Monday, September 05, 2016

Transgender skepticism that's not religiously motivated

I stumbled across this transgender skeptical blog (which mainly concentrates on the issue as it relates to pre-adulthood) some months ago, and forgot to mention it here

Transgender issues are not something I care to devote that much thought to, and the whole problem with complaining about transgender activism is that it's embarrassing to be identified with religiously motivated  conservatives and the way they chose to talk about the issue.   (As I have posted before, the whole issue of transgender use of toilets is one which I think is massively overblown in importance by American conservatives.)

But, I don't have much doubt that transgender activism has reached an amazing peak of influence, and in particular, the issue of how to deal with children who feel they are the "wrong" gender is a particularly vexed one.  Hormonal treatment to delay puberty for a mental conviction that might be strong at the moment, but for how much longer?   How do you know that the influence of hormonal changes will itself not lead to eventual change of mind about gender?  You only have to read Rupert Everett's (pretty amazing) disclosure that for a long time as a child he wanted to be a girl (and then became a very promiscuous gay man - although he did sleep with the occasional woman too) to be alerted to the fact that some people change their gender identifying views.   (A counter view, arguing that the quite large number of children who act out as the other gender who do not transition is not really an argument against "genuine" childhood transexualism can be found here.)

Anyhow, the 4thWaveNow blog was apparently started by a woman with this experience:
4thWaveNow was started by the mother of a teenage girl who suddenly announced she was a “trans man” after a few weeks of total immersion in YouTube transition vlogs.  (The daughter has since desisted from identifying as transgender.) After much research and fruitless searching for an alternative online viewpoint, this mom began writing about her deepening skepticism of the ever-accelerating medical and media fascination with the phenomenon of “transgender children.”....

I created this site because mine is a viewpoint that is seldom publicly heard: that of a left-leaning parent who is critical of the dominant paradigm regarding transgender politics and treatment. My primary concern is children, teens, and people in their early 20s, particularly girls who are contemplating medical transition. While I may disagree with their views, I do understand that consenting adults have the right to do what they choose with their own bodies and minds.
 I haven't read many of the posts on the blog, but as far as I can tell, the skeptics who comment there frequently do identify as left leaning, and do not usually sound at all like being religiously motivated.

There is, though, I must say, some stridency in some material that (unfortunately) smacks of the language of conservative critics.

Interestingly, I see that they do talk about concern that there is presently a significant element of "social contagion" in the experience of teenagers who have never before seemed to have gender identity issues, but who suddenly announce they do. I really suspect that this is likely true, and a subject worthy of some detailed research.  But as the blog often complains - transgender activists (often men who transitioned late in life, oddly enough) are usually vehemently opposed to research that seems could question transgender desire as something fixed since birth, effectively.

Anyway, it's interesting to see skepticism on this issue that isn't embarrassing to be associated with.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I see that for some reason, Blogger didn't care to let a comment through, even though it was automatically sent (like all comments are) to an email account I use.

So, I've cut and pasted it here, a comment yesterday from Mayan:

An article in the Medical Journal of Australia says "Children as young as 3 years of age may experience gender dysphoria and cross-gender behaviour; however, only 16% of these children will continue to have persistent GID in adolescence and adulthood." ( If this persists into adolescence, then later through their teens, then it is not going away.

I'm surprised at the spectacle of four year olds 'transitioning'. It seems more likely to be ill-informed parents meaning well, but not thinking. As the research shows, if they're still in that boat at, say, 13 or 14, then that isn't going to change; they're trans. On the other hand, I am not a medical expert.

There is a surprising amount of animosity toward transsexual people in the gay and lesbian community. Some lesbians regard those who transition f2m as traitors, and claim that trans people are stealing their butches. There are some notable people, including Cathy 'Bugs' Brennan who have launched what could be viewed as hate sites, attacking transsexual people, even outing them, which has the potential to ruin people's lives. (Being outed led to the downward spiral of a friend, who had until then a good life and a successful business, but who felt she had no choice other than suicide.) The feminists who hold those views are known as TERFs, trans eradicating radical feminists, for reasons outlined in this website:

I've only known one transsexual person who 'de-transitioned', and that was when she was 're-transitioning'. She had fallen under the sway of a religious group/cult which led to her trying to be a man for a few years (after surgery and all!). That failed spectacularly, so she left the cult and re-transitioned.

There are also many people who are, or claim to be, secular, but who simply cannot accept that anyone could be transsexual. Mind you, despite the reality that some children are born intersex, some people just assume they don't exist, either. Even when people aren't consciously religious, all societies are deeply influenced by religious dogma.

I've leave with a link to an article about a local TERF, Sheila Jeffreys, who is a vociferous anti-trans activist: