Thoracic outlet syndrome & deteriorating verbal fluency: Not on your typical informed consent form

Informed consent: Your Golden Ticket to “affirmative” trans health care.

It’s simple. Go to a gender therapist, tell them how you identify and what medical treatments you intend to pursue. Said therapist refers you to an MD, whose job it is to inform you of what you’re about to embark on, including possible risks, and to obtain your consent. Done.

icath model

And while consent forms do tend to cover (in addition to the provider’s buttocks) the better-known effects and risks of hormone “therapy”–in the case of testosterone, things like elevated cardiac risk, deepened voice, hair growth/loss, and changes to sex drive and mood —there are other physical and neurological problems associated with marinating female brains and bodies in far more T than their biology would normally allow.

Researchers in neuroscience who study hormone effects have uncovered some of these impacts; clinician-researchers who focus on trans people are aware of them. But for some reason, the trans-identified females who’ll possibly bear the brunt aren’t fully informed.  Don’t these clinics owe it to their patients to even mention the ongoing research and clinical discoveries? [Note to readers: If you can supply us with informed consent forms which do mention any of the effects discussed in this post, please do so in the comments.]

On the neurology front, there is a significant and growing body of literature across disciplines showing the deleterious effect of testosterone on language skills. A 2016 brain imaging study found that even 4 weeks of testosterone “therapy” may shrink the zone of language in the brain of FTMs, corroborating multiple, prior studies showing an association of T levels with reduced verbal skills. In 2007, Dutch researchers Gooren and Gitay reviewed clinical data on over 700 FTMs from 1975-2004 and found a similar impact. An earlier 1995 study of testosterone treatment in trans-identified females showed a “deteriorating effect on verbal fluency tasks.”

But hey, you might get a bump in your mental rotation skills.  A 2016 fMRI study (coauthored by Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, one of the members of the Dutch team who pioneered the use of puberty blockers in pre-adolescents), studied “gynephilic” girls (otherwise known as “lesbians”) and found changes in brain regions typically activated during mental rotation tasks after just 10 months  on T.

burke et all 2016 gynephilic FTM

Whatever one’s opinions on the data, isn’t this cross-disciplinary, replicated body of research worth a mention, even as a footnote, on an informed consent form?

Moving on to the skeletal front, we found this recent discussion on the WPATH Facebook page amongst providers caring for post-mastectomy trans-identified females. Asked about tips for dealing with top-surgery induced adhesions and other problems, a primary care provider had this to say about adverse skeletal impacts of T on “estrogen-based” people:

T affects the body by increasing muscle size rather quickly. Often in people who were estrogen based to adulthood, that means a lot of muscle has to fit through a small bony prominences at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist this is often especially apparent. This often leads to things like thoracic outlet syndrome, and carpal tunnel syndrome like experiences.

Anyone who has ever suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome knows that it can be excruciatingly painful, last a long time, and can even be disabling and prevent a person from working;  in the worst cases, it can lead to more complications and a need for surgery.  Even if a trans-identified female doesn’t follow the path of many FTMs to becoming a bulked-up, gym/workout enthusiast, the increased risk is there because of the smaller skeletal structure of human females.

TOS

As with so much in trans health care, the wanted and unwanted effects of the “treatment” can lead to a need for more treatment (in the case of TOS or carpal tunnel, from physical therapists, orthopedists, and others).

TOS image

Deteriorating verbal fluency. Big muscles forcing through small bony prominences. What else is lurking in the research literature or clinical experience that hasn’t surfaced in media reports, or in the fine print at informed consent clinics? If you know of other under-reported testosterone impacts on trans-identified females, tell us about them in the comments.

One thing we can be sure of: More and more women are starting on testosterone at younger ages, and next to nothing is known about the long-term impacts.

 

No menses, no mustache: Gender doctor touts nonbinary hormones & surgery for self-sacrificing youth

This is another in a series of posts examining statements made by top gender specialists at the inaugural USPATH conference in Los Angeles in February 2017.  (See here and here for more.)


Not so long ago, unremitting distress about one’s gender was the one and only reason for medical transition. Those days are over. With activists clamoring for a change from “gender dysphoria” to “gender incongruence” in the next revision to the international register of diagnosis codes, the ICD-11, the push is on for insurance-paid hormones and surgeries for anyone who believes their body is in any way “incongruent” with their “gender identity.” And this effort includes medical intervention for children and adolescents.

In this clip, excerpted from a USPATH symposium entitled “OUTSIDE OF THE BINARY – CARE FOR NON-BINARY ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS,” pediatric gender specialist Johanna Olson-Kennedy MD, discusses her views on medical interventions for “nonbinary” youth.

As always, we recommend that you listen to the recorded excerpt yourself, as well as reading the transcript included in this post. Time stamps are indicated by square brackets. []

 

According to Dr. Olson-Kennedy,

There are still people who want to embark on phenotypic gender transition—hormones and surgeries—who don’t meet this criterion [for gender dysphoria]. Well, what are we to do?

…And it’s great. I love this. I don’t like the word “pass” at all. Passing as a member of the other sex is not a criterion for treatment, whereas achievement of personal comfort and well being are. And that is really the crux of what should guide our care, as medical providers, as professionals in the mental health role.

How is this any different from elective cosmetic surgery? Trans activists will say it’s “medically necessary” because it is a guaranteed suicide preventative, a dubious claim at best. But how about a teen girl who hates herself and is self-harming because her breasts are (to her) too large or too small? What about her “comfort and well being”?

[:52] So, there are a lot of medical intervention possibilities for folks who have nonbinary identities. And again, this is really not for me to determine. It’s really for me to work with a person to determine what it is they’re interested in.

As we all know by now, the idea that a medical or psych provider should use diagnostic skills to determine whether a young person ought to undergo permanent drug or surgical treatments is so 20th century.

[1:06] Some people are like, oh! no menses, no mustache. You know, assigned female at birth, “I really don’t want facial hair, I don’t want [inaudible], I’m super dysphoric about bleeding.”

So, there’s lots of options, certainly for menstrual suppression. I love—I was so excited to be in one of  the first sessions that I went to, which was gynecologic care for trans-masculine folks, this “leave a gonad” thing.

So, it was this idea of, you know, maybe you don’t wanna have bleeding but you still want estrogen, and you want that support from a medical perspective. Or you just don’t want to go on testosterone.

It’s 2017, and designer endocrine systems are all the rage. Human beings should tinker and tamper with their delicate hormonal balance, because it’s what they want right here, right now. Mix and match–why not?

[1:48] There’s lots of these different things.  Maybe a central blocker and low dose testosterone. I had a young person who went on testosterone for a year, and it was like, that’s enough, I’m fine with it.  I’m masculinized enough, and that’s good for me. Or no medical intervention at all.  That’s absolutely possible.

The slide below,  from a different talk at the same USPATH conference, pretty well encapsulates this “treatment” approach:

nonbinary medical pathways slide

So we see the mindset of “affirm-only gender doctors here; why so many of them don’t acknowledge there might be permanent harm done to young people who eventually detransition. There are no mistakes. It’s all part of the gender journey.

 

[2:06] So, for nonbinary assigned males, maybe just Spironolactone [an androgen blocker] or using a peripheral blocker only. That might be something that people opt for. I had a young person who really [inaudible] nonbinary identity, but kind of, very very huge fear of a large nipple areola complex. Like, “I just can’t even deal with that.”

All you women with large nipple areolas that you just can’t even deal with, maybe you can get Medicaid to cover that in your state? Worth a try.

It would be one thing if these people were arguing for elective, cosmetic treatments on demand, for adults. But activists and gender specialists not only want to retain a medical diagnosis, gender incongruence in the next version of the ICD-11;  they want insurance to cover all trans-related treatments, for nonbinaries and anyone else who wants them.  In fact, some public and private insurance policies (such as that of the San Francisco Department of Public Health) already provide such coverage.

wpath-karasic-cultural-humilty-and-sfdph-cropped1

Back to Olson-Kennedy and her areola-avoidant patient:

[2:33] So, we put them on Spironolactone for a while, and then eventually she came back and said I wanna go on estrogen.  So there’s selective estrogen receptor modulators for people who do not want breast development. That could be a possibility.  Maybe hormones, no surgery. No medical intervention, another possibility.

No medical intervention: Just one of many dishes in the smorgasbord of options for nonbinary, gender fluid youth. Who’s to say (certainly not a medical doctor), which is the least harmful of those possibilities in the long run?

[2:51] My observations: Sometimes nonbinary identities are strategic…to protect themselves, to protect their parents. What I can tell you for certain about trans kids, youth, is they do a lot of taking care of the people around them.

Here we see a theme we’ve heard from other affirm-only genderists: Trans youth are more mature than “cis” kids. They are extraordinarily prescient about their future; they know for certain what they will want at age 20, 30, 40.

winters-trans-kids-are-more-mature

Prominent gender therapist Diane Ehrensaft lauds her tween clients for having the wisdom and foresight to opt for adoption in the future—unlike their balking parents, whose only reason for objecting to sterilizing a 12-year-old is a selfish desire for grandchildren.

But there’s something else crucial to note about Olson-Kennedy’s comments: After initially lauding her young enbies for pursuing smaller nipple areolas, or choosing to halt their menstrual periods without sprouting a beard, she is now implying to her audience that nonbinary is only a stopover for many of these kids. They are only claiming this identity to “take care of” their parents, when what they really want is to go whole hog to a binary transition.

[3:18] “I will sacrifice my own comfort for the comfort of the people around me, who I know I’m making very uncomfortable with my gender.”

What an extraordinary assertion. Trans kids aren’t just mature beyond their years when it comes to making irreversible decisions about their bodily integrity and fertility. They also emanate Buddha-like concern for the feelings of others, especially their woefully ignorant parents. How long before we have religious sects led by trans kid gurus, like Tibetan child lamas on steroids?

And how does the claim that trans kids are precociously mature square with the accumulating evidence of a strong correlation between gender dysphoria and autism? Young people with autism are not exactly known for their self-sacrificing nature or their ability to reflect upon the feelings of others.

[3:33] And so, marking that out is really important. Because again, because expressing that [they are nonbinary] is often used as evidence that they are not trans.  “No, well they don’t want to do this. Clearly, they’re not trans.” And having that conversation, and making sure that someone isn’t taking care of someone else at their own sacrifice.

 Are they “taking care of someone else” or perhaps listening to a family member who just might have the best interests of the child at heart, more than a gender doctor who hasn’t known the kid their entire lives?

So, on the one hand, we hear that nonbinaries need treatments “to feel more comfortable,” and at the same time, we’re told that a significant number of martyr-like trans kids are “sacrificing” themselves by feigning a nonbinary identity for the comfort of their parents. Which is it?

The Guardian recently produced a mini-documentary on nonbinary milennials and their quest for comfort. Meghan Murphy dissected this bit of puffery, and took on the living nightmare of feeling uncomfortable in this article.

Well worth a look.

meghan murphy enbie tweet.jpg

 

 

 

Nonbinary patient sues Utah MD who removed both ovaries

The story was published this morning in the Salt Lake Tribune. Leslie Shaw has filed a malpractice suit against  OB-GYN Rixt Luikenaar for removing both ovaries (instead of  only one as had been agreed, Shaw alleges), rendering Shaw irreversibly infertile.

Dr. Luikenaar has been mentioned in a former 4thWaveNow post, “Shriveled Raisins: The bitter harvest of affirmative care,” which covered the impact of transgender hormones and surgeries on future fertility.

Luikenaar’s surgical plan was to include a hysterectomy, the removal of both fallopian tubes and the excision of one ovary, court papers say. Shaw wanted the second ovary retained so natural hormones would still be produced and so Shaw might have a biological child one day.

salt lake trib story

“I absolutely thought we were all on the same page,” Shaw said in an interview. “I said to [Luikenaar], ‘I’m only at peace having this surgery as long as one ovary is retained.’ ”

Luikenaar’s response: “We’ll leave the pretty one,” court papers say.

Instead, Shaw awoke after surgery to learn Luikenaar had removed both, the lawsuit states. Post-operative notes say both ovaries were removed because Shaw was suffering from endometriosis, but subsequent testing of the tissues found no sign of the disease, the lawsuit contends.

Surgeries and hormones for nonbinary, genderqueer, and gender fluid individuals have become more frequent in the last few years, with top US gender doctors publicly supporting such interventions. (An upcoming post on 4thWaveNow will document one such MD praising hormones and surgeries even for “gender fluid” people under the age of 18 who may change their identities in the future).

Shaw was born female and no longer identifies as a woman, but as a “transgender, nonbinary or agender individual.” Shaw came out as trans in 2013 and prefers to use the pronouns “they” or “them” instead of she…

…The surgery has left Shaw in a permanent state of menopause, according to the lawsuit…

…Court papers also say that Luikenaar has used Facebook to try to pressure a mental health care provider to give her Shaw’s records. The records were not released, court papers say.

“I genuinely worry,” Shaw said, “that other folks are not receiving good care but are afraid to come forward.”

In April of last year, Luikenaar took to her professional Facebook page to announce she would no longer be seeing trans patients due to the lawsuit.  She shared her post on the public WPATH Facebook page.
FACOG announcementLuikenaar’s announcement did not sit well, however, with many WPATH members, who objected to the idea that the doctor could choose not to see trans patients. Luikenaar subsequently deleted her post, but her situation–and the ethics of an MD terminating care for trans patients–continued in a new posting,  with many comments, that is still available on the WPATH Facebook page.

Luikenaar discussion

“I just gave him the language”: Top gender doc uses pop tart analogy to persuade 8-year-old girl she’s really a boy

We’ve heard it over and over, ad nauseum, from gender doctors, trans activists, and their enablers:

  • Follow the child’s lead.
  • We don’t tell kids they’re trans. The child tells us!
  • You can’t “make a child trans.”
  • Just listen to the child.

OK, then. Just listen to this 4-minute excerpt from top pediatric gender doctor Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD and decide whether the 8-year-old in question arrived at the conclusion that she’s a boy all by her lonesome.

Olson-Kennedy is the Medical Director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the largest transgender youth clinic in the US. She delivered these remarks at the inaugural USPATH conference in Los Angeles this past February, as part of a symposium entitled “OUTSIDE OF THE BINARY – CARE FOR NON-BINARY ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS.”

The first four minutes of the audio are transcribed in this post. However, readers are strongly encouraged to listen to the whole clip themselves. Timestamps are in square brackets [].

Olson-Kennedy starts with background on the case:

An 8-year-old kid comes into my practice, and this is the story with this kid: Assigned female at birth, 8 years old, was completely presenting male whatever that means—short haircut, boy’s clothes–but what was happening, is, this kid went to a very religious school and in the girls’ bathroom which is where this kid was going. People are like, “why is there a boy in the girl’s bathroom? That’s a real problem.” And so this kid was like, so that’s not super working for me, so I think that I wanna maybe enroll in school as a boy. This kid had come up with this entirely on their own.

When the kid came in, mom was like, “oh we don’t know what to do, so please help us” and so we started talking about it and what was interesting is that …you know some kids come in and they have great clarity and great articulation [sic] about their gender. They are just endorsing it, “this is who I am, and yes there’s gender confusion but it’s all of you who are confused,” so there are those kids. So this kid had not really organized or thought about all these different possibilities.

Girl likes short hair and comfortable clothes: check. Kid goes to a religious school, where people aren’t comfortable with gender nonconformity: check.  Parent (who we can guess is conservative, given her kid was enrolled in a “very” religious school) takes daughter to a “gender clinic,” thereby signaling to the kid that something is wrong with you, you need a doctor: check.  Said doctor believes her role is to help the kid “organize” about gender “possibilities”: check.

[1:55] You know the mom had shared this whole history, and said, when the kid was 3, the kid said, “Could you stroll me back up to God so I can come back down as a boy” and the kid’s like,” Ah, I didn’t say that.” You know, 8-year-olds, [2:09] so I’m like, “I don’t think your mom made that up, that’s crazy.”

Hang on a damn minute. Genderists always want to have it both ways, and here we have another example. When a parent like one of us on 4thWaveNow says to a gender doctor, “No, my kid never said anything about wanting to be the opposite sex until a binge on social media at age 13,” the gender doc tells us we just weren’t listening. “Listen to the child. Follow the child’s lead.” But because this mom reports that her kid said God made a mistake at age 3, and the 8-year-old denies having said it, the mom in this case has to be right.

In other words: We should “just listen” to what a parent claims a child said at age 3, but openly dismiss what the more mature child says herself at age 8.

[2:10]:  So at one point, I said to the kid, “so do you think that you’re a girl or a boy? And this kid was like…I could just see, there was, like, this confusion on the kid’s face. Like, “actually I never really thought about that.” And so this kid said, “well, I’m a girl, ’cause I have this body”

The kid was brought to a doctor at 8 years old because she likes short hair and “boy’s clothes” and she has gotten flak from the school about it. What is this child going to say? This is a doctor, in a clinic, in a hospital; an adult authority figure, encouraging her to question her own already-voiced sense of reality.

[2:34] Right? This is how this kid had learned to talk about their gender…that it’s based on their body.

“Had learned?” Is Olson-Kennedy actually telling her audience that a little girl demonstrating her understanding of biological reality is something that was erroneously imparted, as opposed to the doublethink-newspeak indoctrination Olson-Kennedy is about to peddle?

[2:40] And I said, “oh, so …and I completely made this up on the spot, by the way, but …I said, “Do you ever eat pop tarts?” And the kid was like, oh, of course.  And I said, “well you know how they come in that foil packet?” Yes. “Well, what if there was a strawberry pop tart in a foil packet, in a box that said ‘Cinnamon Pop Tarts.’? Is it a strawberry pop tart, or a cinnamon pop tart?”

Your body is just a wrapper, a piece of foil to be discarded (more like: pumped full of hormones, sterilized and eventually surgically reconfigured) so the “real” self can be revealed.

[3:00] The kid’s like, “Duh! A strawberry pop tart.”  And I was like, “so…”

At this point [3:09], there is a staged pause and we hear the audience laugh loudly and knowingly.

[3:12] And the kid turned to the mom and said, “I think I’m a boy and the girl’s covering me up.”

[3:17] Audible murmurs and “wows” from Olson-Kennedy’s rapt audience

pop tartsJohanna Olson-Kennedy is not a developmental psychologist. Of course, it doesn’t take a PhD, an MD, or even a high school diploma to know that children as young as eight still believe in Santa Claus; that they can transform themselves into animals or super heroes; have not learned to distinguish fact from fantasy. (Then again, developmental psychologists like Diane Ehrensaft are jettisoning decades of knowledge about child development as they hop aboard the trans-kid bandwagon,  so there’s that.)

And the best thing was that the mom was like, [squeals] and she goes and gives the kid a big hug and it was an amazing experience. But I worry about when we say things like “I am a” vs “I wish I were” because I think there are so many things that contextually happen for people in around the way they understand and language [sic] gender.

Here we go again with having-her-cake-and-eating-it-too. Olson here is referring to the trans-activist talking point that a kid who claims they ARE the opposite sex is truly trans (vs one who just says they “wish” they were); it is claimed (without evidence) as a surefire diagnostic indicator.  But Olson is having it both ways: Because this kid did not fit that particular trans-activist talking point, it must be dumpstered (or put another way, the goalpost must be moved).

Regarding the evidently overjoyed mom, an aside: “Progressive” doctors/activists show no shame, none at all, when using religious conservatives as mascots for their trans kid cause. Take Kimberly Shappley, a conservative Christian mother from Texas, who initially (by her own admission) tried to spank and shame her effeminate toddler son into behaving “like a boy”. Shappley finally showed love and acceptance when the child essentially gave in and announced he must be a girl at age 4. Shappley is now a celebrated activist, who is trotted out by the transgender press, Slate, and the Huffington Post as a model parent of a “trans” kindergartner.

Back to Johanna Olson-Kennedy and her 8-year-old client:

[3:41] So, I don’t think I made this kid a boy.”

Again, a dramatic pause for appreciative laughter. No, Johanna, you didn’t “make this kid a boy.” You made her believe she is a boy, authority figure that you are.

I don’t THINK so.

More laughter.

[3:44] I mean, and if I did, and I’m wrong, then I’m totally gonna come to this conference and tell people that I was wrong. I will.

That probably won’t be necessary. You did a bang-up job teaching a young child that she can change her sex, that her defiance of gender norms means she’s not a girl, so desistance is unlikely at this point. We’re on the road to blockers, cross sex hormones, and sterilization. The whole enchilada.

Of course, Dr. Olson-Kennedy could study whether leading questions and kid-friendly analogies have any impact on persistence of a trans identity, using some of the taxpayer money she got from the NIH, but it doesn’t appear to be a particularly urgent research question for her at the mo.

[3:58] But I think giving this kid the language to talk about his gender was really important.

“Important” would be one word for it.

And actually, it did not make him a boy, it gave him language to understand his gender.

[4:03] An unidentified audience member or co-presenter interjects: Why are we talking about this again?

Oh, how do you talk to people about…Oh and are you a medical provider? Ok, this is something I learned from being married to a mental health person.

Another unidentified participant: “Tell me more about that.”

More raucous laughter and extended applause.

But “tell me more about that” isn’t what Olson said. Even if psychologically counseling children were in her scope of practice, Olson-Kennedy didn’t use what is referred to as “active listening” with this kid. That would have meant validating the kid when she denied saying God made a mistake (why doesn’t Olson-Kennedy give any weight at all to the insight of an 8-year-old vs a 3-year-old?). If she’d been “actively listening,” Olson-Kennedy would have taken seriously the little girl’s stated understanding that she was, in fact, a girl. Instead, Olson-Kennedy “gave him the language” that she was actually a boy.

Make no mistake: This approach is what is on the ascendant when it comes to gender nonconforming children and how such kids—our kids—are being treated in the United States of America in 2017.  Johanna Olson-Kennedy is one of the leading pediatric gender doctors in the US, running the largest clinic in the country.  She is not some fringe figure. She is one of the recipients of a $5.7 million grant from the NIH to “study” kids like this 8-year-old (with no control groups of non-transitioned children).

Olson-Kennedy favors lowering the minimum age for genital surgeries. She is not averse to calling Child Protective Services on parents who won’t transition their kids (something she and other gender docs openly discussed at the same USPATH conference).  Johanna Olson-Kennedy is a true believer in medicalizing gender nonconformity, with all the very grave repercussions stemming from that belief.

And she is not alone.


UPDATE 7/24/17: A reader sent us the following commentary in response to this piece via email today:

Olson-Kennedy appears to be unaware of the decades of research on suggestibility, which is defined as “the quality of being inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others when false but plausible information is given.” Research psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that children are vulnerable to suggestion when being interviewed by adults. They can be influenced by an interviewer’s status, interviewer bias, and leading and repeated questioning.

In one study, children witnessed a staged event, and were then interviewed by adults who were given incorrect information about what they children had seen. The study found that “children’s stories quickly conformed to the suggestions or beliefs of the interviewer.”

In the cited transcript, the question Olson-Kennedy first asks – “so do you think you’re a boy or a girl?” – is leading. A leading question is defined as “a question that prompts or encourages the desired answer.” To ask the question “do you think you’re a boy or a girl” is to suggest that it is possible that either is an option. Olson-Kennedy tells us that the child provided a clear answer to the question that was based on the child’s knowledge of her own biology. However, Olson-Kennedy signaled to the child that she is not satisfied with this response. She did this by repeating the question using the pop tart metaphor rather than accepting the child’s answer. A repeated question carries with it the implication that the initial answer given was not satisfactory. We must assume that the child picked up that she had given the “wrong” answer by stating that she was a girl.

Within the repeated question, Olson-Kennedy offers an alternative explanation for the child’s experience – couched in alluring, child-friendly image of sugary pop tarts. The child complies with Olson-Kennedy’s implied suggestion that she is in fact in the wrong body, and receives affirmation for this compliance in the form of breathless acclamations by both mother and the high-status doctor. By “providing the language,” Olson-Kennedy encouraged this child to conceptualize herself as having been “born in the wrong body,” complete with the imprimatur of a major medical center. The kid didn’t stand a chance.

From Blue to Pink – When the Trans Virus strikes home

From the UK, a story of a teen girl’s desistance, from her mum’s persepective.

You won’t find these accounts in the mainstream media. You will continue to find them here. In addition to reblogs, 4thWaveNow is always interested in personal stories like these. Please let us know if you would like to guest post here.

feudaltimesblog

Apologies for length of this but inspired by Lily Maynard and her daughter and  I decided to share. Purple Sage and Crash also great source of courage at a difficult time. Grateful to those who helped me and keen to keep getting the truth out there.’

From Blue to Pink – Negotiating the Trans Virus

My daughter is extremely bright, most articulate when argumentative and loves a cause. The early teenage years were predictable, arguments were over make-up, the height of heels, the off shoulder and belly crops. By 14 she looked 17 but socially, despite her best efforts to look good, she was mostly online or at school. Chief among her better qualities was a strong sense of social justice and she loved a cause. Over a few years she moved from animal rights, black rights, gay rights, before landing on Transgender rights.

To begin with, hair got shorter…

View original post 1,717 more words

Gender-defiant toddler = transgender living doll: No future for gay & lesbian youth?

Melissa Hines is a researcher affiliated with Cambridge University. She has co-authored several important studies delving into the influence of prenatal testosterone on childhood behavior, as well as the relationship between gender nonconformity and sexual orientation.

In February, along with first and second authors Li and Kung,  Hines published a longitudinal study of nearly 5000 adolescents in Developmental Psychology, on the topic of gender nonconforming behavior in childhood and its correlation with adolescent homosexuality: Childhood Gender-Typed Behavior and Adolescent Sexual Orientation: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study.

hines abstract

It will come as no surprise to 4thWaveNow readers that the investigators found a consistent and strong relationship between gender nonconforming behaviors exhibited between ages 2.5 years – 4.75 years, and later homosexual orientation.

Of course, the link between a gender-atypical childhood and being gay or lesbian has been known for a very long time; this is not a new insight, neither in terms of published research, nor in the anecdotal but very common reports of gay and lesbian adults who reflect on their own childhoods.

hines conclusion.png

This study is important, though, because it may have the largest subject cohort to date (2169 boys and 2428 girls), and because of its thorough and systematic methodology. Please take the time to read it, along with previous works by Hines and her colleagues.

Although this post will not go into detail about the study, we will point out the obvious:

  1. It is impossible to find a media account of a young “trans” child that does not repeatedly mention the child’s gender-atypical behavior, expressed via toy choices, playmates, play behaviors, and hair and clothing preferences. These celebrity trans kid stories now routinely appear in print and broadcast media on a daily basis in the United States and the UK in particular.

While trans activists and gender doctors take pains to claim that the diagnosis of trangenderism in young children is “much more” than these gender defiant behaviors, journalists (and the child’s parents), oddly enough, always and only focus on these behaviors as evidence that the child was “born in the wrong body.” Maybe that’s because they refuse to challenge the absurdity of a child claiming they “feel like” the opposite sex, for which there can be no actual evidence? How can one know what it “feels like” to be something they are not? But you won’t see a question like this posed by any of the “journalists” who create these puff pieces; “journalists,” after all, who have abdicated their duty of asking hard questions and actually informing the public so a nuanced debate can take place.

  1. With this large study pointing out that gay and lesbian people are much more likely to exhibit behaviors more typical of the opposite sex, it is painfully obvious that—even if embarked upon with the best of intentions—the contemporary practice of socially and medically transitioning young children leads inevitably and inexorably to the outcome of anti-gay eugenics.

It doesn’t ultimately matter if the practitioners of pediatric transition don’t intend to turn proto-gay children into sterilized facsimiles of the opposite sex;  the impact of the practice of early transition leads to exactly that outcome.

Once you have read the Li, Kung, and Hines study for yourself, take a look at the latest slick bit of propaganda about “trans kids” and see if you can avoid the obvious implications.

A group of Canadian trans activists are manufacturing a “nesting doll” set,  a “trans boy” named Sam. Sam, from toddlerhood, wants to play with trucks and have short hair, refusing the doll and pink dress Sam’s mom offers. The moments when Sam grabs the truck and gets a haircut are presented as obviously full of significance in the animated promo film (which was partially funded by the Quebec government).

sam kickstarter

With the daily onslaught of trans-kid propaganda, what chance will a girl who just happens to like trucks and short hair get to believe anything other than she is ‘really” a boy? This stuff is being actively and aggressively marketed to children and gullible parents.
With the financial supporter of the taxpayer.

The dollmakers want to “crush transphobia” before it starts. But what they are really crushing is the future of kids who once were allowed to grow up without tampering—many of them into healthy gay or lesbian adults. Now these kids are being transformed into sterilized, surgically and hormonally altered medical patients—living transgender dolls.

 

Gender dysphoria and gifted children

by Lisa Marchiano

Lisa Marchiano, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and certified Jungian analyst. She blogs on parenting at Big Picture Parenting, and on Jungian topics at www.theJungSoul.com. You can also find her at PSYCHED Magazine and @LisaMarchiano on Twitter. Lisa has contributed previously to 4thWaveNow (see “The Stories We Tell,”  “Layers of Meaning” and “Suicidality in trans-identified youth”).

Lisa is available to interact in the comments section of this post.


Rates of gender dysphoria in children and young people have increased dramatically in a short period of time. There is some evidence that significant numbers of those who experience dysphoria are gifted.

Since 2016, I have been consulting with families with teens or young adults who identify as transgender. Nearly all of these parents report that their child is bright or advanced, and a significant majority have shared that their transgender-identifying child was formally assessed as gifted. Four of these families report children who tested in the profoundly gifted range (verbal and/or full scale scores >150).

An investigator who presented as-yet unpublished research at the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine conference this year described a population of adolescents and young adults presenting with a rapid onset of gender dysphoria (an abrupt onset of symptoms with no history of childhood gender dysphoria). Of the described population of 221 AYAs, nearly half (49.5%) had been formally diagnosed as academically gifted, 4.5% had a learning disability, 9.6% were both gifted and learning disabled, and 36.2% were neither.

This is a curious correlation. Could it be that gifted young people are more likely to experience dysphoria? Or is it rather that parents of gifted children are more likely to seek out my services or respond to surveys? My best guess is that it may be a little of both.

 

Possible Reasons for Increased Incidence of Gender Dysphoria Among the Gifted

  • Correlation with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Among those with Asperger’s, there is a higher proportion of giftedness than in the general population, and there are many overlapping traits between Asperger’s individuals and gifted individuals. This is especially true for the exceptionally or profoundly gifted. It has been suggested that as many as 7% of people with Asperger’s syndrome are gifted, compared with 2% of the general population who are gifted.

Those working with gender dysphoric youth have remarked on the significant proportion of those seeking treatment who carry a diagnosis of ASD. A 2010 Dutch study found that the incidence of ASD among children referred to a gender identity clinic was ten times higher than in the general population. At the UK’s only gender identity clinic for children, a full 50% of the children referred are on the autism spectrum.

A 2017 survey of 211 detransitioned women found that 15% were on the autism spectrum. This is 29 times higher than the rate of autism among females in the general population. Many of the survey responders felt that their autism contributed to their belief that they were transgender. For example:

I would absolutely not be trans if it were not for my autism spectrum features, which caused me to be grouped with boys in my youth because I was a “little professor” who lacked the ability to perform socially and emotionally in the way girls are supposed to.

And:

I think autism had something to do with my childhood difficulties relating to other girls and understanding/performing femininity. Traits like difficulty socialising, extreme focus on very specific interests etc seemed more acceptable once I framed myself as a boy.

  • Gender Atypical Preferences Among the Gifted

Research has shown that gifted children are more likely to exhibit gender atypical preferences. Gifted boys and girls may have wide and varying interests that do not conform to gender stereotypes. It is this author’s observation that most teens who self-diagnose as transgender do so on the basis of gender stereotypes. Liking video games rather than nail polish is interpreted as evidence that one is a boy, and so on.

  • Awareness of Difference; Bullying

Gifted children often have particular social needs and struggles. Even at a young age, gifted kids can have a sense of being different from everyone else without understanding the reasons for this difference. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can result. These feelings can be especially intense for profoundly gifted kids, or for kids who are both gifted and learning disabled (twice-exceptional). Because the experience of the gifted child can be so qualitatively different from those of his or her peers, gifted children may struggle with social isolation.

It seems plausible that some of the gifted transgender-identifying teens whose parents I have consulted with have come to understand themselves as trans, in part, as a way of explaining their pervasive sense of difference. “I was never like the other kids. I always knew I was different, I just didn’t know why.”

Being different can also bring with it negative social attention, including bullying. The blogger, detransitioner, and PhD psychology student ThirdWayTrans has shared his story on his blog. Diagnosed as profoundly gifted and radically accelerated in certain subjects, ThirdWayTrans found himself to be the victim of violent bullying throughout much of his childhood. He transitioned at 19 and lived as a woman for 20 years before coming to the realization that his gender dysphoria and desire to transition were linked to the traumatic bullying he experienced.

When I was a child I experienced trauma issues with bullying. When I was young I was physically the slowest boy but also very intellectually advanced like a child prodigy. By fourth grade I was going to the high school to take high school math, and on the other hand I was the weakest. So I was singled out for being a kind of super nerd. This didn’t make me popular at all. It made me popular with the adults actually but not my peers. So I suffered a lot of bullying and violence. It peaked in middle school where every day I would have some sort of violence directed at me.

When I was a child I started to have this fantasy of being a girl, because it meant I could be safe and not suffer from this violence due to being at the bottom of the male hierarchy. I could also be more soft. I used to cry a lot and that was also something that was not seen as good for a boy. I could be free of all of that and also still be intellectual because everyone was saying that girls can be smart too.

ThirdWayTrans notes that as an adult, he understood intellectually that it was okay for men to be vulnerable and “feminine,”  but that his internalized child perspective made it feel unsafe for him to let go of his trans identity.

  • Existential Questioning

Questioning one’s gender may go along with a predisposition to question one’s place in the world. Gifted children tend to question traditions critically, and to challenge things that others take for granted. Thinking about one’s identity may come more naturally to gifted kids.

  • Perfectionism and Anxiety

Gifted children may suffer from anxiety and perfectionism. Anxiety disorders were also well-represented among the comorbid issues reported in the detransitioners survey mentioned previously. It has been suggested by some that adopting a transgender identity may in some cases be an anxiety management strategy. I am familiar with one young man with dysphoria who is both gifted and learning disabled. His preoccupation with gender waxes and wanes, but is predictably worse during exam periods, when he tends to fall behind and become overwhelmed. The feelings of dysphoria seem to allow him to distract himself from his feelings of intense anxiety and insecurity, while alleviating some of the academic pressure. When he is suffering from increased distress over gender dysphoria, his teachers and parents are more focused on his mental well-being, and they place fewer demands on him.

Outcomes

Currently there is very little data on long-term outcomes for gender dysphoric youth. To date, there is only one study that examines outcomes for those who pursued medical transition as minors. The study followed 55 individuals who pursued medical transition as minors, and showed that at one year post operation, study subjects evidenced positive outcomes according to several measures of mental health. However, it is important to note that the individuals followed in this study were carefully chosen, screened, and followed according to a strict protocol. All of those in the study had histories of lifelong gender dysphoria. It is a big leap to generalize these findings to teens exhibiting sudden onset gender dysphoria, and who may receive minimal assessment and counseling before starting hormones or undertaking other interventions.

I am aware of young people transitioning whose families report a decrease in symptoms and an improvement in academic and vocational functioning post transition. However, in my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule. Of course, families seeking my assistance are doing so mostly because of poor outcomes, so I hardly see a representative sample. Nevertheless, certain patterns have emerged through my work with parents.

Most parents with whom I have consulted have teenage children with rapid onset gender dysphoria. (In other words, their child did not exhibit any dysphoria until adolescence.) Most parents supported a social transition, allowing their child to change names, pronouns, gender presentation, etc., but drew the line at medical intervention (hormones and surgery) until adulthood. Most of the parents I have worked with noted one or more of the following changes subsequent to their child’s social transition: worsening gender dysphoria as the child became increasingly preoccupied with passing; decreased academic or vocational functioning – declining grades, etc.; increased social isolation as child spent more time on transgender internet sites, or spent time exclusively with transgender friends; worsening overall mental health evidenced by increased anxiety, self-harming behaviors, and/or depression; constriction of interests as the young person ceased to pursue pastimes and activities that had once been important to him or her; and worsening family relationships, including increased tension and anger between parent and child.

I have also known of gifted young people who desisted from a transgender identity. These young people had parents who were loving, engaged, and supportive, but who assisted them in questioning their belief that they were the opposite sex. Though the sample size is small, those who desisted from identifying as trans appeared to benefit from improved family relationships, increased social and academic engagement, and overall better mental health than during the period of transgender identification.

Conclusion

Currently, there is very little research into long-term outcomes for gender dysphoric young people. My observations indicate that a disproportionate number of those families seeking consultation with me have a transgender-identifying teen who is also gifted. There are many possible reasons for this confluence. Assessment and treatment for gender dysphoria in teens should take into account the various motivations that might influence a young person to self-diagnose as transgender. Families should be encouraged to support their child in ways that feel most appropriate to them, taking into account that a one-size-fits-all treatment for gender dysphoria is likely not suitable at this time. Further research is needed into causes and treatments.