Staring The Future In The Face: How Many Of Us Will Be Left?

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What kind of world will the child trans trend lead to?

Marcus Gregory

“So we allow as many as thirty per cent of the female embryos to develop normally. The others get a dose of male sex-hormone every twenty-four metres for the rest of the course. Result: they’re decanted as freemartins structurally quite normal (except that they do have the slightest tendency to grow beards), but sterile. Guaranteed sterile.”

 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Throughout the developed English-speaking world, gender nonconforming boys and girls are now routinely coerced into transgender identities. Cross-gender play, clothing and claimed identity in children is seen through a lens of the child being transgender, with the favored route being to sexually transition the child. The trend is activist-driven, and not based on anything like science: Miranda Yardley, Stephanie Davies-Arai, and Stephen Levin have written recent articles discussing the fundamental flaws in these ideas.

What I want to discuss is the long term impact on gay and lesbian populations of widespread, early child transition, which we can expect from changing guidelines for transition. Many gender nonconforming boys and girls would grow up to be gay and lesbian if left alone. Widespread transitioning of children, based on diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria that include gender nonconforming behavior, should target children who would have otherwise become normal homosexual or bisexual adults. But most children also don’t end up homosexual. Can we make any predictions about this new world?

Clues from childhood research

To understand where the trans trend might go in future, we can use recent psychology research from Melissa Hines’ group at Cambridge University. Her graduate student Gu Li examined a database of 4,500 UK children whose gender-typical play behavior was tracked in early childhood. The childrens’ behavior was assessed on a scale called the Preschools Activities Inventory or PSAI: on this scale, 0 corresponds to most feminine, 100 to most masculine. At 15, the children were asked, via anonymous computer interview, about their sexual experiences and preference. Li found very strong evidence children who were homosexual or bisexual in adolescence tended be gender nonconforming, much more often than children who reported being heterosexual.

Compared to heterosexual adolescent girls, lesbian girls were 12–19 times as likely to display extreme levels of gender nonconforming behavior at ages 3.50 and 4.75 years; compared to heterosexual adolescent boys, gay boys were 20–26 times as likely to display extreme levels of gender nonconforming behavior at ages 3.50 and 4.75 years.

Some of these sexuality-related differences in gendered play behavior were almost certainly biological, as there is widespread encouragement for nearly all kids to conform to gender roles. That’s also in line with the knowledge that girls with a condition called CAH, who are exposed to more testosterone in the womb, tend to be more masculine in play and preferences.

While being gender nonconforming, as measured on the PSAI scale, isn’t the same thing as a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, there is a strong connection. Transgender education in UK schools tells children they have “pink and blue brains”, and that children with gender-atypical behavior are transgender. In Australia, under the “anti-bullying” Safe Schools initiative, young children are taught “for about 4% of people their gender may not align with the sex they were assigned at birth”, with an intense focus on “affirming” gender nonconformity as being transgender. When children who are forming a sense they are boys or girls are constantly told being gender nonconforming means they are transgender, they will probably go along with it.

Worldwide, the large, recent increase in such referrals supports the idea cultural factors are making nonconforming kids into “trans kids”. For example, referrals to the Tavistock, the only gender identity clinic in the UK that deals with minors, have gone from 96 six years ago, to over 2000 this year. In the US, there are now nearly 100 child gender identity clinics. And in Australia, an “epidemic in transgender children” has been noted in the wake of the Safe Schools program. The tactics used by trans ideologues to promote this ideology to children and punish dissent seem cultish, if not totalitarian. If transgender ideas about children become fully accepted, referrals to gender clinics should become very common for gender nonconforming children.

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Tweets reporting the Australian Safe Schools program’s impact on children in Victoria (“Vic”) presented at a conservative conference.

Moreover, Li’s paper supports a connection between nonconformity and dysphoria (emphasis mine):

Another line of evidence […] comes from clinically referred children, many of whom demonstrate extreme cross-gender behavior that partially or fully meets the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria/gender identity disorder [in the DSM]

A future scenario: who will transition?

Let’s consider a “Brave New World” future where socially transitioning nonconforming children by age 5 becomes commonplace. A critical question is how many children will continue to a medical transition. This should not be a small fraction, for the following reasons. First, we should expect social transitioning “locks in” kids: they can form a sense of identity as the opposite sex. Second, there will be a significant barrier for a socially transitioned boy to change his mind, since peers and adults will have invested in his transgender identity and stepping away may cause embarrassment.

Social transition also sets up the expectation the child will go to the “next step”: puberty blockers, HRT and then sex reassignment surgery. This is becoming easier, younger: new WPATH guidelines lower the age hormones can be used, and some within WPATH are proposing there should be no lower age limit for surgery. We might expect socially transitioned gay and lesbian kids are less likely to socially de-transition than straight kids, due to opposite-sex attraction being more socially approved. Li reported:

The current study found that not only levels of gender nonconformity, but also change in gender-typed behavior across the preschool years related significantly to later sexual orientation, especially in boys. When heterosexual individuals, who comprised the majority of participants, increasingly conformed to respective gender norms, nonheterosexual individuals appeared to conform less, or became more nonconforming, over time.

Still, using Li’s study, we can say something about the impact of transitioning many young children in our “Brave New World” scenario. This generation would otherwise make up the young gay and lesbian population in 15-20 years, the late 2030s. Li provides the proportions of children who are effeminate boys and masculine girls at age 4.75, broken down by their PSAI gendered behavior score, and by their sexual orientation at age 15.

Admittedly, there aren’t many 15-year-olds who report being gay and lesbian in this study: 24 gay boys and 16 lesbian girls. That means there’s a lot of uncertainty, and only rough estimates are possible. It might well be some more of those adolescents will eventually realize they are gay or lesbian.  It’s also harder to look at the impact on children who say they are bisexual at 15, since detailed figures on their behavior weren’t supplied.

To assess the impact of common childhood transition, we assume in this future scenario, children are transitioned who are markedly gender nonconforming. Imagine all boys with PSAI scores below a certain number, and all girls scoring over a certain number, will end up transitioned. Using Li’s paper above, I’ve graphed the proportions of gay and straight boys who’d be transitioned, if this happened to all boys with PSAI scores below a certain point.

If 5-year-old boys with PSAI scores under 45 or so (more effeminate) are socially transitioned, this would affect about 15% of gay boys and perhaps 1% of straight boys. But because only 1.1% of boys in this sample declared they were gay at age 15, we expect many boys who weren’t claiming to be gay by this age would be transitioned, too.

Using child PSAI score distributions in Li’s Table 4, I’ve also plotted the percentage of transitioned boys who would be gay or bisexual against the percentage of all boys who would transition in this scenario. Even if the most gender nonconforming 0.2% of boys are transitioned, much less than current estimates of the US trans population, about 75% of those transitioned boys will say they are heterosexual by 15.

A somewhat different picture emerges for girls, as transitioning gender nonconforming girls with a PSAI score above 55, would transition 25% of all girls who could go on to be lesbian at age 15, but about 1% of all other girls. That is: girls who go on to be lesbians are relatively more gender nonconforming than boys who go on to be gay.

Finally, I’ve plotted the percentage of transitioned girls who would be lesbian or bisexual as a function of the percentage of all girls who are transitioned. For this, I used child PSAI score distributions from Li’s Table 3, although the number of lesbian or bisexual girls here was quite small. Transitioning the most gender nonconforming 0.3% of girls at age 5 would result in about 30% of transitioned girls being lesbian or bisexual. This would decline to under 20% if transition hit 0.8% of all girls.

Brave new world: social impacts of wide transition

In our society that devalues those who don’t meet stereotypic gender expectations, modern medicine offers a route back to conformity by way of transition, which many parents, children and teens are only too happy to take. This “Brave New World” future where most gender nonconforming children are coerced into sterilizing, body-altering “treatment” might seem dystopian, and close to Iran-style gay conversion. But due to trans activism and changing medical and educational practice, it’s undoubtedly starting to happen, and we can try to assess the impact on the lesbian, gay and bisexual population.

However, what the data above shows is many young children who are gender nonconforming, and thus at high risk of being transitioned, are not necessarily going to be homosexual. This might be surprising, but James Barrett, the head of the UK’s Charing Cross Gender Identity clinic, wrote a paper showing some boys referred to gender clinics are heterosexual: of ten feminine boys, only one became transsexual and four became heterosexual. This is also in line with 4thWaveNow’s recent articles on the Tumblr community, showing many male-attracted teen girls identifying as “trans gay men”.

The pediatric trans trend appears to represent a fundamental break from previous concepts about who goes on to transition. Instead, making child transition normal may have a broader effect on children and teens, especially girls, and well beyond those who are very nonconforming. Up to 5 percent of girls in certain schools, or in one survey even up to 12 percent of young people, appear to place themselves on the trans spectrum.

A social trend of prepubescent transition would go with transition of gay, lesbian, and nonconforming teens being commonplace. Another uncertainty is whether sexually aware, latent autogynephilic male teenagers might transition. Miranda Yardley has written about this recently. We should not understate the impact of a potential cultural fixation where teenage boys think enjoying gender-bending pornography means they are transgender. Ironically, in a worst-case where many children go on to medically transition, these factors could have the most serious impact on lesbians while potentially giving a large increase in the “trans lesbian” population. By the 2030s, the typical young “lesbian” could be male.

In this analysis, I’ve explored the consequences of putting young gender nonconforming children down a medicalized path. The impact of this alone would be the erasure  unnecessary risky medicalization, sterilization and destruction of their gay/lesbian identity  of about 1 in 4 of those lesbians who know their identities in adolescence, and 1 in 6 such gay men. To be sure, it often takes gay and lesbian people significantly longer to come out, even to ourselves. But at every step through childhood, the presence of transgender as a possible identity to take on, acts as a kind of sink, that traps gay and lesbian kids. And, it seems, a surprising number who would be straight, but are gender nonconforming.

Marcus is a gay scientist. He tweets @LogicalMarcus

Technical note: For the proportion of children transitioned vs PSAI cutoff plots, I extracted the PSAI score distributions broken down by sexual orientation of age 4.75 children from Figure 1 of Li, Kung and Hines. For the proportion of children transitioned who are homosexual or bisexual vs total transitioned plots, I calculated this from the means and standard deviations of the 3-group intercepts of Tables 3 and 4 for age 4.75, assuming normal distributions and the same proportions of sexual orientations as their reported numbers. To check a normal distribution assumption wasn’t misleading, these plots showed broad agreement with similar plots calculated from the detailed distributions of Figure 1 for homosexuals and heterosexuals only.

11 thoughts on “Staring The Future In The Face: How Many Of Us Will Be Left?

  1. I’m glad people are thinking critically about this topic. It troubles me to see people blindly accepting that a desire to grow one’s hair long, wear dresses, makeup, and play with dolls is the surest sign one is female. These are extremely oppressive stereotypes that we’ve fought long and hard to escape. I work with children and have yet to hear any of my coworkers ask “why?” when a kid suddenly announces they are trans. We live in dangerous times when asking questions is frowned upon. While it can be tricky to support kids as people without necessarily supporting all their ideas, I feel it’s a task worth undertaking. I think it’s imperative that we leave room for children to grow in all directions and to make informed decisions in doing so. Where sensitive adults would otherwise encourage openness to change and new ideas or a “wait and see” stance, I see them falter in this when confronted with a child who is supposedly “trans”. Is it because they don’t WANT to think critically about gender and how it functions in our society? Is it because they’re scared of being labeled bigots? I can tell you, I sympathize most with the latter position. I would love to learn some ways in which I can make room for questions in the kids and adults I work with. For now, I am thankful the conversation is still alive.

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  2. Marcus – Is it a distortion or over simplification to say that based on the your analysis 25% of GNC girls who identify as lesbian at age 15 and 15% of GNC boys who identify as gay at 15 are likely to medically transition – to say nothing about the prepubescent GNC children put on puberty blockers who have no possibility of obtaining the identity of lesbian as a natal female and gay as natal male, respectively? Thanks for a ny clarification you might be able to provide.

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    1. Thanks for the question, J.C.W. I wrote this article to get people to start thinking about the impact of child transition on gays and lesbians, and I’m painfully conscious of the limitations of the data and our knowledge. As such this article barely begins to touch these critical questions.

      Here, I supposed “sufficiently GNC” children are likely to transition at age 5, and explore the impact on those who identify as LGB at age 15. Clearly that assumption can be questioned, but it’s justified to consider it by the trend we see connecting GNC with a dysphoria diagnosis. I discussed the evidence for this.

      In a scenario where child transition becomes common, and perhaps 0.5% to 1% of girls transitioned at a young age, this would have the effect you describe: up to 25% of girls who would have identified as lesbian at 15, instead have transitioned. This figure is substantially below the proportion of girls in some schools who declare themselves trans already. Apologies if I didn’t make it clear enough.

      We can’t answer how many of those who don’t transition at 5 would transition through adolescence, although it’s likely to be important: we don’t know how GNC self-identified lesbians are at 15, and transitioning at 15 may be driven by factors other than being GNC, such as same-sex attraction and psychological issues. None of this has been studied, at all.

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  3. Great article, and the opening quote from Brave New World is striking. It’s surely no coincidence that Aldous Huxley, with his vision of a “nonviolent totalitarian” future and a drug-lulled population that would “love its servitude,” was a leading member of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. This think-tank’s mission is social engineering on a mass scale, and indeed Tavistock is associated with many if not most of the major societal shifts we’ve lived through in the past 50 years. I mention this because the largest pediatric and adolescent “gender” clinic in the UK is the Tavistock Clinic. The Clinic is now part of the UK National Health Service (NHS) but it remains a major research arm and key proponent of the Tavistock Institute’s social change agenda: In the Clinic’s case, this is psychiatry for social change. You could call it weaponized psychiatry.

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  4. Just a small note about the psychological research you mentioned. In her book “Brain Storm”, Rebecca Jordan-Young critiques these kinds of studies including earlier ones done by Melissa Hines. E.g. girls with CAH are *expected* by their parents to be “masculine”, and these expectations can influence the children. So it’s very iffy to say that this behaviour is natal and caused by hormones.

    Even for the interests of gay and lesbian children, here’s an alternative explanation: sexual orientation shows up early in childhood, in some shape or form. If I’m a gay boy, I might subconsciously look at what girls do and become interested in those things – because I too want to be liked by boys.

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  5. The case is well researched and evidentially supported. If the right wing media were not homophobic and misogynist to begin with this would be headlines. Step ford wives comes to mind, We need the world of drama to portray this. Much as Threads did for nuclear disarmament and Ken loach has done for countless social justice issues.

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  6. Even as this concern should be addressed where it goes too far, the conclusion should be one in which trans and homosexuality coexist–get the pendulum centered.

    Because someone could also fear monger about how telling kids that they are homosexual for being GNC would be destructive too, for some who would rather just identify as another gender would be wrongly coerced into thinking their feelings mean they have to accept dating the same sex rather than simply not being concerned with sexuality so much as how they wish to identify.

    These questions about children are difficult but it’s true that there will be SOME who are better off with surgery and SOME who aren’t. It’s not black and white. And all I can say is doctors and psychotherapists should decide case-by-case. It’s not something that can be made into a universal law.

    And speaking of the new world, hormone treatment is merely the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking designer babies (already exist) and other gene manipulation that shall be very exciting, as well as designer limbs and organs which, too, we already have. Of course these technologies bring up all sorts of ethical questions too, (especially about privilege) but it’s coming either way. What body one would like to inhabit is very soon to be limited by the imagination, not flesh.

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    1. As the parent of a teen would-be “gay transman” who, I have no doubt, will soon find a way to start taking T, I can tell you that psychotherapists and doctors have nothing to do with this. The astonishing thing is that the mainstream media never — never — reports the facts, which are that medical science has nothing to back up the trans narrative. And when invasive medical treatment, which has had no clinical trials, is pushed as THE answer to feelings of dysphoria and preferences based on nothing but stereotypes — in any other situation, this would be construed as malpractice. I can’t self-diagnose and get an antibiotic from my doctor — yet my kid (along with a number of friends at school, who are already on hormones) is being enabled to declare herself a male and will soon be on a course to permanently medicalizing her currently healthy female body. Yet to question this in any way is to be labeled a bigot. Quite simply, it’s insane.

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      1. gay transman? you need to stop her internets immediately. she is developing a paraphilia. when males do this we call it autogynephilia. autoandrophilia exists too. most people can get their heads around lesbian dysphoria and the female stereotypes and internalised misogyny and homophobia which might drive a woman to identify as not women – but when young females decide they want to be gay men it strongly suggests not only the adolescent dysphoria we have come to think of as normal among female adolescents who are trying to compete with media images and porn standards promulgated by males and their handmaids, but also, incessant grooming by pornography and social media. when they develop a sexual identity and obsession around gay men, there is reason. that reason is not because they are a gay male. your daughter needs help. no real gay male will ever desire her – perhaps thats what she wants..? -but she will find plenty of men willing to pander to her delusions – especially if it means they get to play out their own hidden, homophobic fantasies. does she know what it means to be submissive? does she fully understand the injuries she risks sustaining or does she think some gay bloke is going to let her dominate him? seriously.. does she even know what she is talking about? has she ever had a romantic relationship with anyone? she is at the mercy of some real perverts.. i know you cant protect them from themselves – but do whatever you have to do to be able to live with yourself. you cannot stop her doing whatever she wants to do, but dont let anyone say you didnt try to protect her.
        all the luck. xx.

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  7. Marcus, that is a good piece. You should look at the situaltion in southeast Asia and also South America, where social standards are completely different. In these cultures, GNC children are both given a developmental pathway (by transitioning) and a social role. But to do this they need to conform to the local cultural expectations. These reinforce the link between gender and sexual role.

    Because these cultures, especially in Asia, are partially matriarchal and certainly both matrifocal and matrilocal, this cultural incentive to transition is not applied in a harsh or judgremental way, as it is in Iran, say. Instead, GNC children, especially boys, are understood to be both gay and trans; their transsexualism is a function of their nascent homosexuality. Also it is clear that GNC males who fit into the autogynephilic profile are subject to cultural expectaions that they will, as young transwomen, seek male partners. (this is why Dr Sam Winter found only 0.3 percent of respondents agreeing that they were attracted to women in his large survey.– liking women, as a transwoman, would be far more culturally challenging there than a male liking other males, or a female liking other females.)

    Yes, this does mitigate against their freedom of choice, but at the same time, in collectivist, powerfully family-oriented cultures such as are found in southeast Asia, the trade-off is positive for the young GNC person. They are accepted, usually, by those around them. (Fathers can be hostile but mothers are usually supportive; since these cultures have domestic matriarchy, where women are in authority in the home, the children are somewhat protected from masculoine opprobrium.)

    What does this have to do with the West? Well, here the drive towards transgender is NOT happening in the context of a powerful, supportive family system, as it does in Asia. The nuclear family itself is under existential threat in the West and this means that other systems, largely functions of the State, are being drawn in. This is not, in my opinion, a good idea; it smacks more of Iran than southeast Asia. It reeks of coercion for political reasons, rather than love and respect. I have become deeply distrusting of the ‘transgender movement’ (a term which should be an oxymoron) for its clear attempts to coerce parents and vulnerable children into following a trans route at far too early an age, and its persuasion of the State to provide drastic surgical interventions, more or less on demand, to people far too young to understand the gravity of the decisions they are taking — or are being taken oin their behalf..

    This is not Asia, where a person can have numerous presentations throughout their lives and still be socially accepted..Particularly because we have allowed ‘Identity Politics’ to become ascendent over family, it is not easy, in the West, to change and especially not to desist from a trans expression. We are today finding horror-story after horror story, especially from young women who were persuaded that they were trans far too young and have undergone serious, lifechanging surgeries which can NEVER be undone. To add insult to injury, these individuals suffer ostracism and worse fron the ‘trans community’ for being true to themselves. Their lives have literally been ruined by trans activism.

    In Asia, desistance is commonplace. Frequently, once a transwomen is past her early 30’s, she will revert to a masculine presentation. Partly this is to do with her looks but also, to but it bluntly, it is far easier for a gay man to get sex in these cultures than a transwoman. If a transwoman has not found a life partner by that stage, pressure to desist increases.

    It is worth noting that while Genital Reconstruction Surgery is somewhat popular in these areas, especially Thailand, only a small minority of transwomen undergo it. Most transwomen have no intention of doing away with the fun stick. This makes desistance more likely to be successful.

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