After almost a year of contemplating and researching this issue I published a page listing my concerns about the current protocols for treating children and teens with gender dysphoria. I think there is enough here to question if this is really safe for all involved. And if it only isolates individuals who will truly have intractable gender dysphoria as adults, who will require cross-sex hormones and surgery.
You can see as time has past that I have become more concerned about this than when I wrote this blog post –Trans Students and Bathroom / Locker Room Battles Will Become More Common: Respect for All is Needed
Since I published this page several things happened that made me believe this is the right thing to do. First, I received several supportive emails from people who are also concerned about this. I also received an email from the parents of a minor teenager, with apparently no dysphoria as a child, and a history of serious mental health issues not related to dysphoria. The gender therapist advised cross-sex hormones on the first visit. Not developing a therapeutic relationship with a minor with this history, over a longer period of time, is very unethical. I ran the basics of this by some other people in and around the mental health field and they all agreed that this is unethical. This is the type of negligence that is resulting from the model that supports the 100% affirmation of a youth’s gender identity at all ages and under any circumstances. Whether this scenario was the intention of the creators of this protocol or not, this is the reality of what is happening. This isn’t the first story like this out there. I will not go into the other lawsuit worthy details. That’s a story the parents should tell if they choose.
Another thing that happened was that Noah Berlatsky published an article called “Fear of a Trans Planet.” This article criticizes Jesse Singal for writing this article, “What’s Missing From the Conversation About Transgender Kids” that reviews studies that show many children grow out of gender dysphoria. Berlatsky’s article exhibits the typical laziness and lack of basic curiosity this issue doesn’t deserve. It basically treats hormone blockers, social transitions, or even an unnecessary trans out come like a change in hairstyle. He also asserts no one has been hurt by transitioning because he doesn’t know about any. This of course is because he hasn’t bothered to look. There are plenty of detransitioners he could have interviewed, even if overall it is rare. He writes,
Despite these worries, Singal, strikingly, offers no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that early transition actually hurts anyone. Where are the people who switched pronouns at 10, switched pronouns again at 25, and found the experience traumatizing? Where are the people who received unneeded medical interventions and were permanently, or temporarily, harmed?
But “strikingly” Berlatsky offers no proof this is safe either.
And of course there has to be the obligatory accusations of transphobia.
Singal’s article is less a call to help children, and more a confused reaffirmation of stereotypes about queer people seductively converting straights.
Concerns about the affects of this on minors isn’t transphobia. They are phobias of unnecessary hormone use, surgery, and sterilization of minors or even people under 21 years old, who don’t always make the best decisions. Equating this with transphobia is dishonest. And it’s ironic he uses the stereotype of queers “converting straights” to bolster the argument Singal is being transphobic. The people most concerned about pediatric transitions are gay men and lesbians, often because of the way they remember their own childhoods. Because most gender nonconforming youth grow up to be gay or bisexual. I’m assuming this man is straight. This provides a perfect example of why I’m not planning on leaving the concerns for the impacts of this on girly-boys or lesbian teenagers in his or any other liberal heterosexual’s hands. I have been reading about this topic in-depth for months and I wouldn’t even come out with such confident statements. I merely site research articles and real world examples that suggest skepticism may be warranted. And I’m not a journalist. I don’t know why this author appears as a contributor to The Atlantic or to Reason.com, which is supposed to be a skeptic’s website. It would be fraudulent for anyone to print such a poorly researched article, on such an important topic, with such dismissive comments to call themselves any kind of skeptic. But there are a lot of frauds in the “skeptics” community.
The third thing that happened was that there were some very interesting posts from detransitioned women recently. In response to “Fear of a Trans Planet” a former FTM detransitioner wrote an amazing post, “Response to “Fear of a Trans Planet.” I highly recommend it. On a similar note “An Open Letter to Julia Serano from One of the Detransitioned People You Claim to “Support” in response to this.
Even if these situations are rare, I hope everything is done to prevent young people from making decisions they may not be ready for. And I hope these people get support. I want to follow up with some thoughts on these detransitioner posts soon.