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Protect Trans Kids? Protect Kids from Trans Activists!
A Plea For Sanity By A Transexual Woman
*This essay was written by guest author Jane Bailey, a transexual woman.
My earliest memory of being alive is one of me, as a three- or four-year-old boy, hiding in one of my sister's dresses, an activity I repeated throughout my childhood. I always really hated my genitalia, and got very good at pretending they weren't there. Secretly fantasizing about being a girl went on through my grade school days, but the gender dysphoria became really intolerable during my teenage years, once puberty had started.
Growing up in the '60s in rural Montana, I had felt it was best to keep this obsession a secret. I never told anyone; not my friends, my parents, or even my sister, who probably would have been fine with it. I didn't tell anyone until I was 21 and had moved to Portland, and had begun seeing a psychiatrist at OHSU. After months of testing and counseling, he finally started me on estrogen and insisted that I live in my desired role as a woman. They called it the "Real Life Test."
Now, almost fifty years later, I have lived most of my adult life passing as a woman. However, even as deeply rooted as my dysphoria was, I still "detransitioned" twice before I had the surgeries, and made two honest attempts to live as a man married to a woman, but the dysphoria always overpowered me. Eventually, passing for a man became a problem, and I finally had four separate surgeries to complete my transition. At present, I am a musician and retired RN living on the Oregon Coast. For the past couple of years, I have been "outing" myself, and incurring the wrath of gender activists by openly opposing what is euphemistically called "gender affirmation" of children.
The medical transitioning of children and teenagers based on their self-reported "gender identity" is dangerous, unscientific, and seems to be based more on politics than on the well-being of children. The concept of "gender identity" itself is not well-defined or well understood. For that matter, the word "gender" is not well-defined, since it is no longer generally considered to be synonymous with "sex." Diagnosing gender dysphoria is tricky enough in adults, but it's especially difficult in children, who are easily misled, heavily influenced by peer pressure, impulsive, emotionally labile, and prone to magical thinking.
Yet, anyone who rightly questions the wisdom of medically transitioning children is almost certain to be denounced as "transphobic" by gender activists. We should be skeptically questioning this so-called "gender affirmation" therapy, because there have already been enough irreversibly disastrous outcomes of it that Sweden, Finland, and England have discontinued the practice, and it is very restricted in most of Europe.
The truly heartbreaking stories of "detransitioners" are appearing more and more in various media, by young women mostly, who were lured down the "transgender" path by LGBTQ+ activists on Tumblr, Reddit, or other "social media," and who find themselves irreversibly masculinized, often post-mastectomy, asking themselves, "What the hell have I done?" From what I've seen, detransitioners are more inclined to suicidality after transition than before. But the detransitioners get little or no sympathy from the activists. In fact, they are treated like the enemy by the "trans rights" activists, who continue to push medical gender transition in children and teens with a quasi-religious zeal, with help from "woke" allies in the media. This has become a "right" vs "left" political issue. Suddenly, "trans kids" are an issue for both the "Christian Right" and trans activists, with ignorance and dogmatism on both sides, and confused kids as collateral damage.
I have always been mostly "left" politically, and I'm firmly non-religious, so my opposition to child transition is not based on any connection to the "Christian Right," or to the Republican Party. But the medical "transition" of children should not even be a political issue; it's a public health issue, if not a public health crisis. The fact that the "Religious Right" is opposed to transitioning children does not mean that liberals should automatically and uncritically support it, yet the majority of left-leaning pundits, journalists, and celebrities are doing just that, in a way that is unfortunately reminiscent of the time I spent in Scientology in my younger years. The "trans rights" movement has become very similar to a religious cult, wherein anyone who questions, or God forbid, criticizes the prescribed dogma about gender is the equivalent of Scientology's "suppressive person," or "SP," and is therefore "Fair Game," for any form of abuse and attempts to disrupt their lives.
I believe this is why people who do think child transition is going too far are often afraid to speak out. Of course, gender dysphoria is a real condition, and it can be quite miserable, speaking from experience. It has been observed for centuries, and until recent years has been understandably considered to be a mental disorder, the causes of and best treatment for which are still not always agreed upon within the psychological and medical communities. But there has been a drastic increase of complaints of gender dysphoria in children and teens that suspiciously coincides with the steep rise in social media obsession, and a concurrent rise in depression and anxiety in that age group, especially among girls. Such a sudden increase in this diagnosis needs to be questioned, and studied, especially in a population where it's historically been very rare, in this case, teen and pre-teen girls.
There is such a thing as social contagion, and medically transitioning this sudden epidemic of teens and pre-teens "coming out" as "trans," is a mistake, as the growing number of tragic outcomes demonstrates. Sweden, arguably the most secular, liberal country in the world, has officially discontinued puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for anyone under 18, as have Finland and England. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics, a major proponent of "gender affirmation therapy," admits that the long-term effects of chemically blocking puberty are unknown.
The following is from their 2018 policy document:
"Pubertal suppression is not without risks. Delaying puberty beyond one's peers can also be stressful and can lead to lower self-esteem and increased risk taking. Some experts believe that genital underdevelopment may limit some potential reconstructive options. Research on long-term risks, particularly in terms of bone metabolism and fertility, is currently limited and provides varied results."
Not mentioned are the concerns about puberty blockers delaying the brain's frontal lobe development, and the real potential for cognitive impairment. The bone development issue can be severe, as people in their 20s find themselves with osteoporosis after being given puberty blockers as adolescents, some with the type of fractures normally limited to the fragile-boned elderly. I recently read of a case of a puberty blocked 16-year-old with severe osteoporosis and compression fractures.
Many medical and psychological professionals have raised doubts and concerns about the medical "affirmation" approach, but of course, they are immediately and automatically discounted as "transphobic" by gender fanatics, and their allies. There are valid concerns about allowing life-altering decisions to be made by people whose brains are still years away from being fully developed; who are not fully equipped to understand the consequences of such life-altering treatments. Again, when we have a sudden major increase of a psychological diagnosis (e.g., 1500% in Sweden, over 4000% in England) in a population where it has been extremely rare, we shouldn't just dive blindly into drugs and surgery. We need to ask questions, like "Why is this happening now?" and "Are these self-reported diagnoses accurate, considering the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and autism is the same population?" And "Should we really be treating this questionable self-diagnosis by minors with risky and irreversible medical procedures?"
The activists would have us believe that any critical evaluation of this phenomenon, or attempt to counsel children claiming to be trans is "conversion therapy," which is absolute nonsense. But this nonsense is preventing gender confused kids from getting counseling that they very much need. It's crucial to proceed very, very cautiously when dealing with potentially gender dysphoric children, to avoid making erroneous decisions that will change a life forever. It's very easy to imagine a young girl, or boy, blaming all their fears and anxieties of puberty and approaching adulthood on "gender dysphoria," especially with online "trans" cliques encouraging it.
"Diagnosis" by Twitter, or Reddit, or Tumblr, etc., is invalid, and dangerous, as is confirmed by the sad stories of too many young women with deep voices, beards, mastectomies, and worse, who sorely regret being lured down that road on social media. These cases could all have been prevented with proper psychological care, and sensible safeguards against radical medicalization of pubescent children. Most of what we call "gender" is based on cultural norms of attire and social roles that children learn from parents, teachers, friends, and the world they live in. There is evidence now that even just socially transitioning a young child as the opposite of their birth sex will almost certainly lead them to puberty blockers, which will almost certainly lead them to hormones and surgery. If you "transition" a boy, for example, you are socializing that boy as a girl, a girl with a penis and testicles. How is that in itself not encouraging or even creating "gender dysphoria" in that child? If a child expresses discomfort with their gender, it is not "conversion therapy" to question and discuss their feelings and beliefs. I would just call that responsible parenting.
Children can have weird ideas about sex and gender. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I thought the difference between men and women, boys and girls, were just their costumes and social roles. It seems that a lot of "woke" adults now hold that view. I think what so many people now call "gender" is really just gender expression. There are not dozens or hundreds of "genders"; there's an infinity of gender expressions. But gender expression is a pretty superficial concern, dictated by often very "binary" social norms. No matter how real gender dysphoria is, we should be working to eliminate gender stereotypes and arbitrary gender-based customs, not to reinforce them in our children, especially with medical procedures. Besides, underneath it all, biologically, sex/gender is about reproduction, something young children should not have to be concerned with, at least not until puberty, when it starts to matter.
The attempts by activists to render the words "man," "woman," "male," and "female" meaningless do nothing but add confusion to an already confused subject. Perhaps that is their goal, but this does nothing to help the confused children. There are "feminine" boys, and "masculine" girls. There probably always have been, as long as humans have been humans. It doesn't mean they are really the opposite sex, and there are studies which show that most of them will either grow out of it, or grow up to be healthy gay adults. Equating honest, therapeutic analysis and communication with "conversion therapy," as trans activists are doing, is wrong, and is harming the very kids they claim to protect; as is encouraging the medical transition of kids who have been misled into believing they are "trans."
The media and medical community need to grow some courage and stand up to the gender fanatics for the sake of the children who have become unwitting pawns in the "culture war." The "trans rights" activists seem less concerned with the well-being of children than they are with gaining political power over their "evil" enemies on "The Right." It's past time for journalists, doctors, therapists, parents, and politicians to stand up to the gender fanatics, and actually protect children.
A Transexual Woman