Layers of meaning: A Jungian analyst questions the identity model for trans-identified youth

Lisa Marchiano, LCSW, is a Jungian analyst. She blogs at theJungSoul.com (Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/thejungsoul), and can also be found on Twitter @LisaMarchiano.

Lisa’s thoughtful essay stands in stark contrast to the simplistic advice we see from self-declared gender therapists like this one. For the perspective of another therapist skeptical of the “gender affirmative” approach, see this post by Lane Anderson, a former therapist for trans-identified teens who quit her job last year due to ethical concerns.

Lisa would like to thank Miranda Yardley, ThirdWayTrans, and Carey Callahan for their contributions to this post. Though these three individuals were generous in sharing their time and expertise, the views expressed here are Lisa’s own.

Lisa is available to respond to your remarks and questions in the comments section of this post.


by Lisa Marchiano 

As a social worker and a Jungian analyst, I have become increasingly concerned about the rush to affirm children’s and young people’s transgender self-diagnosis, and then transition them to the opposite sex. I am particularly worried about social and medical transition among teens whose transgender diagnosis arose “out of the blue,” without a significant history of early childhood dysphoria. I fear that, via their well-meaning desire to validate young people in pain, therapists are discarding basic principles of psychotherapeutic care.

My views have been informed by my work with detransitioners, as well as with parents of trans-identifying teens. I have also sought to educate myself further by listening to trans people, parents, clinicians, academics, lesbians, feminists, educators, gays, and others who are writing and speaking about gender. I believe that transition may be a viable and even necessary option for some people. I support the right of adults to choose this option with appropriate therapeutic care and support. I certainly believe that trans people deserve human rights, legal protection, humane care, and respect. However, there are potential physical and psychological dangers of transition, and we need to exercise astute clinical judgment and caution when working with young people who are seeking transition.

I have often seen trans activists and gender specialists promote “social transition” of trans-identifying youth as a positive and “fully reversible” intervention. Social transition refers to a number of steps one can take to present as the opposite sex. These might include making changes to one’s hair style, make-up, name, pronouns, and dress. One might also begin binding breasts or wearing a packer to “present” more convincingly as the opposite sex. Social transition is sometimes described as something that has few if any long-term consequences, and therefore can be recommended with minimal concerns,  even for young children. However, in some significant percentage of cases, social transition leads to medical transition. It appears likely that being conditioned to believe you are the opposite sex creates ever greater pressure to continue to present in this way. Once one has made the investment of coming out to friends and family, having teachers refer to you by a new name and pronouns, will it really be so easy to change back? Children who socially transition at a young age may have little experience living as their natal gender. How easy will it be for them to desist?

At least some of the time, each step taken toward transition creates pressure to continue. Numerous blog posts from detransitioners explore how transition made dysphoria worse, often because the young person became increasingly preoccupied with passing. This further discomfort created pressure to take more steps toward transition in order to present more convincingly as the opposite sex. To take just one example, breast binding may bring relief to some natal females who experience discomfort with their breasts, but binding in itself can be quite painful, restricting breathing and movement—thus creating an incentive to take the next step—“top surgery”/double mastectomy. I have heard one mother of a FtM young person stating that this natal female “got his lungs back” after getting a double mastectomy because he no longer needed to bind. Additionally, anecdotal evidence indicates that it is not uncommon for teens who socially transition to move on to hormones and/or surgery shortly after their 18th birthday. So it’s clear that social transition must be viewed as a treatment that carries with it a significant risk of progressing to medical transition.

Medical transition refers to a number of interventions undertaken to alter one’s body. These can include administration of hormone blockers to children and teens; administration of cross sex hormones; mastectomy; phalloplasty; hysterectomy; body masculinization; orchiectomy; vaginoplasty; facial feminization surgery; and others. All of these procedures can have permanent effects, and most of them carry significant risks. It is unusual (though not unheard of) for minors to have these surgeries. However, it is not uncommon for minors to take hormone blockers and cross sex hormones. And in 100% of the cases reported in the literature, children on puberty blockers went on to cross sex hormones. Top gender clinician Johanna Olson reports that no puberty-blocked children at her clinic in LA Children’s Hospital have ever failed to continue hormone treatment. Therefore, the claim that blockers are “100% reversible” is not accurate in practice. In fact, being on blockers appears to consolidate an investment in a cross sex identification. And although one rarely sees this “side effect” reported in the mainstream media, because gametes do not develop when an adolescent does not undergo natal puberty, hormone blockers followed by cross sex hormones results in permanent, life-long sterility 100% of the time.

Hormone blockers and cross sex hormones are being used off label (that is, they are not FDA-approved for this purpose). We have almost no knowledge about the long-term effects of taking these drugs over the course of decades, as anyone beginning transition as a young person will likely do. According to Madeline Deutsch, clinical director at University of California, San Francisco’s Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, “it scientifically makes sense that if someone is on hormones for decades, it’s highly likely that they’re going to be at higher risk [for certain health issues] than someone who started taking hormones at age 40 or 50.” Even the top pediatric gender doctors admit that there’s a dearth of good data on the long-term health outcomes of transition.

Certainly, there are risks. Cross sex hormones change bodies fairly quickly. Some of these changes are irreversible, such as a deepened voice, facial hair, and baldness for testosterone, and breast growth and, potentially, infertility for estrogen. In addition, use of cross-sex hormones carries with it potential negative side effects. Girls who take testosterone will be at increased risk for developing diabetes, cancer of the endometrium, liver damage, breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke. There may be other adverse effects of which we are not aware at this time, since long-term testosterone use in natal females is a relatively new phenomenon that has not been adequately studied.

I fear that there are young people transitioning – with the ready help of therapists, doctors, and others – who may regret these interventions and need to come to terms with permanent and in some cases drastic changes to their bodies. In fact, I know this is already happening. I have had considerable contact with the growing community of detransitioners. In many cases, the hatred for and disconnection from their bodies that these young people experienced was due to sexual trauma, internalized homophobia, or bullying. In videos and blogs, young women speak about their sadness over their lost voices and breasts. Male detransitioners mourn the loss of their testicles, the loss of their ability to orgasm, in some cases the loss of their fertility. Many have had complications from hormones such as vaginal atrophy, nerve damage, or chronic pain. You can hear some of these stories for yourself here, here, and here, among other places.

I have also spoken with many parents. Their stories are just as heartbreaking. These usually involve a teen who was anxious, depressed, socially isolated, or suffering from PTSD coming to identify as trans after internet binges on social media sites. These parents report that mental health professionals are validating the self-diagnosis of transgender after a handful of therapy sessions, without any exploration of prior mental health issues, trauma, sexual orientation, or history of gender nonconforming behavior. This clearly violates APA recommendations, which urge special caution in treating adolescents who present with sudden onset dysphoria.

All of this comes down to an essential question: When treating someone with gender dysphoria, do we do so using a mental health model, or an identity model?

An identity model is founded on the belief that we ought to be able to define our own experiences for ourselves. It proclaims that each of us has a right to assign our own meaning to our lives, our feelings, and our bodies. We get to decide who we are, and no one has authority over our self-perception. An identity model offers respect and self-determination for every person to define themselves as they would like.

An identity model has a place in psychotherapy. As people, we all self-identify aspects of our personality, values, and experiences in ways that are often very important to us. We might identify as Catholic, or as a Democrat. We might identify as an artist, an introvert, or a lesbian. As therapists, accepting and affirming our clients’ self-identification is important and empowering. As therapists, we can accept and empathize with a client’s story about his or her life experience. We can hold this story as valuable and important whether or not we objectively agree with it. As long as the client’s story does not lead to maladaptive behaviors, we do not need to challenge or attempt to discredit or disprove such a self-identification.

However, an identity model of working with transgender people goes further. An identity model stipulates that it is wrong to explore or question a client’s self-determined identity. Gender dysphoria is seen as evidence that someone is transgender, and merely wondering about underlying psychological reasons for dysphoria or alternative explanations for symptoms is seen as synonymous with denying a person’s identity. Applying our own clinical judgment to someone’s proclaimed self-diagnosis is seen as bigoted and wrong. Our role as therapists becomes limited to enthusiastic affirmation only.

In contrast, when we are working in a mental health model, we understand that clients come to us with symptoms that cause distress, and may interfere with a person’s day-to-day functioning. As therapists, we ought to be interested both in helping to alleviate or manage symptoms, as well as helping to understand the underlying cause of the symptom. If we are psychodynamically oriented, a basic assumption of our work is that every symptom has a meaning beyond its superficial presentation, and a major part of our work is to help our clients gain insight about this meaning.

In opposition to an identity model, then, the main task in mental health therapy with a client experiencing gender dysphoria would be to deeply explore the symptoms without making assumptions about what the symptoms mean. In fact, while identity therapy knows what gender dysphoria means – i.e. that the client is trans – mental health therapy will start with the assumption that we have no idea what the symptom means. We must be open to the meaning that emerges for patients as we explore their experience with them.

Seeking to understand deeply the nature, quality, and etiology of the dysphoria is not at all the same thing as denying the reality or importance of the symptom. When I explore a client’s anxiety – when did it start? What tends to trigger it? How does it feel? – I am not implying that I do not feel that the anxiety is unimportant or illusory. As we come to understand more about a client’s unique experience of a symptom, we may unwrap the meaning behind the suffering so that the problem resolves in a surprising, unexpected way. Or we may simply gain better information about the best course of treatment to alleviate the symptom for that particular person.

An identity model is not an appropriate basis on which to prescribe drastic, permanent medical intervention.

An identity model does not leave room for a therapist to exercise his or her clinical judgment. It disallows the possibility of a thorough assessment and differential diagnosis. According to the identity model, a client’s self-diagnosis is not to be questioned or explored. Therefore, alternative causes of dysphoria cannot be sought. As with many other mental health issues, the symptoms of gender dysphoria can be caused by many different things. Feeling uncomfortable with or disconnected from one’s body can go along with being on the autism spectrum; having experienced trauma; having bipolar disorder; having an eating disorder; or experiencing internalized homophobia. And sadly, it is a normal experience for teen girls, 90% of whom express dissatisfaction with their bodies.

An identity model subverts the normal diagnostic paradigm in which a patient presents with symptoms, and the clinician makes a diagnosis. In an identity model, the diagnosis is the identity. This occludes the focus on symptom resolution and management because the priority becomes affirming the identity. When symptoms are seen as validation of an identity, clinical judgment becomes irrelevant.

Before determining that a young person ought to undergo drastic treatments that may permanently alter their bodies and lead to permanent sterilization, a thorough assessment should be conducted that explores all potential factors contributing to the dysphoria. Unfortunately, because exploration of gender dysphoria is construed by some to be tantamount to “conversion therapy,” this kind of extensive assessment is frequently not performed. Though data is sparse, I personally have had contact with dozens of young people and/or their families who received a transgender diagnosis and a prescription for hormones after one to three appointments with a therapist.  According to this survey of more than 200 detransitioned women, 65% of those who transitioned received no therapy at all, either because they were referred for treatment at their first visit, transitioned through an informed consent clinic, or bought hormones through unofficial sources. (The median age for beginning transition in this survey was 17.) Only 6% of respondents felt they had received adequate counseling about transition. In fact, according to the ideology of gender identity, thorough assessment is seen as inappropriate “gatekeeping.”

An identity model does not allow us to rule out cases of transgenderism where social contagion might be at play. It appears quite likely that the striking increase in trans-identifying teens in recent years is due at least in part to social contagion. There has been a sudden sharp rise in the number of children and teens presenting at gender clinics. The first transgender youth clinic opened in Boston in 2007. Since then, 40 other clinics that cater exclusively to children have opened. Inexplicably, the ratio of natal males to natal females has flipped sharply, with many more natal female teens now presenting. Many of these young people have been presenting with dysphoria “out of the blue” as teens or tweens after extensive social media use without ever having expressed any gender variance before. This now-common presentation was virtually unheard of even a handful of years ago. Thousands of home-made videos on sites such as YouTube chronicle the gender transitions of teenagers. These teens show off their new-found muscles or facial hair. The Tumblr blog Fuck Yeah FTMs  features photo after photo of young FtMs celebrating the changes wrought by testosterone. “I finally have freedom!” posters boast under photographs of their scarred chests post mastectomy. “I’m no longer pre-T!” boasts another under a video of someone injecting testosterone. Almost all of these posters are under 25 years of age. According to Jen Jack Gieseking, a New York academic and researcher who was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 last May, “There really isn’t a trans person I’ve met under the age of 30 who hasn’t been on Tumblr.” There are multiple credible online reports of whole friend groups coming out together as trans.

But correlation isn’t causation. As this brilliant blog post explores, the contagion factor only speaks to the particular way that young people choose to deal with distress. It isn’t that the internet is “causing” the rise in transgenderism. It’s that many young people – particularly young females – are feeling alienated from their bodies due to trauma, porn culture, societal standards of beauty, oppressive gender roles, sexism, homophobia, and so forth. Self-diagnosing as transgender becomes an attractive way to deal with the alienation because it is so validated and even lionized in the culture and the mainstream media. For therapists, an identity therapy model does not allow us to acknowledge the role of social contagion, though contagion has been well-documented in contributing to suicide clusters and other behaviors.

An identity therapy model encourages us not to put safeguards in place to prevent young people from undertaking treatments they may later regret. According to an identity model, self-diagnosis as trans should never be questioned. To do so implies a lack of support and even bigotry. Therefore, the clinician must not stand in the way of transition to the person’s “authentic self.” Because of this, an increasing number of minors are going on hormones and even undergoing surgery that will permanently alter their bodies. Even 18 is probably too young to make such major medical decisions. In cases where the 18-year-old is making medical decisions based on a social transition that she or he began years earlier, it is possibly even more likely that that young person has not carefully considered the consequence of transition. Top gender doctors are hoping to see the recommended age for “bottom surgery” lowered.

In sharp contrast, it’s not easy for non-trans patients to be sterilized before adulthood. For instance, in Massachusetts, a patient must be at least 21 years of age to qualify for sterilizing surgeries under the state’s public health scheme. When such a surgery is undertaken, patients are carefully counseled and must sign a form stating that they understand the permanent nature of the procedure, and that they do not wish to bear or father children. Patients must then wait a minimum of 30 days after signing the form before having the surgery. This procedure has been put in place because surgical sterilization has been shown to come with a high incidence of regret. Why are there not similar safeguards in place for those transgender identifying young people wishing to amputate healthy organs and/or sterilize themselves?

There is a wealth of research about cognitive and emotional development in adolescence. The upshot of it is that teens and young adults are more likely to act impulsively, are unable to assess risks well, and are more emotionally reactive. It is partly for these reasons that we do not allow teens to drink, get tattoos, or use tanning beds without adult consent.

An identity model does not allow us to examine the homophobia that drives some – possibly many — transitions. According to extensive research on desistance, a significant majority of children who identify as the opposite sex will not continue to do so into adulthood. The majority of those who desist will come to identify as lesbian or gay. “Feminine” boys are actually many times more likely to grow up to be gay men rather than transgender women. The same is true for “masculine” girls. Many lesbian bloggers (such as this one and and this one) are very concerned that the current trend to transition young people is disproportionately hurting lesbians and gays, and their fears appear to be well founded. This conservative Christian Texas mother was bothered by her son’s “flamboyant, feminine” behavior. Rather than accepting her son’s gender-defiant presentation, she has decided he is transgender. She now has a very pretty, gender conforming “daughter.”

There is widespread concern in the lesbian community that many young would-be lesbian or bisexual women are finding it easier to become “straight men” due to internalized homophobia. In this article, fourteen-year-old Mason describes how he knew he was transgender. “I’ve always known something was up about how I felt about myself,” says Mason, who as Madelyn had refused to wear pink, or to dress in stereotypically feminine attire. “I thought I was gay or bisexual or something.” In years past, Madelyn most likely would have grown up to be a lesbian or bisexual woman. To paraphrase psychiatrist Ray Blanchard, surely it’s preferable to have an outcome of a reasonably well adjusted lesbian woman, rather than someone who identifies as a trans man who has had many irreversible surgeries and a lifetime of drugs.

An identity model makes us unable to tease out other mental health concerns that may be impacting the desire to transition. There is considerable research that points to a high likelihood of co-occurring disorders in young people who wish to transition. For example, this study from 2015 noted that “severe psychopathology preceding onset of gender dysphoria was common. Autism spectrum problems were very common.” In this study, 68% of the population had first had contact with psychiatric service for reasons other than gender dysphoria. Thirteen percent were being treated for psychotic symptoms.

This study from 2004 found high rates of “comorbidity” in those with gender dysphoria, and noted that this was often not taken into consideration when treatment planning for these patients. “Results: Twenty-nine percent of the patients had no current or lifetime Axis I disorder; 39% fulfilled the criteria for current and 71% for current and/or lifetime Axis I diagnosis. Forty-two percent of the patients were diagnosed with one or more personality disorders. Conclusions: Lifetime psychiatric comorbidity in GID patients is high, and this should be taken into account in the assessment and treatment planning of GID patients.”

This 2015 study found a link between gender dysphoria and dissociative symptoms secondary to trauma. According to this blogger, trauma and dissociation were a big part of her desire to transition. This was also true for this blogger here. Similar stories from detransitioners with histories of unaddressed trauma abound.

An identity model does not allow us to take into account reports from parents or previous therapists who may not agree with the patient’s self-diagnosis. I have received dozens of distraught emails from parents trying in vain to get gender therapists to listen to them when they share information about their child’s mental health history that ought to be taken into consideration while assessing and treating gender dysphoria. While I cannot share the contents of these emails without violating people’s privacy, I can point to quite a few places online where frustrated parents have shared similar stories. For example, this social work professor states that the gender therapist did not review her daughter’s special education records or speak with the previous therapist before recommending hormones and surgery for this young autistic teen.

Parents I have had contact with have told me about their child having a history of anxiety, panic attacks, depression, trauma, loss, bipolar disorder, anorexia, cutting, borderline personality disorder, and psychosis. In these cases, as soon as the young person brought up their transgender self-diagnosis, the focus of the therapy shifted to this alone. The parents’ fears, concerns, and information about past treatments were disregarded as obstructionist and transphobic. I am not alleging that this is happening in every case. However, it certainly is happening with some degree of regularity.

An identity model does not allow us to question the incoherence of gender identity ideology. While gender dysphoria appears to be a meaningful diagnostic term that describes a set of symptoms – namely intense discomfort with one’s sexed body – it does not follow from this that one is “trapped in the wrong body,” has a “female” or “male” brain, or even a “gender identity” that doesn’t match one’s body. Though the concept of gender identity is currently being enshrined into law, the truth is that we have no meaningful definition of the term. (For an excellent analysis of the incoherence of the term, take a look at Rebecca Reilly Cooper’s work.) When a trans-identified person is asked how they know they are transgender, they are usually unable to answer the questions without reference to sex role stereotypes. For example, a physician who prescribed cross sex hormones to a 12-year-old natal female stated that the child had “never worn a dress.” This was offered as evidence of the child’s being “truly trans,” and therefore needing these hormones. I would strenuously argue that one’s clothing preferences should not be a reason to permanently sterilize a child.

It doesn’t make sense to say that one’s sex organs don’t matter, but then assert a primary, essential difference based on a sexed brain. Sexed brains do not exist. It is absurd to posit that one’s chromosomal sex, genitals, and entire reproductive system are meaningless and irrelevant or a social construct, and then assert that a subjective feeling of being the opposite gender is determinative. There is no robust science behind the notion of gender identity. Journalists have been quick to report on studies that seem to prove brain differences among those who are transgender. However, as the sexology researcher James Cantor has pointed out, these studies actually seem to be documenting brain differences among those who are homosexual.

If you want to see a review of some of the literature out there in support of a biological basis for gender dysphoria, this blog post does a good job. There are some solid studies that seem to indicate that genetics or pre-natal hormone exposure may play some role in the development of gender dysphoria. That isn’t really surprising. Pretty much every diagnosis in the DSM – from depression, to anorexia, to borderline personality disorder – has some genetic component. Gender dysphoria is real. As with other mental health diagnoses, its causes are likely complex and involve genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. But it doesn’t follow from any of this that the sufferer has an inborn “gender identity” that ought to supersede any consideration of one’s objective biological sex. Body dysmorphic disorder is associated with brain differences and appears to have a genetic component, and yet the biological component of the condition does not dictate that we understand the patient’s suffering to reflect objective reality.

Transgender activists assert that “gender is between the ears, not between the legs.” However, this is an ideological, faith-based statement that cannot be scientifically validated. What is “between our ears” — meaning our inner experience of ourselves as a gendered person — is purely subjective. Within this context, asserting that one is transgender is an unfalsifiable statement of belief. In reality, feeling like the other sex does not in any way mean that you are the other sex. Identity is an important aspect of one’s experience. We get to define ourselves subjectively, and I would argue that full-fledged adults ought to be able to modify their bodies in accordance with their sense of themselves. However, subjective identity should not dictate a necessity for medical treatment of any kind, especially body-altering treatments with highly significant side effect profiles for minors or young people

An identity model does not allow us to consider treatment outcomes critically. The research on outcomes post transition is mixed at best. It is well-known that one study showed that 41% of transgender people had experienced suicidal ideation or self harm. It is less well-known that the study gives no indication whether the attempt was before or after receiving transition care. Several large studies show astonishingly high rates of suicide among transgender people who have medically transitioned (see here and here). It has been argued that suicide rates continue to be high after transition due to societal prejudice. While this likely is true some of the time, post-transition transsexuals are more likely to “pass” as the target gender, and therefore ought to be less subject to discrimination. Given the undeniably high rates of suicide in post-transition transsexuals, it is disingenuous to claim that transition is a panacea that will prevent suicide.

While this study showed positive outcomes for early transition, there were only 55 subjects included. Perhaps more importantly, they were last assessed at one-year post sex reassignment surgery. In the survey of detransitioned women, the average length of transition was four years. It seems possible that some of the 55 individuals followed in the first study might go on to have regrets if they were followed for longer. Worryingly, one of the 70 individuals invited to participate in the study was unable to do so because the person died as a result of postsurgical necrotizing fasciitis after undergoing vaginoplasty.

While the media is full of stories of young people becoming happier and more confident after being allowed to transition, there is some evidence that this is not always the case. In addition to the research that documents high suicide rates post transition, I am aware of anecdotal evidence of continued or even increased anxiety and depression, social isolation, psychiatric hospitalization, and poor academic outcomes for those who have transitioned.

An identity model does not allow us to explore other options for dealing with dysphoria. Transition – social and medical — is currently the only treatment commonly prescribed for gender dysphoria. If what we are treating is an acute discomfort with one’s body, it would seem reasonable to offer a range of different treatments before prescribing transition, including anti-depressants, talk therapy, and emotion-regulation skills to help patients manage their distress. However, none of these treatments is routinely prescribed for gender dysphoria. In the survey of 200 detransitioned women, some significant percentage of them stated that they found alternative ways of dealing with dysphoria other than transition. Detransitioner and therapist in training Carey Callahan offers several specific techniques that she has found helpful on her blog. Clinicians and researchers ought to be mining these experiences to find other effective treatments for dysphoria in addition to transition.

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An identity model makes some questionable assumptions about the nature of identity and our ability to know ourselves. An identity model is predicated on the notion that identity is immutable, essential, and knowable. This is not my experience of human nature. Identities are useful for approximating something about ourselves. They are constructs that allow us to talk about our experience. But they are not absolute truths, and they rarely say something about our most essential, mysterious, and ultimately unknowable essence. To quote Whitman, “do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” I have had the good fortune to contradict myself many times in my life – contradict myself on things that at one time felt utterly essential and absolutely true. I believe this is a universal human experience, and yet another reason why making permanent changes to one’s body at a young age ought to be approached with extreme caution.

An identity model makes it impossible for us to acknowledge or discuss the varied reasons why a person might want to transition. The desire to transition likely has many varied causes. Seeing all transitions as an expression of innate gender identity obscures the very real differences between one person’s situation and another, making it impossible to assess and treat people in an individualized way. A late transitioning MtT autogynephile has an experience of gender dysphoria that is vastly different than that of a fifteen-year old lesbian, and the former’s experience ought not in any way to dictate how we understand or treat the latter.

An identity model creates a false dichotomy between affirmation and bigotry. According to the current narrative, the only supportive response to a teen who has self-identified as transgender is to affirm this identity and begin transition immediately. Any other response is quickly labeled transphobic. In reality, there is a huge range between assisting a child in transitioning immediately and affirming that they are and in fact always have been the opposite sex, and denigrating or shaming them for their desire to transition or coercively trying to get them to conform to rigid gender expectations. Parents can communicate their unconditional love and support. Parents can offer solace and warmth as the child struggles with distressing feelings. Parents can seek legitimate psychotherapeutic help to offer space for the young person to explore and understand the desire to transition. Teenagers often develop strong beliefs about what they must do or have, and it is well known that these beliefs and demands are not always sound or rational. Never before have parents of teens been told that they have to accede to the demands of their teenager or risk doing irreparable harm. Parents of teens have always had to step in and set loving limits on behavior that may not be in the young person’s long-term best interest. When dealing with a child who has diagnosed themselves as transgender, parents can do what parents of teenagers always do – set sensible limits and help a child to reflect on the potential consequences of his or her actions. Parents can assure the child of their ongoing love and acceptance if he or she does eventually decide, as a full-fledged adult, to transition.

An identity model offers an inferior kind of therapy to those who identify as transgender. As the blogger Third Way Trans has pointed out, “if someone is a member of a dominant class they receive regular psychotherapy but if they aren’t they receive a special kind of social justice therapy.” Those who come into treatment with gender dysphoria are not given the opportunity to explore deeply their experience, but instead have their self-diagnoses affirmed. There are people who will need to live as the opposite sex in order to have the happiest, fullest life possible. These individuals may need to consider taking hormones or having surgery. Surely these people deserve to have a place to explore these consequential decisions without prejudice in favor of a specific outcome so that a process of careful discernment can take place. If therapists are only cheerleaders for transition, how can someone in this situation get help to make the best decision?

I believe we should offer clients with gender dysphoria high quality mental health therapy. In a guest post on this blog, a woman who considered transitioning several times during her life shared a moment from her own therapy that proved important to her.

“When I started therapy in my early twenties, I revealed to my therapist that I had been raped at 18. It had been four years and I had never told anyone. In the process of uncovering that rape and telling her about it, I stated, during a session, that I wanted to become a man. She nodded, she said she understood, and that it was something we could explore, but in the meantime, we really needed to talk about the rape. I appreciated her approach. She wasn’t directive, judgmental, or reactive, she simply stated it was something to keep talking about, but encouraged me to focus on my experience of being raped and other traumas.”

In providing high quality mental health therapy to all patients, we would communicate unconditional positive regard to our gender dysphoric patients, just as we would with anyone else, and as the therapist in this blog post did. We would greet their announcement that they feel as though they may need to transition with acceptance and curiosity, communicating that we are willing to go there with them, to explore this desire in all of its intricacy, without prematurely coming to a fixed notion of what is right for our patient. We would see the person in front of us in all of their miraculous complexity, and not just as a “gender identity.”

As therapists, we have been trained in assessment. We have been trained to wonder about layers of meaning that may not be visible at first glance. We have been trained in how to recognize and work with trauma. We have been trained to help out clients explore their labyrinthine inner lives. When clients come to me wondering whether to end a relationship with a boyfriend or change careers, we typically spend months considering all of the different facets of such a decision. Don’t we owe at least as considered a process to someone contemplating making permanent changes to his or her body, especially when that person is a teen or young adult?

Phase? What phase? Kid trans specialist dishes up the usual gender gruel

What would we do without the crop of gender therapists who seem to have sprung up like mushrooms after a rainstorm in the last few years? How did we raise our tomboys and “effeminate” sons before these specialists arrived on the scene to tell us naïve parents what to think and do?

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This little tidbit in the Chicago Windy City Times is emblematic of the same sort of breezy, reassuring advice dispensed by the therapists I consulted when my own daughter was insisting she was trans. We hear similar gender-therapist stories every day from the parents who blow into 4thWaveNow like so many shipwrecked sailors.

Ariel Groner, the author of  this piece entitled “Transgender kids: Is my child just going through a phase?” is a gender identity therapist (specializing in kids 6 and up) at Chicago’s Juniper Center. The Center has a lot of predictable gender identity ideology on its website. The Windy City Time (“the voice of Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community since 1985″) seems to have simply picked up Groner’s piece from the Juniper Center’s own website—sort of like free advertising.

Besides promoting its therapy services, the Juniper Center also instructs parents on how to transition their children in the school system, including a quick mention of Title IX as a way to strong-arm balking school staff; as if President Obama did not singlehandedly reinterpret that statute to redefine sex as “gender identity” (a redefinition that is now wending its way through the US court system).

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But now to a quick review of Groner’s advice column.

Many parents come into my office asking if their child is identifying as transgender because it seems to be a popular trend.

Groner mentions Jazz Jennings, Caitlyn Jenner, the media attention given to trans issues, but instead of delving into whether there’s any truth to these worried parents’ concerns, she simply provides a crash course in Gender Identity Politics 101.

If a person tells you she identifies as a woman and is only sexually interested in women, many people would label her with the identity of being a lesbian.

She may fit the criteria for one’s definition of the term, but she never identified herself as a lesbian. Perhaps she identifies herself as queer. Instead of getting caught up in the terminology, make sure to ask what that person’s identity, or label/term that they are using, means to them.

Who you gonna believe—me or your lying eyes? A woman only interested in women=lesbian? No, don’t get “caught up in terminology” (more like, caught up in reality). Self-defined labels, identities, terms—that’s the ticket.

Just follow your offspring (or anyone else, for that matter) down whatever identity rabbit hole they are currently burrowing into. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to use your own brain to figure things out.

If your child is telling you that they are transgender or that they are struggling with their gender identity, do not dismiss it as a phase; get educated! There are great resources out there to help answer your questions.

But what if it is a phase? Shouldn’t this specialist with “advanced training” in LGBTQ++++++ youth entertain that possibility? Nope. Don’t use your critical thinking skills,  or any past or present knowledge of your own child. Get educated! Consult the great resources out there, including

a support group and/or in the form of a trans aware therapist.

Not just any therapist, mind.

Is the incidence of transgender increasing?

The truth is that trans people have been around forever. There is no evidence that there are more trans people today then there were 50 years ago. People do however, feel freer to explore their gender identity than they did in the past, thanks to a more public dialogue and acceptance, and they are doing so at a younger age. As a result, people are discovering themselves and being given a platform to do so that never existed in past generations. As our society becomes more accepting, people feel more comfortable being themselves.

It’s all so revolutionary! Forget the second wave of feminism, when women abandoned their skirts and makeup in droves and came to the realization that they could be or do anything they set their minds to. Those past generations of trouser-wearing dinosaurs? The tomboys who hung out in treehouses and played with gender-neutral toys instead of color-coded Legos? What did we from “past generations” know about how to “discover ourselves” without the “platform” of gender identity politics built and maintained by fawning therapists and sycophantic journalists?

But hang on. The gender identity specialist tells us it’s NOT about toys or even how the kids act!

Sometimes when children play with toys not associated with their birth gender, parents are concerned that they might be gay or transgender. Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are trans and still play with toys that are associated with their birth gender. Sometimes they are cis and only play with toys that are not associated with their given gender. The bottom line is, try not to focus on what they are playing with and how they are acting, and spend some time listening to them. Give them that space to explore without judgement or shame.

Good advice, overall—except for the “cis” and “trans” stuff.  So what makes a kid trans then? This is a trained therapist dispensing advice. There must be some diagnostic criteria.

For children, it is important to listen and validate what they are feeling. Some may know for sure, but others may still be exploring feelings of being different.

Right. So the key diagnostic criterion for a kid to be trans is that they “know for sure.” Turning the old parenting saw on its head, it’s because they said so.

Parents, listen up. Unlike all the generations before you, it’s not your job to guide your offspring based on your own accumulated wisdom or life experience,  nor your knowledge of your own children. You must never contradict your child.  It’s only and always about validating, listening, getting educated, and above all—never seeing your kid’s trans identity as a “phase” (even when it is).

Given that this therapist specializes in kids as young as 6 and has “advanced training in working with LGBTQ-identified youth,” it’d be nice to see some acknowledgment/knowledge about developmental psychology – stuff like magical thinking, obsessive interests, rigid ideas about gender and just about everything else, and, especially for tweens and teens—social contagion.

As someone whose daughter did experience a trans identity as a year-long phase, the pap spooned up by this gender specialist tastes all too familiar in its bland superficiality and circular reasoning: they’re trans if they say they are. PERIOD.

I encourage any parent reading this post to do two things:

Top gender doc dismisses 203 detransitioned women as “not regretters per se”

Note: All screenshots in this post were taken from the publicly accessible WPATH Facebook page on 9/3/2016. Please visit the thread in question for full context and to see any edits and/or additions that have been made since this post was published.

UPDATE 9/4/16: Several allegations have been leveled at the writers of 4thWaveNow and Cari in the most recent comments on the WPATH Facebook page. We invite you to read our post, Cari’s survey results, and the WPATH thread, then decide for yourself whether there are any distortions of fact in our reporting.

4thWaveNow would like to address the fact that the parents who create and manage this blog use pseudonyms; we also protect the anonymity of our commenters. All of us are keenly aware that we have no right to expose our children–some of whom have a social media presence–to the harsh light of public scrutiny. Our primary concern is protecting their privacy. And in this age of the Internet, compromising our privacy will compromise theirs. One has only to look at the history of what trans activists have done in their attempts to silence critics in the past, which have included vicious attacks on not only the adults who have spoken out, but at times upon their minor children. We are simply not willing to expose our children to this risk.

If it were possible to have an “honest dialogue” with the activists and public figures who are having such a huge (and in many cases, deleterious) impact on the lives of our children, we would welcome that. If we saw, even once, professionals acknowledging that there is indeed a social contagion going on amongst teenagers; if we heard any of the points we make being honestly engaged, it would be different. Instead, what we get are unceasing ad hominem attacks, professionals and journalists who should know better yelling “TERF!”, and constant accusations that unless we get behind the medical transition of our own children, we are driving them to suicide. This is not an atmosphere for reasoned dialogue. And that is why this blog came to be in the first place.

We will continue to provide a platform for people like Cari and others who have been frozen out of the public discussion on the issue of pediatric transition. Until mainstream journalists are willing to present a more balanced picture of this very serious and increasing trend in Western society, that work will be left to bloggers like us.


Two weeks ago, Cari, a 22-year-old former teen client of TransActive Gender Center in Portland, OR, announced an online survey designed to better understand the experiences of detransitioned women. She has completed work on this phase of her project, and today posted the survey results, with a detailed interpretation, on her blog.

I won’t be going into exhaustive detail about everything the survey revealed; Cari’s blog post provides an excellent write-up and analysis. What I will be doing, instead, is reporting on the reaction (posted on the public WPATH page) of Dan Karasic, MD, top gender specialist and UCSF psychiatrist—which amounts mostly to minimizing the significance of Cari’s work and attempting to discredit several of her most important findings.

Cari’s survey ran for only two weeks, from August 16 – 31. Most surveys recruit participants for months or even years. That over 200 women responded in such a short timeframe should put to rest any notion that “desistance is a myth.” And the fact that the survey was shared on social media means that it likely reached a demographic that most trans activists deny exists: young women who became interested in medical transition due, in part, to social contagion (a phenomenon currently being studied by a researcher at Mt. Sinai). As Cari notes,

 “Leaving aside all the other data this provides, the sheer number of responses is pretty amazing. Given that the survey was open for 2 weeks and was shared through a couple of Facebook groups, most of which were private, and Tumblr, I think we can safely say that detransitioners are not quite as rare as some would like to have us think.”

In his Facebook post, Karasic attempts to dismiss the 62% of respondents who said that “political/ideological concerns” were a factor in their decision to detransition– by implying that these concerns are on par with people who reject their own homosexuality due to religious beliefs!

Karasic OP

To be fair, Karasic does say that “some exploration” of negative reactions to hormones is appropriate (albeit in the no-gatekeeping, informed consent model). But comparing these women’s thought processes to evangelical Christianity? This is an astounding leap. “Political/ideological” concerns could mean any number of things, including that these women began to think more critically; that they began to question some of the rhetoric of transgender ideology and came to realize that they were, in fact, women–no matter how fervently they once believed otherwise. In fact, this is rather the opposite of someone going back in the closet because their religion told them they were evil sinners.

But that’s not even the worst thing about Karasic’s opening volley: He fails to mention that respondents could choose more than one reason for deciding to detransition. It’s either a willful or clueless misinterpretation of the data to imply that the only–or even the main— reason these women detransitioned was because of ideological concerns.

Reasons for stopping data

Of at least equal significance is the fact that 59.4% of respondents found alternative ways to cope with their dysphoria. For any other situation involving drastic medical interventions, the possibility of an alternate solution or “cure” would be of great interest. But no one on that WPATH Facebook thread is celebrating; in fact, they don’t even mention this key finding.

Karasic also dismisses the survey as “skewed” because it was posted in forums where people critical of transition could easily find it. This is rich. The few studies we are beginning to see of trans children and teens are being conducted by researchers using their own patients—children who have been socially and medically transitioned by parents and clinicians heavily invested (ideologically and financially) in the business of pediatric transition. And Cari’s survey looked at detransitioned people who, by definition, are rather more likely to be critical of transition in general; such an obvious point seems to be lost on Karasic and the other commenters who pile on to say the sample is “unrepresentative.” Unrepresentative of what?

In a followup comment, Karasic plays the well-worn “they weren’t really trans” card with another misread of the survey’s data.

Karasic most not male

What? A whopping 48% of the women in Cari’s survey formerly identified as trans man/FTM—nearly half.

FTM identity

It’s odd to see how easily Karasic discounts this group of women, given that “informed consent” based on self-reported identity is the standard of care he and others at WPATH increasingly support.

But here’s where Karasic’s reaction gets really interesting. Cari’s survey found that 42% formerly identified as nonbinary or genderqueer. So that’s 90% who did not identify as female. Just from reading Karasic’s comment, we might think he would not support transition for those 42%. Yet only a few months ago, he argued that medical transition should be freely available, via informed consent, to people who identify outside the binary.

nonbinary people

Which is it, then? These detransitioned women weren’t really trans, so they goofed—but how can they have goofed, when Karasic actively promotes medical transition for anyone who wants it? Because who could possibly be excluded from self-identifying as “nonbinary”?

One of the most important findings in Cari’s survey (utterly ignored by Karasic and the other commenters) is that the majority of respondents not only had very limited therapy (aka “gatekeeping” in current trans activist lingo), but also believed, after the fact, that the counseling they received prior to transition was inadequate—as Cari herself has said about her experiences at TransActive Gender Center. Cari writes:

  “117 of the individuals surveyed had medically transitioned. Of these, only 41 received therapy beforehand. The average length of counseling for those who did attend was 9 months, with a median and mode of 3, minimum of 1, and a maximum of 60. I’d like to have something cool to say here, but I’m honestly just stunned at the fact that 65% of these women had no therapy at all before transition.”

Why is it that Karasic and the others on the thread have nothing to say about this key finding? Given that this is a survey of people who chose to detransition—many of whom were quite unhappy about their transitions and the services they received from gender specialists—wouldn’t it be worth exploring the idea that some were perhaps too easily granted the opportunity?

What’s more, these women have, by and large, a very negative view of their transitions.

feelings about transition

But Dan Karasic, like most activist-clinicians, is not really a believer in gatekeeping. As he said in another post just a few days ago, easy access to medical transition and cross-sex hormones is something to be desired—hopefully at the first follow up visit.

Dimensions clinic

Presumably, the young clients at Dimensions seek medical transition to relieve their dysphoria. Interestingly,  Cari’s survey found that the majority of detransitioned women saw improvement in their dysphoric symptoms after beginning to detransition:
detransition helped dysphoria

“…cumulatively, 88% of the individuals surveyed experienced physical sex dysphoria. Individuals who experienced only social dysphoria were more likely to report that their dysphoria was improved by detransition (91%, versus 73% for individuals with sex dysphoria), and none of these individuals indicated a worsening of dysphoria, however even among those with sex dysphoria, only 9% reported that their dysphoria had increased since detransitioning.”

The implications of this are profound. If 59% of the sample found “other ways to deal with their dysphoria” which led them to detransition—and then, having detransitioned, found their symptoms improving still more—one would think this data would keenly interest Dan Karasic and his followers. What if there are cheaper and less drastic ways to deal with gender dysphoria?

To Karasic’s credit, he does concede—while stopping short of admitting that “real” trans people might actually regret their transitions– that some formerly trans-identified women do end up feeling their medical transition “wasn’t right for them.” But he manages to minimize even that.

Karasic regret rates are low.jpg

It’s apparent that that Dr. Karasic, along with other WPATH members (in the comment below, “liked” by Dr. Karasic), don’t really see what the big deal is if some women change their minds about the hormones and surgeries that have forever altered their bodies. try it out.jpg

They can just change back or quit hormones—what’s the worry? It’s all just an experiment anyway, kind of like tattoos and piercings.

These people seem not to be familiar with the growing number of detransitioned women who have their own blogs and websites, wherein they speak of their sadness at the irreversible changes wrought upon their voices; the body hair; the loss of their breasts; some have gynecological difficulties.

Activist-clinicians are invested in the idea that regret rates are low—even though this generation of young people is the first to experience medical transition. There is no data on long-term regret rates for these young people, and Karasic knows it, as do most other gender doctors. They don’t know. No one does. Cari deserves enormous credit for sticking her neck out to do this survey, because the gender doctors sure as heck aren’t going to do it for her and the other women who are in the same boat.

One wonders: How many of these women will it take for doctors like Dan Karasic to take them seriously? 500? 1000? Will there need to be 5, 10, 20, replicated studies, conducted over decades, thousands of women, before these gender specialists take their needs seriously, once they have detransitioned? (I will note that most of the studies utilized by trans activists and gender specialists to support what they’re doing consist of very small cohorts, with “low quality evidence,” as recently pointed out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but it’s convenient to dismiss data that doesn’t fit one’s narrative.)

So,  what would constitute regretters “per se”? How many? What percentage? What criterion will satisfy Karasic and the other activists and clinicians piling on the Facebook thread to essentially say that Cari’s data (and Cari’s own experiences, presumably) are bunk?

Update 9/5/16: One very telling answer to the “How many?” question comes from a WPATH commenter who pontificates:

Increase your sample size to 12,000 and follow the subjects for 20 years, then report back to me with your findings. Maybe then, I might value your study.

Cari (who has joined the conversation on the Facebook page) replies,

12K trans men.jpg

And who is writing NIH grants to study thousands of detransitioned trans men? Who has in the past? It’s easy to sit on a high horse and shoot down the efforts of a 22-year-old who suffered medical harms and is interested in delving more deeply into the experiences of women like her. Easier still to tell her those harms won’t be worth taking seriously for 20 years, until there are thousands of regretters “per se.” In the meantime? Business as usual.

It’s predictable that trans activists are loathe to admit that detransitioners may be more common than they they think. But medical doctors? Wouldn’t one think that MDs, psychiatrists, and other gender specialists would demonstrate appropriate concern about people who went through medical transition but expressed profound regrets later on?  Even more importantly: Why don’t people like Dan Karasic see it as a good thing that the women in Cari’s survey found other ways to deal with their dysphoria  besides drastically altering themselves with hormones and surgeries?

How about showing some respect for this one detransitioner, Cari, who cares so much about this issue that she has created and written a fine analysis of a survey about detransitioned women? Rather than glibly dismissing her work as just another worthless TERF thing that can be safely ignored, wouldn’t it behoove Karasic and his followers to take her seriously? Why would a 22-year-old woman who had undergone years of testosterone injections, a double mastectomy, and who is now speaking out publicly via YouTube go to this much trouble if there weren’t a real issue here?

Why doesn’t WPATH as a whole start earnestly figuring out how to provide services for people who regret their transitions, or who need help and support for re-identifying with their natal sex? After all, the gender specialists got these people into it; do they feel no responsibility whatsoever to help them get out of it? Is the “care” provided by gender doctors a one-way-street? Apparently, if you ever decide to get off the trans bus, you’ll have to find your own way home.

The activists and clinicians piling on the Discredit the Detransitioner Survey thread seem a lot more interested in denigrating and dismissing the reality of detransition than attending to the medical and psychiatric needs of people harmed by medical transition. Activists pushing an agenda? Yeah—don’t want to talk about this. But doctors? Where is their commitment to learning the truth, however inconvenient that truth might be?

But then, the line between activists and clinicians seems to be rather blurred. I’m not sure there is much of a difference anymore.

Hippocrates rolls in his grave: In search of the dysphoric trans tweens of yore

As pediatric-transition skeptics, we 4thWaveNow parents are routinely drenched with trans activist Kool-Aid. Distilled down to its most concentrated form, this toxic brew consists of the following ingredients:

  • Truly transgender children of all ages must be “affirmed” in their (innate) gender identities, and then helped along the road to eventual medical transition: hormones and surgeries, leading to irreversible physiological changes, including likely sterility.
  • Medical transition must be instigated as early in life as possible, so that the young person will “pass” better as the opposite sex.
  • The only alternative to strict adherence to this “affirmative” approach to parenting and psychological/medical care is: risk the suicide of our children. Parental support for gender “nonconformity” (aka gender defiance) without also endorsing the idea that a child can actually change their sex is inadequate–and tantamount to child abuse.

Because activists insist that there are “truly transgender” children whose gender identity is hard-wired at birth and impervious to change, it must follow that transgender children have always existed. It cannot be a new or contemporary phenomenon, but rather an intrinsic reality based on genetics and biology. Being transgender is thus culture-independent and—given the slow pace of human evolution—it must have been present since before the dawn of human civilization.

Throughout human history, there must, therefore, have been children/teens who would rather have died than to carry on living in the “wrong” body.  These children and their families would have thus urgently sought care to fundamentally transform their wrong bodies—else, suicide.

Trans activists must surely believe this; otherwise, they would be implicitly saying that trans children are a modern phenomenon—thus raising the question of whether it is the result of cultural or social factors. Such an admission would be anathema to most activists, who believe that “gender identity” is inborn and not subject to social and cultural influences.

So, if transgender children have existed since the dawn of humanity, and if the only cure (as activists and gender specialists insist) for intense childhood gender dysphoria is medical transition, then there can be no doubt that there would be historical records of such miserable transgender children. Right?

Let’s investigate, then, and go straight back to the ancients of Western civilization: the Greeks and Romans, who not only practiced medicine in a highly sophisticated and methodical manner; they also were painstaking historians, leaving behind meticulous written records of every aspect of their complex civilization.

Greek and Roman physicians were skilled technicians, treating not only common ailments, but also performing complex surgical procedures. Brain surgery—as well as trepination—the drilling of holes in the skull to relieve various afflictions– was a key endeavor, with skulls from thousands of years ago bearing the evidence. (Related, archeological evidence of trepanning has been found from all over the world since  the dawn of human civilization)

trepanning

Many surgical instruments have been recovered from Greek and Roman archeological sites, and the ancient physicians documented their craft and the outcomes.

These surgeons weren’t squeamish about experimentation, and no part of the body was off limits. Their treatments included spinal surgery, cataract resections, and even repairs of urethral strictures—certainly a delicate operation by any measure. They were intimately familiar with all parts of the human anatomy; many vaginal and anal speculums have been found along with other surgical instruments.

Roman surgical instruments found in Pompeii

There were even plastic and cosmetic surgeons in the clinics of ancient Rome and Athens.  They performed nose jobs, ear lobe repairs, and

“a form of ancient cosmetic surgery was also practiced. Excess skin or tissues could be trimmed from various parts to improve the appearance. Freed slaves also were common customers of branding removal. While an expensive procedure, being able to mask the history of service as a slave was a valuable operation in Roman society.”

Surgeons were not averse to operating on genitalia,  either.  According to this site (which links to multiple university sources),

…the most common operation appears to have been male de-circumcision. Reversal of genital mutilation, which might have been the result of religious observance or mischance, was an important procedure which one would seek in order to avoid embarrassment when appearing naked at the baths or in the gymnasia.

 Artifacts are one thing; but given the extensive write-ups these physicians left behind, if they had been doing SRS or treating desperate “trans teens,” we most certainly would find documentation of that in their medical manuals and records.

The notion that a child could be “born in the wrong body, creating such a sense of misery that the child and his or her family sought relief via medical intervention—is there any archeological or documented evidence of that amongst the ancients?

Try as I might, I was unable to discover any evidence of ancient trans kids who so hated their own bodies that they demanded either psychological or medical interventions. No records of boys wanting to hack off their penises or girls desperate for “top surgery” to remove their despised breasts. It’s quite certain, given their zeal for surgical interventions, that the ancient physicians would have been more than happy to oblige; after all, if they could perform surgeries to treat urethral strictures and cataracts, a double mastectomy or penile remodeling would not have daunted them. Even experimental attempts would have been documented.

And what of suicidal behaviors? Trans activists (and their media handmaidens) often warn that failure to prevent the “wrong puberty” in a truly transgender child may lead to suicide.  If “transition or suicide” were the ironclad certainty activists insist it is, there would have been a sufficient number of ancient Roman or Greek trans tweens threatening to kill themselves unless freed from their “wrong bodies” to have merited at least a mention in the prolific works of ancient historians and physicians.

Because indeed, the Greeks and Romans did write extensively about suicide; it was a well known phenomenon at that time, discussed by philosophers and historians alike. Without doubt, suicidal children offing themselves because of the unbearable misery of being trapped in a mistaken body would have been well documented.

The_Death_of_Cleopatra_arthur

Death of Cleopatra–Arthur

So—as it appears to me on investigation– if these young people were not clamoring for medical treatment to assuage their intractable gender dysphoria, how were they coping?

Here’s a thought. Maybe these gender-defiant kids mostly grew up to be….gay, lesbian, or bisexual—as most would today, notwithstanding the current conversion of many one time LGB young people into “straight” FtMs and MtFs?

Ancient-Greek-Fresco

In contrast to the dearth of written evidence for the existence of “transgender children,” there is copious literature and art documenting the existence of homosexuality in the ancient world.  A search on Google Scholar turns up thousands of hits and images (here is but one). And–not to put too fine a point on it or go too far afield–a search in scholarly or popular biology will turn up many thousands of articles documenting the existence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom (see source links at bottom). I couldn’t find a single article, however, on the incidence of bonobos or chimpanzees–our closest DNA relatives–who had attempted to yank or bite off their genitals or mammary glands.

Then of course there are the shamans and spiritual leaders—the “third gender” and “two spirits” who have played an important role in many human societies.  This post would not be complete without a brief digression to touch on the transgender lobby’s penchant for coopting gender defiant and/or homosexual historical figures and defining them as “actually” transgender (as morally questionable, in my view, as Mormons posthumously “baptizing” Auschwitz victims).  These gender defiant people were often treated as visionaries and given important roles as spiritual leaders in the community.

Clearly, these “two spirit” people didn’t place a premium on “passing.” It’s highly unlikely that a highly revered TWO spirit shaman would have been heard indignantly screeching, “Two spirits ARE women. Period!” It’s also unlikely that these two-spirit people would have asked a physician to amputate or rejigger their sexual organs. Why would they? They weren’t trying to “pass” as something they were not. They were TWO spirited.

But back to ancient gender-defiant children. What can we conclude, given the lack of historical evidence of young people insisting they were born in the wrong body? What are we to make of the current society-wide focus on these kids—whom we are told must be put on the road to transition, post-haste?

It seems obvious that the idea of desperately unhappy trans children is a recent phenomenon. In terms of the “need” for medical transition to treat intractable “gender dysphoria,” which modern trans activists tell us is the ONLY cure to prevent suicide, there is no historical record of such children.

Could it be that the very notion of a child being born in the “wrong” body is a modern invention–an iatrogenic disease with an iatrogenic cure? Dare we believe that gender defiance and the eschewing of sex-stereotyped social roles were not only more accepted in earlier times, but even held sacred? So sacred, in fact, that such gender defiant people celebrated rather than despised their own bodies?

We like to think that human societies have progressed, and in many ways, of course they have. But I’ll take the long-ago silence of Hippocrates and Herodotus on the question of “trans children” as a sign that these ancients were a bit more in touch with reality than the true believers in today’s Born in the Wrong Body religion.

K-12 schools morphing into indoctrination hubs: Parents share their stories

Seemingly overnight, US public schools have been transformed into no-questions-allowed re-education centers for inculcating the notion that children as young as 4 or 5 years old can be innately transgender, and that any student, of any age, who claims to be or “feel like” the opposite sex is entitled to use not just private bathroom stalls, but shared locker rooms and showers designated for the sex s/he “identities with.”

As a result of this imposed sea change in US school policy, there has been a growing pushback from parents across the nation; the battle is raging fiercely, having recently reached the Supreme Court in one important Virginia case. And yesterday, it was announced that a federal judge had issued a “nationwide injunction” to halt the Obama administration’s directive to open school bathroom/locker room facilities to any student on the basis of their stated gender identity.

The mainstream media continues to (inaccurately) present the issue as between two clear opponents: Right-wing, homophobic and transphobic reactionaries, vs. the virtuous progressives and forward-thinking people who unquestioningly support President Obama’s “guidance” to force public schools into compliance with trans activist demands.  (Regular 4thWaveNow readers will know that most parents who congregate here are of the liberal/Democratic persuasion.)

Parents who have questions about the wisdom of this exercise in social engineering are ignored, marginalized, and even deliberately excluded from decisions about how their children are treated during the school day (and on overnight field trips, as well). A few months ago, 4thWaveNow contributor Overwhelmed wrote a post about the situation in US public schools, and yesterday, a very important post, “Gender Activism in Schools,” appeared on the blog Youth Transcritical Professionals, written by a parent named Emily, who has been embroiled in a battle with her 4th grader’s public charter school and school district.

The brawl at Emily’s school–Nova Classical Academy, in St. Paul, Minnesota–started and then escalated when the parents of a 5-year-old demanded opposite-sex toilet access for their son-now-trans-daughter.  According to Emily’s account, the school went from being a place where all parents’ views were respected, and where they had consistently enjoyed a major role in setting school policy, to a very different situation: a school where administrators and teachers knowingly hide information from parents in the name of adhering to an ideology that may neither be questioned, nor tailored to the needs of all the children and families in the school community—not just those who claim a trans identity.

I highly recommend that you read all of Emily’s post, and then ask yourself: Is this the way major social change should take place in a representative democracy? Should the executive branch subvert the checks-and-balances of the US legislative and judicial branches of government to bend a balking populace to its will?

Here’s a slightly tangential thought experiment. Trans activists are forever comparing their efforts to that of the fight of gay and lesbian people to attain civil rights.  But twenty or thirty years ago, can anyone imagine that adult gay and lesbian activists would have dreamed of demanding that public schools identify and “affirm” those kindergartners most likely to grow up to be gay or lesbian (the adult outcome for most “gender nonconforming” children)?  Back in the halcyon days of the LGB and women’s liberation movements, the idea of bringing children as young as 5-years-old into a discussion about private body parts,  or whether LGB people are “born that way” would have been beyond the pale—let alone any such initiatives being mandated by the President of the United States.

Emily wrote to ask us to reblog her post. We went a step further: We asked parents in our blog community if anyone would like to share their own experiences with their children’s schools vis-à-vis transgender issues and rights. From the accounts we’ve received so far, it’s evident that private schools are also affected, and the situation in UK schools is very similar.

Several of the below contributors (most of whom are not at liberty to identify themselves publicly), as well as Emily, who wrote the original post on Youth Transcritical Professionals, are available to participate in the comments section below.  Please feel free to add your own school-based experiences to the discussion.


Parents weigh in: School experiences


Nervous Wreck says:

My 18-year-old daughter’s very sudden decision to transition only happened after she herself learned as a public high school senior about the whole concept of transgender from classmates. It provided her an answer that made sense to her…a highly intelligent girl who never quite “clicked” with other girls. For her it was the power of suggestion from a classmate. How much more powerful the suggestion might be if it had come from the instructor?

Where I live, the public schools give a presentation to the parents about the sex education/STD materials that will be presented to students in the various grades. Parents are allowed to watch the very same videos that our students will watch, and parents are given the option to opt their student out of these presentations. Our students are not mandated to learn sex education from our public schools. We parents have the choice to teach our own students at home if we so desire.

Why is it not the same with gender identity materials? Are the health instructors expected to teach these materials as scientifically proven when it is not? Even if I didn’t opt-out of these materials, I want to know what the schools are teaching so I have the opportunity to have my own discussion with my child.

This all makes me sound terribly conservative doesn’t it? But I’m a life-long Democrat. I just happen to have a spiritual life that helped me as a youth to accept that our bodies are a gift to accept as is, simply a vehicle for carrying our spirit around. One does not have to be “conservative” to have a spiritual life….let’s put an end to the “right/left” notion about gender identity.  I myself have certainly never felt pinned down by gender stereotypes.


 Gary (New London, MN) says:

Early in the spring of 2015, a number of NL-S school district residents met with the school board to express concerns about their proposed transgender policy. This controversial policy was presented without any advance notice to parents or the community.  We were stunned that the Board of Education and the administration chose to ignore our request to delay its adoption.  Very few have had the opportunity to become aware of the policy, or to read and understand its implications. A simple delay is a most reasonable request. Why the rush?

Are we in this community ready for a policy that allows boys to use the girls’ locker rooms and girls’ bathrooms and to participate on the girls’ athletic teams? That will be the almost certain result if the school board’s proposed transgender policy is adopted.

The proposed policy states that the school is committed to “maximizing the social integration” of transgender students. This means that boys who at any time wish to see themselves as girls can do anything in schools that the girls do. These boys can use any of the girls’ facilities and participate on any of the girls’ sports teams.

We weren’t misled by the superintendent’s statement that it may be that transgender students could use “gender neutral” bathrooms and showers. Other schools tried that approach only to find themselves sued by GLTB lawyers and then forced to open all girls’ facilities to the boys.   “Maximizing the social integration” for transgender students does not allow for keeping the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms and showers separate.

Our Board’s proposed policy says that “sex is assigned at birth.” What kind of fantasy is that? My own experience is hearing the doctor or nurse say, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” I have yet to hear the doctor ask, “Which sex shall we assign this to baby?”

Aren’t schools supposed to teach our kids about the real world? This new policy requires our schools and teachers, by word, example and policy, to substitute a fantasy world for the real world and force our kids to conform to a make-believe world where biology isn’t real.

And what about the nonsense that putting our kids into a fantasy world will supposedly lower suicide rates? There is no evidence that such is the case. But, when we enter fantasy land, there are no limits to where it takes us, because truth and reality no longer matters.

We need to provide safety to all children, and many see this policy, as written, as harmful to every child. Keep in mind that most gender-confused children lose their confusion by the time they reach their 20’s. We all want all children to feel loved and accepted. Are we really helping them by affirming their confusion, rather than helping them address the underlying issues causing it?

After much deliberation and many revisions to the policy, the school board refused to remove the most objectionable wording that was contained in the policy; that being:  No one will be denied access to opposite-sex bathrooms or shower rooms.

We formed a community group in order to better equip us to oppose the ‘Gender Inclusion Policy’ (as they later labeled it), and with the help of numerous parents and concerned citizens did convince the school board to table the proposed policy until further guidance has been initiated either by the courts or other educational entities.


Miriam says:

Last February, a 15-year-old boy who claims to be a girl walked into the girls’ locker room at the school my child attends and began to undress in front of them. The girls, who were changing for basketball practice, some without shirts or shorts, were shocked and upset by the boy’s presence, so they ran out of the locker room wearing towels to a bathroom to finish changing. The boy tried to use the girls’ locker room again two days later, but was prevented by one of the girls’ boyfriends, who stood in his way. The girls in the locker room were devastated; they hadn’t been warned that boys would be allowed to use the girls’ locker room.

I got together with a few other mothers and we called the police to notify them of ongoing indecent exposure at the school. Then and only then did the school write an email to a few of the parents to inform them that there was a transgender girl (biological boy) using the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. The letter looked almost identical to the one that the Palatine school district used to notify families of bathroom use regulations. Additionally, the school told parents that we did not have a choice in the matter. They said we could home school our children if we didn’t like it.

The school then hosted a LGBT information night for parents and a day training session for students and teachers. The gender training facilitator used the “Gender Unicorn” as a visual aid for the students. The concerns of parents about mixed bathrooms were dismissed and there was no interest in finding a compromise. We discovered that our school had been hiding the fact that there was a boy in the girls’ room for over a year. They never said a word until the police got involved. Also, we were told that the district is “required by law to allow the boy to use the girls’ bathroom and locker rooms.” The same boy, who has been allowed to be a member of the girls’ basketball team and the girls’ marching band, has also demanded to sleep in the same hotel rooms with girls on band trips, but he has so far been denied.

A district elementary teacher reported that she was told by the administration that she was required to allow her students to use opposite-sex restrooms if they “identified” as the other sex. A female elementary student was even told to use the boys’ bathroom, simply “because she likes to do ‘boy’ things” and prefers pants to dresses. They claimed the law required telling her that.

genderunicorn1

Don’t believe the rhetoric about gender identity laws simply allowing someone to pee in peace; it’s not just about the bathrooms!

I would encourage parents everywhere to go to school board meetings. Be proactive and ask your athletic director to make sure your children have access to an alternate changing, showering, and restroom area.


ThinkingMom says:

Emily’s story has struck a real nerve with me.  My children have been attending a school very similar to the one that Emily’s kids attended, in another state.  It has been a great school and was founded on classical teaching.  My older child started having issues with what we are now learning is a borderline personality disorder, and possibly autism spectrum disorder.  She struggled with the large amount of homework at that school so we moved her to an associated charter school.  There, she was friendly with several kids who were identifying as “gender non-conforming.”  They started doing lots of cosplay, and copious Internet use – YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, DeviantArt.  Suddenly, my daughter started dressing differently, cutting her hair short, and even started some drug use.

Now in public school, she started going by a male name and male pronouns.  The public school, of course, has the policy to accept whatever kids present as, without parent consent or knowledge.  Each of the teachers and counselors I have dealt with are very apologetic about not being able to respect the parents by using given names, but have apparently received a directive to “make the student feel accepted and comfortable.”

The longer my daughter has gone by male pronouns and a male name, the more anxious, depressed, and rebellious she has become.  At home, she generally acts the way she has always acted, no pretense of male persona, no voice altering.  But she becomes irate when we don’t use her preferred name and pronouns because after all, “HE is accepted and admired at school by friends for being so unique”– we just are ignorant and don’t see who HE really is.

I will tell you who SHE is: She is still the sensitive, creative, intelligent girl who loves to take walks in nature and collect wildflower bouquets and unique rocks and bugs.  She still gets compliments on her beautiful singing voice, on her beauty, and her kindness.  But now, with all the “support,” she cusses like a sailor, sits with her legs wide apart and talks loud and abrasively, rude and crude, when in public.

The schools are just making things worse by making this a part of the education system.  It is something that should be dealt with by professionals, therapists, counselors–and by the families.  It makes things so much worse with the open and blatant pandering to the activists.  These kids are suffering and the help they need is NOT to become the poster child for their school, or their community.  The pressure to continue on the path of transition is now so intense, just because everyone is now watching.

What it is becoming is another platform for activists who use children as pawns for their activism.  It keeps the real problems – mental health issues – hidden and undiagnosed.  Self acceptance is so important for every human being.  Why has it become such a taboo subject and so many are working against it for the sake of permanent damage – hormones, medication, surgery – that will not even touch the real issues?

I do agree with one thing: School should be a safe place for all kids.  ALL KIDS. 
So why are the rest of the kids, the ones who aren’t suffering from these mental health and identity issues, being pushed aside?  Their feelings about themselves, the world, their friends and life in general, are being squashed and treated as unimportant compared to the few kids whose parents are intent on pushing the agenda on everyone, maybe for their own 15 minutes of fame and attention?  I am not saying it’s the parents’ fault in every situation, since every one of these situations also have a lot of other professional adults involved.  I just see this as such a tragedy for everyone involved.  We need to stop it now.  With this new school year, I see the problem getting worse, much worse, before it ever gets better.  But it has to get better, for the sake of our kids and the future for all.


Jane says:

I took this photo over the summer. This appeared on the main bulletin board in a progressive private school that goes from grades 7 through 12. Tuition at this school runs about $30k per year. Most upsetting thing to me about this poster is that “female” has nothing to do with biology: “Female: identifies as a girl. Does not necessarily refer to genitalia.” Might as well teach creationism.

School poster

This is not the only progressive private school in the area to have swallowed trans ideology.


UKMum says:

This is happening in UK schools too. My daughter is one of seven other trans-identifying girls who live within a square mile of us that I know of (clearly social contagion).

One day, she and another trans student knocked on the door of the school counsellor’s office, and requested to be known by boys’ names and pronouns. She told them that we, her parents, were ‘not supportive’ and it was therefore kept secret from us. She was given a new ID badge, all the school records were changed and she was helpfully advised right there and then that she would have to change her name legally by deed poll if she wanted to write her new name on her exam scripts. (So of course, that is what she eventually did!)

The first I knew of this was when the school ‘slipped up’ and sent me a text communication with her boy’s name on. I was driving, pulled over to read the text, and then spent half an hour crying in a layby, until I felt stable enough to continue driving. What a shock!

I wrote to the school, telling them that we were considering having her assessed for Aspergers, pleading that this affirmation by adults in authority would not help at this stage, that this had come out of the blue, etc. I felt it was wrong that she wasn’t interviewed individually by the counsellor and that two kids going together on the same day to request the same thing, should have raised alarm bells about ‘influences.’ Also, as she was wearing a new ID card, with a male name, if she was involved in an accident, she could potentially receive the wrong treatment, since her emergency contacts (us and her grandparents) do not use that name, nor would hospitals be able to access her medical records. (How would they find them, since they are not in this new name?) I felt this was a duty-of-care issue, and the school relented and told her she would have to just use the first initial of her birth name on her card, whilst it was still her legal name.

Of course, within weeks of being known as male at school, she developed dysphoria and felt that she now could no longer go out without a chest binder. Next, she began to be dysphoric about her voice and to intentionally lower it…then a new way of sitting, and beginning to be aggressive and swearing a lot. All of this was completely out of character. Our family and friends have looked on aghast at the rapid decline of our sweet, sensitive, funny, overthinker. It is a nightmare.

Our scepticism has caused great damage to our relationship which has all but broken down, with both sides feeling hurt and disrespected.

During part of the time we were going through all this, our daughter attended a girls’ school. While one might think single-sex schools would be immune to some of this, the official GSA in the UK has now begun the process of replacing the word ‘girls’ with ‘pupils’ so as not to misgender anyone.

Now I don’t want my daughter to go to University because I am afraid that she will be encouraged further down the road. And as she is now an adult, we will just have to stand by and watch her disappear.


Skepticalmom says:

Well-meaning adults need to understand just what they are encouraging kids to do when they give blanket acceptance to all things trans.  Well-meaning school administrators and parents just don’t realize what sort of damage they are doing to kids when they apply transgender ideology within their schools. Although trans is associated with gay rights and acceptance, trans is a much different animal. Of course we want to be accepting of all children, but should we accept, without question, children’s fantasies and false beliefs? While compassion is admirable and necessary, it is not an act of compassion when adults lead children to believe they are or can become the opposite sex.

We are allowing young people to be drugged and even surgically altered, based upon their personal, self-identified beliefs — which have no basis in science. Not only is trans ideology based upon belief rather than scientific fact, the end result is kids who are tethered to the medical system, receiving ongoing medical treatment, for the rest of their lives. School are accepting this and encouraging it. They should be teaching science instead.

Well-meaning adults also may not know that most kids who say they are trans grow out of it if left alone (in other words, no social or medical transitioning) to mature into adults. Well-meaning adults may also not know that many kids who claim to be trans have pre-existing problems such as past sexual abuse or physical or mental trauma, or have mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. There is also a correlation between autism spectrum disorder and kids who claim to be transgender. These issues need to be carefully, thoughtfully and thoroughly explored and sorted out by professionals. Unfortunately, however, current medical protocol allows kids to be socially transitioned immediately upon self identification and begin medical transition shortly thereafter.

My own family is quietly and privately struggling to get my teen daughter past her feelings of not wanting to be female. She is making progress with the help of a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. She says doesn’t want to be a man — it’s just that she doesn’t feel comfortable as a woman. Yes, this is progress. Yet, if well meaning teachers, parents or administrators invite the trans political machine into our school, I can guarantee you all progress would be lost as she would feel encouragement or even pressure to further her male persona.

My child’s school doesn’t know what we are dealing with at home. In order to help other students who might be dealing with the same issue either now or in the future, I would like to warn our school’s administrators and counselors of the dangers and junk science behind transgenderism, and the fact that teen girls, especially, are falling prey to trans social contagion. I would like to help implement a program that teaches both boys and girls about the dangers of todays easy-access internet porn. However, I must wait until my child is out of our school system, as I can’t risk them finding out about her problem and encouraging it.

Families should be allowed to deal with these situations privately, allowing their therapists, psychiatrists and physicians to do what is right for each individual patient. It is harmful to our kids when schools encourage them to believe they are something they can never be (the opposite sex), or encourage our kids down the path toward dangerous, invasive, unnecessary and never ending medical “treatments.”


TheMom says:

My daughter goes to a very large public high school. As she has not come out publicly, she has not experienced any issues. I do know that her school last year was looking at changing bathroom and locker room policies in anticipation of accommodating trans students. They had one openly trans student a few years ago (FtM), and that student used the bathroom in the nurse’s office, which the student did not find acceptable. But the student graduated and moved on. The school board said that they have a dilemma because their current policy doesn’t allow students to use individual locking bathrooms. Students could go in there and commit suicide, do drugs, have sex, etc. and it would be very difficult for security to get in the bathroom. So they were looking at options. They already have changed their PE policy, stating that students are not required to wear a PE uniform, and that students don’t even have to change for PE if they don’t want to.

Announcing a new online survey for detransitioned women

Cari is a 22-year-old detransitioned woman who was interviewed recently on 4thWaveNow about her experiences as a former teen client of Transactive Gender Center in Portland, OR.  Cari wrote to us today to announce an online survey she has created for women who are reclaiming themselves as female.  I’ll let her introduce her work in her own words shortly. But first, if you have not had a chance to watch Cari’s very powerful YouTube video,  please do so. In it, she deftly takes apart a post on trans youth, desistance, and detransition by trans activist MtoF Julia Serano.

Cari is not the only detransitioner talking back to Serano. Several other women have come forward in recent days to eloquently and incisively describe the many facets of the female detransitioned experience, including Maria Catt and crashchaoscats. Transgender Trend also posted an excellent response to Serano.

Now I’ll let Cari introduce her Survey of female detransition and reidentification. Please share widely!


This survey is for anyone female/AFAB who formerly self-described as transgender. This includes women who transitioned, whether socially and/or medically, and have subsequently detransitioned, as well as individuals who still identify as nonbinary or genderfluid, but have desisted from medical or social transition. The purpose of this survey is to provide information about the demographics of those who detransition and reidentification, motivations of individuals to detransition, and survey general attitudes of female detransitioners towards transition.

I’m posting this as a way of getting some data about detransitioned women where none seems to exist, particularly regarding motivation to detransition and the efficacy of managing dysphoria without transition. This survey is short due to surveymonkey’s question limit, and not very scientific, however I may create a longer and more controlled one in the future, should there be interest in that.

An inconvenient survey: Activists scheme to squelch research on teen social contagion

One might think that purported pediatric gender experts would have a vested interest in investigating all facets of the current worldwide massive increase in kids wanting to chemically and surgically transition to the opposite sex. After all, in most civilized societies, adults want to protect young people and seriously ponder what’s best for them—all of them. Certainly, when it comes to permanent, lifelong medical interventions, most responsible professionals who work with youth would realize that not everyone who wants a treatment is necessarily a good candidate for it; as one bioethicist memorably put it, “a doctor is not a candy seller.

But at least one director of a well known pediatric gender center and national trans activist lobbying group in Portland, OR—a full-grown adult who nevertheless takes to Facebook to brand anyone not fully on board with the organization’s mission as a “TERF ” or “anti-trans hate group” —evidently cannot tolerate a researcher even studying the phenomenon of teens who came quite suddenly to the idea of transgender identity. [Note: All screen captures are from Burleton’s publicly accessible Facebook page.]

burleton on survey

The survey study, “Rapid onset gender dysphoria, social media, and peer groups” (still actively recruiting participants) seeks to better understand, via parent survey, the phenomenon of teenagers who (after never previously expressing gender dysphoria) suddenly announce they are the opposite sex.  Many parents in the 4thWaveNow community have teens who, in many cases, have demanded immediate access to medical transition, with all that entails—cross sex hormones (with concomitant permanent body changes, particularly for biological females), and major surgery, often involving removal of both breasts. Some of these teens changed their minds about transition, while others have not–but all are worth studying in the interests of discovering whether there is (as many of us have observed) a social contagion contributing to the increase in teens (especially teen girls) who express a desire to become the opposite sex.

Wouldn’t any reputable purveyor of a treatment which will change the lives of teenagers forever have even a modicum of intellectual curiosity about what such a survey might reveal? One would think, also, that Jenn Burleton might feel slightly chastened after recently hearing from a detransitioned, former teen client who was unhappy about the fast-track transition that was enabled by TransActive gender counselors. Instead, Burleton (whose Facebook description lists only studying “Resilience at the University of Life“ as professional credentials) would rather  cast aspersions on the MD/MPH conducting the “bogus” study, as well as the organizations and websites (including this one) which have publicized the research effort.

Commenters on Burleton’s post (who were obviously approved by Burleton) go even further, with one intending to deliberately “throw off the statistics” on the survey.

burleton commenters 2.jpg

Burleton obviously approves of the “throw off the statistics” scheme:

burleton+likes

If trans activists are so confident that kids as young as 3 or 4 can be legitimately and reliably diagnosed as “transgender” and in dire need of intervention by organizations like TransActive, why would the executive director need to stoop to childish tactics like screaming “TERF” and encouraging Facebook followers to gum up a survey study? What’s the worry? Why wouldn’t someone with such a huge responsibility for the well being of teenagers want to learn more about teens who were simply following a social trend, later changed their minds, or who actually might not be appropriate for treatment?

Burleton’s open hostility and the jeering, sophomoric reaction of the post’s followers lead inexorably to a question: Are some key activists in the forefront of pediatric transition genuinely interested in looking at all the evidence about “trans kids”? Or are they, instead, driven by a desire to shut down any and all inconvenient fact-finding efforts when it comes to promoting drastic medical interventions for other people’s children?

Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the meaning of a Facebook “like” won’t have much difficulty answering that question.