Should Mermaids be permitted to influence UK public policy on ‘trans kids’?

by Artemisia

Mermaids is a UK charity. Its aims are ‘to relieve the mental and emotional stress of all persons aged 19 years and under who are in any manner affected by gender identity issues, and their families, and to advance public education in the same’.

The organisation began a number of years ago as a support group for parents, and it still maintains an online forum. It also undertakes casework, training, advocacy and political campaigning.

In interviews with the press, its Chief Executive Officer, Susie Green, has described her experiences as the perplexed mother of a small boy who was drawn to ‘girly dresses and dolls’ rather than ‘’trucks and football’. When Jackie was nine, permission was obtained for him to wear girls’ clothes to school.

At twelve, his mother took him to the United States for a consultation with Dr Norman Spack, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr Spack prescribed a puberty-blocking hormone, a treatment that at that time was banned in Britain for any child younger than sixteen.

Later, when Jackie was thirteen, Spack put him on estrogen: again, a highly controversial approach. Current policy in the NHS prohibits the prescription of cross-sex hormones to children younger than about 16.

In recent years, under Susie Green’s leadership, Mermaids has pressed insistently, disregarding the concerns of clinicians, for cross-sex hormones to be prescribed to younger children.

For Jackie’s sixteenth birthday, he was flown to Thailand where he underwent a seven-hour operation to fashion a pseudo-vagina. This would not be legal nowadays; soon after Jackie’s operation new regulations were imposed by the Thai Medical Council, restricting ‘sex change operations’ to patients over the age of eighteen. Furthermore, since 2009, young adults aged 18-20 must now obtain parental permission to undergo sex change procedures in Thailand. As can also be seen in this excerpt from a 2009 Telegraph article discussing tightened restrictions, a Thai gay rights activist drew attention to the phenomenon of post-SRS regret experienced by some patients.

In England under the NHS, irreversible gender-related surgery is only available to patients eighteen and older. This is in accordance with international standards of care.

Mrs Green has promoted Mermaids energetically. As CEO, and before that, Chair, she has been regularly quoted and interviewed in the media. In recent years she has been an invited speaker at various forums and conferences. Convenors have included the Westminster Social Policy Forum and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

In 2015, Mrs Green was selected to give evidence in person to the inquiry into Transgender Equality conducted by the Women and Equalities Committee of the House of Commons. Mermaids also submitted a written statement. Later in this post I shall have more to say about that.

In a previous post I discussed an episode in which local authority social workers handed over to Mermaids the effective management of a child welfare case. This did not end well. Ultimately the High Court ordered that the child be removed from his mother. The charity was excluded from further contact.

Mermaids also offers training to professionals:

With this in view, it is reasonable to enquire into Mrs Green’s qualifications for the kinds of activity she and her organisation undertake. Under ‘Education’ on her LinkedIn page there is only one institution listed: ‘prince2 academy’.

PRINCE2 is an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environment and as its name suggests, it is a project management system. The PRINCE2 Academy appears to be a set of courses delivering online training in the PRINCE2 method. It is not clear if Mrs Green is a registered PRINCE2 practitioner or whether she has simply taken the foundation course. But that is not particularly important.

Project delivery is about process. Training, advocacy, an advisory role with respect to public policy: these are primarily about content. Delivery of accurate information is key, accompanied with well-informed insight, perceptive analysis.

Let’s look at how Mermaids measures up.

Mermaids submitted erroneous evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee

 The following passage is taken from the written evidence submitted by Mermaids to the Transgender Equality Inquiry conducted by the Women and Equalities Committee in 2015.

Mermaids frequently quote the Equality Act, primarily to schools unwilling to accommodate trans children. Antithetically, a young person of 16 wanted their name changing at school but their parents did not consent to this. Although the Equality and Human Rights Committee found the schools refusal to comply was discriminatory, they could not proceed with action against the school as the young person was under 18.

[Recommendation]: Lower or remove the age the Commission could pursue a young person’s complaint without parental consent.

This passage was quoted in the Committee’s report, which duly recommended:

The Equality and Human Rights Commission must be able to investigate complaints of discrimination raised by children and adolescents without the requirement to have their parents’ consent. [See pp. 27, 74, 81]

Following which the Government Equalities Office looked into the matter. Here is the Government response:

No such restriction exists on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC’s) power to investigate complaints of discrimination, and we are not aware of any legal basis for the statement in Mermaids’ written evidence to the Committee that “a young person of 16 wanted their name changing at school but their parents did not consent to this. Although the Equality and Human Rights Committee [sic] found the schools [sic] refusal to comply was discriminatory, they could not proceed with action against the school as the young person was under 18.” The Committee may wish to note that, in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Equality Advisory and Support Service may pass an individual’s details to the EHRC only with the explicit consent of the individual. The case referred to in Mermaids’ written evidence was not referred to the EHRC. EHRC staff have met with Mermaids recently to clarify how the referrals process operates. [p. 13]

Rather snarky, it seems to me, but civil servants don’t like having their time wasted.

So: for whatever reason, Mermaids included a claim without foundation in its submission to the Transgender Equality Inquiry. The Committee trusted the organisation to know what it was talking about — and found itself with egg on its face.

Does Mermaids understand how much this matters?

It matters because public policy should be founded on sound evidence — on facts. No one who peddles made-up claims should be advising government committees.  Nor should they be involved in training professional people with direct responsibility for children, sick people or families in crisis.

Susie Green refused to acknowledge on the BBC that cross-sex hormones cause sterility

susie green bbc newsnight

Susie Green

 The evidence is there on YouTube for everyone to see. On 1 November 2016 there was a short debate on BBC Newsnight between Susie Green of Mermaids and Stephanie Davies-Arai of Transgender Trend.

Here is a transcript of the key exchange, which begins at around 4:20. Important passages bolded:

 Stephanie Davies-Arai: The treatment pathway is the same as transsexual, it’s cross-sex hormones (not cross-gender hormones). It leads to children being sterilised and on medication for life in order to be ‘their authentic selves’.

Evan Davis (interviewer) to Susie Green: Is that correct or …

Susie Green: Well no. I think that in terms of the way that these young people are assessed, they go through very careful assessments before any medical intervention is offered, that’s never before puberty has at least begun and got through to a certain stage …

Susie Green’s denial—’Well no’—and avoidance of the key issues raised by Ms Davies-Arai–are remarkable. Note the following points:

  1. ‘The treatment pathway is … cross-sex hormones’

At the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) the treatment pathway is cross-sex hormones from the age of 16.

Less than four months before she appeared on Newsnight Susie Green gave a statement to the Guardian in which she called for the age limit for prescribing cross-sex hormones to be lowered.

  1. ‘It leads to children being sterilised’

This is a well-recognised effect of administering cross-sex hormones. Here is a concise and comprehensive statement from a medical authority, which also covers the effects of so-called ‘puberty blockers’ and gonadectomy:

Medical treatments—effects on fertility

Pubertal suppression with gonadotropin releasing agonists (GnRH-a) not only prevents development of potentially distressing secondary sex characteristics but also suspends germ cell maturation. Puberty appears to progress normally after discontinuation. However, many transgender individuals initiate gender-affirming hormone therapy concurrently with pubertal suppression, and thus, germ cells never fully mature. …

Gender-affirming hormones produce impairments in gonadal histology that can cause infertility. Estrogen use by transgender women results in impaired spermatogenesis and an absence of Leydig cells in the testis. Testosterone use by transgender men causes ovarian stromal hyperplasia and follicular atresia.

Gonadal effects of gender-affirming hormones are thought to be at least partially reversible. For example, pregnancy has been reported in transgender men who have previously used testosterone. Thresholds have not been established for the amount and duration of exogenous testosterone or estrogen exposure necessary to have a permanent negative effect on fertility.

For patients who elect surgical transition, gonadectomy will render them permanently sterile.

Source: Johnson EK, Finlayson C (2016) ‘Preservation of fertility potential for gender and sex diverse individuals’, Transgender Health 1:1, 41–44

  1. ‘It leads to children being … on medication for life’

Here are a couple of relevant statements by medical authorities:

  1. a) ‘Cross-sex hormone treatment has an important role in acquiring the secondary sex characteristics of the desired sex. Transsexuals often start taking sex hormones at young to middle age and in higher than recommended dosages. Fearing loss of secondary characteristics of the reassigned sex, transsexual subjects usually continue hormones lifelong.’

Source: Asscheman, Henk, Giltay, Erik J et al, ‘A long-term follow-up study of mortality in transsexuals receiving treatment with cross-sex hormones’, Eur J Endocrinol April 1, 2011 164, 635-642

  1. b) ‘After reassignment surgery, which includes gonadectomy, hormone therapy must be continued.’

Source: Gooren, Louis J., Giltay, Erik J, Bunck, Mathijs C. ‘Long-Term Treatment of Transsexuals with Cross-Sex Hormones: Extensive Personal Experience’ The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 93, Issue 1, 1 January 2008, Pages 19–25


Considering her position as the CEO of an organisation that claims to speak with authority on the transition of children and young people, it is shocking that Susie Green should go on television and mislead the public on these crucial matters.

To say the very least: this is not professional behaviour.

Immediately after saying ‘Well no’, Mrs Green changed the subject with very noticeable promptness. Let’s look at what she said next: ‘in terms of the way that these young people are assessed, they go through very careful assessments before any medical intervention is offered’.

We might find this just a little bit glib, coming as it does from a woman who ignored the settled opinion of experienced clinicians and arranged for her son to have a gonadectomy when he had barely turned sixteen–in a country (Thailand) which now bans such surgeries to people under the age of 18.

Mermaids has falsely stated the survey population when purporting to cite statistics for suicidality among ‘trans youth’

In presentations aimed at concerned professionals, Mermaids has exhibited a PowerPoint slide with the heading ‘Statistics’. It displays a set of figures designed to chill. But let me quickly say: these are not what they seem. They have been fiddled to support an agenda. They are, in fact, completely worthless.

Mermaids-suicide-stats-compressor

Here are the phony statistics in question:

  • ‘59% trans youth considered suicide
  • 48% attempted suicide
  • 57% actively self-harm’

A subheading claims that the figures come from a survey of ‘more than 2000 trans people in the UK’. The survey, cited at the foot, was conducted by academics from three universities in collaboration with PACE, a now-defunct LGBT+ mental health charity. The report was published in 2014.

There is no mention of the report’s title: LGB&T Mental Health — Risk and Resilience Explored. The foreword records that ‘Over 2000 people completed our survey…’

Spot the obvious mistake. The trans participants in the survey were only a subset of the total number of people who took part. The statement that ‘more than 2000 trans people’ were surveyed is not true.

And this matters enormously, because unless the survey population is of adequate size, the results of the survey have very little meaning. It is not possible to use those results to make useful generalisations about the target population, the group about which the survey is intended to provide information.

In the case of the survey into ‘LGBT&T Mental Health’, the overwhelming majority of respondents were lesbian, gay or bisexual. Only a minority, just over 17%, identified themselves as trans.

And here’s the clincher: Only 27 of the trans respondents were under 26. This is the total size of the survey population on which the claim is based that 48% of ‘trans youth’ have attempted suicide.

There is absolutely no way that the results of such a tiny survey can be mapped onto the whole population of trans-identifying young people in the UK.

That twelve of the 27 reported such an attempt is very sad for them and their families. However, it tells us nothing about the prevalence of suicide attempts among ‘trans youth’ in general. This micro-survey is of no value whatsoever as a basis for determining social policy.

This is not an abstruse matter: it should be obvious to anyone with common sense.

Mermaids has used the supposedly high risk of suicide attempts by trans-identified young people to support its campaign to lower the age at which the NHS prescribes cross-sex hormones to children. It claims that medical transition reduces the likelihood that a gender dysphoric child will commit suicide. In reality, there is no persuasive evidence that this is true.

When Susie Green gave oral evidence to the Transgender Equality Inquiry she argued that the treatment protocols followed by the Gender Identity Development Service are too restrictive and should be relaxed. She claimed that children waiting to be put on cross-sex hormones become ‘self-harming and suicidal’ and referred to ‘a 48% suicide attempt risk’.

This claim was picked up and repeated in the report from the Committee: ‘Mermaids said there was a significant risk of self-harm or suicide where hormone treatment is not yet being given; they drew attention to evidence that the attempted suicide rate among young trans people is 48 per cent.’ [p. 52]

For the 48% figure a footnote refers to an article in the Guardian published in November 2014. The Guardian in turn cites ‘findings released by Pace’. Evidently the journalist had had an advance view of a press release from PACE dated 20 November. This press release predated the publication of the full report of the survey.

The press release gives an overall figure of 485 for ‘survey participants under the age of 26’. Rather strangely, however, it omits to give an overall number for the ‘young trans* participants’ while stating that ‘48.1% … have attempted suicide’. The use of percentages at this point conceals the very small number of respondents. The other figures in the Guardian post also come from PACE: the Guardian has simply rounded them down, so that 48.1% becomes a snappier 48% and the figure of ‘59.3%’ for suicidal thoughts becomes 59%.

It is, perhaps, not coincidental that these misleading and alarmist figures were initially presented by a charity that was forced to shut its doors for lack of funding just over one year later.

Meanwhile, the Guardian confused matters further by implying that all of the ‘more than 2,000 people’ surveyed were ‘trans’. Presumably this was due to a careless misreading of the statement from PACE.

Given that the Mermaids PowerPoint slide refers to a ‘survey of more than 2000 trans people’ it seems likely that the figures on the slide came by way of the Guardian report. Even assuming that this is the case, it does not let Mermaids off the hook.

It is simply not professional to quote statistics from a newspaper report without attempting to check them at source. In this case the survey report is easily found on the web. Although PACE has closed down, the report has been archived on several sites by interested parties.

Regardless of what it was intending to do, Mermaids deceived the audiences to whom it presented that PowerPoint slide. Even more important and worrying, it gave misleading information to the Women and Equalities Committee.

There is more. The problems with the figures on the PowerPoint slide have been pointed out in detail in at least two important blog posts:

So far as I am aware Mermaids has never acknowledged either of these critiques, nor has it qualified Susie Green’s statement to the Women and Equalities Committee.

The organisation does not seem to have cited the 48% figure recently. But last month Mrs Green was back beating the same old drum, this time in an article on Huffington Post UK. This time she kept things vague, asserting that there are ‘shockingly high statistics for suicide attempts by transgender young people’ without citing any source at all.

These serious misstatements of fact are not acceptable

Mermaids presents itself as a repository of wisdom on the subject of transgender children and youth and in many quarters it is accepted as such. The inaccurate statements detailed above are not minor matters. The UK, as a society, cannot afford such lapses in an organisation that trains professionals and advises on public policy.

Moreover, none of this is helpful to children who show symptoms of gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (as currently defined), or their anxious and more or less bewildered parents. They deserve a more professional service than Mermaids is currently providing.

Meanwhile, it should, unfortunately, be recognised that it is never safe to take on trust any statement that comes from Mermaids.

 

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38 thoughts on “Should Mermaids be permitted to influence UK public policy on ‘trans kids’?

  1. 4th Wave- once again I am amazed by your strength and insight and top notch investigative work on a topic so fraught with controversy and just downright irresponsible medical treatments. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the hard work you and everyone who contributes here does. You are giving hope to all the desperate parents out there. … and speaking from personal experience , hope is the only thing we parents have to cling to most days. I pray that soon society at large will wake up to the atrocities that are being disguised as kindness and best treatment on healthy and beautiful young lives. Thank you

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Artemisia,
    Thank you for an excellent article. I hope this receives a very wide reading and re-blogging.
    It is totally unconscionable that the medical and pysch community is silent on the harm befalling so many young people and their families.
    I hope the Mermaids lose their tails and talons.

    Liked by 6 people

    • It is totally unconscionable that the medical and pysch community is silent on the harm befalling so many young people and their families.

      So far as I am aware, the truth is that until very recently, when the numbers exploded, most doctors and therapists in the NHS knew very little about these cases. The Tavistock Gender Identity Service handled them, and still does.

      GPs are brought into the picture when it comes to making repeat prescriptions of cross-sex hormones, which for some patients begins at 16. There has been pushback on this. I’m quoting from the Guide to the recent NHS consultation on Gender Identity Services: “A small but significant and increasing proportion of GPs do not feel able to accept responsibility for prescribing…” [my emphasis].

      Increasing, eh? What have they learned that we have not been told?

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  3. Looking at the survey even more closely: participants were not recruited randomly. Specific groups of people were targeted, as well as a “snow-ball” recruitment method of contacts of PACE staff. Disabled persons were targeted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t there a trans-frequently quoted study that says 41% of GNC attempt suicide which also has sloppy research? I seem to recall that study also was not a random sample, and was an incredibly small sample (20 something people…?) ?

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  4. As I understand it a big part of dysphoria is caused by the brain not accepting the shape of the body it is in. But in puberty the body changes so much that all brains regardless of dysphoria have to update their image of what the body looks like. So, far from going through the ‘wrong’ puberty, for someone with dysphoria it can ‘reset’ the brain and make it accept the body it’s wearing. Kind of like shaking a machine that’s got stuck to get it going again. This is at least part of the reason for high levels of desistance. But early chemical and surgical intervention prevents this process from happening. No wonder the trans-pushers are so keen on it.

    Has anyone here read Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era by either Beatriz Preciado or Paul B. Preciado, depending on the edition? I want to read it but I’m worried it will mark my final loss of faith in humanity. I’ve thought for a while that the ideal citizen/consumer the ruling class would love to create would be a combination of a fanatic and an addict, and now I’m worried they’ve succeeded and actually done it.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Artemisia, thank you so much for this excellent, well-written and documented piece. You’ve brought together a lot of information, and added new insights as well, about this “charity,” and made a significant contribution to the field. Well done! It’s a shame that these facts are out there for anyone who wants to see, though – it isn’t like you’ve turned up previously unknown or hidden information. Which makes it all the more discouraging and perplexing that Mermaids has attained the position of respected and trusted advocate, having input on decisions and policies which gravely impact the lives of children and young people.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Which makes it all the more discouraging and perplexing that Mermaids has attained the position of respected and trusted advocate, having input on decisions and policies which gravely impact the lives of children and young people.

      Lack of alternative sources of information has been an important part of the problem. Websites like 4thWaveNow, Transgender Trend and a handful of others have been doing a lot to change that.

      But Mermaids has been going for a lot longer. When Susie Green gave evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee, Transgender Trend did not even exist, and 4thWaveNow had been going for about six months. It takes time to have an impact on public discourse, longer to affect public policy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not to mention the fact that Susie Green is happy to be the public face of the Mermaids group while those of us on the ‘caution’ side are hamstrung by trying to maintain good relationships with our kids, and to preserve their anonymity. No pix, no real names — it’s so easy for “them” to say we’re fake news, shills of far-right organizations, or somehow do not even exist.

        Sparkly princess natal males and cute tomboy natal females make such nice, simple photo ops compared to the discussion we need to have regarding our objections. In general (not universally) writers love the easy story. It’s incredibly frustrating.

        But Artemisia — this is such great work, in terms of exposing the lack of scientific/academic/professional rigor underpinning the whole Mermaids enterprise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Puzzled.

        No pix, no real names — it’s so easy for “them” to say we’re fake news, shills of far-right organizations, or somehow do not even exist.

        It wouldn’t make very much difference if they did know who you were. A fair few of the transactivists and their associates are entirely prepared to twist facts and even make stuff up to suit their agenda. All the time. And then most of their pals gleefully go along and pretend they think it is all true. The others just stay quiet.

        Anyone who crosses them, they belittle and talk trash about. Any inconvenient facts are either ignored or contorted out of all recognition. I could give examples, but I won’t, out of respect for the persons traduced.

        But the transactivists’ lies and constantly morphing bullshit are already undermining their position. That and their violent outbursts and blatant misogyny are what will bring them down.

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      • Thanks for this excellent report and update on Susie Green and Mermaids. They seem to be immune to any kind of public scrutiny. Many people submitted written evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee Transgender Equality Inquiry. Only a select few were invited to attend the oral evidence sessions. They were either trans or pro trans. You can access all the written evidence and download the oral evidence here….https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/transgender-equality/publications/
        Susie Green is seemingly untouchable; she had Maria Miller on board and now Teresa May https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/18/theresa-may-plans-to-let-people-change-gender-without-medical-checks
        Maybe Prince Harry was right when he said Mermaids was “amazing”….http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/11/prince-harry-calls-transgender-childrens-charity-mermaids-amazing-at-buckingham-palace-event/
        Amazing that they can get away with it, certainly.

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      • It reminds me of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang scene where kids are lured in by candy and fun music. Our world of rainbows and faries would be fine if it didn’t then tell children (with pretty music playing in the background) that in order to enjoy this life you must take hormone blockers, then remain inn hormones the rest of your life and get surgeries. Wow! Take new on that unicorn ride please!

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      • Many people submitted written evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee Transgender Equality Inquiry. Only a select few were invited to attend the oral evidence sessions. They were either trans or pro trans.

        Yes, and that points to a much wider problem than Mermaids. Why is the political class so determined to push through these ‘reforms’? It is not going to do them much good with the electorate, especially women.

        Why are they so determined to suppress or ignore all voices urging caution and asking for reasonable limitations?

        What has become of the ‘consultation’ that the government promised in July, that was supposed to take place in the autumn? Ruth Hunt of Stonewall has said in a febrile piece on Huffington Post that it will be happening ‘this winter’ but that is the only statement I have seen about it recently.

        Why, with the consultation still not announced, was an Early Day motion calling for the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Committee report on transgender equality to be implemented in full and signed by Labour, Lib Dem, Scots Nats and Green Party MPS tabled on 10 October?

        Then a week later, at the PinkNews awards, Theresa May said: “We’ve set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, streamlining and demedicalising the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.” PinkNews claimed that she had ‘vowed to “streamline” the Gender Recognition Act, to make it easier for transgender people to transition’. What she reportedly said doesn’t seem to me to amount to a vow, exactly, but it was obviously intended as a signal.

        Who is engineering this and pushing it along, and what is their agenda? I do not believe it is Susie Green of Mermaids — she is just a ‘useful idiot’.

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      • Artemesia, I agree. I must admit that I thought that it had been me who had missed something. I had assumed that the next stage would just rumble along and maybe go to sleep like first time round. Then, as you say, it’s been pushed (with a capital P) to the fore again.

        Theresa May has now declared that being trans is not an illness. So presumably we are to accept it as if it was a naturally occurring process, like pregnancy, which needs medical input from time to time? I’m absolutely sure that she has done nothing more than read the reports put in front of her, all trans stamped and approved and chatted with the lovely Susie Green and the very nice people from Pink News. Has she done her homework; read Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence? Has she heard from detransitioners or sat down with Polly Carmichael and tried to find out why the numbers being transferred to the Tavistock are going through the roof? Answers on a post card please.

        Keep digging Artemesia and I’ll bring along my spade too!

        Like

  6. This entire situation illustrates gross mishandling by multiple parties. The Women and Equalities Committee of the UK Parliament is the most culpable, as that group is in charge of public policy and certainly has the means for statistically validating demographic and disease studies (suicide is indeed a disease) using epidemiology methods that have been known and trusted for the past 50, probably 100 years.

    Next, The Guardian UK knows better than to reprint shoddy research from a questionable source such as Mermaids clearly is, especially without further review of the survey source, the (defunct) PACE organization. Not to excuse Mermaids, but Harvard University has now sunk to abysmal new lows with Dr. Norman Spack prescribing cross-sex hormones to children aged 12. Given that international standards of care require patients to be 16 years of age or older for such “treatment”, this is a sad statement about the translobby’s power base in the USA, rather than anything positive about Harvard’ Boston Children’s Hospital.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Artemesia is correct. I speak from authority, as I have educational credentials from Stanford University in applied statistical methods, I worked for the State of Arizona as a research statistician in women’s and children’s health care. I use a pseudonym, as I fear for my job if labelled a TERF. I am an XX chromosome woman, although that isn’t irrelevant… maybe?

    The Mermaids/PACE study is flawed and unworthy of consideration to influence UK public policy for transgender youth.
    2000 survey respondents with 17% describing as trans = 2000 x 0.17 = 340 trans people.
    485 survey participants are under the age of 26. Are 17% transgender, as with the rest of the sample? This cannot be assumed, and the actual count must be explicitly stated, but isn’t.
    17% of 485 is 82. However, only 27 of the survey participants were trans and under age 26. Which is it, 27 young trangender or 82 young transgender? In fact, only 12 young trans people attempted suicide, so that would be a rate of 12/82 = 14.5%. That’s tragic but is it different from overall LGB youth suicide rates in Britain?

    Here’s the worst part: The study defines trans youth as those who are under the age of 26. Assume the study is correct, that 48% have attempted suicide. How does this support the policy recommendation that transition age should be lowered to less than 18 years of age and cross-sex hormones be given to children under age 16? Perhaps the suicide attempts all occurred between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age. Earlier transitioning would not necessarily alleviate that.

    It is horrifying that public policy resulting in permanent sterility of children who would otherwise have normal fertility is influenced by individuals such as Susie Green of Mermaids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This goes to prove that even doctors are only capable of so much information at a time. Nobody is reading anything with a scientifically critical eye anymore. It’s as if the moment transgender is mentioned a magical veil of agreement descends on the land.

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      • I agree with “magical veil of agreement”. I have found more holes than swiss cheese in transgender research articles. An often used argument of trans activists is that the teens would not be doing this if they were not genuinely trans. Well teens have being starving themselves to death for decades!

        Liked by 1 person

      • “An often used argument of trans activists is that the teens would not be doing this if they were not genuinely trans.”

        And, when confronted with detransitioners, the line is that THOSE people were never really trans, even though they totally identified as such. It’s contradictory. The only thing which makes a person trans is identifying as trans. That’s the ONLY definition. If you stop, though, you were never really trans EVER. Somehow, your present behavior and identification null and void your past identification and behavior and demands. There is no way to diagnose this situation except by what the individual says and if the person ever changes their mind, well, then their self-ID was wrong.

        The absolute insanity of this entire situation is starting to show.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, it seems like mass delusional behavior. Medical treatment of children and adolescents is done with great care, and involved surgical procedures are rare, because most youth are healthy. Childhood diseases and congenital conditions exist, but the treatment plan, prognosis, supportive care, safety guidelines are well-established, refined for decades. Endocrinology is a rarely needed medical specialty. It isn’t done ad hoc, not with adults, nor children! Yet when I read first-person transitioning blog posts, the physicians use cross-sex hormones for what is essentially off label use, determining dosage by trial and error.

        The rate of serious complications from FtoM surgical transition is over 50%. There are no long-term studies, unlike every other medical therapy (with the exception of clinical trials). Plastic surgeons won’t do cosmetic elective procedures if there are counter-indications, yet I’ve never heard of sex change surgery denial due to medical risks for the patient. It *does* seem like dereliction of professional ethics to perform major operations to remove healthy organs and administer hormones to young women (and men) well, heedless of the lifetime consequences, physically and psychologically.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad to have had a statistician look over this post.

      A lot of the problem with the original study lies in the way it was presented by PACE. The report actually has a section headed ‘Limitations of the study’. This includes the following very important statement:

      “Ultimately our findings can only be considered valid for our samples
      and are also subject to the specificities of the social and cultural
      contexts where the research was conducted.”

      PACE ignored this disclaimer when it issued that misleading press release with the alarmist 48% figure, etc: see my account of the press release above, with a link if anyone wants to view the original.

      Also, I imagine it was probably an editor at PACE who elected to decorate the margins of the Executive Summary with huge percentage figures purporting to give the suicide attempt statistics for ‘Trans*’ and LGB young people. These percentages do not appear anywhere in the actual text of the report; they have been lifted from a chart.

      I do not know how the academics who conducted the research and authored the report feel about this aspect of the way in which their work has been presented and used.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon: An often used argument of trans activists is that the teens would not be doing this if they were not genuinely trans. Well teens have being starving themselves to death for decades!

      Centuries, in fact. There is a book called ‘From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation’ (Walter Vandereycken and Ron van Deth, Athlone Press, 1994).

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  8. I’m not sure what to do any more, I’m at my witts end, my daughter, who identifies as male has twice been admitted to hospital with Anorexia (she’s now discharged) and came home a ftm transgender. My gut feeling is that she is a girl but others go along with her wishes, she had been to the Gender clinic and she is again on the waiting list for adult services. The assessment she had at the youth services was incomplete as she failed to do one of the questionnaires they gave her, and she turned 18 before the final session, we had to cancel due to her exams so the Gender clinic would not be flexible enough to arrange the final appointment. we haven’t been getting along, she pushes my buttons by refusing to take meds if I try to reinforce boundaries and gives me the silent treatment for nearly a week and refused to eat. out of sheer desperation I asked my ex-husband to collect her as I couldn’t take any more of this behaviour which he did, giving me much needed breathing space. after fre days of not responding to my texts, she finally agreed to meet me. we both put our points of view forward and I have said that I don’t feel that transitioning is the right path for her but she insists I’ve thrown her out, even though I said I needed space and she went to her dad’s which is after all her other home. I feel as a mother I have a right to an opinion, the so called professionals just go along with her wishes and encourage it. I’m grieving for my daughter, do I give in or stick to my boundaries?

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    • Ugh! I am so sorry. You do need someone to help mediate. Someone who could stop you guys in the argument and say, “why did you think she’s saying that, or why are you saying that? ” Someone who can point out that the rules you are trying to establish are because of your love for her, not just to battle.

      My daughter is very thin and has trouble eating but isn’t anorexic as a “goal”. She will throw around, “well I won’t eat,” whenever she is mad but I know I can say back to her, “Well that’s not a threat to me because you never eat anyway.” If she were truly anorexic I think that would not be as option.

      I also have had people in my life try to commit suicide and actually commit suicide so I’ve learned that that has nothing to do with what I say or do. A therapist will tell you don’t let them have that control over you. Emotional blackmail. Ironically that is what therapists use to say transitioning is the only option. I don’t buy either. If she’s going to go down that path, she’s got to be strong and she won’t need my help to get there. If she needs me, she’ll follow my rules. If she wants to go down that path, she’ll figure that out herself. It’s really just a big guessing game about what limits need to stay, whet leniency is beneficial and where it is harmful. Each relationship is different.

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