Hey! Huffpo Transgender Child Comment Writers! Have You Really Thought This Through?

Two days ago, the Huffington Post ran an article entitled “To The Gay Man at the Vigil: I Didn’t Think I’d Have to Protect My Trans Son from You.” The back story is a familiar one. The author’s child was a gender nonconforming girl with a history of hating “pink dresses” and liking rough and tumble play. Heartbreakingly, the author reveals that her daughter was bullied for her gender nonconformity, being called “lesbo.” Being derisively identified as homosexual, the child “forced himself into being a girl.” (This is a very important point. The child attempted to fit into female sex role stereotypes after being derisively labeled a homosexual. This fits with what we are hearing again and again – that it is more socially acceptable for a lesbian to become a straight boy.)

After being labeled (in a bullying way) a lesbian and subsequently attempting to pass as a gender conforming female due to homophobia, the child became depressed and engaged in self-harming behavior. Sadly, we know that suicidality is very high among gender nonconforming youth. One study shows the 37.4% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth had had a suicide attempt. Then two months ago, this young person announced that they were transgender. The author mom supported her child’s transition, and saw the depression lift.

This piece fits the happy transgender narrative we so often see in the media. According to this narrative, kids who were being bullied for being gender nonconforming or appearing gay or lesbian immediately become warmly accepted and supported by peers when they embrace the rigid sex role stereotypes of the opposite gender. The comments on the article are overwhelmingly supportive and positive of the mom and her decision to embrace her child’s transition. According to the current narrative, this mom is doing exactly what she should do – supporting her child’s immediate transition without critical thought or exploration.

But here is what the supportive comment writers on the piece perhaps haven’t thought through.

This young person likely won’t be happy with changing their name, pronouns, and hair style for long. Many young people who come out as transgender feel an immense pressure to pass. (Clearly the young person discussed in the article is not passing at this point.) As a result, they often feel an immense pressure to start cross sex hormones.

A natal female who takes testosterone for some length of time will have a permanently deepened voice; facial hair; and possible male pattern baldness. The long-term effects of testosterone on female fertility are not well understood. Taking testosterone may cause permanent sterility. These changes will not go away even if she stops taking testosterone.

There are some further health risks. Testosterone may have a negative effect on one’s lipid profile by increasing bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol. It may raise blood pressure and lower the body’s sensitivity to insulin. These changes increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.

Taking testosterone as a natal female increases the risks of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. Not much is known about how these risks might be affected by long term use. Young people going on these cross sex hormones is a relatively recent phenomenon.

So the risks of long-term testosterone use are not insignificant.

But there is more.

Many young natal women who come out as trans decide early on that they would like “top” surgery, meaning a double mastectomy.

Mastectomies are a major surgical procedure that carry with them the usual potential for serious complications that all major surgeries have – infection, necrosis, blood clots, etc. It is a painful surgery, with a recovery time of at least a few weeks. And of course, having a mastectomy means one will never be able to nurse a child.

It is a principle of good medical care to choose the least invasive option possible when treating a condition. Identifying as transgender is NOT the least invasive way to address gender dysphoria because it often leads to serious, permanent medical intervention that can have life-long consequences.

The mom in the article insists it “isn’t a choice” to be transgender. The supportive comment writers (and presumably the HuffPo editorial staff) seem to agree with her. The gay man to whom she addresses the piece apparently does not. Empirical evidence is on the side of the gay man. It truly isn’t a choice to be gay. Sexual response can be — and has been — measured in the lab. Being gay means that as a man, you have an arousal response to men. This really isn’t subjective. Feelings of gender dysphoria certainly aren’t a choice. Intense feelings of discomfort with one’s body are not something most of us would choose. The decision to interpret these feelings as evidence that we are in the wrong body, however, is a choice. A choice with no empirical evidence to support it. No wonder the gay man in the article seems irritated.

Let’s support our gender nonconforming children. Let’s help them fight the homophobia that makes them go underground and feel terrible about themselves. Let’s allow them to defy narrow sex role stereotypes. Let’s look for ways to help alleviate their discomfort with their bodies without having to change those bodies.

10 thoughts on “Hey! Huffpo Transgender Child Comment Writers! Have You Really Thought This Through?

  1. *Let’s support our gender nonconforming children. Let’s help them fight the homophobia that makes them go underground and feel terrible about themselves. Let’s allow them to defy narrow sex role stereotypes. Let’s look for ways to help alleviate their discomfort with their bodies without having to change those bodies.*

    I totally agree.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. You’re doing excellent work on this blog, thank you. Hopefully, the dissenting professional voices will reach a critical mass soon, such that more and more of us will be heard.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Pretty much had all of my comments hidden from view on that article, likely because I pointed out the mothers reasoning for why her daughter isn’t a girl (playing in the dirt, not liking dolls etc.) are sexist and transing kids is liberal-approved gay reparative therapy.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Liberal-approved gay reparative therapy: VERY, VERY GOOD.

      And you know what? This same mother will insist she has raised her daughter without reference to gender roles!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was appalled by that article (and comments)

    It was, on its face, distressingly homophobic. Once again, the gay man –who is attracted to members of the same *sex* (not “gender identity”) –is portrayed as some sort of bigot for not acknowledging her daughter as being male on the basis of her and her daughter’s adherence to sexist social stereotypes.. By doing so, she reveals her rejection of homosexuality, itself, given that it is based solely on same-*sex* erotic and romantic attraction.. That this message was folded into a story about a vigil for men and women who were murdered on the basis of their perceived homosexuality, not their “internal identities,” exacerbates the insult.

    Further, the investment in gender conformity which the child demonstrated via cross-sex “identification” and the expressed rejection of her own sexed body –at least in part due to homophobic harrassment –was accepted as natural and good rather than as a reaction to the culture which enforces sex roles and permits and promotes the kind of anti-gay/lesbian bullying to which her daughter was subjected. Considering the mother’s criticism of the gay man, as noted above, it’s not too great of a leap to assume that the mother herself is not particularly accepting of gays and lesbians, or that her daughter picked up on her antipathy.

    When one considers that research has shown that gender non-conformance in children has been shown to be much more directly related to adult homosexuality and lesbianism than to persisting gender dysphoria, this mother’s willingness to choose a course more likely to lead to lifelong medicalization for her child becomes even more questionable. According to Zucker and Bradley, fear of homosexual outcomes was one of the top reasons why parents presented their children for assessment at the Toronto clinic. It’s hard, given the content of this mother’s complaints, not to see her within this context.

    In closing, I’d like to mention that Auntie Wanda isn’t the only person whose comments I’ve heard were censored on this article. Huffpost is not interested in facts, research or difference of opinion; they are invested in manufacturing consent.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. No. No I don’t. Huffington Post has demonstrated no interest or concern regarding the LGB, and instead, has dedicated its resources to emphasizing popular “queer” culture, which is comprised primarily of heterosexual youth and the genderists.promoting what has effectively become a gay & lesbian eugenics program. (With reparative therapy, it was at least possible to recover intact and without bodily harm)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello fightingunreality, do you have a link to Zucker stating that parents brought their kids to him because of their fear of their kid’s homosexuality? I’d like to bookmark that for later use. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This fact is mentioned in “Demographic characteristics, social competence, and behavior problems in children with gender identity disorder: A cross-national, cross-clinic comparative analysis,” Cohen-Kettenis, et. al., 2003, ( https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10890112_Demographic_characteristics_social_competence_and_behavior_problems_in_children_with_gender_identity_disorder_A_cross-national_cross-clinic_comparative_analysis ), p.51, but is originally sourced in Zucker, K. J. (2000). Gender identity disorder. In A. J. Sameroff, M.Lewis, & S. M. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychopathology (2nd ed., pp. 671–686). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

        Liked by 2 people

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