“I just gave him the language”: Top gender doc uses pop tart analogy to persuade 8-year-old girl she’s really a boy

We’ve heard it over and over, ad nauseum, from gender doctors, trans activists, and their enablers:

  • Follow the child’s lead.
  • We don’t tell kids they’re trans. The child tells us!
  • You can’t “make a child trans.”
  • Just listen to the child.

OK, then. Just listen to this 4-minute excerpt from top pediatric gender doctor Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD and decide whether the 8-year-old in question arrived at the conclusion that she’s a boy all by her lonesome.

Olson-Kennedy is the Medical Director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the largest transgender youth clinic in the US. She delivered these remarks at the inaugural USPATH conference in Los Angeles this past February, as part of a symposium entitled “OUTSIDE OF THE BINARY – CARE FOR NON-BINARY ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS.”

The first four minutes of the audio are transcribed in this post. However, readers are strongly encouraged to listen to the whole clip themselves. Timestamps are in square brackets [].

Olson-Kennedy starts with background on the case:

An 8-year-old kid comes into my practice, and this is the story with this kid: Assigned female at birth, 8 years old, was completely presenting male whatever that means—short haircut, boy’s clothes–but what was happening, is, this kid went to a very religious school and in the girls’ bathroom which is where this kid was going. People are like, “why is there a boy in the girl’s bathroom? That’s a real problem.” And so this kid was like, so that’s not super working for me, so I think that I wanna maybe enroll in school as a boy. This kid had come up with this entirely on their own.

When the kid came in, mom was like, “oh we don’t know what to do, so please help us” and so we started talking about it and what was interesting is that …you know some kids come in and they have great clarity and great articulation [sic] about their gender. They are just endorsing it, “this is who I am, and yes there’s gender confusion but it’s all of you who are confused,” so there are those kids. So this kid had not really organized or thought about all these different possibilities.

Girl likes short hair and comfortable clothes: check. Kid goes to a religious school, where people aren’t comfortable with gender nonconformity: check.  Parent (who we can guess is conservative, given her kid was enrolled in a “very” religious school) takes daughter to a “gender clinic,” thereby signaling to the kid that something is wrong with you, you need a doctor: check.  Said doctor believes her role is to help the kid “organize” about gender “possibilities”: check.

[1:55] You know the mom had shared this whole history, and said, when the kid was 3, the kid said, “Could you stroll me back up to God so I can come back down as a boy” and the kid’s like,” Ah, I didn’t say that.” You know, 8-year-olds, [2:09] so I’m like, “I don’t think your mom made that up, that’s crazy.”

Hang on a damn minute. Genderists always want to have it both ways, and here we have another example. When a parent like one of us on 4thWaveNow says to a gender doctor, “No, my kid never said anything about wanting to be the opposite sex until a binge on social media at age 13,” the gender doc tells us we just weren’t listening. “Listen to the child. Follow the child’s lead.” But because this mom reports that her kid said God made a mistake at age 3, and the 8-year-old denies having said it, the mom in this case has to be right.

In other words: We should “just listen” to what a parent claims a child said at age 3, but openly dismiss what the more mature child says herself at age 8.

[2:10]:  So at one point, I said to the kid, “so do you think that you’re a girl or a boy? And this kid was like…I could just see, there was, like, this confusion on the kid’s face. Like, “actually I never really thought about that.” And so this kid said, “well, I’m a girl, ’cause I have this body”

The kid was brought to a doctor at 8 years old because she likes short hair and “boy’s clothes” and she has gotten flak from the school about it. What is this child going to say? This is a doctor, in a clinic, in a hospital; an adult authority figure, encouraging her to question her own already-voiced sense of reality.

[2:34] Right? This is how this kid had learned to talk about their gender…that it’s based on their body.

“Had learned?” Is Olson-Kennedy actually telling her audience that a little girl demonstrating her understanding of biological reality is something that was erroneously imparted, as opposed to the doublethink-newspeak indoctrination Olson-Kennedy is about to peddle?

[2:40] And I said, “oh, so …and I completely made this up on the spot, by the way, but …I said, “Do you ever eat pop tarts?” And the kid was like, oh, of course.  And I said, “well you know how they come in that foil packet?” Yes. “Well, what if there was a strawberry pop tart in a foil packet, in a box that said ‘Cinnamon Pop Tarts.’? Is it a strawberry pop tart, or a cinnamon pop tart?”

Your body is just a wrapper, a piece of foil to be discarded (more like: pumped full of hormones, sterilized and eventually surgically reconfigured) so the “real” self can be revealed.

[3:00] The kid’s like, “Duh! A strawberry pop tart.”  And I was like, “so…”

At this point [3:09], there is a staged pause and we hear the audience laugh loudly and knowingly.

[3:12] And the kid turned to the mom and said, “I think I’m a boy and the girl’s covering me up.”

[3:17] Audible murmurs and “wows” from Olson-Kennedy’s rapt audience

pop tartsJohanna Olson-Kennedy is not a developmental psychologist. Of course, it doesn’t take a PhD, an MD, or even a high school diploma to know that children as young as eight still believe in Santa Claus; that they can transform themselves into animals or super heroes; have not learned to distinguish fact from fantasy. (Then again, developmental psychologists like Diane Ehrensaft are jettisoning decades of knowledge about child development as they hop aboard the trans-kid bandwagon,  so there’s that.)

And the best thing was that the mom was like, [squeals] and she goes and gives the kid a big hug and it was an amazing experience. But I worry about when we say things like “I am a” vs “I wish I were” because I think there are so many things that contextually happen for people in around the way they understand and language [sic] gender.

Here we go again with having-her-cake-and-eating-it-too. Olson here is referring to the trans-activist talking point that a kid who claims they ARE the opposite sex is truly trans (vs one who just says they “wish” they were); it is claimed (without evidence) as a surefire diagnostic indicator.  But Olson is having it both ways: Because this kid did not fit that particular trans-activist talking point, it must be dumpstered (or put another way, the goalpost must be moved).

Regarding the evidently overjoyed mom, an aside: “Progressive” doctors/activists show no shame, none at all, when using religious conservatives as mascots for their trans kid cause. Take Kimberly Shappley, a conservative Christian mother from Texas, who initially (by her own admission) tried to spank and shame her effeminate toddler son into behaving “like a boy”. Shappley finally showed love and acceptance when the child essentially gave in and announced he must be a girl at age 4. Shappley is now a celebrated activist, who is trotted out by the transgender press, Slate, and the Huffington Post as a model parent of a “trans” kindergartner.

Back to Johanna Olson-Kennedy and her 8-year-old client:

[3:41] So, I don’t think I made this kid a boy.”

Again, a dramatic pause for appreciative laughter. No, Johanna, you didn’t “make this kid a boy.” You made her believe she is a boy, authority figure that you are.

I don’t THINK so.

More laughter.

[3:44] I mean, and if I did, and I’m wrong, then I’m totally gonna come to this conference and tell people that I was wrong. I will.

That probably won’t be necessary. You did a bang-up job teaching a young child that she can change her sex, that her defiance of gender norms means she’s not a girl, so desistance is unlikely at this point. We’re on the road to blockers, cross sex hormones, and sterilization. The whole enchilada.

Of course, Dr. Olson-Kennedy could study whether leading questions and kid-friendly analogies have any impact on persistence of a trans identity, using some of the taxpayer money she got from the NIH, but it doesn’t appear to be a particularly urgent research question for her at the mo.

[3:58] But I think giving this kid the language to talk about his gender was really important.

“Important” would be one word for it.

And actually, it did not make him a boy, it gave him language to understand his gender.

[4:03] An unidentified audience member or co-presenter interjects: Why are we talking about this again?

Oh, how do you talk to people about…Oh and are you a medical provider? Ok, this is something I learned from being married to a mental health person.

Another unidentified participant: “Tell me more about that.”

More raucous laughter and extended applause.

But “tell me more about that” isn’t what Olson said. Even if psychologically counseling children were in her scope of practice, Olson-Kennedy didn’t use what is referred to as “active listening” with this kid. That would have meant validating the kid when she denied saying God made a mistake (why doesn’t Olson-Kennedy give any weight at all to the insight of an 8-year-old vs a 3-year-old?). If she’d been “actively listening,” Olson-Kennedy would have taken seriously the little girl’s stated understanding that she was, in fact, a girl. Instead, Olson-Kennedy “gave him the language” that she was actually a boy.

Make no mistake: This approach is what is on the ascendant when it comes to gender nonconforming children and how such kids—our kids—are being treated in the United States of America in 2017.  Johanna Olson-Kennedy is one of the leading pediatric gender doctors in the US, running the largest clinic in the country.  She is not some fringe figure. She is one of the recipients of a $5.7 million grant from the NIH to “study” kids like this 8-year-old (with no control groups of non-transitioned children).

Olson-Kennedy favors lowering the minimum age for genital surgeries. She is not averse to calling Child Protective Services on parents who won’t transition their kids (something she and other gender docs openly discussed at the same USPATH conference).  Johanna Olson-Kennedy is a true believer in medicalizing gender nonconformity, with all the very grave repercussions stemming from that belief.

And she is not alone.


UPDATE 7/24/17: A reader sent us the following commentary in response to this piece via email today:

Olson-Kennedy appears to be unaware of the decades of research on suggestibility, which is defined as “the quality of being inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others when false but plausible information is given.” Research psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that children are vulnerable to suggestion when being interviewed by adults. They can be influenced by an interviewer’s status, interviewer bias, and leading and repeated questioning.

In one study, children witnessed a staged event, and were then interviewed by adults who were given incorrect information about what they children had seen. The study found that “children’s stories quickly conformed to the suggestions or beliefs of the interviewer.”

In the cited transcript, the question Olson-Kennedy first asks – “so do you think you’re a boy or a girl?” – is leading. A leading question is defined as “a question that prompts or encourages the desired answer.” To ask the question “do you think you’re a boy or a girl” is to suggest that it is possible that either is an option. Olson-Kennedy tells us that the child provided a clear answer to the question that was based on the child’s knowledge of her own biology. However, Olson-Kennedy signaled to the child that she is not satisfied with this response. She did this by repeating the question using the pop tart metaphor rather than accepting the child’s answer. A repeated question carries with it the implication that the initial answer given was not satisfactory. We must assume that the child picked up that she had given the “wrong” answer by stating that she was a girl.

Within the repeated question, Olson-Kennedy offers an alternative explanation for the child’s experience – couched in alluring, child-friendly image of sugary pop tarts. The child complies with Olson-Kennedy’s implied suggestion that she is in fact in the wrong body, and receives affirmation for this compliance in the form of breathless acclamations by both mother and the high-status doctor. By “providing the language,” Olson-Kennedy encouraged this child to conceptualize herself as having been “born in the wrong body,” complete with the imprimatur of a major medical center. The kid didn’t stand a chance.

Advertisements

From Blue to Pink – When the Trans Virus strikes home

From the UK, a story of a teen girl’s desistance, from her mum’s persepective.

You won’t find these accounts in the mainstream media. You will continue to find them here. In addition to reblogs, 4thWaveNow is always interested in personal stories like these. Please let us know if you would like to guest post here.

feudaltimesblog

Apologies for length of this but inspired by Lily Maynard and her daughter and  I decided to share. Purple Sage and Crash also great source of courage at a difficult time. Grateful to those who helped me and keen to keep getting the truth out there.’

From Blue to Pink – Negotiating the Trans Virus

My daughter is extremely bright, most articulate when argumentative and loves a cause. The early teenage years were predictable, arguments were over make-up, the height of heels, the off shoulder and belly crops. By 14 she looked 17 but socially, despite her best efforts to look good, she was mostly online or at school. Chief among her better qualities was a strong sense of social justice and she loved a cause. Over a few years she moved from animal rights, black rights, gay rights, before landing on Transgender rights.

To begin with, hair got shorter…

View original post 1,717 more words

Gender-defiant toddler = transgender living doll: No future for gay & lesbian youth?

Melissa Hines is a researcher affiliated with Cambridge University. She has co-authored several important studies delving into the influence of prenatal testosterone on childhood behavior, as well as the relationship between gender nonconformity and sexual orientation.

In February, along with first and second authors Li and Kung,  Hines published a longitudinal study of nearly 5000 adolescents in Developmental Psychology, on the topic of gender nonconforming behavior in childhood and its correlation with adolescent homosexuality: Childhood Gender-Typed Behavior and Adolescent Sexual Orientation: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study.

hines abstract

It will come as no surprise to 4thWaveNow readers that the investigators found a consistent and strong relationship between gender nonconforming behaviors exhibited between ages 2.5 years – 4.75 years, and later homosexual orientation.

Of course, the link between a gender-atypical childhood and being gay or lesbian has been known for a very long time; this is not a new insight, neither in terms of published research, nor in the anecdotal but very common reports of gay and lesbian adults who reflect on their own childhoods.

hines conclusion.png

This study is important, though, because it may have the largest subject cohort to date (2169 boys and 2428 girls), and because of its thorough and systematic methodology. Please take the time to read it, along with previous works by Hines and her colleagues.

Although this post will not go into detail about the study, we will point out the obvious:

  1. It is impossible to find a media account of a young “trans” child that does not repeatedly mention the child’s gender-atypical behavior, expressed via toy choices, playmates, play behaviors, and hair and clothing preferences. These celebrity trans kid stories now routinely appear in print and broadcast media on a daily basis in the United States and the UK in particular.

While trans activists and gender doctors take pains to claim that the diagnosis of trangenderism in young children is “much more” than these gender defiant behaviors, journalists (and the child’s parents), oddly enough, always and only focus on these behaviors as evidence that the child was “born in the wrong body.” Maybe that’s because they refuse to challenge the absurdity of a child claiming they “feel like” the opposite sex, for which there can be no actual evidence? How can one know what it “feels like” to be something they are not? But you won’t see a question like this posed by any of the “journalists” who create these puff pieces; “journalists,” after all, who have abdicated their duty of asking hard questions and actually informing the public so a nuanced debate can take place.

  1. With this large study pointing out that gay and lesbian people are much more likely to exhibit behaviors more typical of the opposite sex, it is painfully obvious that—even if embarked upon with the best of intentions—the contemporary practice of socially and medically transitioning young children leads inevitably and inexorably to the outcome of anti-gay eugenics.

It doesn’t ultimately matter if the practitioners of pediatric transition don’t intend to turn proto-gay children into sterilized facsimiles of the opposite sex;  the impact of the practice of early transition leads to exactly that outcome.

Once you have read the Li, Kung, and Hines study for yourself, take a look at the latest slick bit of propaganda about “trans kids” and see if you can avoid the obvious implications.

A group of Canadian trans activists are manufacturing a “nesting doll” set,  a “trans boy” named Sam. Sam, from toddlerhood, wants to play with trucks and have short hair, refusing the doll and pink dress Sam’s mom offers. The moments when Sam grabs the truck and gets a haircut are presented as obviously full of significance in the animated promo film (which was partially funded by the Quebec government).

sam kickstarter

With the daily onslaught of trans-kid propaganda, what chance will a girl who just happens to like trucks and short hair get to believe anything other than she is ‘really” a boy? This stuff is being actively and aggressively marketed to children and gullible parents.
With the financial supporter of the taxpayer.

The dollmakers want to “crush transphobia” before it starts. But what they are really crushing is the future of kids who once were allowed to grow up without tampering—many of them into healthy gay or lesbian adults. Now these kids are being transformed into sterilized, surgically and hormonally altered medical patients—living transgender dolls.

 

Gender dysphoria and gifted children

by Lisa Marchiano

Lisa Marchiano, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and certified Jungian analyst. She blogs on parenting at Big Picture Parenting, and on Jungian topics at www.theJungSoul.com. You can also find her at PSYCHED Magazine and @LisaMarchiano on Twitter. Lisa has contributed previously to 4thWaveNow (see “The Stories We Tell,”  “Layers of Meaning” and “Suicidality in trans-identified youth”).

Lisa is available to interact in the comments section of this post.


Rates of gender dysphoria in children and young people have increased dramatically in a short period of time. There is some evidence that significant numbers of those who experience dysphoria are gifted.

Since 2016, I have been consulting with families with teens or young adults who identify as transgender. Nearly all of these parents report that their child is bright or advanced, and a significant majority have shared that their transgender-identifying child was formally assessed as gifted. Four of these families report children who tested in the profoundly gifted range (verbal and/or full scale scores >150).

An investigator who presented as-yet unpublished research at the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine conference this year described a population of adolescents and young adults presenting with a rapid onset of gender dysphoria (an abrupt onset of symptoms with no history of childhood gender dysphoria). Of the described population of 221 AYAs, nearly half (49.5%) had been formally diagnosed as academically gifted, 4.5% had a learning disability, 9.6% were both gifted and learning disabled, and 36.2% were neither.

This is a curious correlation. Could it be that gifted young people are more likely to experience dysphoria? Or is it rather that parents of gifted children are more likely to seek out my services or respond to surveys? My best guess is that it may be a little of both.

 

Possible Reasons for Increased Incidence of Gender Dysphoria Among the Gifted

  • Correlation with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Among those with Asperger’s, there is a higher proportion of giftedness than in the general population, and there are many overlapping traits between Asperger’s individuals and gifted individuals. This is especially true for the exceptionally or profoundly gifted. It has been suggested that as many as 7% of people with Asperger’s syndrome are gifted, compared with 2% of the general population who are gifted.

Those working with gender dysphoric youth have remarked on the significant proportion of those seeking treatment who carry a diagnosis of ASD. A 2010 Dutch study found that the incidence of ASD among children referred to a gender identity clinic was ten times higher than in the general population. At the UK’s only gender identity clinic for children, a full 50% of the children referred are on the autism spectrum.

A 2017 survey of 211 detransitioned women found that 15% were on the autism spectrum. This is 29 times higher than the rate of autism among females in the general population. Many of the survey responders felt that their autism contributed to their belief that they were transgender. For example:

I would absolutely not be trans if it were not for my autism spectrum features, which caused me to be grouped with boys in my youth because I was a “little professor” who lacked the ability to perform socially and emotionally in the way girls are supposed to.

And:

I think autism had something to do with my childhood difficulties relating to other girls and understanding/performing femininity. Traits like difficulty socialising, extreme focus on very specific interests etc seemed more acceptable once I framed myself as a boy.

  • Gender Atypical Preferences Among the Gifted

Research has shown that gifted children are more likely to exhibit gender atypical preferences. Gifted boys and girls may have wide and varying interests that do not conform to gender stereotypes. It is this author’s observation that most teens who self-diagnose as transgender do so on the basis of gender stereotypes. Liking video games rather than nail polish is interpreted as evidence that one is a boy, and so on.

  • Awareness of Difference; Bullying

Gifted children often have particular social needs and struggles. Even at a young age, gifted kids can have a sense of being different from everyone else without understanding the reasons for this difference. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can result. These feelings can be especially intense for profoundly gifted kids, or for kids who are both gifted and learning disabled (twice-exceptional). Because the experience of the gifted child can be so qualitatively different from those of his or her peers, gifted children may struggle with social isolation.

It seems plausible that some of the gifted transgender-identifying teens whose parents I have consulted with have come to understand themselves as trans, in part, as a way of explaining their pervasive sense of difference. “I was never like the other kids. I always knew I was different, I just didn’t know why.”

Being different can also bring with it negative social attention, including bullying. The blogger, detransitioner, and PhD psychology student ThirdWayTrans has shared his story on his blog. Diagnosed as profoundly gifted and radically accelerated in certain subjects, ThirdWayTrans found himself to be the victim of violent bullying throughout much of his childhood. He transitioned at 19 and lived as a woman for 20 years before coming to the realization that his gender dysphoria and desire to transition were linked to the traumatic bullying he experienced.

When I was a child I experienced trauma issues with bullying. When I was young I was physically the slowest boy but also very intellectually advanced like a child prodigy. By fourth grade I was going to the high school to take high school math, and on the other hand I was the weakest. So I was singled out for being a kind of super nerd. This didn’t make me popular at all. It made me popular with the adults actually but not my peers. So I suffered a lot of bullying and violence. It peaked in middle school where every day I would have some sort of violence directed at me.

When I was a child I started to have this fantasy of being a girl, because it meant I could be safe and not suffer from this violence due to being at the bottom of the male hierarchy. I could also be more soft. I used to cry a lot and that was also something that was not seen as good for a boy. I could be free of all of that and also still be intellectual because everyone was saying that girls can be smart too.

ThirdWayTrans notes that as an adult, he understood intellectually that it was okay for men to be vulnerable and “feminine,”  but that his internalized child perspective made it feel unsafe for him to let go of his trans identity.

  • Existential Questioning

Questioning one’s gender may go along with a predisposition to question one’s place in the world. Gifted children tend to question traditions critically, and to challenge things that others take for granted. Thinking about one’s identity may come more naturally to gifted kids.

  • Perfectionism and Anxiety

Gifted children may suffer from anxiety and perfectionism. Anxiety disorders were also well-represented among the comorbid issues reported in the detransitioners survey mentioned previously. It has been suggested by some that adopting a transgender identity may in some cases be an anxiety management strategy. I am familiar with one young man with dysphoria who is both gifted and learning disabled. His preoccupation with gender waxes and wanes, but is predictably worse during exam periods, when he tends to fall behind and become overwhelmed. The feelings of dysphoria seem to allow him to distract himself from his feelings of intense anxiety and insecurity, while alleviating some of the academic pressure. When he is suffering from increased distress over gender dysphoria, his teachers and parents are more focused on his mental well-being, and they place fewer demands on him.

Outcomes

Currently there is very little data on long-term outcomes for gender dysphoric youth. To date, there is only one study that examines outcomes for those who pursued medical transition as minors. The study followed 55 individuals who pursued medical transition as minors, and showed that at one year post operation, study subjects evidenced positive outcomes according to several measures of mental health. However, it is important to note that the individuals followed in this study were carefully chosen, screened, and followed according to a strict protocol. All of those in the study had histories of lifelong gender dysphoria. It is a big leap to generalize these findings to teens exhibiting sudden onset gender dysphoria, and who may receive minimal assessment and counseling before starting hormones or undertaking other interventions.

I am aware of young people transitioning whose families report a decrease in symptoms and an improvement in academic and vocational functioning post transition. However, in my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule. Of course, families seeking my assistance are doing so mostly because of poor outcomes, so I hardly see a representative sample. Nevertheless, certain patterns have emerged through my work with parents.

Most parents with whom I have consulted have teenage children with rapid onset gender dysphoria. (In other words, their child did not exhibit any dysphoria until adolescence.) Most parents supported a social transition, allowing their child to change names, pronouns, gender presentation, etc., but drew the line at medical intervention (hormones and surgery) until adulthood. Most of the parents I have worked with noted one or more of the following changes subsequent to their child’s social transition: worsening gender dysphoria as the child became increasingly preoccupied with passing; decreased academic or vocational functioning – declining grades, etc.; increased social isolation as child spent more time on transgender internet sites, or spent time exclusively with transgender friends; worsening overall mental health evidenced by increased anxiety, self-harming behaviors, and/or depression; constriction of interests as the young person ceased to pursue pastimes and activities that had once been important to him or her; and worsening family relationships, including increased tension and anger between parent and child.

I have also known of gifted young people who desisted from a transgender identity. These young people had parents who were loving, engaged, and supportive, but who assisted them in questioning their belief that they were the opposite sex. Though the sample size is small, those who desisted from identifying as trans appeared to benefit from improved family relationships, increased social and academic engagement, and overall better mental health than during the period of transgender identification.

Conclusion

Currently, there is very little research into long-term outcomes for gender dysphoric young people. My observations indicate that a disproportionate number of those families seeking consultation with me have a transgender-identifying teen who is also gifted. There are many possible reasons for this confluence. Assessment and treatment for gender dysphoria in teens should take into account the various motivations that might influence a young person to self-diagnose as transgender. Families should be encouraged to support their child in ways that feel most appropriate to them, taking into account that a one-size-fits-all treatment for gender dysphoria is likely not suitable at this time. Further research is needed into causes and treatments.

Becoming whole: Could integrative medicine heal the mind-body split in gender dysphoria?

by worriedmom

Worried mom lives in the Northeast, and is the mother of several children. She works in the nonprofit area, and is a voracious reader and writer in the area of gender identity politics. She is available to interact in the comments section of this post.


Imagine this world: A child is sad, depressed, and struggling with uncomfortable, odd, or scary feelings about his or her body. Maybe a little socially awkward, maybe a lot. Worried about the fact that his or her interests don’t seem to fit in well with peers’. Maybe being mocked or bullied, because s/he doesn’t “act like” the other kids. Perhaps that child is having trouble making friends, or is even having intrusive thoughts that make it challenging to succeed at school, athletics or social life. Maybe that child has started puberty, and is concerned or ashamed about the physical changes in his or her body, and the way other people are reacting to those changes. The changes might not feel so good, even be quite unwelcome. The child’s body is perfectly healthy; the mind–not so much.

In this world, our child can go someplace where people know that there’s a solid and extensively documented connection between the mind and the body. In this place, treating the child involves taking into account the physical, social, psychological, community, environmental, and spiritual realities of the child’s life. Here:

  • The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit and community.
  • Providers use all healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
  • Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.
  • Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
  • The care is personalized to best address the individual’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances. Practitioners of integrative medicine exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.

integrative medicine circle

Our child receives sensitive, understanding care, to help navigate through a hard time in life. His or her feelings are taken seriously (which isn’t always the same thing as literally). S/he will learn techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, and deep breathing to help cope with discomfort. Our child may have the chance to learn yoga, or T’ai Chi, qi gong, healing touch, and other movement therapies such as the Alexander technique. S/he may try out massage, biofeedback, acupuncture, or hypnotherapy. Non-western therapies, such as Chinese medicine or Ayurveda, are a possibility.

The medical care our child receives is coordinated with other therapies to help him or her feel comfortable, accepted, and confident. Perhaps our child will receive social skills training, with peers, or have the chance to interact with a specially-trained service animal. Maybe someone at this special place will work with our child using art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy or even horticultural therapy.

When all is said and done, our child is healed, calm and well, without ever breaking the skin! S/he is prepared to face the challenges of teenage and adult life, understanding that “feelings aren’t facts,” and equipped with techniques, ideas and support to help manage those unpleasant or unhelpful thoughts should they recur.

What is this place you ask? Well, it’s only the hottest trend in medicine these days. Call it integrative medicine, holistic, alternative, or complementary… whatever you call it, this approach to healing has taken the Western medical world by storm. World-renowned treatment centers have formed integrative medicine units – Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the international cancer center, is one of them. The Mayo Clinic is another. Many integrative medicine centers are affiliated with major teaching hospitals or medical schools. Over 40% of U.S. hospitals now offer at least some integrative medicine techniques to their patients.

The foundation of integrative medicine is the recognition that there is a profound, and not yet completely understood, connection between the human mind and the human body. That this connection exists is no longer open to question – otherwise, no drug trial would control for the placebo effect! Beyond this, research has shown that humans can, indeed, use their minds to control or change the way their bodies feel. These techniques provide a powerful way for people to actively participate in their own health care, and to promote recovery and healing for themselves.

not just the disease

While the jury is still out on the efficacy of some “CAM” practices (CAM being the term of art for “complementary and alternative healthcare and medical practices”), what is not in dispute is CAM’s rising popularity and acceptance among the general population. Far from being a “fringe” or counter-culture phenomenon, in certain patient populations, CAM use has been as high as 90%, and has been estimated at 38% for the United States as a whole.

According to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine:

HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores are higher when patients receive integrative services. In one study, 76.2% of patients who received integrative services for pain in the hospital felt their pain was improved as a result of the integrative therapy. [Source] Health-related quality of life was significantly improved for patients who received integrative care. Treatments were also found to reduce blood pressure, decrease anxiety and pain, and increase patient satisfaction in thoracic surgery patients. Additional studies have corroborated the observation of reduced pain and anxiety in inpatients receiving integrative care.

In addition to its use in fields such as pre- and post-surgical and cancer care, integrative medicine is increasingly used to help patients manage or cope with such chronic medical conditions as diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease (and other IBDs), asthma, allergies, hypertension, headache, insomnia, and back pain, as well as psychiatric maladies such as anxiety, depression, phobias and PTSD.

People who practice in this field do not argue that integrative medicine is the cure for all ills:

Using synthetic drugs and surgery to treat health conditions was known just a few decades ago as, simply, “medicine.” Today, this system is increasingly being termed “conventional medicine.” This is the kind of medicine most Americans still encounter in hospitals and clinics. Often both expensive and invasive, it is also very good at some things; for example, handling emergency conditions such as massive injury or a life-threatening stroke. Dr. [Andrew] Weil is unstinting in his appreciation for conventional medicine’s strengths. “If I were hit by a bus,” he says, “I’d want to be taken immediately to a high-tech emergency room.” Some conventional medicine is scientifically validated, some is not.

A 2010 review of the medical, corporate and payer literature showed that:

to start, immediate and significant health benefits and cost savings could be realized throughout our healthcare system by utilizing three integrative strategies: (1) integrative lifestyle change programs for those with chronic disease, (2) integrative interventions for people experiencing depression, and (3) integrative preventive strategies to support wellness in all populations.

boy trapped in girl bodyWe’ve certainly gone quite a while in this post without mentioning the word “transgender,” but the implications for the application of integrative medicine in this area should be crystal clear. If folks are literally or even metaphysically “born in the wrong body,” or if dysphoria is primarily caused by an incongruence between one’s physical sex and one’s gender (“what’s between the ears doesn’t match what’s between the legs”), then dysphoria would appear to be a mind/body problem of the first order.

In fact, it would seem that the transgender phenomenon is the prototypical example of a mind/body disconnect – because in the case of dysphoria, all involved acknowledge that the body in question is perfectly healthy. Something seems to be amiss in the way that the body and the mind are connected, or in the way the mind thinks of or perceives the body. So, what’s the application of integrative medicine principles to the problem of dysphoria? Wouldn’t it seem like the two are a natural fit, and that dysphoria would be the perfect arena in which to use these techniques, which are now in the medical mainstream?

You would think that, but you would be wrong.

Suppose, as is all too common nowadays, that our child’s feelings of distress and discomfort are interpreted by a parent, pediatrician, teacher, or other well-meaning professional, as the harbinger of an incongruence between the child’s sexed body and his or her brain. Let’s visit a few pediatric gender clinics (there are more than 40 such clinics in the United States alone) and see what’s on offer for our confused and hurting child.

At the Boston Children’s Hospital Gender Management Service clinic (GeMS), one of the oldest pediatric gender clinics in the U.S., the course is clear. The child meets with a clinical social worker whose job it is to “make sure that you fully understand our protocol.” The child is referred to a therapist who will need to work with the child for a minimum of three months (gosh, a whole three months to decide on something that will completely dominate the rest of your life!). Next is an appointment with a GeMS psychologist for a specialized “gender-related consultation” and then… it’s off to the races with the pediatric endocrinologist.

The Seattle Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic provides pubertal blockers, cross-sex hormones and “mental health support and readiness discussion.” The shiny new gender clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital offers “puberty blockers,” “cross-hormone therapies” and “mental health services” focusing on “readiness.” Not to worry, of course, since “male to female” surgery may be obtained for those over 18 through Yale Urology. Here’s another one: the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Gender Development Services department “provides medical consultation, medical intervention (e.g., cross sex and pubertal delaying hormones) and health research with gender non-conforming youth across the developmental spectrum of pediatrics and adolescence.” Oh, and here’s another one: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent and Transition Medicine Department (note “Transition” is right there in the title of the department) provides “puberty blockers, gender-affirming hormones, menstrual suppression and referrals for therapy, psychiatry, psychology, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric gynecology, nutrition and other services as needed.” The University of Florida’s Youth Gender Program provides “consultation, psychotherapy, psychiatric medication management and assessment of medical readiness for cross-sex hormone therapy.”

Celeb ftmsA short note on the term “readiness.” It’s interesting and perhaps unintentionally revealing that this word shows up on so many pediatric gender clinics’ websites in connection with gender counseling, rather than other terms that could be used such as “suitability,” or even “screening.” “Readiness” connotes a certain inevitability about the transition process – for instance, an educational psychologist assesses a child’s “readiness” for school. The question is not if a child will go to school, of course, but when.

Although I’ll admit I haven’t reviewed the websites of every single one of the 40 U.S. pediatric gender clinics, so far I haven’t seen any that are incorporating integrative medicine techniques and principles. What seems clear is that pediatric gender clinics do not view their mission, in any sense, to include assisting their patients in resolving dysphoric feelings short of medical intervention, much less engaging in discernment or decision-making as to whether medical transition is appropriate in any given case. In fact, as we know, the primary approach to the treatment of dysphoria in the United States has shifted away from the much-maligned “gatekeeping” of the past, to an “affirmative” model. What this means in practice is that the patient (or the patient’s parents) dictate the terms of engagement; if you’re going to a “transition” clinic, guess what you’re going to get?

And although much lip service is given to the idea that a child is on a “gender journey,” it’s pretty clear from the gender clinics’ websites that this journey has only one expected destination. Most of the gender clinics’ websites contain cheerful, if not glowing, testimonials to the happiness that lies ahead for their successfully transitioned patients (“Never a Prince, Always a Princess” “Becoming Lucy,” and of course, “Born in the Wrong Body”).

The Gender and Sex Development Program, housed at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, is especially upbeat about the amazing future in store for their pediatric transition patients, with links to a documentary entitled “Growing Up Trans,” testimonials from grateful parents and thankful teens, and multiple links to news stories with titles like “Trans Teen in Chicago: From Surviving to Thriving,” and “When Boys Wear Dresses: What Does it Mean?” (hint: the correct answer isn’t “nothing”).

gender spectrumIn fairness, it’s possible that the mental health assistance pediatric gender clinics promise their young patients could include helping children and families decide whether medical transition is the optimal outcome. It’s impossible to know whether psychiatric care given by a therapist who is professionally affiliated with a transition clinic would still be unbiased about the subject. But anecdotal evidence certainly suggests that “gender therapists” are personally and professionally invested in the transition narrative to the exclusion of all other therapeutic approaches.

Moreover, one of the primary activist goals of the transgender lobby is insuring that young patients do not have access to integrative medicine, CAMS, or to any other treatment modality, besides “gender affirmation” (i.e. medical transition for all who seek it). “Conversion therapy” bills, which prohibit therapists and other professionals from adopting any other treatment approach for pediatric gender dysphoria other than gender affirmation, have already been passed in seven states and many cities, and federal legislation that arguably would enshrine “gender affirmation” as the sole acceptable treatment has been proposed in the current Congress. (Even legislation which confuses the issue would also confuse would-be caregivers and create a chilling effect.) A new lobbying group, 50 Bills 50 States, has been formed to push for anti-conversion therapy laws to be passed in all states that do not currently have them.

One point on which all sides in this debate can agree is that gender dysphoria represents a radical “disconnect” between the mind and the body. But there is another, fundamental, “disconnect” at work here, too. We know, and have known for millennia, that there are many ways to address mind/body dysfunction that do not entail wholesale alteration of the body, which can succeed in healing and strengthening the mind. Integrative medicine blends the best of these techniques with Western medicine to obtain the healthiest outcome for the patient, yet those involved with pediatric transition appear resolutely blinded–if not hostile–to any potential application in their own field… willfully “disconnected” from current medical thinking and practice.

In fact, if the activists get their way, the “healing place” envisioned for our child at the beginning of this article will not only remain imaginary, but will be outlawed throughout the United States. Parents–indeed, all people who care about children–should be very, very worried.

Adrift on the River Trans

by missingdaughter

missingdaughter is the mother of a daughter who went missing in college; she disappeared into a “safe place.”


 Endless Identities

What happens when there are no limits to how we define ourselves?

What is real? It used to be obvious.

People become lost seeking identities.

Our story: With our own daughter, we witnessed a total erasure of self. Her history, appearance, real concrete facts, our family history–obliterated. Flipping through dark rooms on the internet = gone.

Artificial identities can be created, and they have grown exponentially since the birth of the Internet. Immediate, intimate, brain-searing, stranger-advice and images all become siren calls for the disturbed who are looking for way to channel pain or explain it. But could it be that sometimes the imagery and intimacy of the Internet Siren are the cause of the identity meltdown, the disturbance?

Lila Greenfeld , a professor at Boston University, writes:

As I argue in my recent book Mind, Modernity, Madness, the reason for high concentrations of severe mental illness in the developed West lies in the very nature of Western societies. The “virus” of depression and schizophrenia, including their milder forms, is cultural in origin: the embarrassment of choices that these societies offer in terms of self-definition and personal identity leaves many of their members disoriented and adrift.

The US offers the widest scope for personal self-definition; it also leads the world in judgment-impairing disease. Unless the growing prevalence of serious psychopathology is taken seriously and addressed effectively, it is likely to become the only indicator of American leadership.

It’s not that the delusional didn’t exist before the advent of the Internet. They did. But perhaps the Internet spreads things, like a cold virus wreaking havoc on an airplane.

 Madness and Identities

An article by Carl Elliot, A New Way to Be Mad, tells of an odd disorder– the desire to be an amputee. I found this article (written in 2000) fascinating, because many of the author’s cultural observations, as well as the behaviors described, foretell of the expanding transgender movement we see today.

The phenomenon is not as rare as one might think: healthy people deliberately setting out to rid themselves of one or more of their limbs, with or without a surgeon’s help. Why do pathologies sometimes arise as if from nowhere? Can the mere description of a condition make it contagious?

Language can make a condition contagious. Language can create an identity.

But we shouldn’t be surprised when any of these people, healthy or sick, uses phrases like “becoming myself” and I was incomplete” and “the way I really am” to describe what they feel, because the language of identity and selfhood surrounds us.

The Internet magnifies the language and the message.

On the Internet, you can find a community to which you can listen or reveal yourself, and instant validation for your condition, whatever it may be.

Says one amputee in Elliot’s article, who also turns out to be transsexual.“There was a huge hole to be filled and the Internet began to fill it.”

Fifteen years after Elliot wrote his piece, there are now seemingly infinite descriptions of trans and queer identities on the Internet. Some involve role-playing. There are sexual fetishes and micro-definitions of selfhood. Yes, some are relatively tame, and simply answer queries about awkward adolescent angsts. But the intimate stranger playing the teacher-role will invariably suggest that your child has an alternative identity.

Elliot says in his Atlantic article that “Geek Love” by Katherine Dunn is an influential novel in certain psychopathology communities. Apparently, it is compelling to some to be different, to distinguish oneself from the cookie cutter masses–to be distinct, better?

I started to notice that term, Geek, coming up a lot with my daughter. I suppose it means different things to different people. She seemed to use it to define herself as intellectual—in the way that a genius might not have the best possible social skills. And then the term queer reared its head. Queer as in non-binary, different, none-of-the-above. Looking into it more, I see that the Geek and Queer world collude and collide on the college campus. To take but one of countless examples, http://www.queergeektheory.org/ is a site and study by a Women’s Studies/LGBT Studies Professor at The University of Maryland. Queer-geek, apparently, is a new definition of selfdom.

We live in an age of micro-identities. Micro-identities will splinter you into a gazillion tiny quarks. Do you want to live in Quarksville?

quark subatomic explosion

Could the rise of transgenderism be a transient mental illness?

Why do certain psychopathologies arise, seemingly out of nowhere, in certain societies and during certain historical periods, and then disappear just as suddenly?

In Mad Travelers/Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses, philosopher and historian of science Ian Hacking discusses the phenomenon of transient mental illnesses and how they arise, limited to a certain time and place, and how they spread in ecological niches.

Niches require vectors, and Hacking emphasizes four that are essential for a transient mental illness to thrive:

1) Medical. The illness should fit into a larger framework of diagnosis, a taxonomy of illness.

2) Cultural polarity The illness should be situated between two elements of contemporary culture, one romantic and the other tending to crime. What counts as crime or virtue is itself a characteristic of the larger society.

3) Observability. The disorder should be visible as a disorder, as suffering, as something to escape.

4) Release. The illness, despite the pain, provides a release that is not available elsewhere in the culture where it thrives.

Hacking writes of “the fugue,” a transient mental illness first named and observed in late 19th century France. It was considered a dissociative disorder, and arose in young men expressly by their excessive/obsessive wandering—and resulted in the loss of self and memory. The first identified patient with this newly-termed illness was named Albert.

Albert and his doctors establish, in a hyperbolic way, the possibility of the fugue as a diagnosis. Everything I am about to describe could be fantasy. Everything could be what in the trade is called “Folie à deux”, half madness, half folly, produced by the interaction of the doctor and the patient.

Hacking writes about how this new diagnosis took flight; a disorder that had barely been described was now considered commonplace. “Mad Travelers” also talks about anorexia as a transient mental illness:

The suffering is manifest, but are we talking about behavior that is produced by stereotypes of female beauty, combined with a way of rebelling against parents, or are we talking about a “real mental disorder”?

Could we not be talking about the epidemic of transgender here?

Changing Souls

In another work, Rewriting the Soul Multiple Personality and The Science of Memory, Ian Hacking writes of semantic contagion:

When we think of an action as of a certain kind, our mind runs to other acts of that kind. Thus, classifying an act in a new way may lead us on to others.

How do we form our identities? Hacking’s observation applies to many ideas and the identities that flower from these ideas. We all know that pornography is widely available on the Internet. I had previously considered pornography as something that some men got hooked on; something that would be natural for a teenage boy to click on. But I think the viewing of pornography is more common in girls than many parents would like to think. There is a realm of queer pornography–queer, as a steppingstone to transgender. The pornography of the dark internet is brain-warping, soul-warping. Call it identity-warping if you’d rather.

One thing that some pornography does is to disseminate new modes of action, new descriptions, verbal or visual.

What we have seen with our daughter seems to be a dissociative disorder—a total disconnection from and loss of self.  Hacking’s books are both about dissociative disorders, or what used to be called hysteria. Can one not think of mass hysteria when we see so many young people declaring themselves “trans”?

When Hacking writes of transient mental illnesses reinforced by the psych community, he includes the epidemics of fugue in 19th century Europe (young men wandering the continent with no memories), as well as the multiple personality disorder explosion in America of the 1970s-1980s.

In the New Yorker issue April 3rd, 2017, Rachel Aviv writes in “The Apathetic” about a mysterious illness affecting refugee children in Sweden. Some of these children whose families were denied asylum have fallen into a coma– a cultural response? a transient mental illness? that expresses their pain. One child, Georgi, describes the experience of being trapped in a glass box—dreamlike—until slowly he realized that the glass wasn’t really there. “The glass wasn’t real. And now—now I understand that it wasn’t real at all. But, at that time, it was very difficult, because every move could kill you, I was living there.”

Transgenderism has found its ecological niche in Western culture, here and now. I first thought of the college campus and high school campus as possible ecological niches, until I realized that the trans condition has metastasized and is now found widely across the Western world. To be clear, Western world means societies that affirm transgenderism, promote it, give it special protected status, and naturally pay for all the treatments to become a different person.

Hacking describes what he terms the “looping effect”: people become aware of how they are being classified, which then results in the person altering their behavior and self-conceptions in response to their classification.

Classifying a phenomenon as a medical condition amplifies and colludes with broader cultural forces to create the condition. Susceptible young people who think they have this “condition of trans” are being fast-forwarded into medical treatment–permanent, harmful, devastating treatments that maim the individual, the family, and the wider society. We now have a transient mental illness mating with a social theory (gender theory was invented in the 1970s as an offshoot of feminist theory) to produce a mutant: a perfectly fine, healthy young man or woman mutilated to resemble the opposite. It is dehumanizing.

Contagious Desire

Ian Hacking uses the term “semantic contagion” to describe the way in which publicly identifying and describing a condition creates the means by which that condition spreads. He says it is possible for people to reinterpret their past in light of a new conceptual category.

Speaking of semantics, my references to transgenderism reflect the “new transgenderism” and not the old. I do not refer to the very young being gender-confused—persistently genderconfused. I refer to a movement that muddles sexuality and gender and opens the gender-revolving door to any who enter, as in, choose thy gender and medicalize it and surgicalize it.

There is much re-writing of history among the young adults proclaiming transgender. Hacking, in Rewriting the Soul, addresses memoro politics:

The doctrine that memory should be thought of as a narrative is an aspect of memoro politics. We constitute our souls by making up our lives, that is, by weaving stories about our past, by what we call memories.

Ask a parent about their daughter who has suddenly announced that she is a “trans man” without any signs of her being gender-atypical and then you discover that many in her friend group are doing the same. Social contagion. Mass hysteria. Memoro Politics. The looping effect is magnified by the identity-seeker.

Warped Adolescence

When we are young, in our formative years, we are heavily influenced and shaped by our environment. Current brain development science tells us we are still in-process until age 26 or so. Our experiences and exposures and perceptions shape our developing character. The young person who gets sucked down the wrong tunnel of the Internet is in danger of derailing from their true selfhood. The notion of gender identity seems based on gender stereotypes. Since when are all men the same and all women the same? Of course, much of gender is based on culture but not all–so what? Duh—girls are not born loving pink.

What about sexuality? Some people are sexually fluid; some are firmly rooted in one camp from an early age. Yes, for some there is a biological, perhaps genetic influence. Others have their sexuality tweaked by obviously, experiences, but in these days much experience is virtual: viewing a screen behind a closed door—extreme stuff that creates identities, names the identities, labels the person. Again, brain-warping, soul-warping, warped.

Science and Progress

If “progressive” ideas have brought us the notion of gender destruction with the ultimate goal of body destruction, no thank you—I’ll take our original form.

Thomas S. Kuhn writes in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that the scientific community can be guilty of linear thinking.

When a revolution (in science) repudiates a past paradigm, a scientific community simultaneously renounces, as a fit subject for professional scrutiny, most of the books and articles in which that paradigm has been embodied.

Kuhn suggests that scientific education would be better off with the model of the art museum or a library of classics, not the repudiation that can be a drastic distortion of a discipline’s past. Kuhn believed that science didn’t advance in a steady march of incremental progress; scientific insight could happen in great bursts. One interpretation of this is that ideas of years or decades earlier may be valid–or the correct theory. A discovery could burst forward in science, have a breakthrough, and the progress/idea could also rain down as a cloudburst.

It is one thing to be young and experiment with presentation. But when we medicalize and surgicalize a social movement, a transient mental illness, we cause harm to every one of us. As with Georgi, the young Swedish boy in The Apathetic, who felt trapped in a glass box, how do we break the glass and release our children trapped in the transgender glass box?

The Wide, Muddy and Turbulent River Trans

I think of the many streams of young people attracted to transgenderism. I think of a river composed of many tributaries, of a drainage of dendrites: the girl without a strong identity who goes searching, the girl who was a bit tomboyish but still happy being a girl, the teen girl who identified as lesbian until the muddling of sexual identity and gender identity pushed her over the bank, the socially awkward, those identified as being on the autism spectrum, those with serious mental illnesses that alter perception, the self-haters on the gamut spanning cutting, anorexia, transgender,  the boy who identified as gay and then took it a step further, the teens lost on identity-sucking websites, those hooked on pornography of a certain kind, the gamers and cosplayers who forget what is real, all of those young lives, each unique, each precious, all of them young men and women with their entire lives ahead of them sucked down the wide and muddy and turbulent River Trans and out to sea.

Loss

When your child re-writes history and does everything, she can to cease to exist, she re-writes your history too. There is the daughter you have known since birth. You know her. Yes, I grant that we can never truly know another. But when your child takes a 180 degree turn from herself, from her family, from all who know and love her, when she hates herself and hates you, it is a death.

We do not exist in a vacuum. We are all connected, a part of our immediate family, extended family, friends, village. When an individual is lost, the entire village will search. If we don’t, we will all become lost. Moral relativism, individual libertarianism, whatever, we say, that’s cool, I’m Ok–You’re OK, whatever you want to do—as though that person exists in a vacuum and has no connections.

When everything is okay, nothing is okay. We all lose.


The below is excerpted from

A Poem Epilogue by James Dickey (1966)

Turning Away

Variations on Estrangement

 I

Something for a long time has gone wrong,

Got in between this you and that other one other

And now here  you must turn away.

Beyond! Beyond! Another life moves

In numbing clarity begins

By looking out the simple-minded window,

The face untimely relieved

Of living the expression of its love.

                               

II

Shy, sad, adolescent separated—out

with its nerveless vision

Of sorrow, its queen-killing glare:

The gaze stands alone in the meadow

Like a king starting out on a journey

Away from all things that he knows.

It stands there  there

 

With the ghost’s will to see and not tell

What it sees with its nerveless vision

Of sorrow, its queen-killing glare:

 

 

Let’s Play Gender Clinic: Announcing a new line of children’s books for glitter families!

combo blue revised

Which box will fit your child best, the pink box or the blue box? We’re delighted to offer you a preview of these wonderful children’s books, produced by everyone’s favourite gender expert, Lily Maynard.

In her selfless quest to make money–I mean, reach out and help children everywhere choose the right gender identity for themselves–Lily has produced an exciting new range of quickly churned out… I mean carefully compiled… books for the contemporary glitter family.

By leaving these books casually strewn around your bathroom or living room, you can be sure your visitors will see how totally progressive and reactionary your gender politics are, and how well you understand the rigid borders that define what is acceptable behaviour for boys, and what is acceptable behaviour for girls. After all, you don’t want to be called transphobic, do you? Or even worse, a TERF? With these books on your bookcase, your liberal credentials will sparkle for all the world to see.  You’ll be a beacon of hope for all those gender-affirming glitter families out there!

Maybe your child is questioning their gender identity?  Maybe your child has a friend who is questioning their gender identity? Maybe your child hasn’t thought about gender identity at all?  If not, why not? And what can you do to change that? Aren’t you going to listen to your child: don’t you want them to become their authentic self? Surely you don’t want to risk your child turning out gay when there a chance they might simply be born in the wrong body?

When you buy Lily Maynard’s wonderful collection of books for your child, you are giving them an heirloom to treasure forever. Who knows, it could turn out to be a reminder of the day they started down the glitter path to their very own gender journey: a lifetime of circumvention, artifice, medication and surgery.

Lily Maynard has the heart of a bisexual polyamorous gender-fluid rainbow sparkle unicorn, despite having been married monogamously to the same man for the past twenty years.  She has three children. The eldest used to identify as transgender.  Lily spends far too much time on Twitter. You can follow her @lilylilymaynard


Exclusive sneak preview below!!!

lets play gender clinic

Mrs mouse revised

Text and images/image edits by Lily Maynard