Trans activist Dana Beyer wrote a blog post, “Amen to That – The War Against Trans Children is Over, Part 2” on approaches to treating transgender youth in The Huffington Post. There is controversy around this because a lot of children with gender dysphoria grow out of it, so the question is whether they can identify only youth who will be truly dysphoric adults. There are some interesting points in the article that show that some gender professionals (the ones that promote always affirming the child’s trans identity) feel that they can tell which children will be trans and which ones won’t be as adults. I am open to hearing the debate around this if they are supported by data and facts. But this quote sums up the reality that there is disagreement between pro child transition advocates like Dr. Diane Ehrensaft and ones that are more cautious like Ken Zucker (hated by trans activists).
So — if one can distinguish these children by classification, one could comfortably transition the trans girls while not doing so with the other two groups. Diane and her colleagues believe they are doing this today, while Zucker and Green believe it simply can’t be done.
But the most interesting thing about this article is that the author presents a completely callous attitude about the emotional health and even physical safety of effeminate gay boys. It’s not shocking a trans person would hold this view. Human beings put their own before others, it’s just the way it is. It is shocking that The Huffington Post would promote such an anti-gay article. Here are some quotes,
If one follows the Hippocratic system and prioritizes doing no harm, the priority must be to transition the trans girls and not worry as much about the inadvertently transitioned gay boys.
Why would we not worry about preventing a gay boy from outgrowing gender dysphoria by putting him on hormone blockers because he was socially transitioned as a 5-year-old child? Another quote,
This aversion to the trans experience is evident in his (Zucker’s) deep resistance to possibly transitioning gay boys, believing that such a transition would do irreparable harm to those boys, while feeling nothing of the same about trans girls who we know are deeply harmed when refused transition. I have a very dear friend who believes the same, and I have tried to understand her fear, but I can’t. I believe it’s grounded in a profound misogyny, and ignores the fact that a gay boy who is very feminine in his behavior is very unlikely to suffer from “going all the way” for a few years before he reverts to living as a gay boy. Will he be teased by his peers? Maybe. These boys often call one another “girls” anyway, so how bad could it be? But closeted and denigrated trans girls become depressed and suicidal.
There aren’t any control studies to verify if a very effeminate gay boy could “suffer going all the way” with these practices. And gay and lesbian youth suicide ideation rates are almost as high as trans youth in many studies. I understand this writer is transgender and that is what this author will prioritize. But this writer is obviously completely apathetic about the affects early child transitions or hormone blockers may have on gender nonconforming youth that may grow out of gender dysphoria. Preventing unwanted secondary sex characteristics is a much higher priority than doing everything to prevent the unnecessary mutilation of gay and lesbian children. Trans youth could still transition at 18. A gnc child that may have grown out of dysphoria, would now be sterilized and permanently altered by synthetic hormones. They may not even know they ever could have been happy as a most likely gay, lesbian, bisexual or even non trans straight adult.
This author also resents Dr Zucker’s approach, which involves trying to help the child become comfortable with their natal sex. Some of his techniques involved altering the child’s behavior and this does seem damaging from what I have read. But allowing the children to express all their gender nonconforming behavior does not mean you can’t try to aid them in accepting their own bodies and aid them in identifying with their natal sex at least until puberty. There are people critical of trans ideology and Dr Zucker who want a world were no gnc behavior is discouraged but body acceptance is also encouraged.
This article reminds me of a quote I read on a message board. People were discussing the issue of transitioning youth and someone said they didn’t think a child was old enough to give consent and may change. A trans woman said, “I can’t get what I need because some little shit is going through a phase.” And I am not even pointing this out to say look how awful this person is or to say they represent all trans people. I have no illusions about human nature. People prioritize themselves and their in-group. But this quote illustrates the impossibility of reasonable discourse around this issue. And the priorities of allowing a youth that might be borderline to go through puberty is utterly at odds with the trans community that wants 100% affirmation and medical intervention at any age.