Pullout Jun 22, 2011 at 4:00 am

(At Least Where Genderqueer Kids Are Concerned)

Comments

1
I believe the goal for trans folks is to find comfort in their skin. The social changes you suggest would give trans people greater social ease as they learn about themselves, but I'm not sure it really would provide better end options than we have now.

To be sure some trans folks can deal with their dysphoria without having to get a "sex change" operation, but not all will be able to do that even if society is much more accepting of gender diversity. Also, even as things are now we trans folks can make those decisions as we see fit.

Also, the problem with younger folks is that, like it or not, being able to make a decision how to deal with gender dysphoria before our bodies have changed at puberty can be very important to our future well-being. A society that is more accepting is all well and good but it's not going to make that decision any easier.

FWIW, I do not need genital surgery. I have, however, had facial feminization surgery. That was the key to ending my dysphoria.
2
>>>What if a boy could go to school in a dress and still be a boy? What if a girl could declare she's going to grow up to be a man without being dragged to a clinic for a cure and/or prep? What if we made the bullies go get mental health interventions first (or, at least, too)?<<<

Right the fuck on. The lesbian community is really getting battered by this 'you are butch so you must be transitioning' BS --- genderqueer people are being encouraged into the two-gender identity model; instead of pressuring them to conform on the outside, they are being pressured to conform on the INSIDE/physical.
Not comfortable in a dress? happy in jeans and a mens shirt? well you must be a man, cut off your tits, take T and start acting like a man, dude.

3
thank you so fucking much!! When I was little I wanted to be a boy, I also wanted to be a dinosaur, a timber wolf, a horse and a sabertooth tiger. I'm 28 now and while I have a very masculine personality and often work in masculine fields I am still very much a woman. Can't a tomboy just be a fucking tomboy? Again, this article was awesome.
4
@3 "Can't a tomboy just be a fucking tomboy?"

Oh, holy fuck no!

There are only tomboys if you limit girls to a somewhat arbitrary set of interests and activities . My daughter can have a tea party in the top of a tree she climbed in fancy dress after baseball practice, and frankly you can shove you're labels.

That said, she better not damage or dirty that dry-clean-only dress because her mom will kill her.
5
@3: Right on! I wanted to be a boy when I was little, too, but that was because I could see from a young age that boys got to do the cool stuff and were taken more seriously than girls. I also thought men were more powerful when I was a child, but that's because a woman's power is more subtle. But I love being a woman, I love my body, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I can't imagine how messed up I would be if my parents had decided my outspoken preference to be a boy was anything more than a childish whim. Therapy? Seriously?! I just wanted to use power tools, is all.
6
Is this really a problem? Are gender non-conforming children being forced into accommodating "sex changes". Is anyone saying that a tomboy can't just be a tomboy? How many tomboys and pinkboys are there in America compared to trans-children? Are we really concerned that acceptance of transgender people will wipe out all gender noncomformists?
Allay you fears, most of the trans people in this world are with you on this, fuck gender to your hearts delight! I'll even let you in on a little secret: a lot of trans people don't conform to strict gender roles after transitioning. Some of us are butch dykes, some of us are flaming queens. We are not the enemy of queer people and feminists, we're on your side.
And I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that every trans-person agrees that no one should transition unless they're sure.
And I think that every reasonable adult can agree that children should not be used as pawns in grown-up political games.
That maybe a hundred kids across the country are so sure that they can convince the adults in their lives that it's real does not seem like a case of 'Trans Advocates doing it wrong' as much as it does society slowly accepting that some people are trans and that like being gay, kids can know.

Dr. Dreger, your article "Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood: Inconclusive Advice to Parents" and the follow up post with Sarah Hoffman's feedback are (mostly) great, but this article... Do you really think that the Thomas the tank engine anecdote or the wings surgery allusion are appropriate for an honest conversation about the hard facts? Yes, opening an article with a common trope of trans-phobes just might get you labeled as a trans-phobe, being trans is quite different from believing that one is a locomotive, a bird, or a different race and you should know this given your expertise in physical and social gender binary non-conformation. Are you really so dense or are you actively trying anger trans people at this point?

You have some really, really, wonderful opinions on gender, sex, and society Dr. Dreger. But maybe it's time to take a look in the mirror and ask why you've consistently had a hostile relationship with the trans community for years and why it keeps getting worse.
7
When I was a child I used to play dress up with my two sisters. I suppose I should be grateful my parents didn't drag me into the clinic to have my penis chopped off.
8
When my daughter was between the ages of 5 and 9, she liked to pretend she was a cat. So I let her. Eventually at school some kids started teasing her about it, so I said well, just pretend at home then. She still enjoyed it for a while and then eventually grew out of it when she was ready.

Kids do things like play pretend and play dress up. When it comes to gender play, I say just let kids do it without putting any significance on it. If necessary to protect them, you might restrict certain activities to home but at least they'll know they have one safe place to be who they want for the moment. At a young age, you don't know yet if they are playing or if they are transgender or gay or whatever. They probably don't know themselves. But if you just let them play with their identities without putting pressure on them to make it permanent, that should be just as comforting to the child no matter what sex or gender identity they finally choose as a teen or adult.
9
@6, you missed the point entirely. The point is that if a boy who thinks he's a girl is the same age as other kids who think they are locomotives then maybe his belief is a function of his age and not a function of being transgendered. At that age, there's no real way to tell.
10
I agree with Rose DeCastile; Dr. Dreger does bring up some interesting points to be sure. But to me it just sounds like another "authority" on transgender individuals who has no absolutely no idea what it is like to be trans.

The whole notion that there is a big problem with small children being dragged into the doctor's office to begin transitioning ASAP sounds dubious at best.

There is a definite tone of disdain that comes across in Dr. Dreger's essay. At first, I really did believe that she was a trans ally (though I though that the opening about the locomotive was weak) But as I read on and she kept mentioning that she is perceived as being hostile to the trans community I realized there is a reason why.

Dr. Dreger: The people you study are not specimens. Your years of education may have left you with a more comprehensive understanding of the trans community than the average bear - but you clearly do not fully understand or support the transgender community.

As for the Stranger: Shame on you for wasting that valuable space on what could have been a truly informative, POSITIVE discussion on the multitude of ways humans experience and express gender.
11
There really aren't a lot of 5 and 6 year olds transitioning. It's hard enough for an adult to be approved.

And we should be helping people to transition earlier, not later. Sex reassignment surgery and hormones work better before puberty.
12
Wow.
Completely unsurprised that the trans-ignorant Stranger would solicit its only Trans article from a known trans phobe who routinely demonizes trans and intersexed people in order to propel forward her rather pathetic hum drum academic career. Alice loves to stir up shit just to get publicity, in this instance by comparing trans children to children who want to be trains. Great job Alice! You prove yet again you are completely incapable of making a cogent phobic argument on your own without comparing apples and oranges. Yes, Children have wild imaginations, which we love. Yes, some children think they are trains and other inanimate objects.

However, this has NOTHING to do with the intense distress that children feel about their BODIES, their sex characteristics, their social role as boys and girl, or the way that our culture also forces these children to conform to a strict gender expression based on their genitals. As a Seattle area therapist who has treated literally dozens of extremely distressed young people whose gender identity or expression doesn't match their birth sex this article is not only asinine, it is also extremely ignorant.

You make an exceptionally bogus and false notion that there are these 'magical trans / gay therapists' out there who are FORCING children to transition. Far from the case. As a person who myself transitioned in my early teens --I sought help from dozens of doctors and therapists with the help of my supportive parents before I could find a single one even willing to listen to me.

The fact is, that nearly all therapists who treat transgender and gender non-conforming children are already WELL AWARE of the fact that for many gender non-conforming children their gender identity my change over time. And anyone who has attended a World Professional Association of Transgender Health Conference, or any local conferences around the US knows nearly all therapists pursue a 'small changes first' and 'rush slowly' approach of minimizing permanent changes while emphasizing shifting social gender roles or gender expression to most closely match how children feel most comfortable.

Unlike Tommy the train, the distress and pain of trans and gender non-conforming children feel is real. You make no mention of the fact that trans and gender non-conforming children attempt suicide at nearly seven times the rate of their straight peers, and tripple that of even their gay and lesbian peers. You make no mention that our culture is MUCH MORE LIKELY to punish, penalize, deny, invisibilize, and victimize gender non conforming and trans children.

I'm sorry if I have a hard time believing your comparison to Tommy the Train, or to take you even remotely seriously when you make such comparisons. I don't think you're a transphobe, I simply think you are an ignorant idiot who probably hasn't spent more than 10 minutes with a group of trans or gender non-conforming children LISTENING to what they have to stay with an open heart and hearing how dreadfully painful their lives are.

Shame on The Stranger editorial staff (who I personally find dreadfully ignorant when it comes to trans issues) for giving you yet another podium to espouse your ignorance from. Good for you for making a career out of being a ignoramus with a PhD.
13
@12 Since Dreger is a bioethicist, which is a career that deals with the implications of ethics in the most marginal, rare, and difficult of situations, it doesn't make sense to castigate her for critiquing something which does not, perhaps, reflect mainstream practice. She feels, however, that taking kids' own claims of gender Really Fucking Seriously, Like They Know What They Want Forever And Ever, is a trend which is growing and which is probably inappropriate.

Also, speaking of inappropriate, how rude of you to say that Dreger doesn't believe that "the distress and pain of trans and gender non-conforming children is real." She discusses the source of distress at length in this article, not to mention almost everything else she's written, and she even offers an alternative cultural model which shows how gender non-conforming kids are supported and therefore do not suffer distress.

Look, if you can't critique her without making shit up and willfully misreading what she actually says, maybe your critiques are baseless.
14
@9 No, I'm quite sure I get the point.
Currently there are two models to deal with the "problem" of kids who exhibit gender atypical behavior, the Therapeutic model, and the Accommodation model.
The Therapeutic Model (AKA reparative therapy) which has been shown repeatedly to cause more harm than cure and has been disavaowed by the APA, is unfairly labeled as "Nazism"* by the mean mean Trans Advocates who just can't accept the hard truths.
The Accommodation Model which is comparatively new, but has yet to demonstrate psychological damage is dangerous because it takes children at their word and allows social transition, which could lead to physical transition, which is a terrible and hard life.
Anyway, nowadays the Therapeutic model has been unfairly discarded because Trans Advocates are so powerful in the psychiatry world and every child that does anything that could be considered cross-gendered is dragged off to a gender therapist to be forcibly sex-changed.

But wait! Alice Dreger, PhD has a better totally original idea that no one in America has ever thought of before! What if we just made a space for a third gender, for boys who mistakenly think they're girls!?! They do it in Samoa so it should totally work here! We could call them, oh I don't know...She-males?!?
Oh, but what about the FTMs?

Look, I don't claim to know what's best for every queer child, but I do know this article is bullshit and here's why:

The article opens with the scare of a person "transitioning" into a locomotive, or the closest surgical simulacrum, there might even be a doctor willing to do it!
Do I even really need to explain the insanity of this comparison?
Then, hey! Alice Dreger is not a transphobe, in fact anyone who calls her out as a transphobe is the actual transphobe because transitioning as a child erases (somehow) the act of transitioning.
Then reparative therapists are unfairly called Nazis by Trans Advocates.
Then there's a link where a famous reparative therapist is cited, but it's different because if the reparative therapy doesn't work he thinks it's ok to be gay or transgender, he also likens being transgendered to believing that one is a different race.
Then, why can't gender atypical people just be happy being gender atypical, can't boys just do girl things and girls do boy things and everyone is happy?

These are all the reasons people try to use to persuade trans people not to transition, it doesn't work on adults and to bust this shit out using children is just fucked up.

The Stranger, I'm so disappointed that you published this, if you don't agree with me on anything else I hope you can at least appreciate that you published an article that broke Godwin's law while defending reparative therapy.
Fuck dudes, I thought you were cool.
15
As someone with a first hand experience, I think you're spot on. Thank you.
16
@13 - if you want critiques why don't you google Alice Dreger and you'll find pages of critique. Here's one for you:

http://www.intersexualite.org/AliceDrege…

Why is The Stranger promoting Alice Dreger and her ideas?
17
@16 – I skimmed your very long link, and all I could find was anger at semantics, specifically the use of the term "disorder."

Is that it?

Is there anything beyond terminology that should lead me to believe she's anti-trans?
18
I'm with @17, I honestly do not read this article as trans-phobic at all, and feel that the criticisms are largely over semantics. Trans issues are close to my heart in many ways - transphobia is just the kind of thing that gets my vitriol going, but I just don't see it here.
19
@17 Well, I think semantics around the use and meaning of the word disorder are pretty loaded. Don't you?

Let's change the context a little bit. Should being black be labelled a disorder or not? Should being gay be labelled a disorder or not?

It's all just semantics and terminology right?
20
@19: Well, gender dysphoria can be seen as a type of 'disorder' in the sense that it's often extremely uncomfortable to live with, and can be treated with medicine (hormones and surgery). It's useful at least for insurance purposes.

@15: What first-hand experience are you talking about? A 5 year old transitioning into a locomotive?
21
YES. SO YES. Growing up, I went to a private all girls high school that was very much the (not so) modern equivalent to a finishing school. I came out of their convinced I must be trans, but still very confused because I didn't want a penis or to get rid of my tits. I now identify as generally queer and see that I have no issue with my body, only that having this body doesn't mean what society seems to think it must mean.
22
Dr. Dreger. As a fellow academic, I ask you to please list your sources. I ask because what you describe bears little resemblance to the requests of trans advocates in my experience. I am curious as to the roots of this discrepancy.

Most trans advocates that I've worked with would support allowing kids to explore gender however the heck they feel like it. Butch girl one day, sissy boy the next, whatever. Just have fun and we'll try to make sure you get treated like a human being. If the child experiences gender-related bodily dysphoria *come puberty,* which is usually several years *after* the "pretending to be a tank engine" phase passes, then most trans advocates think it would be nice if a child has the option of *delaying* puberty, so as not to experience physical changes from their intrinsic endocrine set - physical changes that can only be mitigated through surgery or medication. (how would you like to be a 10-year-old child who knows she is a girl, but who is growing a beard and watching her voice drop, and knowing that fixing this is going to be slow, difficult and/or expensive?) Once the kid's older, they can decide what hormonal and/or surgical course is right for them. If any. Regardless of their gender identities.

Also: many (not all) "third gendered" people in cultures with more than two genders are second-class citizens even within their own culture and many (not all) experience bodily dysphoria and will seek some form of medical transition if accessable.

So please, what are your sources on this article? As a PhD, I assume you have a list.
23
Where Alice Dreger goes wrong is to suggest that the involvement of mental health professionals is in any way helpful. At best is causes needless delay. Usually it causes positive harm.

Queer kids just need to be let be and given some slack. Chose their own daytime name if they wish, choose their own clothes as long as they are practical and frugal, and most likely unisex.

As to adult transsexualism, that is somatic. Mental health involvement again causes only harm. It is time for the psychiatrists and psychologists to butt out, just as they did for homosexuality generations ago.

24
@23: LGBT kids deal with depression and suicidal thoughts, and other mental health problems, just like straight kids do (in fact, at a much higher rate). Having a psychiatrist or some kind of therapist can be literally life-saving.
25
@24 Of course being queer does not immunize a person against mental illness.

But the mental illness has nothing whatever to do with being queer (including genderqueer). Certainly transsexual people should be able to access psychiatry if they wish. But presently they are obliged to because somatic medical assistance is held hostage to mental health diagnosis; and most go the mental health "services" unwillingly and resentfully.

It is fine to diagnose a queer person with depression if that fits. It is NOT fine to diagnose a queer person with Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria or anything like that. Doing so is damaging and iatrogenic. Doing it to a child is just prurience on the part of the mental health professional.
26
I see what you mean, but I do think that having some sort of counseling or guidance as you transition would be very helpful. Especially with hormones, which can have all sorts of negative side effects. I think the solution is to provide better mental health services by trans-friendly professionals, not to decouple them completely from somatic assistance.

As far as diagnoses go, would you prefer it if the diagnosis were just called "transsexuality"? The way payment for medical care works now is largely based on insurance companies billing specific rates for specific diagnoses, so without having some sort of label, it could be difficult to get insurance coverage.
27
@26 >> As far as diagnoses go, would you prefer it if the diagnosis were just called "transsexuality"?

There is already a diagnosis called Transsexualism, it is ICD-10 F64.0 It is a classified as a disorder of adult personality (even when found in a child). Though it beggars belief how psychiatrists can think they have the clairvoyance to diagnose a CHILD with an disorder of the child's ADULT personality!? But then their whole trade is mumbo-jumbo psychobabble.

Anyway there is no need for new diagnoses, existing diagnoses work just fine. For example a transman who needs top surgery could get it under a diagnosis of ICD-10 N62.0 Gynaecomastia (excessive breast growth). A transwoman under a diagnosis of ICD-10 Q52.4 and so on.

The only thing that stops such diagnoses being used is the existence of mental illness diagnoses such as DSM-IV 302.85 GID.

Counseling and guidance would be fine, but ONLY after Gender Dysphoria etc has been purged from the DSM and ICD. Until then mental health professionals cannot be trusted not to use those diagnoses. In practice they do use them and that is the problem.
28
Look, isn't she just trying to say we should be more like Samoa? Where the stress and the horror and the mental illness surrounding the trans state in the US doesn't exist? Where a boy acting like a girl or a girl like a boy is regarded with just as much bemusement and accomodation as Tommy the Train? It should be the hope of everyone that one day future trans kids won't need mental health care to get through childhood simply because the society they live in doesn't handle things well. All she's saying it is is possible to go too far in the other direction, and overtreat what doesn't inherently need treatment.
29
Thank you, @14.
30
As the father of a gender non-conforming child, a boy who chose to present as female full time from age 3 or 4 to 8 or 9, I can tell you about the world where a boy can go to school in a skirt. At puberty, he began to norm his own behaviors and appear more gender neutral, which is a common path for those who will one day affirm a gay identity. He was never dysphoric. Outside of visits to a school counselor to check in on peer responses, he never saw a therapist. He's fine. There were supportive professionals who think we went too far in allowing him to present as female outside the home, robbing him of his chance to socialize as conventionally male; there are trans activists who think we have missed the early intervention boat because we didn't push him into therapy, didn't push him to insist on female pronouns. And there are people in both camps who think we did the right things and my son is fine. By and large, the fear that trans activists will hormonally exterminate the gender queer with the unwitting aid of panicky reflexively homophobic parents who suddenly become un-transphobic, is overblown, in my opinion. Nobody makes these decisions lightly. In my experience, several kids whose parents have gotten ahead of them have been able to move back towards a gender queer / pre-gay identity. Suppression of non-conformity is still the dominant form of treatment, and the dominant problem in the culture. Too quick classification as 'born in the wrong body' is still a largely theoretical issue. We have yet to have a single child who has transitioned early recant their identity. When that starts happening, we can take this theoretical danger more seriously.
31
This reminds me of Bill O'Riley being sure that gay marriage will lead to people marrying ducks. Allowing trans children to transition before puberty is not the same as a smoke-stack-ectomy. Sorry this has to be explained to you...
32
As a parent of a gender queer child who is not well versed on all the correct "labels" and terminology that many of you use, I can share with you this in my simple terms. The emotions that my child faces are real. They are hard. They are dangerous if not listened to and supported through thoughtful parenting and whatever resources may be necessary.

The many, many families and professionals that I have talked to, met and gotten to know over the past several years are not predetermining their child's destiny, they are helping them find whatever it may be. The parents and professionals are making cautious steps toward a new way to help children transition, if and when, it may be the next step for their child to take.

I may "only" be a parent of a gender queer child and shucks, just have my lowly Bachelor degree to go off of, but Ms. Dreger needs a refresher course in Child Development 101. At the age that parents and children are now talking about blockers to DELAY the onset of natural puberty and give precious time to make this decision, children are no longer pretending to be whatever they whimsically fancy at the moment. That is done at a much younger age and I have encountered no one in the medical, psychological or familial communities that is pushing any child this young to physically transition.

We don't live in Samoa, not even close. Comparisons of that nature are irrelevant for my child because that is not my child's reality. To simply allow my child to "be" and ignore the very real distress and emotions that accompany living in our society as a gender queer child is in itself whimsical and misguided. Do we as parents seek out help, medical and psychological, for our children and ourselves? Yes. Does this mean we accept our children less? No. It means we are doing our job as parents by caring for them.
33
As the parent of a transgender child and the executive director of TransYouth Family Allies I find the information presented here to be inaccurate at best and harmful at worst. One should not judge the decisions our parents are making based on what they assume our, and our children's experience of their gender is. Prior to implying that we are imposing a rigid binary outcome on our children I would suggest that someone take up the task of actually studying what is going on. I'd like to see some real research done. Unless and until we see that research we will continue to do what we must to ensure that our children are happy and above all else...WE WILL DO WHAT WE MUST TO KEEP THEM ALIVE, HEALTHY AND WHOLE IN MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT!

Kim Pearson
Executive Director
TransYouth Family Allies
34
As the parent of a transgender child and the executive director of TransYouth Family Allies I find the information presented here to be inaccurate at best and harmful at worst. One should not judge the decisions our parents are making based on what they assume our, and our children's experience of their gender is. Prior to implying that we are imposing a rigid binary outcome on our children I would suggest that someone take up the task of actually studying what is going on. I'd like to see some real research done. Unless and until we see that research we will continue to do what we must to ensure that our children are happy and above all else...WE WILL DO WHAT WE MUST TO KEEP THEM ALIVE, HEALTHY AND WHOLE IN MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT!

Kim Pearson
Executive Director
TransYouth Family Allies
35
@30, 32, 33: Thank you for being great parents.
36
Until you become the parent of a transgender child you never know what we go through and our children go through! Our children are trying to grow up and live happy normal lives just like anyone else. So until you do the research and actually see how wonderful these children are, then please be respectful and stop the hate and discrimination.
37
Ah yes, Alice Dreger.

Debate resumes on methods of psych professor’s research
by Michael Gsovski
Daily Northwestern
February 27, 2008
(http://tinyurl.com/349cbx)

Excerpt:

Last month, Robin Mathy filed ethics complaints against both Dreger and Bailey with the American Psychological Association, which accredits NU’s psychology department. Unlike the most vocal opponents of Dreger and Bailey’s work, Mathy is an accredited psychologist and a clinical research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School. She also filed a charge with the Illinois Board of Examiners of Psychology for Bailey’s alleged misrepresentation of himself as psychologist.

Mathy’s charges focus on the professional connections between the board of the Archives of Sexual Behavior and Bailey. In the article, Bailey and Dreger both expressed that having sex with a research subject is not inherently wrong.

Mathy said Dreger was wrong to submit her article to the ASB, which is edited by Kenneth Zucker, who has had contact with Bailey and has similar views on transsexuality. By doing this, she said Dreger sought to bypass the peer review process, which ensures research remains unbiased.

“This is a blatant conflict of interest,” Mathy said. “(Dreger) exploited a key network friendship with Michael Bailey to get a truly horrible paper published.”

Also: 'Alice Dreger: The unethical ethicist?' at http://tinyurl.com/3vuyfa7
38
Ah yes, Alice Dreger.

Debate resumes on methods of psych professor’s research
by Michael Gsovski
Daily Northwestern
February 27, 2008
(http://tinyurl.com/349cbx)

Excerpt:

Last month, Robin Mathy filed ethics complaints against both Dreger and Bailey with the American Psychological Association, which accredits NU’s psychology department. Unlike the most vocal opponents of Dreger and Bailey’s work, Mathy is an accredited psychologist and a clinical research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School. She also filed a charge with the Illinois Board of Examiners of Psychology for Bailey’s alleged misrepresentation of himself as psychologist.

Mathy’s charges focus on the professional connections between the board of the Archives of Sexual Behavior and Bailey. In the article, Bailey and Dreger both expressed that having sex with a research subject is not inherently wrong.

Mathy said Dreger was wrong to submit her article to the ASB, which is edited by Kenneth Zucker, who has had contact with Bailey and has similar views on transsexuality. By doing this, she said Dreger sought to bypass the peer review process, which ensures research remains unbiased.

“This is a blatant conflict of interest,” Mathy said. “(Dreger) exploited a key network friendship with Michael Bailey to get a truly horrible paper published.”

Also: 'Alice Dreger: The unethical ethicist?' at http://tinyurl.com/3vuyfa7
39
Or perhaps this Alice Dreger:

"In 2007, Hontas was the most prolific contributor to the transkids.us forum, posing as a “homosexual transsexual” in efforts to prop up Blanchard’s theory of transsexualism. The transkids.us website was created by Alice Dreger’s associate Kiira Triea, and at the time Dreger was extolling transkids.us in her defense of Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence.

Unfortunately for Dreger, the transkids.us website has since been exposed as a hoax. Nevertheless, Hontas was lavished with attention by the Clarke/Northwestern crowd for her contributions to that hoax, even though it didn’t work out for Dreger and Bailey.

Hontas’ activities now appear aimed at supporting the overall “DSD movement” in sexology – i.e., the medicalization and pathologization of intersex and transgender identities being pushed by Zucker, Dreger and Cantor. For background on that movement, see the open letter by OII to WPATH.
40
The article is pointing out that the research suggests most children will grow out of childhood gender dysphoria, and therefore allowing a child to live transgender at a young age (5 or 6) may not be the best idea if the child can live otherwise.
The trans advocates seem to be hostile to the very IDEA of desistance of childhood GID. Hopefully the therapists involved are looking for the signs of desistance because from my experience the parents once the child transitions are not.

41
The Intersex people are not happy with the way Dreger "advocated" for them:

"Alice Dreger, the DSD activist and self proclaimed advocate, who bills herself as a bioethicist has over the past few years become mired by one ethical scandal after another. Just to mention a few of her scandals, let me start with what will be one of the major setbacks in intersex history. It was Alice Dreger who was one of the prime movers of the shift from “intersex” to DSD, “disorders of sex development”. She did this by consulting with doctors and determining what worked for them and consulted the intersex community after the change had been made. Quite unethical for an ethicist because there is practically no support for this replacement of the term “intersex” with “disorders of sex development” and the ensuing Consensus Statement (1) which approved this change of terminology which elaborated a set of protocols that are a major setback for intersex people with surgery being recommended between two and six months of age. (2) This was a scandal of historical proportions.

After controlling intersex activism for over a decade and leaving it in shambles, she decided to move on to transgender activism. And already she is becoming the same divisive “activist” in the transgender movement that she was in the intersex movement. She has begun by taking sides with the gatekeepers of the trans movement, just as she placed herself with the gatekeepers of the intersex community and then left us with a more pathological terminology and set of protocols based on intersex being a genetic defect. (3)

As she started her trans activism, many of us in the intersex movement saw the same pattern slowly emerge that had been her hallmark within the intersex movement – siding with proponents of a highly problematic, pathological definition of transsexualism and attacking any opponents who resisted the academic and discursive control she was usurping over their own right to self definition and in determining their own sociopolitical agenda without having to contend with another interloper who had no experiential understanding of trans issues."
42
@41 Alice Dreger may indeed be an unethical academic; but to attack her as a person rather than debunking her theories is counterproductive.

@40 >> therefore allowing a child to live transgender at a young age (5 or 6) may not be the best idea if the child can live otherwise.
The trans advocates seem to be hostile to the very IDEA of desistance of childhood GID.

Queer kids of 5 or 6 just need to be let be. If they want to tell the world that they are a boy or a girl or for that matter a railway locomotive it should be OK.

I'm not sure what desistance means metaphorically; literally it means choosing not to eat something, such as a psychotropic mushroom.

Certainly the very idea of GIDC is wrong at its core and opposed by most transgender adults. It is a mental illness and queer kids are not mentally ill in regards to their queerness. They might perhaps be anxious as a result of gender bullying, so diagnose them with an anxiety disorder if you must. But not a gender disorder for their gender is not the problem.

In the same way a person who has cancer or hare lip may be depressed or anxious about their cancer or hare lip - but you don't diagnose them with a Hare Identity Disorder or some money grubbing such nonsense.

43
@40, @42:

First, my posts were not meant to be used as an ad hominem fallacy in regard to Dreger's theories. They were meant as a warning regarding her character and her history of 'advocacy'. There is a subtle but real difference when you are parenting a child and have to make decisions based not only on theory but also on the character and history of the person pushing certain treatments.

Now, on to the heart of the matter. I am the parent of a trans kid. I've met dozens of trans kids and parents, and worked with people who have met hundreds. Given the prevalence, it's a statistically significant sample. Let me make this perfectly clear: I have never met or heard of a parent that pushes their child to become or remain, trans. We enable them to be themselves, with whatever identity they require and it has proven to be the most healthy and productive choice of any. Tragic history has shown that even if someone tried otherwise, they fail.

To the person, the parents I have encountered want to minimize damage done to their children. They respect their child's determination of Self and still remain responsible parents. They also recognize that many if not most gender variant children turn out to be gay once they hit puberty, specifically those that enjoy cross gender play behaviors but do not proclaim that they actually are the sex opposite the one assigned at birth. Ms. Dreger, Bailey and Zucker on the other hand, still push the ideas and treatments used by John Money and George Rekers in the 1970's. You know, the ones that result in the suicide of the patients years later. The ones that feel any outcome is better than a child growing up to be transsexual. We have chosen not to follow that path for our kids.

Alice Dreger, like her cohorts in the DSM working group, attempt to erase the existence of what have classically been called, 'transsexuals' in favor of those that are genderqueer and or gay-but-conforming. The tactic used is a common one today, that of accusing the opposition of exactly the same behavior. But they ignore the history of their own failures to effect cure. They also conveniently ignore all research and the knowledge gained in the more rigorous disciplines such as neurology and endocrinology. You know, the ones that show conclusively that trans people really *do* have the neural features that match their proclaimed identity. 15 years of built-upon knowledge, ignored. But that's okay, 'cause real science is *hard*.

What I would like to see from Ms. Dreger is an acknowledgment that a percentage of trans kids actually *do* have body dysphoria and actually *do* need to be respected in their declaration of who they are. And that those kids as a group do not revert to their assigned gender. Nowhere does she even give them a chance, instead preferring to concentrate solely on this imaginary group of children that are virtually forced into transition by their parents. It's a falsehood and it's unethical.

I'd also like to see some sources, studies other than Zucker and Bailey, et all, and even more so, these unidentified parents that she seems to see everywhere that seemingly wish to squash their child's identity rather than foster it, whatever it may turn out to be someday.

We parents of trans kids cherish our children in whatever form, expression or social role they decide to grow into. Ms. Dreger on the other hand, seeks to rile up both the conservatives and the genderqueer among us not realizing that some of both groups *are* us.

-Sara
44
Background (some readers are unfamiliar with it) -

A guy named Ray Blanchard in Toronto proposed that there are two types of male-to-female transsexuals: the "homosexual" type, feminine boys who transition young rather than face the fact that they're gay, and "autogynephilics", men who are erotically obsessed with the idea of themselves as female, who are allegedly not feminine, transition late, prefer female partners, and are not, in Blanchard's view, women in any sense (even if Blanchard et al. are ok with physical treatments).

In short - if you're an mtf trans person, you're either in denial or have an autoerotic paraphilia.

J Michael Bailey is a Blanchard acolyte at Northwestern in Illinois, who has based his "research" on anecdotes about people he met while hanging out in gay bars.

He has pissed off many mtf trans women because he insists that if they say they don't fit either of the Blanchard models, they're lying. Trans men (ftm) are not dreamt of in Bailey's philosophy. Maybe they would complicate matters too much.

Dreger has been a diligent defender of Bailey. Given the Blanchard/Bailey/Dreger assumption that the experts (them, it turns out) know you better than you know yourself, to start off with the Tommy the locomotive story reads to me like a deliberate, condescending provocation. Certainly let's not put kids on an irreversible path when they're less than 10 years old, but everyone I know with a trans identity (male or female) says they were aware of it by that age. We need to listen to these kids, to let them teach us about themselves.

I can agree that in a better world people could claim whatever gender identity they felt was right for them, without a need for surgery or hormones. But I'm not sure that would entirely eliminate everyone's need for physical modification.
-----------

@7 - being a woman is not just a matter of not having a penis.

@21 - clear thinking, well expressed. thank you. (recognizing of course that what works for you might not work for some others.)
45
I am a transman and totally agree to give kids room to explore and that a decision to physically and chemically alter ones body should not be taken lightly. I knew when I was very young but coming from the south did not have the language to express it or any trans example. I began my official transition in my 40's.
I also appauld you for saying and agree with the fact that it is the push and pull of our bianary gender stuck society that pressures people into feeling like they have to alter their bodies.

Great article
46
As a MTF transsexual, anyone affiliated with Blanchard as closely as Dreger is automatically has no credence. Surely you must know that.
Any debate The Stranger tries to enflame by giving Dreger a platform is just angels dancing on the head of a pin to us ... just intellectual fascination for straight folks with no connection to the real world.
And those of us who are living this, and the parents of transsexuals, are just laughing at you all.
47
@44, I totally believe that most/all folks (especially MTF) who identify as trans as adults report having known that they had that gender identity at a young age. What that doesn't address is how many people who would have had that gender identity at a young age went on to later identify with the sex assigned them at birth. I would agree that giving everyone space to live as they wish without requiring strict adherence would be the best idea. Certainly I can see how puberty and the naturally irreversible sex-identifying consequences thereof force everyone's hand. What I'm not sure is what parents of potentially-trans kids want between the ages of 4 and puberty that is different than what Alice Dreger is advocating. What else is needed byond some room, some understanding and perhaps letting kids know that feeling uncomfortable in one's body or identifying as the other gender happens sometimes and if it continues there will be ways to deal with that down the road.
48
You know - the problem really is with society. Just look at the Two Spirit people who have been on our continent since long before the Europeans got here.

When there was no surgery available, there was no need for it. People just accepted, as is made clear in the film "Two Spirits" that there are boys in boy's bodies, boys in girl's bodies, girls in girl's bodies, and girls in boy's bodies.

The real problem comes from a world view that says everything is one thing or the other - and there is no room for anything else. Something is good, or it is bad. A person is a girl, or a boy. A person is either homosexual, or they are a pervert.

In this world view, a boy who knows they are a girl is condemned from the word go. We have come a long way from the days when 50% of transsexuals were dead by the age of 30, but we haven't come as far as we need. Just look at the bathroom bills, the struggles to get proper identification, the marriage laws based on "birth sex". Look at people being arrested and charged with trespassing or other offenses for the "crime" of needing to pee.

This is still an exceptionally difficult world to live in as a transgendered person. As long as we live in an "either-or" world, it will remain so. We need to move forward and catch up with the societies that existed when the White man first came to this continent.
49
Wow, so The Stranger, under the tutelage of transphobe Dan Savage, invites Alice Dreger to be the sole voice of trans issues in a queer-themed issue. How positively progressive of them! I guess actual intelligent TRANS people (we even have our own Ph.D.'s now! Imagine that?) were just totally unavailable, eh? Even a cursory Google search will quickly reveal that Alice has a long history of exploiting intersex and trans people, and that the communities she is supposedly advocating on behalf of find her views repugnant, offensive, and dangerous. Alice thrives on controversy and loves coming to the defense of the boys, like Zucker, Bailey and Blanchard, to curry favor with the gender oppressors. This article, comparing trans kids existential struggles to being a train, is beneath comment. It is yet another pathetic attempt to milk controversy out of a horribly oppressed community to move her own dreary academic career forward. Luckily, right-leaning straight cis people are the only ones to give Dreger any attention any more. Any person with a shred of progressive values in the queer and trans communities view her as the shrill bigot that she is.
50
You know - the problem really is with society. Just look at the Two Spirit people who have been on our continent since long before the Europeans got here.

When there was no surgery available, there was no need for it. People just accepted, as is made clear in the film "Two Spirits" that there are boys in boy's bodies, boys in girl's bodies, girls in girl's bodies, and girls in boy's bodies.

The real problem comes from a world view that says everything is one thing or the other - and there is no room for anything else. Something is good, or it is bad. A person is a girl, or a boy. A person is either homosexual, or they are a pervert.

In this world view, a boy who knows they are a girl is condemned from the word go. We have come a long way from the days when 50% of transsexuals were dead by the age of 30, but we haven't come as far as we need. Just look at the bathroom bills, the struggles to get proper identification, the marriage laws based on "birth sex". Look at people being arrested and charged with trespassing or other offenses for the "crime" of needing to pee.

This is still an exceptionally difficult world to live in as a transgendered person. As long as we live in an "either-or" world, it will remain so. We need to move forward and catch up with the societies that existed when the White man first came to this continent.
51
Unless you're one of these kids, or one of these parents... maybe you really can't express from experience, and so should talk to some of them and learn a thing or three. Just saying. In this case, you're ALL ignorant. I am too.
52
@ 42: "Alice Dreger may indeed be an unethical academic; but to attack her as a person rather than debunking her theories is counterproductive"

So people who have been proven to be unethical and/or con artists get a pass? The reality of who they are is unmentionable?

Sorry, but any critique of any "theory" that, for example, Chuck Colson might spew, can rightly be preceded by the phrase "convicted felon and Watergate conspirator." That's personal. Its also fact. And it is relevant to anything that has oozed out of his mouth since Watergate.

Alice Dreger has, in effect, professionally merged her DNA with that of the unethical author of a fraudulent 'science' book on transsexualism, Michael Bailey. Anything that she has uttered since her Madoff-esque effort to rehabilitate Bailey the fraudmeister must be analyzed with that attempted rehabilitation as preface.
53
I knew someone who thought she was an advocate for trans and gender queer people when she had zero support from or affiliation with those very people. And zero interest or ability in forging those connections going forward.

Sadly, she didn't grow out of it.

Her deeply ingrained delusional systems of some relevance and entitlement to speak for peoples she can't connect with on any level would be merely considered sad in most professions. But unlike her compatriots in the used car trade, she can make a living from sources other than those who would be the normal consumers of her dubious wares. A form of professional enabling.

Prognosis.......guarded.
54
For what it's worth: Paul Vasey and Doug VanderLaan do NOT use the term "genderqueer", or "sugar boys", or "gay" to characterize fa'afafine:

"... in Independent Samoa, almost all fa’afafine exhibit transgendered male androphilia, not egalitarian male androphilia."*

They use TRANSGENDERED.

Some folks just can't bring themselves to make this distinction, especially those who feel acute discomfort over the whole idea of getting surgery to become a "locomotive"... haha:

THAT'S SO FUNNY I FORGOT TO LAUGH

- bonze Anne Rose Blayk

*Vasey et al - Avuncular Tendencies and the Evolution of Male Androphilia in Samoan Fa’afafine - http://psy2.ucsd.edu/~mgorman/Vasey2009.…
55
Alice Drager must be the queen of misinformation. The standard 'treatment' for trans kids is to delay puberty onset to allow them to work out their gender issues themselves before any drastic action is taken. This is critical because all the literature suggests that GID in children does not necessarily translate to GID in adulthood. I don't know of single trans person who would advocate any other treatment. Perhaps she can find one but to then write as if there is some kind of trans activist conspiracy that forces gender changes in children is just so far from the truth that it borders on fantasy.
56
"But I am also sick and tired of trans-rights advocates acting like a certain current-day endocrinologist is ever-so-progressive because he essentially starts prepping genderqueer kids for surgery the moment they are presented by their distraught parents. Reminds me a little too much of Iran, you know?"

Not mentioning Dr Spack of the Boston Clinic by name, of course.

In a perfect world, such articles as this could be written without them being misused or misconstrued, or perverted by the malicious and hateful. In a perfect world, one could also speculate about the influence of World Jewry on the International Banking System without being Anti-Semitic, or conjecture that the reason Blacks are imprisoned in disproportionate numbers in the USA is because Blacks are, statistically speaking, inherently morally inferior and of limited intelligence - all without being Racist. Then we could sensibly discuss, say, the influence of nutrition on brain development, socialisation, the effects of generations of racist persecution, the perpetuation of underclass status, systemic racism in the court system, and all the other confounding factors that make genetic racism so much hogwash.

However, we don't live in such a perfect world.

We live in one where the history of Anti-Semitism for example, past and present, is such that any such speculation had better be larded with ten times its own weight in disclaimers, caveats, and the like. Not to do so would be irresponsible, cloth-eared, and unbelievably insensitive.

The fact is that there is and has been a very powerful movement to ban sex-reassignment surgery under any circumstances. That the deaths that will result are often seen as desirable. That rabidly transphobic organisations exist, which take Dr Drager's expressed ideas as justification for persecuting and even exterminating trans people. That such ideas are openly taught at academic institutions.

In a sane world, we'd have good data about follow-ups to Dr Zuckers protocols (let's continue naming names here)- "the clinician who tries to get a gender dysphoric kid to learn to like her or his innate body".

Such interventions would not be associated with suicide attempts, anxiety attacks on seeing the colour pink, and other sequelae. But they are. Are they causal? That's another matter, but they certainly might be, whether Dr Dreger buys it or not.

In a conversation I had with Dr Milton Diamond, he pointed out to me that both Zucker and Spack were engaged in experimental therapies, that neither had a good evidential basis. The charge of "Mengele-esque" behaviour on the part of Dr Zucker was not justified purely by his experimentation using children as subjects. In order to determine what is best for such gender dusphoric children, we have to experiment, or abdicate responsibility and let too many of them die.

There is one difference though; Zucker's protocol is coercive, even if rather more gently so than Rekers' beatings, or for that matter, the UCLA experiments using cattle-prods on autistic toddlers that happen even now. Toys are withheld, existing friendships no longer permitted.

Spack's is permissive, the child neither encouraged into gender non-conformity, nor discouraged, but allowed.

Anecdote is not data, but I would ask Dr Dreger to see, as I have, some of the people who have been through both protocols. The differences I observed were startling. Before starting to talk about Iran and Nazis, please actually talk to the human beings involved, not as experimental subjects, but as people. Then go do some good science, double-blind follow-ups, to see if one's initial impressions are backed up, or contradicted, by objective facts.

Meanwhile, although this was not Dr Dreger's intention, objectively this article will result in increased persecution of trans and intersex people, and the denial of basic human rights in a legal sense. It shouldn't. We should be able to do good science and express such ideas as hers without this consequence. But we can't, and not to acknowledge that is to be deliberately blind to the irrationalism and anti-scientific bent of political ideologies today, the very thing she herself complains about.
57
I was a trans-kid as far back as the 1960's. Happily my parents were among the tiny minority back then who DID believe me and tried to accommodate me. The only result that I can see from this is that I grew up a happy and well adjusted woman and not an unhappy and badly screwed up gay man. This does not seem to me to be a bad result. When I look around at most of my less fortunate trans peers I see misery and repression.

I simply don't understand why you would wish repression on someone Alice. It seems twisted and sick to me to visit on others needless suffering and confusion when there are means available to help them. Sure the diagnostic process isn't perfect, but it continues to improve and lets face it very little medicine has a 100% success rate.
58
Kudos on your ability to construct straw-trans-people and straw-gender-therapists to a high art form, Dr. Dreger. No wonder you have no credibility in the communities profess to advocate for.
59
People like Dreger, Blanchard, Bailey, and Zucker will never understand someone like me.

They'll eagerly hold our head under water until we stop kicking, and get us to accept the 'gay in denial' label, the 'fetishist' label, or the 'gender queer' label.

Does each of those exist? Certainly. Any fool with eyes can see that for themselves. It doesn't even take their famous sock-puppet routines to make that point.

But am i willing to be falsely grouped into a pathological catagory i don't belong, to make your academic life easier? Or watch young new transsexual be dragged unwillingly into them also?

i think not.

Anonymous T-Girl
www.anonymous-t-girl@blogspot.com
60
I see that it has been less than 24 hours before Dr Dregers words were being used by sites advocating withdrawal of human rights from Intersexed and Trans people, and in some cases, advocating their literal extermination.

Rather earlier than I'd expected, but entirely foreseeable.

They now have a venir of academic respectability to hide behind, one Dr Dreger has provided. I won't speculate on Dr Dreger's intentions here, but to take the most charitable view, she'd have to be extraordinarily insensitive and naive to expect anything else.
61
Can we see an article from an actual transperson? All these cispeople just seem clueless and extremely confident in their cluelessness.
62
Actually this is NOT a trans issue, it is a human rights and children's rights issue. Children should be accepted and loved as they are, and a societally defined "mismatch"of Gender and Sex should never lead to assumption that a child will need to or ought to change their mind or their body. Children should be free to explore and to be and to grow. We should start with the assumption that everything about them (body, mind, gender expression) is to be treasured as it emerges. The type of thinking that starts socially "transitioning" children in a pathway towards surgery at 5 or six hatefully pathologises the childs body in the same way earlier therapies hatefully pathologies hatefully pathologised childrens minds and identities. Intersex activists like myself have fought long for acceptance of diversity and against parents or mediocos making life-limiting decisions for children. This applies as much to children society (or parents or medicos) judges as having as miss-match of gender and biology as it does to intersex children with biological aspects that don't match conventionally.

In adult life people chose gender expressions, sexuality and roles they never could have anticipated as children. We should not let parents or medicos limits life options for children by offerring sterilization and medical dependancy as part of package deal to "fix"gender/sex missmatch. The possibility that a child might grow up to be gay, genderqueer, or even a non-op transgender person is denied these children. While I am utterly against Dregar's (former) advocacy of DSD terminology I believe she is that rare species of Academic who actually braves learning and changing her opinion to adapt to new understanding. This issue is really important human rights one regardless of your views on Dregar. And to the Academic who has an astounding ignorance of the growing practice of transitioning children before they have the cognitive development to understand sex v's gender (let alone the happy missmatches they might find as an adult) - please try to familiarise yourself with this very visible increasing trend (the topic of this article). Type "trans children" into you tube - and watch the multitude of interviews with children and the parents who descibe their 6year old's genitals as birth defects and watch while parents tell lies to their children about the exciting surgical plans already made for them.
63
A Two Families’ Reactions to Sons who like Pink:

The program and article I’d like you to look at show two different ways parents might react to having a son who from pre-school age seemed to behave in non-gender conforming (“girly”) ways.

What if your preschooler son was “Girly”?
If your preschooler son asked for a Barbie doll, how would you feel? Would you give it to him? In years gone-by almost all parents would answer a resounding “no!” to that question and would probably add “my son would never ask for that” in a defensive or dismissive tone. These days many parents are more flexible. They allow children access to toys and even clothes of the "opposite" gender, seeing it as part of growing up and exploring. But what about families of boys who recurrently break gender norms, those who raise undeniably feminine boys?

Let’s look at two very different families who let their son’s “choose pink”, and how these families different assumptions about gender lead to very different socialization of their children, and, consequently a very different range of future possibilities for their children.

Family One : “My son the pink boy” - by Sarah Hoffman
http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/0…
This article “My son the pink boy” (published on the Open Salon blog on 21st Feb 2011) describes a mothers acceptance of her son’s gender non- conforming choices. She let her son wear dresses, grow his hair and do ballet instead of football. The mother “Sarah Hoffman” notes other parents mixed reactions to her son, but also describes his happy interaction with both boys and girls his own age. She still sees her son as a boy – but describes his shade unconventional gender expression as being a “pink boy”. Hoffman notes peoples assumptions that her son will grow up to be gay but asserts “Random Mom doesn't know who or what my son is going to grow up to be, any more than she knows who or what her kid is going to grow up to be.” Hoffman asserts that gender expression doesn’t necessarily predict sexual orientation and gives her husband’s feminine behavior as a heterosexual example of a feminine man, but further states that she will embrace her son’s orientation whichever way it goes.
Sarah Hoffman defends her son’s right to self-expression, and embraces and accepts his choices and his right to determine and define his own identity and sexuality as he grows. She accepts him as a perfect and healthy variation of his gender and sex and does not limit what or who he might be in the future. Hoffman’s son is likely to internalize positive and accepting ideas about himself because of this positive upbringing

Hoffman’s article also provides an insightful analysis of hidden homophobia in both social and media reactions to non-conforming gender expression in boys. She describes how talk show Guru Dr Phil discourages feminine behavior in boys because of its association with homosexuality
In Context:
In the 1970’s when feminine behavior in boys was widely ostracized, many feminine boys were diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. Researcher Zucker theorized these boys would go on to be surgery seeking transgender people. In a large scale longditudinal study it was found that these boys rarely ended up trans – usually ending up self-accepting homosexual men (roughly 3/4) or heterosexual men (roughly 1/4). This is important to consider when looking at the socialization in the following video, set in a cultural context where there is little tolerance for gender ambiguity.

Family Two - Real life: Transgender Kids – The Romero Family
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPffj8k7i…
This documentary details the journey of a number of children who are being socialized towards surgery intended to match their body with their gender expression.
Josie Romero was born male, but showed a preference for feminine toys and clothes. In Josie’s cultural context gender roles are still very traditional, with no room for ambiguity. Such cultures are usually also stridently homophobic. In such cultures men are masculine, and because homosexuality is seen as "sinful", it is something you would avoid seeing the possibility of in your child. Boys in such cultures internalize the view that pink and sparkly is only for girls, so if they feel drawn to such things it compromises their gender identity. Socially unacceptable variations can sometimes be excused as blameless by re-conceptualizing them as medical problems. Here Josie’s family describes their child’s penis as a birth defect. They are blind to other differences in primary sexual characteristics. Josie is told by her mother she will get an operation that will fix her birth defect by turning her penis inside out to make it the vagina it was meant to be and hormones will give her a female puberty. When Josie asks “How?” her questions are brushed off. Science and medicine don’t offer Josie these possibilities. If she does not escape the path already plotted for her Josie will be sterilized and artificial genitals will replace her real ones before she even gets to try them. She will be medically dependent for life. She will never experience a live and responsive endocrine system, only a flat-line one delivered by pills. Josie is being socialized in a way that deprives her as self-determination and betrays her with false choices. The characterization of her biological self as defective, will likely be internalized in her self –perception, as will the lack of autonomy created by her dependence on medical intervention she has not initiated. Her experience of surgery and treatment might be expected to be closer to that of an intersex child who has had surgery chosen for them than the potentially empowering experience of a self-determined transexual who has chosen surgery for themselves. Josie’s parents say she has made this choice, but it is clear that an informed choice could not be made by an eight year old in this situation.
Josie has been socialized in a way that limits her future choices and autonomy. The drastic pathway planned for Josie at the tender age of eight is new and extreme form of gender policing, where if minds and behavior can’t be conformed, to sex –matching ideals then bodies are controlled to give the appearance of a match.
References:
Henslin, J. M., Possamai, A. and Possamai-Inesedy, A. (2011) Sociology: A Down-to-Earth-Approach, Pearson Australia

Hoffman, S. My son the pink boy, Salon.com 2011, Feb 21st.
http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/0…
Zucker, KJ. Gender identity development and issues. Child Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics North America 2004, 13: 551-568.

64
Let's consider what Dr Dreger means though when she talks about "the clinician who tries to get a gender dysphoric kid to learn to like her or his innate body"

Because that doesn't describe the Hoffman's hands-off approach.

http://www.npr.org/2008/05/07/90247842/t…

---
"It does seem to be the case that, at least in the short term, Carol's son Bradley is struggling in some ways with Zucker's therapy. Carol says it was particularly hard at the beginning.

"He was much more emotional. ... He could be very clingy. He didn't want to go to school anymore," she says. "Just the smallest thing could, you know, send him into a major crying fit. And ... he seemed to feel really heavy and really emotional."

Bradley has been in therapy now for eight months, and Carol says still, on the rare occasions when she cannot avoid having him exposed to girl toys, like when they visit family, it doesn't go well.

"It's really hard for him. He'll disappear and close a door, and we'll find him playing with dolls and Polly Pockets and ... the stuff that he's drawn to," she says.

In particular, there is one typically girl thing — now banned — that her son absolutely cannot resist.

"He really struggles with the color pink. He really struggles with the color pink. He can't even really look at pink," Carol says. "He's like an addict. He's like, 'Mommy, don't take me there! Close my eyes! Cover my eyes! I can't see that stuff; it's all pink!' "

Still, Carol says, Bradley has made some progress. Today, he is able to play with boys. He has a few male friends, and has said that he now enjoys boy things. And there are other signs of change.

"I mean, he tells us now that he doesn't dream anymore that he's a girl. So, we're happy with that. He's still a bit defensive if we ask him, 'Do you want to be a girl?' He's like 'No, NO! I'm happy being a boy. ...' He gives us that sort of stock answer. ... I still think we're at the stage where he feels he's leading a double life," she says. "... I'm still quite certain that he is with the girls all the time at school, and so he knows to behave one way at school, and then when he comes home, there's a different set of expectations."
---

I'll quote someone Dr Dreger has defended, J. Michael Bailey, speaking about Zucker's Therapeutic regime:

"Zucker thinks that an important goal of treatment is to help the children accept their birth sex and to avoid becoming transsexual.
...
First, he thinks that family dynamics play a large role in childhood GID (Gender Identity Disorder)—not necessarily in the origins of cross-gendered behavior, but in their persistence.
...
So the first prong of Zucker’s approach is family therapy.
...
The second prong is therapy for the boy, to help him adjust to the idea that he cannot become a girl, and to help teach him how to minimize social ostracism. Zucker does not teach boys how to walk in a manly fashion, but he does give them feedback about the likely consequences of taking a doll to school.
...
The third prong is key. Zucker says simply: “The Barbies have to go.” He has nothing against Barbie dolls, of course. He means something more general. Feminine toys and accoutrements—including Barbie dolls, girls’ shoes, dresses, purses, and princess gowns—are no longer to be tolerated at home, much less bought for the child.
...
Failure to intervene increases the chances of transsexualism in adulthood, which Zucker considers a bad outcome. ... Why put boys at risk for this when they can become gay men happy to be men?"

---

Let's have a look at Zucker's "successes". http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arch…

---
"Zucker put me in touch with two of his success stories, a boy and a girl, now both living in the suburbs of Toronto.
...
When I visited the family, John was lazing around with his older brother, idly watching TV and playing video games, dressed in a polo shirt and Abercrombie & Fitch shorts. He said he was glad he’d been through the therapy, “because it made me feel happy,” but that’s about all he would say; for the most part, his mother spoke for him. Recently, John was in the basement watching the Grammys. When Caroline walked downstairs to say good night, she found him draped in a blanket, vamping. He looked up at her, mortified. She held his face and said, “You never have to be embarrassed of the things you say or do around me.” Her position now is that the treatment is “not a cure; this will always be with him”—but also that he has nothing to be ashamed of. About a year ago, John carefully broke the news to his parents that he is gay.
...
Yet Zucker’s approach has its own disturbing elements. It’s easy to imagine that his methods—steering parents toward removing pink crayons from the box, extolling a patriarchy no one believes in—could instill in some children a sense of shame and a double life. A 2008 study of 25 girls who had been seen in Zucker’s clinic showed positive results; 22 were no longer gender-dysphoric, meaning they were comfortable living as girls. But that doesn’t mean they were happy. I spoke to the mother of one Zucker patient in her late 20s, who said her daughter was repulsed by the thought of a sex change but was still suffering—she’d become an alcoholic, and was cutting herself. “I’d be surprised if she outlived me,” her mother said.

---

This shows the "best results" when transsexual children are coerced into "accepting their own bodies".

That Dr Zucker's views are based on political and ideological beliefs, not evidence, is shown by his own words:

"The therapists supporting a child's transition early, I have characterized them in a half serious way as liberal essentialists. On the surface, the approach comes across as very humanistic, liberal, accepting, tolerant of diversity. But I think the hidden assumption is that they believe the child's cross-gender identity is entirely caused by biological factors. That's why I call them essentialists. Liberals have always been critical of biological reductionism, but here they embrace it. I think that conceptual approach is astonishingly naive and simplistic, and I think it's wrong."

He's right in that I believe a child's cross-gender identity is entirely the result of biological factors; but doesn't realise that as neither sex nor gender are strict binaries, borderline cases exist, just as do extreme ones. Try to force transition on someone who is neither transsexual nor borderline - bi-gendered - and you get a David Reimer situation. Try to force non-transition on an extreme transsexual child, you get the same kind if problems.

Of the two approaches mentioned in "Family One" and "Family Two", I'd personally be more comfortable with the "Family One" approach. If the child is Transsexual, with a gender identity towards the extreme, they'll tell us so. If a borderline case, then anything which can avoid the problems inherent in major surgery of any kind, especially one that causes sterility, has to be the preferred option.

However... if the child is not a borderline case, then while a hands-off approach will do no harm - the child will insist on transition (or insist on *not* transitioning) anyway - if they're not borderline, no amount of encouragement to fit into a gender binary others think is "appropriate" will make the slightest bit of difference. Except to possibly leave them suicidal if the wrong side of the binary line is chosen for them. Trying to make them fit our own ideas of what their bodies should look like based on our ideological beliefs is a recipe for disaster.

Transsexuality comes in different degrees. When the symptoms are obvious when young, it's usually not borderline at all. But may be, so unless obviously extreme, use "hands off".

I guess that the best way is to point out choices, including ones outside the gender binary, and let the child decide. This is not an abdication of responsibility, it's attempting to "do no harm". When the child reaches the age of consent, then allow puberty-delaying treatment. Before that in the case of precocious puberty, just as we do with non-trans children as a matter of routine.

Then, as young adults, old enough to marry anyway, they can give fully informed consent to whatever treatment *they*, not we, think is best.
65
Maybe I should add - I fit neatly into the binary concept of gender, though hardly the Doris Day stereotype. More of the "Girl Scientist", my role models Grace Hopper, Hypatia, Mdm Curie, Ada Augusta Byron, Rosamund Franklin, rather than Brigitte Bardot. Though I wouldn't mind looking like her...

I was brought up in a very patriarchal society - girls became nurses, not doctors, beauticians, not astronauts. When I was young, I wanted to be a boy, as they got to do the cool stuff.

But it was obvious I wasn't one. While other girls I found silly and sissy, boys were ALIEN, puerile, immature.

Sounds like a conflicted tomboy who might consider an unwise FtoM transition?

No, because my birth certificate said "boy". As it turned out, that was biologically incorrect, I'm Intersex (please... not disordered... different) but I digress, I looked male when young. I was socialised as male. It made not the slightest bit of difference to my gender identity. Biologically, my sex is as far outside the strict binary as my gender identity is within it.

When I had genital reconstruction (necessary to remove cancer risk and ensure urinary function), I didn't expect much - though by that time it was something of a compulsion. I didn't anticipate the feeling of "YES!! THINGS FEEL RIGHT NOW!!!" that I got. Suddenly, a lot of things made sense, in terms of instincts and feeling my body was part of me, not a shell I inhabited. The unexpected feeling of relief was indescribable - though reported by many classically Transsexual women.

However... I can't and shouldn't universalise my own experience. But I am a counter-example to much ideologically-based theorising, even if my own narrative doesn't match that of a single other person on the planet (though it probably does).

I think Dr Dreger should do a bit more listening, and a bit less ideological preaching. As probably, should I.
66
There are a few things you can count on whenever the trans issue is brought up:

1. It's a semantic jungle full of angry lesbians

2. Whatever you say will be wrong
67
A-fucking-MEN! & RIGHT FUCKING ON! THANK YOU!
68
1.) i'm angry, but straight.

2.) You forgot, '...and used against you.'

Well done.

www.anonymous-t-girl@blogspot.com
69
Zoe - you are creating straw men! no one is defending Zucker's practices. The point here is that it is as harmful to pathologise and manipulate children's bodies as it is to pathologize and manipulate children's minds. Both extreme interventionist approaches to young children with an internal diversity of sex and/or gender expression are oppressive interfering and limit children's life choices. Read my earlier posts with an open mind. Try and put yourself into the position of a child for who is groomed towards irreversible surgery from ery early childhood. These children's life options are limited based on narrow ideas of how our minds and bodies must match in order for us to be "acceptable" human beings. It makes me really angry to keep hearing repeated the idea that people whose bodies and or body/mind combinations are unconventional are intrinsically flawed or in need of altering to be happy. The practice of grooming young children towards puberty blockers and surgery is rejecting, narrow minded and (perhaps not intentionally? ) hateful. Setting children on this path in early childhood is the antithesis to the acceptance and care all children need and the antithesis to the freedom and self determination basic to all human rights.I strongly support the right for self identified trans young adults to choose their treatment (or no treatment)- and this cannot be achieved without protecting them (and all children) from pre-emptive gender policing interventions chosen by adults for them.
70
Let's be clear Zoe. Hoffman and Dregar are (as you well know) both completely against Zucker's practices. The whole point about reflecting on Zuckers studies were that the outcomes were not as expected and the longditudinal outcomes suggest that Zucker's (psychological) interventions are unfounded (it is harmful to try and shape children's minds) and further suggest that we cannot confidently predict adult transexuality from children's behaviour (shaping children's bodies is also futile/harmful). Extracting lessons from Zucker's studies does not equate to sitting in his camp! (you know this - you are an academic!)
---
While this stranger article by Dregar uses a pretty stupid and insensitive analogy, the issues are very important. Dregar actually wrote an article last year revising her own earlier stance on transitioning young children - and her willingness to open her mind and realise her earlier narrow mindedness was my first recognition that she may not be all bad.

In the following article both Zucker and Childhood Trans gender-reinforcing approaches are rejected in favour of Hoffman's Hands off approach:
http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Bioethi…
71
Dear Alice,

Many, many years ago you were welcomed in as a helper. And for a time you did help. But over the last decade that changed. You started becoming a critic and then an enemy. So you've come full circle in a way. My advice is that you retire while you still have a reputation (at least among cisgender people).
72
Georgina - please see my own comment on that article you quote.

Dr Dreger's unfortunate turns of phrase left me with the impression that she had reverted to her former position.

If "the clinician who tries to get a gender dysphoric kid to learn to like her or his innate body" is not Zucker, who else could it be? Who else has been described as "really .. a Nazi"?

If the only clinician that puts teenagers on puberty blockers in the USA is not "a certain current-day endocrinologist", who is? Not that "he essentially starts prepping genderqueer kids for surgery the moment they are presented by their distraught parents" except in the fevered imagination of some far-right religious nuts and far-left feminists.

Perhaps Dr Dreger should actually look at the protocols - and the diagnostic criteria that Zucker uses, and the very different ones used by Spack.

Most of Zucker's patients do not conform to the DSM-IV-TR criteria, flawed though they may be. He takes in *any* child showing *any* signs of cross-sexed behaviour when young, and tries to make them happy, well-adjusted but genitally intact gays and lesbians. As many would turn out that way anyway, he is able to claim a high rate of "success" - though without a control group that shows any difference from *not* having treatment, his results are, at best, questionable.

Spack on the other hand only tracks for *likely* (not certain) transition those meeting even more stringent requirements than are in the DSM-IV-TR. He leaves the possibility open for others, but emphasises that this is not the only route available, or even likely, for them.

See if I have interpreted you aright: your concern is twofold: that pre-gay children will be coerced into becoming transsexual *after* transition from environmental pressure to conform to a gender binary; and that transgendered children are not being given the option of being themselves, genitally intact but gender-nonconforming, due to a fanatic adherence to a strict gender binary model too.

These dangers are very real, if the situation is not handled well. Your concerns are not chimeric, they're valid, and there would be a danger of either happening in the hands of hopelessly incompetent physicians desperate to be "progressive".

Your fear that such physicians exist is justified too. Spack's not one of them though.

My concern is that strongly neurologically cross-sexed children, who firmly and implacably state what sex they are from a very early age, get damaged if forced into a transgender or cisgender role which does not fit. Their gender really does fit into the binary model far better than any other. These are extreme cases, but need careful handling, and need to be distinguished from the great majority who do not meet the strict diagnostic criteria here. Mere gender-nonconformity in play patterns is *not* a reliable indicator that transition is appropriate.

Moreover, there is no doubt in my mind that there are many who have had surgery, who didn't actually *need* it. They were forced into it by legislation that required proof of surgery in order to marry, or acquire accurate ID, or to avoid very real legal and social dangers. While such matters should always be the patient's decision, I think we're on very shaky ethical grounds if we didn't make the case that legalisms are no excuse for extensive and risky medical interventions. The Law and societal attitudes should change, not people's bodies - unless that's really necessary.

BUT... there are some where the superior parietal lobule is so cross-sexed that preventing them from accessing surgery is likely to kill them, but only after years of torment. They're a minority, but not a *small* minority. And there are others who it won't actually kill, just leave utterly miserable.

I speak from personal experience, being in the latter category. I could have lived with it - just as I could have lived with paraplegia. Not that I knew I was miserable - I didn't understand the concept of "happiness", so had no reference to use. Now I do, and the world makes a great deal more sense now.

What I foresee happening as the result of Dr Dreger's article is that the trendoid and incompetent therapists who could actually benefit from it, won't. They will either never hear of it, or of they do, will interpret it as now being "fashionable" to deny surgery or hormones to anyone under any circumstances. They're incompetent, remember?

And it will be, and is being, used by those opposed to surgery under any circumstances whatsoever, due to religious or ideological beliefs, to agitate for surgery to be made illegal - though there's some cognitive dyssonance there, as the religious nutters believe that the Strict Gender Binary Is Decreed By God, while the Idealogues see Gender as a concept (including Transgender) to be inherently oppressive of women.
73
As an aside - be VERY careful about co-opting the concepts of the fa'fahine, whakawahine, fakaleiti, mahu, akava'ine etc.

These are starting to split, with many Samoan gay men who would have adopted the (traditionally acceptable) fa'fahine role now feeling free to be gay males, and some fa'fahine going to Thailand for surgery, not because of cultural pressure, but despite it. There has traditionally been no male equivalent too - now there's starting to be.

I'm at the ANU - the Australian National University - and as we have a large polynesian population, both transient and immigrant, we're possibly a little more aware of the various forms of polynesian "third sex", not just the Samoan one.

What really throws me though is the variety of types of Brotherboys and Sistagirls in Aboriginal groups. Especially those who are Intersex too. But I digress, and am a rank amateur here anyway - I just have to advise such students when the gender-binary university beureaucracy throws a gear when dealing with them.
74
"There are a few things you can count on whenever the trans issue is brought up:

1. It's a semantic jungle full of angry lesbians

2. Whatever you say will be wrong"

Jake Snake FTW!!
75
Problem is not just 'us' (meaning the masses), but she is part of the problem too, as she thinks that sex parts defines gender in absolute binary equations, Sex=Gender. Penis-Male; and Vagina=Female. And totally ignores gender identity as being the sole definer of gender, and all else should be secondary to it, including sex parts AND gender expression.
She offers just this final thought:
"What if a boy could go to school in a dress and still be a boy? What if a girl could declare she's going to grow up to be a man without being dragged to a clinic for a cure and/or prep? What if we made the bullies go get mental health interventions first (or, at least, too)?"
But what of the alternative completely neglected?:
What if a Wolffian Sexed Girl (she has a penis; but Alice insists she is a 'he' and a 'boy' based on her Wolffian Sex parts) could go to school in a dress and still be a girl? What if a MĂĽllerian Sexed Boy (he has a vagina; but Alice insists he is a 'she' and a 'girl' based on her having MĂĽllerian Sex parts) could declare he's going to grow up to be a man without being dragged to a clinic for a cure and/or prep? What if we made the bullies go get mental health interventions first (or, at least, too) such as Alice Dreger and those of her ilk? She cannot seem to get it out of her traditional antiquated learnings that human sex parts do not really define gender, but only the sexual function or act, and not entirely or wholly gender expression. And that Gender Identity, self-identifying and persistent as shared by the individual involved is what matters. What to do? Let those who are what they say they are 'be' and not molested or bullied.

Everyone should be shown the 'basics' of how our human sexual systems develop, obviously from what is below, shows humans to be bi-potential for EITHER sex systems and NO ONE is genetically 'one-sexed only', we all are dual-potential sexed, all depending on developmental steps involving hormonal signalling, the lack of it, the receptiveness, the sensitivity, etc, not just mere 'one gene' here or there, it is a symphony of those combined factors that give rise to the 'sex parts', and all the more SEPARATELY to a 'gender identity' (brain gender identity).

Bi-Systems: the two Nephric Duct Systems exists genetically in place for everyone, to which no 'mutation' ever need happen but merely the chance 'genes' that contribute to a more common outcome or a less common outcome, precursors for both sex systems are inherent for every INDIVIDUAL, not just one of the two systems:

MĂĽllerian and Wolffian
MĂśLLERIAN and WOLFFIAN
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HowTheB…

Otherwise, MĂĽllerian or Wolffian parts, one or the other, would actually be absent for 100% of every developing human baby, which is simply NOT the case; because the OPPOSITE is true, ALL humans have BOTH precursor systems, and so all that happens from that dual starting point is development 'usually' but not 'always' going down one path or the other, or a mixed path of partial of one or the other, sometimes both, sometimes neither.

The is old knowledge, but sadly with nobody standing up and saying 'Aha!' but rather keeping quiet for whatever other agenda exists in the medical community, special insights of the 'doctors' or 'experts' so they can gain privileged profits, right? If not for profit, and the logic above is sound, why not openly teach it to everyone?

Stefanie Yue
(SaintSuelle/Xzotyqa)
76
Problem is not just 'us' (meaning the masses), but she is part of the problem too, as she thinks that sex parts defines gender in absolute binary equations, Sex=Gender. Penis-Male; and Vagina=Female. And totally ignores gender identity as being the sole definer of gender, and all else should be secondary to it, including sex parts AND gender expression.
She offers just this final thought:
"What if a boy could go to school in a dress and still be a boy? What if a girl could declare she's going to grow up to be a man without being dragged to a clinic for a cure and/or prep? What if we made the bullies go get mental health interventions first (or, at least, too)?"
But what of the alternative completely neglected?:
What if a Wolffian Sexed Girl (she has a penis; but Alice insists she is a 'he' and a 'boy' based on her Wolffian Sex parts) could go to school in a dress and still be a girl? What if a MĂĽllerian Sexed Boy (he has a vagina; but Alice insists he is a 'she' and a 'girl' based on her having MĂĽllerian Sex parts) could declare he's going to grow up to be a man without being dragged to a clinic for a cure and/or prep? What if we made the bullies go get mental health interventions first (or, at least, too) such as Alice Dreger and those of her ilk? She cannot seem to get it out of her traditional antiquated learnings that human sex parts do not really define gender, but only the sexual function or act, and not entirely or wholly gender expression. And that Gender Identity, self-identifying and persistent as shared by the individual involved is what matters. What to do? Let those who are what they say they are 'be' and not molested or bullied.

Everyone should be shown the 'basics' of how our human sexual systems develop, obviously from what is below, shows humans to be bi-potential for EITHER sex systems and NO ONE is genetically 'one-sexed only', we all are dual-potential sexed, all depending on developmental steps involving hormonal signalling, the lack of it, the receptiveness, the sensitivity, etc, not just mere 'one gene' here or there, it is a symphony of those combined factors that give rise to the 'sex parts', and all the more SEPARATELY to a 'gender identity' (brain gender identity).

Bi-Systems: the two Nephric Duct Systems exists genetically in place for everyone, to which no 'mutation' ever need happen but merely the chance 'genes' that contribute to a more common outcome or a less common outcome, precursors for both sex systems are inherent for every INDIVIDUAL, not just one of the two systems:

MĂĽllerian and Wolffian
MĂśLLERIAN and WOLFFIAN
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HowTheB…

Otherwise, MĂĽllerian or Wolffian parts, one or the other, would actually be absent for 100% of every developing human baby, which is simply NOT the case; because the OPPOSITE is true, ALL humans have BOTH precursor systems, and so all that happens from that dual starting point is development 'usually' but not 'always' going down one path or the other, or a mixed path of partial of one or the other, sometimes both, sometimes neither.

The is old knowledge, but sadly with nobody standing up and saying 'Aha!' but rather keeping quiet for whatever other agenda exists in the medical community, special insights of the 'doctors' or 'experts' so they can gain privileged profits, right? If not for profit, and the logic above is sound, why not openly teach it to everyone?

Stefanie Yue
(SaintSuelle/Xzotyqa)
77
hmm, only the second post #76 with the live web url is valid, but my comment was double posted due to the registration process. :\ sorry.
78
wow I read this article and there are some relevant issues discussed. Definitely nothing that isnt being discussed however my brain kept coming back to the subtext. this article is very dismissive and belittling in nature. Its like it was written to antagonise. The tone is familiar and tranphobic in nature.

This article is terrible, i had to stop reading because you lost me at Thomas.

79
wow I read this article and there are some relevant issues discussed. Definitely nothing that isnt being discussed however my brain kept coming back to the subtext. this article is very dismissive and belittling in nature. Its like it was written to antagonise. The tone is familiar and tranphobic in nature.

This article is terrible, i had to stop reading because you lost me at Thomas.

this article is an exorcise in creating friction.

80
When someone "doesn't feel right in their skin", that's a mental illness. Okay fine. So why not treat it like one? Why demand that other people are required to humor their delusion?

The guy who thinks he's Nepolean Bonapart, do we give him France? The guy with two healthy legs who thinks he should have been born with with his left limb missing, do we cut off his leg? Most importantly, IF doctors did amputate his leg, are the other people around him REQUIRED to pretend he was born that way?

These folks aren't just suffering from a delusion but they're demanding that everybody else go along with it. But just because somebody believes that their religion is true, doesn't mean I am required to act as if their beliefs are true. Their entitled narcissism is ridiculous.
81
I tend to agree with you on this one, Alice.

http://mishmich.wordpress.com/2011/11/27…

Mish.
82
I tend to agree with you on this one, Alice.

http://mishmich.wordpress.com/2011/11/27…

Mish.
83
Alice, sure it's true that non-binary non-transsexual people are the most common transgender people outnumbering transsexuals hundreds or even thousands to one. Most of them are also deeply closeted and suffering because of it, left out of antidiscrimination measures and vilified all over the place. And those kids need help too. But an anti-transsexual response would still fail the transsexual kids. So isn't the only solution one that allows for the diversity of the kids without discouraging the medical option for those who need it?
84
Alice Dreger........pah
learned so much its confused her to the point that she has to write a lengthy articles full of trans-phobic cliches to put accross one point of view.
or was it just a subliminal exercise to brainwash the mainstream public into beliving some of the rubbish that she has written.
oh my point is.. if you want to make a point say what you mean dont go round the houses...
85
Seriously Alice, you have no clue what it is like to be a transsexual or intersexed child that has grown up with gender identity issues. And often their GID won't really manifest because the child often represses their true gender identity because of peer pressure, bullying and abuse. The child gets lost, they become shy and withdrawn, and often they don't know where they are suppose to fit into society. I personally felt like an alien and constantly wondering if I was a boy or a girl, despite the fact I had male genitalia. Eventually I gave in to the pressure and tried very hard to accept myself as a male, engaged in the most hyper-masculine activities, learnt how to fight and stand up to my aggressors, found a lady, bought house, had kids and it all still fell apart because of the constant feelings I was in the wrong body and the women that I was with really couldn't understand me because I wasn't true to myself.

I was never gay as a male because in my day society didn't tolerate that, but that is not to say that I didn't have strong feelings for some males, I just never expressed them because being 'gay' was also wrong. So to society it appeared I was in heterosexual relationships.

However the irony is I have told every single partner I have been with from the age of 20 that I felt like a "lesbian trapped in the wrong body", but of course they never took me seriously because I didn't have the nerve to tell them I believed that I was really a woman and wanted to undergo gender reassignment. So I couldn't expect them to ever understand me properly. So I blame myself for that and then took everything but on myself afterwards because essentially I was forced to become something I wasn't and it was destroying my whole life and every relationship I ever had. I lost count of how many times I have thought about suicide before I finally made the decision to face my fears rather than keep running away from them. The only wrong thing you can ever do to a transgender child is try and repress who they really are. You will smother that child and will seriously impede and disrupt that child's chances of reaching their full potential.

My advice to you Alice is to do some proper research before posting crap like this again because you really are so way off the mark in your understanding it's comical. So thanks for the laugh. LOL

86
I'm curious to know about Prof. Dreger's basis for characterizing the course of care and treatment provided by "a certain current-day endocrinologist" to his patients as "prepping genderqueer kids for surgery the moment they are presented by their distraught parents." It is obvious that she is referring to Dr. Norman Spack of Boston Children's Hospital. Prof. Dreger could only offer an informed opinion about Dr. Spack's treatment of his patients, and about the emotional state of his patients and their parents, if she had either sat in on their consultations or gained access to their medical records as part of a duly approved research protocol. However, neither I nor my child have ever consented to the use by any researcher of any information from our numerous consultations with Dr. Spack in the five years since we first sought his expert advice. If Prof. Dreger had ever sought participants for a research project evaluating Dr. Spack's care and his patients' and families' mental health, we would have heard about it.

Prof. Dreger is throwing flames not at an actual threat, but at her own fantasies, and grossly underestimates the ability of gender-nonconforming children, their parents and their advisors to deal intelligently and constructively with the developmental and social dilemmas they face.
87
I don't think anybody advocates full-on genital surgery for 11-year-olds. However, I think that if a 9- or 10-year-old is about to begin what could well be the wrong puberty, the least we can do is offer the poor kid puberty blockers to buy more time. For me, puberty was a seven or eight-year-long horror movie. The worst part was seeing my body develop irreversible characteristics of the wrong gender, and knowing that if I said anything, my liberal and well-meaning parents, teachers, and doctors would likely assume it was a self-esteem problem, a knee jerk reaction to societal gender roles, or some combination thereof, and probably start some irritating and doomed 'Love Your Body and You Can Be Anything You Put Your Mind To' counselling of some sort. I can say with 100% certainty that if I'd known about the existence of puberty-delaying drugs and that I might have had the opportunity to develop the right body, I would have done anything within my power to make that happen.
There's no trans conspiracy to uphold rigid gender roles by shoving children into the gender 'best' matching their behaviour, interests, and personality. We just want to spare others in our boat the decade-long slow-motion every-waking-moment horror movie many of us went through.
88
From the age of 2, I badly wanted to be a boy. To run outside with my shirt off. To be loud and wild and free and have all the other privileges little boys had. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a distorted version of myself, feeling "plain" and "fat" at the ripe age of 3. I envied boys and wished so badly I could be one. I labeled myself a tomboy knowing it was one step beneath "real boy". This went on for years. By today's standards, I probably would've been considered transgender and possibly carted off for reassignment surgery.

Thank God I wasn't.

As I grew older, I realized I was attractive as a woman and could still do all the things guys do--including loving women--without changing my body. Transitioning would've been a crapshoot. Who knows how well I would've "passed" as the opposite sex? Would I have been able to grow a legit penis? Do I really need those additional self-esteem problems in my life? Would I have been able to handle the night-and-day change in how society treated me as a man vs. a woman?

No. The answer is no.

I'm thankful to have been given the chance to grow into a femme lesbian with a masculine mindset and interests. I made peace with the male and female energies within me instead of changing the exterior to fit society's rigid gender roles. This may not be the path for everyone, but kids should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about it. Children aren't able to give true informed consent because their brains are largely undeveloped. (Brain development continues until roughly age 25).

What is the answer here? I don't know. But I do know that gender roles need to die immediately. Kids should be encouraged to do what feels right. As any plastic surgery addict will tell you, surgery doesn't fix the internal conflict that compels them to undergo risky procedures in the first place. That kind of growth requires intense therapy and radical self acceptance.
89
I am a post op male to female transsexual having lived in the role of choice now for over 20 years. Though I wasn't suicidal (I don't believe in wasting the precious gift of life), I needed to find a path that was as genuine an expression of the human being I am, that was humanly possible by medical science at the time.

I am at once saddened by people on all sides of this issue feathering their agendas, laying down their dogmas like they were the magical panacea to all ills.

And at the same time, thrilled by the new and growing trend to allow children to find their own way, and without presumption guide them to that path which will ultimately provide them with happiness. The growing acceptance by society at large for LGBT and healthy variations in sexual and gender related expressions has trickled down to how we raise children and we are just beginning to ask amazingly interesting questions about raising children who will be wiser, happier, and more fully self expressed than prior human generations. I am delighted by this development.

As a transperson who knew my gender at a very early age (I had a sister 11 months younger and being very close bumped up against gender very early), you might think I'd be all for treating gender nonconforming children medically as a rule. You'd be wrong. As a number of people here have said, the vast majority of these children end up feminine gay men, a few end up feminine straight men and a truly miniscule few end up transgendered. To assume that you would use any blanket treatment on these children is absurd.

There are strong signs of a child who has profound gender dysphoria. The frustration and depression, the inclination to self mutilate, the near terror of puberty and the changes it will bring, and for a child that is free to speak about his or her behavior and life experience with parents, the clear and consistent request for intervention. Personally, I would not allow serious medical intervention before 13, and consider 15 a better age, if only to allow the child to experience adolescence as their birth sex so they can be absolutely certain that this is not what they truly want. Hormone blockers followed by cross sex hormones make permanent changes. They should only be the resort of last choice and only when the child has been emphatic and consistent about their need, over the long haul. As well, it is imperative to make certain the child isn't dealing with any form of internalized homophobia or fear based inducement to choose transsexuality because someone told them it was better than being gay. The only valid reason for a medical intervention is due to a clear and pressing medical need. Solve everything else with counseling and parental support.

This is why the child has to be listened to. Has to be encouraged to find their best path. Has to be informed and enlightened about the benefits and costs of different paths and be clear that there may be a wide number of alternate paths that will lead to alternate lives that will be equally or even more fulfilling. I have a good friend. His name is Steve. Steve is a math professor and is very good at his job. He is also deeply feminine. He tends to cross dress in public wearing a significant amount of women's clothing including lingerie and wearing his hair long. He is slender, even willowy and very graceful. He married a woman named Micky, a large, very masculine woman. a woman who is a successful business entrepreneur and joyfully accepts the more traditionally masculine role in their relationship. Steve leads a blessed life, is a wonderful parent, is a professional success and has perhaps found the perfect path in life. By the way, a medical intervention in my case was also an easier choice, knowing I was infertile. I was always strikingly androgynous, had a raft of interesting physical anomalies, and have always been infertile. I never had myself tested for being intersexed, but suspected that might be the case. If you're going to look to see if your child is gender nonconforming by all means find out if they are intersexed as well. That might open up a new set of developmental paths and provide useful answers not previously available. By all means, don't make assumptions.

My path was different, and I wouldn't change that, but a medical one size fits all solution is clearly not the right answer. These are children not widgets. Each needs to be honored, loved, appreciated for the unique human being they are, and allowed to choose their own path with love and guidance.

By the way, I am also hoping with the abandoning of ridiculously restrictive gender roles in society that more and more people who are gender questioning, gender nonconforming and transgendered will find a growing raft of healthy and happy places to express themselves in society. We will need to come up with solutions to personal privacy and social services that protect everyone and at the same time provide vital services (like restrooms and locker rooms) but that's an engineering problem, not a social problem, we just need to assure people's privacy and safety.

Transpeople are not cash cows to be milked by medical establishment. They are not the enemies of Radical Feminism or Separatism, and they need to be distinct from the larger transgendered community which has interests and aspirations markedly different and inconsistent with the needs of transsexual people. We all have common needs, we all have common interests and we can all agree that the health and well being of children is the first concern, the last concern, in fact the only concern. Let's all put children ahead of agendas.

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