To the Ontario Psychological Association,
I am writing this letter to protest the sentiments common now in the psychology field represented by this individual, Lisa Couperthwaite, and other psychologists who are trying to shut down open debate around transgender issues. There was a recent incident involving Dr. Oren Amitay on the OPA listserv that is just one of many examples (names were not made public so I am unable to send this to the persons involved directly). I’m a 48-year-old blogger on LGBT topics, in an 18-year relationship with a lesbian, and I’ve been involved in the LGBT community for over 25 years. I have become concerned about the impacts transgender ideology is having on young people, particularly female teenagers and young adults. I feel this way as a former adamant supporter of the trans community and their advocacy but I’m witnessing aspects of it that are unhealthy, even if good things are coming out of it as well. I’m from the U.S. but I network with other Canadian and British people, as the explosion in trans identified young people is an issue in the Western world in general. Lisa Couperwaite wrote this article advocating for no platforming individuals like Jordan Peterson and others who question transgender identity politics. There are many psychologists like this out there and I have witnessed them shutting people down who are asking reasonable questions many times.
Lisa Couperwaite may have a very responsible therapy practice concerning issues of LGBT young people but the culture of censorship and unquestioning identity affirmation is endangering my community, lesbian/bisexual females, who aren’t trans but often struggle with issues of gender dysphoria and feelings of inferiority to males, especially as young people. I can definitively state that one side effect of this is exacerbated gender dysphoria in teenage/young adult females, who are immersed in a culture that actually glorifies hating your own breasts and broadcasting this on the Internet and your profession is mostly doing nothing but celebrating all of this, at least publicly. Another side effect is that some gender therapists are doing no meaningful psych assessments on teenagers with serious mental health issues but are affirming them as trans on the first appointment. Some of these youths have outgrown their trans identification and were thankfully protected by what is now considered bigoted, transphobic parents.
It is completely valid for Jordan Peterson, and society in general, to question whether or not the now 50 gender identities, with dozens of different pronouns associated with them, is actually something that is healthy and adaptive for young people and if it really improves society. I came out between the lesbian feminist generation and the genderqueer generation. I’m not a lesbian feminist and criticized some of the intense polarization involved with it and I’m glad for people who are happier transitioning in a more tolerant society. But there were aspects of that pro-woman culture that I could argue were superior to the genderqueer, pronoun-obsessed generation we see now. Butch lesbians just identified as butch women. My wife was gender dysphoric as a child and now is a perfect balance between stereotypically “masculine” and “feminine” traits. But my wife’s focus on life is being successful in her career and being a good friend and family member, not obsessing on her gender and demanding the perfect nuanced word to acknowledge her specialness. As a Kinsey 5 bisexual, I have pursued “masculine” interests, intensely wanted to be a boy when in grade school, was enamored with masculinity as a teenager, and felt depressed and inferior to males when I was going through puberty. Varying degrees of gender dysphoria and gender nonconforming behavior are extremely common in people who experience same-sex attraction. But in the past we didn’t demand society use dozens of pronouns and expect the entire world to acknowledge our uniqueness by codifying it into law, which from my observation is actually exacerbating gender dysphoria, not helping it in many cases. Dr. A. W. Peet, who Couperwaite references, has to program the pronouns of Peet’s own friends into a cell phone to remember all of them and now the expectation is that professors should have to do this with the hundreds of students they have. I don’t mind change. But I think it is reasonable to question if this change is actually more progressive than normalizing wide variations within the 2 gender categories and respecting those who need medical aid in order to cope.
The actual benefits of these cultural shifts to individuals and society should be debated and I protest people like Lisa Couperwaite lumping in gays and lesbians to bolster her arguments for censoring free speech, when it is actually some members of those communities who are most worried about the effect of gender ideology. Many pre-gay and lesbian children experience gender dysphoria. She does not have the right to use the acronym “LGBTQ” and statements about “minority stress” as a weapon against open public debate. I know all about minority stress, as someone who had mental health problems greatly exacerbated by homophobia, yet this PhD would want someone like me banned from speaking on a campus if I were an academic. Would she want the trans people I follow on social media no platformed who believe that trans identification in young people has become an unhealthy fad endangering youth, who believe trans activism has become too extreme, and who believe the genderqueer movement is trivializing the plight of transgender people who need to transition medically in an attempt to fit into the binary?
This is a social movement unlike any other in the past. This movement involves sterilizing dysphoric children with hormone blockers. This movement is pushing to lower the age of consent for genital surgery on minors with now puberty suppressed, shrunken genitalia. This movement involves female teenagers amputating their breasts and permanently hirsuiting themselves before their brains are fully developed at age 25. This movement involves forcing the speech of other people. This movement pushes for 6’ 6″ tall trans women to compete in women’s college basketball. This movement involves the possibility that pre-gay and lesbian children may get tracked into Lupron use that may affect their gender identity. These issues are extremely serious and not only should psychologists not be shutting down people who are asking questions, psychologists who don’t ask questions are negligent and the ones who are trying to shut down others from talking about these topics are dangerous. Which is why I, as an average citizen started researching the risks of youth transitions to the gay community and why many of us feel we cannot trust your profession to do it in this activist driven climate. My letter to the APA on that topic can be found below as well as a letter from a LCSW who has similar concerns. Thank you to anyone who reads this.