Do No Harm: An interview with the founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals

A new organization has formed for therapists, social workers, medical doctors, educators, and other professionals concerned about the rise in transgender diagnoses among children, adolescents, and young adults. Youth Trans Critical Professionals was founded by a psychotherapist and a university professor just a few short weeks ago. The organization has a website (already publishing thought-provoking pieces from professionals), a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and many followers. If you are a professional skeptical of the transgender youth trend, please visit the website and consider contributing to the effort. Your anonymity will be protected at your request.

4thWaveNow recently interviewed one of the founders of Youth Trans Critical Professionals. She is available to respond to your questions and remarks in the comments section below this post.

ytcp logo.png

Why did you start this organization for professionals skeptical of the trans-kid trend? What is your personal interest in this matter?

I’m going to start by saying something that I will probably say several times. Our main concern is with medical intervention in children and young people that leaves their bodies permanently altered and/or sterilized. We don’t have a moral issue with people identifying as transgender, and believe that those who do should be protected from discrimination like any other minority. However, the medical treatments for children who identify as transgender are risky, not approved by the FDA, and permanent. With any other condition, we would be bending over backwards to find other ways to support these children without resorting to major medical intervention, and would turn to puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery in only the rarest and most extreme cases. It is very disturbing to the originators of youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org that these treatments, whose long term effects are not well-studied, are being offered very casually for a condition which isn’t even clearly defined.

I have a private practice where I work mostly with adults, although from time to time, I do see adolescents. I first became aware of this issue because parents were coming in describing kids struggling with gender identity. I started to notice a pattern: an anxious, depressed, or socially awkward kid who spent a lot of time on social media would announce that he or she was “trans,” often requesting access to cross-sex hormones shortly after this announcement. Every one of the mothers in my practice who reported this behavior was incredibly supportive of her child. These moms may have shared feelings of confusion or concern with me, but their initial reaction toward their child was always acceptance.

The first time I heard this story, I didn’t make much of it. It sounded like normal teenage experimentation to me, and I admired the mom’s openness to accepting her child. However, as I saw more of these cases – and I saw the cases progress to the point where the child was demanding medical intervention – I became concerned and wanted to learn more.

What I found once I started looking was that more and more young people are identifying as trans, often after bingeing on social media. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom, there is a tremendous feeling of excitement around this issue among many adults. I found out that administrators at private schools were boasting about “several kids transitioning” at their school. I heard this from more than one school while I was researching this. They shared this as evidence, I think, of how truly progressive and accepting their school is. However, I find it really odd that no one blinks an eye when four kids are transitioning in a grade of sixty kids. Given how rare transsexualism is believed to be, doesn’t that alone ring a warning bell?

The more I learned, the more disturbed I became. Where were the critical voices? Where were the adults familiar with child development speaking out for young people who are in danger of being swept along on a current that may carry them towards sterility before they have even finished high school?

I was shocked to realize that many of my fellow therapists appear to have uncritically bought into the narrative about trans children that goes something like this: 1.) gender identity is a legitimate thing. You cannot question it without being bigoted. 2.) Children know their own gender identity. 3.) If you do not immediately and uncritically affirm a child’s professed gender identity, you will be doing that child grave harm, and may even induce suicidal behavior, 4.)  The best and only treatment for a child who professes to have gender dysphoria or claims to have a gender identity other than that associated with his or her sexed body is transition – social, medical, or both. It doesn’t matter whether that child has comorbid mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, autism, substance abuse or bipolar disorder. 5.) Once a child has professed his or her gender identity, the adults around that child should follow his or her lead, providing whatever treatment and accommodations are requested by that child.

There is nothing about the narrative outlined above that is beyond controversy and shouldn’t be open to questioning. The construct of gender identity is poorly defined and lacks coherence. It surely shouldn’t be the basis for subjecting our kids to irrevocable body changes and sterilization. Assuming that children have some mysterious knowing about their gender identity seems like poor practice. Children are often very sure of things at one moment in time and believe something completely different a week, a month, or a year later. Child development is a fluid process. Refraining from immediately affirming a child’s gender identity brings with it no documented harm. The oft-quoted figure about suicide among transgender youth is a misuse of statistics. Many children (and adults, for that matter) feel significant distress about an aspect of their body or identity. Usually, therapists explore many ways to support a person facing this kind of discomfort. Sometimes medication can bring relief. Sometimes, exploration brings a new understanding. Sometimes, discomfort must be borne as we come to terms with a difficult or disappointing reality. Why the rush to change the body? Permanently?! Of course we as adults should be putting the brakes on a process that is leading toward permanent sterilization. Of course we should. Where were the other professionals who also believed this?

There is such a dearth of professional voices calling for restraint and caution in turning to medical intervention. Pediatricians, social workers, psychologists – most professional groups state that we must affirm a child’s gender identity. While we appreciate the intention here to be supportive of gender non-conforming kids, it seems the greater value ought to be protecting children from unnecessary medical procedures that often result in sterility; a central aim of youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org is to raise awareness of this.

Yes. Where are the child and developmental psychologists on all of this?  Much of what transgender activists promote seems to fly in the face of what we know about child and adolescent developmental psychology. It has been understood for decades that young children confuse fantasy with reality; that adolescents try on and shed different identities;  that children are conditioned by what they experience; that a child or adolescent’s sense of self is anything but rigid. Have you heard from any skeptical child psychs, and what will it take for some of them to start speaking out?

So far, I haven’t heard from any, but I imagine we will. You are right, and you phrase the issues very clearly. Kids do try on different identities. And we as adults don’t do them any service by privileging gender identity as some special, separate category. There is nothing innate or special or sacred about gender.

And kids have very strong feelings about what they want, and they often confuse things they want with things they need. It is so incredibly difficult to watch out child be in psychic pain. It can send us flying into action as we try to make their suffering stop. But part of our job as a parent is to use our discernment as the adult who knows them best to learn when to listen to the manifest story they are telling us about themselves, and when to listen to a deeper story underneath that.

I was talking recently with a friend who has a daughter in college. She was telling me about the awful, awful time she went through when he daughter was 13. The girl was obsessed with getting an iPhone. She cried nightly about how terrible it was for her not to have one, how it was damaging her social life and making her isolated and depressed. She was visibly distraught over this issue being any reasoning. She begged for it literally as if her life depended on it.

Thinking of this issue with trans kids, I said to her, “At least you knew that she wasn’t going to come to any grave harm if you didn’t give her an iPhone.”

My friend surprised me by saying that at the time, she felt confused about whether she was doing great harm to her daughter by not giving her a phone. “Between the peer pressure and the advertising, I was almost convinced that I was doing her grave psychological damage.” Imagine how hard it would be to stand up to a teen’s desperate demands for hormones if you had mental health professionals telling you that you were damaging your child by withholding them!

I suppose the point is that just because our kids want something very, very badly doesn’t mean that we have to capitulate or surrender our adult judgment. Teenagers don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex. We can’t abdicate our responsibility as their parent to say no when what they fervently desire may be harmful for them, or at least may have consequences they aren’t capable of fully appreciating.

Do you believe there are truly transgender children? Are they different from the teens who claim to be trans because of social contagion?

What a complicated question! Let me break it into a couple of parts.

First of all, there is no question that there has been a huge increase in kids identifying as trans. Much of this increase is certainly due to social contagion. Kids are getting exposed to this on social media, where they are taught that “if they are asking whether they are trans, they probably are.” Look, most teenagers go through a period of feeling intensely uncomfortable in their own bodies. I think that for many of these kids, this is an expression of that discomfort. Forty years ago, maybe more kids developed eating disorders. Twenty years ago, they were cutting. This is the current way to express that nearly universal adolescent discomfort. We all need to feel that we fit in, and that we stand out. Identifying as trans hits both of those criteria big time. You go to school and announce you are now Joe instead of Jo, and let people know you want to be referred to by a different pronoun, and in many schools, you are met with excited acclimation from peers. You are different in an exciting, trendy way. At the same time, you can feel a part of the other kids who are also embracing different gender identities. It must be very heady.

So I do believe that there is a huge social contagion piece, and this is one of the things that I don’t hear other people talking about much. This matters a great deal, because it has probably happened that some anxious, socially awkward kid has come out as trans as a way of gaining acceptance and belonging, and has gotten so much support and affirmation that she has continued down the road to take hormones. In short order, she had permanently altered her body – a deepened voice, facial hair, baldness, increased risk for certain diseases – and maybe this wasn’t for her, really? Or not for her forever? But now this person has to live with those consequences forever. Testosterone and other cross-sex hormones are not tattoos that carry trivial risks, or can at least be hidden easily. This ought not to be a life-style or fashion decision, and for some kids at least, I am convinced it is. I realize this is an incredibly unpopular stance, but this is what I am seeing from my little perch.

Of course, there are those who identified significant distress with the sex of their body before transgenderism became a cause celebre. I have read the stories about two-year-olds who ask why God made a mistake. Some of these stories are pretty compelling. I am not an expert in this area, and when I read these stories, my strongest reaction is that I am grateful I have never had to be the person responsible for making a decision about such a case. I’m not at all sure what the right thing to do is, but I will say that I could imagine that transitioning might be right in some cases.

There is an Atlantic article about this from 2008 that I found very interesting. It profiled several of these kids who are “persistent, insistent, and consistent” starting at an early age. Some of the Canadian kids were treated by Dr. Kenneth Zucker. The article describes some of the things involved in the treatment such as “taking all the girl toys away.” I admit that made me cringe. Really?! Who would want to do that to their child? However, at the time the article was written, Chris, the child in question, had grown up to be a gay, effeminate man who had a healthy, intervention-free body.

My understanding is that when Zucker’s team assessed a gender dysphoric child, they closely examined the family system, considering carefully different dynamics that were in play, and then crafting an individualized treatment plan that might involve several different kinds of interventions. I believe that enforcing gendered toys was something that was done in some cases, but was accompanied by other therapeutic interventions that took into account the whole family dynamic. The ultimate aim was to help the child feel comfortable identifying with his or her natal sex.

The article also followed an American child who had been affirmed early, and had begun to live as a girl. And it made reference to the social media star Jazz Jennings, who was profiled by Barbara Walters. I found the reaction of the Canadian parents to this practice of early affirmation very compelling, so let me quote from that part of the article. (The bolding is my own.)

The week before I arrived in Toronto, the Barbara Walters special about Jazz had been re-aired, and both sets of parents had seen it. “I was aghast,” said John’s mother. “It really affected us to see this poor little peanut, and her parents just going to the teacher and saying ‘He is a “she” now.’ Why would you assume a 4-year-old would understand the ramifications of that?”

“We were shocked,” Chris’s father said. “They gave up on their kid too early. Regardless of our beliefs and our values, you look at Chris, and you look at these kids, and they have to go through a sex-change operation and they’ll never look right and they’ll never have a normal life. Look at Chris’s chance for a happy, decent life, and look at theirs. Seeing those kids, it just broke our hearts.”

So I think, if I had a little boy who insisted he were a girl, and I could do this terrible thing of enforcing gendered play, or I could do this terrible thing of altering his body and destroying his ability to have his own children, which would I pick? If I knew I would have a healthy, happy, whole gay man at the end of it, if I had a reasonably good guarantee that would be the outcome, I would much rather pack away the Barbies. The personal and social difficulties of back-tracking on a childhood or adolescence spent transitioning will inevitably be immense. If a child has been transitioned from a young age how will they know, or be able to begin to articulate, that a mistake has been made? At a recent at Cambridge University seminar entitled ‘Gender Non-Conforming Children: Treatment Dilemmas In Puberty Suppression‘ it was stated that 100% of children on puberty blockers go on to transition; it’s clear there is absolutely no going back on medical intervention.

In any case, those of us who started youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org would argue that transition is always an option into adulthood. I am familiar with the view that when someone transitions as a child, they have a better chance of “passing” in adulthood, but given the very real risk of later regret, I think we might decide that medical transition is a choice to be made by full-fledged adults only.

How do you answer charges that you are promoting harmful reparative therapy on trans youth? How is this different from trying to turn gay kids straight?

Well, I’m not sure I believe that we should try to “talk kids out” of believing that they are trans, first of all. If a fourteen year old kid came into my office and said, “I’m pretty sure I’m gay,” or “I am gay,” I would say, “Tell me about that! What is that like for you? How long have you known? What lead you to first wonder about your sexual orientation? What is hard for you about knowing this? What kind of support do you need?”

If a fourteen year old kid came into my office and said, “I think I am trans,” or “I am trans,” I would ask similar questions: “Tell me more about that? What does that mean to you? Help me understand your internal experience that leads you to know yourself as trans? What kind of support would be helpful in addressing this? When did you first start to wonder?”

The purpose is both cases would be to do the thing that therapy is meant to do – to explore our experience so that we can understand it more deeply.

There are a couple of differences. First, while I would be interested in hearing from the gay child about his particular way of experiencing his gayness, we all have a pretty clear idea of what that means. A gay boy experiences sexual attraction to other boys, and not so much with girls.

The notion of gender identity, however, is much less clear. If a boy of fourteen were to tell me he is really a girl, I would want to know about that experience. What does that mean? In what way do you experience this inner sense of femaleness? How does this experience manifest for you? What are the different ways of understanding this experience? Is it a consistent experience, or is it subject to variation? How does this experience influence your understanding of yourself?

Sexual orientation and gender identity are actually quite different and these differences justify different approaches. Sexual orientation has shown itself to be quite stable. Most gays and lesbians knew from very early on that something was different. These feelings aren’t dysphoric, although they may cause distress because of homophobia. It isn’t dysphoria, it is just an awareness of who you are. It isn’t a sense of being wrong, or in the wrong body. And it doesn’t tend to change. These feelings are generally stable throughout the life span.

This isn’t the case for gender dysphoric kids. We know that a majority of them will naturally desist. Unlike sexual orientation, gender identification does tend to change for the large majority of dysphoric kids.

The other major difference – and this is the heart of the artichoke – is intervention. Gays and lesbians are not seeking intervention. They just want to love whom they love. My hypothetical gay boy client and I would be free to discuss and explore his experience of being gay and his coming out process without any high stakes medical decisions hanging over our heads. If I knew that my hypothetical trans patient would not have access to medical intervention until she was, say, 25 years old, she and I could spend our therapeutic hours exploring her experience as a trans woman, and I could offer support for the difficulties involved in being different in this way.

My goal for therapy with a trans kid would be to provide a warm, judgment free space in which they could explore their gender identity and what it means for them without a rush to medical intervention. I wouldn’t aim to convert. No. But I wouldn’t want to close in on this being the final answer, since I know that so many gender dysphoric kids will desist of their own accord.

I would hope that no one would ever be shamed or persecuted or made to feel unworthy or respect and love because of these feelings. I would argue that there is another approach in between rejection and affirmation, and possibly the word for that would be acceptance. I accept you as you are. I support you. I am curious about what you are going through. I want to hear more about your experience. And I accept that your sense of your own identity might change, and I will accept you then as well. But in any case, I would hope to delay medical intervention until the person was at least 25 years old.

Maybe the last thing to say about this is the most controversial. It isn’t really clear what exactly “gender identity” even means. It appears to refer to a subjective inner state, but when pressed, those who identify as trans will often resort to gender stereotypes in describing their discomfort. Forgive me, but I am not going to want to send any person down a conveyor belt toward permanent mutilation and sterilization over a self-diagnosis of an inner state.

Gender is a social construct. If gender is the problem, why on earth change the body? Is seems obvious that the right thing to do is to change or even abolish the construct altogether. Changing the body to fit the social constructs we have around gender only serves to further entrench the constructs we are trying to escape – and these are socially, not biologically constructed; there is no evidence that gender identity is innate.

What is your vision for Youth Trans Critical Professionals? What do you ultimately hope to achieve?

Initially, we are hoping to solicit posts from 100 professionals writing on the trans child trend from how they see it. By doing this we aim to assemble the first collection of voices of Youth Trans Critical Professionals to evidence our mutual concern. There is a meeting being planned, and we are also discussing the possibility of co-authoring a book. Ideally, we would like to help move the needle on this conversation, hopefully resulting in clearer standards of care that protect gender dysphoric and nonconforming young people from unnecessary medical intervention and permanent sterilization.

How can a group of anonymous professionals make a difference? Without a public face and voice, who will believe you are who you say you are?

Anonymity certainly limits our credibility at this point. Many of us are contending with constraints of professional institutions which broker no dissenting views. It is our hope to speak out publicly once there are more of us. In the meantime, I hope that we will be judged by how we write and think. I believe that people that read the site will know that we are striving to do this in order to protect children from unnecessary medical procedures and permanent sterilization, not out of hatred or bigotry. In addition, some professionals working with us are also friends and relations of children and young people identifying as trans and need to remain anonymous to protect their loved one’s privacy.

In the few weeks the site has been live, have you heard from other professionals who want to be on-board?

The site has been up for less than two weeks, and it has already been viewed over 2,000 times. The overwhelming majority of the comments have been positive. (I have not deleted any comments, if that tells you anything. One person wrote a critical comment, which I approved.) And yes, professionals are reaching out and asking how they can be involved not just from professions allied to medicine, but teachers, youth workers, practitioners of law, artists and writers and so on.

How can parents find therapists and other medical providers who will resist the current trend to diagnose kids as trans? There are no public directories, while there are tons of  published resource lists of “gender specialists.”

What a good idea! Perhaps we could gather the names of such providers and maintain a directory. This would be a great resource because families are telling us they reluctant to access services because they do not trust service providers to tread a sensitive line between gender confusion and medical intervention.

As a therapist, how would you suggest a parent deal with a child insisting they are trans? The current trend seems to be “affirming” the child’s identity, no matter how old the child is.

Well, this is another complicated question. Obviously, we always want to communicate love and acceptance of our children. We can accept and affirm our child and respect their struggles and personhood without necessarily affirming a professed identity.

Part of what makes this a thorny problem is that there is no neutral stance. If we affirm the kid’s gender identity, we likely tip the scales in favor of a trans identity. If we look for other ways to express our support and empathy for our child, we likely tip the scales the other way. Given that even doing nothing is not a neutral intervention, we have to ask a difficult question. Is desistance a better outcome? If we had to choose which way to tip things, what is the right way? For me, it is clear that, all things being equal, desistance is a better outcome because it avoids invasive medical procedures and sterilization. Whenever a young person is engaged in keeping the conversation about their trans identity open, they may feel comfortable deferring medical intervention which will have the side effects of irreversible sterilization – at least this puts growing maturity on their side.

There is also the very critical issue of social contagion. I believe that many kids identifying as trans for the first time as teens – and perhaps many younger kids as well – have “picked this up” from social media. Parents are not infallible, but we are likely the best judges of whether our kid is truly suffering from deep-seated gender dysphoria, of whether the gender issue is a way to express other issues.

If a parent has a teen who comes out as trans, I would be interested in knowing the following:

  • Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
  • Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?
  • Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
  • Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
  • Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?

If the answers to these questions are pretty much “yes,” I would actually suggest that the parent state firmly and clearly that they do not support their child’s transition. I realize this is heresy. I would, as David Schwartz suggests, stop talking about gender. Anxious and depressed teenagers may learn that they can get a rise and a reaction out of adults when they mention gender. Addressing only the gender dysphoria instead of the underlying issues does these kids a huge disservice.

We know that social media sites like Tumblr and Reddit are fertile ground for social contagion and that many children start talking trans following immersion in these worlds. We know it’s easier said than done, but disconnecting them from the internet, especially social media, does give space for developing more self-reliant thinking. For some families it may be possible to remove a young person from their environment completely. Three months spent in nature away from screens, or overseas, or volunteering in a challenging environment may serve as a “hard reset,” allowing them to focus on something other than themselves. (After all, gender dysphoria is in essence very solipsistic.) Of course not all families have the networks or necessary resources to broker new horizons for their child in these ways. Parents are telling us it is extremely difficult to work out the best ways to support their child. But we are gaining increased confidence that saying ‘no’ to your child’s trans aspirations can inspire your child’s confidence for reflection. All parents try to keep their children away from dangerous trends sweeping youth culture and the trans trend requires the same vigilance.

I do believe that parents can have an impact. Letting a kid know that you don’t buy the gender identity drama, stating plainly that you love them as they are, but you don’t want to see them destroy their health and sterility can have an impact. They might roll their eyes, but I believe they hear you. At least if they ever look back in regret and despair they will know that you tried to protect them.

How can we support you?

If you know a lawyer, doctor, therapist, academic, nurse, teacher, guidance counselor or other professional who deals with young people and questions this trend and is thoughtful, please send them to our website! We are hoping to solicit 100 professionals to post on the site over the next few months. They can reach us from the site, and can send us material to post – anonymously if they wish.

Send parents, trans youth and their allies to the site too. Our aim is to cohere strength amongst and between us to bring serious, committed and critical attention to the dangers of trans orthodoxy.

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73 thoughts on “Do No Harm: An interview with the founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals

  1. This is important and necessary work. As a parent, it’s nice to see that there are mental health professionals who are thinking critically about this situation.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. “I am not an expert in this area” ..you can say that again. You are proposing that no adolescents or young adults be allowed to transition, contradicting all the real experts ..including Dr Zucker (see further below).

    – “Zucker: the ultimate aim was to help the child feel comfortable identifying with his or her natal sex.”.
    Nope, this is what their stated aim was::”Zucker and Bradley view failure to treat children in an effort to prevent a transsexual outcome as “irresponsible.”. They cite the following benefits of treatment:
    1. A reduction in social ostracism by peers;
    2. An opportunity to relieve the psychopathology which has been documented to be associated with GID, both in the child and within the family;
    3. The prevention of later transsexualism;
    4. The prevention of homosexuality in adulthood. On this controversial point, Zucker believes treatment is justified for social reasons.”

    – Except even he admitted later that if someone is still having high gender dysphoria at about 12-14 onwards then they most likely won’t change.

    – Hence even he prescribed puberty blockers (and later HRT) for those adolescents.
    See: Puberty-Blocking Hormonal Therapy for Adolescents with Gender Identity Disorder: A
    Descriptive Clinical Study (2011)
    Kenneth J. Zucker PhD , Susan J. Bradley MD , Allison Owen-Anderson PhD , Devita Singh MA , Ray Blanchard PhD & Jerald Bain MD Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 15:1, 58-8
    “After the baseline assessment, hormonal therapy to suppress the patient’s biological puberty was recommended for 66 (60.6%) youth and not recommended for 43 (39.4%) youth.”

    – The paper also mentions:
    “The pre-post design used by Cohen-Kettenis and van Goozen (1997) was applied to 19 of 22 patients who agreed to participate in the followup assessment. None of the patients regretted the SRS and, on the Utrecht Gender Dysphoria Scale (UGDS), a dimensional measure, showed a substantial decrease in their mean score between baseline and follow-up (the latter score was comparable to that of a nonpatient control group). On two measures of psychopathology and personality functioning (the Dutch version of the MMPI and the Dutch Personality Questionnaire), there were significant improvements between baseline and follow-up on 4 of 12 scales (e.g., increased Extroversion, decreased Inadequacy)”

    “None of the 20 treated patients regretted the SRS and on the UGDS showed a substantial decrease in their mean score between baseline and follow-up.”
    “On two measures of psychopathology (the Dutch versions of the MMPI and the Symptom Checklist-90), there were both similarities and differences between the treated and nontreated groups. On the MMPI, there were no significant changes in either group between baseline and follow-up on 5 scales; however, the nontreated group had significantly higher scores than
    the treated group on the Psychopathology scale at both baseline and at follow-up. On the SCL-90, the treated group showed significant improvement on 3 of 9 scales (Anxiety, Depression, and Hostility) whereas there were no significant changes in the nontreated group.”

    “Of these 70 patients, 41–54 had data on measures of behavioralproblems via the Child Behavior Checklist and the Youth Self-Report form, on specific measures of depression, anger, and anxiety, and a clinician rating on the Children’s Global Assessment Scale, a measure of functional impairment. Between baseline and follow-up, there were significant reductions
    in psychopathology on 8 of 10 scales.”

    So this article is actually proposing a more extreme position than Zucker, since it is stating than NO adolescent should be allowed to transition at all.

    ——————————–
    Zucker’s paper (and also the Dutch work he refers to) shows that gender dysphoria (GD) will NOT go away if a person is not allowed to transition, it will persist and that the psychopathology caused by GD will persist as well.
    ——————————–

    – “We know that a majority of them will naturally desist.”, the ‘desistance myth’ has been debunked endlessly. The ‘80% Myth’ is based on adding together all gender non conforming (GNC) kids, those with gender dysphoria (GD) or not. Of course the non trans GNC kids ‘desisted’….duh.
    Research based on CAMH’s own outcomes showed that the rate of desistence dropped the higher the level of GD a person had.
    The true persistence rate for CAMH GD (trans) kid’s was, at a minimum, 67%, this included those low level GD ones as well (they have a low transition rate though they may become part timers, gender queer, etc). For those with very high GD it was near 100%.

    – “..delay medical intervention until the person was at least 25 years old”..Que?
    And the reason given is a ‘protecting’ a theoretical fertility and leaves them at extreme suicide risk for as long as 13 years???? Do you really think they are going to change after16 and become good strght cis people, marry and have 3 kids?
    “Do No Harm” but make them suffer for many years and risk their lives?
    Not to mention that this ‘proposal’ is illegal in many countries where people are legal adults from 16 to 18 onwards.
    If they become gay adults, they almost certainly won’t use their theoretical fertility. By this ‘logic’ gay men shouldn’t be allowed to become gay until 25 as well… Some actually argue this point, that the age of consent for gays and lesbians should be much higher, because ‘they might change their minds and become straight”….etc, etc..
    The risk of self harm and direct (or indirect) suicide from adolescence to 25 is very high and the ultimate in sterility is … death.
    This also completely ignores the fact that there are medical options that can, to an extent, preserve the capability to have children and, hopefully, this will improve in future years.

    But the ultimate in sterility is death, which, from Australian figures, means about 25%-40% of them will not make it to 25…

    – “not out of hatred or bigotry”
    Amazing how this position is effectively identical to those who are motivated by hatred and bigotry, like the Family Research Council, or the National Catholic Bioethics Center or NARTH..
    Act like a bigot ..then you ARE a bigot.

    – “protect gender dysphoric and nonconforming young people from unnecessary medical intervention”
    Unnecessary to you, happy and comfortable in the gender you were assigned, not to them.
    This is incredible arrogance. The same things are said about gay adolescents too “they don’t know”, “they are too young”, “don’t let them do it, and maybe they will change when they grow older”. and all the rest.
    You are ever so happy to take terrible risks with THEIR happiness and lives at no cost to yourself, of course.

    I’ve tried to explain here before just how horrible gender dysphoria is. It is crippling to those that have it and they are thwarted in their need to transition, and the incredible relief when you do transition and it goes away. To force people to suffer because it makes YOU feel comfortable is incredible cruelty.
    The effects are so bad that, as terrible as they are, it is actually a miracle that trans suicide rates are not actually higher. Imagine feeling ‘wrong’ every single day and nothing you or anyone else does makes it go away. If you are thwarted in transitioning then it is literally agony not being yourself in actions, presentation and physicality. It is emotionally and intellectually exhausting as well..

    – “100% of children on puberty blockers go on to transition”
    Not true by the way, but before getting puberty blockers there is a long and careful evaluation process (see Zucker’s paper mentioned above) . By the time of starting adolescence (Zucker’s own studies verify this) and they are still wanting to transition…they are unlikely to change and have been assessed as such, otherwise they wouldn’t give them. The use of blockers is like an extra test on them to see if they will/won’t change their minds, but they have already been screened and evaluated (sometimes for years) beforehand.

    Note that this also REDUCES future risky and expensive procedures and surgery. They will not need breast removal, hair removal, adam’s apple trimming, facial surgery and so on.
    Note that puberty blockers are not started until they are in Tanner stage 2 or 3, usually between 11-16, so some kids never actually need puberty blockers.
    In my era if I could have had puberty blockers and HRT available to me in adolescence I wouldn’t have actually needed the blockers as I had a late puberty.

    Suicide Denial – It Kills
    (Australian) LGBTI People Mental Health & Suicide
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/bw0258-lgbti-mental-health-and-suicide-2013-2nd-edition.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    Suicide and Self-Harm:
    • LGBTI people have the highest rates of suicidality of any population in Australia.
    • 20% of trans Australians and 15.7% of lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians report current suicidal ideation (thoughts).
    A UK study reported 84% of trans participants having thought about ending their lives at some point.
    • Up to 50% of trans people have actually attempted suicide at least once in their lives.
    • Same-sex attracted Australians have up to 14x higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers. Rates are 6x higher for same-sex attracted young people (20-42% cf. 7-13%).
    • The average age of a first suicide attempt is 16 years – often before ‘coming out’.
    • The elevated risk of mental ill-health and suicidality among LGBTI people is not due to sexuality, sex or gender identity in and of themselves but rather due to discrimination and
    exclusion as key determinants of health. This is sometimes referred to as minority stress.

    ALL LGBTI kids need love, acceptance, help and support. What sort of parent are you if you have been denying them acting in a GNC way because of fear of them becoming transgender? That’s not going to help an effeminate boy or masculine girl one little bit to come to terms with themselves, whether they turn out gay, straight or transgender.

    That’s just imposing gender conformity on them, they won’t thank you for it..

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have completely missed the point of this interview, and in doing so you’ve reinforced the point about critical voices being silenced. Because you refuse to listen, you not only fail to see that concerns are valid, but you probably are unaware or dismiss those who are detransitioning or who would like to detransition but can’t because the medical procedures they followed are irreversible.

      As the article states, we know that some people require surgery and hormones because their condition is serious. This doesn’t mean that most people who claim to be trans require those procedures. The fact that so many kids desist, with many of them turning out to be gay, is not something to sweep under the carpet. Yet that doesn’t seem to be something you’re willing to even consider.

      You simply cannot extrapolate your experience to what it happening now.

      Liked by 13 people

    • Lisa, the readers of this blog care very much about suicidality among gender noncomforming youth. There is no good evidence that transition reduces suicidality in the long run.

      This study had a sample size of 324.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21364939

      And this is a review of more than 100 studies
      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth

      “Chris Hyde, the director of Arif, said: “There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing. While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatised – often to the point of committing suicide.””

      Liked by 12 people

    • So, you’re pro-Zucker? That’s an interesting choice, to quote extensively from a professional who has been labeled transphobic for actually gatekeeping with children and teens (which, you also seem to be against, so this reads as very conflicted to me).

      The fact that you think any parent who frequents this site is imposing stereotypical gender roles on their children means that you aren’t reading widely or closely here AT ALL.

      I’ve now spent some time in my life I will never get back reading and thinking about two of your comments and it’s just the same drivel. Stuff that is contradictory and which shows that you think this issue is completely black and white and that your personal situation is exactly like the readership here. Frankly, my daughter differs from most of the kids we’re talking about because she has a serious, diagnosed psychiatric disorder. And, because she self-identifies as trans, that was misdiagnosed and my input was ignored, which led to her suicidality and being hospitalized three times in slightly over a month. So, you know what i think about trans-activists and how they talk talk talk about kids and suicides? That you only care to use that as something to flog families with to pursue your agenda and you don’t really care about individuals at all. Because my kids WAS suicidal and everyone told me, just accept her, do what she says and everything will work out. If I’d followed that, I would not have a kid to worry about.

      Liked by 12 people

    • Lisa,

      You state:
      “ALL LGBTI kids need love, acceptance, help and support. What sort of parent are you if you have been denying them acting in a GNC way because of fear of them becoming transgender? That’s not going to help an effeminate boy or masculine girl one little bit to come to terms with themselves, whether they turn out gay, straight or transgender.”

      I invite you to read 4thWaveNow’s blog. The parents that comment here tend not to deny their children “acting in a GNC way.” Actually, parents like myself see no problem with girls that like stereotypically male presentation and interests (or boys that like stereotypical female presentation and interests). We support our kids, and give them love and accept their personalities. We want our children to come to terms with themselves, whatever their sexual orientation may be.

      The points brought up in the interview are valid. It is a valuable discussion to have. There has been a radical increase in the number of gender dysphoric children. And there has been a flip in the male to female ratio. It is necessary to explore the reasons for these changes.

      Unfortunately for you, Lisa, it doesn’t look like this discussion will be shut down. I believe there are many youth getting caught up in this trend that aren’t true trans kids. They will not benefit from social and/or medical transition. Practically every day I see one or more parents pop up on this blog or other places with similar stories to tell. As the numbers rise, it becomes less and less likely that your efforts to quash this dialogue will succeed.

      Liked by 13 people

    • Lisa- You can keep claiming that sterilizing minors is a non-issue, that it should be glossed over, but its a tough sell to those of us who have a modicum of ethics and thoughtfulness. You’ve done absolutely nothing to prove that desistence has been “debunked”, and that’s because it hasn’t been debunked. It would not matter if desistence was a minority problem instead of a majority one, the fact that it exists at all and theres currently NO screening or study of why some individuals desist and others do not is alarming when the prescription is a lifetime of medical intervention. I would hope you would cease commenting in the future until you actually read and understand the posts in question btw, you aren’t doing trans activism any favors this way.

      Liked by 9 people

    • I think the suicide stats are interesting because some of them show suicide ideation as being almost as high in LGB youth as trans. Which shows the suicide issue isn’t just about not being able to transition. Yet the suicide issue is always framed by trans activist as only being about the ability to transition. Just an observation.

      Liked by 10 people

    • Your reply starts with a blatant lie:

      “You are proposing that no adolescents or young adults be allowed to transition, contradicting all the real experts ..including Dr Zucker (see further below).”

      Actually, the interviewee did NOT propose that! The interviewee clearly states, “I’m not at all sure what the right thing to do is, but I will say that I could imagine that transitioning might be right in some cases.” Do you know how to read? The rest of your post is equally fallacious and unworthy of serious consideration. Typical trans distortions. Your argument is built on lies.

      Liked by 6 people

      • I agree with your comment, lovetruthcourage, aside from the “typical trans distortions” part. I think the distortions are typical of transactivists – primarily those who suffer from AGP, but I know a number of transgender people who are adamantly opposed to “transitioning” children because they are fully aware of the reality that the vast majority of “gender dysphoric” children will desist.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Yes, we’ve received comments here from several adult trans people who object to medically transitioning kids, and who agree it should be a decision made only by mature adults. It seems to me a lot of this battle would end if trans activists (as well as the clinicians enabling pediatric transition) would spend their energies helping kids feel OK about themselves as gender nonconforming people, instead of endorsing the idea that they “can’t wait” to transition. As I said in another comment, so many activists insist that “some girls have penises” and “some boys have vaginas.” Given what’s at stake (turning kids/teens into permanent medical patients via hormones and serious, permanent surgeries), why they don’t just stick with that belief system and let the kids grow up with unaltered bodies is a true mystery.

        Liked by 13 people

    • Lisa said “What sort of parent are you if you have been denying them acting in a GNC way because of fear of them becoming transgender?”

      What in the flying fuck are you talking about? The therapist being interviewed never said anything remotely like that. She didn’t talk about “acting GNC” at all. She talked about how kids feel. And she pointed out accurately according to the research that the majority of children and teens who think that they are trans desist. Get over it. I

      Trans people and trans promoters lying about things is going to start very soon counting very severely against your terrible movement. You don’t care who you hurt. You don’t care about normal medical standards. Trans kids getting what they need isn’t enough for you. You want a whole bunch of false positive kids to suffer.

      Sorry 4th Wave, for the harsh tone. After reading all the sensible, measured, non-fanatical stuff in the above interview I guess the trans horseshit just grated more than usual.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Zero nuance, seriously. It’s like L can only imagine two possibilities: unquestioning enthusiasm and a quick-as-possible trip to transitionland, or authoritarian crackdowns to force a square peg into a round hole.

        The idea that there is a middle path — a cautious path, a “present how you want but don’t rush to alter your body” path — it’s like this is impossible to grasp, somehow.

        My natal female kid has a short “boy” haircut, wears only “boy clothes” (yeah, that includes prom too), no makeup, no jewelry, no “girl” signifiers, period. These are choices we have allowed my kid to make. So far, she still identifies female despite the GNC presentation choices. That used to actually be a pretty common scenario in the world. Now that we’ve got youth lesbian genocide going on, it’s not so common any more.

        Nevertheless, it’s a choice that transactivists seem utterly unable to recognize as an option for responsible parents. Not denying a kid acting in a GNC way is exactly what spouse and I have done and will continue to do. Not presuming that “acting in a GNC way” is diagnostic of “trans” is the path we’ve chosen, until the kid can make a REASONED decision for herself. What happens next, I have no clue, but right now the kid’s doing well, and I can live with myself.

        Liked by 6 people

      • puzzled, excellent! glad your daughter is doing well. Glad she’s gender defiant too. Yes, they try to make dressing the way your daughter does, which let’s remember is just flippin clothing, into yeah a diagnosis of transgender. This is nuts.

        We do not diagnose people with life altering psychiatric conditions on the basis of their clothing. FFS. World gone mad.

        And we certainly don’t treat any psychiatric diagnoses anymore, bye-bye lobotomy, with bloody surgery!

        And then on top of all that is the stuff you said. This is the way that some people present themselves to the world. The world can get used to it.

        There are also all kinds of jobs where women do not dress up, like being a rancher. Ranching women who are not gender nonconforming probably get all dolled up in dresses and make up when it’s a special occasion. But all kinds of women in blue-collar jobs dress like you described your daughter dressing. Always dressing that way is the thing that is a different kind of person. The way gay is a different kind of person. And the way trans if it has to be gender dysphoria, a medical diagnosis, is not a different kind of person. If all the medical treatments are needed to be trans it’s not being a different kind of person in the world.

        Being gender nonconforming, or gender defiant as 4th Wave calls it, is real. Transgender on the other hand is a form of self harm.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Regarding the comment about children who insist that “God made a mistake”: I was *that kid* for a significant portion of my childhood. I not only believed it with all of my heart, I actually had adults joke that they thought he had, too. I cannot say which came first, but I am certainly glad that there was no one there who was capable of “fixing” that perceived “mistake” however much I would have been grateful for it at the time.

    A child is incapable of recognizing the social forces that make them feel wrong-bodied, but as adults, we know that those influences can be mitigated by accepting and even celebrating the unique aspects of our children’s personalities and helping them to see that there can be an advantage to the ways in which they differ. It is impossible for me to believe, instead, that our task is to affirm their sense of wrongness.

    Liked by 16 people

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! For both writing and publishing this interview.

    As many others on this site, this is the only place I have found people questioning the apparent social contagion of gender confusion. My daughter told us she was FtM trans at the start of the year, and nothing rang true. We have blocked her from Tumblr etc, as it is so rife with kids who are identifying as trans, and we realised she had been immersing herself in this world. Her best friend has also recently “come out”. We have recognised this as an expression of her deep unhappiness about herself as a pubescent girl.

    As a child with extreme anxiety, and potentially on the Autism Spectrum, we have been very concerned about her vulnerability. But still, we have not known really how to approach conversations with her – I’ve been terrified of alienating her, and the online world is full of tales for kids to read about unsupportive parents.

    Having been referred to 2 separate sources of support by CAMHS, I was not willing to pursue these as I didn’t feel confident that the professionals and “experts” involved would not also have been taken in by the current trend. The online forums of these groups are full of parents fairly blindly following down this path. I would welcome a list of supportive and critical professionals.

    Liked by 13 people

  5. To be honest, why do most gender non conforming children turn out to be gay or lesbian, if it’s true that gender traits aren’t biological in any way – goes along my thoughts.

    I’m one who believes that sex and personality are generally connected – I’m just very far from convinced that body modifications and social acceptance as the opposite sex are a helpful way to deal with people who are gender non conforming. Because, why can’t it simply be unjudgementaly aknowledged that some people are in personality untypical of their sex; surely – I feel – that shouldn’t be a reason for people not to be socially accepted and appreciated as nature made them, or, to have their fertility or the health of their body compromised, at least before they’re old enough to fully understand the implications of that. I mean, in some people possibly they’d be better off transitioning socially and physically, but I agree it’s concerning that as far as therapeutics in the social hierarchy ladder go, it seems there’s no other way of approaching the gender non conforming youth at the moment.

    I don’t find the contrasting of trans to sexual orientation convincing though. Re “Sexual orientation and gender identity are actually quite different and these differences justify different approaches. Sexual orientation has shown itself to be quite stable. Most gays and lesbians knew from very early on that something was different. These feelings aren’t dysphoric, although they may cause distress because of homophobia. It isn’t dysphoria, it is just an awareness of who you are. It isn’t a sense of being wrong, or in the wrong body. And it doesn’t tend to change. These feelings are generally stable throughout the life span.” This might be true specifically of gender non conforming people who are gay or lesbian, but I wouldn’t say my impression is this is true of most gay and lesbian people. I’ve known so many whose sexuality is fluid, who have said they’ve changed to same sex or opposite sex or bisexual orientated, who have never been able to pick a label. Including myself. I’ve always known I’m not strictly heterosexual, but apart from that it’s never been clear to me which word would best fit me as a descriptor, except for recently, from when I would describe myself as a biromantic grey-asexual heterosexual, previously a homoromantic grey-asexual – because, I find the new sexuality labels of recent years very authentic – it’s never seemed to me like the original four labels of gay, lesbian, heterosexual or bisexual really describe most people anywhere near accurately enough.

    So, hearing all gay and lesbian people described a certain way jarrs. Doesn’t come across to me as sympathetic. Because what about those who use those words to describe themselves who used to be heterosexual or bisexual, or for whatever reason believe those words to be the best approximation of who they are, but are not totally about the same sex, such as those with a non gender specific fetish, (or even one for frilly and lacey etc ultra feminine clothes, as I know from personal experience, though I don’t actually have a physical fetish about them, it can be so difficult to find a woman who’ll wear them who’s interested love-wise in other women). It just adds a note of lack of authenticity to me personally and I don’t know – makes me uneasy – most non gender conforming and trans seeming are a type of gay person who is supposed to be most gay people except, is that on a lot of people’s radar to relate to? And doesn’t it add fuel to the trans arguement of opposite sex psyche in the wrong body if so? (Which I don’t believe but …)

    Like

    • I hear what you’re saying about hearing all gay and lesbian people described in a certain way. That’s just a different kind of stereotyping.

      But regarding the new labels, I’m not a fan. I think my daughter. would be better off without any labels at all. Why can’t we just love who we love? Why do we have to label it? Why does there have to be Gay or Straight or Bi or any of the multitude of other newer labels? Just love=love, y’know? I know that labels can be helpful in moving society forward, but I’m not clear that they are helpful for individuals, at least not my mixed up kid. I’m hopeful that one day we will see a time when sexual orientation is irrelevant in the larger societal context. I have a dream and all that.

      No news to anyone here, but Tumblr is *IN LOVE* with labels and it’s a form of social contagion. I feel like this is just bad news for a lot of young teens who are going through so many changes in adolescence and struggling to figure out who they are. There are decades, if not centuries, of academic studies on youth and subcultures and the need to separate from the parents and find a place to belong. I feel like these labels (not only sexual-orientation and gender identity, but also many self-diagnosed psychological and psychiatric conditions) are limiting to adolescents.

      When my daughter was little if she didn’t feel like talking to people I tried to say, “She’s feeling shy _right_now_” rather than “she IS shy”. Saying she “feels shy right now” gives her the permission and opportunity to sometime later not feel shy — to feel talkative, or feel brave, or feel strong. When I label her as “she IS shy”. That’s her diagnosis, period, and it’s final and incurable.

      With all the labels now (on Tumblr and elsewhere) I feel like it’s the same thing. If she I.D.s as “genderqueer demi boy GNC blah blah blah” it is unnecessarily boxing herself in. Why label yourself that way? What purpose does it serve? Just be open to life and love and the opportunities it presents.

      I feel like the conflation of Social Justice Warriors and LGB and Trans communities on Tumblr and all the acronyms and abbreviations are so confusing to her, along with her anxiety about growing up, adolescence, changes in her body, her friends, her future looming ominously on the horizon. Reaching out and grabbing those abbreviations and labels to stick on her Tumblr dashboard gives her a sense of belonging, but it’s limiting and dangerous.

      But, OMG, the horrible North Carolina law. Ugh. We live in NC and that’s all that is in the news it seems and it’s a terrible terrible law, but I feel so conflicted when it comes up. So many people opposed to it are swept up in Trans-Activism and I’m not in solidarity with that, but I’m fervently opposed to the bathroom police. I feel kind of stuck. I’m trying not to talk about it too much and when I do talk about it to talk about the broader implications of the law (there are many and not all having to do with LGB or T), but it’s hard trying to carve out a piece of the middle ground here and not sound like a prude or bigot.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I can totally empathise that labels are bad for a young teen to be introduced to because they’re so confusing and sound like you cannot change, to someone young who is still finding out who they are. To a middle aged woman like me they seem a relief because the old labels of lesbian or bi were always used against me to say, you’re straight when I was not, (I was very girlie looking), because I didn’t fit into so many persons idea of those labels – which I had to assume was an open secret I wasn’t in on as there was never any explanation as to why I didn’t fit, either verbally or in print or from the internet of the time – I was just made to feel like an anomaly who didn’t belong. The labels have made me see I’m not alone, not a n unrelatable oddity, there are others like me who have differing sexual and romantic orientations, and are asexualish and so on. I don’t think words like the identity words mean a person can never change – quite the contrary, it was the old 4 labels who went along with an often repeated idea that sexual orientation never changes – they just can be useful to orientate people as to who you are, what you’re interested in and what you’re looking for now and probably, perhaps, for a while. Like I’ve said I can totally see that may not be a good thing for a young person and definitely a young teen. I’m an unapologetically old-fashioned, paleo conservative in some ways sort of person and I really believe adolescents should be shielded from socially expressing sexuality until they’re 18 or a bare minimum of 17 and told they’re too young for that, it’s to think about and get involved in when they’re older. I’m a home education soul but I think the old British system of same sex school from 12 to 18, sometimes boarding, you went in and you concentrated on your school work and sports – at least ostensibly – wearing a uniform and not supposed to look at a boy – and incidentally, having crushes on other girls was considered normal in those environments – had a lot to say for it in terms of good sense. The switch to co ed schools and the so called sexual revolution mainly benefited men.

        I am against non women in women’s toilets facilities. I would make exception for trans ladies who have had gender reassignment surgery, as definitely genuine in intentions for wanting to go into the toilets and not being lying sex offender men or confused sex offender trans ladies.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is stating a fact. Removing healthy body parts without a medical reason is considered mutilation. Check out the WHO position on female genital mutilation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
      “Key facts

      Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
      The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
      Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
      More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated1.
      FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
      FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.”

      I understand that there is a huge difference in the fact that these girls who are victims of genital mutilation have no say in the matter. This is abuse of the worst kind. However, would it be ok to do this procedure on a teenage girl who said she wanted it done? Would it be wrong to describe her body as mutilated simply because she chose to have this procedure done? Would a surgeon in the US remove the clitoris of a teenage girl (say 17 years old) with normally-functioning genitals who did NOT identify as trans? I don’t think so.

      Liked by 7 people

    • Yeah, I don’t think it’s helpful to call someone’s body that they have to live in for the rest of their life mutilated, especially if that person has found that transition didn’t help them and that it would be healing to live as their natal sex but have a body that has had surgical and hormonal body modifications that arent entirely reversible or covered by insurance. I don’t know, it just seems like rubbing salt in a persons wound and then saying you care.

      Like

      • I agree with you that it is not helpful to call someone’s body mutilated. It is cruel to hurt someone further who is already suffering. However, I think we need to stop using cutesy names for very serious, complex surgeries for the removal of healthy body parts. Girls who want to be boys are not having “top surgery”. Let’s tell them what they’re really choosing to do. A double mastectomy and chest reconstruction is no joke. There is a long recovery. There is the potential for serious complications. I think it’s important that we get real with people BEFORE they have these surgeries and stop making them sound like they are no big deal. If someone chooses medical transition as the best solution for themselves, lets make sure they are prepared as completely as possible to live with their decision for the rest of their lives.

        Liked by 10 people

      • I so agree about “top surgery”. I told my kid (god, I hop this is a phase that will end soon) that no medical interventions at all on my watch. I related a story of a woman I know who had to have a double mastectomy for breast cancer, caught an infection in the hospital, and was very sick, and was unable to have the reconstruction that she was going to have. She was in the hospital for a couple of months battling the infection. A friend’s brother had to have knee surgery and also got a hospital borne infection. I would never endorse elective plastic surgery for my kid. If she wanted to have bigger boobs I wouldn’t be down with implants, either. There’s an idea out there that elective surgery is no big deal, but any elective surgery can have big consequences.

        Liked by 5 people

  6. Thank you for this interview! I’m glad that professionals are starting to become aware of this problem. There is such a need to question the narrative and counteract misinformation. I appreciate that you are listening to parents, not discounting them.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. This pretty much describes my experience with my teen to a T:

    If a parent has a teen who comes out as trans, I would be interested in knowing the following:

    Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially? ABSOLUTELY ON ALL

    Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder? UNKNOWN AT THIS POINT

    Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time? YES, lots of youtube transition videos

    Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well? YES

    Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before? YES! I got a letter that was clearly coached by online trans activists. The language in the letter was very similar to sample letters teens are encouraged to give to their parents by people online who know nothing about my kid. The letter requested immediate start on hormones.

    It is SO important, for the VAST majority of these kids, that we find out WHY they feel the way they do. Their feelings are real, no doubt. But how do we know what is the best course of treatment for each person if we don’t dig in to the problem? Professionals who are willing to treat each patient as an individual are CRITICAL.

    Liked by 11 people

  8. >> If a parent has a teen who comes out as trans, I would be interested in knowing the following:

    1. Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
    2. Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?
    3. Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
    4. Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
    5. Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before? <<

    1. Yes. For a long time.
    2. Just anxiety and a recent depressive episode
    3. Yes, too much. Several hours a day. Tumblr and others (not sure which).
    4. Yes.
    5. Pretty much. I had seen her Tumblr profile so had an inkling, but no indication in real life other than she stopped wanting to wear dresses as she approached the end of middle school. I never wear dresses if I can help it so this was not unusual to me. She was very girly as a young kid, though, lots of ballet and fairy play, not rough and tumble at all.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
    YES – ANXIOUS, STRUGGLED SOCIALLY, ALSO UNDER A LOT OF SCHOOL STRESS

    Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?
    YES, GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER

    Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
    I DON’T KNOW (NOT LIVING AT HOME – WAS AT A BOARDING SCHOOL)

    Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
    YES

    Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?
    YES, TOTALLY OUT OF THE BLUE.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Pingback: Do No Harm: An interview with the founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals — 4thWaveNow | myheartandhope

  11. Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
    YES

    Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder
    POSSIBLE ASPERGERS/ASD

    Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
    YES, TUMBLR, YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM

    Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
    YES

    Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?
    YES, AT AGE 15.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
    YES, at the time she devised the idea (end of freshman year in HS, at 15). She’s been a lot better as a jr and senior in HS, in fact a pretty happy gender nonconforming kid right now.

    Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder
    YES. Diagnosed ADD, reactive attachment disorder, and mood disorder/not otherwise specified.

    Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
    YES, YOUTUBE for sure, and I couldn’t swear to what else.

    Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
    GOTTA SAY NO ON THIS ONE, OTHER THAN INTERNET ‘HEROES.’

    Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?
    YES/NO. This was never a kid who only liked girly things but was pretty happy engaging with ‘boy stuff’ (toy cars, building toys, etc) as well as ‘girl stuff.’ We figured she might be lesbian and still think that. Menarche came super-early and this was highly traumatizing for her and she started completely covering her body at all times with baggy clothes. That was the start of ‘I hate being a girl’ phase, and a socially awkward year in HS (with massive internet use) was the start of the ‘maybe i’m not even a girl’ notion. But there was never a childhood ‘i’m not a girl’ phase or any childhood rejection of ‘girl clothes.’

    We moms of natal females have all got pretty much the same bloody story here. Why the hell does no one listen to us regarding the social contagion aspect? It’s f*cking frustrating to be dismissed as phobic/unsupportive. It’s f*cking exhausting. I’m so tired of waking up every day with this all in my head and being lectured to be brave and progressive and get educated and get on the right side of history. I’m so tired of dreading what’s next at a time that should be a happy time. I’m so tired of trying to protect this kid’s body till her brain catches up and she’s no longer my responsibility and can actually make an INFORMED DECISION on her own behalf. I’m so tired of not being able to find a counselor to work on trauma with this kid due to state law re ‘conversion therapy.’ I’m so tired of the whole bloody mess.

    Liked by 10 people

  13. Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
    YES, ALL THREE.

    Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder
    ADHD IN ADDITION TO DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. PSYCH SAID SHE DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR AN ASPERGERS DIAGNOSIS BUT SHE DEFINITELY POSESSES A FEW COMMON TRAITS. POSSIBLE PTSD CURRENTLY BEING EXPLORED.

    Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?
    YES, THIS MESS STARTED WITH TUMBLR. SHE USED TO BASICALLY LIVE ON TUMBLR, NOW SPLITS TIME ON TUMBLR AND TWITTER.

    Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?
    ONLY ONLINE FRIENDS — ONLINE FRIENDS ARE MOSTLY ALL TRANS. MOST REAL LIFE FRIENDS HAVE ABANDONED HER AS THIS IS AN EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE AREA. THIS GIVES HER PLENTY OF OPRESSION BROWNIE POINTS ONLINE, HOWEVER.

    Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?
    YES, COMPELTELY. AT AGE 15, INTERESTINGLY, JUST AFTER HER FIRST DATE WITH A BOY. SHE SWEARS NOTHING DETRIMENTAL HAPPENED ON THAT DATE BUT OTHERWISE REFUSES TO TALK ABOUT IT. IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARD WANTS TO OPT OUT OF BEING A FEMALE.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I was told that my daughter has some borderline Asperger’s traits, but since Asperger’s is not diagnosed anymore, an Autism diagnosis does not fit. The therapist mentioned a sensory processing disorder, which also makes a lot of sense to me.

      I also notice that a lot of kids are very into labeling themselves. It’s like they are not cool unless they are something other than “normal.” The funny thing is that my kid has kept her feelings private while she works things out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, it was quite soon after. It could be just coincidental; I’m not sure. It was a public, outdoor, group event, they were never alone and did not travel in the same car. She had a crush on him and was thrilled when he asked her, but put the brakes on the boy immediately after the date. It might have been simply a conversation they had, or maybe just the realization of expectations placed on her by boys. Or perhaps she is gay and this is an “easy” way to let all males know she is unavailable as a dating partner. I don’t know, but she is in therapy. She does not want to talk to me about it at all. She is still in the process of coming to trust her therapist. I’m hoping she can eventually find some answers, at least for herself if not for me and her father, as well.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Pingback: Do No Harm: An interview with the founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals – Critiquing Transgender Doctrine & Gender Identity Politics

  15. My daughter didn’t make her “out of the blue” announcement until after her 18th birthday…totally caught us by surprise. She told us after she had told some friends, which I pieced together afterwards. I think she assumed her parents would go along…we surprised her by questioning the whole thing. One reason for my questioning…too many mental health issues are underlying all of this. She has said and done things that look like OCD + anxiety, add in some “Asperger’s” traits. Amazingly she found it surprisingly simple to get help to transition…if she decided to truly follow thru. Even she expected there to be some “therapists” who would help her decide if it was truly the right thing for her. Nope. They just gave her a prescription for T. Just like that. So easy. So freaking wrong and scary.

    So, yes my “child” is an adult, able to do as she wishes (in theory – she is but a poor student), but she is in no way acting like an adult. She is acting like a hurt adolescent looking for a quick fix to help her feel better. And rather than finding guidance from professionals, she is finding that they are ready and willing to hand out testosterone candy without even a handout to read so she can “go home and think this through, it has permanent effects on your body, you want to be sure”. Nope.

    This just cannot be the way to handle gender-questioning teens. This is simply wrong.

    Liked by 9 people

  16. This is a thoughtful interview but the subject doesn’t claim to be an expert and he leaves a lot out. One of the things I would question is whether they really is a transgender ‘trend’. For one thing, being transgender is self-evidently not cool or trendy in most parts of the world. The other problem is working out how many transgender people we have in the world’s population. It’s almost impossible to be definitive but I’ve recently seen Lynn Conway quote figures as high as I:1000. If that was accurate, it would mean there were as many transgender people in the US as the population of, say, Cincinatti (about 320 000 people). Isn’t is possible, therefore, that there’s not actually a ‘trend’ for people to declare they are trans – it’s just that more people than ever feel that it’s safe(ish) to declare their gender identity?

    The (unnamed) interviewer here says:

    “Of course, there are those who identified significant distress with the sex of their body before transgenderism became a cause celebre. I have read the stories about two-year-olds who ask why God made a mistake. Some of these stories are pretty compelling. I am not an expert in this area, and when I read these stories, my strongest reaction is that I am grateful I have never had to be the person responsible for making a decision about such a case. I’m not at all sure what the right thing to do is . . .”

    Here’s the thing: these two year olds (and 3,4,5,6 year olds do exist). They’re probably not that common, but isn’t it possible that one of the reasons that we’re hearing more about them now is they have parents who are more inclined to listen to these declarations, rather than indicating to their children that they find their questions and statements unacceptable? Also, with twenty-four hour media coverage and social media, stories of these children, however uncommon they are, have become much more easily transmitted and shared. It just could *look* like social contagion.

    Actually, personally, I don’t doubt that there are a percentage of questioning/lost teenagers that spend a lot of time online, feel uncomfortable with their bodies and/or sexuality and think that identifying as trans might be a more socially acceptable thing. But is at very specific and culturally narrow demographic (we’re really just talking about wealthy first world countries here) and it doesn’t explain why some very young children might (as they say) “consistently, persistently and insistently” identify with something other than their biological sex and natally assigned gender.

    Are there some parents who have boys that enjoy dressing up as a Disney princess and prematurely assume that they have a trans child? There must be a few. I can’t, however, believe that this explains the majority of cases of transgender children: it would quickly become apparent to even the dimmest/most indulgent of parents that identifying as transgender full time is a very very difficult path. I think in most parts of the world it is MUCH easier and simpler to be gay.

    So the unnamed psychologist here doesn’t know what he/she would do if they had to treat a small child who strongly identified as transgender. Some people DO treat these children however, and they ARE confronted with these difficult decisions. Not everyone has the luxury of putting these kids in the “too hard” basket.

    Frankly, If it is something that you could not do yourself then it behoves you to withhold judgement of those who must do it.

    For the record, here are my family’s answers to the list of questions given:

    Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?

    —He does suffer anxiety, yes. He has never been depressed for an extended period of time and he doesn’t struggle socially at all. He has a wide group of friends and is generally well liked.

    Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?

    —No.

    Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time?

    —-No. When he first told me he was transgender his computer time was mostly limited to Peggle and playing Moshi Monsters. When he and his sister were wondering what was going on with him, they did find Barbara Walters and Jazz Jennings on Youtube. He was not allowed any social media at that time (he was eight). He does spend more time on the computer now but refuses to watch or read anything to do with transgender people.

    Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well?

    —No, he is still “the only trans in the village” – to paraphrase Little Britain. We have met other kids since then, but I had to work hard to find them.

    Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?

    —-No, by the time he told me it was no surprise at all. He had been wearing boys’ clothes (including underwear) and using the boys’ toilets for some time. He’d also played on a boys’ soccer team for a whole season. Having said that, I was still hoping he was just going to be gay. The impetus for him telling me was that he didn’t want to be in a girls’ cabin on camp anymore.

    I hope you don’t think I’m just being antagonistic, 4thWave. I just think it’s always important to realise there’s more than one story, more than one narrative. And, as I’ve said previously, sometimes the narrative you present does hurt families like ours. We really don’t fit the cookie cutter teen transition story that you’re presenting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You do see that WE, the other parents with completely different children and histories than you and your child, are the ones who “don’t fit the cookie cutter teen transition story” of the that is being presented as the only one, right?

      Liked by 7 people

    • The narrative that 4th wave is presenting is not the narrative that is currently being presented across most ‘wealthy first world countries’ and most areas of the internet. The part of your comment that might come across as antagonizing is when you insist on casting doubt on the stories of parents who have -no where else to share their stories-. And the fact that they don’t could very easily be obscuring the social contagion factor in all of this.

      As for it being safer to come out, if that’s true, then why the constant claims from activists about how dangerous their lives are, and under constant threat? Why the media presentations from the UK that portray transgenderism as being completely natural(but requiring a lifetime of drugs and surgery), completely normal, and safe and easy to do? Why all the “reality” TV shows and relentlessly positive media portrayals in the US? You don’t think that has any influence on kids? Greater awareness can explain -some- new cases, but not 900% increases and accounts being eerily similar on how it developed. Being able to diagnose schizophrenia, anorexia, or depression did not lead to a massive upswing in people rushing out to claim they had it- the physical symptoms could still be identified and less easily faked or distorted than the claims about feeling like the opposite sex.

      If it looks like a common thread, and it sounds like a common story, and it acts like a social contagion… you may as well just call it a duck. The evidence is there, even if it disagrees with your personal anecdote. Especially since you admit the evidence is there in the next paragraph.

      “Frankly, If it is something that you could not do yourself then it behoves you to withhold judgement of those who must do it.”

      Who, exactly, is judging whom? I didn’t hear judgment from the interview, only a thoughtful questioning of the popular narrative and against the rush to drug and sterilize children. Not every mental health professional treats every type of mental illness, nor do they NEED to. It is quite common for individuals to be referred elsewhere. The fact that someone admits that they wouldn’t be able to address a particular case should indicate that 1. These aren’t the cases the person is mostly seeing and discussing in the interview, and 2. That he/she would probably not treat them personally.

      If you’re reading judgment into your own situation or story, that’s entirely on you, and no one else should have to specify that they are speaking to the things and children that THEY KNOW.

      The narrative being presented by the media and activists and now you is also harming the children and families of people who comment on this site. If you cared about the truth as much as I’m sure you care about your child, that would be every bit as worthy of consideration. So allow them to tell their own stories without being dismissive, please.

      Liked by 8 people

      • I don’t usually comment anymore for precisely the reason you give, LC. People need a place to tell their stories and to tell them in peace. I suspect that most people here have already worked out that their own child is gender questioning or gender nonconforming, not trans.
        I’m also aware that these are painful, difficult stories, that social contagion – particularly through the internet – is real, and that medical intervention for transgender people is often dramatic and permanent. I am very worried about the latter myself and still wish heartily that my child avoids it, although I think this is increasingly unlikely. I agree completely that gender stereotyping is damaging and that grand narratives can obscure individual experiences.
        The thing that’s concerning, and hard to be silent about, is when groups organise, like the American College of Pediatricians, or the recent Transgender Trend group, to actively protest against the existence of transgender children and treatments that many of them desperately need. That’s what I mean when I say it harms families like mine. I don’t mean that telling your own stories on this blog (which is a semi enclosed, ‘safe’ space) is harmful: in fact it’s clearly not only necessary but healing. It’s only the activism stemming from this that claims that other stories like mine are less real and truthful than your own.
        I also find it hard to hear the word ‘trend’ – which may well be a ‘thing’ in middle America – applied to the existence of transgender people throughout the world. I live in Australia, which in some ways is culturally similar to the US and in some not at all. Being visibly trans in any Australian city would still be a very hard (& possibly dangerous) thing to do.
        I’m guessing that most people who comment here are white, female, middle class and from the US and the UK, or possibly Australia or Canada. The stories told here do differ from many in the mainstream media in these places, as far as I can tell. But they are not the world. There is no ‘transgender trend’ ‘sweeping the globe’.

        Liked by 1 person

    • So we’re at an impasse, I think, because both of these kinds of stories exist, yeah? I don’t see how us talking about them is hurting your family, unless you’re reading implied moral judgement into this. If that’s the case, well, there’s judgement going down on both sides, believe me — just ask 4thwave how many times she’s been accused of being abusive and actually “killing” her “son.”

      When we’ve gotten to the point where a teen can walk into a clinic, say “I think I’m trans” and get a prescription for T THAT DAY, with no further evaluation and no decent explanation of the big picture and no “go home and think about this” … and yes, in the US, this is happening, whatever is going on where you live … then I’d hope you’d agree that we now have a significant balance problem. This site is one of the only places where discussion about this balance problem is even permitted to exist. The interviewee above is discussing perceptions regarding this balance problem. You can push back against this person’s right to voice these concerns and observations, sure. But the contention that any opinions that fail to embrace the dominant “transkid” narrative out there is hurting you? Is it really necessary for the entire world to agree? (Because the current momentum is on your side, you know? We are such puny voices out here compared to that momentum.)

      Curiouser, you’ve decided what’s right/best/necessary for your kid, as is your right as a parent of a minor to do. We’ve decided what’s right/best/necessary for our kids, as is our right as parents of minors to do. Adults are allowed to disagree about these things. We’re not going to convince you we’re “right” and … you’re not going to convince us that we have incorrectly observed what is happening with our kids. Just like you’re not going to convince us that a 900%+ leap in gender clinic presentations in the UK over a very short time has nothing to do with a strong push of transactivists into public schools, suggesting to kids that they can actually become the opposite sex.

      Is this just beneficial “recognition” of existing inborn conditions, as you suggest, or does the way you treat a nonconforming kid really have something to do with eventual persistence? This is where the fundamental disagreement in narratives lie. Your kid may, as you say, always have been destined to be ‘trans.’ That doesn’t mean every kid is in that situation. But the way stuff is going in the med/psych/pharm world, there will soon be only one accepted narrative and one accepted course of treatment. Only long-term studies and long-term narratives will reveal whether this incredible sea change in dealing with nonconforming youth was a brilliant and life-affirming idea, or a debacle.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for your comment. I do agree that there is more than one story, more than one narrative. In fact, this is what I am most interested in highlighting. I am most concerned about the kids who are falling into this as a result of social contagion. This is by now means all kids identifying as trans. Except for this site, there are very few places discussing the social contagion aspect.

      My five or so questions there at the end were meant as an attempt to “diagnose” whether the trans identification is primarily as a result of of social contagion. Your answers to those questions make it clear that social contagion is not the main factor (possibly not a factor at all) for your son. I appreciate that your journey to support your son must be a difficult one, and I am sure that you are doing your best, and making the best decisions you can as a parent. You and your son deserve respect and support.

      Many of the parents who find their way to this site have very different answers to those questions, however. Their answers do indicate that their child may have fallen under the sway of social contagion. These parents deserve support and respect in finding the right answer for their children as well.

      Liked by 4 people

      • OK, I responded before reading this comment. But thank you. Yes, what you propose sounds fair enough and I wish you all the best. I’ve also been taken aback before by the differences in treatment in Australia. You can’t walk into a clinic in Oz as a teen and walk out with a prescription for T. In fact, you have to go to Family Court (and then only if both parents and a team of specialists agree). The process costs thousands of dollars and takes years & years. It’s horrible. I also know trans people waiting years to be seen by the GIC in the UK. I accept there is a very different situation happening in the US.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks puzzled and youthtranscriticalprofessionals:

        I genuinely respect the opinions expressed here – and I disagree with some of them.

        Puzzled, I think you nailed it when you expressed concern with the way the med/psych/pharm world is going. The landscape differs in Australia but I would be very worried by a teenager getting a script for hormones after one consultation (in fact, our personal experience has been so different – months of waiting, years of counselling, checking and cross-checking – that I still feel incredulous).

        I’d suggest that a focus on an avaricious medical industry is where potential alliances reside, between parents supporting a child’s gender transition and those with grave concerns. If skepticism means to remain open, critical and questioning I would hope everyone is skeptical. I think the real targets here are not the kids themselves, the parents or even vast, controlled media networks: it’s unscrupulous professionals and pharmaceutical companies.

        I know that 4thWave is usually careful not to criticise individual parents. I’d like to end my correspondence for now with a request – a plea, really. To quote Adrienne Rich: “One line typed twenty years ago can . . . torture those we did not love but also did not want to kill.” Please, everyone, can I ask you to continue to be very mindful of your words? I’m not asking you to censor yourself or to be silent – the opposite really – I’m just asking that you think about the contexts in which some activism can be used.

        As some of you would know, there’s been conflict in Australia recently over a program that is run in government schools to support LGBTIQ students – and to target bullying against them. A right wing Christian group (the Australian Christian Lobby) who has strong connections in the Senate, called for a review into the program, with the result that funding will end next year in every jurisdiction except Victoria and the ACT.

        What does this have to do with you guys? The head of the ACL, Lyle Shelton, went on national TV quoting Germaine Greer, Paul McHugh and Kenneth Zucker. This was then tabled in the Senate, leading directly to the cancelling of the program. The figures about suicide, rates of trans regret and the desistence of gender dysphoric kids were quoted and repeated. I’ve attached one summary here – it’s from a Murdoch right wing paper that I don’t usually read. There are more damning reports in the left wing press but I thought that this might give a better idea of the cultural mood, for those interested: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/paul-kelly/safe-schools-turnbull-in-crossfire-over-sex-agenda/news-story/8196b1e8ad262992922598316cd9c5a0

        The people campaigning against Safe Schools are opposed to homosexuality, sexual and gender fluidity and acceptance of cultural difference. But they quote the same figures and the same articles that have appeared on this blog. The effect is terrible. My son is afraid to start high school – and we don’t know where to send him. The conflict has been conflated with the debate over same-sex marriage and hatred towards gay people. I fear that we might have ‘bathroom bills’ like many states in the US. That would be devastating for many young people that I know.

        I think that trans activists, gender critical feminists and parents of gender diverse young people need to stand together. If we agree on rigorous and compassionate medical care, acceptance of difference and gender fluidity, and embracing the self you are born with, then we agree on much.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think your child’s story is the one that trans activists are trying to pin on ALL of our kids. But the reality is that your child’s story does not match my child’s story. My child didn’t do the things that your child does/did. My child grew up as a tomboy (like I did). She never insisted that she was a boy.
      It is EXTREMELY difficult for children like mine to get treatment that doesn’t push them towards transitioning. Gender clinics and gender specialists do not help children like mine. They help children transition. I believe that all of these gender-questioning children deserve individual treatment that takes into account the whole child. The goal should be a happy child with as little medical intervention as possible, and without a therapist pushing in one direction or the other.
      The reality is that it is much easier for a teenager to get approval for testosterone than it is to find a therapist who will actually work with that teenager to examine WHY she feels as she does and help that teenager determine the best path for her long-term health and well being.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Curious and Curiouser –You don’t call a 1000% increase in the number of children with gender identity issues a “trend”??? You don’t recognize the group-think, cult-like behavior of peer enforcement (and harassment) evidenced in online teen interaction which dictates compliance with genderist beliefs and identities? You haven’t noticed the rampant media bombardment of overt propaganda promoting transgenderism as an “explanation” for children who liked or played with the *wrong toys* as creating a socially-transmitted, self (or parentally) –diagnosed *condition*? If not, you really need to pay more attention. If you don’t understand how social contagion operates, google “social contagion cutting.” Perhaps the phenomenon will appear more clearly with an issue not so closely related to your own experience.

      Additionally, homosexuality is punished in many parts of the world, and in many countries, adopting the “gender performance” of the opposite sex (primarily males who emulate females) is the only acceptable way to express homosexuality in a (often barely) tolerated manner. The Hijra in India, the fa’afafine in Samoa, and even some of the people who fall under the categories of “two-spirit” persons in North American culture exemplify elements of this phenomenon. Certainly you need no reminder of the practice of “transitioning” homosexuals in Iran and what appears to be a recent push in Russian to accomplish much of the same thing by both providing state-funded “transitons” along with what is likely to become mandatory reparative therapy for what they are calling “Sexual Orientation Disorder” (homosexuality). There IS pressure on same-sex attracted people to conform world-wide, and it’s not just in “other parts of the world.” As has been stated here repeatedly (and evidenced by numerous trans-narratives published in the media), internalized homophobia is *frequently* tied to the motivation to transition –especially in youth. This is a significant factor in *why* some people feel the need to identify as trans despite apparent hardships they may face. They are being groomed to be ashamed of their sexuality and seek means by which they can “normalize” themselves.

      You cite this therapist’s “lack of expertise,” yet you listen to Lynn Conway, a *computer programmer and electrical engineer* and transactivist who seeks to justify his own behavior and stands to benefit by over representing the political impact of his inflated numbers to those in a position to codify policies advantageous to him. Curious, indeed.

      The reason why we’re hearing more about “these two year olds (and 3,4,5,6 year olds do exist)” is because since the advent of the diagnosis “GID-C,” behaviors which were considered normal, or at the worst, “pre-homosexual” have been PATHOLOGIZED, and parents, subjected to media indoctrination about “transkids” and over-inflated suicide statistics have been made to believe that something is wrong with their small children which REQUIRES intervention, most of which, under current circumstances, directs the children towards an uninterrupted path to transition. A path which, as evidenced by some of the more public responses to this blog, we are *not allowed to question.*

      There are a number of reasons why children may understand themselves as “consistently, persistently and insistently” belonging to a different sex that are infinitely more reasonable than the idea that the *social construct* of gender is somehow heritable. Children do not possess the ability to understand abstract socially informed concepts such as gender, but instead, express them by way of understanding the concrete –their bodies. Hence, liking things *socially defined* as “girl things” makes them think that they are really girls. How is it exactly that you can claim that a child is accurate in identifying as other-sexed at 2-6 years old, when at those early ages, children don’t even have a stable understanding of what sex *is,* let alone the younger ones who interpret sex by which clothes someone is wearing? I realize that K Olson et al consider this to be “an unfair question,” since we don’t question gender conforming children’s sense of sex, but they like to pretend that we all have some sort of metaphysical sense of “gender identity” that goes beyond observing our own distinct reproductive anatomy. No one I know can explain what “feeling like a woman” means outside of socially imposed gender stereotypes and *how they are treated on the basis of sex* in our culture. How is it that 2 year olds possess this ability?

      For the record, when I was a child, I had no access to the internet, the concept of “transgenderism,” knowledge of what “having sex” was, let alone homosexuality (other than kids calling other kids queer or faggot or lezzie which only meant “bad” to me) and I had lots of friends who were all boys, but I did have WHAT WE ALL HAVE, and that’s gendered socialization, the most significant source of *social contagion* that exists. It informed me that girls were one way and boys were another. And I was more like boys and believed that I was supposed to be one. I’m not going to go into specific details of things that I did, because frankly, all these years later I’m still pretty embarrassed about some of them. I will, however, tell you that what you say about your child is not significantly different ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT I DID NOT HAVE ADULTS ENCOURAGING IT. Had I been in such a situation, it’s hard to imagine that I would have had any motivation whatsoever to struggle through the conflicts of adolescence and come to terms with my sexed body or to develop and understanding of what it is to be female in a culture that makes unequal demands on us by virtue of our sexed bodies. Like most people of my generation, I came, instead, to understand that what I needed to change was not my body, but instead, a culture that limits our human potential and self-expression on the basis of sex.

      Liked by 8 people

  17. 1. Has the child been anxious, depressed, or struggling socially?
    Yes. Anxious forever. There have been some big upsets socially, being harrassed by a boy in a group that she belonged to for years causing her to leave.

    2. Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?
    No

    3. Has the child been spending a lot of time on social media? What sites? How much time? Too much and all of it. Earlier this was time participating in fan fiction for books she loved, but is all trans related now.

    4. Are the child’s peers (or desired peers) coming out as trans as well? Her class at school has upwards of 15 kids doing something like this. Mostly girls a couple of boys. Her present groups is all trans kids.

    5. Did the announcement come “out of the blue,” without prior indication that the young person has ever struggled with their gender or identity before?
    Beyond out of the blue. No idea at all. There was no indication that she was having an issue with her gender or identity early than this January. This was all post a harassment by a boy and a failed and super toxic relationship with a girl. She would like to find a fix to how bad she feels.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. “2. Does the child have other mental health issues, such as PTSD, substance use, or bipolar disorder?”

    Because we are talking about children, some of whom are quite young, would it also be worth adding a question about a *family* history of mental health issues to this list? I ask this because mood disorders such as depression and bipolar have a high rate of occurrence due to heredity, and, because of the ages we’re dealing with here, it seems that in many cases what is being diagnosed as GID is instead the nascent signs of a mood disorder or other mental health issue.

    I know that’s not necessarily news to anyone here, and from the stories I’ve read it certainly seems that the kids discussed have received some sort of mental health treatment– and asking about family history *should* be a part of that. I know it can be painful as an adult to see your child struggle with the same mental illnesses you yourself dealt with; there is still a lot of denial there.

    But I think it’s important to acknowledge these hereditary factors, and to help parents know what to ask mh professionals with regard to their child’s diagnosis: “Have we ruled out BPD? We have a family history.” “I had an onset of depression at age 11 too” etc.

    Liked by 7 people

  19. This was a great interview! It’s so important to see some professionals standing up and trying to get to the bottom of this, instead of immediately, unquestioningly accepting a claim to be trans and rushing children onto hormones and blockers.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well, hallelujah for the BBC, seriously. I really couldn’t believe that the exponential number growth of young females presenting to gender clinics wea going to go unnoticed. (And those are government bodies reporting the stats — God only knows how crazy the numbers would be here in the dear old U.S. of A. We won’t know because hey, the gender biz is not telling.)

      But those docs, ugh, so on the fence, like, “it’s a revolution, people will change their bodies because they CAN, we are strenuously neutral.”

      Like a lifetime of hormones, side efx, and lective surgeries is an equally desirable outcome to figuring out some mental health adjustments to living in the body you’ve got.

      God bless “Sasha” for being honest enough to say “I really wanted it, I got what I wanted, but now at 26 I think… maybe I could/should have waited, maybe there would have been another way. Because I’m a different person now.”

      Meanwhile the psychs are all “gee, girls don’t seem to want to grow up to be women so they’re latching onto this narrative.”

      Wonder why on earth they wouldn’t want that. I just can’t imagine why. Ai yai yai.

      We’re so far through the looking glass I don’t feel grounded on the damn planet any more….

      Liked by 6 people

    • When will we as a society see what is happening here? I cannot believe that this drastic rise in the number of girls identifying as transgender is part of the natural course of things. WHY do these girls feel like they should be boys? Why do we present hormone therapy and surgeries like they are no big deal? And I’ll say it again… How does any doctor get away with telling ANY child that their healthy body is WRONG????

      Liked by 6 people

  20. curious and cruiser wrote again, “Please, everyone, can I ask you to continue to be very mindful of your words? I’m not asking you to censor yourself or to be silent – the opposite really – I’m just asking that you think about the contexts in which some activism can be used.”

    Except you are asking us to censor ourselves. No one here is demonizing anyone. And, did you ever think about how YOUR story and your posting about it affects other people? You are just one more notch in the narrative which is being told to the public at large and which hurts OUR families. My kid is NOTHING like yours and yet every professional we have spoken to tells us we just missed the signs and all kids are like yours. Detransitioners and desisters tell us that all kids who say that they’re trans are NOT like your kid. But the transactivists demonize and threaten people like them and like us because they don’t want any difference to muddy the single storyline.

    No one here has said that you are a bad parent or that you should not seek help that you feel your child needs. But you want US to put your child above our own. You want us to silence ourselves because it might mean that professionals and the public broaden their understanding that there appears to be a social contagion happening. You want us to sacrifice our children because it makes it easier for you to only have one story.

    Why don’t you think about THAT?

    Liked by 9 people

    • Yeah, I wasn’t going to respond again but I think you make a fair point, Katiesan. I was reflecting last night on how difficult it is to convince others that this is ‘real’ for us. I thought that I’ve probably done you guys a disservice by sometimes seeing your stories as less real than my own. I’ll admit that i get very frustrated by radfem narratives that dispute the reality of transgender identity and experience.

      But that’s not to say that I want to dismiss the truth of your own stories and the painfulness of those truths. I would be completely distraught if my daughter very suddenly wanted to take life-altering and irreversible steps to identify as transgender. I know many people here have experienced something like this and I’m sorry if I gave the impression of not believing that (or maybe I just hadn’t considered it enough to fully believe it before).

      It’s like we’re talking apples and oranges. The problem is that these very different stories do get conflated so that all parents supporting trans kids are ‘bad’ and all of those resisting are ‘good’, or vice versa. I’m not being abstract about the hurt caused either, although I acknowledge that perhaps I’ve been a bit cavalier about the hurt caused by trans supporters to parents on this blog.

      However, I want to continue to stress that not all parents supporting transgender children are deluded. Not all parents who support cross-sex hormone treatment and mastectomies for their teen do so because haven’t thought hard enough about the implications. By all means be angry at medical industries – but most parents are just doing the best within the huge diversity of challenges they’re faced with.

      Like

      • Curious, as you are well aware, this blog does take a skeptical view of the ideology which has normalized the medical transition of children and teens. It’s about critical thinking. It’s not about trying to “hurt” parents like you or your children. I have no doubt that parents who approve hormones and surgeries for minors think they are doing the right thing by their offspring, and no one is saying that your experience, or that of your child, is “not real.” So often trans activists accuse people who think critically about transgenderism of saying “trans people don’t exist.” Where does that even come from? Of course people who think they are the opposite sex “exist.” But just because trans-identified people exist, that doesn’t mean we are required to jettison our own perceptions and interpretations of reality to conform to someone else’s statements about their experiences.

        What many of us do here is question the (in my opinion, flawed) thinking that has led so many parents to believe this is the best they can do for their distressed kids. Questioning an ideology and the industry and political force that has developed around it does not equal “hating” or denying the reality of anyone. That used to be understood in Western societies; it used to be a value held in high esteem, free debate and critical thinking. Now, even relatively open-minded people like you caution us not to “hurt” or “dispute the reality” of people we happen to disagree with.

        ….to the point that this is one of only a very few places where a discussion like this can even openly take place.

        And to the point where parents are railroaded into thinking the answer to every teen problem is hormones and surgeries by trans-activist groups which brook no dissent. See this excellent post by Youth Trans Critical Professionals to see what “support groups” run by Gendered Intelligence are doing in the UK.

        Liked by 7 people

  21. This is a reply to 4thwave,

    I love what you said, “Of course people who think they are the opposite sex “exist.” But just because trans-identified people exist, that doesn’t mean we are required to jettison our own perceptions and interpretations of reality to conform to someone else’s statements about their experiences.”

    In today’s world our freedom of expression has been taken away from us and we have to walk on eggshells even in our own homes. I’m having an issue with my daughter about her upcoming college and I’m afraid to go to her school to discuss this because I know that she will bring up the transgender issue and anything I say about this will be seen as transphobic. 4thwavenow, I will memorize your quote and use it next time I’m confronted with any flack. There is no rational way to
    debate what you said.

    Liked by 7 people

  22. Wow. Thanks so much for this. I am nineteen and I strongly identify as an ftm transman. I have always, always, always felt that I should be male and should have top surgery and testosterone. Fortunately, my parents said, “Okay, we support you, but let’s wait it out, see what happens.” At first I was wildly frustrated. I felt like I needed T NOW and I was never going to succeed if I didn’t. After reading this, I actually have MORE confidence in my identity (as I do not fit any of the indications that I am simply caught up in social contagion or simple anxiety) BUT I finally understand my parents’ desire to wait it out and see what happens. I actually am seeing a therapist to start T, but since I have schizoaffective disorder, he wants to wait at least six months and get to know me before we even consider it. This was previously infuriating to me, but this blog post helped me make sense of it. This has given me the courage to wait and continue on, and make a decision once my brain is just a bit more formed/mature. Thanks, 4thwavenow. I am actually a blogger, too. (Here’s my profile -https://www.blogger.com/profile/15436617029913678320 ) I blog about my transsexualism and my schizoaffective disorder in two different blogs. Thanks for this. I’ll join the fight to advocate for stuff like this. Very important and helpful. A blessing in disguise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • After reading this, I actually have MORE confidence in my identity (as I do not fit any of the indications that I am simply caught up in social contagion or simple anxiety)

      Forgive me, but what this shows is just that you do not fit a particular profile that is currently rather common and has been much discussed on this website. It doesn’t prove anything either way about your identity.

      Have you read any of the blogs by detransitioned / detransitioning women bloggers? Redressalert is very good: http://redressalert.tumblr.com/. ‘Words by Maria Catt’ is another good site by a woman who took testosterone and lived for a while as a man: https://mariacatt.com/. The tumblr sites by hot-flanks, friendlylocaldog and weary4u all have thought-provoking posts: http://hot-flanks.tumblr.com/, http://friendlylocaldog.tumblr.com/, and http://weary4u.tumblr.com/.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I mean I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here… Just trying to prove that I’m not who I say I am? Just throwing detransitioning posts at me? I don’t think you really thought through my comment. Or yours. Trying not to get mad here, so I’ll just do both of us a favor and ignore this.

        Like

      • All I was saying is that I was worried that I was just part of this particular trend, but this might show that I am not… Don’t really know what you’re saying or why you felt you needed to say it…

        Like

    • I admired your comment: I thought, here is a person who is doing the intelligent thing and gathering information from all sides of the gender transition debate before they make a decision. Before I wrote my response, I read your post carefully several times.

      I suggested that you look at the blogs by Redressalert and the others, first, because they write honestly and with great insight about their experiences as transmen and secondly because they are strong, non-conformist women who live life on their own terms and are finding their own ways to manage dysphoria. I did not know that this blog was about to publish the excellent post by Cari.

      Perhaps I misunderstood your opening sentence: “After reading this, I actually have MORE confidence in my identity (as I do not fit any of the indications that I am simply caught up in social contagion or simple anxiety)”. I understood you to be saying that as a result of reading the post above, you “have more confidence” that you are right i) to identify as a transman and ii) to feel that you should have “top surgery and testosterone”, precisely for the reason that your experience does not fit the ‘social contagion’ pattern. If I am right about what you meant, there is a flaw in the reasoning: just because you don’t fit one particular profile, that of someone influenced by the transgender youth movement and the media buzz, doesn’t prove anything either way about the best treatment for your dysphoria.

      Whatever you meant, let me say this: your dysphoria may still dissipate. Like you, I felt strongly as a teenager that I “should be male”. I had felt like that from the age of about six or younger. It faded gradually in the course of my twenties. I know, partly from this website, that my history is not particularly unusual.

      I wish you the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah. No, you read that wrong. That’s not exactly what I was saying. Thanks for the links, though. And thank you for not getting offended. It’s hard not to be prickly about this subject. 🙂 Sorry about that. I really appreciate this site and a lot of the comments. Very enlightening.

        Like

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