Mom? Dad? Whichever. Trans men are giving birth, so stop with the sterilization of prepubescent kids already

Request: Although the screen captures and YouTube videos discussed below are publicly available,  please respect the dignity of the family featured in this post.


There ought to be something worth pondering for pretty much everyone in this post–left, center, and right of the political spectrum;  gender critics, trans-identified people, parents, “gender specialists,” and anyone else who believes the issue of sterilizing prepubescent trans-identified kids is worth discussing with the nuance it deserves. We desperately need a society-wide conversation about this, something that is strangely lacking at the moment.

I’ll be featuring the Vlog of one young FtM named Sam (YouTube account name “MrSexyrexy8907”), who, like many of his generation, started as a gender-defiant lesbian who decided to medically transition. Note: In this post, I am choosing to refer to FtM Sam with male pronouns at times.

Sam began testosterone at age 20, had a bilateral mastectomy roughly a year later, and says in earlier videos that s/he someday hoped to undergo “bottom surgery” as well, when his budget allowed.

By the end of the Vlog journey, we learn that Sam ended up as a self-identified gay man in a committed relationship. At 24, Sam and his male partner became the proud biological parents of a baby girl.

Sam’s Vlog is comprised of only a few videos–short, by the standards of most YouTube FtM transition sagas. It spans a four-year-time frame, with sporadic uploads of brief videos, and you can watch all 21 of them in a sitting.

As a trans man who has given birth, Sam is definitely not alone. There are many other media stories and Vlogs about happy adult trans men who are biological parents. I had originally planned to include several more of these accounts in this post, but as I wrote, I realized we only need one–one happy family wherein the trans man bore a biological child. In Sam’s case, it is worth emphasizing, this is a trans man who earlier wanted bottom surgery, and who made no made no mention of future fertility.

The mainstream press, always eager to trans-fix us, has of late served up many accounts of blissful FtM biological parents (some of whom appear not to understand that identifying as male is not an effective contraceptive). Because the very physical experience of being pregnant and giving birth results in dysphoria for some of these FtMs, midwives  (and others) are being strong-armed by their professional organizations into using “preferred pronouns” and urged to eschew words like “mother” and other female-centered terminology, to ostensibly show respect for the FtMs who become pregnant and give birth but would rather be referred to as “fathers.” As in every other nook and cranny of civilized society, any remaining cobwebs of perceived transphobia are being carefully swept away (despite some pushback from brave holdouts).

What, then, are we to make of the activist-clinician zeal for curtailing the reproductive capacity necessary for conception, pregnancy, and birth in prepubescent kids who profess to be trans?


Sam’s 36-weeks-pregnant video was the first to pop up in my “trans man pregnant” YouTube keyword search.  It’s a fascinating tale. Sam tells us he’s in a gay relationship, and he is positively glowing in his happiness about the impending birth of his daughter, due in 30 days.

This was a planned pregnancy. It wasn’t an accident. It’s been rough, dysphoria wise…some times are harder than others.  I’m carrying really really low, so that gives me that beer-belly type of appearance.

 [7:00] I’m ecstatic to meet her and start this little family… After stopping hormones, my cycles came back. I’d been off hormones for over a year, in which time I met my partner and we decided we wanted a baby….decided I was ok with carrying her and having a child.

 Sam says a lot more in the video about the changes he’s been through since his last video, including a successful struggle to quit drinking. As I watched, I found myself liking Sam and wanting to know more about what preceded all this. Clearly, this was a young adult who had been through quite a lot by the age of 24, and was now happily expecting a baby girl.

So I went back four years to the beginning of Sam’s Vlog journey, which began in 2009, at age 20. As with most transition chronicles, Sam’s introductory video was “pre-everything”—no testosterone or surgeries yet. Sam had a girlfriend who he refers to as his “fiancé” whom we see and hear a lot about in these early videos; Sam is wearing an engagement band on his ring finger. sexyrexy youtube

 March 2010. Sam has been on “T” for 5 months, and we can see and hear the changes. He’s living in an apartment with his fiancé; he tells us wants to go back to school. He wants bottom surgery but can’t afford it yet. There are several more vids, including the requisite top-surgery post-op (always a staple of FtM Vlogs).

By July 2011, Sam’s been through a lot. He’s gone off T,  and he’s just over a year post-op from top surgery. Not only that: he’s been “in and out of rehab” and is just back home after living in halfway houses, with no health insurance. The engagement band has disappeared.

In October, Sam is cautioning other FtMs that they better be sure about medical transition. He’s off T, but he still has hair growing in.  “Your hairline will recede and your face will change.”

Sam’s videos are few and far between for a couple of years. We don’t know exactly how s/he got from A to B, but let’s fast forward to the video made soon after his daughter’s birth in 2013.

sexyrexy birth

Sam shares some very intimate details about his after-birth experience.

All of my weight gain was in my uterus and within a few days it was practically back to normal.

…Oddly enough—I have had a double mastectomy—and the other day one of my nipples was leaking. So that kind of caught me off guard…I don’t seem to be retaining any fluid or milk. [SMILING]. I don’t know if it’s a matter of not 100% everything was removed or hormones and milk ducts…either way, it was a very little bit and not a big deal.

We are thrilled to have her….

There’s  a longer video made a month after their baby was born, with lots of still shots and video clips of Sam and his partner, clearly enjoying family life together. We see a pre-birth sonogram, the baby shower, and even the actual moment of their daughter’s birth (Sam jokes it’s the “PG version”), and many pictures of the newborn with her doting parents.

sexyrexy proud parents

A final video uploaded in April 2014 is a collage of clips chronicling the kind of new-parent life many of us will recognize from our own days with a newborn.

Then that’s it for Sam’s Vlog. Life with a baby and toddler is all-consuming, and judging by Sam’s YouTube playlists nowadays (which seem to consist entirely of videos for young kids), the family might be too busy now to bother with YouTube uploads.

sexyrexy baby carrier


Sam’s story—that of a former lesbian who winds up in a relationship with a man—is not that unusual. Cross-sex hormones have the potential to alter a person’s sexual orientation. Some same-sex attracted women– lesbians—become bisexual or even heterosexual after undergoing testosterone treatment. (Sadly, those trans men face an increased risk of HIV infection.)

For the record, as anyone who reads here regularly knows, I don’t want lesbians to feel they need to medically transition. I do consider it a form of anti-gay conversion therapy. And while my regular readers may also wish Sam had felt she could live her life as the woman she obviously is, without surgeries, without hormones… for me, at least, it’s impossible not to be touched by the obvious love shining between these two parents, and their joy as they start  their new family.

At least this young, former lesbian went through puberty and had, at a minimum, one important sexual relationship with another woman before she transitioned. She did not have her fertility denied to her as a tween or teen too young to give informed consent.

Would Sam have said—pre or post transition—that s/he wanted kids at 14, or 16, or 18? Even at 20, trans-identified Sam made no mention of becoming a parent. How many of us parents knew we wanted children of our own while still kids ourselves?

As Sam says, this was a planned pregnancy.  Sam and partner– two adults–decided they wanted to create a baby.

Why does anyone—doctor, activist, parent–believe they have the right to proactively take the option to bear children away from future adults like Sam? Simply so that the “trans kid” will “pass” better? Watch Sam’s Vlogs and tell me s/he doesn’t “pass.” S/he passes just fine. Without going through natural puberty, Sam and his partner would not be parents. Whether you think Sam is a mother, or whether you call Sam (as he refers to himself) “Dad,” the fact remains that s/he is now the happy biological parent of a little girl.

Let me ask the parents who contribute here: If (as much as you don’t want this) any of your daughters (or sons) ultimately decide to transition as adults, would you still welcome a grandchild? Should your daughter—who may someday want to be called your “son”—be denied the opportunity to make that choice for herself?

Most 4thWaveNow parents fervently hope our kids won’t decide to use hormones or have surgeries. But we’re not stupid. We know that, once they reach the age of medical majority, they will make their own choices. We just want the activists and clinicians to cease and desist marketing medical transition to impressionable kids.

And here’s a challenge for the MtoF, late-transitioning heterosexual men, so many of whom—like Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner—first had their own biological children:

Watch Sam’s Vlog and then tell me it’s no big deal to keep lobbying, as you do, for the medical transition of children, which will result in permanent sterilization.

Put another way: If it’s such an awful tragedy for a trans teen to go through the “wrong” puberty, how come you managed to survive yours, and have exercised your basic human right to produce biological children? Without that wrong puberty, you wouldn’t be a parent today.

How can the activists and doctors who are so eager to subject young people to medical intervention–which they know full well will sterilize these kids–know for sure that these trans kids will not grow up to want children of their own someday?

The answer is: they don’t know that.

Let’s put a really fine point on this. What sort of monumental hubris leads a doctor, psychologist, or activist to believe they have the right to proactively take away the human right of an adult to choose to have biological children?

So which is it, activist-clinicians? You really can’t have it both ways.

Either:

  • you want to celebrate the “pregnant people” and their right to reproduce with dignity; adult trans people who (like most of us) didn’t figure out they wanted kids until early to middle adulthood,

OR

  • it’s more important for trans kids to “pass” and avoid the “wrong puberty” than be allowed to choose whether to reproduce when they are adults.

 WELL?

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Trans United Fund plays suicide & race cards to emotionally blackmail the balking masses

A key trans-activist political tactic is to accuse pediatric transition skeptics of “hating” trans kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from hating gender-defiant young people who have been labeled transgender by the important adults in their lives, our interest is in protecting them from drastic medical interventions. Many who contribute to 4thWaveNow are parents of such children and teens. If anyone is doing the “hating” it is the trans activists, who vilify parents like us and our supporters.

Why do I bring up the hate angle? Because the rationale given by the new political action committee Trans United Fund (TUF) for their slick new video featuring trans kids and their parents is to counter the “hate” being aimed at these kids. In announcing TUF’s professionally produced 2:20 minute infomercial, the trans-activist lobby GLAAD  (whose Board Chair is Jennifer Boylan, an MtoF activist) had this to say:

In light of the recent rise of anti-LGBT bills nationwide, Trans United has released a new ad entitled “Meet My Child” that humanizes transgender people.

Implicit in this wording, of course, is that opponents of sterilizing and drugging children are engaged in a dehumanization campaign.

The video, above all, glorifies parents who simply go along with their child’s proclamations that they are, or want to be, the opposite sex. [Calling all child development experts of yesteryear: Teach us about concrete thinking as a developmental stage.]

We see children who look to be about 7 or 8, and others who appear to be middle school age—all of them “presenting” as the opposite sex by way of dress, hairstyle, and toy-and-play-activity stereotypes.

Quiz: Can you tell the “trans boy” from the “trans girls”?

multicolor hair

Long multicolored tresses = ?

basketball

Basketball..hint, hint

dollhouse

Do they even make blue dollhouses?

So much for transgenderism being about “challenging the binary” and “breaking gender molds.”

The images of happy trans kids and their parents are juxtaposed against a TV-clip cameo of a bloviating Ted Cruz, US Senator and former GOP presidential candidate, a far-right conservative. The message to liberals is clear: You’re just like the Tea Partiers if you don’t buy what Trans United is selling.

At 1:43, we are reminded (as we are in daily media stories):

41%

This is a lie—or more charitably, a distortion. Like most such cynical distortions, it is derived from something true.  The 41% figure comes from the oft-cited Williams Institute survey, whose authors themselves note that this (yes, unacceptably high) suicidality rate includes not just trans-identified but also gender nonconforming adults who have ever had thoughts of self harm. It is not an actual suicide “attempt” rate. Moreover, and most importantly, the survey found that people who have sought and/or received medical transition services have a HIGHER RATE of self harm and suicidality.

My bringing up the Williams Institute survey does not indicate a callous attitude towards high self-harm rates in trans-identified people. In fact, all gender nonconforming people (which includes many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who have never identified as transgender) have a higher rate of suicidal thoughts and self harm. My purpose in bringing up the 41% statistic is to shed light on the cynical use of self harming rates to bludgeon parents and others into thinking that pediatric transition is the cure for despair.

(For more detail on the Williams Institute survey and the origin of the 41% figure, please read this whole post.)

Directly after the 41% appears on screen, we see the tearful mother of a trans girl saying,  between sobs, “She’s my heart. I don’t want to lose her.”

The media experts at Trans United know exactly what they are doing.  The death of a child is the most devastating possibility imaginable to any loving parent, with suicide almost beyond contemplation. No parent would face the suicide of their child without blaming themselves.

So, this is checkmate. Game, set, match:

  • Gender defiant kids–no matter how old they are–are the opposite sex if they say they are. Period.
  • Trans kids are cute and innocent—like all children.
  • If you don’t accept that these kids are actually the opposite sex, you will cause them to kill themselves.
  • If you don’t accept that these kids are actually the opposite sex, you are a hateful bigot—just like Ted Cruz.
  • Having any doubts or questions about the actions of adult transgender people is tantamount to hating children and their loving parents.
  • Don’t be a transphobe! [Note to liberals: You might even be a racist transphobe, because the video includes non-white parents and kids. More on that in a minute.]

In this recent MetroWeekly story showcasing TUF and its propaganda video, the mother of a 5-year old trans girl tells us this:

My daughter Ariel is only five years old. She is beautiful and perfect, just the way god made her. She is also trans,” Fajardo said. “Like many little girls, she loves Elsa and Barbie and dresses.

metroweekly

Apparently the child was trans while still an in-arms baby

As is always the case, when talking about their children, parents of young trans kids always refer to gender stereotyped play, clothing, and behaviors, and Fajardo is no exception. (How many adult gay and lesbians today could testify to their love of the activities and lifestyle of the opposite sex?). And lest we forget: Parents who have allowed their young kids to decide “who they are” will mean, in many cases, a lifetime of hormones, surgeries, and almost certainly, if they follow the path of other children who have been socially transitioned and moved on to puberty blockers—permanent sterilization via cross-sex hormones.

The TUF professionals who created the inaugural ad seem to have made a point of using ethnically diverse people in their infomercial.  It is the African American mother who delivers the nightmare implicit warning that any parent who doesn’t transition their young child will be directly responsible for their suicide:

 AA mom crying

“She’s my heart. I don’t want to lose her.”

Making sure liberal skeptics (like me) know it’s not just white people who have trans kids appeals to our commitment to support people of color. But while it’s politically incorrect to bring it up, there is evidence that people from some communities tend to have more traditional, rigid ideas about homosexuality. If a parent is averse to the idea of (for example) an “effeminate” son who might grow up to be homosexual, it’s not much of a stretch to think that parent might find some modicum of relief in thinking their child has a condition which can be cured by modern medicine; maybe even turn the child straight.

But regardless of whether ethnicity or culture is a factor in homophobia or parental support for transitioning children, Trans United Fund is using children to promote an agenda. Even with the sound turned off, the imagery in the TUF ad peddles the message that people are transgender from birth (for which there is no evidence—if anything, the peer-reviewed evidence runs counter to this), playing neatly into the trans activist assertion that children who claim the opposite sex in childhood are definitely going to grow up to believe they are trans as adults.

Trans United Fund launched with a splash in April, and even though this first expensive piece of propaganda takes aim at a Republican (Ted Cruz), they say they will accept money from whoever wants to pony up the funds.

Hayden Mora, a founding member of the Trans United Fund (TUF), says that the newly launched PAC will take support wherever it can be found.

“Our vision and our goal is to have a conversation with anyone who is serious about supporting the trans community and supporting trans people,” he told The Daily Beast. “That includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and everyone else on the political spectrum.”

TUF is not alone. There is plenty of money and power behind the trans lobby, and many of these organizations work in coalition, with interlocking board members and staff. Hayden Mora , a transgender man and TUF spokesperson, is also the Director of Strategic Relations at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), another deep-pocketed trans activist organization.

Other national advocacy groups focused on transgender issues include the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), which has long coordinated with federal, state, and local governments on various policy issues. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal have both been influential in the fight over North Carolina’s recent anti-transgender legislation.

TUF’s lead story today focuses on the pressure the group is bringing to bear on Hilary Clinton; they want her to take a firm position on the “bathroom wars” currently being waged between the US Government and balking states via a flurry of competing lawsuits.

hilary

As always and everywhere, money talks. We will likely be seeing and hearing a lot more from Trans United Fund in the months and years to come.

TUF background

 

Brain sex: The jury is still out—but does it matter?

Early this morning, Think Progress (a “progressive” news outlet) posted on Facebook what was meant to be a provocative pull-quote from its latest trans-kid piece by reliable journalist propagandist Zack Ford, “It Takes A Village To Bully A Transgender Kindergartner”:

And what exactly is the “need” of this child? A boy in kindergarten would like to be accepted as “girl”? Well, as a woman, I take offense at any boy who is pretending to share my gender when he quite clearly NEVER can nor ever will. … He is not. He never can be.”

The commenter quoted is, of course, a woman (a bigoted bully, as seen through Ford’s tunnel-vision lens) who questioned the parents’ need to socially transition their 5-year-old child. The child’s transgender status has resulted in a giant kerfuffle as result of the Minnesota school’s dilemma in deciding what to do to accommodate the kindergartner.  Zack Ford paints anyone who questions the wisdom of a 5-year-old boy being assured he is really a girl as an ignorant transphobe, a bigot supported only by right-wing conservative groups.

Zack Ford Facebook
In this post, I’m not going to be writing about the fact that it isn’t just conservatives who question the trans-kid trend (obvious to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis, or for that matter, the increasing number of blogs by left wing parents, professionals, and feminists. Check out my blogroll). Nor will I be dissecting in detail this “news” article set out as bait on the Think Progress Facebook page to incite the reliable progressive hordes.

Instead, my interest in Ford’s latest bit of Newspeak revolves around the huge number (easily 10-1) of reader comments on that Facebook post, which can be paraphrased as follows:

You stupid bigots! Go read up on the science of gender identity. Gender identity is proven, settled brain science. Little kids KNOW from the time they’re born what sex they are. Plus intersex. No one “chooses” to be transgender, they’re born that way.

 I’ve spent thousands of hours marinating in gender dogma and research studies, both pro- and con-, re: “innate gender identity.” So while it’s no surprise to me to see some people spouting as FACT the totally unproven hypothesis that gender identity is set in stone at birth, what does surprise me is the sheer numbers who have bought what, at best, is a tenuous theory, and who have thereby completely shut down even a modicum of critical thinking.

Of course, who can blame well intentioned progressives? They’re fed bittersweet mouthfuls of Innate Gender Identity gruel every single day not only by the media, but even by the President of the United States, who via his Department of Justice, baldly asserts on line 36 of the complaint against the state of North Carolina:

36. Gender identity is innate and external efforts to change a person’s gender identity can be harmful to a person’s health and well-being.

DOJ complaint

US v. North Carolina

(And it’s not just these few lines. The entire complaint reads like boilerplate trans-activist dogma, and interested readers are urged to take a look at the rest of this document).

This increasingly unchallengeable notion that gender identity, aka “brain sex,” is innate, hard-wired at birth, and thus absolutely unchangeable (despite the efforts of us horrible bigoted parents who are rooting for our kids to commit suicide) means, to the masses who now parrot it like the top graduates of a Maoist Re-Education Camp: Every toddler who claims to be the opposite sex must be agreed with by every adult who comes in contact with the child. Innate gender identity is the ironclad reason why no one is supposed to question the sudden flood of “trans kids” we hear about on a daily basis.

Given the gravity of all this—that little kids are now being ushered aboard a train that will lead inexorably from puberty blockers to cross-sex hormones (with concomitant irreversible changes) in 100% of reported cases–these brain sex/innate gender identity claims can’t just be ignored and dismissed. Not when so many  people—more every day—have swallowed them whole.

Here’s the thing. There is some research that supports a role for biological, genetic, or physiological factors in gender dysphoria. And as much as people on “my side” of this argument (the argument being: should children be “transitioned” to the opposite sex on their own say-so?) would like to simply dismiss any and all evidence for biological aspects of things like gender dysphoria, it’s not that simple.

Shunning entire lines of research because we are made uncomfortable by the findings should not be the way of truth seekers. If opening our minds to their claims changes our position, then so be it. As medical historian and intersex-rights activist Alice Dreger says in her book Galileo’s Middle Finger which chronicles (among other things) the chilling effect of activism on scientific inquiry,

[it is] a rare trait in activists: a belief in evidence even when it challenge[s] our political goals.

Human beings, in general, do not appreciate having their cherished ideas challenged. Political viewpoints tend to be set in stone, with any wavering seen by one’s allies as a dangerous and slippery slope. Evidence contrary to the ideological convictions of either side is taken as an existential threat to the fundamental integrity of the position.

For instance, people (like me) who support a woman’s right to abortion often avoid  acknowledging the fact that a fetus is not just an amorphous mass of cells, but a proto-human being. Conversely, anti-abortion advocates give short shrift to arguments about a pregnant woman’s agency over her body, and the critical importance of a baby coming into the world to a parent who is ready–and can financially afford–to raise the child.

The battle lines dividing those who support the idea that self/parent/activist-identified “trans” kids should be transitioned as young as possible, vs. those who disagree (like me) are drawn across a long-contested and hardened piece of ground: nature vs. nurture. And the opposing combatants are highly reluctant to give even an inch on the matter.

As you’ll see, this post is going to argue not for a détente or concession of territory, but rather, for a willingness of “my side”—the gender critics–to consider the evidence marshaled by our detractors, and then ponder whether it changes your mind. I’m only going to touch on a few areas of research typically used by the trans activist side; if you’re interested, you’ll want to spend some delving time yourself.

Let me cut to the punchline right now: Speaking for myself, weighing the claims (and the research they base it on) of the activists who want to transition children as early as possible has actually strengthened my conviction that medical transition should be an adults-only decision, if made at all. The only thing I can say I might have shifted my opinion on after endless investigation is this: There may be a very small (it’s always been very small) number of people for whom medical intervention is the only way they can live a happy life. I don’t believe we should prohibit these interventions for such people as adults. I still do not believe, weighing up all the evidence, that we should be tampering with the bodies of young people who may very well grow up to be happy without the expensive, drastic, and irreversible meddling of the gender-soaked medical and psychiatric professions. Instead, as I harp on constantly, let’s celebrate and support gender defiance in young people.

So let’s start with the obvious. [Note to regular readers: The information in the next couple of paragraphs is well known to you, but please stick with me, because I’m going to cover some research I haven’t formerly written about]. If gender identity is “innate” how come so many gender dysphoric youngsters change their minds?

4thWaveNow is chock-a-block with posts and research studies—as well as personal narratives from formerly trans-identified people who changed their minds, as well as others who experienced and resolved severe gender dysphoria in childhood—supporting the fact that many children outgrow their dysphoria and grow up to be adults happy to have bodies and brains that have not been tampered with by the medical and psychiatric professions. A 2008 meta-study by Korte et al sums it up:

Multiple longitudinal studies provide evidence that gender-atypical behavior in childhood often leads to a homosexual orientation in adulthood, but only in 2.5% to 20% of cases to a persistent gender identity disorder. Even among children who manifest a major degree of discomfort with their own sex, including an aversion to their own genitalia (GID in the strict sense), only a minority go on to an irreversible development of transsexualism.

Because so many trans activists claim that intensity of discomfort with one’s body parts is some irrefutable sign of “true transgender,” or that prior researchers didn’t adequately differentiate between “true trans kids” and the merely “gender nonconforming,” I’m going to emphasize this bit of the above quote:

even among children who manifest a major degree of discomfort with their own sex, including an aversion to their own genitalia.

Even WPATH—World Professional Association for Transgender Health—whose clinician-activists spend a good deal of time promoting younger and younger ages for “transition,” acknowledges on page 12 of its Standards of Care that most trans-identified kids grow out of it:

In most children, gender dysphoria will disappear before, or early in, puberty.

An earlier online version of  the WPATH SOC-7 cited specific numbers—greater than 80%–and included research citations, but this more specific information, oddly enough, has disappeared. But this 2014 study remembers:

…as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health notes in their latest Standards of Care, gender dysphoria in childhood does not inevitably continue into adulthood, and only 6 to 23 percent of boys and 12 to 27 percent of girls treated in gender clinics showed persistence of their gender dysphoria into adulthood.

Ok. So most kids grow out of gender dysphoria. But that fact doesn’t by itself dispense with biological evidence for gender dysphoria, whether or not it persists.

Traditionally, feminists have staked their claim on the “nurture” side of the “gender identity is innate” argument, with little acknowledgement of the findings in biology and neuroscience that hint at any real difference between male and female brain physiology.  And there is plenty of hard science bolstering this nurture-based stance: recent MRI studies have mostly corroborated the view that male/female brains are more alike than different, which leads to the conclusion that sex-role stereotyped behaviors are primarily the result of socialization, as Cordelia Fine laid out in her “Delusions of Gender.”

Nature_versus_Nurture

Trans activists and the clinicians who (let’s face it) follow their lead obviously point to other studies of adult transgender people which support the idea that their brains are hard-wired to be closer to the sex they “identify” with. Some of these studies do offer some evidence for sex differentiation in the brain. But imaging studies of adult brains are pretty much impossible to control, because all adults have had life experiences and social influences (not to mention possible cross-sex hormone treatments in some cases) which, owing to neuroplasticity, will of course have an impact on brain structure.

But even in the (primarily MRI) studies of adult brains that are better executed and controlled, it turns out the fundamental difference in these studied brains is not so much a matter of the subjects’ gender identity but of their sexual preference, as sexologist James Cantor draws attention to in a blog post surveying research studies frequently cited to prove a transsexual brain:

 In Scientific American Mind, journalist Francine Russo takes on a fascinating research question: “Is there something unique about the transgender brain?” she reviews some of the relevant brain research on transsexuals and concludes that transgenderism is indeed a phenomenon of the brain.  Although I agree with Russo that transgenderism is a phenomenon of the brain, I believe Russo over-focused on gender identity, which led her away from the better explanation of the data:

These brain scans don’t reflect gender identity, they reflect sexual orientation.

Cantor’s post, Russo’s Scientific American piece, and the cited research studies are all well worth reading.

There is some other research I find compelling: studies of prenatal hormone levels—specifically, testosterone—and their influence on sex-stereotyped behaviors and other characteristics in children.

A couple of years ago, Brynn Tannehill, a trans activist-journalist, posted a list of what Tannehill obviously considered to be airtight studies,  many of them revolving around prenatal hormones,  in support of innate gender identity . But are they airtight?

First, Tannehill conveniently neglects to mention that many of the cited studies (surprise, surprise) also show a link between prenatal testosterone levels and rate of homosexuality—in other words, hormone levels may have some impact on same-sex attraction.

But, more importantly, it turns out that several of the researchers linked by Tannehill have shown that the impact of hormones on both sexual identity and gender identity, while existing, is small. For example, Melissa Hines, in a 2006 paper, “Prenatal testosterone and gender-related behaviour, looked at several studies and concluded that

 Levels of prenatal testosterone predict levels of sex-typed postnatal childhood play behavior.

 Like what kinds of play behavior?

Research on girls and women with CAH has provided some support for the hypothesized influence of testosterone on human behavioural development. Girls with CAH show increased male-typical play behaviour, including increased preferences for toys that are usually chosen by boys, such as vehicles and weapons, increased preferences for boys as playmates and increased interest in rough-and-tumble play.

 Does this preference for rough-and-tumble, stereotypical “boy” play mean these kids are transgender?

Although there are fewer studies relating prenatal testosterone levels to postnatal sexual orientation and core gender identity, there is also some evidence, particularly from women with CAH or CAIS, that testosterone influences these psychosexual outcomes as well. However, these influences are substantially smaller than those on childhood play behaviour.

 

 

 

 

Prenatal testosterone levels are only a small factor in later sexual orientation and gender identity. What they are more predictive of is –wait for it—preference for non-sex-stereotyped activities! In other words: gender nonconformity (or my preferred term: gender defiance).

So some children play with stereotypically opposite-sex toys, prefer the hairstyles and activities of the opposite sex, and prefer the company of children of the opposite sex. Is it possible these preferences are at least partially “hard-wired” due to the effect of androgens on their brains? Sure. Does it follow that this means they are the opposite sex? Of course not. Nor does it necessarily mean they will grow up to be same-sex attracted, either (as I’m sure many heterosexual women who were tomboys can attest).

Let’s put a finer point on it: while some studies show that prenatal hormone levels could contribute to sex-stereotyped differences in human behaviors and, yes, sense of self, acknowledging these differences doesn’t lead to the conclusion that trans activists reach: If a child is born with a set of proclivities and tendencies more typical of the opposite sex, this means they ARE the opposite sex and medical and chemical alteration of the body is fully justified and should be pursued as soon as possible. 

What else does biological or genetic research show? In an earlier post, I argued that the only way to even begin to prove an innate male or female brain would be to scan a huge number of identical-twin newborns (before they had a chance to have any “nurture” influence—i.e., no social experiences), separate the twins at birth, then compare those brains later when the children grew up, some of whom would no doubt decide to undergo transition to the opposite sex.

For ethical reasons, this sort of research would be pretty much impossible (you can’t forcibly separate twins at birth and raise them separately, and you can’t control how kids are raised by dictating to parents how to raise them, even if you could). But an international team of researchers has looked at twins and the prevalence of gender dysphoria/transsexualism in a meta-analysis published in 2012, “Gender Identity Disorder in Twins: A Review of the Case Report Literature.”  (The full study is behind a paywall.)

Using a combination of their own clinic records and an exhaustive search of the literature, they examined a total or 44 twins of which at least one twin had gender identity disorder (GID)—the diagnostic term at the time, since replaced with “gender dysphoria” (GD). Of these, 23 were identical (monozygotic/MZ). The remainder were fraternal (dizygotic/DZ).

What were their findings?

 Nine (39.1%) of the 23 MZ [identical] female and male twins were found to be concordant for GID. In contrast, none of the 21 DZ [fraternal] twin pairs were concordant for GID.

This was a statistically significant difference, leading to the conclusion that “there is a role for genetic factors in the development of GID.” That difference in rate of gender dysphoria in identical twins matters. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was still a minority (39.1%) of identical twins who were both gender dysphoric.

Twin studies
In their discussion of their findings, the authors (like all truth-seeking scientists who submit their work to peer review) acknowledge that reality is nuanced:

The higher concordance for GID in MZ than in DZ twins is consistent with a genetic influence on its genesis although shared and nonshared environmental factors cannot be ruled out. Indeed, from these case reports, very little is known about the “equal environments assumption,” that is, the assumption that MZ twins are not treated more similarly than DZ twins in ways that might affect their gender identity.

In other words—“nature” appears to be a factor, but we can’t rule out nurture. ”Influence” is not causality.

And of even greater interest: In the penultimate paragraph of the discussion, we find this gem:

In the studies on genetics and sexual orientation, a higher concordance for homosexuality has been found in MZ versus vs. DZ twins. Using family methodology, there is also evidence for genetic influences [38]. In the reviewed case studies of twins with GID, from those whose sexual orientation is known, all, with the exception of Green [25], were attracted to their biological sex and nearly 50% of the non-GID twins were also homosexual, reflecting a higher percentage than found in the general population [39]. In all the cases reported to be concordant for GID, there was also concordance for sexual orientation.

Here we have it again. As Cantor noted, as I have noted, as the Dutch pioneers of pediatric transition have noted, this study finds—as nearly every study over decades has found: Whatever the precise contributions of nature v. nurture that leads to gender dysphoria or opposite-sex identification, a huge majority (if not 100%) of the studied individuals exhibit same-sex attraction by adolescence or adulthood.

I’ll hammer it home again: The constantly repeated refrain by trans activists that gender identity has “nothing to do with sexual orientation” is directly refuted in every study, as well as many of the personal accounts by trans-identified people splattered all over the media.


 So, what have we learned from looking at a few studies aiming to tease apart the nature-nurture question about gender dysphoria/opposite-sex identification?

  • there is sparse evidence of an innate male or female brain, and what differences there may be are mitigated and influenced by later life experiences. If anything, brain differences seem to indicate variations in sexual preference, not intrinsic gender identity; and
  • prenatal hormones—specifically, testosterone—have an effect, on….gender nonconforming behaviors in childhood. They have a contributing, but minor, effect on later homosexuality and gender identity; and
  • in general, there is evidence for both biological and non-biological (environmental-social) contributions to the development of gender dysphoria.

For me, it all boils down to this: Nature v. nurture is a false dichotomy. We are all the result of our genetic inheritance, hormonal influences, and how we were brought up and continue to live—which also includes both post-natal physiological influences (e.g., the various chemicals we imbibe in our hyper-industrialized world in addition to drugs and hormones we deliberately take in), as well as what we learn and experience over the course of our lifetimes.

In the end, the squabbling over nature v. nurture is a non-issue. What matters is protecting kids from the—however well intentioned—meddling of adults in children’s bodily and psychological integrity.  Whatever the relative contributions of nature and nurture to a child’s sense of self and ultimate decisions, adults should protect children from undergoing interventions that close off future possibilities.

Proponents of medical transition for children are not champions of gender nonconformity. If they were, as I’ve said many times, they would be celebrating it in children and instead of agreeing with the magical thinking of a child that this means they are “born in the wrong body,” they’d be helping these kids realize they are wonderful and unique examples of their natal sex. A healthy, fully functioning body attached to a brain is an integrated whole with that brain. It is an existential reality, no more “wrong” than the body of a person who demonstrates more sex-stereotyped typicality. By promoting the view that research evidence pointing to certain sex-stereotyped behaviors as having a biological component (however small) means kids’ bodies can be “wrong,” they are using science to limit the possibilities for children.

Puberty blockers, cross sex hormones, and surgeries for children and young people permanently limit their options. Options like: sexual experiences in an unaltered, non-surgically-tinkered-with body. Options like: Figuring out your sexual orientation, especially if you’re gay or lesbian and won’t, on average, come to terms with that fully until early adulthood. Options like: Being a role model for other kids that boys and girls can be and do or be anything, regardless of whether they fit into sex-stereotyped-typical behaviors and appearances.

Yes, a person who later decides to “transition,” who undergoes hormone treatments or surgeries after puberty may not “pass” as well as a someone who had natural puberty curtailed (and was incidentally permanently sterilized in the process). But the Cult of Passing as the opposite sex should be challenged—especially since those same trans activists who worry so much about “passing” (in perhaps their most obvious self-undermining argument) want us to also believe (for instance) that a “penis can be female.” To play Devil’s Advocate with the trans activists, if a boy’s penis can be female, you have no business promoting medical transition for anyone’s child.

Puberty blocking is not a benign intervention. While I’ll grant that, if stopped in time, GnRh agonists are “reversible” (as in, they will not prevent natural puberty), the psychological and neurological effects of delaying natural puberty cannot be seen by any thinking person as “fully reversible.” Neither is social transition “fully reversible,” for that matter. You can’t “reverse” a childhood spent cementing the idea that biological sex can be changed by a society bent on denying the existential reality of sexual dimorphism. You can’t “reverse” a message, repeated over and over to a child by trusted adults that there is something fundamentally wrong with his or her body that must be corrected.

Regarding nature-v-nurture?  Here’s what I’d say to my fellow kid transition critics:  Don’t dismiss the stuff from the “nature” side because you’ve pre-decided that any science supporting an innate contribution to gender dysphoria is a priori bunk and it’s all nurture/socialization.

In my opinion, taking seriously the dogma of the other side, examining it closely, and then coming to well-thought-out, nuanced conclusions is a much stronger place to operate from than dismissing out of hand any kernel of truth “they” might be obsessing over. That’s not truth seeking; that’s just being close-minded in service of an impenetrable ideology.

Nature-nurture—it’s both. Just like our thought-generating brains are indivisible from the bodies they’re a part of.

Your thoughts?

What the hell are you talking about? Mom weighs in

Regular readers will likely recall the post written a few months back by 25-year-old Charlie Rae entitled “What the hell are you talking about? No. You’re a girl.” Charlie fervently wanted to be a boy growing up, but her mom would have none of it.

Charlie’s mom has written in today with a comment in response to that post, which, with her permission, I am reproducing here. Charlie (commenting under the screen name artistarmy) and her mom are ready to host a  discussion in the comments section of this post, so please join in.

Before you do, though, please first read Charlie’s original post, then her mom’s response below:


Growing up is uncomfortable

by Charlie’s mom

Charlie – I loved reading your history and loved getting to know you even better – its a lifetime effort to develop as a full person and then be open and honest so others can continually get to know you and love you.

I always felt – even before your birth – that first I was a “person” and needed to fully develop as a “person” and not a gender. I grew up seeing signs that said “No women allowed” and I thank my father for bringing me anyway, even when it meant when we got inside he would have to fight to keep me there (and he did). I joined the gyms before women were welcomed, played pool, golfed and loved to talk and listen to business conversations – all labeled “things men do” and I proceeded to live my life to be ALL of me rather than “just the girl me” (that was imposed upon me by society).

When I was growing up I did not think I was a boy. I thought “boys have it better” and I wanted that. Boys had more freedoms, more opportunities, they were taken seriously far more often than girls, they had more support, success and space than girls.  I wanted all of those things. I attribute my ability to be focused on the things I wanted rather than my gender to my father – who – against everyone’s insults  – raised me to be  a FULL PERSON regardless of the fact that I was “a girl” and even though society had a “box” for me he never put me in it.

My father never referenced my gender – ever. He just supported me in whatever I wanted in life. He kept pushing back society-type boundaries that limited and oppressed me (and all women) and never talked to me about it at all….he never said society was wrong, he did not preach, he did not lecture me. He cleared my path sometimes daily but always quietly and when he was loud (even physically fighting) it was never towards me–it was towards what was limiting and oppressing me. So Grampa needs a nod too….and its important to know my mother never agreed and was vocal against him about HOW he raised me  – he ignored her completely. THANKS DAD.

When I started my own business at the tender age of 22, people talked against it and my desires but he did not. He talked business to me all the time and pointed to other “great business people” to follow or listen to. He would give me names of people to contact and that would support me. I ran that business for 3o years and used it to support you and your sister the whole time you grew up. I bought a home alone – not a “normal” thing that women did . I never thought twice about it.

As you know the schools and the pediatrician all worked against me and how I raised you and your sister. I always knew if I were a man and you two were boys, they would be erecting a statue for me. The school system and the doctors  wanted me to behave a certain way and wanted you and your sister to be raised to behave a certain way too, and as you know I rejected what they wanted for us.

When the pediatrician suggested “craziness” I changed your doctors to a doctor who supported “full well rounded holistic health” instead of  “let’s write a prescription for what ails you”  as that pediatrician had. I was not a “popular parent” as you well know…and yes I often said “fuck them” and I have no regrets. My only obligation was to you and your sister and you know that cost me dearly – but I still have no regrets.

I love you Charlie and I believe that childhood brings certain things WE ALL GO THROUGH – and they all pass  – regardless of what we do to stop the process or make ourselves comfortable in the midst of the growing up process. The process will come and go through our lives. GROWING UP IS UNCOMFORTABLE  – and no pill or surgery, clothing or haircut changes that.

For children who believe otherwise, they are mistaken and to parents WHO GIVE INTO THEIR CHILDREN’S BELIEFS THAT there is something to DO that makes growing up less uncomfortable, I am sorry that you have the ADDED discomfort of that.

First we are PEOPLE then we are a gender. Can anyone honestly say they have mastered the PEOPLE part of that equation?  I don’t think so BUT to anyone who believes they HAVE mastered the PEOPLE part then go ahead and mess with the gender part. I think that challenge alone will put this entire subject matter to rest.

PARENTS – Here is your job description: raise your child to be healthy, whole and educated to adulthood. P.S. our kids don’t always like it and don’t THANK US along the way.

BE.

BREATHE.

That is really our only job during the total discomfort of growing up, regardless of our chronological age.

Knowing that “this too shall pass” is what gets us through life – regardless if we are 5, 15, 22, or 56.

I am proud of you Charlie – so proud!

Mom. xox

Social work professor speaks out on behalf of her FtM autistic daughter

UPDATE 5/24/16: The National Review (NRO) has published an article discussing Dr. Levinstein’s post here on 4thWaveNow. It was pointed out in the comments thread on the NRO piece that Dr. Levinstein’s bio on the U Michigan-Flint site includes a statement that she is the “proud mother of a trans son.” I asked her for a response, and she submitted the following for this update.

That bio was written two years ago, prior to all my daughter’s surgeries and the ensuing and now chronic health problems resulting from testosterone, at a time when I was trying my best to be supportive of my child’s choices.

I am indeed proud of my daughter, who has been a victim in this process.

Dr. Levinstein also stated that she is happy to discuss her situation further with the press.


Dr. Kathleen “Kelly” Levinstein, PhD, LCSW, LMSW is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan, Flint.  Among many other accomplishments, Dr. Levinstein was a Heilbein Scholar at the NYU School of Social Work, where she also taught, and has directed and provided clinical services for people with disabilities for many years, primarily in New York and New Jersey. A clinical and research social worker for 40 years, Dr. Levinstein describes herself as “the only out autistic PhD level social worker” in the world. Her research and advocacy work includes human and civil rights violations against the autistic community.

In this post and accompanying short interview, Dr. Levinstein tells us about the ordeal currently being experienced by her daughter who has undergone transgender medical transition. Dr. Levinstein also shares her thoughts about the current increase in young women with autism being diagnosed as transgender.

A version of Dr. Levinstein’s account will be published in an anthology entitled Female Erasure: What You Need To Know About Gender Politics’ War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights, Tidal Time Publishing, Fall 2016. Ruth Barrett, editor, forward by Germaine Greer. www.femaleerasure.com.

For previous 4thWaveNow posts on the subject of autism and transgenderism, see here:

“Insistent, consistent, persistent”: Autism spectrum disorder seen as no barrier to child transition–or sterilization

Guest post: For teen girls with autistic traits — a plea for watchful waiting

New study out of Finland: Girls with gender dysphoria have many other mental health issues


by Kathleen “Kelly” Levinstein, PhD, LCSW, LMSW

My daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, as am I, is now 19 years old. She had felt (and told others) that she was a lesbian most of her life. When she was 16, she began watching a TV show called “Degrassi,” which featured an FtoM character. After a few weeks, she announced that she was not actually a butch lesbian, as she had previously said, but was in fact trans. She started attending a local PFLAG meeting, where she met many trans people, including a number of FtoM trans teenagers who were raving about a certain “gender therapist.” Although the APA recommends a minimum of one year of “gender counseling” before surgery, this gender therapist (whom I consented to, before really understanding what I was doing) gave my daughter the go-ahead to have a bilateral mastectomy after only two sessions. This gender specialist never reviewed any of the Special Ed records or spoke to my daughter’s previous therapist, who had known her for a decade. And, crucially, she never asked my daughter, “Might you be a lesbian?”

The gender therapist (whom I believe has an unholy financial alliance with the surgeon) gave my daughter (then 18 and one day) the go-ahead for the $30,000 surgery (covered for all university employees and their families where I work). My daughter is now on testosterone (which she clearly is unable to evaluate the risks and consequences of).

To give you some sense of my daughter’s level of understanding of what it means to transition, she told me recently that she believes that the testosterone “will grow her a penis.” I had to break the news to her that, although this is the mythology in the PFLAG meetings (where a number of the other young trans people are also autistic), this is not the case.

She has been taken advantage of. Healthy organs were amputated. This is insurance fraud, poor clinical practice, a violation of APA standards, unethical and unjust. It is a crime not just against women, but particularly against disabled women. So many of these young women who are “transitioning” are also autistic.

My daughter has a representative payee on her SSDI [disability] check, as it was felt that she was unable to handle her own money. This was of little concern to the gender therapist. I believe that once the therapist realized the “treatment” would be covered by the University of Michigan insurance, it was full speed ahead.


You mention that your daughter previously considered herself a lesbian, and this changed when she started watching the TV program “Degrassi.” Was that the only thing that influenced her to claim a trans identity? Was there anything else?

Other than Degrassi, the PFLAG meetings–which are now the cult of trans–sealed her fate. There were no young lesbians there. In fact, there are very few young lesbians left–they are all transitioning. If she had been able to have a lesbian relationship prior to transitioning I believe that things would have transpired differently. I attempted to get her in a support group for young lesbians when she was 12, but was informed that because of liability insurance reasons,  she was not welcome until age 18. By that time it was too late.

She had a legal name change in Dec of 2014, a bilateral mastectomy in April 2015, and started testosterone in Sept 2015.  My daughter has severe Crohn’s Disease, and currently, she is having grave reactions to the testosterone. She has been hospitalized three times now for complications.

Many professionals, as well as some autistic people themselves, have written about the fact that young people on the ASD spectrum are often “gender nonconforming” and have a less stable sense of identity. Can you speak to this regarding your daughter?

I DO believe that there is an overlap with the autistic and transgender populations.  Some studies show a higher level of testosterone in autistic human beings. For males a high enough level of testosterone converts to estrogen. This may explain the large number of autistic people of both sexes claiming that they are transgender.

In recent years, activists have agitated for disabled people to be treated as having the same “agency” to make medical decisions as non-disabled people. In fact, when anyone brings up concerns about young people with autism being questioned about their transgender identity, they are accused of “ableism.” Do you have any thoughts about this?

Yes, I agree–anyone asking for critical thinking about these issues with autistics is accused of ableism and transphobia. This is often an effective silencing tactic. I have found no allies in the autism community. Instead, there is a vilification of anyone daring to ask questions about these issues, including the evidence of MtoF physical, sexual and psychological violence against women. Women who publicly question receive death threats, threats to rape us and our children, burn us to death with gasoline, decapitate us, and so on. This all coming from people who claim they are our “sisters.”

Given that your daughter was recently hospitalized for health issues related to her use of testosterone, have you found any medical professionals who are willing to speak up about this?

I have found no health professionals willing to go on the record against this. Everyone is afraid of professional suicide and threats of violence. I am standing alone.

My daughter’s latest hospitalization has been described by doctors as due to “absorption issues.” She now has a full beard but still has her period. The testosterone is wreaking true havoc on her system.

Autistic women (again, I am one) frequently have a difficult time, sensory-wise with their periods. But rather than attempting to help us with this difficulty, our problems get labeled  “gender dysphoria” and the answer has become to remove our periods from us.

We will find out in 20 years the effects of testosterone on our young women. I am confident that it will not be a pretty picture.

Gender Critical Dad is fed up with the bucketloads of doublespeak

Gender Critical Dad is a brand new blog by the father of a teenage girl who—after coming out as a lesbian at age 14–has now decided she is in fact a trans man. They live in the United Kingdom.

As far as we know, this is the first skeptical blog created by the father of a self-identified trans teen.  Click on over and check out his blog. He’s already got several interesting posts up, from the perspective of a “stroppy bugger” (his term).

Gender Critical Dad is available to respond to questions in the comments section of this post.


What inspired you to create your own blog, as a “gender-critical” dad? Did you find other gender-critical blogs or resources that helped motivate you to start your own?

I think it was several things: A displacement activity, to find some use for the anger and restlessness that ran round and round my mind since I realised the danger that my daughter was in; a catharsis, a chance to tell my story, make some sort of sense of it, get a reality check. Was I a horrible person for not “supporting them on their brave journey”? The blog is a place where I can get things out without burdening friends and my partner.

Hopefully my story will encourage others—maybe especially fathers–who are going through the same thing and let them know that the things they perceive and how they feel, are valid and real.

The current predominant narrative of trans kids is very much one of brave kids finding their true selves, supported by loving friends and a family who courageously struggle to come to terms with this brave new world.

I, as well as other parents are telling a more real narrative that features anxious, confused kids, scared of the adult sexuality portrayed in an ever more pornified world and feeling unbearably cramped by the tightening gender roles, desperately looking for an alternative. That scary world includes people encouraging them to identify as trans, sometimes mistaken but well meaning, sometimes for sinister motives. It includes organisations which have infiltrated academia, the NHS [UK National Health Service], and education. It includes a cult with all the manipulative features we would recognise from Scientology or the Moonies.

GC Dad

I’ve used the name “Gender Critical Dad” because it was the most accurate name I could think of. I hope it is taken as a mark of respect to the subReddits with that name and the important work done by radical feminists that I depended on to make sense of my feelings about the transgender dogma.

I have no wish to claim any ownership of the term gender critical. I am using it because it is catchy and memorable, and it will hopefully help me get my story out to other people being hit by transgender. If more people think about wider gender critical ideas and take a more respectful look at radical feminism, that’s fantastic.

4thWaveNow has been an enormous influence, showing me that other people have stories similar to mine, and also demonstrating how telling those stories can give comfort, strength and support to other people. I am also inspired by https://youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org/ and https://rebeccarc.com/ for providing a very sane, calm and well-reasoned critique of transgender.

Have your views about your daughter’s transition evolved since she first announced she was a trans man?

Yes, before I hit Peak Trans, my image of a transgendered person was Hayley Cropper from Coronation Street, a quite dignified person, who had taken a well thought out decision and just wanted to carry on with life as a woman.

The reality I discovered was very different, a world of aggressive men using trans as an excuse to invade women’s spaces and get a kick out of intimidating them. An ideology that, while claiming to be liberating people from assigned gender, actually re-enforces gender roles and then tells vulnerable young people that the only way out is to mutilate themselves, start a life time of drug dependence and nurture an obsession with appearance and other people’s perceptions, claiming it as victimhood.

We were glad to see your new site, since so few fathers seem to be weighing in publicly about the transgender youth trend. Most of the contributors to 4thWaveNow are mothers. Why do you think that is? Is there a reason why dads would hesitate to make their views known?

I think most men, especially those on the left side of the political spectrum, are scared of being seen as intolerant and bigoted. It’s a very “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation. I think most men have no problem with gay men or lesbians, but really don’t believe in the reality of a gender identity separate from biological sex and would find the logic of genderist dogma farcical. The idea of someone, straight faced, explaining that trans women can have a female penis, but are just as much women as biological women would be met with the derision it deserves by the majority of men.

These men might be sympathetic to Hayley Cropper, but also have an understanding of what autogynephilia is, even if they have never heard the word. If they were exposed to the wild west of queer theory and gender identity politics they would find it both ridiculous and sinister.

The difference between what they feel and what they see everyone else express, is a massive source of cognitive dissonance and very difficult to make sense of.

A lot of dads are understandably, desperate to keep some sort of relationship going with their kids and partners, and they may be unaware that other people are experiencing the same feelings so go along with the trans narrative. Many may not be able to cope with the difficult feelings caused by the cognitive dissonance and end up estranged from their children and partners.

4thWaveNow has a couple of posts focusing on Jay Stewart and the organization Gendered Intelligence in the UK. What has been your experience with Gendered Intelligence?

I initially assumed they were some sort of gay and lesbian or feminist support group. What I found from looking up their web site and from https://youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org/ was they are both a trans cult, a trans pressure group and an increasingly lucrative business.

I went to some meetings that were open to parents. I found a small group of young people, all looking younger than their age, some anxious parents and  two strapping blokes who looked like parody transvestites from “Little Britain.” It was a deeply creepy experience and I realised just how perfect a set-up it was for grooming vulnerable young people and setting up dependencies that could be exploited the day they turned 18.

To be honest I only read anything from them to get an idea of what they are doing that directly affects my daughter, I really do not need to wind myself up. The more I see of them, the more they remind me of Scientology, but they are stealing young people’s healthy bodies, not just gullible rich people’s money.

You have written that your daughter originally came out to you as a lesbian, but now says she is a trans man. Obviously you are skeptical of this switch. How does your daughter explain it to you? Why do you doubt it? Does she know about your doubts?

Communication on the topic is difficult at best. It always ends up in rows [UK English for “arguments”] which I do not handle well, so I tend to avoid the subject, so a lot of what I think about this may be supposition.

She says that she has never felt happy as a girl and that once she came out to friends and teachers, she has never been happier.  She tells us that everyone else accepts her new gender and she passes effortlessly. We know from personal experience that this is untrue. It also sounds just like so many stories on the Gendered Intelligence website or any other pro-trans site.

I’ve known a lot of lesbians from a previous job I had, and they were all wonderful, open and friendly people. My daughter seemed to be developing into a very stylish lesbian before the trans thing started. But now she’s withdrawn, ashamed of her body and obsessed with her appearance.

She knows exactly how I feel, but as I said, I don’t handle rows well.

How are you handling the transition? Do you use “preferred pronouns,” and have you purchased a binder?

I’m determined to not be an enabler, so I will not use preferred pronouns, but otherwise I try to keep my opinions to myself, not always successfully. If I try to discuss it, we will end up rowing and I will push her further into the cult.

Somehow she got hold of a binder. I pretend not to notice when she wears it.

Did your daughter show any signs of being gender dysphoric as a young girl?

This question is impossible to answer without either accepting or confronting a lot of the assumptions behind the trans ideology. I’m a stroppy bugger so here we go.

If you look up the symptoms of gender dysphoria on the NHS (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gender-dysphoria/Pages/Symptoms.aspx), you get a list that includes:

  • disliking or refusing to wear clothes that are typically worn by their sex and wanting to wear clothes typically worn by the opposite sex
  • disliking or refusing to take part in activities and games that are typically associated with their sex, and wanting to take part in activities and games typically associated with the opposite sex
  • preferring to play with children of the opposite biological sex

…all of which is just sexist bollocks. Most people would display these “symptoms” at some time in their lives.

Next in the list of GD symptoms we have:

  • feeling extreme distress at the physical changes of puberty

I grew up a boy, I was late to puberty and not at all happy about that. I can understand why puberty is a bigger challenge for girls, who might well have learned about puberty blockers from the internet. So this too must catch a lot of people.

  • disliking or refusing to pass urine as other members of their biological sex usually do – for example, a boy may want to sit down to pass urine and a girl may want to stand up.

My brother went through a stage of sitting to pee; he had somehow got the idea that that was why women lived longer.

  • insisting or hoping their genitals will change – for example, a boy may say he wants to be rid of his penis, and a girl may want to grow a penis.

As a late developer, I was convinced I was under-endowed. How would I have reacted if offered the chance of being a special snowflake who would grow into a beautiful lady?

So we are left with:

  • insisting they’re of the opposite sex

Girls get a shit deal, since they have to live up to ridiculous beauty standards. Boys watch enormous amounts of porn and that influences the pressures they put on young women. Aspects of puberty that my generation accepted or even celebrated, like pubic and underarm hair, are now deemed repulsive. Young women are expected to be a ridiculous hybrid of constantly available sex toy, pure maiden and pre-pubescent little girl. As I have discovered, post-trans, lesbianism as a distinct, respected culture and role model has disappeared–to now be a category on You-Porn or a pretense of autogynephilia.

Is it any wonder that a lot of young women these days see no alternative to trans?

Kids are weird. That’s just what they do, so just let them be weird kids for a while. Don’t call it either a mental illness or some mismatch between their bodies and a mythical gender fairy that can be cured by surgery, a lifetime of hormones and bucket-loads of doublespeak.

So when you get right down to it, asking whether my daughter ever showed signs of gender dysphoria is a really stupid question. The only answer is “probably no more than you”.

If my daughter lives life for a while as a woman, lesbian or straight, actually has relationships and then comes back to me as an adult and says that she would be happier as a man, then I would think very hard about it and  try to understand.

Do you know other parents “in real life” (vs. online) who share your gender-critical views?

No, although I have ‘come out’ to some close old friends and colleagues. Once I’ve explained the reality of what trans is, they seem to accept my version.

How does your partner (your daughter’s mum) feel about all of this? Do your views differ?

My partner agrees with me and shares my views on gender identity, but is much better at navigating the thin line between enabling the delusion and losing communication, so can still to some degree communicate with our daughter. Still, my partner often ends up being told by our daughter how terrible we are. She really has been a rock; at times I have been close to crumbling and she has always been there for me.

Are you observing other teen girls in the UK who are also transitioning to male?

I see some around town. It’s heart-breaking, these young women, who could be beautiful and confident, who could be enjoying the freedom of youth and all the chances to explore themselves and the world. But now heads down, huddled, painfully self-conscious, anxious, making pathetic attempts to pass, but I’m sure, that at some level they know that people are only pretending to believe it.

How does your daughter’s school handle her transition?

They encouraged and colluded with it without telling us. They gave her a new name badge and use preferred pronouns. One teacher seemed quite proud of how she had supported our ‘special lovely’ daughter. Yes I’m furious about that, but can’t bring it up without outing and alienating her. Someone might be getting a present of Sheila Jeffreys’ Gender Hurts book at the end of term.

How can we support what you’re doing?

Keep doing what you are doing. Let people know that there is another story and that the gender identity dogma is a lie.

I’d love to see us get organised and start acting collectively, but I know that will be very hard, with everyone needing to protect their and their kids’ privacy.

We need to reach out and let people know that there is dissent and that the dissenters are not horrible people. We need to separate rejection of the trans ideology from homophobia and let people know that there is no scientific validity to gender identity and that there are other ways of tackling gender dysphoria.

I’m sure there is a story here that a good investigative journalist could really run with. It reaches from grubby little men in girls changing rooms, through to some very powerful people, all the time trapping and exploiting young people. I haven’t a clue how to get that story out.