"People in pain want relief. But emotional pain, like physical pain, does not necessarily point directly toward its cause."
Trawling the NYT comments section
The New York Times runs a piece raising a few tentative questions (and repeating a lot of utter nonsense) about youth gender transition. Reading the Reader Picks comments is a better use of your time:
I don't know how common 'detransitioning' is, either, but I do know an adolescent who identified, strongly and suddenly, as transgender, and no longer does. It wouldn't have been good for them to receive medical intervention. Adolescents may find very accepting communities for their questioning or identities (which I hope they do - that is a great thing) but at the same time, the desire for social belonging of that age group leads to a lot of conformity, which includes conforming to non-conventional group identities that can feel like an answer to a question they are just beginning to ask.
People in pain want relief. But emotional pain, like physical pain, does not necessarily point directly toward its cause. A meaningful mental health consultation can help determine whether patients’ assessments of their own conditions are accurate in the sense that they can guide treatment. It is not enough to simply counsel patients and families about possible risks.
The headline exposes the crux of the issue at hand: the erroneous (agenda driven) conflation of a sociopolitical identity (trans) and a pediatric medical diagnosis. At what point does a child with symptoms of gender dysphoria become a “trans kid”? The media has a huge responsibility in this. It has essentially functioned as PR for an extremely politicized and increasingly culturally visible group of adult activists with their own political agenda (this includes some health care professionals who would go on to marketing themselves as ‘gender specialists’).
Part of the reason why this issue is so frought [sic] is because human mental health relies MOST heavily on acceptance of reality and, even more so, psychological health relies subjectively upon acceptance of those things about ourselves which we cannot change. This is CORE stuff. As human beings we can't make any progress and growth in life until AFTER we accept who we currently are and, in some cases, to realize that some desires just are not realistic. Some are impossible. Pain does not change this. Compassion, understanding and freedom from judgement are essential and powerful, but neither do they change the facts and limitations of science. IF we could truly transform a man into a woman and a woman into a man, then I would say, choose carefully, after you are of age and then possibly go for it. As it stands, we cannot. We can only go about half way there. And here is the biggest question of all: If you cannot accept the way you are, then what makes you think you will be able to accept yourself the way you become, when you do NOT become what you really want?
Anyone who works with, or has kids in this age range has seen an explosion of adolescent gender exploration. It's a world-wide phenomenon, but in countries with socialized and centralized medical care, the affirmation model is being dialed back for exactly the reasons cited by several quoted in the article. In the US, where the profit motive is embedded into our health care system, hundreds of facilities now offer "gender care" where there were previously a handful, nation-wide. We don't know what the long term effects of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones are on growing bodies. Not all of the effects of puberty blockers are not known, so to say that they are reversible is incorrect. Do we know how brain development is affected? Bones? I don't know why, but it's difficult for most people to recognize social contagion while it's happening.
If the argument for quickly transitioning trans teens is that they might be suicidal, how is this not a mental health issue?
This article presents three approaches, associated with the Dutch, the Canadian (the watchful waiting approach) and the current "affirmative" approach popular in the US. It fails to mention another option: supporting and encouraging gender nonconformity without attaching any kind of gender identity to it. IE, let kids be kids. Their preferences in clothing, hobbies, role models, etc., indicate nothing about gender. It's possible to let a boy wear dresses without telling him it means he's a girl.\
My trans identifying kid was bullied by other trans kids when she desisted. They told her it was just internalized transphobia and that it would get better with hormones. The bullying is disturbingly real.
I'm a 76 year old lesbian woman. For a time in my teens, I wanted to be male...because I was in love with a girl. I'm glad that no such transformation was available. I'm happy as I am. I'm appalled that the New York Times has sold out to the transgender movement. The word "sex" does not appear anywhere in this article, even though we all born one or the other, male or female. Instead some version of "gender" appears 40+ times. This is politics, not science.
We need more reporting on this. I shared an article by Dr. Erica Anderson (quoted in this article) specifically addressing the post-Covid "trans craze" hitting middle/high schoolers with my pediatrician. My pediatrician's response? "Thank you for sending this. I can tell you this is absolutely consistent with what we are seeing across our practice." The kids are not OK, folks. And what they need is NOT cross-sex hormones.
When I was 9, I told my mom that I was “a woman trapped in a man’s body.” In reality, I was actually a gay boy who lacked the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss his growing awareness of his attraction to men. Looking back, I’m grateful that my early attempts to articulate being gay did not lead to unintended consequences or the introduction of the idea of transitioning. I’m very comfortable and happy being a man.
As a School Nurse at a large international school in Europe, I have worked directly with several young people who either were questioning their gender identity or who were actively transitioning (including medical and surgical treatments). Of this small number of children/adolescents there was not one who was not experiencing a wide range of mental health problems, some due to traumatic events, others due to depression and anxiety. Not one of these young people’s mental health improved once they transitioned, whether that transition was undertaken through medical/surgical means or by coming out to the school community as the desired gender. If they were anxious and depressed before, they remained anxious and depressed and sometimes this became much worse after transitioning.
Thank God that growing up in the eighties in the place I did, there was no mention or even awareness of gender transition. When puberty hit, my frustration with being a girl gradually subsided and eventually I came to accept and then enjoy it. At 51 I’m still a tomboy and don’t generally enjoy traditionally “female” pursuits but who cares? I do my own thing and have zero investment in others’ perceptions of me. My daughters would not be here if some overzealous ideologue doctor had “confirmed” my childhood convictions. I can’t believe that counseling is even a question. This sudden tsunami of gender identity issues is a complicated stew of narcissism, social media contagion, tribalism and conformity that has been enabled and encouraged by people who have a duty of care to a vulnerable population. These are huge decisions that can’t be made by children. Full support should be given to trans adults who have undergone therapy.
As a 50 year-old female seeking a standard surgical procedure to improve the appearance of my drooping eyelids, I was required to fill out a psychological questionaire. The purpose was to access my expectations, including took unrealistic ideations about what the surgery would achieve. For instance, if I believed the surgery would greatly enhance my love life - that would be considered a red flag.
First do no harm. Not providing mental health treatment to those who want medical transition first, adult or minor, is medical malpractice. Let's look at this objectively. The high levels of suicidality shows there is a mental health component. Transitioning does not reduce the suicidality. They literally feel they are in the wrong body. It is an issue of the mind… None of this makes any sense. In the future, we will be ashamed of the current treatment of gender dysphoria.
This industry might have started with compassion, but its endurance will be due to greed. There is too much money to be made. expected profit from each transitioner is over $150k.
The elephant in this room is sexism.
Chalk up another one for Tik-Tok, YouTube and all the other social media outlets in their ongoing destabilization of society. There is no doubt this has been a societal issue for a long time, but the turbocharging that has taken place in the past decade or so certainly has social media’s fingerprints all over it.
If a person’s complete discomfort with the actual sex of their own body is not a mental health issue, what is it? They aren't literally "in the wrong body" as that is not possible and there is no evidence to support it. Of course it is a mental health issue. The question is, can they learn to live with their body and identity or is physically altering your body the only way to find peace? How do we know the difference in a kid?
puberty is not a disease. For almost all kids, dysphoria resolves on its own during puberty. Blocking puberty or socially transitioning your kid (as we were poorly advised to do) prevents the natural cure. This is very harmful to dysphoric kids, but very lucrative for pharmaceutical patients who have a high lifetime value for a lifetime patient.
I find it difficult to understand why someone would question looking at mental health. Especially in young people who are so amenable to cultural influence and suggestion. It’s already strange enough that we live in a society where voluntary plastic surgery is so common and widely accepted without question. How did we get to such a false reality? More and more it seems like the mental health community is more interested in telling people what they want to hear instead of practicing medicine founded on science. There are no adults in the room anymore, no sages full of ageless wisdom. We’re driven by our feelings and the folly of youth with a devil may care attitude towards actual knowledge and wisdom. It seems pretty symptomatic given the state of the world. The only way this gets better is if we continue to question ourselves.
I don't think the general public realizes that there is no actual LGBTQA++ community. Rather, the public support gained by gay and lesbian people is being used as a big tent into which all kinds of insanity is creeping. Tolerance is being misused… This is a new religion, with a lot of money behind it. It is operating under the cloak of inclusion and equity and is harming our children.
That this article does not even mention ROGD is remiss and irresponsible. This phenomenon that Lisa Littman studies and that Erica Anderson has discussed is the only way to understand the current epidemic of trans identified youth and the only way to help them.
As parents of a trans child, we believe this risks being the opioid crisis of our time. Few people understand that medically affirming a child turns the child into a lifelong patient. There is an industry that makes money from this just as it did from the pain killers. The other side of the coin is that even if hormone blockers can be reversed, almost all children proceed to cross-sex hormones and many are effectively sterilized. Surgery and esp. genital surgery leads to further complications. What child can consent to this? This should not be political.
By my rough count, 99% of the comments here seem to be of the sentiment that this newly emerged “affirmative” care model of treating the exploding numbers of gender dysphoric youth is out of control and harming countless children, teens and young adults. Many of the readers seem to be parents like myself whose children have been suddenly caught up in this ideology with no childhood history of gender incongruence. As a lifelong Democrat and self-professed liberal, my attitudes on this have evolved as I’ve become more and more immersed in the subject, read the studies, consulted with professionals, compared experiences with other parents, and observed and listened to my child’s experience. I hope the writer, the NYT and the mainstream press in general takes careful note of these reactions to this story and realizes that the larger population of well-educated and left-leaning readers do NOT subscribe to the narrative being pushed so aggressively by the fringe trans-activities and their supporters in the pharmaceutical and plastic surgery industries who are shamelessly profiteering on this medical scandal..