Children and Gender Roles

This post comes from Rene Jax, author. Her book “Don’t Get on the Plane” can be purchased at Barnes and Noble.

“Children are like sponges.” As their bodies and minds grow, every day brings new stimulus, situations, emotions, and physical abilities. And whilst their bodies are growing at an exponential rate, their minds are too. And as their mind’s capacity for understanding increases, they become more socially aware and responsive.

Today, the typical Western family is under tremendous financial, political and social stresses that in turn, makes its way into the upbringing of our children. Parents arguably have less influence over children than in the past, while social media, pop music culture and movies are more influential than ever. It is out of this growing technological and social change that the new fad of gender confusion en masse has sprung. Aspects of our culture are encouraging children to become confused about gender.

I was one of those children. I was a male, born into a family in crisis. My father was a drunk who left us when I was six years old. My mother was mentally ill. By the age of ten, I thought myself to be a girl trapped in a boy’s body. I was cross dressing by the time I was twelve. I began living as a woman full-time when I was eighteen, and had a sex change at thirty-five. Yet as I lay on Dr. Stanley Biber’s surgical table in Trinidad, Colorado, I never knew what was the cause of my confusion. None of the six doctors I had previously gone to before the surgery had a clue as to the cause.  Doctor’s still don’t. Transsexualism, and gender dysphoria have been studied for a half century. But there has not been any hard- scientifically based research project into the cause of this condition. NOT ONE!

In Dr. Robert J. Stoller’s introduction to his 1974 book on transsexualism, “The Transsexual Experiment” he glibly writes: “As a psychiatric illness, transsexualism is insignificant in that the pressures for understanding and cure are minimal – except from the patients. Happily for researchers, it is more important theoretically, than in its impingement upon society. Those who are transsexual are neither infections nor otherwise dangerous; they do not inflict bodily or psychological harm on others.”

This very attitude exists within parts of the medical community today. Yet, there are dangerous medical and social activists who are promoting and supporting children’s social role confusion as a medical diagnosis and niche industry. They do this to prop up their own social agendas, while at the same time, damning the children they force onto puberty blockers and sex changes to a life of being social pariahs.

Let’s start by dropping these antiquated and dangerous labels. We do this by understanding that when Dr. Harry Benjamin coined the word, Gender, it was an attempt to describe social role variances that he saw in his cross sex identity confused patients. Gender was simply meant as a category, not a thing. Since Benjamin, Gender has become a factual part of identity, and as such is now promoted as being fluid. Let’s stop all of this insanity! First off, “Gender” is a concept that has never been proven to be a real, physical reality. So, drop it and never use it again to describe a person’s social role. The same goes for “Transsexuality” This is another concept used as a label for cross sex identity confusion, but carries with it medical certainty that does not exist.

Humans are born with one of two sexes. PERIOD. The survival of our race is fully, 100% dependent upon males wanting to mate with females and vice-versa.  We know this has been the case for over a million years. If our understanding of our selves/social roles were at all fluid, (as promoted by the LGBT medical activists) then we as a species would never have survived for more than a generation or two. But it is! Knowing that as a male, I am driven to mate with a female… is built into our DNA. Our families and our societies are all built on this biological drive. Variances are so rare as to only represent about 1% of the total population.

Humans have a sex. And our sex determines our hormones, our family and social roles, and our sexual appetites. It determines our propensity towards activities and physical and emotional reactions to stimulus.   Any confusion, or desire and or feelings of being “trapped” in the wrong body are a variance of not of our DNA but of the world the child is born into.  When our children express feelings that they are not the same as their body’s sex, the first-place parents need to look for answers is not in a pill bottle for puberty blockers. They need to closely examine their parenting, their own marriage dynamics and how what the children are being taught about their role in the family and larger family structures. They must be honest about how they as parents, and their other siblings are interacting with the confused child. Remember… “Children are sponges”?

Care should be taken when choosing a therapist. There is an old expression, a baker only sees other bake shops on the street, and a banker only sees other banks. If you go to a “gender” doctor, they only have one tool on their belt, and your child will soon end up on puberty blockers.

The few studies on this issue indicate that the majority (95%) of children who show cross sex identity confusion early in life, grow out of it. The odds are in the child’s, and in the family’s favor that it will all work out fine without medical intervention. Seeing a good pediatrician will just give you another bit of information to aid in making decisions.

After dealing with cross sex identity confusion for over fifty years, I am now convinced that taking hormones, living in the opposite sex role, plastic surgery and sex changes are not the way to go. Letting our children live in the opposite sex role is emotionally damaging and only causes more difficulty and social confusion for the child. Cross sex living is not and never will be a viable lifestyle.

You can read my book on this, “DON’T GET ON THE PLANE” which details the history, the doctors and the medical malpractice behind this condition. Sold on Amazon under Rene Jax.

You Can’t Feel Like a Girl: An Essay by Jamie Shupe

There’s No Such Thing as Feeling Like a Girl or Boy

 

Jamie Shupe made history when they become the first legally non-binary person in the United States. In this post, Jamie shares their story of creating an extensive web-based archive of media stories on trans issues. The research Jamie conducted for this archive contributed to them desisting from identifying as a transwoman and coming to feel strongly that transitioning children and young people is wrong.

 

This website is very grateful for Jamie sharing their story. The opinions expressed in the story are theirs. The bloggers at this website agree with Jamie that we ought to be offering children alternative, safe, healthy ways of expressing gender variance. Creating a culturally-sanctioned way to do this without resorting to medical intervention is one way to make room for this, as Jamie has done. Unfortunately, there appears to be a trend toward medicalization of non-binary identities, which we do not support.

 

As the first person in the United States to have their sex legally declared as non-binary by an Oregon court last year, I’ve had a lot of media coverage for that accomplishment. But what’s been essentially missing from that coverage has been the potential implications that my court ruling can have on the future of transgender children. I had high hopes that I would be able to use the platform that my court victory has brought me to effect real change for these kids. That’s what they need, societal change. They don’t need surgical procedures. They don’t need cross-sex hormones. And they certainly don’t need to be sterilized because of their gender nonconformities. These trans and gender nonconforming kids most need to be able to safely and successfully express their gender and uniqueness. That’s what I needed as a child and what I still need as a 53-year-old adult.

My ultimate hope is that because of what I’ve done to the gender binary and how we see it in the future, this massive shift in thinking that I’ve helped to unleash is going to put the unsavory people that have been cutting on or sterilizing these children out of business. If we properly enact social change, the need for their medicalized services will all but cease to exist. In reality however, these charlatans deserve to be fired at best and jailed at worst. Security literally needs to show up with a box, watch as they empty out their desks, and escort them out of the buildings that are our major medical centers here in America.

But sadly, my hopes for massive change in the way we have been treating these trans kids have been dashed. Despite having had numerous open and frank discussions about transgender children with plenty of journalists to date, my concerns heard about  sterilization and misguided medical practices being carried out on these trans kids haven’t been heard. By the time these articles make it into print, the views that I have expressed for a better, different, and less medicalized future for these youth are all conspicuously absent. I want my narrative corrected. I want my views heard.

After all of these repeated incidents of essentially being silenced, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been no-platformed from speaking on the subject of transgender kids. And this is despite having a vast amount of knowledge to share. Knowledge that’s been previously and formally recognized.

I do however understand that my dilemma of being silenced is rather common nowadays. In fact, it has become rather routine, even at formerly great institutions like Berkeley.

This is undoubtedly because my views about transgenderism and the medical practices being employed on transgender children run contrary to the media’s desired narrative on these subjects. Most media outlets have become entrenched in either affirming gender and medicalizing transgenderism, or labeling it as illness. Infomercials for surgical clinics get passed off as news in this twisted new world of ours.

 

“And I still don’t get the cutting, and I’m a little bothered by it. It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a happy person does. But what do I know. Maybe I should try it.”

 

Common sense would dictate that someone like me would make a good role model for trans kids. I’m a decorated army retiree that survived “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a dress, as a male. I survived having a mother who used to slap me and call me a sissy for being girly. I’ve never tried to commit suicide. I don’t have any scars on my arms from cutting on myself. I’ve never stood in the bathroom with a pair of nail clippers trying to make my parents think I was going cut my penis off to get what I wanted.

But instead of me, the surgery queens get the job of role model. The surgery queens aren’t proper role models for these trans children. They’re what they get to see at the circus. The surgery queens are the advertisements for the Porsche driving surgeons that are cutting penises off.

I reside in the camp that labels all of this nuttiness as craziness and loudly call it that, instead of passing it off as liberal medicine. But that doesn’t make me a conservative any more than hormones made me a woman. I’m otherwise still very much a bleeding-heart liberal, which leaves me in a rather awkward space. I don’t have a platform to stand on.

But for the record: I’m flat-out against sterilizing trans kids for the purposes of stopping discrimination or making them more cosmetically appealing in a sex classification that’s false. It’s legal fiction. It’s medical fiction. And it hasn’t helped them. It didn’t help me. They are just younger versions of me.

So even though I’m not any sort of professional writer (I actually struggle with the task to be honest), because I’ve been no-platformed and silenced on the issue of transgender children, I’m now going to write and share my views, share what I’ve learned, and share some of what I’ve observed myself. I refuse to be silenced. And this issue is far too important for me as a transgender person myself to stand by and witness the harm that’s being done to my very own people. I want my fame used to drain the swamp outside the gender clinics.

When I make the claim of having considerable knowledge on the subject of transgender kids and transgender people in general, I base that statement on several things. I am a transgender person that has suffered my entire life from gender dysphoria. I actually legally transitioned from male to female and lived as a female (whatever that means) for three and a half years. I have been treated with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for over four years. I’ve been injected, with the same GnHR drugs being used on these trans kids for six months.

In fact, I still take HRT. At this point I’m in it for the experiment to see if it actually ever does make any noticeable changes for me. To date, very little has happened and I’ve suffered a lot of health complications and lifestyle challenges as side-effects of the treatment. I took naked photos before I started back in 2013. I hope I live long enough to take more pictures for my 2023 anniversary. I’m going to take more photos and show off the non-existent changes for everyone. I may even post them on the Internet. All I’ve got to date is two widely spaced little breasts and a dude’s body. That’s where I’m at four years later in this madness. The rest of me is still intact.

Based on my negative experiences with these hormones and anti-androgen medications, I’m of the opinion that we really need to consider the problems with these drugs before we set these transgender kids up for a lifetime of dependence on them. Because of the health effects and the treatment outcomes I’ve experienced, I’ve concluded that these children are better served by working to change society’s rigid gender norms rather than medically changing these kids to fit in. The kids are being medically “normalized.” But who gets to decide what’s normal?

Large numbers of children are now rejecting their birth sex. We need to ask why this is happening. I believe I know the answer to that question, because I have felt the same pressures that these kids have. My age doesn’t make me any different than them. I share their common problems because I am also a gender variant.

This is a difficult thing to admit because of the ridiculousness of it, but I legally transitioned from male-to-female because I lacked permission in this society to be a feminine male. But I also didn’t want to be a male because there’s not much about what it means to be a male that I have any desire to claim as my own. I don’t want to dress like an Amish guy to be accepted. I want to look like George Washington in some stockings and a powdered wig. I think I’m as unique as my DNA and demand to have that uniqueness recognized. You’d use it to recognize me if I committed a crime. I don’t and won’t agree to lumping me in with every other male. I think it’s as ridiculous as calling a Chihuahua and a Great Dane the same thing.

The tragedy is that I had to become a female to be allowed to be feminine. Changing my sex was my license to do that. I’ve struggled to cope in this world as a gender variant adult: how do we expect them to cope as children?

You might find this startling confession about why I transitioned tough to swallow, but the fact is I could have been put out of the military and denied retirement pay for all the years I served simply for the offense of wearing women’s clothing. That’s how far down the rabbit hole this nation is in regards to rigid gender norms and sex stereotypes. Potentially or actually losing your career and getting some sort of negative discharge from the military for wearing women’s clothing while being labeled as a male is a pretty stiff penalty in relation to the offense. And it gave me a lot of mental trauma from which I still suffer. The military shrinks described me as having “psychic toughness,” but still no role-model job for me because I won’t cut my penis off.

Admitting my weaknesses, critically analyzing myself and my past behavior as a transgender person is a tough thing to do, but I’m willing to do just that if it can help any of these trans kids or give an insight so that they can hopefully have a better life than I have. Mine hasn’t been very great. I’ve got the mental scars to prove it. They aren’t from wounds I gave myself.

But one thing should be very clear in all of this: I’m not any more or any less authentic than any other trans person. I say that because I fully expect those accusations to come my way as a result of writing this. All of us began life as unremarkable males or females. The problem is what society has done to us along the way, because of who we are. The scientific answers are still in dispute. Which is why it’s way too early in the discovery period to have the scalpels out and to be performing genital lobotomies.

The next thing I have to confess to is that I put the cart before the horse in transitioning. I quickly transitioned from male to female before I even gave myself a chance to understand why I felt the things I did. I was convinced that I actually felt like a girl. I’ve spent most of my life secretly believing that. I really believed that I felt like a girl. And I further believed that this made me a female. As someone who by any measure is quite intelligent, this is a hard thing to admit, but it’s true.

It wasn’t until after I transitioned that I settled down and began to study myself, my situation, and the transgender community itself. The barriers to transition are far too minimal due to activism. People and institutions have essentially been bullied or shamed into accepting us, and letting us have our way with things, regardless of whether those things are healthy for us or not. I readily admit to getting sucked in hook, line, and sinker into all things transgenderism and was convinced that I could actually change my sex.

“Where are you getting your information from, huh?” Kristie asks.

“I’m dead serious!” Joe says. “I looked on YouTube!”

I’m guilty of hanging out in the same places that these transgender kids do, places such as YouTube and Reddit. And I did so because like-minded people there affirmed me and my beliefs about myself. I thought I was a female and everyone else in the support groups I attended agreed. We were telling each other what we wanted to hear and silencing or attacking anyone who disagreed with us.

Former peers, please keep that in mind that if you decide to attack me in the future, because at one point in this all of you agreed that I was the same thing as you are.

I also readily admit to seeing the damage that my actions and the actions of the other male-to-female transsexuals have caused to the women that were actually born as females.

I wish right now that the doctors who are pausing puberty would instead pause for a moment and take a look at the chaos resulting from the mess they’ve created. It’s harming women. The ones that are real women. Trans men have yet to harm men. Testosterone injections have been around for decades and there’s still no trans guy in the NFL. All it’s good for is soldiers in the bathroom war. “See, I have facial hair, that makes me a man! Women you should be scared.” Women aren’t scared of trans men, I’ve asked them. They’re scared of penises or people that used to have penises. That’s why we don’t have a peace agreement for the bathroom war yet with the conservatives.

Transitioning people from male- to- female or from female- to-male hasn’t broken down the patriarchy, increased equality for the LGBTQ community, or done anything at all to break down the rigid gender norms that caused me to transition to begin with. Transitioning hasn’t even helped most of the people who transitioned. Most of them are now worse off. If anything, the process of transitioning people to a sex that’s opposite of their birth sex has just caused more problems and worsened the discrimination problems. A 41% completed or attempted suicide rate isn’t a sign of success. Those numbers haven’t gotten better because people transitioned and trans health care was invented.

Which leads me to question, why we are transitioning people to begin with?

Despite how hard I’ve looked, I’ve yet to uncover any evidence that shows how transitioning females-to-males has hurt men or the patriarchy. But there’s ample evidence that transitioning males-to-females has severely harmed women. I struggle to understand how all parties involved in the transition process can’t see this.

When I say that I settled down and began to study my situation as a transgender person and my community what that means is I put up a website and began to do news aggregation on the topic of transgenderism. I’m retired. I have Complex PTSD from my lifelong journey as a gender variant. And due to my narrow interests and the fact that I have nothing better to do as a retired person, I’ve spent every day of the last four years studying transgenderism through the lens of media articles. I don’t have much use for academia or it’s articles. I like to see what institutions like the Daily Mail have to say about people like me. It’s not uncommon for me to get 100 Google email alerts per day for keywords like transgender or gender dysphoria. That’s how I spend my days.

When I began the news aggregation, I thought I would be providing a useful service for the trans community. But the aggregation eventually led me in an entirely unexpected direction. I learned my way out of thinking that I was a female based on everything that I was finding in those news articles. I also saw firsthand the damage that was being done by the medical community to the transgender community. And I got a pretty shocking view into the damage that the transgender community was doing to women, most notably in sports and in the workplace.

 

“When you meet someone who has Aspergers syndrome, you might notice two things right off. He’s just as smart as other folks, but he has more trouble with social skills. He also tends to have an obsessive focus on one topic or perform the same behaviors again and again.”

 

I’m convinced at this point that I’m an undiagnosed, high-functioning autistic person. I most-likely have Asperger’s Syndrome. Which is why, although I was originally indoctrinated by the transgender community to hate and attack Dr. Kenneth Zucker, I now regard him as the smartest guy in the room. I learned my way out of being part of the transgender mafia to protect the cause as well. I want science, not pseudoscience.

Knowing what I know now, If I was the parent of a transgender child, I would be more likely to send that kid to a therapist like Zucker than I would a monster like Dr. Norman Spack. I just wish the Dr. Zucker types wouldn’t try to get kids to live as males or females and would instead treat them like mixed-sex kids. That’s what we are. We’re the equivalent of mixed-race kids. And everybody at the gender clinics is doing the equivalent of trying to make us black or white depending on the color of our parents.

 

“For the last four years, Drs. Gil and Zol Kryger have averaged 100 “top surgeries” a year, each costing $6,000 to $9,000. “Bottom surgery,” constructing genitalia, is comparatively rare and far more expensive, running $75,000 to $100,000.”

 

Chopping breasts and penises off and building poles or digging holes and implanting puberty blockers are very lucrative career fields.

 

“Johnson is one of the top surgeons for transgender chest reconstruction in the country, performing, she believes, the most such surgeries in New England, and possibly in the Northeast.”

 

“She adds, “I don’t think one specific surgery defines your gender. Women have their breasts removed for cancer and they’re still female. Males require testicular surgery and are still males.”

 

And these are career fields where the medical establishment participants are very much aware that they are not actually changing anyones sex.

 

“So too, gender expression and a broader notion of gender identity has opened my eyes to the fact that there is really no other measure in science or nature where there are only two choices. Gender is clearly fluid and broader than male and female.”

 

The participants in this medical massacre are also actually very much aware that gender is really fluid and not fixed in the patients they are operating on.

 

“After performing his first gender reassignment surgery, Meltzer vowed never to do another.”

 

“I have no idea what I’m doing,” he remembers thinking. “I’m going to stick to the things I know.”

 

And these butchers even admit to not knowing what they were doing when they began to mutilate trans bodies. (Is there a difference between these folks and the doctor who just got arrested for genital mutilation?)

 

“Now, this is relatively rare, so I had relatively little personal experience with this. And my experience was more typical, only because I had an adolescent practice. And I saw someone age 24, genetically female, went through Harvard with three male roommates who knew the whole story, a registrar who always listed his name on course lists as a male name, and came to me after graduating, saying, “Help me. I know you know a lot of endocrinology.” And indeed, I’ve treated a lot of people who were born without gonads. This wasn’t rocket science. But I made a deal with him: “I’ll treat you if you teach me.”

 

The experts transing the kids further admit to letting the patients themselves train them about what the patient thinks they need.

 

“He said in early September that offering services through pediatric care allows patients to start treatment early enough for the best cosmetic outcome, reducing chances of discrimination and allowing for better integration into society – according to the Associated Press.”

 

And these monsters with medical licenses or medical credentials also admit to knowingly doing what they do to these trans kids under the pretense of stopping discrimination and making trans kids prettier or more handsome at the expense of making them sterile and setting them up for a lifetime of cross- sex hormones.

 

“This is almost more deadly than anything else I treat,” Adkins said.”

 

These charlatans can also be observed hyping the need for what they do or offer, essentially scaring the parents of transgender kids into hiring them by weaponizing the potential for suicide if treatment is not given.

 

“Kids do roll through a lot of things as they go through identity formation but our gender is a core part of who we are and we actually all know what our gender is and have pretty solid gender identity by the age of 3 or 4 years old,” Olson said.”

 

And these modern day equivalents of carnival barkers have been allowed to make all sorts of audacious statements to the media with no one really questioning the validity of what’s been said. It’s all based on opinion, not science.

 

“She said that the therapist also gave strikingly blunt advice. “She said, ‘Your daughter already knows who she is. Now you have to decide. Do you want a happy little girl or a dead little boy?”

 

Everywhere the parent of a trans kid turns there’s one of these gender clinic monsters waiting in the wings to scare them. Suicide is imminent they warn, unless these parents open their checkbooks or turn over their insurance cards to save their children.

The patients themselves also admit a lot about what’s been going on as well.

 

“What makes it so special for me is a love with someone who gets me on so many levels,” Kara says. “With Jacqui being trans, she gets the dysphoria I still go through sometimes.”

 

They attest to not having had their gender dysphoria cured despite cutting their penises off and confirming their sex with the creation of a fake vagina. (Has anyone shown the insurance companies this article?)

 

“Instead of the vagina she had always longed for, Hunter has what she called a “fibrous lump between my legs and a colostomy bag.” Everything she read online and in an information packet, everything her surgeon told her, led her to believe the chances of complications were at best remote”

 

And then there’s the whispers about people being maimed for life from botched genital surgeries that permeate the dark corners of the interwebz and decorate the pages of secret Facebook groups. The mainstream media largely won’t touch these stories. Doing so would be them admitting complicity in this massacre after all the surgery clinic infomercials they’ve run.

 

“One day I was making love and something didn’t feel right. There was this little ball of hair like a Brillo pad in my vagina.” In 1995 she went to see a surgeon who pulled the hair out but warned it would grow back. “He said it would always be there because I hadn’t had electrolysis on my scrotum before the sex change made it part of my vagina. When I heard that, I just sat and cried.”

 

Some of the gory details are just flat-out tough to read. I want to cry too.

 

“I fundamentally regret having had surgery. I could have lived as a woman without mutilating my body, but no one talked to me about the possibility,” she says. “I could have been enabled to live happily as a gay man. Instead I was put in this box – transsexual – simply because I did not conform to what psychiatrists think a real man should be.”

 

And the signs of regret are everywhere, but still the cutting, injecting, and implanting continues unabated and unchecked.

 

“Dr. Spack told me “They may be anxious, they may be depressed, but many, many no longer have psychiatric diagnoses after they are treated properly.”

 

The experts continue to boast to the media about the success behind what they’re doing.

 

“But Dr. Stathis said it was tough and some mental health problems did not go away completely.”

 

Other experts admit the results are less than perfect.

 

“When I die, do I get to come back as a girl?”

 

Magical thinking permeates the air and is rewarded with affirmation. Children are told they are a sex completely opposite of their biology. It’s like “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and everyone is scared to tell the truth.

I’m not. Nobody’s sex has actually been changed.

 

“She reasoned that it was a good thing that I waited until after she was born to declare my gender identity, so that she could be born,” Oger said.”

 

And the children of transgender parents express gratitude for having been lucky enough to have been born.

All of it, in all of its hideous glory is readily available to witness on the Internet with just a few keystrokes and the right keywords into a search engine. And it’s utterly mind-boggling.

 

“Things didn’t go quite as planned. Medical tests determined that Moore’s chromosomes were 100 percent male. But Moore’s belief that she was biologically female was so persistent and profound, doctors could not persuade her she was, in their view, inhabiting a male body.”

 

Getting most trans people to admit to knowing what their actual biological sex is can be difficult or even impossible. I fully admit to still knowing what I was the whole time in regard to my own experience, but at the same time I was forced to defend an illusion of what I had. Which is why I am very critical of any form of stealth for trans people.

As someone who had to closely guard my big trans secret in the military at all costs to prevent being discharged or punished, I fully believe that having to protect a secret of that magnitude is very damaging to someone’s mental health. I also think it can cause or contribute to PTSD from living in fear of the secret being exposed. As I’ve stated, I now have Complex PTSD, in part because of the stress of trying to protect my secret.

 

“In elementary school, Wyatt told classmates that he was a “girl-boy.’’ In the fourth grade, he grew his hair longer and started talking about a name change. That same year, he drew a self-portrait as a girl, and in a class essay, wrote: “Wyatt needs hair accessories, clothes, shoes . . . likes to wear bikinis, high heels, mini-skirts.’’

 

Initially, on the site I put the trans people I found in the media articles into simple categories such as what state or country they were from. I tracked murders. I tracked the suicides. But as the number of people and their related articles that I amassed climbed higher and higher, I began to notice some very troubling trends in the data.

It was very clear that people didn’t know at young ages that they were trans as was being claimed. This made sense to me because I also didn’t know. Like me, they repeatedly said they lacked language to describe themselves. (Does that mean they could have been led to believe that they are whatever people tell them they are?)

It was also clear that there was no shortage of desisters despite the claims by the activists that nobody ever detransitions. There was evidence of botched surgeries. There were people that had committed suicide or died because of the pressures they faced while trying to be a woman in a male body. And there was lots of evidence that people were all over the map in regards to the various identities that they claimed they were at different periods of their lives. Lesbians had transitioned to being trans men. There were trans women that were previously gay men. There was a famous trans girls who used to think of themselves as a boygirl.

It was shockingly clear that gender wasn’t fixed and permanent like the clinicians at the gender clinics were claiming. Which led me to ask myself the scary question of: if gender isn’t fixed and permanent, then why are the surgeons cutting on these people?

But the most worrisome thing of all that I discovered in the data was all the talk of everyone “feeling different” or “feeling different things.”

I became intrigued with what I later categorized as “self-perception.” It was a complete turning-point for me because I knew by the Janet Mock YouTube video that there was no such thing as “feeling like a girl,” because an actual female had said there wasn’t during the interview. I even asked my spouse to describe how she felt as a female. She couldn’t come up with anything to describe any sort of feeling that would capture her “feeling like a girl.” Yet here all these trans people were talking about feeling like males or females. I began to suspect that Zucker was correct and that this had to be something in the autism spectrum.

What they were feeling was feminine or masculine and conflating it with biology.

I can’t speak for all transgender people of course, but I am very sensitive to identity labels. That may be something that’s autism related. And I’m most definitely a fan of the theory that transgenderism may ultimately be tied to the autism spectrum. Which is another reason that I believe that surgical interventions and puberty blocking are far too radical at this stage of what’s all still unsettled science.

When I speak of being overly sensitive to identity labels, I often give people the example of asking them how they would feel if I were to pin a sheriff’s badge on them? Would they feel pressured to enforce the law, arrest bad people, and ticket speeders? I would. You made it my job when you pinned that badge on me. I take things seriously. And when I was made into a male, that identity label came with all sorts of stereotypes and pressure that are like that sheriff’s badge. I feel pressured to be what you label me. This is another reason why it’s actually helpful and healthy for me to be non-binary instead of male. It’s a non-surgical, non-hormonal treatment for my gender dysphoria.

I am still haunted by one of the questions on the MMPI-2 test. That true or false question asks something to the effect of: “I feel things more deeply than others.”

If I were to buzz through those hundreds of MMPI-2 questions and take them at face value, then I would readily answer true to that question of “I feel things more deeply.” I do feel as if I feel things more deeply than other people. After all, I “felt like a girl,” or convinced myself that I did. But on deeper self-reflection, I perfectly understand that I can’t possibly know what it’s like to understand how others feel, because I’m not that person. I can only know what I feel. And I have no right to claim that I can understand what it’s like to feel like a girl.

I wanted to talk about what I was discovering, but there was nobody to talk about it with. So I just kept collecting the data.

The data I was compiling on the website was quickly becoming a repository of horrors. I knew that trans women were slaughtering women in various sporting events way before World Net Daily even thought about publishing something on the subject. I knew all sorts of things, but nobody wanted me to talk about all the stuff that I was discovering.

By three years into my transition, I knew medical transition was a sham because of the website data. Completely and totally fake. Nobody was actually changing sex. They were just getting sick or killing themselves trying. I was too. The person who had inspired me to transition was now stopping hormones treatments because of kidney problems. Other people that had previously inspired me were getting called out for misrepresenting data.

I was beginning to feel just as fake as the claimed-successes of the medical treatments that were supposed to have turned me into a female. Which was a confusing subject. Was I female before or after I transitioned? Since my birth certificate had been changed to female and that my name had also been changed, did all of this now mean that I had been a female since birth? It was troubling to look back and think that it had all been done because “I felt like I was a female.”

By late 2015 it was clear that I was a desister. I’d reached the point where I felt like transgenderism and the idea that you could actually change your sex were as fake as Santa Klaus. But I wasn’t a little boy that had discovered his parents decorating the tree in the middle of the night. At this point I was 52-years-old. I had been featured in The New York Times as a trans woman, cheerleading the trans cause. And now I was quitting.

The big question at that point was: what exactly was I going to desist too? Because even though I now completely agreed that I wasn’t a female, I still also disagreed that I was just an unremarkable male.

At this point, a lot of things were going through my head. My newfound situation reminded of the arguments between the gender clinicians about kids in my situation. Would I now be able to go back to all of the people who had supported me in my transition and tell them that I had concluded that I wasn’t really a female? Or would I commit suicide because the difficulty and shame in reversing course was too great?

Is this internal male or female so gullible that it would be fooled by vaginoplasties and scrotoplasties, by gonadectomies and mastectomies? Is the inner man or woman such a sucker, so brainless, so dimwitted, that it would believe that these cosmetic changes constitute a real reversal of gender and thus feel any happier in its new silicone shell?

Fortunately, I had been both lucky and smart enough to not venture beyond taking hormones. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I hadn’t gotten any surgeries. I hadn’t done so due to all the complications I’d uncovered. And while the hormone treatment results were an all-around failure on most fronts, I now had some breast growth. Oddly enough, this felt completely natural on me. In fact, I actually liked it. But I still looked like a male with the exception of having those small breasts. I was still just as much male with the breasts as the female who gets them removed is still female. Everything about my previous existence as a trans woman revolved around me constantly tricking myself out of my biology.

My experience with cross-sex hormones has been mostly a disaster. As a transfeminine person, I like the soft skin that they give me and how they help to reduce body hair growth. Other than those two things, the whole hormone experience bordered on being a train-wreck.

At one point, I’d gotten on injectable Delestrogen to see if it would help me get better changes. It didn’t. And instead I ended up with out of control hormone levels. Three months into the injections my estrogen levels tested at 2,583 on day three of the 14-day injection cycle. On day fourteen, I was still 400. My levels weren’t supposed to have been over 200. It explained why I constantly felt weak and sick. Throughout my first years of HRT, my testosterone levels repeatedly tested at zero. I’m actually supposed to have some testosterone.

 

“I just got my second 6 month shot of Eligard on Monday. I have felt an emotional swing the past two days. Started crying like a 10 year old schoolgirl a little while ago. I also have experienced a feeling of fear and being all alone. Has anyone else had these mood swings? They are new to me and I’ve been on HT for quite some time. The feeling of fear or shall I say no confidence really bothers me. My passion in life is singing. I am scheduled to sing tonight and I am scared to death. Never felt this way before.”

 

“Any help?”

 

The six months I spent taking generic Lupron weren’t any better. Actually, they were far worse. I quickly found that I couldn’t stop crying. And I mean literally could not stop crying. The first three months I spent on Goserelin and the second three months were spent on Eligard as the VA switched suppliers. I would have crying spells that would last for hours. I finally did an Internet search and found that what I was experiencing was a common problem with these drugs with on-label use for prostate cancer. I didn’t have prostate cancer and it was being used on me off-label, just like it is on trans kids to pause their puberty. Under the disguise of buying time to figure out what they are. It took me 52 years.

I still remember one particular morning on Lupron quite well, because I thought it was going to lead to my first-ever stay in the psych ward. I had spent the morning crying as usual without being able to stop and then took a shower. When I exited the shower and was drying off, I became overly aware of the two large implants that were in my stomach near my navel. The first one hadn’t yet disappeared like I was told it would, and now I had the second one in as well. I found myself getting psychotic and hallucinating that I was going to surgically remove the two pea-sized pellets myself so that I could stop crying. This was totally out of character for me. Nothing like that had ever happened before. When I finally calmed down, I swore that I would never get another one of these things implanted into me. It took a year for the two lumps to finally go away. I hope I never get prostate cancer and need this stuff to save me. I might just fuck it and die rather than venture back to crying like a 10-year-old schoolgirl.

As a military retiree, I had access to basically everything within the VAs trans military HRT arsenal and I was on every bit of it at one point or another. I took Spironolactone, which made me crave salt and made my legs hurt. I used to watch trans women on this drug go to the bathroom to pee four times during a 90-minute dinner outing. I took 5mg doses of Finasteride for two years to see if it would grow my hair back and to block adrenal gland testosterone, I ended up with Finasteride Syndrome after I stopped taking it and it took a year to get my strength back. I did 9 months of Delestrogen injections before quitting and throwing the stuff in the trash. The rest of the time I took oral estrogens and the Prometrium brand of progesterone. At 6 mg doses of estrogen which were the amount recommended for me, I had chronic leg pain and swelling in my lower legs and feet. I recently returned to 2 mg doses after a trip to the emergency room for a potential blood clot. An ultrasound ruled it out and I consider myself lucky. All of this went on despite me being in relatively decent shape and walking each day for exercise. None of it made me look like a female. Whatever changes you’re supposed to get are supposed to happen in the first three years. I took the stuff for four. The extra year didn’t do it either.

The situation I now found myself in as I pondered my desistance was somewhere I had been before, but during my previous visit to this place I had only been a spectator, a reader of the story about others in this position that I now found myself in. The story referred to them as “the inbetweeners.” And now I was the latest real-life character to be joining the cast.

 

“”I wasn’t real good about dilating the new vagina every day,” she explained. ”I didn’t do what Preecha told me, and it kind of like collapsed on me.”

 

I had always thought of Walt Heyer as a nuisance to the trans community who was campaigning to save us all from ourselves, so there was certainly irony in me now joining him as a fellow “in-betweener.” But I considered myself lucky. I know Walt’s story and had it on my website. And he had far more medical intervention than I did. I actually admire how tough Walt has been in handling his situation. Desisting after having genital surgery would possibly have pushed me to commit suicide. I’m glad I didn’t test those waters. With my PTSD, I don’t have the mental and physical strength to dilate a fake vagina for the rest of my life. It would probably collapse on me.

I’ve never confessed this to anyone before, but the first time I ever encountered the word “non-binary” was in that article about the “in-betweeners.” And that article was my inspiration to make the word non-binary a legal place to exist. Because I now needed that place as my landing zone because of desisting from living as a female.

I’m being completely honest when I tell you that I suspected going into my transition that I would ultimately flame-out and desist. This is one of the reasons I didn’t choose a typically female name when I changed mine. Instead I purposely chose a unisex name. It was another smart move that later paid off when the whole thing that was my transition came flying apart like an unbalanced, high RPM contraption.

While I may have believed I was a female because I “felt like a woman,” I was still very much grounded about what an actual female is. I’ve been married to a female for 30 years. We’ve been together even longer than that. And our two experiences as females were and are alternate realities. I got to wear the clothes and skip all the tough stuff like having a period every 28 days. I didn’t have to worry about soiling the sheets because my pad shifted in my underwear and allowed menstrual blood to leak all over the bed. I’m not the one who carried our child around for nine months, worrying if I could successfully pull off childbirth. I’m not the one who got my belly cut open to get the kid out. Or the one who breastfed that kid all hours of the day and night for the next two years.

Trans women are not these kind of women. And I wasn’t either. I don’t have enough nerve to try and claim ownership of what my spouse has experienced while actually being a woman. I don’t know what it’s like to fear getting pregnant. She’s spent most of her life worrying about it. Dr. Norman Spack and his gender clinic cronies are free to create synthetic trans kids that spout rhetoric about biology being a social construct in an effort to legitimize their identities, but I know otherwise. I know that if you want eggs, you buy a hen, not turn a rooster into one, and claim it’s a hen.

Looking back, most things involving my transition were a catastrophe. I didn’t pass as a woman, nor was I obsessed with it. I refused to wear to makeup because I didn’t think it made me a woman. I routinely clashed with other trans women over trans ideologies; I didn’t agree with medically transitioning children. I refused to get any surgeries because I knew they didn’t change your sex and were just cosmetic procedures. And despite how hard I tried to fit in, I kept finding myself more aligned with radical feminism than transgenderism.

One afternoon at a PFLAG meeting, a trans woman pressed a makeup kit into my hand, with the expectation for me to start wearing makeup. I never went back. Another evening a trans woman threatened to punch me in the face because she couldn’t get me to agree with her views on sex work. No woman has ever threatened to punch me in the face. The whole thing was just a cascading set of disasters. By the time I went to court to become non-binary, I just wanted my life back.

By this time, I had mostly cut myself off from the trans community other than online interactions. I no longer identified as a female, and just wanted to avoid any clashes over that. Beneath the surface of it all, the idea to become legally non-binary was growing like a weed. I had met people that identified as genderqueer in support group meetings, and I really liked them because they were open to discussing and debating gender. They were more grounded in biology like I was. It wasn’t the cult-like experience that the trans women’s support groups were. Genderqueer people weren’t defending ideologies to the death. The genderqueer support group was a total different experience.

Everything about the idea to become non-binary made sense. I began to realize that this is what should have been done with me all along.

Only talking about males and females is an interesting thing because I spent months and months in therapy at Persad in Pittsburgh at their “premiere gender clinic,” which was another disaster altogether. In five months, not a single gender counselor ever mentioned any space between male and female. They didn’t teach me about non-binary space, the desisters did.

And out of all the trans women I met in my first three years of living as a woman, none of them ever mentioned genderqueer people. Everybody pretended like no space between male and female existed.

But also looking back, I realize now that acknowledging such a space would and does invalidate their binary trans identities. Trans women and trans men have a vested interest in the gender binary, even though it’s harming them. Nothing they’re doing is destroying the patriarchy and making the world a better place for trans kids, they’re just reinforcing rigid gender norms, not breaking them down. Especially with the hyper-feminine appearance that trans women are obsessed with.

These are men who now tell actual women and other trans women how to be women. It’s all pretty sickening once you venture down this smoking rabbit hole.

Trans women are like the beast Cerberus, the monstrous multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. Except they guard the patriarchy and prevent the desisters from leaving the trans community. They claim all sorts of bogus bullshit (and get caught at it) for the cause.

Fuck them, I was leaving womanhood regardless. I wasn’t a woman and I was leaving town.

A lot of the trans women I had met were absolute monsters. They were just as bad as the gender clinic clinicians that were transing kids and sterilizing them so these kids could be prettier than they are. In fact, a lot of them are gender clinicians that work in that exact industry.

 

“Smashing the gender binary is dangerous political provocation in today’s climate. Ignoring stereotypes that are ingrained in the American psyche is inviting failure. Demanding that passing privilege shouldn’t matter, when it clearly always has, and should have no role in marketing the community to its neighbors, is a mistake.”

 

The quest to become legally non-binary and desist from being a woman was interesting. Around the time I was interviewing private lawyers in early 2016 because the trans legal aid orgs had refused to helped me do it, nutbag Dana Beyer was ranting and raving and had her panties in a wad about the dangers of smashing the gender binary on The Huffington Post.

 

“Wayne choked up when thanking the group for its support. He recounted young Wyatt asking him, sadly, “Daddy, why can’t boys wear dresses?’’ Wayne hated to tell his son that society wouldn’t accept that.”

 

I smashed the gender binary anyway. That’s what had to done to save trans kids. That’s exactly what these trans youth needed. They need unbridled gender expression, not meds or sterilization.

Decades of failure during which untold numbers of breasts and penises have been cut off have failed to even get these trans kids a bathroom to use at their local schoolhouse. It’s all been about passing and stealth and anybody who fails to pass because they can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps can just commit suicide. And the trans community will blame their deaths on society. The transsexual pathway is their killer.

I knew this because of the website data. All the stories I was collecting and putting on the website showed this as clear as day. I knew most of the trans community couldn’t use a public bathroom before the trans survey results even got released. I didn’t need survey results to tell me that, I had thousands of archived news articles telling me this information. Only 21% of the trans community can pass as the opposite sex. Transitioning, then, was all a complete and total failure.

Finding a lawyer to help me break the gender binary wasn’t an easy task either. It had it’s interesting moments as well. During an interview with a female attorney, I took my headscarf off, showing her my bald head, and asked her: “what would happen if were to go get a health club membership and go take a shower in the women’s locker room?” She freaked, telling me wouldn’t represent me if I did that. She knew I hadn’t had any surgeries and still had a penis because we’d talked about that. Her reaction just confirmed what I’d already learned about myself: I wasn’t a female. She knew it too. Eventually I found a gay man that was willing to represent me.

On June 10th of 2016, I appeared in a Portland courtroom and became the first person in the United States to legally become a sex other than male or female. I had desisted from being a woman, because I wasn’t one and never should have been made into one. When the news broke, everyone was carrying on like I was some sort of national hero in the LGBT community and the truth was I had desisted. I had just created the promised land for “the inbetweeners.” You no longer had to commit suicide after flunking out of the transsexual academy and desisting, you could just become non-binary instead. And I’d just made it legal.

There was another kind of irony as well in my court decision. Non-binary is a trans identity and I now had that legal trans identity. Trans women used to tell me I wasn’t trans enough and now I was legally trans. I was now an American Hirja. I was the “other” that trans people didn’t want to be. It’s exactly who I wanted to be. It’s exactly what I am. And exactly who they are as well, but won’t admit it. And it made perfect sense to me, because that is my world history as a trans person. Trans people have never been gender conforming people, it’s the monsters like Dr. Spack at the gender clinics that have trying to turn us into gender conforming people, and failing miserably. It’s killing us!

After my court hearing, I can still remember standing on the sidewalk in front of the Portland courthouse in a daze with tears streaming down my face and thinking “I had my life back.” I literally had my life back. My bald head hadn’t been uncovered outdoors in over three years because every time I went outside I had to pretend to be a woman. I was now totally free to express my gender anyway I chose without feeling like I was a fraud. Three women and a gay man made my court victory possible. I’m sure all of them perfectly understand how shitty the gender binary and patriarchal rule is as well.

I had come to believe from the website data that people really were killing themselves because they couldn’t handle the pressures of trying to maintain the hyper-feminine appearance that being a successful trans woman required. My Wiki site was becoming an Internet graveyard for these dead trans people. I think a lot of people were also starting to realize that I was intentionally making it one. When the new domain extensions were released, I bought up the extensions like .wiki and .news for the word transgender and I was putting those extensions to work. The site was becoming fairly highly trafficked and I was literally piling the dirt up in the proverbial front yard.

 

“Growing up in Glastonbury, Rader said, he didn’t know anyone who was transgender and didn’t even understand what it was until he went to a conference during his junior year in high school. But he had always known he felt like a boy and wanted to be a boy. As a child, he spurned skirts, dressed as a boy and played on a boys Little League team.”

 

“In ninth grade, he concluded that he was gay and began to date a girl. He thought of himself as a lesbian, but he still didn’t feel like a woman. He felt male, not simply masculine, as he put it.”

 

Ultimately, I had no doubt that some of the transgender community members were beginning to catch onto what I was doing with the Transgender dot Wiki website data categories. I think they not only felt like boys or girls, they also felt like I was discrediting and gutting the very foundation of transgenderism. Actually, I was. I had dead bodies everywhere. I was stacking them like military sandbags during the Korean war. Except these bodies weren’t Korean or Chinese.

Lots of things were showing up in the category data, like how most of the killings of trans women were actually related to sex work. Women don’t hold a day of remembrance for their dead prostitutes, but the trans community does; it’s an activism tool.

I could see that as clear as day by the data. I was displaying the desisters that supposedly didn’t exist. Failed sex changes. Surgical complications that were describing neo-vaginas with Brillo pad-like furballs growing inside of them. Maimed trans women walking around in heels and wearing colostomy bags because of botched surgeries. Suicides from people who couldn’t cut it being a woman because it was too exhausting trying to remain hyper-feminine 24/7 for years at a time. Tons of people who described “feeling different” or “feeling like girls or boys” and interpreting that to mean they are girls or boys. People who had come out as gay or lesbian before transitioning, which was completely blowing up Johanna Olson-Kennedy’s garbage about most of them knowing at age three what they are.

I had the fact that shes married to a trans guy, who was the therapist for a 14- year-old who’d had their breasts cut off. I had Jazz’s dead name. I had thirteen families that were all claiming their trans kid was saying “God made a mistake,” when in reality it probably came from this book. I had a mother telling a school Jazzs penis fairy story and claiming her kid said it too so that her trans kid could get into a bathroom they didn’t belong in. I had built an online, trans encyclopedia of gender clinic horrors and I was pissing off a lot of people. And they wanted the website taken down. I had to block Jenn Burleton on Facebook because of the website.

 

“Is there anybody out there,” asked Dr. Nick Gorton, a physician and trans-man from California, addressing a room full of older transsexuals, “who would not have taken the shot if it had been offered?” No one raised a hand.”

 

Once you start deconstructing and untangling the web that is transgenderism you’d be amazed at how many of the participants involved in the sterilization of other people’s transgender children are trans themselves and can be traced back to the gender clinics. They’ve made it their professions. Many trans advocates have their own biological children and go out each day to advocate for the sterilization of other people’s kids. Being trans is often their only qualification. Well, that’s my qualification too.

By the time I had surpassed and catalogued 4,000 trans people on the website, plenty of members of the trans community were openly attacking me through email and social media. I woke up Christmas morning in 2016 to find a nasty email in my inbox from a young trans man that was demanding to be removed from the website. He was in the category of “previously a lesbian.” He’s still a lesbian. He’s just a lesbian without breasts now. I blocked his email address. I blocked all of their email addresses. But they just found other avenues to harass me. I didn’t budge and I refused to make any changes to the Wiki site, or to remove anyone. It captures our failed history of trying to be something we are not. My website is our electronic history, our trans legacy, of this horrible period of time where genital lobotomies are being performed by complete quacks to stop discrimination for being a gender variant.

The whole thing got nastier and nastier and I eventually shut down my Facebook account because I was getting all sorts of harassment about the website through the messenger feature. I blocked email address, but senders kept creating new accounts and emailing me from those also, still demanding to be removed from the site. The site was claimed to be a registry for the TERFs. People were having people they thought I was friends with to ask me to get them removed. I unfriended and blocked anyone who did that. I lost a lot of friends. I refused to remove anyone or to hide anything. I wanted people to see the human carnage.

Eventually the harassment reached a point where it was so annoying that I created a page on the Wiki site called “Hate Mail” and started posting screenshots of the harassment I was getting from Twitter and Facebook. Which turned out to be a huge mistake because trans activist Lola Phoenix filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint against one of the screenshot images that exposed her harassing me with the on the Twitter message system.

Lola or whatever her real name is was doing some coalition building and trying to recruit people to harass me, but one of my friends sent me a screenshot of a private message that captured her doing it. That complaint to my webhost subsequently got the site suspended for 14 days due to Federal law even though the complaint itself was invalid due to missing information such as a contact address for the person who had filed it, which was Lola Phoenix.

I in turn filed a counter-complaint, claiming ownership of the image, but that didn’t stop the website suspension. The counter-complaint required Phoenix to get a court order stating she actually owned the image within the suspension period. That of course didn’t happen. I doubt that’s even her legal name.

During the website suspension period I just went ahead and nuked the entire site. I knew activists could potentially file more DMCA complaints against it, so I figured the best strategy was to remove all images and everything quoted and to rebuild it with just the links and the categories. And that’s what I’ve been doing since. You can’t file a DMCA complaint against a link to the dirt, can you?

 

“Parents have told me it’s almost easier to tell others, ‘My kid was born in the wrong body,’ rather than explaining that he might be gay, which is in the back of everyone’s mind.”

 

So there you have it. All the juicy and gory parts of my story that the mainstream media refused to tell you because they were too scared to piss off the trans activists and the transgender community. It’s all true. I, Jamie Shupe, the first legally non-binary person in America am officially against sterilizing trans children for the sake of making them prettier and to give them better cosmetic outcomes and to stop discrimination. Just stop the fucking discrimination instead, dammit. If you doctors are pillars of the communities you live in, then why can’t you use that clout instead of your scalpels to stop the discrimination against these trans kids? Don’t operate on the kid to stop it. I know it pays well, but just don’t fucking do it. They’re going to write really bad shit about you in a few years. I’m already writing it. The gender binary is what these kids needed destroyed, not their reproductive systems. They need the ability to safely express their gender, not cross-sex hormones. They think the world that’s been created for them sucks and that’s why they’re rejecting their birth sexes. Because they can’t dress as boys or girls unless they’re made into boys and girls. They cant be gay, so theyre being surgically made straight instead. They need to kept away from nutty trans women at LGBT community centers that teach them that their penis is a birth defect or teach them to say they were born in the wrong body to explain themselves. They need to stop being bullied when they’re gay or lesbian, so they don’t have to become men instead. They need to be taught that cutting on themselves won’t get them puberty blocker and will instead land them in the psych ward. They need parents and gender clinicians to stop telling them that they are boys and girls of the opposite sex and to start telling them they are gender variance is normal.

Leelah Alcorn asked everyone to fix society before walking in front of a semi-truck. Cutting off penises and breasts is not fixing society. It’s not even medicine. It’s a little shop of horrors that’s being ran out the dark wings of America’s medical centers and the insurance companies have been hoodwinked into paying for it by a bunch of mentally ill people who have cut their penises or breasts off. It has to stop. I’ve done my part to stop it. Now the rest of you need to get busy.

So it’s all official now. Rubber stamped. Delivered by fiber optics or cellular data. Stored forever on Internet servers or until Trump destroys the world. This is my coming out as a TERF and a SWERF. I stand with the radical feminists, the conservatives, and the religious folks in their efforts to stop the mutilation of these transgender children.

 

 

The Difference a Diagnosis Makes

Sunmum lives in the UK with her husband. Two of her children have at times identified as non-binary/trans.

This year’s European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH 17) conference included a presentation on ‘Misdiagnosing Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents: 5 Case Studies’:

Background

Five adolescents ages 13-15 all presenting with Gender Dysphoria were misdiagnosed by other clinicians (as Borderline Personality Disorder, Autism, Schizophrenia, or Bipolar Disorder). This study reviews their case histories and how Gender Dysphoria went undiagnosed until it was clinically accessed and the importance of differential diagnosis has with patient outcomes.

That interested me, because it was relevant to the differential diagnoses offered to two of my kids.

Diagnosis, in the area of mental health, is complex and controversial.  Diagnosis determines the allocation of resources in public health systems, and it enables access to therapies. It also materially affects the outcome for patients. David Bathory’s presentation to EPATH 17 uses ‘DSM V criteria and ICD11 criteria for Gender Dsyphoria’. (Let’s be kind: typos happen). DSM V is ‘the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States’ and it determines the diagnosis for gender dysphoria in adolescents and adults:

In adolescents and adults gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:

  1. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
  2. A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
  3. A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
  4. A strong desire to be of the other gender
  5. A strong desire to be treated as the other gender
  6. A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender

As the words I have italicised indicate, ‘gender dysphoria’ is diagnosed through experiences, desires, and convictions relating to ‘the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender’. The clinician must understand the patient’s subjective experience in relation to a perception of gender typicality.

Now the DSM carries authority. It is ‘the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health. Their dedication and hard work have yielded an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research.’  These are the boxes into which clinicians place the many and varied manifestations of human distress. But these boxes, these labels, also change. Since DSM V was issued in 2013, it has been repeatedly updated.

From age 13 to 19, my daughter explored the gamut of female teenage problems, testing her poor mother to the limit, and accumulating diagnoses as if her ambition was to try out the whole of the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), or in her case, since we are based in the UK, the ICD-10 (the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems).  I was curious, then, to know how the presenter, David Bathory, knew that ‘gender dysphoria’ was the correct diagnosis.

  1. Eating disorder

It started when my daughter was 13 with an eating disorder, a diagnosis which carries a strong association with suicidality. According to a 2014 study ‘rates of mortality, and specifically rates of suicide, are undeniably high in ED populations, as are the rates of self-harm’. Approximately ‘one-third of women with a diagnosis of BN [Bulimia Nervosa] ‘have had at least one suicide attempt.’ The GP responded quickly and referred her to a specialist NHS eating disorder unit where she had individual therapy. It was described as an ‘atypical eating disorder’ because she was not underweight (though bulimic, and obsessed). I was surprised that she had insisted on going to the doctor. I wondered whether there wasn’t an element of social contagion since her best friend at school had a serious eating disorder and had received in-patient treatment.  A teacher at her single sex school confided that over 50% of the girls in her year had eating disorders. Therapy seemed to work: the therapist explained that eating disorders arise in a large proportion of people after dieting since diets themselves  trigger eating disorders. She was given an eating plan and encouraged to eat small, sensible regular meals. She got better.

  1. Mood disorder

But then in her GCSE year, aged 15, she started to self harm and to talk to her therapist about suicidal feelings and intentions. There were symptoms that sounded like psychosis. She thought she had schizophrenia and though her therapist was unconvinced, there was a plan to take her in for observation after her exams finished. In the meantime, she was diagnosed with a mood disorder and offered CBT. But shortly after her first session she made a serious suicide attempt and spent a week in hospital.

  1. Personality disorder

She was then admitted as a psychiatric in-patient and was reassessed. The diagnosis this time was borderline personality disorder, a diagnosis defined by suicidality:

Suicidality is a defining feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is also the feature that creates the most anxiety among those who treat patients with this disorder. It is rare to find patients with BPD who have never shown any suicidal behavior. As described in criterion 5 in DSM-IV-TR,1 these patients are characterized by “recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.” Suicidal ideas and threats are ubiquitous, and most patients make multiple suicide attempts.2 Suicidality in patients with BPD is chronic and can continue for extended periods (months to years).3,4

 She was immensely relieved that her unhappiness had a cause and a label. At last she was being taken seriously. But I thought that the diagnosis seemed to make her worse: she went online, researched BPD and quickly completed the set of symptoms: self-harm, screaming, staying at home and refusing to go to school. It’s a tough diagnosis for the parent as well: BPD (a quick google confirms) is associated with parental neglect and sexual abuse. I thought that the stigmatizing label completed her self-loathing. But the diagnosis did give her access to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and after a first failed attempt to engage with the programme, and another few months seeing a psychiatrist with no empathy to whom she refused to talk, she entered a programme which made absolute sense to me, a programme based on self-acceptance and the desire for change. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was created by Marsha Linehan, a therapist who herself suffered from extreme suicidality as a young person. In one study, its efficacy was tested on:

‘One hundred one clinically referred women with recent suicidal and self-injurious behaviors meeting DSM-IV criteria, matched to condition on age, suicide attempt history, negative prognostic indication, and number of lifetime intentional self-injuries and psychiatric hospitalizations’

Despite resisting the best efforts of the endlessly patient therapists, she was offered skills to teach self-acceptance, coping skills for strong emotions. The six month parent and carer psycho-education course seemed eminently sensible, teaching me skills that everyone needs: meditation and mindfulness, tree hugging, supporting children with strong emotions, what self harm means. Best of all, I discovered that the other parents were both desperate and likeable. We were not the unsupportive monster parents that the diagnosis seemed to suggest. The only thing that I could fault in the programme – perhaps inevitable with mental health professionals who see young people at their very lowest – was a lack of ambition. They didn’t seem to expect much of my daughter.

  1. Gender dysphoria

Returning from her individual therapy one day, my daughter dropped in at the local sports shop and bought herself two sports bras that were clearly much too small for her. She had left school after GCSEs, signed out of Facebook, stopped seeing her loyal friends and now, a whole year later, was staying in her room and studying Youtube. When I commented that the sports bras looked a bit uncomfortable, she explained that she was Gender Non-Binary. I didn’t take this seriously: as far as I could see, we are all gender non-binary, though those sports bras did look uncomfortable. I could see that her self-esteem was at a low point, and she had given up all exercise and social life, so I didn’t say anything about it or comment on this new label.

  1. Autism

Around this time, she decided she was autistic. She particularly liked https://musingsofanaspie.com/. She started rocking back and forth at the table (behavior I learned to call ‘stimming’). Her therapist suspected that quite a few of the BPD kids she was seeing might really be autistic and put her down for an autism assessment. The appointment took some time and in the meantime, she had become a great deal better and the BPD diagnosis had been removed. Her self harm had stopped and she was noticeably calmer.

The autism service offered an extremely thorough and lengthy diagnostic procedure. Half a day with my daughter followed by a three-hour structured telephone interview with me focusing on her behavior at age 3-4 and around 10.  At the end of this she was told that she wasn’t autistic but probably did have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Almost immediately she became worse: she had wanted the autism diagnosis (which did not seem stigmatizing to her) and as soon as the personality disorder diagnosis was re-imposed, she immediately became unstable and miserable. The impact of a diagnostic label on her sense of self was dramatic.

  1. Recovery

What cured her, in the end, was an Access course: a wonderful teacher believed in her and encouraged her to apply to university. That summer, on a particularly hot day, I suggested we should see if we could find her something more comfortable to wear. She agreed and gender non-binary joined the dustbin of discarded identities. At university tutors thought she was a brilliant: now she simply has an ‘artistic temperament’ and is friends with other odd girls who love their course and want to spend time reading in the library.

Diagnosis and its discontents

How then do we know which is the right diagnosis? How do we know (in the cases presented to EPATH) that ‘Borderline Personality Disorder, Autism, Schizophrenia, or Bipolar Disorder’ were the wrong diagnoses?

Well the occasion gives us a clue: at a conference on transgender health, we are going to discover that transgender is the relevant explanatory term.  The autism service showed the rare ability NOT to diagnose its own specialism but all the other services applied the label they were formed to dispense: eating disorder was the diagnosis of the eating disorder service, mood disorder of the mood disorder service, BPD of the DBT service. Family therapy (which also helped us) assumes that the answer lies in the family. As our GP said to me: ‘That’s the danger of the specialist service: you send a patient with an advanced facial cancer to the irritable bowel service and all they can see is the irritable bowel’. The university tutor diagnosed her as a hardworking student.

Diagnosis, of course, has its critics. Speaking in 2013 just before the release of DSM-5, consultant clinical psychologist Lucy Johnstone offered a fundamental challenge to the use of diagnostic labels, arguing that it is ‘unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes’. According to Johnstone ‘there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse’.

As a parent, I know that ‘a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances’ can sound all too much like ‘the family’. But my daughter’s recovery shows that – with good support – even protracted and disabling mental illness can enable a new understanding. Although we want to shield our children from pain, ‘dysphoria’ – unhappiness – is part of the human condition.

Mental illness certainly exists and it is devastating. It is only when we acknowledge that mental illness exists that we can challenge the stigma it carries. To claim that gender dysphoria is not a pathology is to succumb to this stigma, not to challenge it.

As Lucy Johnstone says, ‘people break down’. But the labels we apply are only ever pragmatic categories formed to allow access to therapy. And these labels can themselves do harm, becoming an identity for the person to whom they are applied. Within the DBT service, therapists reminded the young people that they were not the illness. Despite the horrible term ‘personality disorder’ there was not something irretrievably wrong with their inner, unchangeable selves. They were suffering through patterns of feeling and behaviour which they could change. They learned coping strategies, ways of self-soothing, of understanding and labelling their feelings. They were taught that self-harm and suicidality are not the only ways of responding to pain. They were taught to accept their bodies, to focus instead on what they could do, what they could achieve.

And if diagnosis is fundamentally dangerous, it is never more so than when it is self-diagnosis by Google, echoed by medical professionals who dispense irreversible physical interventions for feelings and beliefs. I still shake with horror at what might have happened if my daughter had said the word ‘gender’ to the GP. I know what would have happened because my son, perhaps envying her the intensive focus of parents and professionals, did just that.

For this reason, I can’t accept the premise of virtually all discussion of teenage gender dysphoria: that physical treatments are mandatory because of the risk of suicide. Every diagnosis my daughter received was associated with suicide, from eating disorder, to mood disorder, to BPD. I know the overwhelming fear experienced by parents, a fear that stops you sleeping, from which you are never free.  But in the case of my daughter, suicidality itself was the problem, a response to pain that she could learn to replace by other safer techniques.

Suicide is not uniquely associated with gender dysphoria. Nor is dysphoria uniquely or strikingly associated with gender. In the end, we are simply talking about unhappiness, manifested in the varied forms created by the culture in which we live. For my daughter, the most powerful cure came from literature which showed her that pain is universal, and that consciousness is an intense experience. She recovered when she was valued for what she could do with her brain.

 

 

 

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.

Transgender Kids: Are We Doing More Harm Than Good?

by Todd A. Whitworth

Before we start I’d like to disclose a little about myself to inform you the reader that I am not coming to this subject void of experience. I am a female to male transexual man. I started my transition in 1993 by changing my name and gender pronouns. I took a year before I began the physical part of my transition in 1994 with hormone replacement therapy, I was 21. I remain glad that I made the choice to transition, and that I took the time I did to explore that it was not just a phase.

The movement to support children transitioning from one gender to the other may be causing more harm than good. For the purpose of this piece, I am asserting that there are two genders male and female. Transitioning from one gender to the other is a long, expensive, and invasive process. It involves hormone replacement therapies for the rest of one’s life and several expensive surgeries which may or may not yield the result the individual wants. No amount of hormone therapy and surgical intervention is going to change biological reality. This is not a choice to enter into lightly and it’s highly suspect that a child has the maturity and cognitive ability to truly make an informed decision. A person’s brain is in development up to the age of 25. Perhaps we should wait before helping our children to transition.

No one is totally happy with who they are, and right now trans is trendy being comfortable in your the sex you are born into and corresponding gender role, is not. Cisgender, a word I’ve come to detest, is a term used for individuals who are not trans. It gets continually used as a bullying tactic to shame kids who are ok with their biological sex and the gender that matches their sex. I am a trans person, and I do not advocate for anyone to be made to feel ashamed for being happy with who they are.

We, humans, are social animals. We start to learn how to navigate in society when we are kids. We yearn for acceptance and understanding, we want to fit in. This makes sense because at one point in our history, to not fit in, to be socially ostracized, to be thrown out of the village, meant certain death.  Of course, kids want to fit in and be accepted it’s natural, and being ostracized, feels awful.

Something to remember we are dealing with children. Kids go through phases, just because your little boy puts on a dress one day, does not make him a girl. Say your little girl likes rough and tumble play and sports over dolls? It doesn’t make her a boy. Hormones sterilize and surgery is very expensive. Once puberty starts the body begins to change and hormones start to surge the child may become more comfortable with their biology. Maybe your kid is transgender, maybe they aren’t, before becoming their biggest cheerleader for transition maybe let nature take its course and see what happens. Gender dysphoria, formerly Gender Identity Disorder is a mental health diagnosis, and it’s not that common as gender advocates would have you believe. Don’t take my word for it, look up Gender Dysphoria in the current DSM V[1]. Gender dysphoria is persistent, pervasive, and causes ongoing distress. It meets the criterion for a mental health diagnosis, not a phase.

In summary, kids are not adults, and they need our care and guidance. They are immature, impulsive, and try on lots of different identities in an attempt to fit in. One of those identities may be transgender. I am not arguing that Gender dysphoria won’t present in childhood, it may. I am arguing for pause before fully diving into super advocacy mode. I am not a parent, but I do know that most parents want to do the best for their children to protect them, support them, and stand by their decisions to help them thrive and grow. That being said, it is also the job of the parents to help their children by keeping them safe from harm, including decisions they may not be ready to make yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is meant to be used by mental health professionals not laypeople.

Careful Assessment is Not Happening

This recent article highlights a phenomenon that many concerned about the teen trans trend are seeing regularly – the extensive screening that many in the public believe happens before a young person is referred for hormones or surgery isn’t happening. According to the article, the parents called several therapists looking for someone who could help their newly gender dysphoric daughter explore and manage these feelings.

“Every therapist we spoke with – and we spoke with quite a few – told us that if a teen says they are trans, then they are, and the parents’ job is to affirm and help them transition. There was no therapist who would say to Abby, ‘This is not my experience of you.’  No therapist was interested in exploring the possibility that something other than being born into the wrong body could be operating here.”

Very similar accounts can be found on the blog 4thwavenow.

Like many who read this blog, I phoned gender therapists during the weeks after her announcement that she was trans. Without even meeting my child in the flesh, all four of these therapists talked to me like this trans thing was a done deal. I wrote about one of those conversations here. One very friendly therapist, who identifies as FTM and whose website stressed “his” commitment to “informed consent,” assured me that there was no need for my daughter to first experience a sexual or romantic relationship before deciding whether she was trans. “Most of the young people just skip that step now,” the therapist said.

When I speak of my concern about this trend to those unfamiliar with this issue, one of the predictable responses is that my fears must be misplaced because extensive therapy is required before any treatment can begin. There is no need to worry that a young person might undertake permanent, drastic alterations to his or her body, because anyone who doesn’t really need this treatment will be identified by professionals.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

This article in Slate describes the shift away from gatekeeping to informed consent. Even gender clinics that focus on children and youth such as Mazzoni operate under an informed consent model. If the child or teen declares themselves trans and consents to treatment along with the parents, that is all that is needed for treatment.

 

Here is an example of a consent form of testosterone therapy.

One of the most striking findings of the detransitioner survey conducted by Cari Stella is that 65% of those who medically transitioned had no therapy at all.  The pattern appears to be the same in the US and the UK. Screening is minimal to non-existent. The model is affirmation and informed consent. If you say you need this treatment, your healthcare provider will not stand in your way.

A Reddit user posted about their experience at a gender clinic. This user was approximately 19 years old when they sought treatment. This user was pleased with the lack of gatekeeping they experienced.

Dr. Timmins was unconcerned about the patient’s history of self-harm, and was careful not to question the patient’s motivation. From this account, it does not appear that Dr. Timmins explored the patient’s mental health history very deeply.

He did offer the helpful suggestion of freezing eggs, since testosterone can affect fertility. One would think that, given the acknowledged reality of severe side effects of treatment, it would be advisable to assess and counsel more carefully, but this account clearly indicates that did not happen.

Instead, Dr. Timmins had other advice:

The doctor recommends getting lots of visible tattoos, to make sure the patient isn’t mistaken for a 12 year old boy.  Stay away from the arm, though. You might need that skin for phalloplasty.

Taking a look at some of the poster’s other comments elsewhere on Reddit, we learn that they have a history of sexual trauma, abuse, depersonalization and derealization, dissociation, substance abuse, and self-harm.

It would seem to make sense that a history of any one of these issues might make a health care provider want to assess and counsel thoroughly to make sure that the desire to transition was not a maladaptive coping mechanism. But these kinds of considerations don’t seem to apply in transgender medicine.

In the US, Dr. Johanna Olson Kennedy is one of the leading pediatricians working with trans identified youth. She is explicitly against any kind of gatekeeping, as she made clear recently on the WPATH Facebook page.

I would point out that gatekeeping for serious medical intervention is indicated not because trans people are mentally ill, but because it is standard practice in medicine to evaluate the appropriateness of any treatment before prescribing it, especially if that treatment has a potential for adverse consequences. Any parent knows that a child’s self-diagnosis of an ear infection is unlikely to result in a prescription for antibiotics. Responsible physicians will take the time to examine the patient to see if such treatment is really indicated. Wouldn’t this seem even more necessary when the treatments are associated with serious side effects such as loss of fertility or liver damage?

Dr. Olson Kennedy appears unconcerned about potential regrets. For those who change their minds later, bodily changes and possible sterility will have all been part of their “gender journey.”

Which brings me to my final point. Our Reddit poster contends that they are happier now that they are taking testosterone, and that they are certain this is the right course. Even if one transitions for the “wrong” reason, where is the harm? If this is a treatment pathway that really helps some people, why shouldn’t we make it available to them?

Because we have no idea what the long-term effects of being on cross sex hormones will be. Because we have sufficient reason to be concerned that there could be serious adverse effects. Because if someone transitions as a maladaptive way of coping with trauma, the time spent transitioning may be time lost to healing. Because there are certainly ways of addressing dysphoria that are less risky. 

For those of you coming to this issue for the first time, it simply isn’t the case that young people are being carefully evaluated before being put on medications that are being used off-label and have not been studied for their safety long-term.

Transgender Children — a Risk Management and Ethical Perspective

The author is an ex-Risk Manager for a U.K. Mental Health Trust , not a doctor or psychologist.  Views here reflect the author’s understanding of this issue from a Risk Management and Allied Health perspective.

I am concerned at the perceived lack of clarity, ethics and judgement regarding assessment, diagnosis and treatment protocols for transgender people, especially children.

Terminology & assessment criteria: There is no agreed, organic, definitive test for Gender Dysphoria – the feeling that your sex assigned at birth and gender identity do not match. DSM V says that a patient can have a diagnosis of GD if the distress caused by the feeling that they are in the wrong sexed body for their I.D. is ‘consistent, insistent and persistent’ in children and if it carries on over 6 months for adults. Gender is defined as the social norms accepted for sex – male/female according to culture. Yet we hear there are multiple genders, not just ‘man/woman’ including ‘gender-fluid’ and ‘agender’- by definition not consistent, insistent and persistent. There is research to suggest that many gender non-conforming children grow out of the feeling that they are the opposite gender to their body by adolescence. I would like to add, from a professional point of view, that the feeling of ‘being in the wrong body’ for one’s sex must be especially difficult to assess when it is applied to babies and toddlers who do not yet have an understanding of objects, words and language.

Differential diagnosis: In order to be ethical and for treatments to work, clinicians must be able to establish the nature of a disability or health problem, including a mental health problem. They must be able to discount other factors including for example, social contagion, emotional trauma, schizophrenia, body dysmorphia associated with sensory difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder, effects of medication, brain injury etc. This does not appear to be happening in the case of people who think they may be transgender. We seem to be relying on self-diagnosis for this group, especially regarding case histories coming from the U.S.  We also need to look at the qualifications, skill-set and autonomy of specialist gender professionals who are making the diagnosis, to ensure consistency and efficacy. I am concerned that diagnosis is being made on the basis of one or two visits to counsellors who are then able to confirm distribution of medication which could permanently affect patients e.g. Testosterone.

Medical ethics, Clinical Governance, Risk Assessment, Informed Consent.

Medical ethics has four main principles:

  • Autonomy

Requires that the patient have autonomy of thought, intention, and action when making decisions regarding health care procedures. Therefore, the decision-making process must be free of coercion or coaxing.  In order for a patient to make a fully informed decision, she/he must understand all risks and benefits of the procedure and the likelihood of success.

  • Justice

The idea that the burdens and benefits of new or experimental treatments must be distributed equally among all groups in society. Requires that procedures uphold the spirit of existing laws and are fair to all players involved.

  • Beneficence
    Requires that the procedure be provided with the intent of doing good for the patient involved.
  • Non-maleficence
    Requires that a procedure does not harm the patient involved or others in society.

These appear to be breached in some cases:

Autonomy:

    1. The decision making process can be demonstrably proven NOT to be free of coercion or coaxing, if the choice is being given to parents of possibly transgender children, ‘Would you rather have a dead son, or a transgender daughter?’ as has been reported.
    2. Fully informed decision: this ties into another medical principle of informed consent. You cannot give informed consent if you have not been given full information and you do not understand what you are consenting to. Basically, what are the outcomes of social transitioning on children/adults? What are the outcomes and possible side-effects of puberty blockers e.g. Lupron? What are the outcomes of adult surgery? Does it relieve psychological pain? Where are the clinical trials to show effectiveness/non-effectiveness in short-term and long-term follow-up studies?
  • As medical, allied health and social work professionals, are we acting effectively and ethically when we are advocating a course of action, are we giving our patients/clients full information so that they can make a clear and informed autonomous decision?

Justice: Existing laws show that medical, allied health and social work professionals must give full information to patients based on risk and clinical governance protocols. We need to be informed of and explain trials and their outcomes. Are we giving full information based on clinical trials i.e. Does this intervention work? What are the risks involved? What are the risks of doing nothing? I would argue that we do not yet have clear evidence from clinical trials.

Beneficence: The procedure is provided with the intent of doing good. How can we measure this if we do not have the medical and social evidence that social and medical transitioning is effective and not harmful?

Non-maleficence: Procedure does not harm the patient involved or others. Surgical and medical intervention on otherwise healthy bodies is a harm in and of itself unless it can be proven otherwise.

SUMMARY:  Risk Assessment: Clinical, Non-Clinical and Financial. 

For risk managers, there appears to be a clear risk to legal, medical and ethical cover from referral to treatment and follow-up with transgendered clients, as outlined above. We need to look at the legal implications of informed consent. We must ask ourselves the question: Is it legal or ethical to obtain a signature for intervention from a potential patient who has not undergone a full assessment and consultation process, who has not been informed of likely clinical outcomes and/or long-term effects of intervention and who also may be unfit to consent because of coercion, language comprehension, cognition or mental health difficulties.