TransActive Gender Center wants to sic lawyers on “non-supportive” parents

Jenn Burleton, Executive Director of TransActive, a leading U.S. organization promoting “early transition” of  children, posted this today on Burleton’s Facebook page. The organization is seeking

“to establish a network of attorneys with experience in family law/custody disputes who have an interest in helping supportive parents/caregivers protect their transgender and gender diverse children and teens from psychological, emotional and physical trauma inflicted by non-supportive parents/guardians/DHS/CPS, etc.

This will involve a willingness to (in some cases) to provide very low-cost or pro bono representation.
We have an immediate need for assistance in Oregon, however, this initiative seeks to establish a nationwide network.

Burleton, a male-to-female transgender individual,  has famously stated that the prepubescent children TransActive “serves” have the cognitive wherewithal to choose permanent sterility.

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Burleton wants to go after parents who are skeptical of pediatric transition. After all, this is the same organization which sneaks breast binders to young teens behind their parents’ backs.

I find it rather interesting that CPS (Child Protective Services) makes the list of potentially “non-supportive” entities “inflicting trauma” on trans kids. Wonder what Burleton’s beef is with our society’s main legal protector of children? Guess CPS is not yet on board with TransActive’s interpretation of protecting our youth from predatory adults. Oh, wait…

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Another mother adds her voice

In response to the guest piece I posted earlier today, another mother of a teen writes in.

My teenaged daughter has some great qualities. If she sees someone being bullied, she will go and defend them (even if she doesn’t particularly like them). She holds strong convictions of what is right and wrong (and will enthusiastically debate anyone that believes differently).

She is open-minded, idealistic, and rejects stereotypes (sex, sexual preference, race, religion, you name it). She is convinced that drugs and alcohol are very harmful (and has voiced concerns about the very insignificant amount that her parents drink). She is very intelligent and has excelled academically. Even though she has been difficult to parent due to her stubbornness, strong opinions, and love of arguing, I thought we were raising her right.

When she was young, she never appeared to have issues with being female. She did have a rough time during her elementary and middle school years, though. Since she was emotionally sensitive, she cried a lot more than her peers and didn’t make many friends. She always felt different. She was bullied too. When high school arrived, though, she joined an extracurricular activity and made many, many friends and seemed to finally thrive. She became more confident and comfortable with herself. It was beautiful to see this change and I thought that she had left all of her troubles behind.

Later that same year she started dating a boy that grew increasingly clingy/dependent. She ended the relationship (with my encouragement). He started repeatedly threatening suicide and she became depressed herself. She felt like she was holding his life in her hands. I could see her crumbling so we started taking her to therapy, which did seem to help. But in therapy she also revealed that she had had two other episodes with boys that had made her feel violated (although not raped). It was at this point in her life that she mentioned “questioning her gender,” which I didn’t even understand at this point. I thought that maybe she was wondering if she was a lesbian.

She appeared to recover and become herself again. She had no interest in dating yet, but that was understandable. She had fun with her friends and continued dressing like she used to. She still had problems trusting, though. She never attained peak happiness again, but it seemed close. I thought that it would just take time, but that she was on the right track.

She gradually started dressing more and more in what I figured were comfortable clothes. Lots of loose T-shirts and jeans. She decided she wanted her hair cut shorter too, which I wasn’t alarmed about either. She started styling her hair in what I would have deemed an unattractive style, but it still didn’t raise any flags. It wasn’t until there was a special event that required her to dress more formally that something seemed wrong. She acted as if the dresses in her closet would burn her if she put them on. She fought tooth and nail and eventually we let her go in a pair of black jeans and a shirt that most would have considered inappropriate for such an event.

She started mentioning Tumblr. She said that she would post positive messages, accepting anyone who identified as LGBT. She was being an ally. She mentioned that many of her friends in school were gay and lesbian. I thought that this was great that she was so open-minded.

About a year after all of her troubles were revealed, she said that she had something very important to tell us. We thought that maybe she would tell us that she was a lesbian, which we would have been fine with, although she had always seemed to be attracted to the opposite sex. We were blind-sided, though, when she told us she was transgender and wanted to medically transition. She said that she was our son and that since she is attracted to males, she is actually our gay son.

She mis-remembers her childhood. She says that she was a tomboy. She thinks that all of her problems in her early school years can be pinned on being trapped in the wrong body. Also, since she has some male friends, this has convinced her that she is actually male, too. She talks about having a male brain.

Of course I have tried to debunk her reasons. We have talked quite a bit, but I have not been able to convince her otherwise—she has strong convictions. She is too open-minded about being transgender–she fails to research the other side of the issue. She feels bullied when I don’t fully accept her as my son.

I drink a lot more wine than I used to.

One mother’s story: A teen’s transformation in only 3 months

Here we have an account from another mother of a teen girl who wants to “transition” to male. This woman is one of many others I’ve heard from, all essentially in the same situation. I am beginning to think of these women as Everymoms, because their tales are so similar in their basic plot:  A socially awkward  or depressed girl who only began to talk about “transitioning” in adolescence–and only after being influenced by peers, the Internet, and/or over-eager “gender therapists.”

I intend this account to be part of an ongoing series of guest posts. Parents in a similar situation, please consider sharing your stories here. Anonymity is respected, although anyone who wants to speak publicly and openly is welcome too.


Our older daughter has always done things her own way, and never really fit in. She’s always been a little too naïve, a little too trusting, and slow to understand the social dynamics that were happening around her; nothing that warranted an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), but something that her peers instantly picked up on. She is super innocent, trusting and authentic. She is like this beautiful innocent sponge, ready to soak up anything near her. She is an old soul.

When she was 10, we moved to the East Coast (from the Midwest) and she started to be bullied in school. After some harrowing bullying situations, we pulled her out of school and her dad homeschooled her for 5 years until she was accepted to a Public Arts high school.

Right before high school, she befriended another homeschooler, a dysfunctional kid who liked to cut himself and do drugs whenever possible. Our daughter started cutting herself. This stopped once she went to high school. She had other friends, but they had been homeschooling together since they were very young, and had already formed a clique; our daughter never found a group that she felt she belonged in.

When she first went to high school (from homeschooling), she hadn’t interacted in a lot of regular schooling social environments since being bullied and pulled out of school.

She started meeting with the school therapist and talking about her discomfort with her breasts. In my mind, this was natural and normal. It’s hard to be a developing teen, and negotiate that along with all the other social stuff. The therapist immediately told her that if she wanted, she could go to therapy at the Children’s hospital for Gender Dysphoria and, eventually, have her breasts removed. Our daughter thought this idea sounded great — it was exciting! And it sounded easy! Maybe THAT was the problem!

I was aghast, especially that mastectomy was one of the first ideas that they would introduce her to. Whatever happened to understanding that our bodies are weird and sometimes uncomfortable and that this a normal part of living in a very dysfunctional world — along with levels of patriarchy in all of this as well? Anyway, our daughter asked her school to call her by a male name, which they readily did.

As she acclimated to school, the name and the discomfort stopped. She never asked her pronouns to change, and then told her school for sophomore and junior year to go ahead and call her by her previous name. Over her school journey, she’s heavily participated in gay parades, the GSA, she came out as bi, dated a super lame dude and broke up with him, got excited about feminism, didn’t really find a lot of friends to connect with — but it was okay. She started clubs for other women to not wear bras on Fridays and support themselves in loving their bodies, interning at a girls’ rock camp, and even helping to implement and then participate in a female-only camping trip in the winter. We saw the Vagina Monologues, and she found it inspiring! She painted vaginas during her painting class. She joined a GLBTQ acting troupe last summer, and acted with them over the summer and fall,  taking a break over the spring.

This last year has been super rough. She was a senior in high school, and between finishing humongous stressful projects, feeling lonely, so much stress about colleges and not getting enough sleep, she started getting down. Part of it was that she would keep herself too busy with projects and not take care of herself. Part of it was that she hadn’t dated anyone in a few years and was feeling isolated. But then in mid-March, she came out to some teachers at school and said that she wasn’t doing as well because she was actually trans and she didn’t know how to handle it anymore. The school was supportive — no questions asked. They automatically changed her name at school, and her pronouns (to he/him/his).

She came out to us. We were skeptical. Everything she said sounded cultish and simplistic — and wrong. One of the reasons she told us that she was trans, was that she always liked Spiderman as a child, and not princesses. She then brought up the male brain. It sounded as though she were reading from a trans-pamphlet. We had so many discussions,  all about how nobody fits neatly into the gender box, and that we could see her not identifying as a female the way that society prescribes the female gender. However, we said, just because you don’t fit neatly into one box does not mean that you should jump into another box. Just because you don’t feel you are “female” doesn’t equate to you being “male.” That there is no such thing as a male brain, that societal definitions of gender are a social construct;  it is “the matrix,”  it doesn’t exist, etc., etc.

She befriended some trans kids from her acting troupe. When you look at this group, each year they are something different. There are kids who, upon joining, are just “allies,” the next year they are bisexual, the next year they are gay, and then the final year, they are trans. And at every step of the way, they are being applauded and receiving so much positive support from themselves, each other, the group, the grownups, and the audiences that they declare this to (I call this the “echo chamber”). But it’s fishy. Why are there so many kids who, the more they hang out, all of a sudden, they are trans too? It doesn’t make sense. It is trans-trending.

Since our daughter came out to us, she has been binding (excessively, but super defensive and refusing to talk to me about it). She has been less happy, secretly packing in front of her sibling, and in her room, surrounding herself with trans music, stories, and friends– and actually, through all this, becoming dysphoric; hating her body– and we’ve never seen any of it before. We had her go to our health center for a therapist, who stated that the best place for our kid was to go to GLBTQ teen space for a trans teen meeting every friday. That’s where we are at, currently.

This all reminds me of when she was cutting herself. I think that there is trauma at the root of her being, perhaps with being bullied, perhaps with being lonely and not finding kinship with others her age, perhaps at the inability to handle and process stress well, perhaps with fear of the future.

Because my kid is 18, she is not beholden to what we say. I can’t make her do anything. I can’t make her not go on the internet. Cutting her off financially or refusing to send her to college isn’t an option. I can’t reach out to most people, or state my concerns publicly, because then I’m being a transphobic parent.  I’ve told her that in my heart of hearts, this is not right, and that I love her and will call her by her new name, and I will use they/them/theirs pronouns, but that I honestly don’t see her any happier. More than anything, I want her to think critically about what she is doing and seeing, and to question her surroundings.

I have no idea what I could be doing differently, how I can really help her anymore. This has all happened within the span of 3 months. I’m hoping she can pull herself out of this madness, but I’m not sure she can. I’m really hoping by meeting all of you, and hearing your stories, that we can support each other, share knowledge and experiences, and build a path together that provides our daughters with a way into accepting themselves as they are.

Because right now I am feeling terrified and isolated.

Seattle Children’s Hospital educates us about testosterone and tri-genderism

Can anyone actually dispute that “identifying” as something is a product of the mind? An “identity” is a thought, a feeling, an idea, a conviction, a belief. So whether you believe “identifying as transgender” is legitimate and real, or a bunch of regressive hogwash, it seems we might all agree that the notion of “identity” originates in our heads. As such, gender identity is a psychological state. A breast, penis, vagina, or clitoris doesn’t think. It can’t have an identity. It just is.

It’s a giant leap to then assume that the body—which simply is—must be altered to “match” the thought or feeling generated by the mind.

So pervasive has become this assumption, that ordinary, pediatric medical institutions create whole websites to teach us all to think it is normal for kids and adolescents to saturate their bodies with off-label hormone regimens, and to prepare for future extreme surgeries.

One such pediatric healthcare provider is Jennie Brown, a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital, who authored the “Transgender Teens” section of the hospital’s “Teenology 101” website.

[In the old days, parents didn’t need websites and patronizing gender clinics to tell them all about teenagers. Because guess what? We were all teens ourselves at one time, with transient but firmly held ideas about almost everything, including but not limited to: who we really were, body ornamentation, substance use, who and what we were going to be as adults, and all the rest. Parents were assumed to have some wisdom when it came to raising their offspring. But today’s parents are such ignorant old fools, they need entire institutions to tell them how wrong they are if they question the mercurial yet powerfully held views of the adolescents they’ve known for 12 or 16 or 18 years.]

But I digress.

In the 14-part series, Ms. Brown teaches us all we need to know about the wonderful world of transgender teens. In part 8, we learn about testosterone “treatment” and the exciting changes the FTM will experience, among them:

Menstruation: For FTM patients, menstruation can be a frustrating ordeal and a monthly reminder that their body remains female despite their inner identity being male. Within the first six months of hormone treatment, they will stop getting their periods, which is often a huge relief.

Ah yes, a huge relief. (Of course, menstruation is also a “frustrating ordeal” for many girls who aren’t questioning their gender identity, but evidently that’s irrelevant here. These aren’t girls–they’re boys trapped in the wrong body.)

But why do those periods stop, and, most importantly, could there be even the slightest health risk when a formerly healthy female body no longer behaves in a normal, female way?

One YouTuber provides some insight:


On the Teenology site, Nurse Brown goes on:

Emotions: Testosterone may cause patients to feel irritable, aggressive, or unbalanced. There are ways to help address this without going off testosterone; talk to your provider if this occurs.

Because you sure as hell wouldn’t want to go off “T” just because you felt aggressive or unbalanced, would you? Better to take some other drugs to counteract these effects. Say, a benzodiazepine? Or how about an SSRI?

To be fair, Nurse Brown does add a cautionary note (at the end of the long list of changes that most girls-wanting-to-be-boys have come to crave, after watching endless hours of magical transition videos on YouTube):

Many of these changes may be irreversible. It’s very important that a patient starting FTM therapy be sure this is the course they want to follow. In addition, taking testosterone long-term may cause an increase in the likelihood of developing certain cancers. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough research on transgender health to have good information on this.

[emphasis mine]

It is indeed “unfortunate” that we adults are willing to offer our children up as an uncontrolled, generational experiment before any decisive research has been done.  (And as far as I can tell, no one is really bothering to systematically study these young women who are injecting themselves with testosterone on a weekly basis.)  But of course, these “unfortunate” risks are well worth it, because we all know adolescents always have their own best interests at heart. And that they are never, ever influenced to do anything unwise just because their peers are doing it.

Nurse Brown updated the Transgender Teens site last summer. She apparently feels it’s vital to educate us about all the different gender identities that are possible to claim. Because it’s so very important that we accurately label ourselves, especially when we’re teenagers! Some highlights:

Agender: Someone who is agender does not identify as having a gender. They do not feel masculine or feminine, or that they have a different gender; they simply feel “gender-neutral.”

Bigender, Trigender, Pangender, and/ or Gender Fluid: Someone who is bigender, trigender, or gender fluid is a combination of genders. Someone who is bigender feels they have both a masculine and a feminine gender, and they often move more towards one or the other depending on the situation. Trigender is the same, except there is a third gender involved (like genderqueer or agender). Someone who is pangender identifies, at times or all at once, with all genders. Gender fluid is similar to bigender, in that a person’s gender shifts back and forth over time.

This tangled semantic web could be quite amusing if it weren’t taken so deadly seriously by young people, who agonize online about which identity to choose, as in this Tumblr post:

Okay so I’m still using demiboy, because I’m definitely fluctuating between male and nonbinary.

But is it weird to only switch once a week, or every couple of weeks? It seems like a lot of fluid people change every day or two :\

Do any of these confused kids (and equally befuddled RNs) ever stop and ask themselves a simple question: What is a woman? What is a man? And how does my “gender identity” relate to my answer to this fundamental question?

I have never seen a transgender activist answer this question, other than to say: “It’s just how I feel.” That’s if they’re feeling charitable. More often, they’ll just call you a “TERF” or a transphobe (as if that is an answer to your very reasonable question).

There is no such thing as a male or female brain

I frequently am asked for sources that refute the born-in-the-wrong-body meme. The whole transgender edifice is built on the premise that there is such a thing as a male or female brain. It has to be. Otherwise, what would be the point of marinating prepubescent brains in puberty blockers? Of binding breasts attached to the “wrong body”? Of going under the surgeon’s scalpel to eradicate all those faulty parts that don’t “match” the “transgender” brain that is so certain of itself? Without the nigh-religious conviction that gendered brains are innate and frozen at birth, it would be obvious to everyone that psychological treatment is the answer to gender dysphoria. 

This December 2013 Guardian piece by science editor Robin McKie does an excellent job debunking the meme. The few studies that exist touting differences between male and female brains are built on such flimsy evidence they have largely been dismissed (as the professionals cited by McKie do quite handily here). And the study most often cited by transactivists to prove that transsexuals have innately different brains looked at the postmortem brains of 6 adult male-to-female transsexuals who had been on hormone treatment for years; the study is thus fatally flawed due to not controlling for the influence of cross-sex hormones on the brain (not to mention the influence of those MTF adults living a lifestyle that conformed to gender stereotypes). In point of fact, since human brains are molded over a lifetime by experience, even the most careful researcher could not control for the changes wrought on the neuroplastic human brain. 

Some excerpts from the Guardian article:

“As hardy perennials go, there is little to beat that science hacks’ favourite: the hard-wiring of male and female brains. For more than 30 years, I have seen a stream of tales about gender differences in brain structure under headlines that assure me that from birth men are innately more rational and better at map-reading than women, who are emotional, empathetic multi-taskers, useless at telling jokes. I am from Mars, apparently, while the ladies in my life are from Venus…

”…when gender differences are uncovered by researchers they are frequently found to be trivial, a point made by Robert Plomin, a professor of behavioural genetics at London’s Institute of Psychiatry, whose studies have found that a mere 3% of the variation in young children’s verbal development is due to their gender. “If you map the distribution of scores for verbal skills of boys and of girls, you get two graphs that overlap so much you would need a very fine pencil indeed to show the difference between them. Yet people ignore this huge similarity between boys and girls and instead exaggerate wildly the tiny difference between them. It drives me wild.”

“…Even more critical is Marco Catani, of London’s Institute of Psychiatry. “The study’s main conclusions about possible cognitive differences between males and females are not supported by the findings of the study. A link between anatomical differences and cognitive functions should be demonstrated and the authors have not done so. They simply have no idea of how these differences in anatomy translate into cognitive attitudes. So the main conclusion of the study is purely speculative.”

“…In fact, Verma’s results showed that the neuronal connectivity differences between the sexes increased with the age of her subjects. Such a finding is entirely consistent with the idea that cultural factors are driving changes in the brain’s wiring. The longer we live, the more our intellectual biases are exaggerated and intensified by our culture, with cumulative effects on our neurons. In other words, the intellectual differences we observe between the sexes are not the result of different genetic birthrights but are a consequence of what we expect a boy or a girl to be.

“Why so many people should be so desperate to ignore or obscure this fact is a very different issue. In the end, I suspect it depends on whether you believe our fates are sealed at birth or if you think that it is a key part of human nature to be able to display a plasticity in behaviour and in ways of thinking in the face of altered circumstance. My money is very much on the latter.”

Could the tide be turning? Trans-gender-critical voices make the New York Times

Finally a bit of balance in the mainstream press. Mark Angelo Cummings AND Dr. Margaret Moon are pushing back on the early transition meme, in the New York Times no less. So far, reader comments are running strongly in solidarity with those of us who criticize child and teen transition–on all four opinion pieces (Dr. Norman Spack and Skylar Kergil are arguing for early transition).

Nearly all the commenters are saying basically the same thing: We all changed our minds about big things when we were young. We thought we knew. We didn’t. A child deciding to be the opposite sex should be seen no differently. Kids and adolescents should not be making permanent, body-and-mind altering decisions.

Mark Cummings:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/06/18/is-there-a-right-age-to-change-ones-sex/transitioning-is-for-those-who-can-vote-and-drink

Dr. Margaret Moon:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/06/18/is-there-a-right-age-to-change-ones-sex/few-adolescents-are-capable-of-making-a-decision-to-have-gender-transforming-surgery

Please see my two previous blog posts on Mark Cummings and Dr. Margaret Moon.

“Sometimes I worry that we’re raising the tiniest douchebag”

My blog is primarily about the current mad rush to medical “transition” and its impact on girls and their parents. But there are some other kids being hugely affected by all of this: the confused children of mothers and fathers who make the decision to start “presenting” as the opposite sex.

This post would be good comic relief from my usual grim fare if it weren’t so sad.

Oh, well, there’s a silver lining. At least psychiatry and psychology will be growth industries in 10 or 20 years when all the kids currently swept up in the transgender maelstrom grow up to need serious help coping with their devastated lives.


From a thread on the subReddit “asktransgender,” we have this post by Stop Trans Chauvinism.

Excerpts:

“Our son is 3.5 and while he’s gotten good at calling us both Mommy, he deliberately misgenders my wife and calls her Daddy when he’s angry. Sometimes I worry that we’re raising the tiniest douchebag

“ My wife skipped town and left our child in my care.. It wouldn’t hurt so bad if his “insults” to me were once in a while but they are everyday…

“ Our son was like that too. Before she came out and was still always presenting male, he was never willing to accept Daddy was a boy. We would work on his pronoun confusion, telling him to use she/her for girls and quizzing him on which gender people were. Mommy (me)? She a girl. Grandma? She a girl. Himself? I a boy. Daddy? …Both? I don’t know! Cue tantrum. …

He immediately accepted that Daddy is a girl. He had a lot of trouble adjusting to her new presentation and switching to calling her Mommy, though. He’s very stubborn.”..

My partner spent months drilling her kids to stop calling her daddy. They really didn’t like switching but it just turned into a safety issue for the same reasons you’re listing.


That’s right–let’s blame the befuddled kids whose parents decide to switch genders: the little douchebags, “misgendering” their parents out of pure spite!