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The Uncharted Territories of Medically Transitioning Children

In medieval times, maps warned adventurers away from unexplored territories with drawings of mythological beasts and a warning that read, “Here be dragons.” Are we venturing into dragon territory with the transitional therapies increasingly made available to transgender youth?


Twelve-sixteen-eighteen isn’t a date, it’s a program developed in Holland for treating children experiencing gender dysphoria, the condition of feeling there is a mismatch between one’s experienced gender and one’s biological sex. When Dr Norman Spack, pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, learned of the approach, he decided, “I’m going to do this.” And he did.

In 2007, Dr Spack co-founded the hospital’s Gender Management Service (GeMS), the first clinic in North America devoted to treating transgender children. There, he implemented the 12-16-18 program, which has since been adopted by clinics nationwide. (Dr. Spack did not respond to an interview request.)

Hormones are the tools of the endocrinologist’s trade, which is why, in 1985, a transgender Harvard graduate sought Dr. Spack’s assistance. The patient, born female, had lived as a male named “Mark” throughout his years at Harvard and had been accepted as such. As Dr. Spack recounted in his 2013 TEDx talk, Mark entered his office after graduation and said, “Help me.” He wanted to look like a man, be perceived as a man by those he met or merely passed on the street. And a transition of that nature required hormones.

Dr. Spack had no experience with transgender individuals, but he struck a deal with Mark: “I’ll treat you, if you’ll teach me.”

Over time, more transgender individuals found their way to Spack’s practice, and he did what he could. But hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for transgendered adults can’t reverse most of the physical changes wrought by puberty, so the cosmetic results for individuals transitioning later in life can be unconvincing.

In a 2013 address at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Spack explained, “…[E]specially in the case of the male-to-females, they weren’t looking particularly female. They had the height, the hands, the jaw, the brow… If people said ‘men in a skirt,’ a lot of them would have conformed to that.” The 12-16-18 approach offered not a cure for the problem, but a preventive.

Clinicians generally agree that gender dysphoria usually expresses itself early in the life of a child. This point is critical. “Most of our patients declared their gender dysphoria at relatively young ages. This is mostly before age five or six, so clearly gender identity doesn’t just happen,” said Spack.

In roughly 80 percent of affected children, gender dysphoria resolves itself prior to puberty, meaning the children come to accept and feel comfortable with their biological sex. These children are called “desisters.” Most will become gay or lesbian adults.

The remainder, the “persisters,” enter puberty still experiencing an incongruence between the body they have and the one they believe they should. Many clinicians agree that most of these children are permanently transgender. The age at which they consider transgenderism to be fixed is about 12.

Dr. Spack, who theorizes a neurological basis for gender dysphoria, summed up the 12-16-18 approach to treating transgender children: “You can’t change the brain; let’s change the body.”

Puberty is the time of dramatic physical differentiation between females and males. Females develop breasts and hips; males experience a deepening of the voice, the emergence of facial hair, an increase in body mass and height. These normal secondary sex characteristics are precisely those that make it difficult for transgender adults to present an appearance consistent with their experienced identity.

The solution: eliminate puberty.

Drugs that delay puberty, called puberty blockers, have been used for years to treat cases of “precocious puberty,” instances where young children begin to mature sexually. They are now also used off-label in the treatment of children with gender dysphoria.

In essence, administering puberty blockers to transgender children at about age 12 puts them in a biological holding pattern, staving off the development of unwanted sex-related traits that can later be reversed only with cosmetic or surgical procedures, if at all.

This phase of the 12-16-18 program is intended to buy time for additional testing, counseling, and deliberation. The effects of puberty blockers are reversible, though extended use can increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

The child who continues transitioning remains on puberty blockers until about the age of 16, though some clinics have lowered it to 14.

In any case, at the end of this step life-changing decisions must be made.

This is the point at which puberty blockers are discontinued and hormones associated with the child’s target gender are introduced. Many of the results are irreversible, the most serious of which is permanent infertility.

A male-to-female teen taking cross-sex hormones will begin to develop breasts, rounded hips, the softer facial features of a female. Also notable is what will not happen: his voice will not deepen, he will not develop a male beard and body hair or male musculature, he will not reach the height he would have as a male.

Depending on the duration of cross-sex hormone therapy, many of these effects may be reversible. Breast development, however, is permanent. A double mastectomy is required to restore the appearance of a male chest.

If anything, the changes in female-to-male teens are more dramatic and less reversible. Among permanent changes are a deepened voice, increased height, and the growth of facial and body hair. Some individuals will develop an Adam’s apple, some male pattern baldness.

Are these choices a young child should make? Many specialists say yes, and the sooner the better, they argue. Clinicians who treat transgender children operate on the conviction that the teens are permanently transgender, so an extended transition process is pointless, even cruel. The current trend, then, is to speed transitioning time, a sort of hormonal hurry-up offense.

Treatment priorities for transgender adolescents are described in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism:

These recommendations place a high value on avoiding the increasing likelihood of an unsatisfactory physical change when secondary sexual characteristics have become manifest and irreversible, as well as a high value on offering the adolescent the experience of the desired gender. These recommendations place a lower value on avoiding potential harm from early hormone therapy [emphasis added].

They follow up with the information below:

A year or two after beginning cross-sex hormone therapy, the teen begins the final transitioning phase: surgery.

The final transitioning stage takes place at about age 18 and involves the surgical removal of the patient’s reproductive organs. In biological females, this means the uterus and ovaries; in natal males, the testes. Some teens will also undergo genital reconstruction surgery, which is significantly more successful in male-to-female patients than the reverse.

These surgeries reduce the hormone dosages required to maintain a cross-sex appearance, but do not eliminate the need for lifelong hormone therapy.

In the end, the 12-16-18 program will most often yield young adults whose cosmetic conformation to their target sex is good. Their sexual performance prospects vary depending on a range of factors, including their biological sex and the extent of the surgical reconstruction procedures they opt for—and can afford.

So, is it worth it?

There are too many variables to permit a blanket answer, but a couple of factors have to be considered: First, there are children who from their earliest years believe absolutely that they are in the wrong body. Whatever the source of their condition, their distress is real.

And in a widely quoted statistic, more than 40 percent of transgendered individuals between the ages of 16–25 who receive no treatment will attempt suicide. Some will succeed. Those who don’t are far more likely to die of substance abuse or homicide than the general populace. A clinician’s desire to help is understandable, commendable, humane.

But does it help?

In some cases, apparently yes. In others, maybe. But long-term, no one really knows.

In the Absence of Solid Evidence…

In an editorial note on the website of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, there is this:

Gender-affirming care for transgender youth is a young and rapidly evolving field. In the absence of solid evidence, providers often must rely on the expert opinions of innovators and thought leaders in the field…

In other words, they’re winging it.

They are not alone. Studies on the treatment of children with gender dysphoria are few and inconclusive, a fact masked by the relentlessly upbeat testimonials featured online and in the media.

In September 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a widely quoted study by Dutch researchers titled “Young Adult Psychological Outcome After Puberty Suppression and Gender Reassignment.” On average, the 55 subjects were about 21 years of age and at least one year beyond gender reassignment surgery

The study concluded that the psychological well-being of young adults treated according to the 12-16-18 plan was as good or better than that of their standard-issue peers. CBS news covered the report under the headline: “Transgender teens become happy, healthy young adults.”

However, an April 2018 review, also published by the AAP, sounded a more cautious note:

CONTEXT: Hormonal interventions are being increasingly used to treat young people with gender dysphoria, but their effects in this population have not been systematically reviewed before.

LIMITATIONS: There are few studies in this field and they have all been observational.

CONCLUSIONS: Low-quality evidence suggests that hormonal treatments for transgender adolescents can achieve their intended physical effects, but evidence regarding their psychosocial and cognitive impact are generally lacking.

The British Psychological Society Research Digest, citing the AAP review, concurred:

…[T]he new review reveals how this well-intentioned advice [on early hormonal intervention] is based on extremely limited evidence. When it comes to children, teens and young adults aged under 25, we simply do not yet know much about the psychosocial effects of pubertal suppressors…and further hormonal treatments…).

Research concerns aren’t limited to the effects of hormonal interventions. A study published in the May 2018 edition of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships considered the social prospects for transgender individuals and learned they are poor: In a sample of 985 respondents, average age 26 (including gay, straight, lesbian, and bisexual/transsexual individuals), 87.5 percent indicated they would not date a transgender person.

Inquiry or Ideology?

In his Washington University address, Dr Norman Spack said, “[Gender identity] will ultimately declare itself with a degree of finality at Tanner 2 puberty (age 9–11 in males, age 10-11.5 in females). Because even Ken Zucker says that Tanner 2 puberty is the defining time.”

Even Ken Zucker.

Based on that statement you might think Ken Zucker is a fringe figure. He isn’t. Dr Kenneth Zucker is the editor-in-chief of Archives of Sexual Behavior and professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He served as chair of the American Psychiatric Association workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity for the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders (DSM-5).

He was also head of the Child, Youth, and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) in Toronto—was being the operative word.

Dr Zucker’s approach to adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria differs little from that of his peers, but they part company on the treatment of young children.

Current orthodoxy on the care of gender dysphoric children views affirmation of a child’s expressed gender identity as critical. Parents are advised to support a child’s impulse to cross-dress, preference for cross-gender play, desire to adopt a cross-gender name. To do otherwise is seen as transphobic, as suppressing the child’s genuine expression of self.

Dr Zucker and his colleagues at the GIC took a different tack, focusing where appropriate on therapies that encouraged young gender dysphoric children to become comfortable with their biological sex. This approach was viewed by the transgender support community as akin to the discredited conversion practices imposed on homosexuals. They responded by applying pressure in the media and on management, and in 2016 they succeeded in having the GIC shut down.

That’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the story, covered in depth in a 2016 piece by Jesse Singal. But the campaign to discredit Dr Zucker wasn’t an anomaly. Dissenting views on gender dysphoria are routinely suppressed.

On August 16, 2018, a study by Dr Lisa Littman of Brown University was published on PLOS ONE, a site whose stated purpose is “accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science.” The study raised the possibility that a new form of gender dysphoria has emerged, one that is expressed not early in childhood but that appears suddenly, post-puberty, most often in females with heavy social media exposure who have friends who are also “coming out.” Many of the teens studied also had a history of mental health diagnoses.

The title of the study: “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports.”

The pushback: immediate.

On August 25, the Journal of Adolescent Health, in a quickly deleted tweet, weighed in: “Folks, Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (#ROGD) is not a thing.”

On August 27, PLOS ONE published a statement reading in part: “PLOS ONE is aware of the reader concerns raised on the study’s content and methodology.”

The following day Brown University disavowed the study and removed from its website a press release touting the research.

Why the controversy? Because within the transgender support community, rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) is considered a transphobic myth. Many transgender specialists and activists believe that gender dysphoria is immutable. Like Dr Spack, they posit a biological basis for transgenderism, though currently there is no widely accepted evidence for it. A suggestion that gender dysphoria in any form might be a social phenomenon is viewed as false, denigrating, and threatening.

A statement from Bess Marcus, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, read in part:

…[T]he School of Public Health has heard from Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.

Some academics expressed legitimate criticism of the study’s methodology. Survey respondents were recruited from websites that serve as forums for the parents of transgender adolescents and young adults. One site describes itself as “a community of parents & others concerned about the medicalization of gender-atypical youth and rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD).” Critics of the study say the respondents were not a valid survey sample because they were biased on the question of transitional therapies.

Not all the responses to Dr Littman’s work were reasoned, however. According to the Economist, Dr Diane Ehrensaft, director of mental health at the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center, wrote “this would be like recruiting from Klan or alt-right sites to demonstrate that blacks really are an inferior race.”

That’s a hard case to make.

On the advice of therapists, some of these parents had initially supported their child’s newly declared transgender status, only later concluding that their child was wrongly being funneled into a treatment scenario involving significant health risks, irreversible physical alterations, and probable social barriers.

In addition, 73 percent of the 212 females described in the study had revealed alternative sexualities—i.e., asexual, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian—to their parents prior to declaring as transgender. That the child’s sexual orientation was already known in most of these households blunts criticism that gender dysphoria only appears “suddenly” in unsupportive homes that discouraged earlier disclosure.

The controversy over ROGD notwithstanding, the phenomenon of children who declare suddenly isn’t new. In his 2013 Washington University address, Dr Spack described the atypical cases that at that time made up 10 percent of the patient population, noting that they did not have a longstanding history of gender dysphoria and could be “extremely obsessive” about their desire to transition:

The kids for whom it happens only recently are the 10 percent who are in the autistic spectrum, mostly Asperger’s… And they’re different because they may have wanted to be a lion two years ago and now they want to be a girl. And it’s tough, and we’re still wrestling with this.

Twelve percent of the adolescents and young adults studied in Dr Littman’s research were reported by parents to have received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. That may explain some of the cases. As for the others, while transgender specialists discount the social contagion theory, it may fit.

Social Contagion?

Every decade or so there appears a new “It” condition, a previously obscure malady that catches the attention of the media, then the public, and then suddenly seems epidemic. This is particularly true of conditions like gender dysphoria for which there is no laboratory screening test and whose diagnosis relies entirely on a patient’s testimony.

Prior to the 1973 publication of Sybil, for example, fewer than 50 cases of multiple personality disorder were known; by 1998, there were 20,000 reported cases, growing to more than 20 million by some estimates.

Commenting in 2003 on a condition unrelated to gender dysphoria, Dr Carl Elliott wrote:

…Anyone with a rudimentary familiarity with the history of psychiatry cannot help but be struck by the way that mental disorders come and go…This is not simply because people decided to “come out” rather than suffer alone. It is because all mental disorders, even those with biological roots, have a social component…

…Soon the new conditions are discussed in journals and at conferences; clinicians start to diagnose the disorder more and more commonly; the conditions themselves become part of popular discourse and are discussed in support groups, therapy sessions, Internet venues… Patients begin to reinterpret their own psychological histories in light of what they hear, and their behavior changes to match what is expected of people with the condition they believe they have…

(Dr Elliott declined an interview request, stating that he is insufficiently familiar with gender dysphoria issues to comment.)

Though the causes are debatable and likely complex, gender dysphoria clinics are seeing a significant shift in patient demographics. Historically, the sex ratio of “classic” gender dysphoria patients—those declaring in early childhood—has been variously reported as majority natal male or, at some clinics, about a 50-50 split. No longer. Clinics worldwide are reporting a surge in adolescent female referrals, accounting for 72 percent of the 2017–18 patient population at the Gender Identity Service in Great Britain, for example.1

Further, 87 percent of all patient referrals to the Gender Identity Service during that time period were between the ages of 13 and 18, peaking at age 16. In other words, they were declaring a decade or more later than normal for gender dysphoria patients. If you are looking for a cause, social media is a reasonable place to start.

The networking opportunities afforded teens by the internet likely play a major role in fueling the reported ROGD wave. Distressed or curious kids can connect with like-minded peers while staying well under parental radar. You don’t have to look far to find transgender forums where teens swap information on how to con counselors into a gender dysphoria diagnosis or to obtain prescription hormones.

The countless vanity videos featuring attractive transitioning teens can serve as appealing sales pitches to vulnerable adolescents seeking an answer to what ails them.

Young transwomen post photographs of budding breasts. Twenty-something transmen rejoice over the first suggestion of an Adam’s apple. It’s new, it’s edgy, it’s thrilling, and nobody’s asking how it will feel in a decade or two.

Social media is the perfect petri dish in which to culture a trend like rapid-onset gender dysphoria.

Who’s Leading Whom—and Where?

A January 2018 Washington Post piece highlighted the services provided by the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center:

The type of services being requested has also changed. Clinicians say they are no longer taken aback by youths seeking some kind of boutique treatment — often “just a touch of testosterone” for an androgynous, nonbinary identity.

“It’s the children who are now leading us,” said Diane Ehrensaft, the director of mental health for the clinic. “They’re coming in and telling us, ‘I’m no gender.’ Or they’re saying, ‘I identify as gender nonbinary.’ Or ‘I’m a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I’m a unique gender, I’m transgender. I’m a rainbow kid, I’m boy-girl, I’m everything.’”

Dr Ehrensaft is wrong. Children aren’t leading the charge in this field, and limitless gender fluidity isn’t an idea that springs unbidden from the minds of adolescents. These are post-modern gender concepts developed by academics and released into the infosphere where they can be absorbed by kids who are bored, troubled, or seeking new and creative ways to freak out their parents.

The boutique response to adolescent gender games is likely a small part of what the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center does, but that they indulge them at all seems frivolous and unworthy of the children and adults who genuinely suffer. And as the long-term effects of such interventions are unclear, it also seems risky.

Gender dysphoria isn’t new, but the treatment options and the evolving demographics are. Clinicians are in the unenviable position of having to make Solomonic judgments about how best to treat a changing patient population. And given the response by academics and activists to conservative treatment approaches, some practitioners may feel pressured to approve transitional therapies that are safe from professional censure but inappropriate for the patient. They may remember that an Ohio couple lost custody of their child for refusing to authorize hormone therapy, and that Kenneth Zucker’s clinic was shuttered, and that Lisa Littman’s research was sandbagged.

An August 2018 article on Medscape asks, “Caring for Transgender Kids: Is Clinical Practice Outpacing the Science?” Clinicians would do well to consider that question carefully. There may be dragons lurking.


Donna Reynolds is a writer.




  1. Some of the dragons may be of the legal variety. One wonders whether anyone who underwent irreversible hormone and/or surgery has sued the doctors or others who promoted such things yet.

    • Peter White says

      It’s only a matter of time; and let’s hope that it is Dr Ehrensaft’s clinic that becomes the first big loser in the courts. It can’t come quick enough for the sake of these poor kids.

      • Too many parents fixate on having a boy, but get a girl, or vice versa. I doubt there is a single instance of ‘transgender’ confusion where the source was not a passively abusive parent – reinforcing any behavior that goes contrary to the child’s biological sex and otherwise ignoring them. Children are desperate for attention and will do anything to get it; parents unconsciously reward/punish via that means.

      • So let’s get this straight, conforming to my birth gender is a “social construct ” but a child wanting to be a different gender is biology ?

        The lunatics have been running the asylum for too long.

        In a decade I predict class actions and Royal Commissions into the systemic abuse of children.

        • TarsTarkas says

          Just watch. Regretters will be ignored by the media, doxxed, social-shamed, mobbed, and public protested into silence. The taxpayer money to be made on aiding and abetting this delusion is too great. They will defend their revenue stream to the death (other people’s deaths, of course).

        • Ray Andrews says


          You’ve got it. As Orwell predicted, freedom is slavery, but we now also have: reality is imagination and imagination is reality. It is breathtaking to know that we are watching this in real time. Future generations will wonder what it could possibly have been like to live thru it, when up was down and we were expected to walk on the ceiling.

          • @Ray Andrews
            I agree with you, but I genuinely fear there will be no generations to look back and care or understand.
            It will be a new dark age.

          • Ray Andrews says


            Very possibly a dark age. But surely humanity would crawl out from it eventually. Some say that a dose of reality — some real hardship — will put an end to the current insanity, we’d simply not be able to afford it. Civilization may yet recover from this. But time is scarce, if the caliphate gets here before we wake up, the situation will not be retrievable.

    • jakesbrain says

      Oh, I expect in another ten or twelve years someone who’s had this done to them is going to do something far, far worse than suing the people who did it.

    • dellingdog says

      I have considered transitioning, I knew I could never be an alpha male so I considered becoming the woman everyone knows I am. Instead I chose Beta. #itsoktobebeta

  2. It is the CURRENT YEAR when “Frankenstein” becomes a medical instruction manual.

    I would like to know: is gender dysphoria present in any other species. particularly great apes

    How does transgenderism biological/genetic if considered from an evolutionary paradigm?

    Wouldn’t the sterility of trans people eliminate their genes from the collective genepool and thus lead to generational extinction by evolution. Thus making this a eugenic project?

    Is there clear evidence that “the brain can’t be fixed” by psychiatric intervention/drugs.

    • I remember when in the ’80’s the gender dystopia (pubentant body dystipia) of bulimia , was published and reported widely, it immediately became the “coolest ” thing to be?

      • E. Olson says

        Yes and the medical community utterly failed to support the bulimic and anorexic. Therapy in those dark days wasn’t supportive, but instead tried to convince the patients to eat more and to believe their body image wasn’t accurate and that they were therefore not overweight – i.e. shades of that discredited conversion therapy. Fortunately the medical community now seems to understand that the patient is always correct, even if they are only children or have a history of “mental illness”. If only this could have occurred earlier so that the bulimic could have been given the supplements and surgeries necessary so they could comfortably live at their desired 70 lb (32 kilo) weight rather than be forced to conform to societal norms of “healthy” weight and appearance.

        This shift to the “patient is always correct” attitude among the medical community has also made life in many of our major cities much more colorful, as the people with schizophrenic/bi-polar/personality disorders can now roam the streets in search of a home or place to defecate, or be gainfully employed washing windshields of passing motorists or collecting money for charity (themselves) to help support the economy with their drug and alcohol purchases, instead of being institutionalized as they used to be. Thank goodness we no longer treat people with “mental illness” as actually mentally ill, but instead let them be whatever gender, weight, or historical figure they believe they are.

        • Whew! For a moment I thought your post wasn’t a vicious sarcastic slap in the face to the post-modern nonsense being bandied about and used to further child abuse.

          80% of children work through this “gender dysphoria” and become fully functioning adults.
          12% have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
          That leaves 8% likely suffering from various forms of mental disease where Social Media Pressure can easily convince them of virtually anything. 8% if a minuscule proportion of the population should not expect to be humoured in their delusion.

          Any parent that allows their child to be experimented upon is relinquishing their offspring to the modern equivalent of the infamous Josef Mengele experiments and really deserves to lose custody of that child. Or worse.

        • Sorry my comment must have been vague, I meant it quite differently, the following parable accurately describes my memory of being a school girl in the early eighties and how the symptoms of bulimia became a fashion trend.

          “Do you want to go to the cafe and eat cakes ?”
          “I can’t the “”Dolly” diet says if I eat more than a mouthful of cardboard a day I’ll get fat. ”
          “I know I’m on the same diet. ”
          “How can you eat cake? ”
          “Easy, Jenny showed me how. ”
          “How did she find out ?”
          “Susan showed her. ”
          “Wow, she’s so skinny it must work. Will you show me how to do it? ”

          The vast majority of of 13 year olds I knew who were exhibiting bulimia symptoms, returned to normal eating after a stern word from parents and teachers and curtailing their access dieting magazines. This is because we were not bulimic, but merely experimenting, or copying girls who may have been genuinely suffering.

          But to have surgically altered the many for the few, would have been systemic child abuse.

          I feel my experience, shared by hundreds of women my age with whom I’ve discussed this with over the years, Shows exactly Where There Be Dragons, in permanently altering children and teens exhibiting, symptoms of transgender.

        • >>the bulimic could have been given the supplements and surgeries necessary so they could comfortably live at their desired 70 lb

          I got to here before I caught on. I thought you were quite the kook before that.

        • TarsTarkas says

          I think you mean anorexic, not bulemic.

          The shift to the ‘patient is always correct’ is all about revenue streams. A salesman’s snow job to convince people that ohmygod yes! I am not what I look like, and I must need taxpayer-supported meds and surgery to become what I really am!

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          I plan to be the world’s first trans-species. I have always hated being an ape. Therefore I am not an ape. I am a dolphin. The surgery will be tricky tho.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – I hope 2019 goes swimmingly for the new you.

    • Open Minds? Not Really. says

      Educated guess: yes, there is likely plenty of evidence to suggest any type of psychological counselling or psychiatric (i.e. counselling + drugs) does not have the capability of permanently reversing the way a dysphoric kid feels about their gender etc.

      On the other hand, given the academic climate over the last 20+ years, despite advancements in our understanding of the brain and human body, I’m nearly certain exactly 0 clinical researchers would date take on the challenge of finding the actual biological roots of these conditions and/or non-hetero preferences, which are likely based on some combination of the body not properly producing, regulating, or functioning of things like hormones, pheromones, etc, leading to people being attracted to the same sex, multiple sexes, etc.

      Because if they did that they’d immediately be muzzled, shamed, labeled a bigot, probably lose their license, and every other mob-rule tactic you can think of. EVEN IF, 100% of the patients that went to those doctors and researchers, did so 100% of their own free will and ASKED them to do the research. Because their sexuality had changed mid-life or because they hated the idea of having one of these surgeries (which essentially mutiliates their bodies without calling it mutilation), maybe for reasons as simple as “I don’t know how I’m going to feel in 10 years and this is completely irreversible, and it’s scary as fuck.”

      The entire “industry” if you want to call it that, is completely backwards and fucked up. If they really cared about these kids, they’d offer all options and research types, not just the ones that are socially and politically palatable in (2019).

      • SJW Don't Speak For All of Us says

        I agree. Much of my life I hoped I would see a real understanding of non-hetero conditions, at the brain level. I feel it’s all rooted in the brain and how it functions with all the hormones and that stuff you mentioned. To me being “a woman trapped in a man’s body” is another way of saying “my brain doesn’t know I’m a man and it’s not triggering the creation of these things and interacting in the right way.”

        It’s a medical thing, and just like we should try to cure Alzheimers or bipolar disorder and aspergers, and never attach any stigmas (like we don’t attach them to cancer or the flu), we could be enlightened enough to simply admit we don’t know the causes of non-hetero attraction, and start studying and learning and try to find out.

        If may of us could take a pill in 10 years that brought ours brain and hormones and all the stuff into equilibrium and we felt a physical attraction to only the opposite sex from that day forward. It would be such a gift. Not a nazi experiment, not a cruel thing, a gift.

        But all the SJW and political justice “warriors” (assholes is a better term) out there don’t care about us. All they care about is themselves and the people they know and exclude the possibility that some of us don’t feel like they do. There are homosexual women who want to love men, and vice-versa. BY – THE – MILLIONS in this world. But they dare not say it because then the mob you talk of will turn on THEM and hurt them too. Not just the doctors.

        Mob rule / mentality never solves anything, even when initially well-intentioned.

        The ideal situation in this world is the doctors finding the causes and the treatments or cures or whatever you want to call it that make you feel warm and fuzzy, and ALL treatments are available too ALL of those people. And they choose what they want and none are shamed or bullied for their choice.

        Dream on right?

        • Johnny J says

          SJW you’re so wrong. You need help. Can you imagine all the disappointed parents out there forcing their kids into “your solution,” when they didn’t want it, because it made the parents feel better?

          • SJW is Right says

            Johnny does the J stand for “jackass”? I am not wrong. Listen to what you are saying. You are saying that right now we only have the medical options we have and those are the “right ones” and it would be bad to have MORE options that are not surgically irreversible (and not covered by insurance in many cases – debt much?).

            Because someone’s parents will push them to “my option”. So the fuck what?? You’re saying because there are bad parents out there me and my friends shouldn’t have those options?? All that shit you’re talking about with those bad parents — that’s *their deal*, that family. They have to work through that shit one way or another.

            But don’t deny millions of us real research and understanding and treatments in the long run because “bad parents”. That those parents exist, is not my problem, or yours. Every family has to deal with their own shit and make decisions their way, good or bad. Has nothing to do with what I am talking about or want.

        • Bubblecar says

          “There are homosexual women who want to love men, and vice-versa. BY – THE – MILLIONS in this world.”

          Hehehe, I don’t think so, love. Little bit of wishful thinking going on there.

          I’ve spent many years of my life socially active in the gay scene, and I never met a single gay man or lesbian who had any desire at all to “turn straight”.

          But of course, your fantasies are more convincing than the actual experience of gay people, right?

          • Jamisonville says

            By the millions is clearly pulled out of his or her arse (there may be millions or thousands, nobody really knows). However your number of “I’ve never seen one” is no more convincing than his / her number. There clearly are people who are gay, who wish they weren’t. Just because they’ve accepted it and are OK with it now doesn’t mean they always were, and in either case the fact that they’d never cop to it publicly to another gay person means nothing. Gay people are capable and do shame their own based on agendas and other factors, just like anyone else. Go with the tribe or pay the price socially. Or are you going to deny that ever happens either?

            I think that person’s earlier point about medical science needing to do more to understand why these things happen is perfectly viable (from a medical perspective). Whether they should try to do anything about it is another can of worms but in theory if some gay person started a petition and handed it to clinical researchers at some university, asking for research and a treatment there would be nothing wrong with that. Anymore than there would be nothing wrong with asking for gender re-assignment or doing nothing at all.

          • Bubblecar says


            I’m not claiming there are no gay people who wish they were straight, I’m claiming that they’re rare. Presumably most if not all of them are victims of a homophobic upbringing, usually involving religion.

            Such as the “ex-gays” who run the religious “conversion” groups, who have a habit of turning out to be not so “ex” after all. Sometimes they even come to their senses, regret their earlier “work”, and announce that they’re now ex-ex-gay.

          • Jay F says

            I’ve had gay people tell me their life would be much easier if they were straight. Although I suspect the reasons for attraction are too complex to ever be changed with a pill.

      • Lady Mondegreen says

        “Educated guess: yes, there is likely plenty of evidence to suggest any type of psychological counselling or psychiatric (i.e. counselling + drugs) does not have the capability of permanently reversing the way a dysphoric kid feels about their gender etc.”

        Believe it or not, there isn’t. To my knowledge, there have been NO controlled studies of the use of psychological therapy (like cognitive behavioral therapy) to ease gender dysphoria.

        And in the current environment nobody would dare try. An attempt to help a child accept his or her body and avoid becoming a lifelong medical patient would be labeled “conversion therapy” and “transphobia” and the researchers involved would be excoriated.

    • Tome708 says

      Funny, Frankenstein came to my mind as well. I had a twinge of guilt, but moved on.

  3. Isnt PSEUDO more apt descriptor than trans?

    I never know, does transman mean a man pretending to be a woman or woman pretending to be a man. Transitioned man or transitioned to a man

    Pseudo-woman is clear. Looks like a woman, not really a woman.

  4. Bubblecar says

    “Dr Zucker and his colleagues at the GIC took a different tack, focusing where appropriate on therapies that encouraged young gender dysphoric children to become comfortable with their biological sex. This approach was viewed by the transgender support community as akin to the discredited conversion practices imposed on homosexuals.”

    This underlines the contradictions at the heart of much transgender activism.

    Equating the GIC approach with “gay conversion therapy” makes no sense. The objection to gay “cures” is a very simple one: there is nothing wrong with gay people. Homosexuality doesn’t require medication, psychotherapy, surgery, or any medical intervention at all.

    In contrast, the transgender lobby insists that transgender people require puberty blockers, hormones, and in many cases drastic surgery.

    Since the transgender lobby itself is committed to this “dysphoric” pathological model, it makes no sense for them to object to treatment approaches that seek to avoid the more drastic interventions, and to label these “transphobic”.

    But expecting logical consistency from the transgender lobby is expecting too much, it seems.

    • Daath says

      The comparison to conversion therapy is especially nonsensical considering that the typical outcome for gender dysphoria in kids is desistance and growing up to be homosexual. Instead of supporting that process, we first do all we can to support their idea of being opposite sex, and then it’s time for hormones and surgery. If we must compare something to gay conversion therapy, then what we’re doing right now is the best candidate. We aren’t Iranians, where state hangs gays and funds transitions, but the end result probably isn’t too different. Less well-adjusted gays living happy, productive lives, and more people dealing with all kinds of issues due to transitions they never should have made.

      There isn’t much point in trying to find sense in what those activists do, though. As far as I can see, the sole guiding principle is: If something furthers the interests of people we define as marginalized, it’s true. Therefore it’s true that there are no male and female brains when some “hardcore far right hater” like James Damore argues that biological differences partly explain the differences in outcomes between sexes. At the same time, it’s true that trans people are born with the brains of opposite sex. The logical contradiction is just a plus, because you can identify people guilty of wrongthink when they point it out.

      • Martin28 says

        “The logical contradiction is just a plus, because you can identify people guilty of wrongthink when they point it out.”

        So true. To point out logical contradictions means you are not committed enough to social justice. This is a war on logical consistency and intellectual honesty, as the Grievance Studies project shows.

    • Dan Flehmen says

      I am not convinced that ” there is nothing wrong with gay people”. Developing a loving attachment to your besty’s rectum is an evolutionary dead end (no big deal) and a public health menace which promotes fecal-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and a host of others which still kill millions every year in the developing world (a very big deal). John Snow’s 1849 discovery that cholera is transmitted via feces motivated the development of sewer systems, which was responsible for most of the subsequent doubling in life expectancy. Recall ‘gay bowel syndrome’, simultaneous infection with a whole zoo of tropical gut diseases and parasites, which arose during the explosion of the 1970’s San Francisco gay scene. No one dares talk about the public health aspect of male homosexuality, for the same reason that few dare challenge the trans bandwagon – gay fury.

  5. George Schroh says

    It is harsh to say, but in the end we are nothing more and nothing less than what our next offspring are. If we do not change the world while we are alive, we will not do it while we are dead. We are a blip in time and quite frankly it is the heterosexual nature of humans that will continue to reproduce. If transgenderism causes infertility through surgery, hormones or potential medical conditions then in a way I hate say it, but it may be natures way of killing off a family line or an undesired genetic trait. As a strongly hypothetical “just guessing” example because lord knows science isn’t allowed an input these days. I can trace my family history back to the 1700’s. If something went wrong in my DNA then “nature” may make me transgender to stop reproducing. If I have a unsuitable genetic trait then sure make me something that I can not pass on that trait. I have never heard any discussion that maybe transgenderism is because Darwin’s theory is only half correct. Maybe blood lines have a sort of biological self destruct mechanism that determines reproduction to maintain ideal traits. Maybe the survival of the fittest hypothesis is not a choice but a predetermined genetic decision. I guess only unfettered scientific minds would know.

    • George Schroh says

      I do not know Quillette’s posting standards, but there was another good read (granted it is a right leaning source, so I state the bias upfront) on this topic today here as well:

      It is more of a social perspective and not a scientific study by any means but it does provide some food for thought; or as the article states “As a result of this disassociation, the people espousing viewpoints with which we disagree, and with whom we previously interacted on a regular and civil basis, become less and less human, and instead turn into scantly drawn caricatures onto whom we can project our fear and anger.”

    • Lightning Rose says

      One elephant in the room, almost never mentioned, is the fact that for going on 100 years we’ve been conducting a vast, uncontrolled experiment whereby we replaced a large percentage of the human historical diet, which was primarily made up of animal products, with invented substitutes heavily promoted as “healthy” on the basis of flimsy “science;” such as vegetable oils, soy products, and enormous quantities of refined, denatured carbohydrates and sugars. To say this is not the natural diet the human species evolved to eat is making an extreme understatement. Then there are the endocrine disruptors in the water supply, plastic packaging, personal care products, everywhere. Most of these act in the body as feminizing estrogens and obesogens.

      The unintended consequences are starting to rear their ugly heads, in the form of rampant diabetes, morbid obesity, high cancer rates even in children (virtually nonexistent prior to 1920), precocious puberty, high-birth-weight babies so large they necessitate birth by caesarian, and lessening height and sperm count in American males. Demonstrably, we increasingly also see lack of self-control, juvenilization of the public even unto age 30 (when formerly most were married householders with children!) and ever more incidences of sexual dysfunction. Even allowing for the social contagion factor (latest fad), this condition up to now has been vanishingly rare. Maybe we should be addressing what’s in the food and water (and what isn’t) eh?

      Tolerance and compassionate acceptance of human difference is a long way from *PROMOTION* and commercialization (medicalization for profit) of sexual disability (inability to produce offspring). Should we ENCOURAGE and normalize non-heteronormative identities, behaviors, and foist these choices increasingly on children far too young to understand the lifelong implications? In what possible way can this benefit society at large, assuming we want it to continue into the future?

      • I beg to differ on the part of replacing animal products in the last 100 years. In fact animal foods are returning from historic lows in the early 1800s to normal with the invention of fertilizers and cooled meat transports from the Americas.
        But the massive onset of those gender issues might indeed have a basis in our environmement. I’d place my money on halogenated bisphenols and longchain phthalates. They are known pseudohormones disturbing the intricate ballet of hormones that determine sex. Proof forr this hypothesis is only known for lower lifeforms as reptiles where complete reversal of sex is triggered by food spiked with dibromodiphenol AFAIR. Humans might react less markedly and thus will show only an imbalance. But the rapid increse of these topics is just frigthening.

        • TarsTarkas says

          The first major change in diet occurred with the advent of farming, specifically for grain crops. Humans went from a meat-vegetable-fruit diet to one heavy in carbs. The effect on humanity can be seen in comparing skeletons from the early agricultural period to those of the early Neolithic and earlier periods (before farming). Caries, bad bones, etc. Lactose tolerance is another major change that came about whenever cattle of any stripe became domesticated and their milk started being consumed.

          I agree that the relatively recent advent of sexual confusion has its roots in industrial and pharmacological chemicals, especially the estrogen mimics that have been pumped into water supplies for several decades. It has had a considerable effect on fauna; why wouldn’t it on humans, the top predators/consumers of biota?

        • Tome708 says

          I do not think it is a coincidence examining the timing of this phenomenon. We are witnessing the slippery slope. When we deemed that a man can be a bride, and a woman can be a groom, two men can represent the unit of marriage etc, this was inevitable and predictable. In fact it was often and loudly predicted, but ignored. Ignored because it is attached to higher political movements seeking power, that silenced these predictions.
          I honestly do not know where this slope takes us next. I suspect it will involve children or whatever is still taboo now. That’s what “Progressive” is, right? Never satisfied, must keep moving “forward”.

          • Tome708 says

            Thanks to “progressives” like dellingdog. Let’s break them taboos, it is always works out great for the society at large to adapt to the minuscule minority.
            I believe that folks attracted to pre pubescent claim to just “be that way”
            Sometimes expressing our “true selves” does not serve society as a whole.

      • dellingdog says

        Translation: people are turning gay and trans because we’re not following the paleo diet. I can’t tell if this is a serious post or a parody. (I wonder what they were eating in ancient Greece that made them so homoerotic!)

        Rates of homosexuality are roughly equivalent in all societies regardless of whether gays and lesbians are tolerated. The only difference is whether individuals can be open and honest about who they love instead of living a lie. Although less research has been conducted on trans people, I suspect the same is true of gender identity. Society benefits when people are allowed to express their true selves instead of being shamed and persecuted by bigots.

        • Ray Andrews says


          Define ‘bigot’. It used to mean a person who is intolerant of other viewpoints. Then it came to mostly refer to people who dislike some other race or religion or other group to which they don’t belong. Now it seems to mean anyone who’s views are not as PC as one’s own.

          It is nice to be open and honest about who you love, but supposing I love kiddies? Should I be allowed to express my true self?

          • Tome708 says

            Ray, I will add about those that love kiddies. I think it is not possible to change them, so according to dellingdog’s theory, they are just being their “true self”. And yes, they also have always existed in the same cultures he alluded to

    • Rick in NY says

      I recall reading a response to a not dissimilar discussion point many years ago that resonated, and its logic remains unimpeachable. It was as follows: “If adopted by the species, the species would be wiped out in one generation”.

      • Some of us, following Benatar, might think that that would not be much of a tragedy.

  6. ShipAhoy says

    Many of the “arguments” put forth by transgender activists are overly dramatic to the point of insanity. At a “gender sensitivity” workshop presented at the university where I teach, the glazed, evangelical nature of discourse should have been obvious to all observers. “I find myself watching everything I say!” reported one. Another — a middle-aged woman convert (she’d taken a gender studies course with the, ah, preacher I mean professor I mean ideologue) expressed excitement over “celebrating” gender identities that could change DAILY. (I’m sitting there thinking about how many students whose academic concerns are on my plate — and now I’m supposed to remember what “gender” they are — DAILY???) How could they not see how stupid this is? We are now compelled to put a gender identity caveat on our syllabi, which implies that I will “protect” these persons.

    Take away their bathroom “rights” (never mind the rights of others) and they are “erased.” Such DRAMA!!! That alone should point out what this is about for many so-called “trans” persons (especially the females): THEY WANT ATTENTION.

    And they’ve got it.

    I was much involved with this type of crowd in the 80’s/90’s. They were not “transitioned” but countercultural drug addicts who dramatized every emotion into a psychosis. I found them exhausting and incredibly maudlin to be around. When someone died of an overdose, they said he was lucky to be dead.

    This way of looking at life and the self should not be normalized, and should not be celebrated. While it is quite clear that gender dysphoria is real, it should not be classified as a desirable condition.

    • Martin28 says


      I strongly agree that they want attention. They want sympathy. They want to feel important and validated without having to do anything hard to achieve that. They want to be heroic by virtue of victimhood. These are people who have created their own culture of protest and opposition to society because they would not fit in well otherwise.
      Scratch a social justice activist and you find a fragile, needy psyche underneath. The psychological neediness of these people is more important as a motivator than the ideology.

      • dellingdog says

        I think it’s important to distinguish between trans activists and trans people more broadly, the vast majority of whom aren’t activists. In my view, the latter definitely deserve our sympathy. Whether or not we regard being trans as pathological, ShipAhoy is clearly right that it’s not desirable. Our society is still struggling to find the best approach to enable people who suffer from gender dysphoria to lead satisfying lives. The article raises some important questions about the 12-16-18 model; the medical community should continue to explore other approaches to helping people who identify as trans.

      • What do you expect from a generation raised in an orphanage? (Day care)
        Perhaps worse because once babies were abandoned once, now they get abandoned over and over again.

    • Dan Flehmen says

      LGBTQIA? translates as “Look at ME! Look at ME! Look at ME!”.”

  7. The problem from a medical ethics perspective is that what is the evidence that implementing medical transitions actually provides any benefit to the patient. Sure, suicide rates for unaltered transgendered individuals are high, but where is the evidence that transitioning lowers any of those risk factors?

    What you seem to have is a set of procedures which involve known risks of harm to the patient, but little empirical evidence of any benefit. Its too bad that academia is now a Progressive cargo cult, because a real medical ethicist would say this is immoral, especially as we are dealing with a vulnerable population (children).

    However, the trial lawyers will be saying it in 15 years when they clean the clocks of the medical establishment.

    • Martin28 says

      “Sure, suicide rates for unaltered transgendered individuals are high, but where is the evidence that transitioning lowers any of those risk factors?”

      The study apparently found a high rate of “attempted suicide,” according to the author, she didn’t say suicide itself. That may or may not be an important distinction, but given how politicized this field is, I think skepticism is called for.

      As to your question, we will probably not know the answer for a long time. It would be politically incorrect to honestly study this. I doubt it would be funded, and transgender activists would do everything they could to determine the outcome by coaching the answers of those who participate. It’s harder to fake the numbers for successful suicide, hence the important distinction between that and attempted suicide.

    • I have seen figures of a ~40% suicide attempt rate POST transition. Of course, you will never see that on the cover of People magazine. Regret is very real but never reported. The path these kids are being cheered to go down is nothing short of child abuse.

  8. James says

    Having retired after forty years of medical practice, I can certainly have sympathy for gender-dysphoric individuals. However, I would also question whether the benefits to society are worth the damage done by these well-meaning medicos.

  9. Jim Gorman says

    My concern is that these doctors are not practicing “do no harm”. Without long term data on physical and phycological effects how can they say we are doing no harm. What we are doing are human trials! No other part of medicine allows direct human testing without first showing no harmful effects on research animals.

    One of my concerns is the development of the brain. I don’t think it is unacceptable to say that the frontal lobes of the brain are not fully developed until ages 25 -28. What are these hormones doing to the brain development in the mid-twenties? Can anyone point me to any study or analysis that addresses this issue? It is not unreasonable to assume that the physical brain is “programmed” for male or female. How is this changed with puberty blocking treatment?

    • dellingdog says

      @ Jim: it’s possible that people identify as trans because their programming doesn’t match their hardware. Puberty blockers prevent their bodies from further masculinizing or feminizing, which makes transitioning to their perceived sex much easier. Every medical intervention balances the risk of harm with the likelihood of benefit. “Do no harm” is an important ideal in medical ethics but is impossible to follow in practice: virtually every treatment carries some risk of harm.

      • Okay, but who did the “programming” at a crucial developmental stage? My guess would be mommy dearest.

        • dellingdog says

          The evidence is inconclusive, but it points toward a combination of genetic predisposition and prenatal exposure to hormones at critical stages of development.

  10. R Henry says

    I reject, on priciple, the entire concept of “transition.” One is born either male or female, and that condition is unchangeable.

    • Anon55344 says

      Define “male” and “female”.

      Then, go over to and you will find articles about XY women, women who are kicked out of the Olympics because their male to female hormone level is too high, and people who have both types of organs.

  11. Richard says

    This article is spot on! Thank you!

    I am in the camp of a parent touting this is all irresponsible nonsense as my daughter is on the road to wanting to be a Transman. Celebrate Diversity! Her life is sad, sleepless, drug riddled, isolated, lonely and worse. She is vengeful, angry, bitter, resentful and lives as far away from truth as she can. There is not much truth in her at all. How can there be? She wakes up and starts putting on her lies and deception. It is a thick armor and shield of pure lies. She will be 25 years old in May. She is a teacher, do you want her teaching your kids anything?

    This is not because of what her parents have done but what she has done. We love her unconditionally and pay for well over half her living expenses at her own condo nearby. We provide much for her; rent, car, heat, food and more. We don’t use pronouns, we don’t use her name, this Christmas went better than the previous 5 did.

    I say to you all – if you truly, deeply loved someone and wanted the best for them and their future, you would never want that person to go down this road.

    “It’s the children who are now leading us,” said Diane Ehrensaft… These are post-modern gender concepts developed by academics and released into the infosphere where they can be absorbed by kids who are bored, troubled, or seeking new and creative ways to freak out their parents…. Is Clinical Practice Outpacing the Science?”


    As far as he dating life, she only shows or discusses pursuing women, all of her relationships have ended very badly and even hostile. Friendships…seems hard for her to have them living such a duplicitous life.

    Also that suicide study is that the one based on 27 transgendered people?

    • @Richard, this is none of my business but I’ll put it out there as you shared your difficult relationship with your daughter: I would urge you to stop supporting her. You say she is a teacher but at the same time you support her? She needs that kick in the butt to get out and sink or swim. Part of her bitterness has to be that she is still a child, still infantilized. That is her choice of course, but I’d really urge you to be no part of it. Love her unconditionally, but love her as a parent of an adult not a child. Just my two cents and good luck.

    • @ Richard
      I know you are suffering and I genuinely hate suffering.
      But, I’m so sorry but intellectual curiosity makes me wonder,
      Did she attend daycare?
      Was she educated by the state, or privately (I know this might sound weird, but I do live in a country where forty percent of parents choose private schools)
      And you say you still pay half her expenses at the age of 25?

    • Tome708 says

      Richard, I am sorry for your family and your daughter. I wish there was better solutions.
      Let’s not look to the “progressives”. They are infected with virus of post modernism, constantly looking to “Scandinavia” for solutions. Scandinavians are further down this slippery slope then we are, and are beginning to reap the “progressive” seeds that they have sown.

  12. If anyone has any doubts about the rise of ROGD, you just need to talk to a middle school teacher in progressive California. My husband teaches junior high and in the last 3 years has suddenly seen a rash of 12-13 year old girls claiming to be transgender. And gone are the days of relentless bullying of these kids. These kids get tons of attention and it makes them cool in their peers eyes. As one trans “boy” was telling my husband what “his” new name was, his female best friend immediately said “I want to be called by a new name too!” One of these trans boys was allowed to switch between the boy and girl locker rooms depending on how he/she felt that day. Imagine what it’s like to be the male PE teacher that now needs to stand there and watch a preteen girl change with the boys to make sure none of the actual boys do or say anything to her/him. Oh and by the way, this trans boy is in a relationship with a boy.
    One of my coworkers has a 13 year old daughter who first declared herself to be gay and then trans. Her mother couldn’t find a gender therapist because we live in such a small town…..probably lucky for the girl because I saw her 6 months after she said she might be trans wearing a dress and eyeliner. Not exactly male behavior.
    I have no doubt there are people with REAL gender dysphoria that need to transition to be happy, but this new group of preteen girls is just a form of social contagion. All these progressives pushing this agenda need to remember that history never looks favorably on people who go around sterilizing children.

    • Debbie says

      My friends and I were discussing how contemporary teens seem to be having less actual sex than we had at the same age, yet they angst about isex and sexual identity far, far more than we ever did.

    • dellingdog says

      @Reb, it seem extraordinarily unlikely to me that a girl who claims to be transgender because of peer influence is going to actually undergo social and physical transitioning. It’s an arduous and lengthy process which requires in-depth psychological screening. Trans people face an enormous amount of stigma; individuals are not going to choose this life unless they actually suffer from gender dysphoria. Empirical evidence may ultimately prove me wrong — in ten years, perhaps there will be an epidemic of ROGD victims who deeply regret their decision to go under the knife — but I sincerely don’t believe that’s likely to happen.

      • R Henry says


        “Transition” is a myth…an attempt to normalize sexual deviancy.

      • @dellingdog: “Trans people face an enormous amount of stigma; individuals are not going to choose this life unless they actually suffer from gender dysphoria.”

        You have so many assumptions here that are not borne out by reality.

        1. You assume that if something is stigmatized, people won’t do it. That is demonstrably false, in all sorts of ways. If it weren’t, we’d have no drug addicts, no obese people, no wife beaters, no murderers. I could go on. It is just not reality that people only seek to do non-stigmatized things. People gravitate toward an action; they either decide on the action *despite* the stigma, or sometimes *because* of the stigma. Some people like stigma. Have you never heard of negative attention? Some people seek *any* attention no matter how negative. For all these reasons, your basic assumption – that since trans is stigmatized, therefore people wouldn’t do it unless they were suffering- is just not true.

        2. But it’s not stigmatized any more particularly for young people. Young people who transition are heralded as literal heroes, get enormous attention – e.g. in schools – and can get tons of money (e.g. that transitioned girl Jazz Jennings). There is very little downside here for a young person who has little life experience and most certainly is not thinking in terms of having children and so on. And they are actively told that if they are ‘confused’ or hate their bodies, this means ipso facto that they are trans. As an abuse victim, I hated my body and for a while denied i was female. I wasn’t trans. I was raped. But it took more than 5 years to figure that out. This takes abuse victims, mentally ill, those on the spectrum, and so many more, and tells them that their issues can be solved by switching genders. Its morally and ethically wrong. If an adult, on consideration, decides to do this, that is another thing altogether; but for a child or young person, it’s just malfeasance.

        3.As you may know, gender dysphoria can be fluid. 80% of those who have gender dysphoria as a child grow up to be straight or gay (happily). So you may want something at the time that later on is disastrous as you have mutilated and sterilized yourself. It’s not like I decide i’m a Lesbian, then realize I’m not. This is serious surgery, serious hormones that may well have long term permanent effects not studied right now. The exact movement that proclaims gender is fluid and a social construct simultaneously states that it is not fluid and not a social construct, so rigid and so implanted by nature, that one must have permanent mutilating surgery and hormone treatment to ‘fix’ it. Think about the illogic and ask why and how unwise it is to expose children to this quasi-religion.

  13. Morgan Foster says

    At the end of the day, I do not care if a gender dysphoric child is unhappy.

      • Tome708 says

        dellingdong, Morgan is not suggesting we carry out this experiment on children to see “how it works out”.

  14. Debbie says

    “A suggestion that gender dysphoria in any form might be a social phenomenon is viewed as false, denigrating, and threatening.”

    Isn’t this contrary to the post-modern perspective on the biological/genetic basis of various mental characteristics? I.e., that we are the products of our environments, and that our genetics play only a negligible role in forming who we are?

    • Yes, on one hand gender is a meaningless social construct. On the other, it is so meaningful that people are a particular gender in their ‘soul’ and know what they are immutably by age 3.

      • dellingdog says

        @d, I think your post is meant to be humorous, but those are obviously straw (trans)men. If serious scholars or legitimate medical providers are actually making those claims, please provide links.

  15. There are so many abusive aspects to this movement but I’ll limit it to two. And I speak as someone whose close friend is trans. I am not against transitioning per se. What is appalling is transitioning when still a child or rushing to do this when you’re relatively young, e.g. 18. As far as linking mental health issues to trans, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Just because depression and suicide ideation is linked to trans people, doesn’t mean that by allowing them to trans, we will alleviate the depression and suicide. What a train wreck this is.

    1. It’s inherently homophobic and sexist. Basically, it takes a group of children, 80% of whom have been scientifically shown to grow up to be gay, and sterilizes them, exposes them to experimental chemicals which have literally unknown long term effects (e.g. cancer, to name one), and psychologically damages them by saying that if they present as a feminine boy or a masculine girl in the most banal, stereotyped way (e.g. they like dolls and pink, they like rough and tumble aggression), this cannot mean they are either a natural variation of a hetero girl or boy, or a gay girl or boy, but that they are so deformed they must need surgery and chemicals to alter them.

    2. It is child abuse. Period. A child cannot choose this with consent by definition. They get tattoos but they can get this done to them? I myself was a ‘tomboy’ as a girl–wore only boy clothes, fervently wished to be a boy for quite a while, hated girly things. I am now a straight mother of five. I cannot possibly imagine how my life might have turned out had I grown up now. I’d be sterile, for starts. What is ignored here is that you have the fallacy of sunk costs–parents and children put a great deal of time invested in their being the wrong gender. It is far more likely that, having been told all your life since you were 4 that you are ‘really’ the opposite gender, that you believe that. After all, your parents say so, the school says so, the doctors say so. It is highly unlikely that at age 16 you will turn around and, having invested all that time into becoming the opposite gender, showered with social approval, you will realize this is wrong. You will only realize it’s wrong much later, at 25 or 30.

    This is when the lawsuits will start.
    It’s a travesty.

    • Farris says



      Why doesn’t anyone study the parents? Is there possibly an element of munchausen by proxy present here?

      • @Farris, I totally agree in the Munchausen possibility. And also given social media rewards – with the potential of tons of money and fame – there is a definite incentive to use their children as a means to their own end.

    • Ray Andrews says


      Nicely summarized. Sheesh, we all new tomboys when we were kids and it just wasn’t an issue. They’d play war with the boys and I do remember some … can’t think of the right word … ‘negotiations’ perhaps as to how to handle the fact that they could not pee into the same can as the rest of us at the same time, but they were otherwise full members of the gang. But no one supposed that Kim was a boy nor did Kim feel any need to be a boy, she was quite happy being a tomboy and everyone was happy. Why don’t these lunatics leave us alone?

    • Chad Jessup says

      @d – Thank you for your very powerful statements, here, above, and below. My sister was a tomboy; she got married, had a child, and has been happily married for over forty years.

  16. Peter Piper says

    This is very uncomplicated issue, doctors who “transition” kids should receive a bullet and a shallow grave, and the parents should be thrown in a small cell for the rest of their lives. If we want to survive as a culture, we can’t tolerate castration, mutilation, and psychological torture of children.

    • dellingdog says

      @Peter, the issue is far more complicated than you suggest. You’re simply displaying your ignorance and intolerance. As the article itself explains, trans people aren’t even eligible for surgery until they turn 18. If you ever talk to a trans person or their parents, you’ll discover that their condition is already causing them “psychological torture” — the question is how to relieve their suffering. There are legitimate discussions to be had about the best therapeutic approach for gender non-conforming children, but your idiotic proposal does not contribute to the conversation.

      • @dellingdog, so @Peter is “intolerant,” “ignorant” and “idiotic.” What brings on your ad hominem attack? That @Peter says the parents of the kids are committing child abuse. Ask yourself why you think it’s appropriate or effective for you to attack @Peter with personal slurs as opposed to addressing the argument, and ask yourself why you feel the need. For instance, if I said, “The earth is flat,” would you feel the need to call me “ignorant” or an “idiot”? Wouldn’t you simply seek to educate me instead? So why not here?

        I submit it’s because you don’t have an argument. Your argument is essentially, “children whose parents agree they are trans suffer, and therefore we need to alleviate their suffering and therefore what the doctors are doing is right, and if you disagree you are ‘ignorant'”

        Do you see all the assumptions here?

        Let’s start with the beginning. We are talking about children, not adults. I agree with you that an adult, over 21 (not 18) may, with consideration, slowly, step by step, decide to undergo hormone replacement therapy, surgery and so on. It’s their body and they have the maturity to understand the consequences, particularly if they take it slow, especially since we’re talking permanent sterility, a really huge decision.

        But these are not adults. These are children. Therefore by definition their decisions cannot be by consent. Although surgery may not take place until 18, the procedure involves heavy use of hormones that may deform the child and probably permanently impact them. For instance, the trans Jazz Jennings, born male, has been taking hormones from a very early age, and therefore Jazz’s penis has never developed past a child’s penis and scrotum. Let’s say someone like Jazz changed their mind at 18. They then have a child’s penis. This is big deal. Will their penis mature normally? Are there long term effects? *We don’t know***

        An even bigger issue is that causation doesn’t equal correlation. If a child is severely depressed and also feels they are in the wrong body, that does not mean the depression is caused by being in the wrong body and that therefore hormone treatment will help.

        You need to address the fact that fully 80% of children who feel they are in the wrong body end up, without ‘treatment’, to decide they are not in the wrong body when they turn into adulthood. Many end up to be regular gay men or women. So you are mutilating their body and rendering them sterile when the problem would have settled out if they’d simply waited to explore their own sexuality naturally. You are actively damaging them, and hurting them, violating first do no harm.

        It is extremely disturbing that very young children are being encouraged to make decisions they are literally incapable of making. I’n not taking away from their hurt. But who knows what that is from–a genuine gender dysphoria, unacknowledged gayness, parental abuse, mental illness. In the absence of knowing this, it is a terrible abuse to damage their body with experimental drugs for life when they themselves cannot make the decision about their bodies.

  17. Also I believe the science points to a non insignificant number of children resolving this issue past the start of puberty. Puberty is not some magical time frame. No a 14 year old that thinks he might be a girl is not necessarily going to feel that way a few years later. The brain, although I believe it can be modified in its behavior, does not stop developing until well into your 20;s.

    • Kevin yes, it’s going through puberty that wakes these kids up from their dysphoria. Instead of blockers, they should be rushed into it, girls getting extra estrogen and boys extra testosterone.

  18. Michael Greenberg says

    ” Are we venturing into dragon territory…”

    More like drag territory.

  19. Martin Lawford says

    Hundreds of years ago, some parents would arrange to have their sons castrated before puberty to preserve their high-pitched singing voices. They were the castrati and the object of this mutilation was to give them a better chance at a musical career which few of them ever attained. The horrible practice was outlawed in every civilized country 150 years ago because it is mayhem, especially despicable because the victim is a minor. If it is a crime to castrate a boy to preserve his singing voice, why is it legal to castrate him to assist with his juvenile delusion of femininity?

  20. Sydney says

    Fantastic piece. Thanks to author (and Quillette) for an important contribution to this issue!

    And if loads of hormone blockers and hormones inducers (?) weren’t enough, I expect the pharma cocktail (without any long-term, evidence base) doesn’t end there. I suspect that in most cases these blind-leading-the-blind MDs also prescribe miscellaneous psychiatric drugs – both on and off-label (although it’s a distinction without a difference in terms of health) – to kids.

    There are no long-term studies on the hormone drugs when given to children. There are also no long-term studies on psychiatric drugs for children, even though the pharma companies have been only too happy to package and market psychiatric drugs in all kinds of child-friendly forms (gummies and fruit-flavoured chewables) to children as young as toddler-aged. Keep in mind there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support psychiatric disease as a biological entity, so filling a child’s body and brain with powerful chemicals is a shot in the dark.

    If anyone sat down with an [unbiased] biologist or pharmacologist and reviewed the chemicals being ingested by these gender-confused/curious kids, I’m sure the information (current and long-term side effects) would be utterly horrifying.

    The author’s inclusion of the list of medical conditions made worse by hormones is very important, and it’s clearly the tip of the iceberg in terms of the totality of drugs being prescribed to these children.

    • alicia gacher says

      children have no idea the amazing adult bodies (theirs) they will never know if they go down this insane road. informed consent means you know the risks and what intact future you may be losing forever. a child cannot consent to sterility. even social transitioning is not fully undoable. we have effectively given transvestites the power to reorder our societies.
      i’m sick of hearing about trans suicide risks. a trans person who kills himself may have done it for reasons unrelated to trans. how about the new horrendous risks All trans now expose ALL women and girls to in changerooms, washrooms, shelters, jails, sports? hey trans lobby! how does a security guard instantly tell the pervy man in a dress trying to gain access to the vulnerable from the “genuine trans” people? No? No quick reliable test? See the problem? Why doesn’t that bother not one trans person crying about their feelings. why are their feelings privileged above over half the populations’ safety?
      also, trans people expect their families to burn all baby pictures including those involving other siblings lest they be exposed to, gasp, pictures of how things actually were at a given time and place. Again, why the feelings of a trans elevated above multiple other family members who must get on board believing and spouting lies about a history that never happened, where Patricia has ALWAYS been Patrick. Sure, no detriment to anyone else. It’s fun to make your 8 year old little sister start calling her sister her brother and look forward to having no baby pictures of her own. totally fair and balanced. Any handy studies on the suicides inspired by trans on their siblings, parents, exgirlfriends, boyfriends? do the lives of people other than trans matter too? Cause trans are doing a ton of harm in families and medicine and culture and no one seems to notice or care.

  21. Peter Piper cuts through the BS. Here’s a possible solution to this nonsense.

    1. Home school, or at least ensure your child is being taught in the correct environment, by non-progressive teachers

    2. Get your child off ALL Social Media immediately

    3. Choose your children’s friends appropriately (see 1 & 2 above)

  22. Despite the rash of girls with ROGD, there has traditionally been a wide gap between males and females with gender issues, with males vastly outnumbering females. This is largely because so many males are autogynephiles. I’m surprised that doesn’t get more attention. And it’s this group of hetero men that are pushing the agenda hardest (no pun intended).

    • Bubblecar says

      Yes. The majority of transgender people are men claiming to be women, and these days most of them don’t “transition” in a surgical sense.

      Many of them claim to be “lesbians” and expect women to have sex with them. So they are basically heterosexual men claiming to be lesbians.

      If you ignore their ridiculous claim of being “women”, they are actually best described as a strange breed of MRAs.

      • When I was a kid we had an ongoing gag about being male lesbians. But at least we knew it was a joke.

        These new lesbians may just realize that, given the hardware they have, and their sexual proclivities, the half transition is the only way they can have a sex life at all. I can’t imagine it’d be too fun to rub your new mutilated crotch on another person for quite some time, if ever – assuming you could find a willing partner. It’s all so confusing. If you possess a penis and desire coupling with female genetalia, that’s a pretty manly thing that organic lesbians don’t and can’t do. So how are you female?

      • ccscientist says

        Bruce Jenner still has his penis and still wants to have sex with women. Lesbians are turned off by the penis and heterosexual women do not want a female-looking (with breasts) partner. These people are confused about what sex is.

  23. I know there are truly gender dysphoric people who are suffering deeply, so lost, confused, lonely, alienated. They hate themselves and feel the world hates them. I want to help them, but I feel the best way to do that is to understand their condition scientifically and not turning it into some chic fashion statement.

    I once knew a woman in San Francisco who was obsessed with whatever the latest hipster craze was. She was a polyamorous bisexual vegan Buddhist. She never expressed any displeasure with her gender the whole time I knew her. We’re no longer in touch but I saw recently on Facebook that she is now a man. I can’t help but think this had a lot to do with her desire to be hip and alternative in San Francisco where all things weird have warm, inviting communities devoted to them.

    She’s an adult. It’s her life and her body, so she can do whatever she wants with it. I wish her the best of luck. But being obsessed with the latest hipster craze is practically a defining feature of adolescence. I can see why it’s controversial these days in matters of gender identity, but kids don’t know who or what they are yet. Some are genuinely gender dysphoric, but how to tell them apart from the copy cats? Surely, just automatically believing everything they say about themselves isn’t the right solution.

  24. The scariest thing about our society today is the insanity of attacking and shutting down research or even talk that doesn’t support your personal beliefs.

    We can’t make important medical or scientific decisions based on popular opinion.

    Hearkens back to the day when the church hanged or imprisoned scientists who they felt disagreed with The Bible.

  25. transgendrism, anti natalism, radical feminism (anti motherhood and family)…all anti reproduction. Is this all a consequence of recent rapid population growth?

    • R Henry says


      These are products of a deeply flawed philosophical outlook called “Progressivism.”

  26. Simon says

    The debate won’t happen because trans people are not dragons: they are the newly elected martyrs of the progressive gospel.

    One does not discuss martyrs. One must only revere them.

  27. Hestia says

    The parents of these children should be thrown in jail for child abuse. I would add: sexual abuse.

  28. Sometimes, it would seem that the Heaven’s Gate cult didn’t die in a mass suicide, they just became Progressives:

    The Next Level was a place without gender, and that led to castration

    Applewhite and other members underwent the procedure to help ensure they remained celibate. Applewhite, who had been fired as a music professor at the University of St. Thomas in 1970 after administrators learned he had sex with a male student, sought cures for his homosexual urges. He wanted to find a way to have “platonic relationship where he could develop his full potential without sexual entanglements,” said one reporter who infiltrated the group in 1975. Castration, Applewhite believed, could make that easier. Ultimately, the group instituted a strict “no sex, no human-level relationships, no socializing” rule.

    Though decisions like this were always left up to the members, eight followers were castrated voluntarily, including Applewhite. “They couldn’t stop smiling and giggling,” former member DiAngelo told Newsweek. “They were excited about it.”

  29. Very similar in content and slant to an article I wrote in early December. Interestingly, the part where I criticized aggressive activists as pathological has been omitted in favor of milder tone. Granted, I’m happy to see the ideas being discussed.

    For anyone who wants to compare for themselves, the title is Where Transgender Ideology Gets Pathological: A Ponerological Critique – should come up with a google search.

    I should also mentioned I pitched the article to Quillette and it was politely declined.

  30. Lost in America says

    The growth in pediatric diagnoses of gender dysphoria is proportionate to the vast expansion of child-welfare bureaucracies. HIs a child under official supervision more likely to receive a gender dysphoria diagnosis? Are such children more likely to be designated as “special needs” children who are then eligible for more money and more expensive therapy?

  31. ccscientist says

    Children before puberty cannot know their true sexual preference. It is only when the hormones hit and you actually have sex that you can know for sure. Furthermore, we do not allow children (under 18) to do most adult things: they cannot vote, drive (until 16), get tattoos, buy a house, buy cigarettes, get married, sign contracts. The logic seems to be that waiting allows too many changes in the body, so we should start early, but this requires certainty about the beliefs of the teens. This is an age where kids constantly change their minds about everything. They can’t decide on a career, where to go to college, what to do in life. But we are going to let them make irreversible decisions that lead to sterility?

  32. Americanexpatmom says

    This particular issue hits close to home for me. I was a major tomboy growing up (are we still allowed to use that term? Well I don’t care.). I played with Legos and my dad’s tools. I wanted to play sports and hated dresses or skirts. I hated the girly games that the other girls played in school. When my dad would go outside to work on the car I insisted on helping him and wearing no shirt too as he did on those hot summer days. Until puberty I was significantly stronger than all the boys around me, beating them in anything physically related. I can’t recall ever explicitly stating that I was a boy or wanting to be one, but I sure as hell did not “act” like a “girl”.

    Fast forward to today: I am a straight woman with a 10-month-old son. I work in tech, but also love being a mother. I plan to have another child and if all goes well a third as well. I still, for the most part, don’t like “girl” stuff.

    But I wonder now if I had grown up today and had a different family or environment. If my parents had been naive, would they have thought I was a trans-boy? Would my teachers have encouraged them to put me on hormone blockers and would I have been, through pressure and influence from my surroundings, convinced I was a “boy” and eventually transitioned? When my father went to Bosnia on active duty when I was in my early teens and I went to see a counselor because I had trouble dealing with it, would he have concluded that it was not my father’s absence that was the problem, but rather that I was a trans-man?

    My father, having had 3 very tomboys sisters himself, knew exactly how to deal with me. He treated me like a kid that liked doing boy stuff. He never coddled me and he never discouraged me from doing something because it wasn’t appropriate for my “gender”. I was his little girl who just happened to be into different things than other little girls and that was fine. And fyi, once I hit puberty and started noticing boys I felt ashamed for being so strong and more masculine. I had a bout of trying to appear more feminine by wearing more dresses and playing down my physical strength despite me not feeling right about it. It was my father and his three rather muscular sisters that told me it is ok to be strong and that there are men that are very attracted to women like me. They were right. My husband tells me often that he couldn’t imagine being with another woman.

    I can tell you now that if someone had taken away my ability to have children because of some medical fad, I would be simultaneously livid and devastated. I of course find much pleasure outside of being a mother, but so far, out of all the things I have done with my life, raising a child has been the most rewarding. I feel great sorrow for any person that has that taken away from them.

    • Americanexpatmom says


      I wanted to add that when I was a teenager I “had” bulimia. I use quotation marks because I made myself puke a few times then announced it to my entire family. The truth was, though back then I would not have admitted it, was that I wanted attention. My alcoholic, attention-grabbing, princess of a sister was gobbling up all the attention because she was flunking out of college due her not sitting down on her ass and studying. I went to therapy about 3 times and was “cured”. That doesn’t sound like a serious illness to me.

      I share this because back then that was a fad illness and I wonder I would have convinced myself I was trans if I were a teenager today.

  33. Adam says

    Gender dysphoria is something I just don’t yet understand. How is a child mature enough to decide they are the wrong gender when they are 5 years old, for example? My daughter takes a dance class with six or so other biological girls and one biological boy. He has long blonde hair (longer than my daughter) is a year younger than my daughter and wears more pink and purple than my daughter. This child is also cared for by the grandparent as the mother is not fit to be a parent (opioids). I looked very closely and his hair is natural (albeit dyed) which means that this child’s hair has never been cut. To me that insinuates that a parent chose not to cut his hair. Is this a way of the parent forcing their desired gender identity on this child? Is this parent choosing to identify their child as a girl becasue he wants to dance, play with girls, and do things that break the male stereotype? Is this parent pushing this gender identity on this child simply becasue it will be easier in society to have a child that conforms to the female stereotype that looks like a female rather than a male? What if the parent is reading this child wrong, believes him to be a female in a male body simply becasue the child appears gay but that is far from the truth? What if this child is transitioned from male to female then decides they are attracted to women. You would have a “gay” transgender female. Is that easier on the child, or as they are now, a young adult?

    • Anon55344 says

      A child does not “decide” at age 5 to be the wrong gender. But if there is something wrong with their gender identity it will appear at age 5, not age 15.
      But, not all who tell their parents at age 5 that they are the wrong gender really are the wrong gender.

      From the article:”Clinicians generally agree that gender dysphoria usually expresses itself early in the life of a child. This point is critical. “Most of our patients declared their gender dysphoria at relatively young ages. This is mostly before age five or six, so clearly gender identity doesn’t just happen,” said Spack.

      In roughly 80 percent of affected children, gender dysphoria resolves itself prior to puberty, meaning the children come to accept and feel comfortable with their biological sex. These children are called “desisters.” Most will become gay or lesbian adults.

      The remainder, the “persisters,” enter puberty still experiencing an incongruence between the body they have and the one they believe they should. Many clinicians agree that most of these children are permanently transgender. The age at which they consider transgenderism to be fixed is about 12.”

  34. Pingback: Luminar Podcast: On Transgender Ideology | Kali Tribune English

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