even harder. I bargained with god, formulated deals, but each morning I awoke to the same disappointment. Despite my lack of progress, I continued praying for a few years because I convinced myself that my long-term dedication would somehow prove my faith, and that would make a difference. It was only the loss of that faith which eventually caused me to give up: I became convinced that god couldn’t hear me. I hadn’t lost my body shame, only the idea that there was anything I could do about it.

Testosterone and mastectomies don’t require a god or magic–just money and a psychologist’s approval. It’s a real thing that you can find out about now without even trying. You can watch hours of videos online as some girls/women sprout beards and their voices are lowered. You can see them pose with fading scars, pectoral muscles now hormonally enlarged and visible in the absence of those hated breasts. You can read all of the accompanying comments supporting her choice and your desire, and you can find a ready-made community to replace the one you lost, to accept and agree with the idea that something is terribly wrong with the way you are now that can be fixed with hormones and surgery. They’ll even tell you how to go about getting them. This is a real thing. But the magical thinking involved is the belief that you can actually change your sex; that you will be indistinguishable from actual males. The unreality of this is easy enough to overlook if you want something bad enough, even if you have no way of knowing what it actually means to be what you want. With “gender reassignment” and T, there’s no need to ever give up hoping for a miracle, because unlike god, the purveyors of gender change are listening very closely. They even advertise, making sure you can hear them. They are waiting for you. They’ve published books to help you, a teen, lay out all of the talking points that will help you convince your parents that you need this “cure.” They’ve made it easy.

As it was, as a teen, I had nothing of the sort. Oh, I’d heard of “sex change” operations, and for awhile clung to the idea of one as I tried to maintain that possibility, but the reality was that they were still really rare and impossible for someone so young and with no money, and there was no question that my family would not approve. As a result, I was forced to face reality. I was female, and I had to accept that and do what it took to learn to navigate the world as such.

One of the interesting things that happens when someone wants something badly is that they begin to fantasize about having it. They imagine themselves in possession of their want and it gives them pleasure, the fantasy itself becoming the reward. Unfortunately, reality is not changed and it often seems even worse or even less real when compared to what has been imagined. For myself, I know that the more I visualized myself as a boy, the worse I felt about who I actually was. The more I saw myself as being what I wanted, the more that want took on the characteristics of a need, something that I had to have; that I could not live without. I was wrong, of course, but had “gender reassignment” existed back then, it would have served as the material manifestation of that need –the promise of a wish fulfilled, that which god would not grant me. There would have been no reason for me to resolve the conflict that I had with my body. The time and experience I had which allowed me to come to terms with my sex would have been spent instead on fueling the same fantasy which had intensified my previous despair: my fantasy visualization would have prolonged my rejection of my body, and the degree of my dysphoria and dysmorphia would have increased.

As it was, I went through an intensely lonely and depressing time, but at some point, after about a year I guess, one of the girls in my class decided to befriend me. To be honest, I think it was because she felt sorry for me, but really, I didn’t care why. What mattered is that through her I gained entry into her circle of friends and my isolation ended. It would, of course, be convenient to slap some happy ending on the story and tell you that all was happily ever after from that point, but I think that kind of thing only happens in made-for-TV movies. I was still a teenager, with adolescent mood swings and depression, and I still was not one with my body. I had my issues, and so did my new friends. We were all pretty messed up, but at least we were messed up together.

In retrospect, I think it’s highly likely that I would have been dragged irretrievably into the world of crime and drugs that many of them fell into had my love of sport not provided a diversion from complete immersion into that subculture. Title IX had just been passed the year before, and even my small rural school was forced to provide some girls’ sport teams in order to comply. It wasn’t the football or baseball that I had formerly enjoyed playing with the boys, but basketball provided me with the opportunity to develop and prove my strength and my skill in a way that as a girl I had been denied. Not only did the physical activity help me gain a new relationship with my body –which believe me, was a very, very big deal. But for the first time, I was in constant contact with other girls whose strength and ability I admired, and with whom I could develop a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. I think maybe it was the first time I really realized that female was something to be.

The bravest and smartest and strongest people I have known have always been women. I just had to open my eyes to see it.

I am not “trans.” I never was “trans.” I was a girl, a female who’s grown up in a culture that makes us feel like less because of our sex. It is a world that teaches us that our opinions are not valued, that our knowledge is incomplete, that we are weak and that we are never safe if we go out alone. It is a place where we’re made to feel that merely being female is an invitation to men to do what they will despite our objections. To be female in this age and this place is to be convinced that the more we mature, the more limited our options become, and it is this belief we must resist, not our sexed bodies.

For myself, I was lucky. I managed to arrive at maturity at a time when women were actively fighting to shatter these myths and I was able to hear their voices over the constant murmurings of those who had and would define me by my use to them. These women were not popular then—they were mocked and reviled just as women are now, but they would not be silenced. Their words let me know that I had truly never wanted to be a boy, but rather that I didn’t want the limitations that were being forced on me as a girl. I was–we all are–more than our culture tells us we can be, and ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with your body that the truth cannot cure.

If you can manage to listen to the voices of the strong women who came before you, voices that are currently being drowned out by the popular trans-narrative, you may just hear them, too.

Introducing a new, global organization for parents skeptical of the “trans kid” trend

I’m happy to announce the launch of Transgender Trend, an international organization created by and for parents who are questioning the accelerating trend to diagnose children and adolescents as “transgender.

Transgender Trend, started by parents from the UK, the US, and Canada, aims to be a source of information and support for anyone who wants to challenge the pediatric “transition” narrative that has swept the Western world in the last several years. In addition, the organization intends to issue press releases, and to be a voice for parents, family members, and supportive friends who have been seeking–so far without success–to reach others who share their doubts and concerns.

The website (still in development) features an FAQ, links to and synopses of research studies, quotes from doctors, researchers, and psychologists, and a blog. It’s expected that the site will grow over time. Comments and questions are very welcome, but please note: Transgender Trend is not intended as, nor will it ever be, a place for trans activists to harass and harangue the parents and supportive others who congregate there.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, mother of four and the author of Communicating with Kids, will be the UK spokeswoman for Transgender Trend. Stephanie has recently given written evidence to the UK Parliament on the issue of pediatric transgender issues.  She also wrote a powerful piece,  “The Transgender Experiment on Kids” for the Wales Arts Review (now published on her own blog), critiquing the increasingly worrying child and adolescent “transition” narrative.

Stephanie has this to say about the launch of Transgender Trend:

I’m really happy to be working in collaboration with 4thWaveNow and a global group of parents to launch Transgender Trend. Our site is dedicated to evidence-based research and information which I hope will become a resource not only for parents, but for the press and the media too. For too long, we’ve only been hearing one side of the argument: that ‘gender nonconforming’ children should be socially and medically ‘transitioned’ as young as possible; that teenagers who suddenly announce they are ‘trans’ should be taken at their word with no questions asked.

Disguised as progressive liberalism, transgender theory depends on the reactionary and conservative belief in rigid gender stereotypes which now increasingly inform our interpretations of children’s behaviour. In the absence of any rigorous analysis of this theory, we are playing with children’s futures in the name of political correctness. Ultimately, the move to reclassify ‘male’ and ‘female’ not as biological sexes but as gender types, disproportionately harms women and girls.

I hope Transgender Trend goes some way to balance the overwhelmingly uncritical celebration of ‘transgender kids’ throughout the mainstream media, and that we can provide reassurance to parents who are struggling with this issue: You are not alone.

Parents and supportive others from around the world are welcome. Please visit Transgender Trend at:

http://www.transgendertrend.com/