Parents of ”trans kids”: 2


This is the second piece on some research, for a PhD, on families in the U.K. who believe they have a ”transgender” child. Part One focussed on experiences with “socially transitioning” their child. It followed 30 families whose children ranged from years of three to eleven. Most identified as the opposite sex but some were ”non-binary”. For this paper the numbers under consideration were the 23 families engaging with gender clinics. As you can see from the title there was not much positive feedback about the gender clinics, in the U.K.

Full paper is accessible here:

Parents of “trans kids” at Gender Clinics

Broadly the parents felt the clinics were overly intrusive in their questioning /therapy and unsupportive of affirming parents. The social transition of children is a relatively new phenomenon, in the United Kingdom, and these parents, who have taken this step, are likely to be more convinced/entrenched in their belief system. The negative feedback seems very much driven by shock that the clinicians, at gender clinics, were still treating these children in an exploratory fashion. The parents have already determined that they had a transgender child on their hands and they did not take kindly to being questioned.

It also needs to be borne in mind that the author of the study identifies as ”non-binary” and also has a “transgender” child. Both the author and the parents spent time in closed groups for parents in the same situation; groups which cater for “affirming” parents. Parents who are more questioning are badged as ”trans-hostile” and were not included in the study, naturally enough as these parents are highly unlikely to be ”socially transitioning” their child. Of course this does not mean non-affirming parents are insisting only girls wear pink and have long hair. They may well have a son, like mine, with waist length hair and a penchant for perfume and baking. Like me they may be comfortable with this variant expression of masculinity and regard it as perfectly acceptable for his sex.

A central critique of the gender clinics is they are pathologising gender diversity because they are tainted by ”cis-genderism”. They are accused of seeking a “cause” for the “non-normative” development of the transgender child. By treating it as a disorder the clinics are, from the parents, they are erroneously seeking explanations rather than accepting the child as a “transgender child”. This is anathema to these parents who are firmly in the ”born this way” camp. It is necessary to understand the parental belief system to comprehend why they are so keen to embrace their ”transgender” child even to the extent of blocking puberty. For those of us who see embracing gender diversity as a positive value which does NOT , should not, include a drug regime, the parents embracing lifelong medical dependence are a baffling phenomenon. To ”affirmative” clinicians it is we who are problematic. To the author of this paper, clinicians who seek fo find an underlying cause for the ”gender dysphoria” are the ones guilty of “medical violence” . Yes by practicing therapeutic exploration you are accused of doing serious harm. The framing here is duplicitous. Parents resisting medical intervention, for our children, are perfectly accepting of diverse ways to express your ”gender”; we just don’t think society needs to medically intervene to mimic the opposite sex.

The author clearly believes therapeutic exploration is akin to ”conversion therapy” and any questioning induces feelings of shame and is a path to self-harm and suicide ideation.

The study then quotes some trans-ideolgues who rail against pathologising these children, instead they should be celebrated. Many /all of these parents fervently believe in this perspective. Is it any wonder, as we saw in part one, they feel they have no choice but to embrace their child’s ”identity”.

The results of the study were as follows:

Quotes from parents are included to illustrate the themes the author identified. We are told that many parents became emotional /angry when describing their treatment by the clinicians at gender clinics. One parent is aghast that the clinician wants to explore the impact of a still-born child on her/the family. Another that she was asked about the timing of the transgender identity in relation to the father leaving the family home. Another is unhappy the therapist wishes to explore the death of her mother and a second mother is unhappy the therapist wants to explore paternal bereavement:

The parents are manifestly irritated by the idea of any causal factor in their kids adopting a transgender identity. To them it’s all a waste of time. The child just is trans and all they really want is to take action; by which I assume they mean access puberty blockers. From this vantage point exploring issues like family break-up, sibling rivalry, bereavment or even whether they practice rigid gender roles, is irrelevant. There are plenty of quotes illustrating this perspective.

Another thing that comes over, very strongly, is the parents feeling let down by not encountering unquestioning acceptance of the trans-narrative; which is labelled “trans-positive”. More than one parent reports that a clinician had expressed a negative view about the parent having socially transitioned the child.

The way the parents interpret the exploratory therapy is akin to an inquisition. One parents talk about how they “wised up” to the direction they felt the clinician was heading by their line of questioning. It is clear to some of the parents that some clinicians see being ”trans” as a less than desirable outcome. While the clinician may have thought all parents would prefer an unmedicalised future for their child it is obvious this is not the desired outcome for these parents. They have already decided they have a ”trans” child and invested, publicly, in their child’s identity and see themselves as supportive parents. They talk of the hostility they face for socially transitioning a young child, some speak of unsupportive family members. Imagine arriving at a gender clinic and finally speaking to someone paid to understand this issue who does not immediately affirm your child! It clearly came as a shock. This was a really revealing quote from one parent. They had been ”excited” to visit the gender clinic and were left deflated..

Overall the assessment was that the gender clinics were judgemental and parents felt unnecessarily scrutinised. This parent expresses what seems to be the generally held opinion.

More than one parent complained that they felt de-stabilised by any questioning. Two are quoted rejecting clinicians who told them desistance rates for children with gender dysphoria were around 80%. This is based on a piece that looked at all studies conducted prior to early medical intervention. The fact these parents seem to prefer lifelong dependence on opposite sex hormones should have raised red flags all over the place. The author does raise child safeguarding issues but it is not for these parents, rather it is for parents who are not affirming. See this excerpt below: 👇. One of the recommendations is to educate the parents and if they do not get on board the clinician should take responsibility for prioritising ”child safety”. What form this will take is not spelled out but it all sounds rather ominous.

It is perfectly clear that these parents are very committed to the idea they have a transgender child. They do not want to be questioned lest they are dissuaded? The kind of ”care” which would seem to be desired is outlined by this parent: 👇

I will follow this up with a later post when the author publishes more of this research.

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Researching Gender Identity Ideology and it’s impact on women’s and gay rights. I am particularly concerned about the medical transition of children and gay youth. I think this will turn out to be the medical scandal of this century.


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:

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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.