By Saye Bennett
I am a lesbian, and I am a psychologist.
Those two facts have been inextricably linked in my mind as I have observed, with increasing dismay, both the mental health community and the medical community unquestioningly accept the current transgender trend as fact.
As a psychologist, the most urgent and obvious concern I have about this uncritical acceptance of the transgender trend is our ethical mandate to “Do No Harm”. How can we, in good conscience, happily send our clients down a long and dangerous path of cross-sex hormones and invasive surgeries? (If you don’t think there are dangers in these interventions, please take the time to research very thoroughly, making sure to scratch beneath the shiny surface veneer of the relentlessly positive trans propaganda).
Our goal as mental health professionals should be to empower our clients to become their healthiest, best, authentic selves.
To believe that a client’s true self can only be achieved by changing everything true about herself is ludicrous.
And yet that is exactly what the mental health and medical communities are wholeheartedly endorsing.
The current political climate is increasingly limiting professionals’ choices in this matter, and is now even squelching our right to speak out with questions and concerns.
Questioning is now deemed hate speech, and refusal to simply automatically submit to client demands is now deemed unprofessional and “transphobic”.
When it comes to the transgender trend, differential diagnosis is forbidden, yet how can professionals adequately diagnose or recommend treatment without getting the full picture?
Instead of blindly accepting our client’s diagnosis of herself, we should be doing what we do for ALL clients, which is to actually find out what is going on that led the client to this point.
There are many factors that may need to be considered when a client reports she is transgender, including, but not limited to: sexual orientation (more on this below); trauma; general body image; eating disorders; medical history; autism spectrum disorder; mood issues; anxiety; family relationships; and social dynamics (including social contagion). In other words, a thorough assessment of all relevant factors and a comprehensive background history are needed to get a full picture.
The mention of sexual orientation leads me to my next point, because, as I mentioned above, the transgender trend concerns me greatly in my professional role, but it affects me even more saliently as a lesbian.
As a lesbian, I can say with firsthand knowledge that lesbians often do not meet society’s stereotypical notions of “femininity”. Even though I am a so-called “feminine-presenting” lesbian myself, there are still significant differences in how I process and approach the world in comparison to my heterosexual cohorts.
Therefore, because lesbians often do not fit into society’s narrow definition of alleged “appropriate” femaleness, I have been witnessing many lesbians being ensnared into the trap of thinking that they must be transgender.
Because lesbians often don’t see others like ourselves in the world around us, we often feel we are different than other females. This is likely to be even more true during childhood and adolescence, before we have the independence and the means to get out and explore the world.
Many lesbians have interest in activities, peers, toys, items, hobbies, colors, clothes, books, movies, TV shows, games, etc. that do not fit into society’s narrow view of “stereotypical femininity”.
So if a female reports she “does not identify with/as”, nor feel similar to, other females, it does NOT mean she is “really a male”, it just means that she is a different, unique, and equally valid, type of female.
Similarly, if a female reports that she likes sports, or the color blue, or wearing pants all the time, or wants to play with trucks instead of dolls, (etc.), it does NOT mean she is “really a male”, it just means she carries her femaleness in a way that is different from society’s rigid expectations.
Females who do not fit into the traditional “feminine” stereotype do NOT need hormone blockers or cross-sex hormones; they do NOT need to “socially transition”; and they do NOT need unnecessary surgeries.
Female bodies are not the problem here…society’s expectations are the problem.
There is no “right way” nor “wrong way” to be female.
What girls/women who carry female differently do need is unconditional acceptance and support, in order to become comfortable navigating being different in a critical and rigid society.
Mental health and medical professionals owe it to our clients to think critically about all information being presented to us.
We owe it to our clients to delve deeply to find the truth, and to always strive to “Do No Harm”.
Bottom line, we owe it to our clients to critically question an ideology which is based on John Money’s already discredited gender identity theory; and which is also based on stringent, faulty notions of what it means to be a female.
**Note: The focus of this post is based on females, so that is the term used for simplicity and clarity. However, please note that the same general principles would be relevant for males who do not fit the stereotypical notions of “masculinity”.