Detransition

Crash is concerned people are calling her “transphobic” and not listening to the nuance of what she is saying, but unapologetic, saying that she of course will act to advance our own well-being. If that means telling stories and truths other people find uncomfortable, so be it. She spent four years on T, presenting male, and has reverted. Yet she wants transitioned and detransitioned people to be allies, and is not helped by people using her story as a weapon against transition. So, how could we be allies?

I don’t know of any detransitioned woman who doesn’t believe that adults can decide what to do with their lives and their bodies, including to transition if they decide that’s what’s best for them. No, that would be a detransitioned man, Charles Kane, filled with resentment for what he did to himself. That might be something about female socialisation, growing up to make the best of it and see others’ point of view. However she wants to speak out for detransitioned and dysphoric women… because no one else is looking out for us.

She bears the scars of transition- chest masculinisation, T use- and has a deep voice and facial hair. She is forging a new path: transition is well-travelled, with many books and support groups on what it means, but on detransition she found only a few blogs.

First, I found her blog post about the backlash from the article about detransition in a new online magazine The Outlook, then went to the article itself. I would like us to be allies. Anyone who transitions has had difficulty living with themselves in a gendered society, even if they detransition. We have a lot in common. Why is she called transphobic? This quote from The Outlook may give a clue: The bloggers write about how they’ve come to understand their own transitions as a response to trauma, or an expression of self-hatred stemming from living in a patriarchal world, or a capitulation to social pressure. I might see their detransition in the same way- the only word I might change is “patriarchal” to “transphobic”, and even that is not absolutely necessary.

I have thought about detransition a lot, and always called it “Reverting”. That’s a different way of framing it, as a failure. This is how we are opponents in a zero-sum game: if detransitioners are people who should never have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the first place, but treated otherwise than by transition- people who have been wronged by the system- then it should be much more difficult to get hormones or surgery.

I should be accepted as a woman because I really am a woman. This is the basis for our argument that we should enter women-only spaces, be treated as women, be recognised in law as women. Psychiatrists who specialise in us have the expertise to diagnose gender dysphoria, for which the treatment is medical, surgical and social transition.

But it’s a zero-sum game. Crash could not have been prevented from transition without it being made more difficult for the rest of us. The Outline cited studies that regret is 2.2% or less- making transition more difficult stymies forty people for the sake of one. Arbitrated by fairness or Utilitarianism, my side should win the zero-sum game. And, possibly, many who reverted might not have taken no for an answer when they transitioned.

I really am a woman. Or, the only treatment for gender identity disorder is transition. Crash says she suffered from internalised misogyny, trauma and dissociation. I learned The Script, what I was told I should say to ensure I got the right diagnosis. The Script was not true for me, I told the truth, and got the diagnosis and treatment anyway. If Crash could have been protected from transition, a real trans man might have been wrongfully refused it- and given that hormones and surgery are so invasive, psychiatrists might err on the side of caution. But when we transition, we really really want that treatment.

I do not trust the psychiatrists. I don’t think there are clear discrete groups, one of which suffer from gender dysphoria who should transition, and another whose symptoms mimic those of the first but who suffer from some different diagnosable condition, dissociative disorder or something else. My psychiatrist told me I was “not psychotic” but I don’t know he was right about that.

I don’t think I am dissociative. I hated my body before transition. Now, I love it. What would I know? On what basis is Crash diagnosed as dissociative- is it just because she has decided to revert?

I wish diagnosis could be certain, but it is more messy than that. I want Crash as an ally, because we have a great deal in common. We are both people who did not easily fit the stereotypes attached to our birth gender, the social construct of “man” in my case, “woman” in hers. We try to make our way as best we can. We live in gendered societies, with expectations about what a man or a woman ought to be like, even if those expectations are broader and more inclusive than I, desperate because I saw myself as less than a real man, imagined them to be.

There are those who would argue that Trans is a great lie, that the removal of breasts penises and gonads is a vile mutilation, and we should accept our bodies. Some of them are religious nutters with rigid ideas of what “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” is, and some are radical feminists who think gender roles are a misogynist social construct imposed by patriarchy. Yet we desperately want social and/or physical transition.

When I transitioned, I thought it was quite possible that I would revert within five years, but transition was the only way I could find that out. I wanted it so much. I had to try it. I have not reverted yet. This might escape the zero-sum game: that detransition is right for a person does not mean that transition was necessarily wrong. Or, alternatively- I am not a woman, or even a person who particularly well fits the social construct of “woman” in my society; only someone who has chosen to identify as Clare, and I have a right to identify like that, or as Stephen, or Hillary. That detransition is right for someone does not mean it is right for everyone, or that anyone should be stopped from transitioning because they might revert later. It is not clear cut, but confusing, and people make mistakes.

Whatever, I want to extend a hand of friendship to Crash. We are both people who have been uncomfortable with gender roles, and have done what we thought best in response to that. Let us honour our choices and mourn our mistakes together. I doubt I could have been saved from myself. None of these choices are easy: that we have all faced them is a bond. (That’s just me- I like to see things in terms of common interest and common experience.) Crash linked to this video: “We’re not recruiting, okay?” says the detransitioned woman. “This is about people’s well-being”. I want their well-being, as well as my own.

Continued here: Detransition II, on Callahan, a detransitioned woman whom people call a trans excluder.

The Outline.
Crash’s blog. Crash’s video.

breslau-the-artist-and-her-model

Benefits of immigration

Immigration is always a benefit to the economy. There are more people, and the new people are more likely to be economically active. The economy grows, and they can be taxed for public benefit, all the things like health, education, natural monopoly utilities and transport which are better done by society, together. No way exists of using competition to make companies serve the public in these services. Public services get better because of immigration. They have got worse since 2010 because of deliberate cuts by the Tory government. The Nationalist lie that immigrants flood our country and damage our public services, used to get hard Right politicians elected who will cut those services further, is a great evil. Cuts inflame people’s fear and anger, and that anger makes people more authoritarian.

Dancers, flibbertigibbets and butterflies like me are in for a hard time.

My friend asked, but why is it always expressed as “good for the economy”? Is there nothing more important? Yes. Immigration is good for the culture, and for each person.

It is difficult. It causes tension. Migrating to a country can curtail horizons rather than expanding them. Polish or Bangladeshi communities exist where some people hardly go out of that small group, or learn any English. Well, people have to achieve the means of survival before they can self-actualise. Any organism explores its surroundings, looking for what will benefit it, avoiding harm, and once they get time to draw breath and really look about themselves loving, creative and adventurous souls will embrace the possibilities of different cultures. Not me, particularly, if I see a “Polski Sklep” I stay out of it, but I am not adventurous cooking even in English cuisine, and once something becomes mainstream, like Italian or Bangladeshi restaurants, I use it happily.

And I feel it is possible to be too assimilated. I was uncomfortable around an Indian Christian woman. I am not sure why, or what she had done I might object to, or what I would rather she had done, but there is something I can’t quite put my finger on. This is a blog, I would never throw out such an inchoate idea in writing published anywhere else.

And yet for adventurous leaders, whom the community will follow, our possibilities are expanded. Culture widens, we get new ways of understanding, expressing ourselves, and relating to others. We have more options, so we are more free.

We move from a homogenous society in which we can predict how people will be, to a diverse society where we accept difference, and that benefits flibbertigibbets and queers, who really have to curtail ourselves to fit a village homogeneity. But no-one fits that homogeneity, really, so everyone benefits.

Except the authoritarians, the grinches, the know-alls and control freaks who want everyone marching in step to the same martial music. Few people are like that naturally- even Mr Farage seeks his own freedom, as he seeks to deny it to everyone else- but people can be forced into that mould, by inflaming and misdirecting their anger and resentment. Diversity is our best defence against totalitarianism.

louise-catherine-breslau-a-young-woman-asleep-in-a-chair

Mr Pence goes to the Theatre

Friends, you need to calm down. You will have the most ignorant president ever- worse than Reagan- and possibly the most dangerous, but your angry shouting will achieve nothing.

I love clips of Megyn Kelly interviewing Trump-apologists. That look of incredulity, with a tincture of contempt! It is intensely sexual. She starts with a smile of welcome, as at a persistent date who has not yet realised how far out of his league she is. Welcome to my lair. Then the mouth turns down a little, and the eyes widen ever so slightly. Then there’s blood coming out of her- what’stheword?- V- V- Victims! Stephen Colbert and the rest remain entertaining.

As usual, Mr Trump inflamed his opponents.

This is not presidential. He should be above this sort of whining. He has been roundly mocked- “Stop picking on my vice-president” said the British mouthpiece of Mr Murdoch, owner of Fox News. The Sydney Morning Herald just reported the story straight: quoting the tweets is enough to make a fool of Mr Trump. As always.

And yet- there you are on a hair trigger. One side sets to enthusiastically liking and retweeting Mr Trump, the other to abuse. “I don’t think I am going to make it through the next four years.” “I’ll take resignation or impeachment, I’m not picky.” “He turned into a snivelling puddle of poor me.”

Things are serious. The racist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is a disaster for your country, and Myron Ebell as chief destroyer of the Environmental Protection Agency is a disaster for the planet. Your president-elect’s son in law got Chris Christie sacked as head of the transition team, because Christie prosecuted his father for tax evasion. Your president-elect busily insults foreign leaders. And- a stooshie about Mr Pence being rebuked at the theatre is mere froth.

Some of it is witty. First they came for the Muslims, and we said, ‘not this time motherfucker’. Some makes it worse than it is. People are wearing safety-pins to show they are a safe person. You can trust me, it says, if you are abused in the street. A meme says, “Wouldn’t it be nice if this [a cross pendant] meant, ‘I’m a safe person’.”

You know, it does? It takes an extreme, frothing at the mouth fundamentalist not to be shaken by the abuse of gay people or Muslims in the street. They might wade in. I don’t like the fashion for wearing safety pins. Common civility is not eroded enough for it to be needed. It makes things look worse than they are. Most people, even many racist people, will be uncomfortable if someone is abused in the street, and many will intervene.

When I have been abused, it has usually been quiet. I and the abuser have been the only pedestrians, or I have been alone and someone has shouted abuse from a car. A man abused me once and the woman with him rebuked him, rather than cheering him on. People still read me, and some may object, but keep quiet about it.

We need to lower the temperature. Mr Trump thrives on rage and fear, because they stop people thinking. By expressing care for others, we may enable them to hear differing points of view. From a state of calmness, we may see what positive action we might take.

margaret-sarah-carpenter-ada-lovelace

Allies III

Oh, those poor LGBT! They have such a hard time, you know.

Well, we do, I suppose. I am left handed, and things are often designed for right-handed use. People assume Straightness, even I do, and many feel uncomfortable with queers. Yet, basically, Brexit that. Let us enjoy our triumphs, not dwell on difficulties.

This has been an arty week. I saw Francis Bacon on Tuesday and was irritated by the phrase “anxiety and hopelessness”, and then on Friday I saw the Bhupen Khakhar exhibition, whose paintings are beautiful, and loathed the patronising git who wrote on the wall, When Khakhar developed cataracts in the early 1990s he adopted a looser, blurry style of brushwork which allowed him to depict suggestive scenes of same-sex encounters. Well, gay lovemaking remains a crime in India, yet Khakhar’s oeuvre expresses his sexuality from the beginning. Here is “Man Leaving” from 1970. It looks like a wedding, no?

bhupen-khakhar-man-leaving

Possibly those who hate queers would not consider that possibility, so think the title “Going abroad” indicated a parting; but perhaps they would be hyper-sensitised to suggestions of gayness, so be wound up by it.

Here the many colours on the apron suggest oil paints, and how could that hose be anything but a penis?

bhupen-khakhar-the-window-cleaner

It’s just funny. I love the smile on his face.

And finally Yayati from 1987, from a myth in which a young man gave his youthful vigour to his father, but the father wandered the world and found no need for youth. I love the colour, and the fire of the wings.

bhupen-khakhar-yayati

I sit before this, entranced. I also loved “At the end of the day iron ingots came out”, where Khakhar depicts himself on the lavatory during his cancer, and the ingots look like a continuation of his depicted bowel. It is agonising. It hangs behind a picture of him having an enema, and the result in me is a powerful sympathy and love of his humanity. I feel some of his pain. It is raw, honest, truthful, which is what I strive for here.

And there is no apology for sexuality. He may be exploring just how much he can portray, but the portrayal is clear. Surely the curator can see that! Surely the curator needs sympathy with the artist! What?

I wanted a post-card of it, so asked a delightfully camp young man at the shop. There is to be an LGBT artists’ exhibition next year, their first. I look forward to that. He loves the window cleaner too, and the beauty of the colours. That green is so cool and restful. I agree it is such a joyous exhibition. And yes. That is definitely a penis.

I want his sexuality to be seen as completely normal, and that means allowing people to see it or not, as they can, in his paintings. “Ooh, look, that’s a gay bit” is not supportive, really, it maintains us as the exotic other. If someone is expressing derision or disrespect for the quality of gayness please do correct them, but don’t-

oh, I don’t know. Work it out for yourself. What would you want?

That’s it. Don’t look after us. We don’t need looking after generally, just defending occasionally. It’s like benevolent sexism- you mean well, but you hold us down.

Francis Bacon

Bacon needs a queer curator. I am enraged reading on the wall, as if Clear Fact, the isolated male figure, which has been read as Bacon’s lover Peter Lacy, communicates a sense of anxiety and hopelessness, which has been read in relation to the continuing illegality of homosexuality. They are from 1954, before the Wolfenden Report, yet I see no anxiety and hopelessness here. In the paintings I see exuberance, joy, and the need to seize the moment. The trouble with anxiety and hopelessness would be that at the time some might read it as hopelessness that Bacon suffered from the terrible scourge of homosexuality, and feared he might never love a woman.

I look at man in blue IV, and it depends where the body is. If this besuited man is leaning forward on a desk, that is one thing, but he could easily be lying on his tummy, propped up on his elbows.

man-in-blue-iv

He could be kicking his heels up behind. If that’s a desk, he would need to be in a hole in it, or lying semi-prone. I often see playfulness- there is a sense of humour in these paintings far more often than that caption-writer might see- and self-assuredness. I am not sure about the man in cap, which could be a Nazi haranguing an audience, mouth wide and shouting. It seems possible to me that Bacon is the voice of monsters, portraying us unashamed, just doing our thing.

I chose the book I bought on Bacon because its third paragraph made me LOL: according to one story, he was sounded out as to whether he would accept the Order of Merit, but replied, No, ducky, give it to someone else, it will give them so much more pleasure. I don’t know if his homosexuality would have prevented him being honoured in 1992 when he died- possibly- but I want the story to be true. How could we know? Why would he feel any need to tell the truth in words, rather than in pictures- to help the stupid keep up?

The most conventionally beautiful thing here is Isabel Rawsthorne’s hair. She stands outside, and the hair is much prettier than in the photograph.

Reading about Bacon’s right wing anti-progressive feelings of pointlessness and cruelty of the world- I remember looking at a dog-shit on the pavement and I suddenly realized, there it is-this is what life is like– I wonder if I am reading into the work my own projections from my own character. I passionately want to see other people as they are, and use his art to aid me in this, confronting myself with his reality. I saw a painting of a seated man and standing child as bleak, with the man ignoring the supplicating child, but bleakness is not my main impression. I doubt Efrat would want people to look at her wheelchair and gush about her “bravery” any more than I like my transition called brave. We play the cards we are dealt. If straights see alienation and despair here, even if they are Allies, they are blinded by feelings of superiority.

Talkin’ bout my LGBT

I don’t want to talk to Joan. She is a bore, and other people avoid her too, I have seen them walking rapidly in another direction when she approaches. She can keep talking for ages, about her own stuff, but without any discernible feeling to which I can relate. So first I pretend to be interested, then I pretend less, and finally walk away.

But what I really resent is that she is interested in LGBT issues. She is an ally. She wants to be supportive. She came up to me and said she had seen the film Pride– isn’t it wonderful, those gay people and miners getting together. A real feel-good film. Then most recently she said she had the DVD for The Danish Girl. What’s it like?

Well, Einar discovers women’s clothes and soon wants to go out dressed female, except she’s terrified of everyone even the friendly people. Soon it overwhelms her and she sees doctors. One diagnoses her as schizophrenic and wants to lock her up in a loony bin, one wants to cure her by pointing radioactive sources at her privates, because Science, and because he’s got this expensive equipment with no idea what it might be used for, and one wants to call her a woman, cut her privates off, and create a vagina. After suffering the first two, she goes for the third, who kills her by putting a uterus into her without understanding anything about organ rejection.

“Oh,” says Joan, “Not such a feelgood movie”.

I don’t want to listen to your ideas about LGBT. I don’t want to hear that you are an ally. I don’t want you to ask me about it. This is my really really private stuff and it is not for small talk. That’s the real issue here- if you want to be authentic with me, ask me anything, I will try to help, because I want people to understand. But if you want to make small talk, and exchange superficial pleasantries exhibiting the feelings you know you ought to feel- sympathy for the poor queers, indignation at inequality and discrimination, admiration at how courageous we all are, etc- DON’T COME TO ME!!! Because it is real for me.

I have actually started telling her this. I told her I don’t want to talk to her about LGBT stuff but could not articulate why, so writing this is useful. Tell me who you are! Tell me what you love! Don’t pull me into your conventional lets all feel the same thing rubbish.

This is not, of course, my magnum opus but something I am just throwing off, now. I was up at seven this morning writing. I have a first draft.

Transsexual

I got told not to use the word transsexual. It is objectionable. It somehow implies that those who transition should have GRS. The word is “trans”; that includes all of us, and what is between our legs is no-one’s business but ours and our partners’. A girl-cock, a hyperenlarged clitoris, or whatever you call it, is OK.

Do you feel less than others? Do you feel a nagging suspicion that real trans women know they are women, and so find the thought of having a penis unbearable? Alternatively, do you feel that you were forced by social pressure into having The Operation by doctors, transsexuals and the general public while you might not have had it, if you had had a completely free choice?

Do you feel less than others? Does the existence of another group of people, which appears to share some characteristics with you but be very different in some ways, somehow make you inauthentic or less entitled to be who you are, do what you want- or do you have nagging doubts that might be so?

The answer is not to lash out, and say it’s the other group that have got it wrong, they are the ones who should change, or demand that they do not mention their difference from you as they should be ashamed of it. That just divides people. We can be allies. We should be able to sympathise with another’s desires and support their rights, while not feeling the same.

I regret the operation. I would like to be able to swive heterosexual women. I suppose being told not to utter the word “transsexual”- or TS- is better than being held up as fool and victim. I wanted it at the time. My path to self-acceptance led through the Operation, and I am not sure “there was another road you did not see”. Though if I were sure of that, it would be sair to thole.

It was as it was.
I am where I am.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

You see I have this huge uncertainty. There is another group, like me in some respects, unlike me in others- and I know they have this difference, though I cannot be certain that they have that advantage and I do not know what disadvantages they may have. Producing my own hormones and not using synthetic ones, my emotional lability might be less: so I could ascribe all sorts of imaginary advantages to the door you did not open– while I am at it, I would be in work, the desire to present female would have passed, I would have three children-

as always with these fantasies, I would not exist and someone else would be in my place.

Guilt, resentment, yearning, shame- I am overwhelmed by these feelings as I always have been, I cast around for ways of escape which instead intensify them. However. I am transsexual. I am not going to keep quiet about that just cos someone tells me to.

Blake, the inscription

Transvestism in Walter Scott

If you were a Jacobite, returned to Scotland in secret in 1765; and you had kidnapped your son, who had been brought up by his English mother as a decadent, liberal, English type rather than a hard Scots warrior, a man of Duty and Destiny;

and you sought to transport your son, who might seek to escape, as you crossed the country on horseback, how would you choose to restrain him?

By dressing him as a woman, of course!

Cristal Nixon will act as your valet- I should, perhaps, say your femme de chambre. Your travelling dress you may consider as singular; but it is such as the circumstances require.

The soldier offers no better explanation, and the son does not challenge this. Later, the clothes arrive- a skirt, or upper-petticoat of camlet, like those worn by country ladies of moderate rank when on horseback, with a riding mask. Darsie wonders whether he should co-operate- but if he will not, he will be prisoner in a carriage rather than on horseback, and considered the comparative degree of ease and freedom which I might purchase by wearing the mask and female dress, as easily and advantageously purchased. That is, he has no great objection.

So far Scott has given us Darsie’s journal, but now turns to the third person narrator. Although he did not assume such a disguise without some sensations of shame and degradation, Darsie permitted Cristal Nixon to place over his face one of those silk masks which ladies frequently wore to preserve their complexion. He remonstrated somewhat more vehemently against the long riding-skirt, which converted his person from the waist into the female guise, but was obliged to concede this point also. Scott explains that then women riders wore men’s jackets, ladies’ riding habits not having been conceived, but men’s clothes then had splendid colours, lace and gay embroidery.

Perhaps Scott could not trust himself to explain Darsie’s feelings in the first person. There are other instances of cross-dressing in Scott: in The Monastery, a brother and sister regularly impersonate each other. Cross-dressing men are often attracted to women, and Scott was married- I can’t find a suggestion he was gay- but when I googled the scene I found an essay suggesting Darsie’s relationship with his friend Alan could be read as gay, even if a straight reading considering their love fraternal was also possible. I read all of Scott from Nationalist motives, but Christopher Whyte says the theorist must demolish the Nationalist’s canon. I read him for self-improvement, Whyte reads for pleasure.

When he liberates Darsie from the skirt, Redgauntlet says Do not blush at having worn a disguise to which kings and heroes have been reduced– but readers would recall that the Young Pretender dressed as Flora MacDonald’s maid.

Gender dysphoria in children

Far too many children are accused of “cross-gender behaviour”. This could lead to lasting damage. The Gender diversity and Transgender identity in Children factsheet of the American Psychological Association says 5 to 12% of girls and 2 to 6% of
boys exhibit cross-gender behavior
. With numbers that high, the definition of “normal gendered behaviour” is the problem, not the children. Let them play, experiment, be who they are!

It is hard to estimate the numbers of lesbian and gay people. Do you survey how many have ever had homosexual experience, or who have had homosexual experience in the last year? And people are still scared of saying they are gay rather than straight, and will identify as heterosexual despite gay experience. But asked to place themselves on the Kinsey scale, with six boxes rather than two, only 72% of British adults identified as exclusively heterosexual. Wikipedia is interesting on this, and that is as far as I have gone- I am not an expert, merely trying to form my own understanding of the best way to treat children. People are far too complex for either/or, gay/straight, trans/cis. My personal interest is in beta males with viragos, derided so long as not real men, as pussy-whipped. Such beta-males can be very feminine.

So I love the APA’s position now:

There are three main approaches to psychological intervention with gender diverse children including a “gender affirmative” approach, a “wait and see if these behaviors desist” approach, or actively discouraging gender non-conforming behavior. The gender affirmative model is grounded in the evidence-based idea that attempting to change or contort a person’s gender does harm. Psychological interventions should aim to help children understand that their gender identity and gender expression are not a problem. Providers should aim to non-judgmentally accept the child’s gender presentation and help children build resilience and become more comfortable with themselves, without attempting to change or eliminate cross-gender behavior. Children who experience affirming and supportive responses to their gender identity are more likely to have improved mental health outcomes. Gender identity is resistant, if not impervious to environmental manipulation. Moreover, attempts to change a child’s gender may have a negative impact on the child’s well-being.

Parents and schools are the problem. Most of the therapeutic work is with the parents, to prevent them suppressing the child’s harmless but surprising behaviour: Often, the most important intervention is helping the family to cope with and live for some time with the uncertainty about the child’s gender and sexual identity development. They need to be advocates for their children. Providers should advocate for children to be safe in schools while exploring gender diverse expression. Pardon me while I scream at the floor- “Children should be safe in schools”! It needs to be said!!!!!!! If children’s natural, harmless gender expression is not tolerated by parents, schools or peers, they may exhibit the usual extreme stress reactions of children, such as “Oppositional defiance” or “ADHD”; or depression, rocking, cutting…

The fact sheet at first appears to distinguish “gender diverse” children, who express their gender in ways that are not consistent with socially prescribed gender roles or identities, from “transgender” children, who consistently, persistently, and insistently express a cross-gender identity and feel that their gender is different from their assigned sex. Later, though, it conflates the two: Fully reversible interventions such as a social gender transition including changing clothing, name change, new pronouns, or changes in haircuts may be indicated for some gender diverse and transgender children. And why not exploration? Let little Stephen come to school as Clare occasionally, if s/he wants. Let Clare be boyish and Stephen girlish. We need to know which the child is at the time that hormone therapy is prescribed, and not before.

APA fact-sheet pdf.
beta males.
Wikipedia on demographics of sexual orientation.

Desistance

Trans children, treated with surgery before puberty then assigned-sex hormones to have an assigned-sex puberty, would pass so much better. They would have skulls and skeletons consistent with their trans sex. They would need far less invasive, far more successful, surgery. The problem is children who desist. Many children referred to gender clinics as children grow up to identify as cis, often lesbian gay or bi. Reverting after surgery or such hormone treatment, after removal of genitals and needing further surgery, a person might develop a deep resentment of the medical services s/he had as a child.

Who do you protect? Not knowing whether this child will revert, do you force trans children to undergo an unwanted puberty to protect a cis person who might be caught up in the treatment? All other things being equal, people are happier with a full set of working genitalia including gonads than without. So, someone has to speak up for the genuine trans children, forced through an alienating puberty to need more surgery with worse outcomes: I am sorry that it is not me.

What matters is how many referred to gender clinics desist, and whether one can detect them before puberty. In the New York Magazine I read of two recent studies. Some of the children who desisted were just as extreme [in their gender dysphoria] as some of the children who persisted, wrote Devita Singh, a clinical psychologist. The NYMag article raises my distrust when it says that Kenneth Zucker was sacked as director of a GIC largely a result of false accusations leveled against him, after a lengthy campaign from a segment of LGBT activists who accused him — wrongly, in light of the available evidence — of harming his clients. Um. “A segment”- who? The Bad ones? So his bosses sacked him, because of lies told by bad people, rather than finding the truth? Really?

Thomas Steensma studied 127 children referred to the Centre of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria in Amsterdam. He found that eighty of them had desisted. Singh found of 139 AMAB children, 122 had desisted.

Were those children referred to the clinics for true gender dysphoria, or mere gender non-conformity? Some boys are effeminate- get over it, as they say. It is no surprise if non-conforming children become cis non-conforming adults- for it really is OK to be an feminine man or a masculine woman, and adults, who learn to navigate the discrepancies between what others expect and their own internal leadings so much better than children, can live more happily with that. A child may be more comfortable transitioned because though the new gender stereotype does not fit their idiosyncratic self, it is still more comfortable than the stereotype assigned at birth.

Can you tell the difference between non-conformity and dysphoria? I don’t know. I hope the doctors are working on it.

Would that children could be transitioned to neutral, a childhood without gendered expectations. They could be allowed to experiment- different clothes, colours, hair, names, playing without being divided between girls and boys-

Only gender affirmation- if it is not clearly harmful, it is permissible. That might be better for everyone.

New York Magazine, What’s missing from the conversation about trans kids.

Carpioni, Narcissus and Tiresias