Michael K. Laidlaw,1 Quentin L. Van Meter,2 Paul W. Hruz,3 Andre Van Mol,4
and William J. Malone5
Michael K. Laidlaw, MD, Inc., Rocklin, California 95677; 2
Van Meter Pediatric Endocrinology, P.C., Atlanta,
Georgia 30318; 3
Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
Van Mol Family Practice, Redding, California 96003; and 5
William J. Malone, MD, Twin Falls, Idaho
ORCiD numbers: 0000-0001-6849-7285 (M. K. Laidlaw); 0000-0003-2831-6480 (Q. L. Van Meter);
0000-0002-1478-3355 (P. W. Hruz); 0000-0001-8678-0025 (A. Van Mol);
0000-0002-5150-292X (W. J. Malone).
Childhood gender dysphoria (GD) is not an endocrine condition, but it becomes one through iatrogenic puberty blockade (PB) and high-dose cross-sex (HDCS) hormones. The consequences of this gender-affirmative
therapy (GAT) are not trivial and include potential sterility,
sexual dysfunction, thromboembolic and cardiovascular
disease, and malignancy (1, 2).
There are no laboratory, imaging, or other objective tests to
diagnose a “true transgender” child. Children with GD will
outgrow this condition in 61% to 98% of cases by adulthood
(3). There is currently no way to predict who will desist and
who will remain dysphoric. The degree to which GAT has
contributed to the rapidly increasing prevalence of GD in
children is unknown. The recent phenomenon of teenage girls
suddenly developing GD (rapid onset GD) without prior
history through social contagion is particularly concerning (4).
GnRH agonists are used in precocious puberty to delay
the abnormally early onset of puberty to a physiologically
normal age. The goal of PB in the healthy child, however,
is to induce hypogonadotropic hypogonadism to “buy
time” to confirm gender incongruence. In a study of PB in
adolescents aged 11 to 17 years, 100% desired to continue
GAT. They simply “bought” themselves lower bone density
and the need for lifelong medical therapy (5).
Studies show that ,5% of adolescents receiving GAT
even attempt fertility preservation (6). Those started on PB at
Tanner stage II, as recommended by current guidelines, will
be blocked prior to sperm maturation and ovum release.
They will have no prospect of biological offspring while
on HDCS hormones and continuing on to gonadectomy.
The Endocrine Society’s guidelines recommend elevating females’ testosterone levels from a normal of 10 to
50 ng/dL to 300 to 1000 ng/dL, values typically found
with androgen-secreting tumors. The ovaries of women
given testosterone correspond to those found in PCOS,
which itself is associated with increased ovarian cancer
risk and metabolic abnormalities (1). Venous thromboembolism risk is elevated fivefold in males taking estrogen (2).
The health consequences of GAT are highly detrimental, the stated quality of evidence in the guidelines
is low, and diagnostic certainty is poor. Furthermore,
limited long-term outcome data fail to demonstrate longterm success in suicide prevention (7). How can a child,
adolescent, or even parent provide genuine consent to
such a treatment? How can the physician ethically administer GAT knowing that a significant number of
patients will be irreversibly harmed?
Hypothesis-driven randomized controlled clinical
trials are needed to establish and validate the safety and
efficacy of alternate treatment approaches for this vulnerable patient population. Existing care models based on psychological therapy have been shown to alleviate GD in
children, thus avoiding the radical changes and health
risks of GAT (8). This is an obvious and preferred therapy,
as it does the least harm with the most benefit.
In our opinion, physicians need to start examining
GAT through the objective eye of the scientist-clinician
rather than the ideological lens of the social activist. Far
more children with gender dysphoria will ultimately be
helped by this approach.
I’ve been thinking about that proverb, “A lie goes halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its shoes on.” I’m still recovering from attending the San Francisco Dyke March, where a group of old lesbians were projected as the Enemy. Hate was beamed at us as the designated Other, the rightful targets of rage. My body has been feeling the aftershocks, a residue of stress and fear from being blasted by a mob. Meanwhile, I’ve had to counter a firestorm of false accusations that streaked across social media, and libelous accounts published by the SF Dyke March, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Bay Area Reporter.
I was one of ten lesbians who met at BART to attend the San Francisco Dyke March. We were not a “group,” but an ad hoc conglomeration of lesbians from the East Bay who came to walk peacefully in the march. We did not come to confront. We did not all know each other. We were old and middle-aged lesbian feminists, but other than that a rather mixed bunch, lefties, pagans, and feminists of various stripes. One queer had worked for years at the Hormel Center in SF; another had been a Women and Gender Studies professor. I’m an independent scholar of global women’s history, and came wearing my “Sisters in Solidarity” shirt from International Women’s Day in Richmond. A couple other women wore Dyke March t-shirts—“Dykes resist”—from previous years. (I’m not describing everyone because being TERFed has serious life consequences, and it is not my call to expose anyone else to that.)
I wanted to see how it would be to walk in this march, as an old Amazon lesbian feminist. I claim that proudly, along with the cost I’ve paid for being a butch gender-resister over the course of my life. I was at the first Dyke March, which lesbian feminists organized because Gay Pride was so male-dominated, and attended many others. I know some of the women who have worked on Dyke March over the years. But this march had stopped looking like a welcoming or safe space for lesbians. Last year, a queer woman wore a bloody shirt reading “I Punch TERFs” to the march (and a trans woman, more famously, wore it to GLBTQ Pride). No one seems to have objected to this misogynist threat being worn at a Dyke march. Next to that, the signs that caused such an uproar this year look tame. In fact, “You will not silence us with violence” is the polar opposite of that boast.
Four women carried signs, including Proud to Be Lesbian / Lesbian Visibility / Lesbian Not Queer. We had had a discussion about signs in emails exchanged between the dykes invited to attend the march. I had warned against bringing provocative or confrontational signs (knowing the climate in SF) and thought we had agreement on that. But these women didn’t get the message, and we all paid the price for it. The radioactive point was a sign protesting using puberty blockers with harmful side effects on kids — most of whom will turn out to be lesbian or gay. This subject of medicalizing gender is literally unspeakable now. Anyone who questions the institutionalization of puberty blockers on kids gets accused of “transphobia.” However, some de-transitioned women have compared it to “conversion therapy” for lesbian and gay youth. Those women wanted to speak out for at-risk lesbian youth, and for any teen, who could suffer serious side-effects from drugs like Lupron. (1) I knew it was dangerous to carry such a sign in San Francisco, and had tried to prevent that from happening. (The women knew it too; they kept the signs wrapped in garbage bags on BART.) But I was bone-tired, for unrelated reasons, and could not bring myself to police lesbian speech at the Dyke March, of all places.
All of the old lesbians in our group were quickly surrounded, subjected to chants of “TERFs go home!” and blasted with hatefulness for the entire course of the march. Young queers berated, hounded, and crowded in on us. Most of them refused to speak with us, only glaring, chanting, and screaming. At times a person with a megaphone deliberately pointed it at our ears. Worse, assailants threw two lesbians carrying signs to the ground—one of them three times, the other, walking with a cane, once. Attackers pushed them, tripped them, and deliberately stepped on their heels, repeatedly. (They later claimed that the lesbians had tripped over their own feet.) Those women did not lift a hand against anyone; they did no more than defend themselves against people swarming and striking out at them.
I was walking behind these sign-carriers, trying to prevent people from pushing deep into their personal space, knocking them down, shouting at them —“transphobia’s got to go!”— at all of us, about whom they did not know one thing. They tarred us all with the same brush of TERF, and they would have feathered us too. I’ve been to many marches, including dangerous ones, but this was the most vicious episode I have ever experienced, ever in my life. Young queer marchers directed their concentrated hostility at old lesbian marchers over nearly the entire course of the parade. One woman said that she was more scared then, with this baying mob surrounding us, than she had been being chased by police with machine guns in her home country.
But I’m not gonna let any lesbian get stomped, least of all at a Dyke March which is supposed to be a safe place. That’s not who we are in lesbian culture, not how we deal with our differences, which are many. I did my best to prevent those women from being aggressed upon, and literally had their back. Many people ignored what was going on, and only one person in the crowd came to their defense: a butch in an NCLR cap who stepped in from the sidelines and cleared space around the women being assaulted. None of us knew her. She later told me that she was for fair play and free speech, and when she saw lesbians being mobbed and pushed down, she didn’t hesitate to intervene.
At first I thought Ms. NCLR cap, who was wearing black, was with march security. But the security staff was missing in action through most of the violence. They came after the first assault, but after that they stayed away and let it all happen. Apparently they weren’t about to protect any lesbians they deemed TERFs. And this itself was an erasure, a demonizing projection upon an entire group of old lesbians, based on guilt by association and the TERF stereotype. Whether you agree with them or not, those women were brave, and they carried their ripped-up signs through the entire march.
At the end, about 40-50 people had gathered in a semi circle facing us, chanting their hate. Their faces were closed and hostile, believing they were right to act like this toward lesbians they did not know, whose politics they did not know. We became the Enemy Other. That’s the USA today, and it’s not just from the right wing. It’s been happening in queerdom, on the left, in academia and many other supposedly “progressive” spaces, for some time. People keep pretending TERF is a neutral descriptive term, even as it is being used in verbal abuse, classic sexist insults, and increasingly in physical attacks against women. “TERF cunt” has also been hurled against gender-critical transsexual women, instead of the more usual slur of “truscum.”
Before the march ended, we exited to the sidewalk and tried to figure out how to avoid being followed and jumped once we were away from the crowd. Some of us knew what had happened to a lesbian in St. Louis the month before. Her antagonists got her kicked out of a bar in St Louis as a TERF, and then ambushed her, three against one, and beat her up badly. The perps bragged about it on Twitter, lol-ing about how “tonight was fucking wild,” and gloating that they had messed up the lesbian’s face. (2) http://www.afterellen.com/general-news/559907-queer-identified-women-jump-lesbian-outside-of-a-drag-show#xF7SCoHpihsY4ARq.01]
No one has been arrested for this beating. As KT tweeted, “So at [what] point is anyone other than lesbians going to give a shit about this and understand that “TERF” is the easiest way to justify violence against women? When is this gonna matter?” [@sugaredpeas May 31, 2018]
After the SF Dyke March, accusations and smears were launched against all of us. Lies about what happened proliferated on social media, followed by libel in the queer press. Trump-style, the attackers posed as the true victims, turning truth upside down. The assaulted lesbians were now accused of being the violent ones, and of actually initiating the physical attacks committed against them. As the designated Enemy, they must be guilty of the violence committed against them. They had no right to defend themselves, and their non-violence mattered not a bit, because it was denied. All of the women, not just the sign-carriers, got doxxed and our profile pictures posted on social media. One tweet was titled “Know Your Terfs.”
The SF Dyke March statement vaunts its supposed inclusion of all dykes (even if they do put lesbians in the sixth rank of those named as dykes), but they pointedly kicked all the lesbians in our cohort to the curb after the June 23 march. They posted a libelous account on their Facebook page, as did the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The Dyke March committee, the NCLR, and the queer press all assumed that our group were to blame for the menacing and assaults we suffered. They presumed that we deserved all the hate being thrown our way, by people who knew nothing about us, our years of activism, or our political positions. They treated old lesbians, most of whom were not carrying any signs, as a hostile alien force that had to be denounced, rejected and expelled.
Because that is the McCarthyist power of TERFing. Once a woman is branded with the epithet TERF, she loses all credibility. No one will listen to a word she says after that; she has no right to speak. She becomes a target who must be cast out and publicly excoriated. Those who sympathize with her fall silent, horrified, bewildered, because they cannot find a way to break the frenzy without being accused and reviled themselves.
This is witch hunt behavior. It is the opposite of the “inclusion” proclaimed in the Dyke March promo: “It does not stand by erasure. By displacement. By appropriation. By hate.” In the event, that is what it did stand for, and Security was not in evidence after the first assault, although the aggression continued for virtually the entire march. We walked it the whole way anyway. We had every right to be there, free of harassment or menace, and we did not bow down to the bigotry unleashed upon us.
But queer orgs repeated the lies about what happened, and the distortions grew, like a game of telephone. On Twitter, the bunny-headed cane carried by a lesbian with a mobility issue became “a dangerous weapon,” and its resin handle a brass club “that could inflict serious damage.” She must have brought the cane with the intention of assaulting trans women! but in reality it was the lesbian with the bum knee who got knocked to the ground. When Ms. NCLR cap rushed in, took the cane, and swung it around to clear attackers away from her, they distorted that into an assault. Some claimed that the disabled woman had herself “attacked” people. But it was only a walking aid, not like the bats and axes the Degenderettes parade around with.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (!) jumped on the bandwagon: “We recently learned that at Saturday’s San Francisco Dyke March, a small group of approximately 12 people chanted transphobic slogans and violently harassed and threatened other marchers…” I wrote a correction on the NCLR Facebook page: “You could not be more wrong about what happened here. I was there and tried to protect two women carrying signs from getting stomped. They kept saying We’re not violent, over and over; one woman retorted, ‘We WILL BE, bitch’.”
But I’m an old working class butch, and I told that woman, and a few of the others chanting at me at various points, “I’ve survived worse than you.” What makes them think that they are justified in making me into a target? Looking at them, I doubt that any of them has been misgendered, as I have been, or attacked on the streets for being gender non-conforming. I also doubt that on the occasions that men tried to assault me, or other butches / GNC lesbians I know, that the attackers gave a damn whether we identified as butch or trans men. So much of the aggression is about how the world sees you, not “how you identify.” These women don’t understand that they are targeting the targeted, women who have faced opprobrium all our lives.
Happy Hyder, a past member of the SF Dyke March committee (2007-2012) sent a letter of protest to the current committee: “Considering the concern we always had for the safety of Dykes in the streets, the lack of safety for these marchers and the lack of security stepping in to stop the physical and verbal abuse toward them is criminal. The Dyke March began with the purpose of Dyke Visibility, aka Lesbian Visibility. It was a claiming of power in the word Dyke in an age when it was still used as a derogatory term. And last time I checked, even as we are fast losing many of our rights, free speech is alive and well.”
It is chilling that both the Dyke March brass and NCLR bought the lies being spread about what happened here, and ignored violent assaults on lesbians in the SF march. This is part of a larger pattern. The Dyke Marches in Seattle and Vancouver BC explicitly stated that “TERFS” are not welcome, and later Boston followed suit. In Baltimore, a GLBTQ event stated on Facebook that “TERFs will be hung.” (This declaration was later modified, but not by much.) On a Bay Area listserv, all of the lesbians (including Jews) who walked with us got compared to Nazis, the Westboro Baptist Church, and to a “lesbian alt-right.” By people who were not there!
These are ritualized performances of exclusion in the name of “inclusivity.” Why do so few people, on the left and in queerlandia, acknowledge that the term “TERF” has been used as a misogynist slur for years now — often in combination with death and rape threats, and other incitements to violence. Things like “Kill TERFs”; “Burn TERFs”; “Shoot all TERFs”; “I want them to die slow agonizing deaths,” along with an array of classic sexual insults directed at “cunts.” Lovely stuff like this: “i will jerk my ladymeat right in front of you and cum in your eyes.” And: “Would you kindly suck on my womanly dick? Preferably choke on it.” Women I know have suffered death threats, rape threats, no-platformings. At some point the sexism of all this has to register on the radar of the queer community, which continues to be in denial about it — or, in the case of many lesbians, afraid to ever bring it up.
Of course! not all trans women. The point here is “community” tolerance for sexist bullying and hating on lesbians. Many (or even most) of the aggressors were not trans, but queer and “cis” identified people whose idea of being “trans allies” is to harass and assault lesbians. There is a huge body of hate out there on Twitter and Facebook, dealing out old-fashioned misogynist abuse against socalled “TERFs.” The bullying goes on and on, and yet no one says a word against those hurling this epithet. Why?
The name-calling is part of a menacing climate in which women’s speech is attacked through threats, intimidation, doxxing, DDoS attacks, and no-platforming. Be very clear: the targets are female, lesbian, feminist, often old and/or butch. This beat-down is about silencing women. (Most men do not even know that any of this is going on, or have only recently become aware of it.) It’s totalitarian and persecutory, like the Two-Minute Hate — only it lasted much longer.
I saw the vicious expression in the eyes of those young people who surrounded us, who fervently believe in their doctrine. They cannot understand what is at stake for women in deleting all references to oppression on the basis of sex, or in insisting that lesbianism is a “gender preference,” not a sexual orientation. Those queer women refused to talk to us but just kept chanting like zombies. They presumed that old lesbians were automatically the enemy, that it was right to attack us. Their perception is so distorted that they will lie about who attacked who— and believe that lie.
This is destructive. We cannot afford this, especially in these times. I believe we need coalitions and cooperation, and I’ve been trying to mediate on this issue for years. But who is listening? In the current lockstep, open discussion or difference of opinion is considered intolerable. Things are hurtling in a very repressive direction. As if basic respect for every person was too much to ask. As if female speech about patriarchal oppression, or analysis of our own experience, is once again a dangerous thought-crime.
The SF Public Library took down the I Punch TERFs shirt from its Degenderettes exhibit only after a public outcry forced its removal, and later they covered over part of a shield that read “Die Cis Scum.” But the pink-and-aqua striped axes and bats wrapped with barbed wire are still on display. (3)
I’ve spent weeks trying to correct the lies about what happened, the TERFing of lesbians attending the march, and the projections that followed after, especially on social media. The task became overwhelming, which is why it has taken so long for me to finally complete this account correcting the defamations. Then, last week, that same libel caused me to be de-platformed from the Witches Confluence, which had invited me to present in October. These false accusations lost me a paid speaking engagement, which is an attack not only on my speech but on my livelihood.
Accusations of terf-craft are siccing people who think they are being “progressive” on the same women who have always been sociopolitical targets in patriarchy: the women who speak out against it. Lesbians must be blamed for male violence against trans women, and for their suicides. This is McCarthyism; but don’t forget its much older persecutory model, the European witch-hunts. Women are condemned in the public square for magically causing harm from a remote distance, and therefore deserve to be vilified, shunned, and attacked in public.
What’s next, “scoring aboon the breath”, a Scottish phrase for punching or stabbing accused witches in the face, drawing their blood in order to break the “spell”? Or are we already there, as the bloody “I Punch Terfs” shirt suggests, and as the number of attacks on lesbians and feminists grows? When, at long last, will misogyny and sexist insults be taken seriously? When will the demonization and erasure of lesbians abate? It’s past time that good-hearted peope recognize the bigoted epithet TERF for the misogynist hate speech that it is and stop using it.
The SF Dyke March and National Center for Lesbian Rights ought to publish a retraction of their libel of the lesbians who were assaulted at the June 23 march. Both organizations failed in their responsibility to ensure safety to all lesbians and violated their own mission statements. They owe us an apology as well. The Bay Area Reporter (and any other queer media who picked up their “report”) broke the most basic principles of journalism. They simply reported the lies of the assailants as fact, instead of investigating and doing real reporting. The SF Public Library also bears some responsibility for fostering a climate that is hostile toward lesbians, in hosting the Degenderettes exhibit in all its toxic misogyny. The woman-hating is in full view, and it is unacceptable. It’s time to stop it.
(1) Lupron is a chemotherapy drug used first in prostate cancer, then for endometriosis and uterine fibroids. It has come into wide off-label use on children as a puberty blocker. Among the side effects are severe bone and joint pain, swelling and other inflammatory responses, headaches, depression, memory loss, anxiety, hypertension, sweating, nausea, vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain in breasts, testicles, chest, stomach and abdomen, and abnormalities in liver, vision, and thyroid, among many others. See https://www.rxlist.com/lupron-side-effects-drug-center.htm Another study of Lupron’s effects on adult women (who unlike preteens had already completed their neurological development and bone growth): https://www.nwhn.org/lupron-what-does-it-do-to-womens-health/
(2) Letter from Joan Annsfire to the SF Dyke march (with permission): “Not everyone even had the same politics. I was wearing an uprooting racism shirt from the dyke march in 2004. The young woman pushing at me and screaming with a microphone wouldn’t listen to my suggestion that she was mirroring the atmosphere of hate instigated by our fascist political administration. In spite of the fact that she was young enough to be my granddaughter, her hatred spilled like battery acid out of every pore. When I present my body in protest and a hate fest like “The Battle of Berkeley” I know what I am going to face. Whether its TERF or PERVERT or JEW it’s all the same to me, emotionally. But since this is the community that saved my sanity, my life, so many years ago, It is much, much sadder.”
In a July 5 letter to the San Francisco Public Library, Annsfire also protested the hateful exhibit of the Degenderettes, hosted by the Hormel Center. She wrote, “I am a retired librarian who worked at SFPL at the James Hormel Center from its founding in 1996 under Jim Van Buskirk until the year of my retirement in 2012, under Karen Sundheim. I was one of the lesbian activists who was attacked at the Dyke March by rabid, ageist, anti-lesbian thugs presumably inspired by hate groups like the Degenderettes. As a queer, leftist activist, I’d never experienced that level of pure, unadulterated hatred from folks supposedly on the same side of the LGBT struggle. It was brought to my attention that a hateful “artwork” advocating violence is on display at SFPL. From the photos I’ve seen the advocating of violence against lesbians is astounding. As a former Hormel Center employee and queer, leftist activist, I am revolted and disgusted.”
An outcry from women forced the library to remove the infamous I Punch TERFs shirt splotched with fake blood. Later on, they covered up part of a shield which read, “Die Cis Scum.” Still remaining in the exhibit is Mya Berne’s claim that “it is possible that more trans deaths have occurred as a result of TERF harassment than by cis men homicides.”
It has come to our attention, that, scattered across half a dozen posts, is debunking of a variety of statistics associated with the transgender movement. We fear they may be a little buried in some very long posts. We wondered how to fix this problem. The solution is this article.
Nothing excites readers like the Medium equivalent of a television clip show, which is exactly what this is. We’ve decided to gather all those statistics together in one handy article, so you can reference it in all your online Twitter debates, as God intended.
The US Transgender Survey is a source of many statistics about transgenderism you will find in international policy debates, arguments on the internet, and cited by LGBTQI+ activist organizations. It is run by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).
It describes its survey to the IRS with the following:
““SURVEY: THE U.S. TRANS SURVEY IS THE NEW NAME OF THE LARGEST SURVEY EVER DEVOTED TO THE LIVES AND EXPERIENCES OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE. THE USTS IS A SURVEY FOR ALL TRANSGENDER IDENTITIES, INCLUDING TRANSGENDER, GENDERQUEER, AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE, AND WILL BE THE LARGEST AND MOST DIVERSE TRANSGENDER SAMPLE TO DATE. THE USTS IS OUR COMMUNITY’S SURVEY: THE USTS DATA SET AND RESULTS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO COMMUNITY ADVOCATES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND RESEARCHERS FOR YEARS TO COME.” [sic]
The IRS form lets us know how much that survey cost — $318,154. So, what information about the transgender community did $318,154 give us?
We took a look at the lauded NCTE survey, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey(NTDS) which is downloadable from their website, to find out about what information it can give us.
The problem is that the survey, despite its six figure costs, contains numerous methodological flaws, rendering it’s information useless. It isn’t worth discussing what the survey actually shows us, because it is a survey where the sample was built on self-selection. It isn’t random. The survey, which was run online, had as its first question ‘have you already taken this survey before?’, and warned that taking the survey repeatedly would not increase the number of entries into a prize draw (you can view a screenshot here). That meant the survey could have been taken over and over again by the same person. It was also meant to provide US-based statistics, but had no geo-location restrictions. That’s not a valid data-set. That’s not even going to pass an undergraduate statistics course. Supposedly NCTE cleaned the data-set, but I am not sure how you can clean a survey with such flaws. It should only serve as an indicator for further research at best, not a bible or a reason to bring about legislative change. It brings into question every statistic in the survey. Other criticisms were that it tried leading participants into a particular response.
“Inside the clinic rooms of the Tavistock, the private heartache of a new generation of “transgender” youngsters is being laid bare. There used to be about 50 referrals a year, mainly males with a history of gender issues.
Now there are thousands of young females reporting a sudden gender crisis for the first time. Many are convinced that transition – and the powerful drugs that make it happen – will be the solution to their problems.
Until now the specialists struggling to keep up with caseloads have stayed silent, but alarm over the number of adolescents being prescribed body-altering drugs, has prompted five former clinicians to speak out for the first time.
All five have resigned from the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the past three years as a matter of conscience.
“This experimental treatment is being done not only on children, but very vulnerable children, who have experienced mental health difficulties, abuse, family trauma, but sometimes those [other factors] just get whitewashed,” one female clinician said. “If someone was suggesting plastic surgery or any other permanent change we’d be saying, hang on a minute.”
The clinicians have warned that complex histories and adolescent confusion over possible homosexuality are being ignored in the rush to accept and celebrate every young person’s new transgender identity.
Clinical psychologists carry out each initial assessment at the Tavistock. They are the gatekeepers who decide whether to refer transgender youngsters to the endocrine clinic for the next stage of treatment. Therapists once had months to work through underlying issues before making decisions on medical intervention, but the clinicians claim that young people are now routinely referred for hormone therapy after as few as three hour-long sessions.
They believe that physically healthy children are being medicated in response to pressure from transgender lobby groups and parental anxieties.
So many potentially gay children were being sent down the pathway to change gender, two of the clinicians said there was a dark joke among staff that “there would be no gay people left”.
“It feels like conversion therapy for gay children,” one male clinician said. “I frequently had cases where people started identifying as trans after months of horrendous bullying for being gay,” he told The Times.
“Young lesbians considered at the bottom of the heap suddenly found they were really popular when they said they were trans.”
Another female clinician said: “We heard a lot of homophobia which we felt nobody was challenging. A lot of the girls would come in and say, ‘I’m not a lesbian. I fell in love with my best girl friend but then I went online and realised I’m not a lesbian, I’m a boy. Phew.’”
The specialists expressed concern at how little confusion over sexuality was explored when a young person requested treatment to change their body.
“I would ask who they wanted to have relationships with, but I was told by senior management that gender is completely separate to sex,” a third female clinician said. “I couldn’t get on board with that, because it isn’t. Some people were transitioning their gender to match their sexuality.”
The service said it was “a welcoming place for people from all sections of the LGBT community”, adding that it had made exploration of sexuality a “more explicit” part of the assessment in response to staff concerns.
Nevertheless, the clinician said that her unease grew after meeting an adult woman whose transition to become a man involved having a double mastectomy. She had since changed her mind.
“What can we do? We can’t reverse that. Do we suggest fake breasts?” she said. “We have such a duty of care to these confused young adolescents, but I think we are failing them.”
The clinic rejected the claims. “We always place a young person’s wellbeing at the centre of our work,” it said. “GIDS staff are engaged daily in thinking about the serious ethical dimensions of our practice. The diversity and complexity of individual cases will always be respected.”
Several clinicians suspected that some of the “transgender” adolescents were reacting to homophobia at home.
“For some families, it was easier to say, this is a medical problem, ‘here’s my child, please fix them!’ than dealing with a young, gay kid,” the third female clinician said. At the service’s “family days”, a parent was allegedly heard saying that they did not want their child to have gay friends because they “didn’t want them mixed up in that hedonistic lifestyle”. “It is converting people into heterosexuals,” one of the clinicians said. “We had so many families who would talk about not wanting their daughters to be lesbian.” Young people “repeatedly” confided their own “disgust” that they may be gay, according to the clinician.
In other cases, she felt young people had concluded they were trans because they didn’t fit traditional gender roles.
“Children’s bodies are being damaged in order to treat societal issues,” she warned. She recalled a case of a 13-year-old child “whose parents were really pressurising us for puberty blockers”. When the clinician refused to refer him, she claims one of the parents, a lawyer, wrote threatening legal letters to the service. The child was eventually referred for blockers.
She would have nightmares about her years at the Tavistock. “I would talk about it as an ‘atrocity’. I know that sounds quite strong, but it felt as if we were part of something that people would look back on in the future, and ask, what were we thinking? In the future I think there will be lots and lots of de-transitioners who feel their bodies were mutilated as young people and who will ask, why did you let me do this? It is very disturbing.”
Studies show that the vast majority of youngsters who begin puberty blockers go on to have irreversible hormone treatment at 16. Some go on to have gender reassignment surgery as adults.
All five clinicians expressed concern over how little young people and their families were being told about the impact of hormone treatment on fertility and sexual function as adults. One claimed young people were unable to give “informed consent” because it was regarded as taboo to discuss the impact of medical intervention on later sexual function in such a young cohort.
The clinic said there were no “taboo” subjects in its work, and that it did not “recognise this allegation as reflecting what happens in the service”. It rejected allegations of conversion therapy and insisted that youngsters were being properly advised on the risks of and about what is unknown about medical intervention. Time and care was taken at every stage to ensure that individuals grasped the potential consequences of their choices, it said, adding that the service had become “increasingly aware” of the need to discuss the impact of treatment on future sexual function.
The GIDS’s own internal review identified procedures around consent as an area of concern. It has recommended that written consent should be obtained before referral for blockers.
Another clinician described how youngsters entered his room enthusing about Alex Bertie, a transgender YouTuber, and My Life: I Am Leo, a documentary about a transgender teen broadcast in a teatime slot on CBBC.
“These are very simplified stories about how easy it would be to transition into being trans – that transition is a solution to feeling shit. That is very appealing to lots of teenagers,” the first male clinician said. I felt for the last two years what kept me in the job was the sense there was a huge number of children in danger and I was there to protect them from the service, from the inside.”
One female clinician estimates that she referred about 50 young people for puberty blockers. She now believes she referred too many. Their outcomes remain unclear. “When you start them on puberty blockers, you’re putting them on a pathway that could lead to sexual dysfunction problems and, for the younger kids, will definitely make them infertile. In what other specialism would physical intervention that leads to permanent change to the body be the first line of treatment for a vulnerable child? Activists will tell you it’s unethical not to intervene. But we know that not everyone with gender dysphoria will go on to identify as trans for the rest of their lives.”
One case has haunted her. “All the pushing was coming from the father to put the kid on puberty blockers. Thinking back on it now, I fear that the father was a paedophile and the child was being abused.” There is no suggestion the service knowingly ignored the case, and the outcome is unknown.
The clinic, which is run by the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust and whose director is Polly Carmichael, says it is tracking the progress of 44 young people who began puberty blockers in 2011, and that all available evidence is discussed with families. “This is a rapidly developing field and psychosocial and medical professionals are working hard to ensure that we respond to emerging evidence in an appropriate and considered way,” a spokesman said. The growing body of international evidence showed that “thus far, there is little reported evidence of harm,” he added.
“The service undertakes careful assessments over time and continues to see young people whether or not they attend the endocrine clinic following this assessment,” the spokesman said.
The clinic said it was aware of concerns and tensions between different perspectives raised by staff and “clinicians have a duty of care to raise safeguarding concerns”, adding that there were “safe spaces” and structures in place for staff to discuss anything that worried them. It would not comment on specific cases but stressed that a young person’s motivations and choices were discussed at each step.
What began in 1989 as a specialist clinic for gender issues is now under intense scrutiny. A report by David Bell, a former governor at the trust, revealed ethical concerns over “woefully inadequate care”. Staff were furious with the GIDS executive’s response to the report, which stated that its own review found no safeguarding concerns.
The whole service should have been halted when the number of “transgender” cases first exploded, one of the clinicians said. “That’s the point we should have stopped because we didn’t know what we were doing. Are we a service for kids with gender dysphoria, a medical disorder? Or are we a service for ‘transgender kids’?”
A GIDS spokesman said: “We are aware of tensions between different perspectives. These differences are inevitable in such complex work.”
One clinician said it was understandable if her former employer was defensive, saying: “If they are getting it wrong, you have to ask, are they making kids infertile by mistake? Because if they are to truly acknowledge [our concerns], then they will have to ask themselves, what the fuck have we done to thousands of children?”
Gires, GI and Mermaids all denied they viewed transition as a cure-all or that they exerted any undue pressure. Susie Green of Mermaids said the charity “does not encourage parents to demand any particular treatment.” Gendered Intelligence said the allegations against it were “unfounded”. Bernard Reed, founder of Gires, said: “In medical literature, failure to provide timely treatment is described as ‘psychological torture’. As far as we are aware, GIDS has adequate safeguards against irreversible treatments being given inappropriately.”
I watched the movie A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper last night. I’m an old person and believe it or not, I never actually saw Lady Gaga perform before. She was not what I expected, at least not until she got rich and famous and plastic and hypersexualized and pornified. Bradley Cooper is not half bad as an actor and if he was really doing the singing and playing his part required, then I’m rather impressed with that. Overall it was corny and hokey and sentimental and not a terrible way to pass a couple of evening hours before bed.
But the reason I’m bothering to write a blog post about this movie is because of my feelings about the tranz actors playing the drag roles which are obligatory in every film about show biz.
Back in the Jurassic, one of the feminist standard books that women of my generation were reading was the book Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron.
In this retelling of Northwest Coast Native myths entrusted to her by Aboriginal women of Vancouver Island, Anne Cameron weaves together the lives of mythic and imaginary characters. This remarkable work of fiction offers a message of sisterhood and hope for women of all races, ages and countries.
One of the stories that stuck with me was the one about the women who acted as “sacred clowns” , walking behind people who were too puffed up, taking themselves too seriously, and making fun of them. This helped to create social cohesion.
I was generous enough at one time to see the drag phenomenon as a kind of clowning act, serving the function of revealing human foibles and folly, lampooning traditional sex role behavior. I watched Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein with my teenaged daughter with the idea that I was teaching her about tolerance for gay men. I thought drag was harmless fun,
But now that I know what I know about autogynephilia and Trans Rights Activism ,
I found that I was rather appalled at the performances of these men. I know these men despise women and that this cross-dressing (medical eugenics/sterilization/steroid poisoning/castration/plastic boobs) practice is an obsessive sexual addiction on a par with necrophilia. These men have a sexual fantasy in their minds about what femininity is and they have literally transformed women’s bodies into collections of dead objects to be pasted on their own bodies. They are not just “fun gay boys” as I once believed.
These sick men are grotesque clowns. But much worse than ordinary clowns who understand it’s just paint and all in jest. Pantomiming women’s slavery is just not fucking funny anymore. And imagine this: Imagine forcing people to acknowledge and respect your innate clown IDENTITY and getting laws passed (funded by uber-wealthy clown capitalists) to give clowns special legal protections and to give all clowns complete free access to all public and private spaces, everywhere, at all times, no questions asked. Heck, you don’t even have to put on a clown suit or show that you belong to a clown union. We are expected to instinctively know they are clowns or face prosecution for hate speech if we mis-clown them. Oh! – and the public must pay for clown paint, clown drugs and clown surgeries.
When you see female youth transitioning, it’s overwhelmingly the tomboys. These girls would have grown up to be butch like me. I grabbed a coffee at the Trans Starbucks again this week. Sat for a while to watch 3 butches pretend they are men.
Every butch lesbian who is critical about this horrific trans. movement—that would push young lesbians into believing they are male and amputating their healthy breasts and taking cross-hormones—every butch knows what they are seeing. It’s like looking into a mirror and recalling all of the angst, hatred, parental and peer rejection all over again. Except with these young butches, it’s about harming their bodies and destroying their chances of experiencing sexual pleasure once the full mutilations are completed.
I see it at the Trans Starbucks. Saw those poor butch lesbians all up on T again and their voices changed and off. It’s a horrific experience to sit in a room full of my sisters and know this. It’s like being one of the last butch survivors in the genocide. I can’t think of any other way to state the horror I feel at progressives actually thinking that the surgical violation of these young lesbians is somehow a brave and courageous thing.
They are telling these girls that they are not okay being who they are and wearing what they want to wear. These are girls like I once was. They sometimes have short hair, and that way of carrying themselves that is strong and independent. They don’t care about boys and they play with trucks and things other girls don’t really like. They dress as they want. They like collecting rocks and they don’t giggle around the boys like the other girls. Maybe they climb trees. And that’s all not okay. They are being shamed. They are being told they are male.
They call it ‘gender non-conforming.’ That’s a fancy word for butch lesbian. What is happening is that tomboys are pushed to transition and the trans. net captures all the future butches. This is not mere speculation. Physicians who work in gender clinics are saying that homosexuality is the first ‘step’ to transing. This is gruesome.
People who come onto my fb page sometimes try to explain this away and say to stop focusing on the tomboys and lesbian youth because other girls trans, too.
No. Let’s focus on the lesbians. This movement is about lesbian erasure, gay eugenics, the genocide of lesbians. We already know that over 80% of the youth who are transed would have desisted in their ‘gender dysphoria’ and eventually turned out to be adult lesbians and gays.
And now they are telling the tomboys that they are not girls. There is no such thing as a girl who doesn’t like pink, they say. And I can’t help seeing my own young, scared butch face long ago in the mirror, with all the ensuing harassment and rejection and judgment and hatred. Yet here the fuck I am, sitting in the Trans Starbucks, watching all my young butch sisters falling over themseslves to conform to some insane trans agenda. Falling all over themselves to become ersatz men.
Our lesbian spaces are already dead. Our bookstores, our dances. Everything we built is dead and taken over by the trans nightmare. I was there when we had it all. Don’t think I don’t have at least a modicum of hope that this madness will end. Because I do. But that’s not today.
Meanwhile at the Trans Starbucks, all the young butches who think they are men are serving up lattes and lemon loaf. And butches like me— we sit and drink that stuff in the bright sunshine.