The gender-industrial complex, Part II (Pediatric patients overview)

Warning: Any hateful, threatening, abusive comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. Go to YouTube, Reddit, and Tumblr if you can’t deal with honest concerns about the very troublesome direction of contemporary transactivist politics. Seriously, these things weren’t happening as recently as 10 years ago. Normal, reasonable voices have been drowned out by a bunch of kneejerk, keyboard warrior zealots.

I do believe there’s a legitimate, TINY minority of people who truly suffer from such severe gender identity disorder (now officially termed gender dysphoria), for whom medical and surgical transition is useful and therapeutic if years of psychiatric counseling don’t take away these feelings. Such people used to be less than 1% of the population, but now we’re seeing news story after news story about younger and younger kids who are allegedly trans. I’ve even heard 3% of all teens in San Francisco high schools now identify as trans.

There is ZERO evidence of transsexual children in history. Just to give a few examples, diabetes and cancer were known about and described as far back as Ancient Egypt, hemophilia was first identified and described in the 10th century during the Golden Age of Islam, and the first well-documented case of a probable autistic child was in the 18th century. There’s extensive, obvious evidence of left-handers and gay people throughout history, even if we see far more visibility in the modern era. Aspies and autistics are also better-diagnosed, instead of locked away in loonybins or viewed as eccentric.

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So where’s the evidence of a plethora of transsexuals prior to the modern era? Don’t you think any doctor or psychologist would’ve loved to attach his (or her) name to a new disorder and write all about it? They would’ve observed such behavior centuries ago and used pseudoscientific explanations like frigid mothers, humoral imbalance, or evil spirits. Where are all the reports in old medical manuscripts, old literature, or vintage diaries of little boys screaming when they started wearing breeches or girls insisting they go by male names?

What we DO have evidence of are long histories of third genders in many cultures. For example, the Hijira of India, Two Spirits of various indigenous cultures in North America, Sworn Virgins of the Balkans, the Waria of Indonesia, and the Fa’afafine of Samoa. There’s also a long history of cross-dressing. The first sex change operations and cross-sex hormones were actually used as attempted “conversion therapy” for gay men, justified by a pseudoscientific misunderstanding of gender expression and sexual orientation. Iran now pressures gay people into getting sex changes for those very reasons.

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This really concerns me because I’ve always been rather gender-nonconforming. My physical presentation has always been obviously feminine (albeit never girly-girl), but so many of my interests, thoughts, and behaviors have always been more stereotypically guy-like. I’m positive my parents would’ve been pressured to take me to some gender therapist had I been born 5–10 years ago, or that I might’ve erroneously decided I had to be trans based on binge-watching YouTube videos, reading Tumblr blogs, and asking questions on Reddit.

I’ve never felt female or male. I just feel like myself, someone who happens to have more stereotypically masculine than feminine attributes according to what modern Western culture has decided is male vs. female. Why should I identify myself as agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or a man trapped in a woman’s body just because I never had a Barbie, wouldn’t be caught dead in a frilly Little Bo Peep dress, rarely wear makeup besides nailpolish, only wear block and wedge heels instead of stilettos, love the Three Stooges, enjoy taking stuff apart and fixing it, love creepy-crawlies instead of running away screaming, amn’t afraid of getting dirty, and have long felt most attracted to feminine men?

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Studies show about 80% of gender-nonconforming children eventually grow out of it. Many turn out to be gay or bisexual, though some are heterosexual, as I am (albeit more on the demisexual side of the spectrum). I didn’t start to like shopping for clothes till I was about 26, and it was a few years more before I started adding a handful of pink things to my wardrobe! It just means real people aren’t a collection of stereotypes.

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8 comments on “The gender-industrial complex, Part II (Pediatric patients overview)

  1. I think the 80% statistic shows that people just change. We evolve and that can include how we view ourselves. If our likes and dislikes can change, why shouldn’t everything else about us be fluid? Maybe some people aren’t as fluid as others. Or maybe others are more fluid. In the end, we are all different and each case has to be handled on an individual basis.

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  2. Chrys Fey says:

    I do worry when it comes to children and teens going through gender transitioning. Gender identity is not something to be taken lightly, and with kids surgery shouldn’t be done hastily. Or when they are young. This should be something only adults can do…to prevent kids from growing out of it when they already made the change.

    Maybe with there being no evidence it’s because no one believed or listened to the children who said something, or because they didn’t talk about such things back then.

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    • Carrie-Anne says:

      It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly or embarked upon just because of not conforming to stereotypes! I follow a lovely British FTM on YouTube, who’s a fair bit older than all these people making headlines, and it’s obvious he’s the real deal because he talks about persistent dysphoria throughout his life. It’s not a case of “I didn’t like Barbies and wanted to play sports.”

      This kind of reminds me of all the hoopla surrounding gluten-free diets. It’s great for people who genuinely have Celiac and wheat allergies, but the people only doing it because it’s trendy make the people with real issues look bad and like fakers. I’d also compare it to people who diagnose themselves with Asperger’s or autism just because they’re socially awkward. That’s so unfair to people who’ve had to deal with legitimate issues their entire lives.

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  3. I do worry about kids gender transitioning too young. We do live in a society where the media promotes the stereotypical ideals for males and females. I have never liked pink or dressing up or shopping. I still don’t own anything pink nor do I own a dress, heels, or jewelry. My five year old son loves the color pink and pretends to be girl characters from his favorite shows and books as well as boy characters. He’s a happy, normal child.

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  4. I appreciate the insights, here, again, but I’d be cautious about, as Sonia Johnson warns, “extrapolating from a sample of one…myself.”

    I agree that gender identity as well as sexual orientation identity are fluid and do change with context, cultural and familial pressures, love and other factors situationally and over time. However, it is a slippery slope, there, because then you re-open the door to “you weren’t born that way, so change” mentalities on both sides of any fence.

    Careful, careful.

    I also agree that any surgical or hormonal interventions ought to be postponed until a person has had many years of competent counseling AND is of adult age to decide for themselves about such mostly irreversible changes. I do know some parents who allow their very young child to live as the gender they prefer (meaning, pick a new first name, if needed/preferred, and dress in whatever way they conceive this identity wants to dress, even pressuring the school to let the child use whichever bathroom s/he “identities with,” which wouldn’t be a problem if they had bathroom stalls with doors and not urinals and individual dressing stalls in locker rooms, but schools do not have those. So, what to do?

    There is a “pee in peace” movement to allow/force public bathrooms and all school and recreation facilities to be gender-neutral and have privacy curtains, doors, etc., and/or individually closed-in spaces provided so that no one has to declare their identities in order to use a toilet or change their clothes.

    Opinions?

    Best to you,

    Sally Ember, Ed.D.

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    • Carrie-Anne says:

      I was so creeped out the first time I encountered a unisex bathroom in 2000, so much so I knew I’d never request to live in a dorm, or a floor of a dorm, which had one. I support unisex and family bathrooms for those who don’t feel comfortable in a single-sex bathroom, but it’s not something I’d ever use myself.

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      • Most countries around the world have “unisex” public bathrooms in the form of “portapotties” and even worse, so I don’t see the problem. Locker rooms with stalls that have doors wouldn’t be so difficult, either; many community/recreation centers have them for “family” and “assistance” locker rooms, anyway.

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  5. Reblogged this on Sally Ember, Ed.D. and commented:
    Part II of a thought-provoking series. READ and DISCUSS. You don’t have to agree, but it’s great to get these topics out here and talk about them.

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