Top Stories

Trans Activism’s Dangerous Myth of Parental Rejection

When children and adolescents experience gender dysphoria, our aim should be to provide them with treatment of the highest standard of care. We should be attempting to provide assistance that will result in the best outcomes—in the short-term, as well as the long-term. Unfortunately, treatment of childhood dysphoria is an area not yet well understood. The extreme contentiousness around the topic means that research can be difficult to conduct and is often hampered by ideological agendas. (For example, see here.) Without a clear consensus among researchers about the best way to treat gender dysphoric children and teens, input from parents increases in importance when determining course of treatment, since it can be assumed that most parents know their children well and have their best interests at heart.

However, narratives promoted by activists and the media currently undermine the crucial parental role in diagnosing dysphoria and helping to determine the most appropriate treatment. Amid glowing media discussions of brave trans kids and their heroic, supportive parents hangs an ominous specter of ignorant, bigoted parents who coldly turn their child out, or cause him or her to endure torturous conversion therapy to eradicate transgender feelings. Tales of the former abound. These stories are told in detail and with soaring rhetoric. In contrast, the latter kind of parents are always darkly implied, but rarely discussed with specifics. Rather, their influence is frequently invoked to underscore the dangers of not immediately affirming a child’s chosen gender.

There are several problems with this. The foundational assumption seems to be that many, if not most, parents will reject or condemn a child who comes out as transgender. But we have no evidence that this is the case. A 2015 study by the Pew Research Center noted that a majority of American parents report they would not be upset to learn that their child is gay or lesbian, and most gays and lesbians who came out to their parents felt that their relationship with their parents either grew stronger or stayed the same. Parental acceptance rates have been steadily rising since the 1980s and continue to inch up year by year. While the study did not explore parental reactions to having a transgender child, it would be surprising if family acceptance trends for trans kids were found to be moving in starkly divergent directions from those for gay and lesbian kids.

Nevertheless, the media continues to cultivate a narrative of widespread parental rejection and abuse. “To Stop Trans Kids from Killing Themselves, Shocking Study Says ‘Accept Them’” reads one Vice headline. The article makes the rather startling assertion that “in most species it is typically taboo to reject offspring, but something has occurred in our culture that has made it socially acceptable to reject transgender or LGB children.” No evidence is offered to support the claim that parents are rejecting their gender nonconforming children in heretofore unseen numbers against the promptings of parental instincts evolved over the eons. Readers are asked to accept this on faith.

A recent Daily Beast article decrying legislative proposals to keep schools from usurping parental authority in the case of trans kids starts off with this fallacy embedded in its opening sentences:

For transgender kids, home is not always a safe place to be out of the closet.

According to an online resource from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most kids “have a stable sense of their gender identity” by age 4. But they don’t reach the legal age of majority until at least 14 years later—sometimes longer, depending on the state.

That means many transgender children spend over a decade in the custody of someone who may not support them, and who may try to enroll them in harmful conversion therapy programs to try to change their gender identity.

Merely by virtue of living with parents, the author appears to be implying, trans kids may be at risk.

In another Vice article published a few months later—this one grandiosely titled “How the Mothers of Transgender Children are Changing the World”—we are again asked to believe that rejecting parents are the problem even though scant evidence is offered. “High rates of suicide and homelessness in the transgender population can probably be traced back in part to parental rejection,” the article asserts. In fact, the research linked in support of this statement notes that “the suicide attempt rates among those whose families supported them after coming out as trans was 33 percent.” Evidently then, parental rejection is far from the only issue here.

A further problem with the rejection assumption is that it leaves no room for sensible parental concern. If our starting supposition is that parents who express anything other than effusive enthusiasm are bigoted and rejecting, then the parental voice quickly gets lost, discounted, and even mocked when addressing clinicians. Rather than discerning whether transition might be right for a particular child after a careful evaluation that includes information from many sources including parents, gender therapists tend to assume that transition is the one and only right response, and parents are wrong if they don’t affirm. According to this belief, a questioning parent who wants to slow down on medical intervention is prima facie wrong.

Parents often have crucial information that could be important in making a differential diagnosis. Since children and teens are often poor historians, parental input can be key. Parents may have information about whether the dysphoria was present in childhood and whether there are other psychosocial challenges that may confound diagnosis. Many of the parents I speak with report having had their information and opinions rejected by gender therapists who appear to be distrustful of them. One mother was told by a gender therapist that she needed to enter her own therapy to learn how to support her ‘son’ when she shared information about her daughter’s recent sexual harassment by a boy in the neighborhood. The therapist even scolded the mother, suggesting that the mother’s sadness and concern for her child’s potential transition were inappropriate responses.

A third problem with the belief that parental rejection is the norm is that it makes for bad policy. How can a society function efficiently if it cannot depend on parental good faith toward offspring as a bedrock assumption? This does not mean, of course, that there aren’t truly awful parents who reject and abuse. But they are the exception rather than the rule. To establish guidelines and policies based on these exceptions dangerously arrogates too much authority to the state and institutions for children’s well-being and undermines the role of the parent. This leads to policies that range from the dangerous to the absurd.

In 2016, the National Education Association issued guidance for schools in conjunction with the Human Rights Campaign and other activist groups. The guidance stipulates that when students have parents who don’t agree with immediate affirmation of a trans identity, schools should step in. According to the report, “the school and student should determine how to proceed through the collaborative process of figuring out how the school can support the student and balance the student’s need to be affirmed at school with the reality that the student does not have that support at home.”

In practice, many schools have informal policies whereby any request on the part of a student for a change in name or pronouns is immediately granted without any discussion with parents. In my work consulting with parents of teens who have adopted a trans identity out of the blue without any prior history of gender dysphoria, I hear frequently that the child has been affirmed at school without parental input.

In one case, a family whose daughter was in the midst of gender exploration at home asked me to have a conversation with an administrator at their daughter’s private school. In a phone conversation with the head of the upper school, I shared my concerns about social contagion and poor outcomes in teen girls who appear to have developed rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD). I asked whether he might consider having a conversation with parents when a student came to school administrators asking for name and pronoun changes. “We can’t do that,” he responded. “It would put the child at too great a risk for parental abuse and rejection.”

Of course, this is an incoherent and poorly thought-through policy. Keeping parents in the dark to ‘protect’ the child is naïve at best. It appears that most kids suddenly claiming a trans identity are from educated, upper middle-class households. The parents I speak with are deeply engaged in and concerned about their children’s lives. It is very unlikely that a name change at school would escape notice for long in families where parents routinely check homework and are in close contact with teachers and others at the school. Most of the parents I speak with whose child has been affirmed without their knowledge quickly discover what has happened simply by seeing an assignment come home with a different name on it. Far from being rejecting or abusive, these parents are deeply concerned about their children’s struggles and spend considerable time researching the best way to support their child.

But let’s imagine for a moment that the school manages to affirm a child while ensuring that the parents don’t find out. The NEA guidance does, after all, encourage school administrators to address “how to refer to the student when communicating with the student’s parents or caregivers, both in writing and verbally,” as well as “how to refer to the student when communicating with the student’s siblings.” What is at stake if a school’s deliberate deception of parents succeeds? In such a case, parents would lose the opportunity to be alerted to their child’s distress in a timely manner. Perhaps the family has information the school does not that might shed light on underlying issues—histories of depression, eating disorders, or recent traumas, for example. By not informing parents about their child’s struggles, schools may be closing off an important opportunity to get appropriate treatment for comorbid issues.

Moreover, changing a child’s name at school can come with a host of potentially serious problems. One mother I spoke with told me that her child had been affirmed at school with a boy’s name without her knowledge. The mother received a phone call from the school one day stating that there had been and accident, and her son “X” (boy name) had been injured. The mother replied that the school was mistaken, as she did not have a son, nor a child named “X.” Of course, the medical emergency had in fact involved her child, but she only found out later. Another family’s daughter had been quickly affirmed at school without any discussion with the parents. Soon after, the teen was signed up for the SAT under the new, male name. This presented a significant challenge, since ID is required when taking a standardized test. In this case, the teen subsequently changed her name back to her birth name, and the family faced a bureaucratic struggle when it came time to apply for college, since the teen’s scores had been sent to universities under the male name and sex.

But perhaps the most serious problem created by the assumption of parental rejection is that it encourages familial estrangement. Alexis is a young reidentified woman who now feels that the narratives around being transgender encouraged her to distance herself unnecessarily from her parents. “The activists really do separate families,” she told me in an email conversation recently. “I thought I couldn’t trust my own mother.” Alexis says that, although no older trans person ever told her she would have to leave her family, she was given to believe that parental alienation was inevitable. “There was this time in class where my friend who was a transgender boy talked about dealing with his relatives. He said he cut them out of his life completely. He had to, he said. Everyone in the room nodded in agreement, even the teacher seemed to approve. I assumed I would have to do that too.” Alexis’s ‘coming out video’ provides a fascinating account of her experiences and is well worth watching:

Having been in contact with hundreds of families with ROGD teens, I am aware that parental alienation is a not infrequent outcome. Contrary to the scare-mongering in the articles cited above, the family rejection I have seen is almost always initiated by the young person, not his or her parents. I have known multiple families in which trans identified young people cut off all contact with their families simply because the parents suggested to their child that a cautious approach to medical transition might be best or shared some academic journal articles about the side effects of treatment.

As mentioned previously, the Pew Research Center study noted that family relationships often improve after a young gay or lesbian person comes out to parents. Only in a minority of cases did the relationship worsen. According to recent research on ROGD, parental relationships tend to worsen after a young person announces a trans identity, and the relationship continues to deteriorate over time. I believe that this difference is due in part to the belief promulgated by transgender activism that parents are not to be trusted, and should be looked upon with suspicion. Once such a belief has been created, even loving, well-meaning questioning or discussion is usually interpreted as evidence of ‘transphobia.’

Separating young people from their families serves no one, least of all the trans identified person. Young people experiencing gender incongruence are often psychosocially vulnerable and in need of family members who can offer material and emotional support. Stephen Levine is a psychiatrist who has had a long experience in working with transgender patients. He chaired the WPATH committee that developed the fifth version of the standards of care in the 1990s. In a recent academic paper, he shares concerns about family rupture. “The literature laments that some families reject their children, but it does not mention the patients’ rejection of their families,” he writes. He posits an ethical conundrum:

In diminishing our patients’ gender distress, we are enacting the ethical principle of Beneficence. But we are ignoring our empathic concern for those deeply connected to our patients. Perhaps the protocol for these patients ought to include counseling on how not to lose connection to others. By not doing so, it is likely that we are failing to help our patients to understand and preserve their familial and peer bonds.1

As a society, we have decided that there are times when it is appropriate for the state and other institutions to intervene between a child and his parents. Courts have found, for example, that medical providers may overrule parental objection to blood transfusions for their child in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Do parents who don’t immediately affirm their child’s sudden transgender identity fall into the same category as Jehovah’s Witness parents seeking to prevent blood transfusions? Courts justify compulsory medical treatment over parental objection in order to prevent physical harm to the child. There is no robust evidence that immediate affirmation for teens is necessary to avoid harm. Medical intervention for gender dysphoric adolescents remains a controversial subject, about which no clear consensus exists at this time.2 In fact, some anecdotal evidence points to the reverse. Many reidentified young people note that they were less happy when trans identified, and rates of depression and suicidality remain high for adults after transition.3

In some sense, the discussion turns around what we mean by the word ‘support.’ Transgender activists believe that the only way to support a transgender identifying teen is to immediately accede to all requested changes, including potential medical intervention. Parents who support their child in this fashion are signing off on hormones and surgery—treatments that will have irreversible consequences possibly including sterilization and loss of sexual function. They will do so in spite of the fact that there is no consensus as to whether these treatments are indeed effective or prudent. When parents don’t agree with immediate transition, activist clinicians pressure them with misleading references to suicide.

Many parents, however, have a different understanding of the word ‘support.’ The parents I speak with overwhelmingly love their children. They are interested in supporting their children in growing to adulthood with healthy bodies. They want to support their child’s emerging identity by allowing wide-ranging exploration of different orientations and interests. And they want to guide their child in weighing long-term consequences so that he or she can make wise decisions. Many parents who support their child in this way find that their child moves through her period of gender exploration without feeling the need to make permanent changes to her body. Young people with parents who supported their gender nonconformity while encouraging them to accept their bodies often express gratitude for this kind of parental support.

By encouraging teens and young adults to break away from their families due to ostensible ‘lack of support,’ trans activists are alienating kids from their bedrock source of support. Who besides one’s family is always going to be there, and always have one’s best interests at heart? The activist community won’t be on hand to pay college tuition, or set the child up in their first apartment, or help pick up the pieces when life strategies fail. We each only have one set of parents. Encouraging someone to walk away from these unique relationships is breaking up a special and priceless bond.

It should go without saying that, as a society, we acknowledge parents as the authorities when it comes to protecting the well-being of their children except in extreme cases where we have good evidence otherwise. Parental love is overwhelmingly a force for good. Attempts to undermine or discredit a parent’s love and concern for her children are shameful. We shouldn’t stand for it.

 

Lisa Marchiano is a Jungian analyst in private practice. She has been consulting with parents of teens with rapid onset gender dysphoria since 2016. She blogs at theJungSoul and podcasts at ThisJungianLife. You can follow her on Twitter at @LisaMarchiano

References:

1 Stephen B. Levine (2018) Ethical Concerns About Emerging Treatment Paradigms for Gender Dysphoria, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44:1, 29-44, DOI: 10.1080/0092623X.2017.1309482, p. 13.
2 Costa, R., Carmichael, P., & Colizzi, M. (2016). To treat or not to treat: Puberty suppression in childhood-onset gender dysphoria. Nature Reviews Urology,13(8), 456-462. doi:10.1038/nrurol.2016.128
3 Dhejne, C., Lichtenstein, P., Boman, M., Johansson, A. L., Långström, N., & Landén, M. (2011). Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden. PLoS ONE,6(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.001688

If you liked this article please consider becoming a patron of Quillette

91 Comments

  1. Ruth says

    Excellent article. I am so glad to finally see articles about the issue of children with gender .
    dysphoria be discussed out in the open and honestly. The high numbers of young people who are wanting to transition especially those in groups of friends indicates this may be a social contagion.
    Schools not telling parents leads to kids thinking their parents are the enemy. Add to that trans-activists and sites like Tumblr doing the same and families in these situations are in danger of falling apart devastating both parents and children including siblings.

  2. Will Crusher says

    “ROGD”? Way to perpetuate the insanity.

  3. With all that’s being written in the last few years about gender confusion and trans-y stuff, I’ll bet most of the American public thinks it’s a big issue and affects millions of people in this country. But it’s not — it’s a boutique issue if there ever was one, and it directly affects only thousands, not millions. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a report disclosing that only 4,118 Americans surgically altered their bodies in hospitals from 2000 to 2014 to appear like members of the opposite sex. That’s only 275 people a year. In a nation of well over 300 million. I’ll bet most Americans think that one in every ten people has some kind of gender dysphoria or has changed genders. But, then, they also believe (according to Gallup) that one in four Americans is gay (it’s actually about one in 25) and one third of Americans are black (it’s only about twelve percent). American overestimate these numbers because these groups complain the loudest and get an inordinate amount of attention in the Left-dominated media.

    If there are so few of these gender-confused/unhappy people in this country, then why do I have to read about it whenever I visit a news site? Probably because the Left needs fresh things to be outraged about, and this stuff will do the trick for now, at least until the novelty starts to wear off. Then they’ll find something else to shriek about.

    The question is, though, why Quillette suddenly seems interested in non-issues like “incels” (not an actual thing) or trans-people (a numerically marginal thing). I expected better of it.

    • I wish this issue concerned a numerically marginal number of people. I am afraid it does not.

      I agree that the number of people with intractable gender dysphoria who might need to transition is likely quite small, but we are in the midst of a social contagion throughout the English speaking world (and including the Nordic countries.) In the past 5 to 10 years, the number of children and teens seeking treatment for dysphoria has increased sharply. For example, in the UK, the number of children referred to gender identity clinics has quadrupled in five years, and similar increases are being seen in Australia, Canada, and the US. I hear from four to five new US parents every week. An online support community that started a year ago now has a membership of 1,000 families.

      There is no sign of this slowing down. It is a social contagion that is being reinforced in part by media coverage such as I mentioned in the article, and most professional organizations have not become aware of what is happening yet. I fear that great harm is being done in the meantime. Some back of the envelope calculations — which is the best we can do for now — indicate that it is possible that 6,500 young people are being sterilized each year in the US. https://4thwavenow.com/2018/01/26/the-sterilization-of-trans-kids-pesky-side-effect-or-modern-day-eugenics/

      • c young says

        @lisamarchiano I’ve heard that the majority of the increase in numbers has been among girls. Does that fit your experience ?

        • Lisa Marchiano says

          Yes. It looks like it’s about 70% natal female.

      • Two Cents says

        Thank you. We are being encouraged to proselytize this transgender agenda at the university where I work and the climate is such that any questioning is not allowed. It’s evangelical in nature and even more potentially harmful than anorexia. These kids are probably gay — not trans— it’s one of the worst trends I’ve ever seen and I pray it dies out before destroying more lives and families

        • c young says

          @Two Cents Its interesting to note the rapid turnaround in attitudes here.

          Male to female trans is relatively high profile in Latin America. Until recently, the politically correct view of this, in the US/UK, was that this reflected the backwardness and high levels of homophobia in Latin American societies. The trans individuals were really gay, but they had been forced into a more socially acceptable way of expressing their sexuality.

          Now we seem to heading towards inverse view – trans is authentic, but gay (sometimes at least) is not. I’m not aware of any evidence to support this view.

          • “It looks like an attempt by girls to opt out of puberty.

            The fact that puberty is arriving so early for girls now surely doesn’t help. Its shouldn’t be a surprise that many aren’t ready for the complications.

            https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/oct/21/puberty-adolescence-childhood-onset

            I was trying to reply to THAT comment, but….uh….I guess the reply button ain’t loading for that comment?

            Anyway, I don’t necessarily think those girls are trying to “opt out” of puberty. At least not intentionally. If that were really the case, why go through hormone replacement and male puberty instead of just settling for a hysterectomy? But yes, the precocious puberty and gender dysphoria ARE related issues, both due to abnormal levels of testosterone and/or cortisol. Often as a result of certain genetic mutations. I have personal experience with this, being one of those “early bloomer” girls who is indeed more “masculine” than my peers. I wanted to be a boy, because being a girl and having a period DOES suck, but so does being a man and facing harsher punishment than women for the same exact crime. The grass is rarely greener on the other side.

          • LAW says

            You hit upon an important thing here. “Gender dysphoria” seems to be related to society’s views on breaking gender norms.

            If we just let gay men be feminine and gay women be masculine and said “everyone is good just as they are” we wouldn’t need any medical terms, surgeries or made up pronouns.

            Instead, we start telling masculine women and feminine men at an early age that they were born Into the “wrong” body. It’s so damaging psychologically to think your body is incorrect – I still can’t believe this is the solution people have come up with to people wanting to act outside of gender norms.

      • babs1263 says

        Thank you for stating on this very serious issue Lisa Marchiano. Hope this article reaches far and wide! It is devastating children and young adults and families in vast numbers, the outcomes of this will be devastating.

    • Sad Dad says

      IMO the problem of a few is being leverage to damage our society.

      My guess is this generation of young people will grow to hate society for allowing them to be groomed into alternate sexual lifestyles long before they had the mental ability to understand what was being done to them. How did we get to the place where government sponsored grooming is required by law? How do we get to the place where the medical/psychological community is encouraging abnormality instead of normality? How did we get to the place where we express empathy for a few broken souls by grooming others to join them in their brokenness?

      I do hope we awaken soon and push back against this evil transitivity against humanity.

      • Maureen says

        Such an incisive and poignant comment. 20 years ago, I really didn’t understand the slipper slope argument. I thought, “How could anyone in their right mind ever argue an extreme position so far from this one?” But 20 years later, I now see how it happens – little by little, until you are living in an upside-down world devoid of any common sense.

        • Paul Ellis says

          It’s the Boiling Frog stratagem. You see it everywhere. The EU is a master.

  4. martti_s says

    Quillette’s subjects have become so uniquely American that it is really difficult to see the significance of the problems pumped up in the media. The tsunamis of emotion in the social media cannot be seen as anything else than the convulsions of a society succumbing towards self destruction.

    Build the wall, keep your madness to yourselves!

    • Chester Draws says

      The madness leaks out. I’m not American, and plenty of my daughters’ school thought it was cool to play trans/bi/whatever to gain attention in that teenage way.

    • Reform to the Gender Recognition Act is a big concern in the U.K., what with physical assaults on gender critical feminists and bomb threats against meetings to disciss reform. People are also concerned about a transgender woman who recently sexually assaulted four women prisoners having been transferred to a women’s prison.

      It’s not just an American issue.

    • Just Me says

      It’s similar in Canada. That’s the issue that made Jordan Peterson famous.

      • dirk says

        In the NL, it seems to be a much wanted issue in the entertainment industry of TV and media, with a high viewer and reader circle (and thus chosen by producers and editors).

    • dirk says

      What is this now Martti, Finland spared until now for the American madness? It won’t take long, and also your northern abri will be contagiated, even if you are situated close to the healthy and great Russia. But there is absolutely no refuge for the general madness of the West, even if it can take somewhat longer upnorth!

  5. Kimberly says

    As an Australian with many years experience in tertiary education, I assure you that gender dysphoria is not limited to the United States.

  6. This article is absolutely horrendous fear mongering of the worst kind. I’m going to write a response on my medium, I hope you read it Lisa.

    • David Turnbull says

      I’m going to write a response to your response on MY medium. I hope you read it.

    • Mark B says

      “Absolutely horrendous fear mongering of the worst kind”? We must not have read the same article.

      The takeaway message seems to be: “Don’t encourage children to destroy family bonds to satisfy the appetite of activists who may not have their best interests in mind but look for ways to mend families so they can support their child regardless of outcome.”

      How is this “absolutely horrendous fear mongering”?

    • Marko Novak says

      “This article is absolutely horrendous fear mongering of the worst kind”, said the SJW activist.

      The article suggests that it’s not necessarily best policy to completely cut out family members if they don’t willingly jump in with both feet mere seconds after you announce to them something that likely took you years to come to terms with.

      The transition steps that are pushed by activists and media have long term consequences and probably should be discussed with those close to you, that have know you the longest, instead of you hearing only the side, those that have known you for mere moments, that cheer you towards potentially irreversible changes while actively downplaying those changes.

        • Marko Novak says

          “Dude”?

          Umm… did you just assume my gender?

        • Marko Novak says

          So nothing about the content of my comment? Your reply is simply “I’m not an SJW activist”.

          Nothing about the compelled instantaneous acceptance of something he child has likely taken years to come to terms with? Apparently that’s irrelevant, accept now or the experts and the government will demonize you in the eyes of your child.

          Nothing about the fact that this is a life changing event with potential consequences and such things are best discussed before barreling ahead on the advice of educators and experts who will downplay those consequences?

          I discuss with my kids all sorts of life altering things from educational paths, to career choices, friend selections, substance abuse and gradation of substances. Discussion is important in parent/children relationships, we both learn from each other. But here… no questions, no discussions, accept the instant you are told or else. Lol. Sorry, not acceptable. When we are told not to question something, there’s actually more reason to question.

          • I literally said I was writing an article response to the whole article. Which I did. You can find the link in the comments section, or on my medium, search “notCursedE medium”.

    • NatureMom says

      Well, I find Lisa’s perspective refreshing. Not fear mongering, just warning the public about what she (and many others) are seeing.

      Our local school has had a big uptick in trans and non-binary students. Most of them female, a couple male. It appears very “in”–which wouldn’t be a big deal if it were simply a bunch of kids changing their hairstyles or becoming interested in a new (harmless) activity. But girls are wearing chest binders, which can result in breathing difficulties and deformed, or even broken, ribs. At least one student is on cross-sex hormones and frequently talks about upcoming genital surgery.

      If kids are acquiring these identities through social contagion, being cautious makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is encouraging these kids (who don’t appear to have genuine gender dysphoria) to believe they”re trans and helping them make permanent irreversible changes to their bodies.

  7. Lisa Marchiano says

    Happy to read. “Horrendous fear mongering” sounds a bit hyperbolic. It’s easier to listen to each other when we don’t overstate claims.

  8. A lot of people don’t realize that in modern teenage culture, “trans” isn’t just about people who want hormones and surgery. Every divergence from “manly man” and “girly girl” gets framed as some kind of trans or “non-binary” identity. Last month I was looking at books at the Pride display at my local library and I found one for teenagers that claimed, among other things, that Joan of Arc was a trans person because she cut her hair and wore male clothes to go fight the English. I couldn’t believe it.

    • Fluffy Buffalo says

      Is it possible that this is a long-term effect of Judith Butlers idea of genders being “performative”? I.e., according to the theory, you are a woman if and because you play the role of a woman, so if you don’t feel comfortable playing that role all the time, you take that to mean you’re not “really” a woman? (While in fact you’re still very much a woman who happens to not like all the stereotypes.)

  9. Cerastes says

    First, the author ignores the obvious issue with these graphs – they represent *instantaneous* levels of acceptance, while the trans and LGBT population as a whole have a *time-averaged* experience. Some gay people are kids now (mostly accepted), some were kids 10 years ago, and some were kids 40 years ago, etc.

    Second, the data is coarse – a relationship can “get worse” in ways ranging from just mildly less emotional connection to abuse and expulsion. The “gets worse/gets better” dichotomy is asymmetric – assuming pre-coming-out parents were doing their best, they can’t really improve that much, but they can get MUCH worse. Similarly, the consequences for kids are asymmetric – the best consequences of a good reaction are much milder than the worst consequences of a bad reaction.

    Third, this issue is also spatially heterogeneous. The level of acceptance a kid will find if they’re in NYC is WAY higher than if they’re in Nohwheresville, Mississippi.

    The best comparison is one near and dear to my heart – “Should I grab this snake?” In this analogy, I’m a trans kid. In most areas of the world, non-venomous species are much more common than venomous, so it matches the author’s probabilities. But, as I point out, the consequences are highly asymmetric – if I grab it and it’s harmless, it get some level of enjoyment, but if it’s venomous, I go to the hospital, maybe lose limbs, maybe die. Those consequences are rare, but dire, just as with trans kids. Similarly, this decision will be very different if made in Canada versus Cameroon (or even Maine vs Mississippi). And in areas with mimics, I may not be able to precisely ID something.

    TL;DR – Even if rare, sufficiently dire consequences can be a very important in decision making.

    • Marko Novak says

      “…if I grab it and it’s harmless, it get some level of enjoyment, but if it’s venomous, I go to the hospital, maybe lose limbs, maybe die.”

      Lmao, and you accuse the writer of fear mongering? The grab/don’t grab behaviour you describe is very childlike. An intelligent person would look at the snake and observe it, possibly even educate themselves and identify the snake to assess it’s threat level. While avoiding the snake eliminates any potential threat it also eliminates any potential enjoyment.

      It’s also very telling that in your analogy parents and family members are considerred “snakes”. Puppies can give great joy. Kittens can give great joy. Yet both of them could also bite you and scratch you, potentially leading to infection. But no, to you parents are snakes. Family members are snakes. It gives clarity to your mindset.

  10. Separating people from their families is classic cult behaviour, as is engendering fear and the belief that only the chosen community protect you from harm. Add to that the invocation of meaningless sound bites (‘transwomen are women’, ‘transphobia is literal violence’, etc) and a system of awards and punishments for professing beliefs and you have the perfect recipe for ‘thought reform’.

    This has much in common with the Satanic abuse hoax a few decades back. In both cases there’s an element of social contagion. Instead of children being challenged they are encouraged in their beliefs. The authorities – social workers, psychologists, schools, the courts and the media – collude by labelling anyone who questions the prevailing narrative as an abuser.

    • A Gay and Trans Scholar says

      “Separating people from their families is classic cult behavior,” I’d be careful before jumping to assume that transgender people WANT to be separated from their families. I truly believe it could be a bit of social contagion, in which transgender youth want to leave a situation that is not ideal.

      This is not new.

      If you followed anything related to LGB issues or history, you would know that this was also quite common with youth with a differing sexuality than heterosexual. The difference here is that LGB youth can more easily hide a sexuality vs. a gender presentation.

      I’ve come from an experience where I had to leave family because things because of psychological/emotional/verbal abuse AFTER coming out as trans. And if you dare notion that anything other than physical abuse is not a form of abuse, you’re sorely mistaken. Youth who are 18+ and have the means to leave a dangerous situation at home, definitely should. My household only became worse after my decision to leave, and the abuse fell on my siblings as well. By God, if I could return and have things be normal, it would be a miracle. But that’s simply not the case for me, nor many others. This experience is not limited to mine as a transgender person. I have friends who are gay/lesbian who have dealt with similar situations. This is not transgender exclusive.

      • You make it sound like your parents were abusive already, and you are correct that it is NOT transgender exclusive. If you are abused, for whatever reason, you should avoid giving your abuser any more “ammo” to use against you. Common sense. But from what I can tell, the issue in this article is the destruction of HEALTHY relationships by keeping secrets and making assumptions. Trans activism (and most other social justice movements) tend to encourage familial dysfunction.

  11. Mazzakim says

    It is heartening to see the percentage of parents who would be upset to learn their child is gay or lesbian has dropped over the last 30 years from 89% to 39%, but that still means two in every five– not exactly an insignificant number. But of course, what does that mean? It certainly doesn’t mean in all situations where the parents get upset they in turn reject their children. At the same time, it doesn’t mean everything is rosy; the commenter above who talked about “time-averaged” experiences makes an excellent point.

    I personally couldn’t and wouldn’t care if any of my three children indicated they were gay or trans, I want them to as much as possible be their authentic selves on terms that make sense to them. I can and do help guide them, but their lives are ultimately their own to live. My ex-wife, on the other hand, has become an aggressive Bible thumper over the years, and is virulently homophobic and anti-trans. She would make their lives a living hell.

    From your article and other things I’ve read, this is clearly a really complicated question with no clear consensus about definitive answers. I don’t think parents always have the best interests of their kids at heart– there are a lot of really shitty parents out there– but most of us do try to muddle through, we do the best we can, and we do genuinely want what is best for our kids. I think you are correct to urge caution, but at the same time I think it is important that teens whose families do reject them know they aren’t alone and have places to turn.

  12. A Gay and Trans Scholar says

    Currently writing a rebuttal to this. It is fine to be a parent with serious concerns about more and more children and young people coming out as transgender. Some cases may be social contagion, but others I believe are just a case of the larger population coming into contact with information that fits their experience on the internet. There is too much focus here on parental perspective, which is completely different from a child’s. How for instance, could a heterosexual parent comprehend the life and narrative of a child who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual? The answer is: they simply cannot. The same goes for a child who is transgender, and a parent who is cisgender. How could someone who is not trans, possibly understand what it is like to have a differentiating gender than one’s sex?

    Therein lies the answer: ROGD is the inability for the child or young adult to comprehend or explain one’s gender differentiating from their sex and therefore hiding it from the parent who may be exhibiting homophobic behavior already or making comments that hint to the child that it is not safe to relay this information. There is also the case where the child/young adult will completely comprehend their gender identity and withhold that from the parent because of the parent’s behavior. Similar things occurred (and still occur) with LGB children with homophobic parents. There are plenty of cases where the child just up and leaves without question. Nothing is “rapid” in this process. There may be social contagion for a child to leave a family who will not accept them, but for there to be social contagion to be transgender especially when they see other transgender peers struggling so much? I don’t think so.

    Lastly, Alexis’ video is not a very good defense of ROGD. This person is very young, and this offers only one perspective on someone who has experienced gender dysphoria, and has come out openly at one point as transgender. There are plenty of lesbian and straight individuals with gender dysphoria, who are not transgender or may have once been transgender and realized their identity was shaped around gender/social norms rather than an interior, intrinsic identity. This is well known, or so I thought… Many people are confusing “transgender” with “defying social norms” when both certainly exist at the same time, though they are marginally different.

    • Watchful Waiting says

      “There is too much focus here on parental perspective, which is completely different from a child’s.”

      On the contrary, I think the article is saying parental perspectives are often ignored, belittled or demonized unless they are unwaveringly “pro” transitioning their child to live as the other sex. That’s the myth of “parental rejection.”

      Although I agree with some of your other points and possible motivations, I accept this as a mental health issue. I don’t equate being gay the same as choosing to live as transgender as a way to mitigate gender dsyphoria. Some do live as transgender with great success, some not, and everything inbetween.

      And I surely hope you aren’t saying a parent’s perspective is worth so little, unless they are trans too. You are validating one of the points this article brings up.

      To quote journalist Frank Bruni’s article, “I reject the assumptions — otherwise known as prejudices — that certain life circumstances prohibit sensitivity and sound judgment while other conditions guarantee them. That appraises the packaging more than it does the content. It ignores the complexity of people. It’s reductive.”

  13. Watchful Waiting says

    Thanks you so, so much for this article. This transgender social contagion with teen girls is front and center in my life. My teen girl suffers from gender dysphoria of varying intensity starting suddenly at puberty. There are others in her school doing the same thing even if they aren’t showing up in statistics for surgeries and hormones or in clinics that record such things. It would be like trying to track how many teens identified as “goth” in High School since the 90’s. Have a kid? Ask them if anyone is doing this in their school. You may be surprised.

    At her request, the school changed her name (for the second time) and then sex to “male” in the computer system on the spot and gave her a new school ID. We, her parents, are not consulted in any way and have no say or input. State law compels them to do so. State laws built on an ideology which leaves no room for other interpretations of behavior.

    Ironically, my daughter was only focused on the name change. She did not know they changed her sex in the system until we told her. At odds with some aspects of current trans ideology, she believes she is female but we find she is sending signals that she is male in an attempt to control how she is treated by others. And we all know we can’t control how others treat us, but this is something she needs to discover in her own time as she matures.

    As this article points out, the school acted in complete ignorance about our daughter’s background of psychological struggles when they socially transitioned her without our consent.

    Think about that. Schools know nothing about her mental health and yet are socially transitioning teens full throttle. There is no middle ground to discern the distinction between different types of gender dsyphoria (there are different types–this teen onset is a new presentation) or her motivations or the weighing of the iatrogenic risks. It’s an experiment without any controls or tracking of outcomes or data or follow up. Parent input, or any input other than the child’s, is not part of any process.

    As I’m sure they would readily admit, no one at the school is even remotely qualified to weigh our teen’s sudden gender dysphoria suffering against perceived benefits or detriments associated with treating her as male. For us, in word and deed, if we had unquestioningly agreed to our daughter’s desire that she be treated as male, we are reinforcing that belief and agreeing that there is something wrong with her body, a body which will carry her the rest of her life (refer to Quillette’s recent Transhuman article). It is one of the hardest decisions a parent can make in navigating care for their child and so much depends on the severity of their gender dysphoria, the age of onset, any co-morbid diagnoses, and the motivational behaviors behind the reinvention of self. Asking questions or “not “accepting” a new sudden “gender identity” doesn’t mean a parent isn’t working in their child’s best interest—or that they are not sympathetic to their suffering.

    On the contrary, it can be life changing. As our goal is to respect that Identity development is a process until you are in your early twenties. We want to give our daughter the gift of time to let it do just that. We also want her to have space to accept her body as it is and leave that door open. Applying critical thinking to the many angles of this issue should only build her back to bear the burdens of life whether she continues her gender identity journey or not. Her body is just a neutral player in all this and deserves that careful consideration from us, even while she is too busy hating her body, as many teen girls do.

    And as understanding and patient as we are for our daughter struggles with her gender dysphoria, as much as we are invested in professional help for her problems, policy makers need to know that parents like us are working against a school that treats gender dsyphoria the same as a 54 year man’s. Trust me, the motivations are different here. And we face a countdown clock to her being able to access cross sex hormones at 18 years old. The stakes are high. The hormones are available in many places with just an informed consent form, before they dole out out off-label hormones of dubious benefit but great potential for harm.

    • Mazzakm says

      Although it’s obvious at times that you wrote quickly, I think it’s a strong rebuttal. After reading it, I went back and re-read Lisa Marchiano’s original essay. The phrase that comes to mind about her essay in light of what you said as well as some of the more thoughtful responses in the above comments is “concern trolling.” What also comes across pretty clearly from all the context is Marchiano has an agenda that cloaks itself in the best interests of the children/teens, but is really intended to be ammunition for the anti-trans side.

      • I can’t agree more, and yeah I definitely did do a bit of a rush job. Thanks for the read!

        • Just Me says

          cursede-

          I agree with you in having less confidence than the author in the wisdom and goodwill of parents, and make good points about that.

          However, you haven’t convincingly, to me anyway, addressed with this sudden increase in teenage girls identifying as trans isn’t suspect as social contagion.

          That does happen, and this trend goes against past historical evidence which shows FTM a lot less prevalent than MTF.

          Teenage girls do have a lot of issues with their bodies at puberty, and jumping to the conclusion they are trans is not necessarily the correct diagnosis.

          In the past, there have been teenage fads for satanism and witchcraft, Buffy and Willow on TV were the hip role models, suddenly it seemed it was everywhere, then it vanished…

          This looks to me like a similar phenomenon.

          • I disagree there are studies which suggest ftm are less common than Mtf. I’ve never seen anything to indicate as such, other than the lack of coverage of trans men in media and literature. Partly due to the fact they assimilate and “pass” so easily and of course misogynist attitudes towards “men who want to be women”. Any discrepancy can therefore be possibly attributed to the lack of awareness around trans men, and the rise in referrals (a rise which also happened for youth trans women referrals, though proportionally less so) can be attributed to the increased awareness in recent years.

            This is a far more likely idea than a social contagion; especially since trans people aren’t all that popular in our society as it stands.

            Everyone has a lot of issues with their bodies during puberty – I know of dudes who were insecure as heck about anything from body odour, to body and facial hair to bulge size. And of course young girls have these issues too. Yet the vast majority of children don’t seem to be saying they’re trans, so it seems super unlikely that this could be the reason for the increased referrals, its not like body issues during puberty are a new thing.

            Buffy and Willow are still my role models. Though, Anya is always going to be my favourite. Though to address the point I think it’s crappy to compare legitimate medical issues to fads and phases like being into witchcraft because of Buffy. Trans people have existed for literally centuries, even through the times when we could be lobotomised for being trans. Even when our existence was consistently swept under the rug and made to look like we weren’t real, or we were delusional or whatever the hell else. How can social contagion explain trans people back then? And if it can’t… Why does it suddenly apply now?

          • Just Me says

            cursede-

            trans people have existed for centuries, yes, but not in the numbers we are seeing now, especially in FTM.

            Body issues are not new thing, no, what is new is the media, social media, etc. presenting being trans as an explanation and solution to those issues.

            It has only very recently become the “cool” identity, attracting the same kind of teenagers who once made witchcraft the “cool ” thing. Not all teenagers are determined to be the cool kids at any cost, only the minority with “issues”.

      • Just Me says

        I find it annoying that any comment or article that questions some aspect of an issue rather than being totally pro or con, gets dismissed as “concern trolling”.

        The author raises some, yes, “concerns”, how about sticking to discussing whether those concerns are justified or not, instead of immediately jumping to ad hominem accusations of intellectual dishonesty?

        That makes for a much healthier public discussion.

        • Nervous Wreck says

          Who would say they’re trans if they weren’t really trans? that is THE guiding principle now, and no one can be questioned. But self-id / affirmative-care / informed consent is hurting the trans community because of this “how dare you question” attitude. Turns out that there are many who admit they made a mistake, that they misinterpreted themselves and have regret. And a big question they have is why did everyone just agree with them??

          Attempts to shut down free speech and individual rights to think for ourselves show a very dark side of the new self-id “transgender”. Keep showing it and risk harming the whole trans community.

        • Mazzakim says

          “…ad hominem accusations of intellectual dishonesty?”

          Technically I said the phrase that comes to mind about her *essay* is… “concern trolling.”

          But if we want to be more definitive, yes, the point is indeed Marchiano is coming across as intellectually dishonest in ways rather exhaustively covered by Cursede in her Medium response. I was simply agreeing with Cursede here. Although I am very familiar with dishonest arguments, since the internet is full of them, I’m not well-versed enough in trans issues to do much more than give my opinion as to who comes across as more persuasive.

          And Instead of quibbling with me about whether or not what I said was ad hominem, advancing this discussion would be taking the time to address what Cursede wrote.

          • Just Me says

            Mazzakim-

            I did address what Cursede wrote, and addressed your comment separately because the accusation of “concern trolling” really, really annoys me, because it deflects from the issue at hand

        • Paul Ellis says

          “lack of coverage of trans men in media and literature. Partly due to the fact they assimilate and “pass” so easily”

          Are you sure? In public I can often spot them a mile off, generally because they’re somehow over-feminised or parodic. Visually, something usually doesn’t add up. Being polite, I feign not to notice. Perhaps this is one of the problems.

          • Ria says

            @Paul Ellis: you mean trans women. I don’t know anything about you but if you don’t even know what trans man and trans woman means, that indicates to me that you know too little to have anything meaningful to add… to put it bluntly.

          • Paul Ellis says

            @Ria

            One thing you could reasonably have assumed about me is that I’d made a mistake, which I had, and which I realised when I read my post again. Instead you decided to dismiss and insult.

            Pareto explains it. Those at the sharp end of any interest, activity or identity tend to become imbued with it, expert, hyper-informed, and hyper-sensitive. It can come to dominate their entire world, but while this is understandable it doesn’t disqualify wider society from discussing the ramifications when they are likely to be affected by it, as we in the UK will be by proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act.

            One perfectly valid area for discussion is how representative of wider society the interest or activity is. In civilised societies outliers should be accommodated, but the tail mustn’t wag the dog.

            Everyone goes through developmental phases in the course of their lives, and the rite and speed of passage can be acute for teenagers and young adults. I think it most important that one doesn’t get trapped in a phase and remains free and flexible enough to individuate into the next one, which the Quillette article ‘I Was a Female Incel’ appears to me to confirm.

            Anything which irrevocably traps one in a phase will probably do more harm than good in the long run, and it seems to me (and evidently plenty of other commenters here) that automatic gender reassignment by schools, without parental knowledge or input and with an assumption of parental compliance, will have the practical result of tending to trap a young person within a phase they otherwise might pass through.

            Speaking as a parent I’m opposed to that.

            As for the rest of my comment: it’s usually hard, if not impossible, to make up for lost time and experience. Deciding to change your gender does not automatically make it possible for you to catch up with, learn, and assimilate all of the socialised behaviour that your peers born into that gender have learned since birth. This is likely to remain a long-term handicap (in the horse-racing sense) and should not be downplayed.

            Transgender people are often easy to spot, because something about them doesn’t add up, and apart from physiology, that something is the socialised behaviour gap. It is not transphobic to point this out: the socially mobile, immigrants and mixed-race people have to confront similar socialised behaviour gaps. Ask Meghan Markle.

    • “Also as a teenager I would change in bathroom stalls for PE at school.”

      So did me, my husband, and every kid who could fit in the bathroom on time before PE got started. My husband doesn’t want to be naked around other men, I don’t want to be alone AT ALL around other women, and neither of us cared much for dress codes anyway. So are my husband and I showing symptoms of being trans? Ugh, you are NO LESS ideologically motivated than the original poster. But why should I expect a transgender person to write anything critical of transgender activism? That would be like a lesbian opposing gay marriage, or even a woman against feminism! Oh well, at least you only said “literally” like 9 times. And you didn’t end the article with a *mic drop* like most other millennials.

      • Hahaha. No, these things aren’t inherently signs one is trans – and as I mentioned further down the article. I knew of other kids in the same changing room changing in the cubicles because they had their own body issues. It’s just that for me specifically, this was a sign of dysphoria – and one my parents had no way of knowing about. Which is why I used it as a way to argue that parents aren’t omnipotent.

        • Thank you for clarifying. In my case, it wasn’t a body issue; I’m simply uncomfortable around other women. Their voices and mannerisms greatly agitate me. Naked or not, girls are bitches to each other. Honestly, I would’ve lied and said I was trans JUST to be in the boys’ room. But times were different 5 years ago.

          • No problem! I write to be understood better, so if someone has missed my point that’s probably on me for not explaining it so well.

            And true. I don’t use changing facilities all that often, but unless I can get a private cubicle all to myself I don’t use them at all. I don’t need that stress in my life haha.

          • Ria says

            @Edith Aint: trans woman, here. boys don’t act too great towards each other, either, in a different way. do you know how puppies or kittens wrestling with each other for dominance? boys do that, not the way girls do on a social level but with a threat of physical violence or of verbal teasing. I do not know if I would call it worse or better but girls do not have a monopoly on cruelty.

      • And I agree, parents are NOT omnipotent. But the modern school system is total shit that fouls up everything it touches.

        • @Ria I don’t know why the reply button is loading for some comments but not for others…..

          Anyway….I have brothers. And a husband. I know how males fight with each other, and I much prefer it to how women are. 🙂 Yet I’m slightly more sexually attracted to women….huh….From an outside perspective, my husband and I probably seem to have a physically “abusive” relationship; quite a bit of sparring, wrestling, and sometimes a genuinely angry punch to the gut. I don’t mind one bit. Women are way more emotionally manipulative than men, and they will use anything you love against you at the slightest insult. At least in my experience as a woman. Bruises heal better than broken hearts, and I can’t trust women with my heart.

  14. Nervous Wreck says

    Lisa, thank you for this article. The “trans” of today isn’t the “trans” of just a short time ago, and so many are unaware of the rapid change. A growing number of parents and other family members are having their eyes opened wide once they realize how easily a young person is put on a medical pathway. No diagnostics, no counseling needed first. The only requirement is that it makes the kid happy. What happens later when they’re not so happy? you can’t regrow body parts.

    Us parents who are speaking up do so because we’re in the thick of this recent uptick in trans-identifying females on school campuses who make “trans” look like a teen clique. This is new and is going unreported in the main stream media.

  15. I can assure readers that any parents who are dealing with this issue with a child — whether a minor child or an adult child — have concerns, as the medical treatments are invasive and in many cases unstudied, off-label and irreversible. Yes, we are deeply concerned for the health of our children, of course, as is Ms. Marchiano. This is a serious issue. Our concern is not of the trolling variety. Not at all.

  16. Jim Dandy says

    Why is this a thing? Transgender behavior in adults is a mental disorder, transgender behavior in children while not necessarily a disorder should be discouraged at the very least simply ignored. You don’t need a physcolgy degree to understand this. The worst and most destructive reaction to a child expressing doubts about thier gender is to encourage the notion that gender is selectable, stop it!
    This is just another from form of social deconstruction if we take it seriously we loose yet another brick in the wall of civil society.

    • Just Me says

      The fact gender is to a large extent a social construction is precisely why this whole transgender thing is problematic.

      If it is a social construction, any disorder is because of problems with the environment, such as one that devalues males and glamoursies females, not biology, and so that indicates there is something toxic about our current environment if suddenly gender issues are cropping up in children.

      • Just Me says

        There were always extreme situations where someone could end up with screwed up gender identity, but it is very concerning when these start cropping up in droves. It tells us something is very wrong with the environment.

  17. Alexandre says

    Does anyone have data on the numbers of people with “gender dysphoria” outside the English-speaking countries? For example: is this such an urgent problem in the German-speaking world countries? Or the Portuguese-speaking countries? I don’t know… This whole thing smells like intellectual imperialism.

  18. @Just Me I missed your response to Cursede so my apologies for saying you weren’t advancing the conversation.

    @LisaMarchiano Not in your essay, but in a comment you make the “back of the envelope” claim that some 6500 “young people” are potentially being “sterilized” each year. This is a very disingenuous, inflammatory and quite frankly irresponsible claim that no real medical professional would make. (Although I’m not a medical professional, my father was a former Johns Hopkins professor in the Department of International Health, and I work in a hospital– a couple years in the mental health clinic– and see how careful every one is required to be with data, conclusions and most especially patients.) The comment you made is the statement of a rank partisan.

    As the citation, you refer to that 4thwavenow website that even without Cursede’s description of it in her Medium response is quite obviously and openly anti-trans. That 6500 number is a very dubious calculation of American “potential” statistics based on referral data from this British article scaled for population size differences: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/referrals-to-englands-only-childrens-gender-identity-clinic-have-doubled-every-year-since-2009-a6979711.html. That article in turn cites https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36010664. Funnily enough, when tracking back through all three articles the only hard data point is the number of *referrals* to the clinic which is *NOT* the same things as the actual number “physical interventions” (aka “sterilizations”) undertaken per year. Not even close.

    I’m much more convinced that Cursede is absolutely correct in calling your essay “terrible.” She is 100% accurate in calling the terms “social contagion” (used in this context) and “rapid onset gender dysphoria” pseudo-scientific. And I’m all that more comfortable in calling what you wrote intellectually dishonest. As that old saying goes, you can’t have an honest conversation that involves a dishonest argument.

    And now that I actually took a look at your professional background and see that your website says you are a currently licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania, I’m half-tempted to report your comment to the PA State Licensing Board: http://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/SocialWorkersMarriageanFamilyTherapistsandProfessionalCounselors/Pages/default.aspx.

    I’m out. All those of you actually on the side of these kids, keep fighting the good fight.

    @Just Me How’s that for advancing the conversation?

  19. I wrote a long comment that apparently didn’t go through. I’m not going to rewrite it. Lisa Marchiano’s comment about 6500 potential “sterilizations” per year is not one a true medical professional would make. Track through the articles on which it is based and you can see it is junk. It is so irresponsible and inflammatory that I am half-tempted to report her to the State licensing board for licensed clinical social workers in Pennsylvania, along with her use of “social contagion” and “rapid onset gender dysphoria” as if they are accepted scientific terms, and see what they think.

    Those of you actually fighting on the side of the kids, I wish you the best. I understand this is an emotionally charged issue on all sides, but neither parents nor kids are going to be served by junk pseudo-science and partisan scaremongers masquerading as therapists. I’m out.

  20. Mark says

    This transgender rubbish has simply gone too far. The Left has completely and utterly lost the plot. Ridiculous made-up gender neutral pronouns? Celebrating children taking puberty blockers? Young women having their breasts removed? I have to call a bloke in a skirt a woman? And if I don’t in Canada I can be sent to prison? And he’s always been a woman? And he can compete against women in MMA? And he can get changed with women and girls? Are we going to allow man convicted of rape to go to a women-only prison? You can change gender each day? Biological sex is now called “assigned sex”? And it varies independently from gender identity, gender expression, and sexual identity? Doctors being fired for only believing there are two genders?

    It’s all fucking madness. And we need to start calling it out. Any hormonal or surgical changes to children should not be allowed. Surgeons and doctors should be charged with child abuse. Even if I’m wrong, there is no way the science is in on this issue. We don’t know enough to be making irreversible changes to children. It’s disgusting.

    Principals need to be fired if school staff humour children by calling them an opposite sex name. How on earth schools think their staff have the right to call a child another name without parents’ consent is mind-blowing. Teachers exist simply to teach.

    It’s completely unacceptable for children to be exposed to this insidious ideological experiment. The fact that children are being taught this drivel in Kindergarden and primary school has convinced me I will never send my children to a public school.

    Enough is enough.

    • Daniel PV says

      @Mark

      I can feel your pain and frustration reading your words. Don’t let this stuff drive you insane good Sir. Keep doing what you’re doing. Raise your kids how you see fit. Don’t stress out around the belief that anything hurtful or damaging will be enforced upon you and your children. Keep your chin up.

  21. dirk says

    In the end, it all has to do with equality and Sartre’s “I am what I choose to be”, the extremes of old Western ideals.
    And also with self determination into the extreme. I am what I feel (and this, of course, is not something private, but also highly cultural). Where homosexuality is accepted, we, progressives, just go a little bit further, as has happened with the end of animal cruelty.Now, animals should no longer be slaughtered, and vegetarianism is preached. There is a name for all this. Decadence.

    • Don’t be ridiculous. Vegetarianism for whatever motive is not decadence. It’s particularly not decadence when motivated by compassion.

      • dirk says

        Compassion doesn’t mitigate it very much. Compassion with a mosquito (seems to exist) is decadence for me. But maybe, our civilisation for many poor nations has surpassed the borderlines of decadence by far. Consider only the 100 types of different cheeses I can buy in the cheese shop. But there is decadence with, and without apparent or potential harm, the one of the article I consider an example with.

      • So do you only care about the herbivore animals? Or is eating meat okay for every other omnivore or carnivore except humans?

  22. Two Cents says

    @cursede Calling the article “god awful” is uncalled for. Your attitude is blinded by self-interest. There IS an uptick and it is naive to not see how this uptick could mean something, somewhere, is wrong either with the environment or — horrors! Social contagion. I read a scholarly paper recently that pleads with the “trans community” to slacken its emotional fervor in terms of normalizing something that is scientifically abnormal — even if trans has been around for centuries. it is an anomaly and while it is one thing to push for acceptance, it’s quite another to “normalize” it.

    If we “normalize” this science fiction move to change the body to fit the mind — altering reality to suit an idea — perhaps then we should “normalize” being transacted, as I was, when I was a kid. In which case, my parents would have blinded me because deep down, I felt I was a blind person. I taught myself to read braille and walk with a cane. I blindfolded myself in order to be my “authentic” self. My birthday wish was to be blind. Why? A blind woman passed my house every day with a seeing eye dog. I wanted a seeing eye dog because the girls on my block were cruel to me and the dog would offer protection. As well, if I were blind, I would be special, and those girls would then have to respect me.

    Much of my childhood was spent obsessing in similar ways. For a time I believed I was lesbian merely because I was experiencing bad luck with men.

    And why is the automatic solution to change reality to suit a fiction — regardless of how “real” it seems to you? Why not change the mind to suit the body? Hence the above article and its suggestion that parents might know best. Mine did. They refused to poison my eyes, insisting that I’d grow out of it.

    If a child is truly trans — this is not a small thing. At the very least, desisting to, say, 18, should be advised. Because in all likelihood –despite what YOU felt, the child is gay. And puberty is not something to be stopped until “you decide what you are.”

    BACK OFF, cursede… LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE.

  23. Watchful Waiting says

    @cursede Your rebuttal reads as a “Distinction Denier.” You won’t even entertain the idea that this new gender dysphoric behavior, seen overwhelmingly in teen girls, could be a new type of gender dysphoria (Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria – ROGD) with different motivations and causes and thereby different treatments. Come on. There are girls coming out as transgender in groups at schools—what are the odds of that? There are kids buying hormones (DIY-HRT) online to self-administer under no medical care. Don’t you see a backlash coming?

    Why all the snark in your article because it doesn’t match your experience and ideology? Why the belittling of lack of scientific evidence when it’s readily apparent ROGD is new and unstudied. Why not use caution and support research in this area–as how else do we distinguish who is transgender of your type (however you define it) verses other types or not? What are you afraid of?

    Most known clinical research is of two types 1) childhood-onset gender dysphoria, and 2) autogynephiliacs. Many parents find ROGD of teen girls doesn’t fit in either of these categories.

    The majority of child-onset gender dysphoric children outgrow it by puberty and grow up to be homosexual. For those in this group whose gender dysphoria still remains by puberty, it may be recommended that they social transition to live as the opposite sex to try and alleviate their gender dysphoria. Some are happy, some very happy because living as the opposite sex is so natural to them it didn’t even feel like a choice, yet others will live life as the opposite sex as a palliative effort to mitigate their pain while continuing to deal with gender dysphoria. Living life as the opposite sex is not a guarantee to cure gender dysphoria, but the most powerful predictor of persistence in living as the opposite sex is social transition.

    Whereas, autogynephiliacs are male only and heterosexual (think Caitlyn Jenner) and almost always come out later in life as adults; they are attracted to themselves sexually at the thought of being a woman. There feelings have been there a long time, but not known by others so it comes as a surprise.

    There are men living as women in both those categories above who will admit that describes them, but they probably aren’t trans activists. Ironically, I find trans activists live in the West and are the ones who don’t subscribe to these categories, and try to carve out a new category altogether based on an ideology where being “transgender” as an innate and permanent state of gender dysphoria. For me, herein starts the beginning of the problem in your rebuttal’s potential for truth. Not convinced.

  24. Peter from Oz says

    It’s interesting that the activists tell us that just about everything to do with gender is socially constructed, but they can’t see that transgenders may also be socially constructed.

    • Daniel PV says

      I don’t really understand what “socially constructed” means or implies, in this context.

      Does it mean ‘constructed’, or ‘consciously engineered’? You could argue that all human behaviour is to some degree constructed, as humans live in groups rather than in isolation, so that behaviours reflect norms, and behaviours are learned and mimicked from others.

      Can anyone elaborate on this, especially though who strongly believe in the social constructionist position regarding gender?

  25. dirk says

    In case you are not aware Daniel, social construction doesnt mean any thing much, it is a construction of a philosophic fashion, an academic school, with origins in the European continent, but for some reason ( which I don’t understand) rooted extremely well in the US and Canada, and caused a lot of upheaval in the universities. But Peterson is now going to change that, thanx God.

  26. peanut gallery says

    Most children are abused by people they know, so the state should just take in all children immediately. A good parent would understand.

  27. markbul says

    Another great reason to home school your kids.

  28. Pingback: A Short Interlude - Bookworm Room

Comments are closed.