Health, Politics, recent, Science, Sex

A Surfeit of Empathy and an Absence of Compassion

As a parent of an ROGD teen, it has been so disheartening to see so few mainstream sources publishing balanced views on this topic. We have glowing “protransition” pieces in the left-wing press, and (often) angry, and even anti-trans pieces in the right-wing or religious press. These articles are just what we need to open up a more balance, less hate filled dialogue. More, please. 
~comment from parent, Psychology Today.

I am an anthropologist and professor of Psychiatry at McGill University. I have published and been mentioned in the media widely on the study of cultural evolutionsocial media addiction, new internet subcultures, social dimensions of cognition and mental health, and the impact of recent cultural shifts in gender norms on the wellbeing of young people.

As an essayist and popular science commentator, I have written extensively on the evolutionary basis of contemporary issues, from tribalism in politics to cultural paranoia in the wake of #MeToo and nocebo effects in the medicalization of everyday problems. So far, I’ve managed to avoid scandal and outrage almost entirely by offering nuanced, non-partisan pieces that explicitly warn against the risks of Us vs. Them thinking. I felt moderately successful in eliciting meaningful, rational dialogues—until I touched the third rail of transgender identity.

Last week in Psychology Today, I reported on Dr. Lisa Littman’s peer-reviewed study of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), which had caused an uproar among activists for suggesting that in some cases, coming out as trans could be a maladaptive coping strategy for confused adolescents and young adults with other underlying issues. Dr. Littman is an Assistant Professor of the Practice at Brown University School of Public Health and is trained as a public health physician. She extensively surveyed 250 parents whose children (predominantly girls with no prior history of gender dysphoria) had suddenly expressed a desire to come out. Of particular interest (given my areas of expertise) was one of the hypotheses raised by Dr. Littman: the potential role of peer imitation and social media exposure in inspiring youth to express their confusion through the idiom of transgenderism.

On the day of its publication, pressure from activists prompted Brown University to remove a press release about the study, despite support for Dr. Littman from the academic community, including the former Dean of Harvard Medical school. Since that date, any mention of ROGD or calls for further study on the matter have been systematically attacked by activists.

Within one hour of airing my post, Psychology Today editors had already received complaints from activist groups. Soon thereafter, a wave of posts, tweets, and petitions seeking to defame my article and my character were spreading on the internet. My attempt to call for compassion for all sides of this debate in a further Psychology Today piece earned widespread support from parents and clinicians, but only made matters worse with activists. As my inbox was flooding with hate mail, blog posts that grossly misquoted my work were now painting me as a transphobe and misogynist. One commenter in Psychology Today suggested I should “go to prison” for “harming so many children,” while countless others accused Dr. Littman and me of promoting ideologically-driven pseudoscience. Yet, the sources cited by activists to discredit studies of ROGD invariably take one back to a self-referential loop of other blog posts and opinion pieces by activists. It is a strange world indeed when unscientific ideologues accuse scientists of being pseudoscientific ideologues.

It is important to note that Dr. Littman presented empirically derived hypotheses for further investigation, not moral arguments. Activists wish to discredit ROGD as worthy of further study on the grounds that Dr. Littman only surveyed “dismissive” parents who gather on “transphobic” websites. However, the participants heard about the study from one of several sources, including a large pro-gender-affirming Facebook group (Parents of Transgender Children) which posted recruitment information on their own site. The clear majority of study participants also answered that they believe transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as other people in their country.

No serious scientist or clinician denies the clinical evidence for social acceptance and transitioning to help those with gender dysphoria. But gender dysphoria is a rare condition. The matter for investigation here is that something new and worrying is happening with young people, gender, and “identity,” and that transgender ideology is only a piece in the puzzle. Concurrent shifts in epidemic entitlements ushered by “Generation Me” are likely related. So part of the problem in this non-negotiable call for accommodations might be our inability to stand firm against the tyranny of helicopter-parented, internet-educated children in need of leveraging the authoritative prestige of an “oppressed identity.”

Moving too quickly in letting teens in distress make drastic decisions that can permanently alter their body and harm their personal and social adjustment is unproblematically recognized as unwise in other domains. This is why we don’t usually let children get tattoos we know they will regret later or why, as one RODG parent put it, “If we let our kids drive the agenda, they’d never want to go to school and would eat at McDonalds everyday.”

This is where compassion, rather than what Paul Bloom calls “parochial empathy,” is needed.  I might empathize with the suffering of a student who tells me she is too anxious to take my exam, for example, and write a separate test for her to take at a time and place of her choice. In feeling compassion with a further reach, I may also give her a kind, but firm pep talk to convince her that she can take the test, and help her get over her fear of exams. There is plenty of empathy in the culture of victimhood, and not enough compassion.

Like many of my colleagues in recent years, I have become very concerned with the rise of language policing and extreme political correctness on college campuses and activist circles. This culture of victimhood, identity politics and social justice activism promotes a simplistic worldview of noble victims and malevolent victimizers. It is eroding free speech, and spreads a climate of fear and fragility on campus and beyond. That our youth care about justice, democracy, and diversity is a good thing, and we should applaud them for this. But encouraging and glorifying victimhood doesn’t help advance that agenda. Cultivating a sense of victimhood impairs coping and flourishing, breeds resentment and anger, increases conflict, and only succeeds in dividing rather than uniting people.

The same is true of other sincere but terribly misguided cognitive traps promoted by social justice activists: the insistence that people’s feelings constitute the ultimate authority on truth, that ‘power’ is always bad, and that the powerless always know best. Victimhood culture often mistakes expertise and responsibility for “power.” Thus, doctors, parents, and teachers are “powerful” and bad, and patients, children, and students are “powerless” and good. Never mind that in this age of rampant individualism and customer satisfaction, children routinely bully parents and teachers, professors are terrified of their students, and doctors live in fear of litigation. Our “powerless” youth have certainly been successful in setting their agenda—from driving language policing and removing “harmful” content from course syllabi to making public bathrooms deeply awkward for 99 percent of people. Judging by rising rates of mental distress, this is not doing them any good.

In these new culture wars, no issue is more divisive and sacred than the debate around rising rates of transgender teenagers. Conspiracy theorists on the far Right see it as a liberal plot to brainwash children, while activists on the far Left preach absolute acceptance, hormone therapy, and even surgery for all children who wish to change their gender. Those of us who call for nuance, caution, and further investigation don’t fare well in this climate.

As it stands, the scare tactics of activists (who warn that unaccommodated trans teens are at high risk of suicide, and even murder) are preventing an important ethical conversation from taking place, and further instilling a culture of fear and victimhood that is setting a generation up for failure. The label “transphobe” is largely synonymous with such easy slurs as “racist,” “misogynist,” “Islamophobe,” “Zionist,” or even “white male,” “settler colonialist,” or “bad feminist.” Play any version of this card on anyone who wishes to introduce moderation into a sensitive conversation, and it will perform the cheap cognitive trick of placing the critic in the “oppressive” camp, thereby pitting them against noble victims.

The debate on ROGD is only the tip of the iceberg, and it plays a large role in obfuscating larger problems. Indeed, public hysteria about trans children mobilizes attention away from a much more widespread, but inextricably related issue. In the age of mandatory political correctness, young people are growing up with the confusing idea that gender is entirely constructed, that it is false, and that it is bad. As more young women grow up terrified of being victims, and as more young men grow up terrified of being “toxic,” extreme ideologies at both ends of the political spectrum are feeding off each other to drive us further away from compassion and dialogue.  Meanwhile, our addiction to mobile internet is making us lonelier and more anxious, while fake news, herding, and hysteria are on the rise.  No wonder young people are finding it hard to live in the bodies they were “assigned at birth.”

In our highly polarized and fraught moment, bullying and emotional blackmail from activists are destroying resilience, compassion, and free inquiry and making the task of understanding an already complex problem more difficult than it already is. We need to lower the temperature by returning to good faith dialogue and—more than ever—wisdom.

 

Samuel Veissière is an anthropologist and professor of Psychiatry at McGill University. You can follow him on Twitter @samuelveissiere 

134 Comments

  1. Aerth says

    Governments chosen through majority votes do nothing to protect majority interests, instead bowing down to demands of group that consists of less than 1% of world population.

    Also – activists are using their right to free speech and opinions to shut down free speech and opinions.

    Sweet irony.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Ah, but the majority by its very nature is oppressive, therefore bad.

        Accusation = truth. Lies > truth. Crazy > sane.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      “Governments chosen through majority votes do nothing to protect majority interests.”

      Uh, what? How many thousand examples of a majority protecting their interests (often to very oppressive degrees) do you need versus the relatively few times your bizarre thesis is true? And are you making some backwards ass argument for a government based on something other than democratic rule?

      • Dave B says

        Governments only protect the interests of the ruling class. And fracturing the population using Identity politics is a great way to keep the populace from recognizing and doing something about the fact that the transnational corporations and those who run them have rigged the game and are getting all the goodies.

  2. Peter from Oz says

    It seems that in this case that although the activists have been annoying they have had little effect on stopping debate. it also sounds as though most people have seen through the activists’ propaganda and given it short shrift.
    We just have to keep doing this. We have to keep explaining that no speech is can be outlawed and that the only people who deserve to be punished are those who seek to stop others from speaking.
    Ignore the activists.

    • Dean F says

      Very naive comment. These activists have been much more than “annoying”. I suppose if you found your life’s work and career come into jeopardy in the matter of a few days or weeks you would consider it merely “annoying”? Ask Professor Bret Weinstein how “annoying” it has been for he and his wife Professor Heather Heyer.

    • Suddenly Suzanne says

      Virtually every article on Quillette now is the same tune with slightly different lyrics:

      “Extremists to the Left of me! Jokers to the Right! And I’m stuck here in the middle being reasonable and evidence-based and science-y and analytical and rational and free speech-y (But still liberal! I’m not a Nazi! Why just last week I shook a Korean person’s hand…)”

      It’s getting really, really old. My face hurts from putting my palm on my face so much.

      Quillette’s become a straw-man publication, it seems to me. The debate is not between the two extremes of the spectrum and the “reasonable” people in the middle whom we should all be listening to. That’s facile. Get to the meat or stop selling burgers.

      • Yes, thank you for smugly telling us that this is not the “real” debate, and then completely failing to enlighten us as to what the “real” debate is.

        • Kelli R. says

          My thoughts, but better said, Will. Thank you. What is the meat, @Suddenly Suzanne?

        • Mindful says

          Thought it would be obvious. The MEAT is to actually talk meaningfully about issues, rather than just cry because one’s sensitive ego was hurt by those “activist extremist plebian thugs”.
          So for this article, a good focus would have been to present and discus different aspects of the problem, rather than whine because the author’s ego was bruised.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Yes, there is a sameness to a lot of these articles.
        But I suppose when a person has been deluded by a cult, they have to assuage their guilt of leaving it by pretending that they still have some affinity for its nobler goals. And the left is a cult.

      • I share the sense of your first sentence; and I’m old enough to dig the Stealer’s Wheel reference. But I’m not at all clear about where you mean to go thereafter. Are you calling out the contributors as hypocrites – actually really Nazis and racists?

        Or are you wanting to call one side or the other to the barricades? It could come to that – and the past few weeks in France demonstrate how it might, though in different circumstances.

        If it came to that’ we’d all have to decide whom we’d be shooting at. But while there’s a chance to remain a civilised society, isn’t it exactly the case that the reasonable people need to be heard?

        Growing up, I knew lots of reasonable, middling people who had recently been engaged in shooting, stabbing, incinerating and bombing their counterparts from nearby countries. I think they were for the most part pretty happy to get back to being reasonable and middling.

        So what’s the meat you have in mind for your burger?

        • scribblerg says

          The “meat” is quite simple. Socialism is a disaster for liberty and has run amok since the mid 19th century. Pick a side, you are either an actual classical liberal and believe in very limited govt and maximum personal liberty – including the freedom and legal right to be a racist if you choose – or not. There is no middle ground with socialists.

          And if you don’t get that we are up against socialism in its many forms, you haven’t been reading recent history carefully. Supporting an overreaching state which acts beyond it’s authority isn’t “middle ground”, it’s capitulation.

          That’s what the commenter was trying to say. Sadly, most on the right can’t even get the basic arguments right after over 100 years of propaganda being sprayed at us nonstop.

          • Jay st says

            How is this article about socialism? There are lots of liberal socialists fighting the ideological orthodoxies stemming from critical theory run amok.

          • Edohiguma says

            @Jay st

            There is no such thing as a “liberal socialist”. Socialism is by definition a dictatorship, the dictatorship of the proletariat. Liberalism is the opposite of that. That’s why American “liberals” aren’t actually liberals. They’re largely totalitarians.

      • JStubbings says

        Suddenly Suzanne – nobody is forcing you to come here. If it’s ‘getting really, really old’ then go and find something more interesting to read – there’s plenty out there on the internet apparently…

      • Markus says

        @Suzanne.

        I was thinking something along similar lines with this article.

        However, my gripe with it (or a couple of recent articles), is that they just report activist pushback that didn’t appear to have real consequences.

        Like: “we planned this conference and a few people got upset and wrote emails and tweets”.

        It’s akin to (in the 80’s): “We planned some conference and someone wrote a letter to the editor”.

        Ok, what did you expect. That all people loved you?

        Come back when the company renting you the conference room folder or you got fired by your dean. Then we have a scandal (maybe).

        • Brian Villanueva says

          “Come back when the company renting you the conference room folder or you got fired by your dean. Then we have a scandal (maybe).”

          Markus, people are being denied conference rooms for their “hate speech”. Professors have been fired by their deans for promoting “unsafe spaces”. No one has to “come back”; these things are happening now.

          • Markus says

            Yes, but these have appear to have not.

            It’s the same as with the SJW, who make a fuzz about /every/ Trans (or Gay or Female) person, because /some/ have been treated unfairly.

            I’m not even sure if this article isn’t a marketing stunt. Like, choose slightly controversial title for your conference to gain some extra attention. Then, when you gained some attention, gain more attention by complaining about the attention you got.

          • Markus says

            (my comment below, somewhat refers to that other article recently about the conference, which IMO falls in a similar category as this one (complaining about a bit of pushback). I somewhat incorrectly lumped them together).

        • Denis Maguire says

          Markus ,if you think that you are just not paying attention. The same ideology and tactics employed by transactivists are being used in university’s {diversity /equity indoctrination see Evergreen} YouTube demonistisng content and banning wrong thought, Patreon, Google {demore memo}. People are losing reputations and jobs {elevator joke by scientist at conference} I could go on but you get the point.

      • It could be worse. Quillette authors could be running around leaving snarky comments on sites they find “facile” with no actual solutions or suggestions on how to make things better.

      • Trollificus says

        I think you need to facepalm much, much harder Suzanne. You have not yet slapped much sense into yourself. Perhaps you could seek out volunteers? When you understand what a “straw man argument” is, you’ll know you’re making progress. But the slapping should probably continue.

      • Too true. As in Pastor Niemöller’s lament, their old friends and allies have now come them and they can’t believe it.

        I guess it’s shock and denial as they seem to think that if they are still enthusiastic participants in the compulsory two minute hate against the cartoon “Fascist Right” they helped create all will be well.

        The Gulags and death camps were full of clowns like these.

      • @Suzanne I agree. It was insightful for a while, but it’s not a valuable use of time to keep reading long and similar articles which don’t really give regular readers anything new.

        It would be better if they primarily published articles that deepen the discussion, broaden the discussion or have especially strong arguments.

      • Nakatomi Plaza says

        Bingo, Suzanne. This place is a total echo chamber. I can’t figure out if they’re just capitulating to the crying fits of a bunch of spoiled white guys or if they’ve just run out of topics to write about. Same shit, over and over…

        Quillette needs to sort this out before any shot at credibility is lost forever.

        • Edohiguma says

          It’s an echo chamber, well, what else can you do? There is no debate possible. Every time one tries to debate rationally with the far left, the result is always the same: you get shouted down, you get even assaulted.

          And who created echo chambers in the first place? Who is shutting down opposing opinions? That’s the far left that is so far left that they’re not even left anymore. They’re insane.

          You cry about spoiled white guys, Nakatomi, but what are you? Just another spoiled, over-entitled Yanker having shitfits over different opinions.

          Maybe one day your brain will grow up. I doubt it.

      • Peter Chandler says

        Presume from your name you see the World through a transgendered lens

      • @ Suddenly Suzanne

        One reason (of many) the articles have the “same tune with slightly different lyrics” as you put it … the issue is that important.

        The more examples the merrier. Right, wrong, or indifferent … the conversation IS the meat. And there is plenty to go around on the Internet.

        So if you’re tired of the conversation, there is a little “X” in the upper right corner of the browser window.

        Btw, everybody thinks their story is “reasonable.” And most are. The rest will get debated.

        And … there is always the option to start your own crowd funded publication and try to grow it in a complicated media environment where “free speech” and “rational ideas” are more scarce than they have been in the past. Go for it.

      • Stefan Siepen says

        I agree. Please widen your repertoire. There is more to the world.
        Personally I’d like to read some analyses on “the state of western Democracy”.

  3. I remember that in my early teens i hated being a girl. I hated my period — it was painful and PMS made me miserable. I also had no interest in lots of typical girl stuff. I wished I was a boy. But I never thought there was an option to be anything but the girl I am. But I often wonder if in today’s environment i would simply decide to be a boy. This scares me for today’s youth. Today as a mature woman I know I am a woman who simply likes a lot of stuff that guys like. But I have no doubt I am a woman. It scares me that today a teen who might be dealing with the psychological distress that I dealt with might look for the answer by declaring herself trans-sexual and not get the help she really needs because activists say we can’t question what a confused teen says. The teen years are tough. I’m not suggesting that we ignore a teen who claims to be the other sex but let them have lots of time to work things out before medically intervening.

    • Wally says

      This is common theme among trans desisters–teens and young adults who were transgender but have since reverted back to their original gender identity. Here’s a quote from the blog of one such person:

      “Teen girls are taught to hate everything about themselves. None of us can win. Even the thinnest, most clear-skinned, prettiest of girls find an enemy in the mirror. Imagine my horror to look at my reflection and see a fat, short-haired, lesbian staring back. In a world where my style, my interests, and my attractions weren’t fit for a girl, transgenderism offered the perfect solution: Be a boy.”

      There’s tremendous social pressure for boys and girls to look and behave a certain way. The way they cope with this pressure is to not be a boy or a girl, as the case may be. Many ROGD teens are social outcasts with gender non-conforming behaviors. This is not a coincidence.

      • scribblerg says

        The operative question is how many of these behaviors are maladaptive social/coping strategies undertaken by problematic children? There are always children who don’t “fit in” – this is nothing new. In fact, my experience in school was that at least half the kids in my classes weren’t “cool”, the parlance of my generation.

        What, we were all oppressed victims? I didn’t really become cool for the first time until i was like 18. So what? Do I deserve some sympathy or a special program?

        Troubled kids see this ROGD garbage as play for attention and uniqueness. I’ll close with this. “Terminal uniqueness” is something that all social misfits suffer from. We may one day want to consider that we socially shame and pressure some people in our midst for purposes other than torturing them.

    • Burlats de Montaigne says

      As someone, somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away (probably) put it : “Transgenderism is the new Goth”

  4. “Conspiracy theorists on the far Right see it as a liberal plot to brainwash children”.

    I’m just on the Right, according to politicalcompass.org.

    Safe Schools in Australia actually teaches children that gender is not binary, and it advocates for children to be[come] LQBT.

    This isn’t a conspiracy theory; it’s actually happening. You can see the worksheets provided by Safe Schools here: http://youreteachingourchildrenwhat.org/all-of-us/.

    • Stephanie says

      @Mark, I thought that statement on the author’s part inexcusably naive and ignorant as well. I guess you can’t get published in Quillette without a shot at the right. Amazing how their own tribal allegiance prevents them from siding with the people they actually agree with.

      • I’m all for unity when in agreement but I’d like you to forgive me for not trusting the motivations of many in the right regarding this issue.

        As a youth I had instances where I was chased by four guys with a pipe, had a gun brandished by a guy who constantly insulted me, and many other instances of excessive acts like this because I looked “arty” and “fruity” to use the polite terms that were sometimes used. This was not Lefties going after me but rural “Heartland” kids. And that’s because I looked like a young David Bowie (minus make-up), I wasn’t a RuPaul or anything that different.

        I’m a straight male but from those early experiences I learned a little of what LGBTQ people have to deal with from those who don’t like their kind. So, I’ve joined in many of their causes and been an advocate for their rights.

        That said, I also know two parents whose kids claimed to be trans then after a while dropped it and one identifies as bi and the other straight now. So, this topic is one I’m definitely open to a rational discussion on but I have a hard time trusting the motives of conservatives who for so long have claimed LGBTQ people were abominations and wrong. Who pushed for “conversion” therapy.

        It’s a bias of mine, sure, but I need conservatives to prove a commitment to the humanity of LGBTQ people and support for their right to live as they identify before I value their opinions on the nuances of the debate.

        • @Geo, to help put my comments in context, I wore a rainbow pin here in Melbourne for many months during the same sex marriage debate. I don’t believe that the government should say who can and can’t get married.

          However, I don’t believe the government should be indoctrinating children in radical gender ideology that has no basis in science whatsoever, either. Likewise, I will not be forced to use ridiculous made-up words (so-called “gender neutral pronouns”) by anyone, including the government. I will not be forced to call an obvious man a woman and vice versa. I’m a grown man who can decide which words I use under which circumstances.

          I’d suggest not looking at this in terms of left and right. Do you think it’s reasonable to teach children that there are more than two genders? Is it right to encourage children to become LGBT? Please take a look at the worksheets to which I linked above.

          • Peter from Oz says

            ”I don’t believe that the government should say who can and can’t get married.”
            But that is exactly what the whole gay marriage thing was far: so the government could try and define what marriage is, rather than leaving it to society to work out.

        • Peter from Oz says

          Geo
          I’ve heard for years about these ”conservatives” who were into gay bashing. But I’ve never met one.
          I suspect that those who attack gays are primarily just nasty and stupid. In the same way, many of those today who attack others for being ”homophobic are just as nasty and stupid.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Peter from Oz

            All fundamentalists –and all morons — are equally dangerous, the details of their particular One True Religion are secondary. All civil people share more in common by virtue of their civility than whatever might divide them.

          • D.B. Cooper says

            @Pete
            @Ray-Ray

            I’m not sure why, but one can’t help but notice that there seems to be an ongoing theme concerning the provincial nature of rural peoples (admittedly, @Pete, used “conservatives” as a proxy) that runs through many/most of the comment threads at Quillette. What’s more, these very same idiots also seem to provoke the reactionary ire of many a MSM journalist.

            It’s almost as if the caricature of these poor bastards is last stereotype one can safely mock and deride in public or print. If they weren’t so dumb, God rest their soul (“bless it,” as we in the South), – much less knew the victimhood points they could leverage from their condition – they might be offended, eh?

          • TarsTarkas says

            Peter from Oz: You simply weren’t hanging with the right crowd. I knew some who were into it 30-40 years ago, and although I’m sure they grew up long ago and are much more tolerant now, some of the stories they told how they terrorized gays would make your toes curl. Most college towns had their share of them, jocks and artsy types didn’t mix well, to put it mildly.

        • scribblerg says

          So you are biased against conservatives but you have “good” reasons. Hey, I’ve been a victim of burglary, a hold up and my car broken into – all by black folks. Do you give me a pass to be an anti-black racist?

          Bottom line? Get a grip on yourself. We do not live in a society where conservatives run around wilding on gay men. You have some bad experiences.

          I think you dislike conservatives far more than you admit here, and are merely using this as a justification.

          Funniest? You are the bigot here, not us. You are the one with the horrific bias, who’s unwilling to look past his limited personal experiences. Not the conservatives you so hate. Giggling at you pretensions.

        • X. Citoyen says

          @Geo,

          Like so many before you, you’re under the impression that the progressive movement cares about you and only wishes to see you freed from oppression. But like the others who’ve been seduced to sign on, you will find out one day that you and your cause are but cannon fodder, an instrument to be wielded in the great antinomian struggle for the New Dawn. The nastiness you experienced from those childhood bullies will be nothing next to what you get from raising even the mildest objection against your new protectors.

          I predict all this because, in posting here, you’ve shown that you think for yourself. The Hive does tolerate free-thinking bees because it cannot rely on them to do as they’re told.

    • I agree, and I think that’s what Suddenly Suzanne was referring to in a snarky way. We won’t win the battle with postmodernism’s war on meaning until we’re willing to admit that there’s a real meaning to this–not some split-the-baby compromise where we solicitously concede that madness has its good points and two plus two should really at least consider five’s feelings.

      It’s otherwise a fabulous article, as was Prof. Veissiere’s previous Psychology Today piece on ROGD. The irrational backlash against his measured, thoughtful and substantive discussion is indeed undeserved.

      But it is not coming from “the far right,” whose fingerprints are nowhere to be found amongst the transing-children melee, so can we please jettison that tired trope down the same chute as the genderbread unicorn?

      • Kelli R. says

        @QuestionPDX, I do wish Suddenly Suzanne would return and speak for herself. She left her mouth wide open for anyone to put words into. But I want her words.

  5. Morgan Foster says

    (“Like many of my colleagues in recent years, I have become very concerned with the rise of language policing and extreme political correctness on college campuses and activist circles.”)

    And yet, Mr. Veissiere, because you allow your university administrators to be bullied by the radical left, you must suffer.

    If you want this all to stop, you and your colleagues must bully your administrators in turn. Bully them into protecting you.

  6. Daniel says

    41% of trans people attempt suicide. This is huge. Huge. Numbers like that demand answers. People who get in the way of studying this topic need to be expelled if they are students, and fired, blacklisted and prosecuted if they are faculty or administrators.

    Correction: students should also be blacklisted and prosecuted. Including high school students. Welcome to the world of responsibility, kids. Your actions make a difference, and if you are responsible for screwing up your corner of the world, you’re going to have to pay.

    • Alice Williams says

      James Caspian a therapist and counsellor who has worked for many years with trans people was refused permission to study those who wanted to detransition as part of his master’s degree because Bath Spa University ethics committee deemed it politically incorrect.

    • ga gamba says

      Correction: students should also be blacklisted and prosecuted. Including high school students. Welcome to the world of responsibility, kids. Your actions make a difference, and if you are responsible for screwing up your corner of the world, you’re going to have to pay.

      Prosecuting teenagers for “getting in the way studying this topic”? That’s a novel solution. On reflection, it doesn’t strike you as extreme, does it? As if there aren’t enough people imprisoned. Let’s add a lot of children. And you know happens to many of the young when they are tossed in the slammer, yeah? When they’re eventually released what life outcomes do convicted criminals have?

      BTW, what of people who are not any of the three groups (students, faculty, and admin) you mentioned? If they get in the way do they get off scot-free or was your failure to mention their prosecutions too an oversight? For example, might journalists, editors, and politicians get in the way? How about the buyers of their newspapers and their voters? Those journalists and politicians would have been getting less in the way without their support, after all.

      If it’s determined that your proposal screws up your corner of the world, what price should you pay? And if your screwed up corner screws up adjacent corners, should this be considered for your punishment and add to it?

    • Baila says

      Read that original study and its methods again. 41% contemplate and that is self reported. The emotional blackmail and suicide threat is a fav of LGBT and has been alongside “bullying” and every other form of narcissistic manipulation. The fact is if you do the research other demographics have a higher rate of suicide. So don’t ask other to do the work for you. You go and do it.

  7. Roger Tweed says

    Re this “systematically attacked by activists.”

    Are they car bombing you? Come on now, why is everyone so wimpy on this. Its only a third rail topic if people of good will allow it to be.

      • I’m glad you brought up the west point high case. It’s no longer a question of what you can’t say, but of what you must say. This is exactly the “compelled speech” that Jordan Peterson predicted.

        • Brian Villanueva says

          Ordinary authoritarians are content to forbid people from speaking truths. Totalitarians insist on forcing people to speak untruths.

          And as David Horowitz has said: “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”

  8. Tome708 says

    Very good, reasonable article. Someone please help me though. Is this always necessary;
    “extreme ideologies at both ends of the political spectrum are feeding off each other to drive us further away from compassion and dialogue.”
    Both ends of the spectrum? Most of the conversations I read are from people begging to maintain their “liberal cred” while addressing this one issue. Are the nazis deeply engaged in the ROGD debate.
    It’s almost like the standard “ I did not vote for Trump and never have voted republican” mantra I see often as some sort of qualifier.
    Are these things related and why? Is it credibility? If you are a deplorable Trump voter or Republican do you not have credibility? Did I answer my own question?
    That raises a bigger question then about the climate in which all of these folks operate.
    Help me out Vicki

    • Stephanie says

      @Tome I believe you do know the answer. The left is so dead wrong on so many issues now that they are losing not only people in the centre, but on the left. Such people still despise conservatives, though, so they need to get whatever shots in they can. This is to signal to other leftists that they’re not conservatives, and therefore their opinions are valid.

      If you’re a conservative, nevermind how you noticed these trends a long time ago. The less extreme left has appropriated that knowledge, so you’re no longer needed. Not that they’ll admit you were ever right! They’re just as eager to paint conservatives as monsters as the more extreme leftists.

      • Could you be more self-congratulatory? All I see from you two is more of the same blind tribalism you claim to be criticizing.

    • Brian Villanueva says

      Tome, that’s identity politics in a nutshell. Your group’s privilege level sets the value of your opinions. Watching uber-liberals get eaten by their own postmodernist absurdities would be cathartic if it weren’t for the collateral damage to truth and rational thought.

      I liked Jordan Peterson’s theory: “The logical conclusion of intersectionality is individuality. There are so many different ways of categorizing people, if you take that all the way out to the end, you find the individual is the ultimate minority. The intersectionalists will get there if they don’t kill everyone first.”

      • I like much of what Peterson says, but there are two ways of categorizing people – into groups, or recognizing they’re all individuals (i.e. not categorizing them). The intersectionalists will never get to the latter.

  9. “our inability to stand firm against the tyranny of helicopter-parented, internet-educated children in need of leveraging the authoritative prestige of an “oppressed identity.””
    Superb summation.
    The problem is, what to “stand firm” on?
    When everyone’s in the water, we all bob along with the reigning tide or breeze. Then finding the biggest floating peer raft becomes primary.
    The problem with people who believe themselves to be virtuous is that anyone who opposes them is by definition wicked. The logic from that to manGods and Gulags is short. The Stalins of the world are not exceptions to but the outcome of leftist politics. The right (the wicked) are moral landfill onto which the left can dump(project) all their own venality.

  10. Tome708 says

    Roger,
    They are not car bombing you are correct. So it’s all good?

    And Peter from Oz said “annoying”

    I am a municipal employee in a large city. I just under went the mandatory LGBTQ training. Eight hours of it. Almost exclusively on “Trans”. I learned about my implicit bias towards Tans.

    Trust me when I tell you Peter, the debate is over. Or find you a new job and debate it there. That’s a little “annoying” I guess 3 years from retirement.

    We were also introduced to our new bathroom/locker room policy. You may use whichever you prefer, at any time, and it is a violation for anyone to inquire why you are using it.

    Questions were asked, but we were informed it was not “open for debate”.

    So, I will play along for a few years, I am lucky. My decency now will protect the ladies, not policy. I am not sure everyone shares my decency though.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Tome708
      Fortunately, I work for myself. Also here in Oz we haven’t got the history of puritanical nastiness that you have in the US.

  11. rickoxo says

    There’s an exclusive public arts school near where I live where I know a number of students and families who attend. From talking with a number of kids and different parents, there’s a common pattern of incoming 9th grade female students declaring themselves lesbians. Curiously enough, it’s almost exclusive to white girls.

    I think the author’s comment about students “leveraging the authoritative prestige of an ‘oppressed identity’” is right on. The school is an amazing arts school, so huge status comes from your artisitic ability. But after that, being a part of some marginalized group is powerful socially.

    It doesn’t at all mean that the girls in question might not be lesbian or that they don’t have the right to describe themselves how they want to. But you’d have to be completely unaware of teenage development to think each individual is making an independent personal choice based soley on stable internal factors.

    • A C Harper says

      I’ve read that after some ‘newsworthy’ suicide there is often a cluster of subsequent suicides in the local peer group. So some declarations of suicidal depression, some expressions of dissatisfaction with gender, perhaps some anorexia, are true individual issues – but I suspect some of the other cases are displays of MeToo Syndrome (I just made up the term). Disnormative Signalling? Peer Group Signalling.

      Whatever the proportions of ‘true’ vs ‘fake’ disenchantment, the individuals truly suffering need better recognition, not hidden amongst many other ‘fashionable’ co-signallers.

  12. Farris says

    Allowing and paying for children to alter their gender is child abuse. There is no reasonable rational for permitting an adolescent, under developed mind make such a choice. These children are nothing more than props being utilized to advance the theory that gender is a construct.

    • Brian Villanueva says

      @Farris, thank you! 10 years ago, a doctor who sterilized a 12 year old girl would lose his job and likely his license. Today, a doctor could lose his job for refusing to give a 12 year old puberty blockers and testosterone, which will sterilize her and make her a medical patient for life.

      Sterilizing children is child abuse. Period.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Brian Villanueva

        What is shocking is that this is not shocking. We thought we were past Dr. Megele, but we aren’t. A few decades from now, I expect that most of the victims of this barbarism will be suing … the ones who are not dead, that is.

  13. D.B. Cooper says

    It is a strange world indeed when unscientific ideologues accuse scientists of being pseudoscientific ideologues.

    Scoot over, guys. Make some room. It seems we have, yet, another disabused victim who mistakenly believed the Left still cared about well-reasoned, empirically grounded arguments. You’ve came to the right place, Monsieur Veissière. You have our sympathies.

  14. About twenty years ago I heard Susie Bright recount how a young person born female told her she thought she was a trans man, and after explaining why she thought so, Bright had felt compelled — “at the risk of sounding very politically incorrect” — to ask, “Are you sure you’re not just a lesbian?” To which the young person responded, “I never thought of that.”

  15. The Ulcer says

    Of course teens are coming at as trans in droves. Look at what they get: an immediate support network led by preening, activist adults who listen to them and validate all of their feelings of inner turmoil. It’s catnip to teens, most of whom are overwhelmed with feelings of turmoil because that’s what being a teenager is all about. Who among them can resist this siren song?

  16. Mark Konstas says

    You want good faith dialogue and wisdom from the SJW activists ….. hahahahahahahahahaha. Good luck with that.

  17. The political culture on the ‘left’ has become dominated by the culture of victimhood while moving away from supporting anyone who could genuinely could be described as victims. In doing so it is creating a generation of young people, paticularily young women who celebrate and encourage fragility. Instead of telling people they can be strong and achieve great things they tell them they are weak and can get ahead by showing how they have been victimised. Men (and in the US white men) are routinely denegrated even those who are poor, ill educated and close to powerless.

    The political culture on the right has moved away from a general cautious conservatism to corporatism and free market obsession while retreating from confronting the victimhood culture and even participating in creating it paticularily in the myth of misogyny and male privilige.

    It has become dangerous to express political opinons which contradict this victim culture and even to express well established scientific facts especially as regards the biological differences between men and women.

    I would like to think the rise of victimhood culture is coming to an end paticularily as it is at least as damaging to the supposed victims as the supposed victimisers but there is no sign of that so far. The ridiculous nature of transgender ideology and its impact on children show how strong vicitm culture, how detached from evidence and experience it is and how resistant it is to evidence.

  18. Richard says

    Great Article thank you! I will wait for it to be recounted on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC with unabated enthusiasm.

  19. Tome708 says

    @stephanie
    “The less extreme left has appropriated that knowledge, so you’re no longer needed. Not that they’ll admit you were ever right! “

    Bingo, Thank you. You gave me an aha moment.

  20. The actual science shows that for most of these kids identifying with the opposite sex goes away by around 18 if they dont do anything. Yet we are going to allow hormone therapy and drastic cosmetic plastic surgery in children. I’ll never give an inch fighting this blight and it is a blight. Once those kids are adults (18 years old) they can do whatever the heck they want but as society we need to put the breaks on this before then because again the Science shows its a mainly transitory feeling.

    • Lightning Rose says

      Most of them seem to be doing it to get attention, and that goes double fo the “activists.” Starve the trolls; ignore them, refuse to elevate their argument with ink and pixels, and they’ll try something else–like maybe dye their hair sky blue or get skull tatts.

  21. FightingToGetHerBack says

    Thank you for writing about this important topic. Judging from some of the comments here, it seems people do not understand the tragic consequences of trans activism and how the activists have succeeding in silencing not only honest media coverage on the topic of trans identifying kids, but have silenced medical and psychological professionals as well.

    If there were more coverage by the media about the impact of trans activism on children, or if only more medical and psychological professionals questioned the protocol — to affirm kids’ identities and then quickly medicalize them — this could make all the difference to me and countless other families with confused children.

    In my daughter’s school, over 5% of the kids identified as transgender. This fact alone should suggest that something is going on. Yet when I tried to get help for her, every therapist I contacted told me that kids know who they are and that I must affirm her or she was at high risk of suicide.

    Not a single therapist that I consulted with considered social contagion, or was concerned that this was so common at her school. No one considered her autism. No one considered her history of not fitting in. No one considered that she showed no signs of discomfort with her body or with being a girl until she attended a school presentation where she learned of this — in her words, “option.”

    She has become convinced by her school, society, and therapists that she is really a boy.

    What is most concerning is that kids who adopt these identities are quickly medicalized. Puberty is blocked in younger kids with dangerous drugs like Lupron. Older kids are put on cross-sex hormones. In the US, testosterone is given to girls as young as 12.

    This is not evidence-based protocol. This is a medical experiment where parents are lied to in order to obtain their consent, while those of legal age are prescribed cross-sex hormones with no questions asked.

    I know this from first-hand experience.

    Kids who take blockers and then cross-sex hormones are sterilized — all because of an identity that they likely adopted because of social influences, or underlying issues that are not examined.

    Thank you, Dr. Veissière, for being one of the few courageous enough to question this.

    • Cassandra C says

      @FightingToGetHerBack Wholeheartedly agree! I’m a parent of a ROGD teen. I can’t speak publicly or direct to media and risk my child’s privacy for “wrongspeak.” I’m “wrong” b/c I believe social transition and hormones/surgery are rushed overtreatment for the large majority of self ID ROGD youth.

      Sudden gender dysphoria is trending, is complicated, and deserves a nuanced approach. But this current popular cultural belief that gender dysphoria must mean a child will identify as transgender in the long run and be “affirmed” has the opposite effect: It renders a complicated subject simple. This doesn’t help anyone. And without introspection of feelings, it feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy, **especially** in adolescents. No unitary explanation can ever capture the fullness or the complexity of this trend in society.

      There are plenty of parents like myself form all sides of the political spectrum, but because we fear speaking out, no one hears our stories. Catch 22.

      All the more reason we greatly, greatly appreciate Dr. Veissière, for shining a light on this issue when there are so many of us who can’t speak out.

  22. String Theory says

    Was fascinated as a child by the book published in 1841 called “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay.
    The book proves that clearly, mass “hysteria” is a constant social potential absent the antidote of clear critical thinking. Once again, with this dangerous ROGD social psychosis, it is shocking how poorly the 4th estate [of journalism] is holding up its responsibility for critical inquiry, and instead contributing to the madness. Thanks for helping to keep critical thinking alive, Quillette.

    • Martin28 says

      The fourth estate is completely corrupted on any topic that relates to gender, race, social justice, or Trump. There are no standards of objectivity anymore. They are organized socially like a high school, and the cool kids never cross the progressive line.

    • Trollificus says

      To this very day, a find recommendation for anyone to read. Like, you, it influenced me as a young teen, since it served as still more confirmation that adults could not be trusted, were NOT universally smarter or wiser than I was and could be frighteningly wrong-headed.

      If my father hadn’t been so passionately dedicated to reason and truth (insofar as it could be accurately approximated), I might have panicked.

  23. Christina Arasmo Beymer says

    This is a pathetic situation. I am so sorry you’re getting attacked for being sane. My God, the frontal lobes on humans are not fully developed until the mid-20s from most accounts (and from freaking observation).

  24. R Henry says

    To the mother who wrote in to Psychology Today:

    The magazine long ago became an advocate for the “transgender” (and every other sexual deviancy) movement. As such, the only advice you will receive for it or its readership is “Get out the scalpel, and start cutting!”

    The bottom line however, is, and always has been, treatment which has, as its objective, development of healthy, positive self awareness and self acceptance. Regardless of which mental/emotional illness is in question, this must always be the objective.

    For political reasons, Psychology Today and its readership, and the larger psychology profession, has largely deigned to dispense with its typical treatments and objectives, and instead opt to feed the illness. Counseling “transition” does nothing to instill self-awareness or self-acceptance. Instead, it validates the patient’s sense of frustration, boldly supporting the idea that the patient is somehow defective, and must be fixed, surgically and/or hormonally–and with a new wardrobe and hairstyle

    Thing is, ROGD patients aren’t defective. They are ill. They don’t need their bodies altered, they don’t need a new wardrobe, they need a cure for their illness.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Follow the money. There’s $$$ in surgery. There’s $$$ in expensive blocker and brain and gonad-altering drugs. And it will go on as long as they can send the taxpayer for the bill or milk wealthy deluded parents. Look at what happened to shock treatment in Canada (one of the few good things they did Up North). Once the Canadian health system stopped allowing psychiatrists from charging mucho bucks for shock treatments it magically went away as a preferred treatment.

  25. Coolius Caesar says

    First mistake: publishing in Psychology Today. I admit that there have been a few good articles but for every 1 good one is 1000 garbage ones.

  26. It is going to be fun in about 10 years when the trial lawyers bring a class action on behalf of all the now sterile and suicidal people who have de-transitioned as adults and blame all their problems on transitioning as a child, and alleging negligence against every person and every institution promoting this unhealthy nonsense.

    Since the trial lawyers are mostly all liberals (if mercenary), it will be delicious to watch!

    • TarsTarkas says

      They’ll roll it into a class-action lawsuit, the trillion-dollar settlement will come out of tax revenues, and the victims of this insane cut-n-drug cult will get a few S&H green stamps that can only be reimbursed at the 5 & Dime in Fort Bayard, New Mexico which is only open two days a month.

  27. Martin28 says

    “bullying and emotional blackmail from activists”

    Transactivism is now a frenzy of bullying and emotional blackmail. It is worth noting that victimhood brings a lot of status today, and it gives license to dehumanize and attack one’s oppressors. Attacking with abandon can be fun. It’s a form of completely losing one’s inhibitions, like rioting. And just think about how these folks, who probably were bullied, are enjoying the bullying. This is the emotional and motivational space in which these mobs are acting.

    • ccscientist says

      It is like rioting but totally safe. You don’t get punched or teargassed or go to jail. You can just safely ruin someone. What fun!

  28. Hestia says

    It is starting to look like our Islamist friends might have something right. In their philosophy, boys are boys and girls are girls. I guess they are more science inclined than we are in the West?

  29. ccscientist says

    The mob mentality never ends well. Sorry you (the author) are getting attacked. I’ve gotten my share of mob abuse on totally different topics. I’d like to make 2 points:
    1) Transitioning is being proposed for pre-teens, not just teens. In either case, it is not possible for these kids to know how they really feel about sex until they have had some. Children especially have no idea what it is all about and can’t even imagine it.
    2) It has been shown that perhaps 80% of teens who feel this way after a while decide they are simply gay, and are happy with that decision down the road. It has also been shown that transitioning does not reduce bad outcomes like depression and suicide (which are very high in this group) and that transitioning is later regretted in some subset of the population.

    To forbid discussion of these issues and push a transgender agenda on teens or children who really have no experience with romance or sex is setting society up for some very disturbed and unhappy outcomes. It is fundamentally unethical.

  30. anonymous says

    I am really greatful to Dr. Veissiere for tackling this issue in a reasoned manner.

  31. I’m glad I’m not 14. When I was, I thought I might be gay. I had never heard of transgender but now I would have.I grew out of it, although I’m still kind of bi-curious, but at least a group of well-meaning adults didn’t try to convince me to cut my penis off for my own benefit.

  32. Jasper Jigger says

    Plenty of what many call socialists are in fact welfare liberals. But that’s beside the point. The transsexual phenomena is fraught. Technology allows us to surgically alter people so that their body matches their mind. Hormone treatments help if changing sex is the aim. But why do this to children. Is this a crazy experiment? In a world with fuzzy boundaries and multiple options where identity rules, doing this to children is not surprising. I am sure many parents are happy to alleviate the so-called stress their children suffer. In some ways these early hormone treatments remind me of the previous treatment of intersex people. Consent was often missing. Mistakes were made. Often the mistakes were irreversible and the consequences for individuals dire and final. After all, our sex is fundamental to our identity. We know its immutable. Children know that too and at young ages. But the certainty of the immutability story will break down if this continues. Its time to stand up for the rights of these children. Shutting down speech, especially well-researched expert opinion, is very foolish. So, be kind to transsexual people who have suffered much. Carefully scrutinize the response to any children who question their gender/sex. Expose not the children but rather the advocates of early irreversible treatment. If you know any of these children, keep close to make sure they are ok. One measure of humanity is how we treat difference. But we don’t need to create the difference. Especailly when the consequences of these treatments are so far unclear.

  33. Mindful says

    Rather than gripe about extremism and free speech suppression, which seems to be the topic of a lot of Quillette’s articles, the MEAT is to actually talk about the issue in a meaningful way, not just be a forum for griping by sensitive, ego-driven academics (used to adulation) who got their ego hurt because they were “attacked” by the activist plebes.

    Gender is a manifestation of one’s energies and divinity in a particular fashion. IN that sense, “masculine” & “feminine” are constructs.
    However, there is a biological manifestation of gender as well (genitalia & hormones). Biological modifications need medical approval and guidelines, under our western medical system. If the medical system decides that children (below 18) need parental consent to transform biologically, then so be it. Not in the realm of social science or humanities.

    At the same time, the manifestation of energies should be encouraged and not be stifled because they do not fit in some preconceived box or category (male or female).

    The balancing act in our society going forward would to encourage energy manifesting while protecting children from irreversible biological changes, until they can make up their own minds (from a legal standpoint).

  34. Lightning Rose says

    Maybe what we REALLY need is to re-examine putting sex back in the context of natural law–sexual reproduction’s primary function being continuation of a species. Since the Pill appeared in the 1960’s, we’ve been attempting to distance society from the idea that sexual congress comes with any responsibilities, consequences, or implications at ALL. Certainly the Left has been pushing the idea that it’s no more consequential than going out for ice cream, or scratching an itch. Which has brought us to the present moment’s confusion with #metoo and “trans.” Unless of course this is nature’s way of keeping our birth rate below replacement. It’s working.

    The constant, in-your-face demand that society not only tolerate, but celebrate, nearly every act formerly thought sexually deviant (since it could not result in conception) is possibly a wholesale flight from the responsibility of true, mature commitment to a sexual relationship with all that USED to entail–having children and supporting a family. By choosing every alternative identity, all of which relegate them to firing blanks from a biological perspective, they embrace an infantile onanism.

  35. I have yet to hear a convincing argument why the belief that one is the opposite sex from what one’s physical morphology and genetic make up testify to should be treated any differently than any other false belief which causes psychological distress. Other such false beliefs (e.g. that one is really a cat, an overarching sense of dread that a powerful conspiracy is controlling one’s thoughts, or seeking to destroy you, that some horrible mishap will befall if one’s hands are not washed hourly, and the like) are treated as signs of mental illness and some combination of compassionate psychotherapy and medication are provided, not to create a semblance of the false belief being true, but to remove the false belief, or at least mitigate the distress it causes.

    Why precisely is this distressing false belief different from the others, so that society must pretend it is true and offer the person afflicted with it surgery and hormone treatments to create a hollow semblance of it being true?

    • Mindful says

      Gender is a manifestation of one’s energies and divinity in a particular fashion. IN that sense, “masculine” & “feminine” are constructs.
      he balancing act in our society going forward would to encourage energy manifesting while protecting children from irreversible biological changes, until they can make up their own minds (from a legal standpoint).

  36. Jenny Cyphers says

    It is totally unethical to sterilize children. There are currently no laws to safe guard children from this. Until there are, the debate must happen. Extreme activists don’t want the debate because they’ve made the debate personal by making it about identities and personhood.

    It’s difficult to have such a debate when people are yelling about their right to exist, when that is not what the debate is about.

    Gender identity ideology is a made up belief system. What it demands of all of us is that we accept that sex is a social construct and that our deeply held beliefs about our gender is innate. This is the core of “gender identity” and queer theory.

    What’s happening is that this ideology is indeed being taught in schools to children. Laws are being changed to either replace sex with gender identity, or in addition to.

    People cannot change sex. No drugs or surgery will do that. Ever. It is cruel to allow children to believe this lie. It is cruel to allow children to attempt to change sex with drugs and surgery that will sterilize them and/or permanently alter their bodies. It’s cruel to children to make them medical patients for life. It’s cruel to children to destroy their bodies and sexual function.

    Why are children the target in this war? It should piss off every parent. Parents are actively dismissed in this debate.

    Grown adults wanting to surgically alter their bodies, destroy their sexual function, and shorten their lives, should do as they like and leave children alone.

    Please allow children to grow up whole. Is that too much to ask?

  37. Another ROGD Parent says

    I am the parent quoted at the top of this article.
    Thank you again, Dr Veissiere, for persisting in the face of the bullying and accusations.
    I have seen you become more frustrated and disbelieving of the behaviour of activists with each of your articles – three in “Psychology Today”, and now this one.
    Please keep speaking out.
    The many, many parents of ROGD kids who are remaining anonymous in order to avoid bullying, and to protect the privacy of our kids, thank and salute you.

  38. Pingback: Samuel Veissière [anthropologist and professor of Psychiatry at McGill University] on Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) – Miroslav Imbrisevic

  39. 1) PT is a rag in the eyes of many
    2) you can get a PhD to say just about anything,
    if
    3) it is adequately self-seeking or self-aggrandizing.
    4) “diagnosis” used to mean “thorough understanding”; now it means whatever is expedient at the moment, usually a CONSTRUCT, like constellations, that exist only in the eye of the beholder.
    5) hormones are servants, not masters.
    6) Context is everything. “Well-meaning adults?”

    RAPID ONSET GENDER DYSPHORIA? sounds like a DECONSTRUCTION
    SHIVA! CALLING SHIVA!
    Let’s get to the TRUTH. And be set free by simple, straightforward efforts.

    Sorry, kids, the author is mob of one.

    • TD2000 says

      There are multiple researchers in this field and their data and arguments deserve to be heard and debated, not censored. All sides of the debate should agree to that, no?

  40. TD2000 says

    Every college student should be required to recite this paragraph every day before starting class:

    “This culture of victimhood, identity politics and social justice activism promotes a simplistic worldview of noble victims and malevolent victimizers. It is eroding free speech, and spreads a climate of fear and fragility on campus and beyond. That our youth care about justice, democracy, and diversity is a good thing, and we should applaud them for this. But encouraging and glorifying victimhood doesn’t help advance that agenda. Cultivating a sense of victimhood impairs coping and flourishing, breeds resentment and anger, increases conflict, and only succeeds in dividing rather than uniting people.”

  41. Ocean Creature says

    Please look into the early work of German psychologist, Bert Hellinger. His work in family constellations could shed important light on this sudden rash of transgenderism. Families seek to include and remember their victims. The famous Arquette family of Hollywood actors are descended from Holocaust survivors and I read at the time of Alexis Arquette’s death that she had always struggled with gender identity and felt very attached to an aunt who died in the holocaust. Perhaps Alexis’ whole life was an attempt to remember her aunt. The children living now are born to mothers who have had abortions before them. Each abortion leaves a DNA signature in the womb. Could a transgender child be remembering and including a lost sibling? I am always suspicious of group hysteria because it is an irrational way to express a rational cause. Why transgenderism now, at this time in history? Follow the clues. Every generation since Roe v. Wade was decided has lived with lost siblings. Maybe this is their way to be remembered, included., and loved. ROGD children might be the messengers, who are bearing a great burden to deliver the message.

  42. In my opinion, the velocity of rebuke and the level vitriol that is directed towards anyone who does not agree with these “activists” tells me that this issue touches them very deeply to the core of some aspect of their self-identity. When you oppose what they want, they are reacting as if you are attempting to murder them. Now exactly what this aspect is, It is also connected with a way they envision themselves in a different reality, for another common factor is the rejection of God and the adoption of progressive and post-modern values. This is deeply spiritual, as if they view it a form of “salvation” to inhabit another place where things can be totally different in ways they cannot fully elaborate, yet where life and happiness can still be achieved.

  43. Jezza says

    @Vicki I notice that once you have unloaded whatever bile you carry at any one moment, your views tend be quite sensible and sane. I know they are sensible because I agree with them. So what do you think of this: LQGBXETC people can be grouped under the umbrella term the HETEROPHOBE ALLIANCE. They are all hate the opposite sex, even sometimes their own. The puppeteers running the heterophobe alliance have harnessed the confusion and misery of these poor people and turned it into a political force, ostensibly to help them to a happier life, but in reality to destroy the foundations of your society. The issues they raise are so patently ridiculous that it is silly to take them seriously. But we respond and use up valuable time and space and brain power discussing, arguing, theorizing. Yes, the heterophobes are being used as cannon fodder and it is socialists who are doing it. It is an old ploy. I call your attention to a quote in a recent Quillette article, taken from Koch’s biography of Murzenberg, a political manipulator: “He (Murzenberg) wanted to instill the feeling, like a truth of nature, that seriously to criticize or challenge Soviet (substitute the word Democrat) policy was the unfailing mark of a bad, bigoted, and probably stupid person, while support was equally infallible proof of a forward-looking mind committed to all that was best for humanity and marked by an uplifting refinement of sensibility”. It has been very effective, has it not? Think of the way never-Trumpers carry on. It is quite deliberately malicious and calculated. I’m on a roll but my wife is nagging me to get ready to visit our sister-in-law. Over to you Vicki.

  44. Realworldman says

    “In our highly polarized and fraught moment, bullying and emotional blackmail from activists are destroying resilience, compassion, and free inquiry and making the task of understanding an already complex problem more difficult than it already is. We need to lower the temperature by returning to good faith dialogue and—more than ever—wisdom”.

    Might I suggest dumping Twitter and Facebook altogether. Reacquaint yourself with the delete and SPAM buttons on your email. Maintain the accuracy, impartiality and professionalism of your work. If anyone or any institution of any significance moves against you, then (and only then) react with an attorney. Too much attention is being given ignorant trolls with too much time on their hands due to their lack of employment. Who cares what uninformed, mentally ill people think or say. Their only source of power is your recognition of them. They are not part of any dialogue. They are only heckling from the sideline. Lets all agree to just quit talking about them and their noise. Making universities accountable to their employees rather than a small band of morons, is again a legal issue. SUE THEM. And then go to another institution that still operates in the real world.

  45. Pingback: Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria: Attivisti Politici Contro Scienziati

  46. Stefan Siepen says

    Should the article be called “a surfeit of compassion and an abscense of empathy” rather than the other way around? Empathy AFAIK is the ability to really see the world/problem/issue through someone elses “eyes” and compassion is more of a “feeling”. Wrong?

Comments are closed.