Posts tagged ‘mothering’
TRANSGENDER KIDS by Stephanie Davies-Arai Edited by Kat Stone (adapted for Canadian audience)
The medical term for the condition in which someone feels discomfort or distress in their sexed body is ‘gender dysphoria’. In using the term ‘transgender kids’ it is not the kids we are protecting and advocating for, but the ideology itself. The term transgender, is used by organizations as an umbrella term for all so-called ‘gender questioning’, ‘gender non-conforming’ and ‘gender variant’ children, thus sweeping up all children who don’t conform 100% to stereotype. The ‘transgender’ label treats all ‘gender dysphoric’ children as a homogenous group; the reason a small toddler boy who loves playing with dolls believes he is really a girl becomes exactly the same reason a troubled autism spectrum teenage girl thinks she really is a boy: ‘because they are transgender’. An adult identity politics has been applied to children and young people whose identities are not fixed but are in a process of being built through experience and interaction with the environment; identities which are highly vulnerable to influence from adults. The Travistock, a world renowned gender clinic for those under eighteen years of age , located in the U.K., has seen an increase in referrals of nearly 1000% over the past six years. Each year has seen 50% increase in referrals and during that time the number of children less than ten years of age has increased four-fold. The reversal in the sex ratio since 2009/10, when figures were first recorded, has been expanding year on year and the number of girls is now nearly double that of boys: 913 out of the 1398 children and adolescents referred in 2015/16. The average age was fourteen. One simple story has been popularized to explain this unprecedented increase in numbers: that of ‘courageous children daring to be their authentic selves and the brave parents who support them’ has been relentlessly promoted to the public within a climate where any challenge has been silenced by accusations of hatred and bigotry and all debate shut down. Through exploiting confusion in the public mind between ‘sex’ (the biological reality of being male or female) and ‘gender’ (the social status through a stereotypical role of masculine and feminine), transgender organizations have managed to mask the inherent contradictions of a reactionary ideology. The fact that changing your sex to match your ‘gender identity’ reinforces the very stereotypes which these organizations claim to be challenging is effectively hidden in plain sight as, in increasing numbers, boys who love princess culture become ‘girls’ and short-haired football-loving girls become ‘boys’. Promoted as a ‘progressive’ social justice movement based on ‘accepting difference’, transgender ideology in fact takes that difference and stamps it out. It says that the sexist stereotypes of gender are the true distinction between boys and girls and biological sex is an illusion. In this ideology, ‘being feminine’ has replaced being female as the very definition of ‘girl’. Quietly, the idea that sterilizing children by blocking their natural sexual development and then medically altering their healthy bodies with synthetic cross-sex hormones, followed by possible surgery and lifelong risky medication, has been accepted as the new orthodoxy. We have never before taught children they can decide their sex; this is an experiment. Let’s see how it is going…
We have never trained children into such extreme stereotyped sex-roles from birth as we have done over the last decade. Through industry marketing designed to maximize profits, the toys, books and clothes produced for children today, shoehorn boys into the blue box and girls into the pink box, with no room for overlap. A belief in sexist stereotypes has been fostered for decades, particularly through media sexual objectification of women as well as books like ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus’ (at the time of writing still the biggest-selling self-help book of all time). The message reinforced through both print and broadcast media is that men and women are different species, women valued primarily for how they look and men for what they do. These are the messages that influence us all and which are embedded into children every day through our image-saturated public culture. No matter that the brain research shows us that male and female brains are far more alike than they are different and that many of the stereotypes that assume are natural and genetic, are simply not true, the cultural messages all around us say the opposite. When a little boy prefers playing with Barbie dolls looks around him today, the message he gets everywhere, in toy shops, toy packaging , advertising and perhaps from his parents, is that only girls play with Barbie, so it is easy to see how childish logic could tell him “I must be a girl.” If we define the gender boxes for children so rigidly, it is not surprising that a child who does not fit into the one designated for their sex might see no alternative but to join the other one; we give children no space to exist comfortably between the two extremes. How much is a child’s ‘gender identity’ formed by internalization of these cultural messages that children are bombarded with every day? And how much is the idea of “transgender kids” is formed from their parent’s extension of pre-existing sex-stereotyped beliefs? There exists no media coverage of ‘trans kids’ in which a parent does NOT cite toys or clothes preferences as evidence that their child is really the opposite sex. The ‘innate gender identity’ theory also feeds into an idea of a child-led and childcentering parenting model. One of the central skills of child-centered parenting is that of listening to the child and centering their feelings. Listening is very easily conflated with ‘agreeing’ in this ‘child-knows-best’ model. It is easy to see how a child’s feelings can quickly become consolidated as the strongest reality in a child’s mind when they are afforded such central importance by a parent. Comments of parents of ‘transgender kids’ in media reports invariably reflect this style of parenting; ‘I just listened to him, he knows who he is, he knows himself best’. These parents are not unusual in their belief in their child’s level of self-knowledge. But a four year-old can only know themselves as a four year-old, just as a 15 year-old can only know who they are as a teenager: children, by definition, are unable to countenance themselves ever changing. Nowhere do we see society’s concordance with this view of children more clearly than in the new responsibility we are giving them to decide their sex, handing over authority to children on a matter they cannot possibly fully understand until their psychosexual development is complete.
A NEW WAY TO BE HOMOPHOBIC
The overwhelming majority of children who experience gender dysphoria will not carry those feelings into adulthood and most of those children, if left alone, will turn out to be gay, lesbian or bi-sexual as adults. To apply this rigid gender-essentialist theory to highly suggestible young children effectively operates as a new form of gay conversion therapy. Neither parents nor children live in a cultural bubble, immune to any influence from society. The fact that at a very young age boys outnumber girls, but teenage girls vastly outnumber teenage boys at gender clinics, in itself demonstrates the existing social influence behind those referrals. Societal acceptance of ‘tomboys’ versus relative hostility towards young boys who express ‘girly’ interests must play some part in parents’ readiness to believe their little boys are transgender but not so much their girls. Parents who in the past may have forced a ‘macho’ role onto sons they feared were homosexual, now have a socially-sanctioned way to ‘stamp out the gay’ through transgenderism. For girls, adolescence is the time when they are suddenly expected to live up to impossible ideals of femininity, a time when approval is withdrawn for any ‘boyish’ behavior or appearance they managed to get away with when young. It is not surprising that this is a time of ‘sudden onset gender dysphoria’ for girls. Defining themselves as ‘straight guys’ becomes an attractive option for teenage lesbians within a society which views lesbians as either failed women or a male pornographic fantasy. While a ‘trans’ identity is accepted and cool, ‘dyke’ is still used as an insult, thrown at a girl in school. The root cause of why children transition,is distinctly based on both homophobia and misogyny. But the ideology of transgender identity, just enables us to look the other way. Not recognizing this, comes with huge consequences for these so-called “transgender kids”.
THE SCHOOLS GENDER GUIDELINES, RESOURCES AND POLICY CHANGES
Organizations such as British Columbia and Alberta’s, SOGI 123, along with other transgender workshops/programs, claim to prevent ‘homophobic’, bi-phobic and transphobic bullying in schools, but which in practice, is an increasingly common way of teaching transgender ideology to schoolchildren through ‘LGBTQ+’ support initiatives. Welding a gender identity ideology ( the “TQ+”) with sexual orientation ( the original “LGB” acronym) has allowed transgender organizations to get the idea into primary/elementary schools before the age of at which we start talking to children about homosexuality. It gives transgender ideology a head start in influencing children before they have had a chance to grow up, mature sexually, and come to the realization that they are actually gay or lesbian. The fact that the routine bullying of children who defy gender and sex-role stereotypes is rooted in homophobia and sexism is effectively disguised by calling it ‘transphobia’. Calling non-conforming children ‘transgender’ not only covers up the real issues of homophobia and sexism which are rife in schools, but serves to validate those underlying attitudes. A little boy is mocked by being called a ‘girl’ and transgender ideology supports the bullies: he is a girl. Once he ‘becomes’ a girl there is no longer anything to mock and the bullies have won. Is this seriously what we are advocating as part of bullying prevention in schools? The transgender schools resources/guidelines ( for example, Canada’s SOGI 123) has become a staple of transgender organizations, LGBTQ+ groups and local councils. These transgender school resources typically begin with a disingenuous claim of ‘supporting gender diversity’ followed seamlessly by information about ‘being transgender’. The obfuscating language typical of these teaching resources effectively covers up the real message sent to children: that if you are in any way ‘diverse’ you are ‘trans’. This is not just misinformation but dangerously misleading for children who, once taught to define themselves as ‘trans’, are then encouraged along the now established path of invasive and irreversible medical treatment. The guidebooks given out by SOGI 123, in reality teaches the opposite of what it pretends: gender diversity will not be tolerated; everyone will be made to conform. Power Up Workshops, headed by Kerri Isham is one such organization, which school districts contract- out to provide “sex ed” to schools around Vancouver Island, Canada. In her grade 2 workshop, the focus of the workshop will be on the ‘I Am Jazz” book (transgender focus). The books own description is as follows “From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.” Jazz is also a big American reality t.v. media “darling”, starring on TLC with the same titled series, “I Am Jazz”.
The conflation of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ welds ‘female’ to ‘feminine’ and ‘male’ to ‘masculine’ so that ‘smashing the gender binary’ means not that males can be feminine, but that males must literally change to females and vice versa, creating an association between the physical sexed body and the concept of non-conformity in children’s minds. Thus children are deliberately misled into recasting ‘feminine personality traits’ as ‘female gender identity’. Children who don’t feel themselves to be 100% masculine or feminine are placed literally somewhere between biologically male and female, accounting for a growing number of young people who previously would not have thought to label themselves at all, now identifying as ‘non-binary’. Non-binary might be a growing category within trans/gender ideology, but it is double mastectomy that is increasingly the surgery of necessity, for girls. And it is only transgender doctrine which misleads young people into thinking that some personality traits are literally ‘male’ or ‘female’ and that your body must match your personality. In these guidelines, there’s collusion in reproducing harmful ideas. One example of this, is to allow ‘transgender pupils’ extra breaks during physical education lessons because “some youngsters who choose to bind their chests may suffer from breathing difficulties and fainting”. The sex-neutral ‘transgender’ category hides the fact that it is only girls who are binding their breasts, denying adolescent girls the support which recognizes their unique problems and needs. The harms of binders are documented in a 2015 study which indicates 28 potential negative outcomes, including compressed or broken ribs, punctured or collapsed lungs, back pain, compression of the spine, damaged breast tissue, damaged blood vessels, blood clots, inflamed ribs and even heart attacks. The necessity for shallow breathing in itself restricts the flow of oxygen to vital organs resulting in a restriction in physical activity harmful to overall health. Any other practice of self-harm is recognized as such, but these organizations, declare binders as very important for girls ‘psychological well-being’. To say that girls ‘choose’ binders absolves us of the responsibility to question the ideology which has created that ‘choice’ and to question whether we should be teaching and encouraging it in schools. Using transgender activist materials, these resources frame any valid discomfort girls may feel about males in their toilets and changing-rooms as ‘prejudice, discrimination and hate’. It omits information about current sex-based rights and protections for girls, the very group who are facing unprecedented levels of sexual harassment and abuse across, not just Canada and western nations, but on a global scale. At the age of sexual development when girls are at their most vulnerable, they are told they have no right to their own boundaries as a sex; that they must protect the feelings of a male classmate above their own need for privacy, comfort and psychological safety. Teaching ‘consent’ in schools is meaningless if girls are given no right to NOT consent to males in their private spaces if those males ‘identify’ as female. For example, school district68’s (Nanaimo, B.C.), new policy adopted recently, is as follows “Washrooms, Locker & Change Rooms: All students have a right to safe and private washroom and changing facilities. They have the right to access washrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity regardless of their legal sex. The student’s selfidentification is the sole measure of the student’s gender. Schools may maintain separate washrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities for male and female students, provided that students can access them based on their gender identity.” By aligning the ‘TQ+’ with ‘LGB’, girls who would complain are branded, not only as ‘transphobic’, but ‘anti-LGBTQ+ rights’. It is not just the threat of punishment by school faculty adhering to the schools policy changes, which will frighten and shame girls into submission, but the fear of being ostracized from their peer group at the age when belief in social justice causes is at its most passionate.
THE END OF SAFE-GUARDING
Whilst ignoring women/girls sexed based rights and protections established in law, schools, child protection agencies, public organizations and social services are already acting as if transgender identity ideology is an established truth. Redefining ‘girl’ and ‘woman’ as self-identities takes away any distinction between males and females and erases all safe-guarding policies for girls. Adolescent and adult males are not only granted a new socially-sanctioned means to access girls private spaces, including on camping and overnight trips, but girls are denied the right to recognize or name them as males. The grooming of young girls to allow the violation of their boundaries puts them at further risk throughout their lives, as they are systematically coached into ignoring their own intuition and warning signals, through fear of hurting the feelings of males. Transgender ideology demands policies which allow for no recognition of biological sex. The most vulnerable girls in society, such as those in institutional care homes, are especially at risk of exploitation by any predatory male who now has a fail-safe way to gain access to their private spaces, unfettered by local authorities who would not dare challenge his ‘gender identity’. Just as the ‘affirmation only’ rule substitutes obedience to an orthodoxy for normal duty of care principles in the treatment of ‘trans’ identified children, so the ‘gender identity’ rule substitutes a ‘trust all men’ approach in place of secure safe-guarding protocols for all girls and young women. Girls are further made invisible by the increasing adoption of so-called ‘gender neutral’ language in schools as urged by transgender organizations and to stop calling girls ‘girls’ in assemblies, classes etc., in case any girls ‘identify’ as boys. This is not ‘gender neutral’ but a de-sexing of language which, as we see in the wider culture, works only to erase the word ‘woman’. Effectively we are educating girls into the class that dare not speak it’s name. In adopting policies which recognizes that “your gender is a choice” reinforces to girls that being a certain way (having short hair? having an interest in gaming but no interest in fashion?) makes you a boy. These policies tell girls that being a ‘girl’ is an option, not a fact of biology, thus indoctrinating girls into the idea that boys can also be girls if they feel like it and girls must accept them as such. Yet ‘girl’ is not a subjective idea, it is a fact and it means ‘young female’. There are infinite ways of being a girl, none of which tip you over into being a boy. Schools fail in their duty to girls by buying into this new pressure on those who don’t conform to stereotype to redefine themselves as boys, and the school faculty, of all people, should be resisting the sexist assumption behind it.
THE BETRAYAL OF AUTISM SPECTRUM CHILDREN
One of the most shocking aspects of the exponential rise in referrals to gender clinics is that 50% of the children exhibit autism spectrum traits. No adolescent is mature enough to understand that they are being indoctrinated into gender identity ideology and ‘queer’ politics, nor able to predict the reality of a lifetime on this medical path, which even the ‘gender specialists’ don’t know. Autism spectrum adolescents, who struggle to understand social rules, are particularly vulnerable to the literal thinking behind the idea that if you have feminine personality traits you are a girl, and especially susceptible to the rigid thinking which will keep them stuck in a ‘trans’ identity once they have been taught to define themselves as such. Teachers are now disabled in their ability to protect children diagnosed as on the autism spectrum and all other special needs children, along with those who are troubled or have experienced previous trauma or sexual abuse, because transgender orthodoxy demands that they immediately accept a child’s new identity at face value. Even the most vulnerable groups of children are not exempt from the rule. Transgender orthodoxy itself prevents us from asking any questions.
Adolescence is a crucial period of identity development as teenagers do the important job of figuring themselves out as they move from childhood to adulthood. This is a long process of exploration; the adolescent brain does not reach full maturity until around age twenty-five and even as adults our self-identities develop and change. Teenagers have never before been taught that it is normal and necessary to define their personalities in terms of ‘gender’ when building their self-identities. In our refusal to look at the culture in which our children are growing up, we can assume that they are happily immune to any harmful cultural messages and experiences. We can also remain blind to the direct influences on teenage girls through social media platforms such as Tumblr and Reddit, and we fail to see the typical pattern for adolescent girls to ‘come out’ as transgender after bingeing on these sites. We recognize the phenomenon of social contagion through online sites which glorify harmful behaviors such as cutting, eating disorders and suicide, and we know that teenage girls are the group most active in the world of social media and particularly susceptible to the influence of these sites. Yet online transgender forums and YouTube videos which encourage young people onto a medicalized ‘trans’ path are not considered harmful. But this social contagion cannot even be recognized within a transgender ideology which pushes the belief of a hardwired gender identity immune to social influence. The effect of indoctrinating children into this new gender orthodoxy is becoming apparent. There is in fact no escape: child protection agencies, therapists and counsellors, teachers, all are being told that anything less than ‘affirmation of preferred gender‘ is ‘conversion therapy’. As a society we are systematically dismantling any means of support or access to any model of understanding for children who are struggling with gender issues other than transgenderism. There are no other support groups for children and young people who feel they don’t ‘fit in’ because gender confusion; transgender organizations have the monopoly on these vulnerable teens. The period of adolescence is characterized by risky behavior, poor decision-making and inability to weigh up long-term consequences or make accurate benefit and risk calculations. The most vulnerable and troubled teenagers are especially ill-equipped to protect themselves from the influence of organizations whose modus operandi looks more like the recruitment tactics of a cult than genuine support for confused young people, even though the evidence across all published studies is that the percentage of children who outgrow gender dysphoria is around 80%.
TRANSITION OR DIE?
An integral part of the celebratory media story has been the darker supporting narrative of the inevitable suicide outcome if children are not supported in their transition. If parents need one more push to believe the new ideology, this is the one that does it. With no evidence that treatment cures suicidal ideation (nor recognition that hormonal drugs, as a side-effect, may exacerbate it), transgender youth support organizations regularly broadcast the threat to worried parents and a gullible media. Cheri DiNovo, a church minister and former politician in Ontario, Canada, in speaking of parents who object to the notion that affirmation is the only option in dealing with a child’s claim of a gender identity, stated in an interview for the 2017 BBC documentary titled ‘Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?’, “That child will kill themselves if their trans because many trans children do… Is that what parents really want of their children?” In 2015, DiNovo’s Bill 77, which prohibits so-called conversion therapy for gender identified youth (prohibits all therapy that doesn’t apply strictly to the affirmation approach) passed and became law.
A MEDICAL EXPERIMENT
The most glaring contradiction this incoherent transgender ideology can be seen in its claims that although sex is irrelevant to whether you are a boy or a girl, it is your biological sex characteristics which must be prevented from developing and then cosmetically altered. The stakes are high: if children take blockers in early puberty and progress to cross-sex hormones at the age of sixteen they will be sterilized as gametes have not had a chance to mature. It is the flood of sex hormones at puberty which triggers the enormous changes in the adolescent brain and it is not known whether interrupting this process prevents full maturation of the frontal lobe functions which develop from puberty until the mid-twenties. We are already hearing of the devastating effects on the long-term health of women who were prescribed these blockers for precocious puberty (a rare condition, where puberty occurs too early in children of six to nine years of age) and yet the Travistock has been prescribing their off-label use for ‘transgender kids’ since 2011. The use of synthetic cross-sex hormones – testosterone for girls, estrogen for boys – has only recently been tried on children so young. We don’t know the effects of synthetic crosssex hormones on young developing bodies or of the cumulative effects over a lifetime’s use: children prescribed these treatments are guinea-pigs. The documented adverse outcomes for men using synthetic versions of testosterone include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hostility, aggression, liver toxicity, personality changes and infertility. In synthetic versions of testosterone approved only for use on adult males, the risk of blood-clotting is well known; for teenage girls, drug induced thickened blood is pushing it’s way round a smaller female cardiovascular system, thinner arteries and smaller veins. The long-term consequences of medical experimentation on children diagnosed as ‘transgender’ are not known.
‘Transgender kids’ as a definition exists only in a mythical world outside of any wider cultural context. Our children though, are growing up in a specific culture in which there is enormous pressure to fit gender stereotypes; which views children and adolescents as fully autonomous agents making free choices; which glamorizes transgender identity; where homophobia and misogyny are still rife and within which, children are being taught ‘gender identity’ ideology as truth. ‘Transgender kids’ is not a scientific or medical term but a political one. There has been no scientific breakthrough over the last few years, no globally-trumpeted announcement of the discovery that sexual dimorphism in humans lies in their personal, subjective feelings and not in their male and female biology; no new theory of mind which bestows on children the power to change reality by wishing hard enough. What we have been witnessing is not only a medical experiment on some children’s bodies but a psychological experiment on all children’s minds. What will happen if we tell teenage girls that their male classmate is now a ‘girl’ and that the reality that he is male is not true? How will deception and gas-lighting of children affect their security and their trust in adults? What will be the cumulative effects of cognitive dissonance on the mental health of children who are no longer allowed to name reality? In trying to protect a minority group we have redefined all boys and girls as ‘identities’ rather than sexes. There is already plenty of evidence, not least in the confused words of children and adolescents themselves throughout the media, of the devastating impact of this mass societal abuse of young people’s trust. With a non-evidence based medical pathway set in stone and an untested unscientific ideology being promoted as truth from the earliest age, we are witnessing an unprecedented and comprehensive experiment being conducted on the children of this generation.
This is a talk by Courtney CatEarth Ayres, midwife, mother, and woman warrior. I’ll let her speak for herself here.