Parents of ”Trans Kids”: 1

Some reflections on parents who ”socially transition” their children to present as the opposite sex.

An analysis of this paper: 👇

Paper available here

The author is undertaking a PhD covering this research. The first article is about the parental experience of socially transitioning their child. There is a second paper confirming some of these children were also attending gender clinics. It seems likely a number of these children are accessing puberty blockers. Hopefully the author will continue to follow up these children as the impact of the medical pathway becomes clear.

The paper is written from the perspective of the parents and follows 30 families, located throughout the United Kingdom.

This is the abstract. As stated above, the paper looks at the experience of “socially“ transitioning your child but, as will be made clear in the follow up paper, some of the children are also engaging with Gender Clinics and, presumably, either accessing, or seeking, medical intervention.

The average age of the children concerned was seven years old. The youngest child in the study was three years old.

In the introduction we are informed that there has been a shift away from pathologising these children as ”disordered” to “celebration” and ”normalisation” of a transgender identity. Parents are encouraged to validate the child’s experience and ”affirm” their “lived experience”. Social transition may include a change of name and pronouns and, we are told, is not just allowing gender non-conformity but a “shift to a lived gender identity” .

Below 👇 we are told that parental affirmation ensures higher well-being than for other trans youth, who show higher levels of depression, self-harm and suicide ideation.

This statement should not be taken at face value. A study by Michael Biggs, into those children put on puberty blockers, found quite the opposite. I covered this paper on my blog:

TAVISTOCK 4 : Michael Biggs

Here is one observation from the work of Michael Biggs.

Many of the studies making this claim rely on parental report and the survey, quoted above, by Olsen et al, was based on parental completion of a questionnaire. We cannot discount the possibility that parents are unlikely to acknowledge their child is still in distress/ unhappy after they have embarked on this pathway. As Biggs noted:

The authors recommend some further reading on “transgender kids“. One of them is focused on the U.K. and written by a late-transitioning male. He asks us to treat children as our ”gender bosses” . Foreword is by Susie Green, of Mermaids infamy and Jay Stewart of the lobby group, Gendered Intelligence.

Other books by the same author: 👇

Trans-emancipatory Framework

The author contextualises the parental experience of bringing up a trans child within a ”trans-emancipatory” framework. The parents have ”lived experience” of bringing up their child during a “media-driven backlash against trans rights, in the U.K. with concerted attacks on the rights of the transgender child“ . Without naming the case (Keira Bell) the author also references attacks on adolescent trans-health care.

I covered the Keira Bell case here: (Note this judgement was subsequently overturned).

Kiera Bell: Judicial Review

The author laments the permeation of “cis-normativity” in our institutions and also makes it clear they are coming from an intersectional framework and aware of the issues of racism, sexism and classism. For the record I am skeptical about the awareness of “sexism” ; If sex is a pick and mix how do you the defend sex based rights that women fought for? These are all the buzzwords for social justice warriors, what they mean in practice often contradicts the stated aims.

This was the research focus of the paper:

This was the sample interviewed. Ages range from three years old to ten, some identified in line with the sex binary and others were non-binary. Parents were mainly white and ”cisgender” with varied sexual orientations including many with the neo-sexual orientation of “pansexual”. I include this, not just to be snide, but, because this indicates some of the parents were aware being pansexual (open to relationships with all ”genders”) is the politically correct sexuality in transgender circles. The prevalence of females (93%) in the parental sample is also stark. Anecdotally this often seems to be the case.

The sample was drawn from closed groups set up to support parents of “transgender kids”. The sample is, therefore, a self-selecting parental group because parents opting for watchful waiting, described as ”trans-hostile” by the author, would not be active in these forums.

The author is a member of the online spaces and is non-binary and also a parent of a trans child. What are the chances?

The parents were asked to reflect on the decision making process that lead to socially transitioning their child and how they feel now about the risks and benefits. The results were as follows:

Many parents were, understandably, concerned about anonymity but nevertheless many also expressed a desire to share their voices with other parents. This is because they believe their voices are absent from the public discourse. {Given the near ubiquity of trans-kids in the media I find it hard to give this credence. The parents resisting a medical transition are the ones who are missing from this ”debate”. This has resulted in an asymmetry of media coverage in quite the opposite way from the one suggested by this quote.}

The parent comments are eerily similar and many express how terrified they were to embark on this pathway. The parents operated on a “gut-feeling” this was the right path. The centrality of hair length is another key theme. You know hair length means short for a “boy” and long for a “girl”.

Another common theme was a loss of parental control which seems almost indistinguishable from handing over control to the child. Following the child’s lead is seen as necessary because parental control is, in any case, illusory. You can’t ”make your child not trans” and all you can do is have a happy or a sad trans child.

A lot of parents talk about how much courage it takes to take a leap into the unknown with your child. It takes faith.

The parents feel they have no choice, they don’t see any other option. The fear of raising an “unhappy” child is another recurrent theme. It’s difficult to assess what they mean by ”unhappy”. I was personally surprised by how raw and extreme my children’s emotions were when thwarted in any desire.

Parents felt they were forcing their child to be something they are not by affirming their biological sex. Of course no account would be complete without a reference to suicide ideation. 👇

Another parent with a child not wanting to live until they acceded to the ”gender boss” and socially transitioned the child. “How could you tell your child that that’s wrong?

There follows testimonials that the parents knew this was the right course of action because of how happy their child was. Knowing how many of these kids were being seen at gender clinics and at least some were seeking medical intervention this parent comes across as dangerously naive. 👇. There will be consequences for a child who has puberty blocked. We already know that as high as 98% will continue to cross sex hormones once puberty is blocked. If a boy changes his mind there could be significant, detrimental, impacts, such as stunted growth in respect of his genitalia.

This is a risk about which the parents are either unaware, or in denial. “Most outright rejected the idea that there was any risk associated with accepting their child“, notice the framing. Those of us who accept our (male) children in the body they are in, irrespective of a preference for long hair, and an attraction to boys are, implicitly, badged as not ”accepting” our children.

There follows some bafflement about parents who do not affirm /socially transition their child. Specifically parents who allow their child to display behaviour at home but restrict them outside the home. This is a tricky one. If your son wants to be of flamboyant in dress and rock long hair why is this not allowed without implying it means you have changed sex? At the same time making this a furtive behaviour may create unhealthy associations about ”forbidden pleasures”.

Some of the parents report how transgender adults convinced them to embrace their child’s new identity. I think this is misguided because many adults seek validation and a distraction from sexual motives for their own transition. Children de-sexualise motivations and also validate the idea of ”born this way”.

Parents offer advice for other parents going through this and the consensus is this is that socially transitioning your child is the answer. Again 👇 we see the reckless assumption there will be no long term consequences. Short term happiness does not mean long-term well-being.

Two comments on this. Of course we should fight for the right to wear whatever clothes and hair style kids want. However, it’s utterly regressive and culturally ignorant to assume long hair and skirts = girls. Tell that to seventeenth century males who had a monopoly on heels, or dandies, or the note the penchant for long hair and wigs in males. If it were only hair and clothes, not puberty blockers, it would all be reversible. 👇 However, we know for at least some of these families the changes are not merely superficial.

There is a lot of commonality in the comments from these parents. The striking thing is the absence of doubt or fear they may be making a mistake. I wonder if there will be more evidence of critical reflection when these same parents are asked about their experiences with gender clinics? My next piece will cover that.

A note on the author:

I do this full-time and am unwaged. If you can support my work here is how you can help.

Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women’s and gay rights, especially the medical interventions given to gay, autistic and other vulnerable youth.


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