Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What is Transgenderism?

If this be madness, there seems to be no method to it. No clinical or therapeutic method to the current mania about transgenderism. An article by Jesse Singal in the Atlantic this month refers us back to an article in The Economist from last fall… two serious studies of what Camille Paglia saw as a sign of cultural collapse.

When you are willing to sacrifice your children to a dumb idea, something is deeply wrong with the culture. It isn’t just that parental approval is required before physicians can mutilate children by giving them puberty blockers or by performing double mastectomies on fourteen year olds. Worse yet, some parents bring their children into clinics hoping that the clinicians will declare their children to be transgendered.

Singal, for example, offers case studies of children who thought they were transgendered and changed their minds. He offers studies of children who transitioned and then changed their minds… and tried to detransition. And he offers cases of transgendered people who supposedly transitioned successfully.
Throughout the study you have the impression that these children are being manipulated by the culture, by psycho professionals, by the massive publicity accorded to a Caitlyn Jenner and by the attacks on anyone who would dare suggest that transgenderism is not real.

Both the Economist and Singal weigh both sides to the debate. They are effectively fair and balanced and both do a good journalistic job. Singal, for example, offers us the case studies showing that children who are suffering from an ill-defined psychological problem suddenly find themselves magically cured once they transform into the opposite sex.

Regarding the therapeutic benefits of transitioning, Singal writes:

More recently, a wave of success stories has appeared. In many of these accounts, kids are lost, confused, and frustrated right up until the moment they are allowed to grow their hair out and adopt a new name, at which point they finally become their true self. Take, for example, a article in which a mother, writing pseudonymously, explains that she struggled with her child’s gender-identity issues for years, until finally turning to a therapist, who, after a 20-minute evaluation, pronounced the child trans. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. The mother writes: “I looked at the child sitting between my husband and me, the child who was smiling, who appeared so happy, who looked as if someone finally saw him or her the way she or he saw him or herself.” In a National Geographic special issue on gender, the writer Robin Marantz Henig recounts the story of a mother who let her 4-year-old, assigned male at birth, choose a girl’s name, start using female pronouns, and attend preschool as a girl. “Almost instantly the gloom lifted,” Henig writes.

And yet, Singal also notes the extremely large number of transgendered children (around 70%) who change their minds. He adds that the suicide rate among the transgendered is appallingly high:

Suicide is the dark undercurrent of many discussions among parents of TGNC young people. Suicide and suicidal ideation are tragically common in the transgender community. An analysis conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, published in 2014, found that 41 percent of trans respondents had attempted suicide; 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population report having attempted suicide at least once. While the authors note that for methodological reasons 41 percent is likely an overestimate, it still points to a scarily high figure, and other research has consistently shown that trans people have elevated rates of suicidal ideation and suicide relative to cisgender people.

A so-called treatment that produces that much suicide is clearly not effective. To think otherwise is to succumb to the ambient madness.

By that I am referring to what the clinicians call the “social contagion” effect. Children are being effectively brainwashed by the new level of social acceptance and high status given to the transgendered.

Singal reports:

When parents discuss the reasons they question their children’s desire to transition, whether in online forums or in response to a journalist’s questions, many mention “social contagion.” These parents are worried that their kids are influenced by the gender-identity exploration they’re seeing online and perhaps at school or in other social settings, rather than experiencing gender dysphoria.

In truth, as the Economist reports, the media coverage of the issue correlates with an increasingly large number of people who declare themselves to be transgendered. It notes the statistics from Britain and America:

A growing number of children and adolescents are coming out as transgender. Referrals to Britain’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) have increased from 94 to 1,986 over the past seven years. The picture is similar in America. The country’s first gender-identity clinic for children and adolescents opened in Boston in 2007; by 2015, there were over 50 such clinics in North America. Their patients belong to the first generation of children and teenagers who are altering their bodies to fit their gender.

Culture warriors have advanced the transgender cause. The Economist continues:

But ever since Caitlyn Jenner starred on the cover of Vanity Fair’s July 2015 issue and transitioning became a subject of general discussion, the volume has been jacked up by partisans of the culture wars. Massed on one side are trans activists and their progressive allies, who champion the right of an oppressed minority to self-determination. On the other side stand religious ideologues, who deny the very idea that one’s gender can differ from one’s God-given sex, and whose crusade to ban transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice has become a campaigning issue in American politics. Mustering uneasily nearby is a group of feminists, some of whom do not think that men can ever truly become women.

Now, of course, American progressives have rallied to the cause. Given that their feminist sisters have long insisted that gender is merely a social construct, they are obliged to accept that your gender is what you believe it to be:

Thanks in part to the full-throated support of progressives and trans activists, one approach is gaining ground in America. It contends that children know themselves best: if your three-year-old says he is a girl, do not deny or question her but instead support her. When she is ready to transition, assist her to do so – whether that means buying pink dresses now or approving her use of cross-sex hormones later on. Parents who affirm their kids’ desire to transition have been widely lauded for their courage; doctors who question whether medical intervention is in a child’s best interest have been accused of transphobia.

Activists see no problem in giving hormones to adolescents. The Economist reports that these claims are highly dubious, at best. At worst, they can cause significant medical problems:

Yet there are serious questions about these hormones’ medical and psychological effects. Blockers are often described as “fully reversible”, and it is true that if you stop taking them puberty will eventually resume. But it is not known whether they alter the course of adolescent brain development and possible side-effects include abnormal bone growth.

Cross-sex hormones are even more problematic. Their long-term medical and psychological effects are unknown, though it is clear that oestrogen brings with it a clinically significant risk of deep vein thrombosis, while testosterone increases the chance of developing ovarian cysts later in life, which is why some transgender men have their ovaries removed. In addition, some of the effects of cross-sex hormones are irreversible. With testosterone, there is no return from the deepening of the voice and the augmentation of the clitoris; with oestrogen enlarged breasts will remain.

This approach makes Wren, of the Tavistock and Portman in London, nervous, as children who begin taking blockers early on in puberty, followed immediately by cross-sex hormones, will never produce mature eggs or sperm of their own. “Can a 12-, 13-, 14-year-old imagine how they might feel as a 35-year-old adult, that they have agreed to a treatment that compromises their fertility or is likely to compromise their fertility?” she wonders. The risks of hormone therapy are high, but many young people and their families think that the price of caution is greater. It’s hard for parents, says Wren. “They see their suffering child, they want to remedy the suffering, and there’s a treatment out there. Why wouldn’t you give it?”   

What is it like being trans? The Economist reports the case of Max, a woman who thought she was a man, who transitioned to being (mostly) a man and then detransitioned:

Six months after he began successfully passing, he realised, deep down, that he wasn’t sure. “I started being like, oh damn, this is for real.” There were drawbacks to being seen as a man. Women he passed on the street were “scared” of him. He couldn’t talk about his childhood without lying or leaving things out. He found laddish banter distasteful. And the possibility that someone would discover he was transgender haunted him. “People don’t love to find out that you weren’t born a man.”

The magazine suggests that Max decided to be transgendered because she was attracted to girls. This means that, in some cases, transgenderism is another name for homophobia:

Max detransitioned for several reasons; the most significant one was that she is not transgender. She was unhappy as a child not because she was a boy trapped in a girl’s body but because she didn’t understand that she could be the kind of girl who hated girly things but loved other girls, without having to metamorphose into a man….

But Max and her therapist overlooked, or discounted, the possibility that her mental health problems, far from being symptomatic of gender dysphoria, could actually be the cause of it. Max now believes that her dysphoria sprang from the anxiety and depression, which in turn arose from her difficult experiences as a young lesbian with bi-polar and attention deficit disorders, with which she was diagnosed three years ago.

What if they suspect that a young woman’s internalised misogyny and repressed lesbianism accounts for her desire to turn herself into a man? Transitioning might temporarily mitigate her dysphoria but therapy would be less drastic and more effective, as would more informal kinds of support provided by LGBTQ groups.

As I say, America is in deep trouble.


Leo G said...

Thinking the Native American philosophy of Two Spirits is more real for a lot of these folk.

whitney said...

Transgenderism is a gold mine for Munchausen moms

Sam L. said...

I think it's a fad. Unfortunately, the side-effects are/can be horrible.

Dan Patterson said...

Sam and I agree. Current fad not thought of a personality disorder and treated accordingly?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Gender is “spectral,” or at very least a social construct. Yet transgendeism is defined as... whatever you want. That’s the definition. Whatever you say. That makes no sense whatsoever. Like all Leftist nonsense, it’s “Heads I win, tails you lose.” Fun!

It is absolutely appalling. It is as sane or ethical as electroshock therapy was decades ago for minor conditions. And it’s permanent., or at very least has lasting results,to (and deep scars).

If you can’t figure out your wedding tackle, you have BIG issues... more than a medical doctor, priest, shaman, psychiatrist, psychotherapist or psychologist can possibly figure out. There is no answer to this kind of madness. If you think you’re the modern incarnation of JFK, we can definitively say you’re insane. But if you were born a dude named Ken and now you imagine (yes, imagine) yourself Helen, then that’s miraculously just... YOU! And the rest of us are expected to legally or socially celebrate this. THAT is nuts.

Like all Leftist nonsense, it’s an assault on standards. What could be more basic than whether you are a man OR a woman? I really don’t care what you consider yourself or your identify as. I have to live my life. In order to do this, I have to have basic standards I can rely on. If I have a person named Maude who thinks she’s an aardvark, I can refer that out. If I have Anastasia who thinks she’s Adam, then... we’ll, that’s it. But it’s not, because it’s now a mainstream issue, because the media says so.

But it’s not. No, no, no... It’s a load of crap. A full yard of manure.

I’m sorry about all your stuff, but this is the very definition of mental sickness. All these other disorders, phobias, etc. are outer-rim peripheral issues when compared to this crazy transgender mindset. In a society that wants to categorize everything for status, this is the penultimate definition of crazy. It should close one out of all kinds of possibilities. Instead, one of these pathetically deranged and bizarre souls can enter the military.

Believe whatever you want. I do not have a duty to accommodate people who cannot figure the most basic $#%+ out. I just don’t. To my mind, this is way beyond baking a cake for a gay couple. This is an affront to the most basic standards of WHAT IS.

I love the Left... abortion and transgender treatments aren’t any parent’s business by law, or at very least they’re social pariahs for disagreeing with the MSM/DC conventional wisdom. Good grief!

JPL17 said...

As I say, America is in deep trouble.

I think it's worse than that:

Sam L. said...

Why has Ares not commented? Inquiring minds want to know.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Actually, I will say in Ares’ defense that he’s consistently acknowledged that the transgender stuff is fucked up. Translation: He still has some dignity.

anonymous said...

Gender identity is NOT a social construct

Gender roles are to a large extent social constructs

Conflation of terminology is leading to confusion and mass hysteria

Christopher said...

I remember when The Economist was an intelligent but staid right-of-centre magazine that you'd read to get the businessman's perspective on things.