Mermaids: Trans Britain (Part 6)

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Mermaids

Chapter 4 covers the controversial charity, Mermaids. Using a pseudonym, a mum who “transitioned” her son speaks. At the time “Margaret Griffiths” was in her seventies so Her child will be in their forties, at least, by the time of the (2018) publication of Trans Britain.

The mother explains her route into becoming an advocate for her “daughter” while she was a stay at home mum. These two things may not be unconnected. She ended up with a role at Mermaids, on the committee, dealing with a lot of press enquiries given her availability.

Like a lot of these children “Lisa” had a history of being bullied and not fitting in at school and was also highly intelligent.

She is at pains to dispel any notion that she was unhappy about her child’s sex and claims that if she had expressed a preference it would have been for a boy as she had fond memories of the younger brother, who was ten years younger. The issue of “Lisa’s” gender identity came to a head when her son was fourteen years old and refusing to go to school.

Lisa is described as not “notably effeminate” and she “hid her problem well” . He also had not expressed any issues as a young child. What she had was a gentle son who did not like rough and tumble and who may have been a gay boy.

It is not clear what her /her husband’s attitude to having a gay son was, unlike Susie Green of modern day mermaids who made this statement in her Ted Talk.

“Margaret” sought for explanations for her son refusing to go to school and runs through a check list of issues. Again this is someone looking back in 2018 but the story bears additional scrutiny. She has just told us her son was getting bullied in the same chapter but here she says she asked him about that and she seems to have accepted his denial. He also denied being gay.

We are then told that they happened to see the story of Caroline Cossey (a “transsexual” and model who was outed by the press). She describes her reaction as one of pity for the experience Cossey was undergoing. Learning about Cossey, as she tells us, inspired her to ask her son if this was the problem.

”Lisa” was asked if he was happy being a boy and, as she describes it, his mum immediately accepted this and promised to fight for the way to deal with this problem.

This is a familiar trajectory in the parents I have covered. An immediate acceptance that this is the issue and a switch to activist mode. It maybe also be significant that she was a reader of Family Circle; which is quite a conservative publication sparking a backlash when it featured a gay couple as late as 2014.

She discovers an organisation set up by a therapist, Fran Springfield, and is disconcerted by the deep voice of the “transsexual” who answered the phone.

Things move pretty fast, from an outside perspective. We have already switched to a new name and referrals to the Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Services end in frustration as her son is fixated on “gender reassignment”.

Soon both the G.P. and the mother are demanding action and this results in a referral to the Gender Identity Services, led by Domenico Di Ceglie.

You can read more about Di Ceglie in my series on him, below. 👇

Domenico Di Ceglie: Tavistock

“Lisa” is soon on puberty blocking drugs and the mum seems quite keen to point out her son was one of the first to be given puberty blockers, maybe even the first. Lisa seems to have embarked on this course of treatment age 14/15. (Since 2011 the Tavistock have been giving PBs to children from as young as aged ten).

Griffiths argues that the treatment is safe (and reversible) because the drugs have been used for decades in children with precocious puberty. This is a common argument and there are a few problems with it. In experiments on Sheep it was shown to lower IQ. Most of the research is on females. Girls put on lupron, in the U.S, for precocious puberty have taken legal action over the consequences. Given that Griffith’s first came across a quite beautiful model, in Caroline Cossey, and then a “transsexual” with a deep voice it seems that she is in a race against time to make sure her son “passes”.

To Griffith’s this preserves her son’s option and he will be better able to fit in. She goes on to say that allowing a natural puberty is not a neutral act.

This clip confirms the close relationship between Mermaids and the Tavistock. Griffith’s describes their relationship as one of mutual dependence.

Apparently adult “trans-identified” males were involved from the start. Given the link between computer specialists and a “trans” identity it is no surprise one of them was able to set up their website. I cannot find any information about Pamela Crossland but there is some public information about Krystyna Haywood.

Krystyna has stood for public office, for two different political parties in true trans fashion.

Haywood was also a social worker and remains on the register.

Here is a clip from an article about Haywood. The main thrust of the article was Haywood complaining that “sexual reassignment surgery” was delayed on the NHS. This is also not the first “trans” identified person who talks of the loss of a twin.

There follows a bit of a discussion about how one of the children chose the name Mermaids. Below it is made clear that the Beaumont Society were donating money. Beaumont Society started out as a support group for adult, male, transvestites. Press for Change was the organisation set up by Chris Burns and Stephen Whittle, among others. The donation from Pete Burns was a surprise to me.

Pete Burns was a pop star from Liverpool who was married for 25 years, to a woman, and then married a man, before his death at 57. Along the way he had series of extreme plastic surgeries and remedial procedures. This is Pete Burn’s speaking in his final interview which makes sense of his support for Mermaids.

The mum claims it all worked out well but Lisa still has “issues”. This is how parents justify a razor focus on “gender” to sort that out before worrying about any other issues. The other justification is that if you don’t do this your kids will commit suicide. That’s just a lie.

There is plenty more to come from this book. It seems worth it to document the links between these groups and the same names cropping up. Someone suggested I do a Spider diagram which I may do, once I figure out what one is. 😂.

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Dr Ann Lawrence: Interview

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To finish of this series I decided to listen to the interview with Stella O’Malley and Sasha Ayad for the Gender: A wider Lens series. It is undoubtedly a coup to be granted a rare interview with Dr Ann Lawrence. You can listen here:

Dr Ann Lawrence interview

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Lawrence identifies as a Male ”Transsexual” and is open about his motivation to ”transition”; namely Autogynephilia, a sexual paraphilia. Definition below.

O’Malley is a psychotherapists and Ayad is a Licenced adolescent therapist both deal with young, clients who present with Gender Dysphoria. Needless to say I am not privvy to their client list but it seems reasonable to suppose some of their clients must appear to fall into the AGP category. I have seen at least one YouTuber describing his sexual motivation to identify as female even though it is usually a paraphilia associated with older males. We, perhaps, have the near ubiquity of porn to thank for this phenomenon.

Lawrence writes a lot about adult, AGP males and their tendency to reconstruct their childhood memories to deemphasise the sexual motivations for their ”transition” so I always listen with a degree of skepticism about AGP narratives. Lawrence is a controversial figure among what is called the “Trans” community for being willing to acknowledge autogynephilia. This probably makes him more honest than most but very early in the interview he makes a claim that even children can present with autogynephilia. I am immediately uncomfortable with this framing. I will become more uncomfortable when he talks about documented cases, in sexology literature, of penile erections in toddlers when allowed to play with female clothing. I have not located these sources but I am immediately concerned about the veracity of these claims or, if the research exists, the ethics of any research into the erections of three year olds. One of the central tenets of queer theory involves the rejection of social norms and many activists seem to get a perverse kick in exploring the darker side of human impulses, paedophilia and zoophilia being two.

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria

Asked about this phenomenon it is clear that Lawrence has not encountered the work of Lisa Littman who coined the term (ROGD). On the one hand Lawrence says his own parents would have seen his case as Rapid Onset gender Dysphoria but he is also keen that his work is out there so AGP males have an explanation of their ”condition”. On social contagion he concedes that it is very difficult to be female in this society so, in the age of the internet, rising numbers of females in flight from their sex don’t surprise him. I wonder if Lawrence is self-aware enough to know that one of the difficulties women and girls face is the hyper-sexualisation of of our bodies. Autogynephilic men are literally projecting their sexist notions of what makes a woman onto their own bodies but also, by extension onto the bodies of all women. They associate being female with feeling sexually aroused which is inherently sexist. I don’t think Lawrence understands his role in the discomfort girls feel about their bodies once puberty hits, he laments the fact that women and girls are disrespected by broader society but lacks self-awareness of his own contribution to the treatment of women.

On the role of the internet Lawrence says had he had access to the internet he would likely have ”transitioned” earlier. As it was he left it till he was in his forties, at the time of the interview he was 71.

Narcissistic Rage

Lawrence is good in this segment as he talks about how many AGP males deal with their shame by projecting anger and exhibit entitlement with a lack of empathy. I covered his paper on this topic earlier in the series: 👇

Autogynephilia & Narcissistic Rage

Transwidows

Asked about transwidows, Lawrence expresses sympathy for both wives and children of ”transitioned” fathers. Lawrence says entering a marriage with severe autogynephilia to be cautious about entering marriage, especially if they are embarking on marriage as a ”cure”; especially if your erotic urges are entirely self-directed. Stella brings up the stories of AGP husbands who are abusive. Lawrence does not really address the abuse but concedes it can be very harmful to have an AGP family member.

Final thoughts.

Lawrence ends with his thoughts on teenage males who exhibit autogynephilia. He imagines a past where he would have had himself castrated to avoid any masculinisation. He makes the case for AGP as a sexual orientation which is immutable. He believes there are intelligent boys who know their own mind at thirteen or fourteen and these boys should be allowed to obtain medical intervention. As an aside he references the practice of castrating boys to create singers with a better voice range (Castratos). He is mainly concerned about better cosmetic outcomes.

He finishes with a debt of acknowledgement to Ray Blanchard.

I doubt Lawrence would have agreed to a more challenging interview format and the fact that Stella and Sasha are both therapists, and possibly also because they are female, may have prompted Lawrence to agree to speak. Any attempt to legitimise autogynephilia as a sexual orientation should, in my view, be fiercely resisted. Similarly agreeing medical intervention at 13 or 14 for any male is a dangerous suggestion. Lawrence focuses on the ability of the adult male to better pass and suggests there is a route back for males who take this path. Naturally occurring sex hormones play a pivotal role in pubertal development; which continues up to age 25. Blocking puberty does not just stop the developing of genitalia but also has an impact on brain development which is poorly understood. Lawrence is projecting his own, adult, wish fulfilment onto adolescent boys.

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Bewley & Byng:

This is a paper from 2019. Raising concerns about the medical treatment used on children and adolescents with Gender Dysphoria. You can read it here: 👇

Bewley and Byng

The authors raise a number of concerns about the medical responses to children, and young people, with a Gender Identity disturbance. The paper covers the rising rates of referrals, minimal medical discussion and debate, reports of poor care and uncertainty around the evidence which is guiding medical practice. The authors also note the conflation of biological sex with social expectations associated with your biological sex; Gender roles.

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The above is a neat summary of all the areas of concern. A specific concern is a move to an ”affirmative” care model. Broadly this approach argues we should not pathologise someone who believes they are the opposite sex, or neither sex, but should affirm that belief and facilitate, not gate-keep, access to medical treatment.

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Rising rates of detransitioners is the predictable outcome. As covered in my series on Detransition. The authors highlight the changing landscape in terms of the rising rates of referral, the myriad of ”identities” claimed as part of youth subculture, and growing demands to have these identities affirmed via medical interventions. They also make that point that the GMC (General Medical Council) and the BMA (British Medical Association) adopt different positions.

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The paper consistently appeals for more knowledge in this area of treatment. The 4000% increase in females arriving at Gender Clinics should have aroused some, clinical, curiosity. The % increase for boys has also been in excess of 1000% over the same period which was roughly a decade. However the inversion of the sex ratio to 75% female should have warranted urgent attention. Here’s what Bernadette Wren (Of the UK Main Gender Identity Service GIDs /Tavistock) had to say to a parliamentary committee on this rise. This was in response to rising rates of referrals. Clip from Hansard. Note the ”we feel that we are at the cutting edge of a social revolution”

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The impact of long term health outcomes is also a factor that will need to be taken into account when long-term testosterone use starts to affect the bodies of these girls/young women, the long term impact of blocking a natural puberty and the health consequences of surgeries whether or not they are regretted.

Continue reading “Bewley & Byng:”

Sex and Gender Identity.

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An exploration based on this paper by Lucy Griffin, Kate Clyde, Richard Byng and Susan Bewley. You can read it in full here 👇

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This paper seeks to critically evaluate treatments for Gender Dysphoria and the field of transgender health. As they point out there has been a rapid rise in referrals to gender clinics over the last decade. After some lobbying the condition was no longer to be considered a mental health condition but despite this medical interventions are frequently sought.

For more on the changes to the the manual for diagnosis (DSM-5) see my post which covers the response from Dr Ann Lawrence; self described transsexual.

Diagnostic Criteria: Gender Dysphoria

The medical profession is littered with mistakes and many of them relate to the psychiatry profession, homosexuality and their involvement in Gay Conversion Therapy. I could also point out that the man who introduced Lobotomies was given a Nobel Prize before he was discredited. It behoves us well not to be arrogant about our contemporary medical practice. As I have long argued, what if we are actually practicing Gay Conversion Therapy in our rush to affirm the “transgender child”?

It is because of Alan Turing that I use the phrase “Turing Treatment” for what is happening to my own, gay, son. I had imagined Turing was a tortured soul who hid his sexuality. I recently read a biography that dispelled this notion. Apparently he would drop broad hints about his sexuality to screen out those who were not accepting. He was not fired after the court case for “gross obsenity” , the crime of being gay. His suicide seems likely to be related to the, court mandated, enforced, chemical castration. The same drugs, we gave Turing, are now doled out, by doctors, to gay teenagers, with no counselling.

The paper reminds us that although great advances have been made on the rights of homosexuals and bisexuals, in many countries, this is not the case across the globe. We now have former gay rights organisations expanding their remit to cover “Gender Identities” as illustrated by this diagram. This includes a whole range of identities which are now wider than the list below. Historically some of these identities would have been found on the fetish scene.

For the purposes of this piece we need to look at how the trans umbrella has expanded to cover gender incongruence. This is where there are legitimate concerns. I was a tree-climbing, den-making girl. This was not unusual in my working class circles, in the North of England. It was so ”normal” all my girlfriends were the same and we were not even labelled “tomboys”. We played with boys and were very competitive. I lost count of how many buildings I was the first person, of either sex, to jump off. I had very traditional parents, by the way, who didn’t bat an eyelid. So, how have we arrived at a place where I would be pathologised in 2021? Are we policing ”sex stereotypical” expectations more now than we were in the 1970’s? Are we inculcating a discomfort with biological sex by pathologising normal variations of behaviour in males /females?

How do we identify those who are deemed to be “failing” expectations for their sex and might be ascribed a ”transgender” identity? As stated above I met some of the criteria as a girl.

The paper covers statements by the Royal Society of Paediatric and Child health. (RCPCH) which conflate gay conversion therapy with any attempt to reconcile someone with their biological sex. They assume it is not the ideal outcome to avoid a lifetime of dependence on cross-sex hormones /surgical modifications to your body. In fact desistance, with no medical intervention, should be seen as the optimum outcome. Yet there are vociferous campaigns to remove /lessen gatekeeping for access to medical intervention. The paper points out that between 60-80% of children, who present with gender dysphoria, desist. They also cover the proliferation /explosion of gender identities in the last decade; including pangender, agender and non-binary.

The authors proceed to raise the lack of consensus around the exact nature of this condition. What if this is just a natural variation?

This paragraph packs a lot in. There are contested arguments about what causes gender identity incongruence. The “wrong” hormones in utero, wrongly ”sexed” brains or just an internal, and disprovable, claim one simply ”feels” like a woman/man which leads to a circular argument. What does a woman/man feel like?

It is both unverifiable and unfalsifiable. It posits the existence of a ”gendered soul”. This is a belief system. It may be a fervently, sincerely, held belief but when you ask society to participate in that belief system, to the extent of shaping laws based on it, we require a firmer foundation.

The idea we are not sexually dimorphic has spread like wildfire through academia to justify the concept of ”transgender”. In order to validate this category inconvenient facts must be cast aside to reshape reality. Here is the reality we must defend.

Most societies across the globe adopt a hierarchy based on sex, enforced by social rules enforcing expected behaviours for both sexes with varying degrees of coercion or cajoling. People expressing a severe discomfort with their biological sex are compared to the condition of bodily integrity disorder or apotemnophilia. The latest crop of recruits to gender clinic are a very different demographic to those we say ten or twenty years ago. Since 2009 there have been a 25 fold increase in referrals to the U.Ks main Gender Clinic, most strikingly in natal girls; illustrates in the graph below.

Here is some research on co-morbidities in the referrals to a Finnish Gender Clinic.

Note the high incidence among foster kids. I wrote about that phenomenon in a series on this blog. 13% of referrals to the U.K Gender Clinics are fostered or adopted. Eating disorders and a background of bullying also feature prominently in the stories of detransitioners.

Another common feature is how many are same sex attracted. Over 40% of natal males and nearly 70% of females. This graph is from the Tavistock clinic, in the U.K.

It seems warranted to question whether this is a new form of conversion therapy for those struggling with internalised homophobia. Is this a new catch-all diagnosis that is being applied to children/adolescents wrestling with other issues that are going untreated?

The paper continues to question the use of puberty halting drugs which are promoted as a ”pause” when in reality near 100% proceed to cross-sex hormones. Moreover long term follow up, where it exists, do not support the current pathway.

Warnings are given about the current belief that encouraging reconciliation with biological sex is a form of conversion therapy. This is dangerous and ignores the role of therapeutic approaches to resolve more complex issues underlying the identification as “transgender”. Some of these issues include homosexuality but also autism and lack of secure emotional attachment, in those from unstable family backgrounds.

The authors also touch on feminist concerns in promulgating the idea there is a right way to be a woman or man. We are in danger of reifying sex stereotypes rather than challenging them. We are also assuming a treatment pathway developed for adult men is appropriate for adolescent girls and female children. In conclusion, they warn that Psychiatry runs the risk of colluding with, or being silent about, an uncontrolled medical experiment.

We simply do not know how many will regret these medical interventions, some of which are irreversible.

I would recommend reading the entire paper for more on the use of suicide statistics in this area and the lack of accountability for a treatment pathway that may involve therapeutic professionals, endocrinologists, parents, surgeons and the patient themselves. Legal accountability may be difficult to determine but I know who I hold morally responsible for doing this to my son.

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Butler & Hutchinson: Detransition

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Part 6.

This paper was referenced in part 5 of this series. You can read part 5 here: 👇

Detransition 5

PDF of the paper below: 👇

butler2020

The paper was published, in November 2020, in the Journal for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

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This paper is jointly authored by Anna Hutchinson and Catherine Butler. Dr Butler is an academic, based in the psychology department, at Bath University. Dr Hutchinson has impeccable academic credentials and has held senior, clinical, posts including a stint at the Tavistock centre. 👇

LACK OF DATA:

The common theme in all the pieces I have done, on the topic of detransitioners / desisters, is a lack of current data. Desistance rates have, historically, been found to be as high as 98% for children who present at Gender Clinics. Even a desistance rate of 85% should call into question the practice of giving Puberty Blockers to children. Which, let me remind you, in the United Kingdom, are given to children as young as 10.

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We also know that over 98%, of children, given puberty blockers, progress to cross-sex hormones (CSH). This suggests we lock these kids into a medical trajectory. Trans-activists argue the near ubiquity of progression to cross sex hormones is evidence of solid diagnostic criteria; which I find implausible. Here a Clinician, from the Tavistock, admits uncertainty adding that this is why it is important to get the parents to take responsibility for putting a child on puberty blockers. 👇 ”Because we dont have the evidence base” . {Dr Aiden Kelly}.

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The near certainty these kids will progress to CSH also undermines the argument that blocking puberty allows a ”pause” for the child/family to weigh up their options.

Detransition Denial.

Rising rates of referrals to gender clinics is a worldwide phenomenon. There is also a concomitant rise in detransitioners. At the same time there is a widespread reluctance to acknowledge desisters/ detransitioners. The authors speculate, correctly in my view, that the dismissal of detransitioners’ testimony is driven by fear; a fear their stories delegitimise medical responses to Gender Dysphoria. This, I would add, threatens the profits of the Gender Industrial Complex. Suppressing information about post-transition regret, in this cohort, distorts the evidence available to judge the success rates of medical transition. It also doesn’t allow for any, evidence led, improvement in diagnostic criteria by identifying commonalities in the detrans community.

Furthermore disregarding detransitioners means medical professionals are poorly equipped to deal with regret. There is currently no guidance to address the consequences of post ”transition” regret; whether psychological or medical.

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GENDER JOURNEY:

Despite the reluctance to acknowledge this community it has become increasingly difficult to deny post-transition regret. Some transgender activists now, implicitly, acknowledge the phenomenon but claim this is all part of a “Gender Journey” . This paper uses similar language, below, calling it a “development trajectory”. I am extremely wary of this framing which smacks of spinning regret for public relations purposes. It is, nevertheless, the case that some detransitioners say they may have been left with doubts had they not tried medical transition. However, we shouldn’t discount the possibility these responses are driven by a, subconscious, desire to salvage something positive from the experience. Either way I think we need to be cautious about this language which may serve to mask bad diagnostic techniques and normalise regret as an acceptable outcome.

HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING:

As with the other studies I have reviewed, the experience of homophobic bullying is identified as a factor leading to adoption of a trans-identity. We could see this as a mal-adaptive coping mechanism. The other recurrent themes are isolation; poor peer relations and family difficulties. Factors which appear related to desistance also recur. Understanding commonalties in desisters could also assist with better screening of those who present at gender clinics. This cautious approach has been cast aside with the current ”affirmation only” policy; which is being rolled out in new pilot clinics under this government.

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The authors are keen to highlight research that stresses the importance of family support for “transitioning” . They also suggest the corollary can be feelings of shame, if the outcome is regret and re-identification with birth sex. In fairness parents, like me, who think our teenagers are making a mistake, may find our children are similarly inhibited from expressing regret. There is a natural reluctance to confirm your parent’s were right and admit you made a mistake.

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The authors point out the development of diagnostic criteria, for children, is a relatively recent development. This allows trans-activist to argue earlier cohorts may have swept up children who were merely ”gender non-conforming”. This argument is used to dismiss earlier research, showing high rates of desistance, as historic failures in diagnosis. Trans-activists argue that diagnostic techniques have improved and earlier data is not relevant to the current cohort. I am cynical about this argument.

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LOSS TO FOLLOW UP:

Some key themes about difficulties with research on detransition are covered below. Those who regret the treatment they received are less likely to return to the clinic who they may feel harmed them. Loss to follow up is a major stumbling block to getting accurate data. Worryingly the length of follow up times is quite short. If, as Dhejne says, we are looking at an average of eight years, before regret emerges, we are only at the beginning of this wave of detransitioners. Given there are already over 23,000 in the detrans reddit forum that is horrific to contemplate.

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CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS:

This section is critical in understanding the changing demographic referred to Gender Clinics. The scale of referrals; increase in females; emergence of different types of identities; the impact of socially transitioning children as well as the phenomenon of teenage onset gender dysphoria are all salient factors.

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Our understanding of the above phenomena is limited and yet clinical practice has embraced an affirmation model with seemingly little reflection.

AUTISM & HOMOSEXUALITY

Autism and same sex attraction are features of the current, young cohort and we should all be heartbroken so many don’t feel comfortable with their homosexuality. It is for this reason that I describe what we are doing as a from of Eugenics/Gay Eugenics.

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Clinicians will need to develop a whole range of different skills to deal with the emerging cohort of detransitioners. Some may have undertaken medical treatment which means they can no longer produce the appropriate hormones for their sex. Young women who can no longer have children may need counselling. As covered in my previous piece many detransitioners were very critical of the inability of psychologists and doctors to address their needs.

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I doubt a young man who emerges with no testicles/penis or a female with no breasts/womb would regard this as a period of creative exploration. 👆

The advice below is likely appropriate for therapeutic approaches to working with clients. I also argue, we should be extremely wary of introducing permanent, medical intervention whilst, simultaneously, paying lip service to the idea of ”gender fluidity”.

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I also object to the idea that we accord the description of ”acceptance” to the families going along with the idea our children should become medical patients for life. The parents who are supportive of our gay offspring, and their variant expressions of masculinity /femininity, are the ”accepting” parents.

The paper presents some practical advice for clinicians who are increasingly likely to encounter detransitioners. I would add that doctors who have prescribed treatments, which have resulted in regret, will need guidance and support. They may be defensive in their response to detransitioners who could be very angry. Detransitioners have identified peer support as invaluable and clinicians need to be aware of the networks available.

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The themes emerging from the growing body of research on detransitioners make it clear we need to start looking critically at medical responses to a psychological phenomena. We should stop normalising permanent dependence on synthetic hormones/ surgery on healthy bodies. We need to face up to the real regret we are seeing and stop cloaking a medical scandal in the language of ”Gender Journey” or using phrases like ”creative exploration”. If gender is fluid why are we accepting permanent interventions for children and teens?

Guilting families into going along with this by applying the term ”acceptance“ to “affirming” parents is emotional blackmail. How is agreeing your son /daughter needs hormones and surgery, to be authentic, acceptance? Surely it is the exact opposite?

CONCLUSION:

We need more research to better predict outcomes and develop guidance so clinicians know how to deal with the needs of detransitioners. Work to understand this new demographic is still in its infancy. Once doctors have to face the consequences of post transition regret maybe this will re-engage their critical faculties. Right now I see only reckless endangerment.

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Detransition 5

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Contrary to my usual practice I cannot link a PDF here. Below is the on-line link to the paper. It is open access but download and print are disabled.

Paper on detransition

Some of you may be familiar with The author, Kirsty Entwhistle. She is one of the Tavistock whistleblowers and was, previously, based at their Leeds branch. You can read Kirsty’s open letter raising her concerns here:

Open letter to GIDS

My son was referred, aged 19, to the Leeds branch of the Tavistock, last year, by my own GP. I have no way of ascertaining who prescribed the cross sex hormones he obtained, just six weeks later.

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Yet another clinician raising the issue of detransitioners while the government seems committed to legalising the Woke Gay Conversion Therapy under the guise of banning it. 😳. The abstract references another paper which called for empirical research on desistance and detransition. The new demographic, referred to Gender Clinics, have been documenting their experience in support forums for those who know this was a mistake. It is now urgent that we record the detrans experience, from anecdotal, to clinical research. Thankfully this is now starting to happen.

Here is the abstract to Kirsty’s research.

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I will see if I can get access to the Butler Hutchinson paper, in full, to add to this series. For those of you with access, to the Journal for Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health, here is the link:

Butler and Hutchinson

As with the other pieces in this series the call is for some formal academic papers to capture the experience of this cohort and commence systematic follow up of outcomes. Gender Clinics seem to have determined that their role does not require formal tracking of *all* their referrals. They need to be compelled to do so they can evidence that this ”treatment” relieves Gender Dysphoria and that medical responses are the only way to alleviate the distress. The decision making process of teenagers and young people also requires more consideration; given how many detranstioners state they did not feel fully informed.

We need a shift in clinical practice to address the root causes of this bodily disassociation rather than funnelling sufferers down a medical pathway.

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Those of you on twitter may be aware of Claudia Maclean. This is Claudia’s story as covered by Julie Bindel, in 2007. Claudia continues to speak up for our gay youth, for which I will be eternally grateful. I want a world of true diversity where a gay boy, like my son, with all his variant presentation of masculinity is free to be himself. I do not want a world where he is coaxed into a faux-straight, medicalised closet before he can enjoy a fulfilling, sexual, relationship with the sex to which he is attracted.

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You can read Claudia’s story in the Guardian, of all places:

Claudia’s Story

Modern routes to inculcate Gender Dysphoria in our kids are linked to the rise of the internet and confessional content by transgender influencers. Binge watching this content is something many detransitioners say fostered a desire to transition. In the U.K prominent children’s organisations , such as Childline (run by the NSPCC: National Society For the Protection of Children) promote these transgender influencers in, from my perspective, a reckless fashion. This played a role for my son, in addition to the relentless homophobic bullying that goes on in our schools.

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Fifteen years after Claudia’s experience no lessons have been learned. The same inadequate assessments are happening to our troubled youth, from within a captured NHS. The role of inducement and coercion is driving our kids and vulnerable adults down a tragic path.

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NY Times: Product Placement

You are the product. Exhibit A. Who among us does not think this woman seemed in dire need of therapeutic help and not the surgeons knife. Yet here the New York Times are publishing this as a tale of redemption and authenticity. How Mac McClelland went from staging her own violent rape to address sexual trauma to more self-harm. What message does this send to vulnerable young women in flight from the dangers of living as a woman?

This story, coincidentally, came to my attention as I was writing this piece. We learn that the subject is an asexual with a boyfriend. They have already had a double mastectomy and their uterus has been removed. They refer to their ”native penis” sometimes called the ”clitoris”. This is not science It’s a belief system. They talk about how they want to retain their vagina but also it’s a case of ”penis or death” . 👇

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The quasi-religious language is common in the phallioplasty files, as covered by the YouTuber Exulansic. The Gender surgeons are the priest class, administering the trans rites required by Gender Jesus, to their willing disciples. It’s a new religion fuelled by the techno-barbarism of the Gender Industrial Complex. Mining profits from our bodies as if there are endless spare parts grown on a human meat farm.

Back to the article:

In a strange way the more extreme proponents of body modification, in the name of the Gender religion, seem to convince the clinicians it’s the right path for their patient. Nobody would do this to themselves unless it was right for them, would they?

Here a detransitioner speaks out, at a meeting I attended. Only when she joined a support forum for women, who had also gone through hysterectomy, did it dawn on her this was a uniquely female experience.

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Some of the people at the detransitioners meeting were themselves involved in the Gender Industrial Complex. If I had sat in a room with young Lesbians who, between them, regretted testosterone, double mastectomies, hysterectomies and ovary removal, I would have left the Industry immediately. Yes, I mean you, Stuart Lorimer: Seen below with Susie Green accompanied by an excerpt from an interview he gave. Our mutilated kids are to fund Stuart’s pension plan.

Excellent question below. Do the NHS and Gender Clinics think about detransitioners when they dish out drugs to our teenagers? Or the Puberty Blockers they are giving to 10 year olds? Personally I would not sleep at night.

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Here Bernadette Wren acknowledges the political pressure from third sector organisations (Lobby Groups) on services like GIDS. Mermaids is a pernicious influence on the Gender Industrial Complex. Mermaids CEO, Susie Green, arranged to have her 16 year old son undergo sexual reassignment surgery, in Thailand. Her career seems driven by a desire to justify this decision. Bernadette may also wish to divert attention from the role the Tavistock Gender Identity Service played. She worked there when they introduced the Dutch Protocol and began putting children, as young as 10, on Puberty Blockers.

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Here is a reminder of what Bernadette told the Parliamentary Inquiry on Transgender Equality. This does not sound like a reluctant, cautious clinician. It sounds like a statement from a social justice warrior . “It is a social revolution that many of us really fought for and wanted around sex and gender”.

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The admission that they were heading in an unknown direction! The breathtaking hypocrisy of blaming the appearance of so many natal females, at the Tavistock, on the failures of feminism! Whilst, simultaneously, facilitating this body hatred with mutilating surgeries!

The paucity of research into psychological underpinnings for the presence of Gender Dysphoria is an international scandal. This is compounded by the failure to follow up those patients who accessed surgical intervention. For me, the moment you advocate for surgery, to resolve a mental health issue, you have failed as a Clinical Psychologist and betrayed your client at their most vulnerable.

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This on breast binding. Its the same old bodily hatred that used to be manifested as anorexia. In this country we have official advice to watch out for girls whose families may encourage breast ironing. At the same time corporate enterprise Lush can offer free breast binders as a marketing campaign!

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No, Bernadette, you most definitely are not supporting creative expressions of masculinity or femininity. You are telling our gender non-conforming kids they may be born wrong and normalising making yourself a medical patient for life! If you really believe this is what your life’s work was about you are deluded. I would say get some help but where would you go? This is a self-serving justification that reframes the perpetration of extreme harm as necessary and virtuous.

{The Destroy Your Binder video has been removed from YouTube but you can read a transcript on Kat’s Tumbler.}

Destroy Your Binder

Next up Kirsty addresses a response which extols the virtue of a mastectomy for one patient who reports positive feelings about their surgery. This article is not open access but is here:

https://acamh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/camh.12343

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There are many positive accounts on YouTube celebrating getting your, healthy, breasts removed. To which I say “come back in ten years”. I don’t doubt there may be some who never regret this surgery but there are many detransitioners, as related below, who do and others who find it triggers them on to the next set of surgeries; which suggests it was not the panacea they were sold.

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Here Ken Zucker uses the word “iatrogenic” for which 👏👏. The social transition of children and its impact on future medicalisation needs researching. Does it foreclose any reconciliation with birth sex? He also rightly comments on the escalating desire for mastectomy which often follows painful breast-binding. He also reports that bodily rejection migrates to the genitals, post mastectomy.

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The article ends with

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The victims of this modern, mass delusion, are the most vulnerable in our society. Bullied gay youth, girls with eating disorders, autistic kids and kids in local authority care. All groups over-represented at Gender Clinics.

Why has it taken so long to investigate the harms perpetrated primarily on young females in the past decad? The featured image on this post is of a 13 year old girl posing with her surgeon who advertises on TikTok, populated by malleable kids/teens. She calls herself Dr Teetus Deletus to market her services to the youth market.

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Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women & girls as well as the consequences for Lesbians, Gay males and autistic kids. I do this full time and have no income. All my content is open access and donations help keep me going. Only give IF you can afford. Thank you to my generous donors.

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Detransition Survey: Four

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You can read the full paper below. 👇. This is an excellent piece of work and echoes many of the themes found in the earlier studies I looked at for this series.

Detransition Related Needs and Support A Cross Sectional Online Survey

This paper is focussed on the support needs of detransitioners but also covers their motivations to both transition and detransition. It also offers a distinction between those who medically detransition and re-identify with their birth sex and those who end any medical treatment but maintain, or perhaps cling, to a trans-identity.

The first point to make is the paper is published in the Journal of Homosexuality!

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The location of the publication may, or may not, be a significant development but it gave me significant satisfaction. Below is the abstract for the paper:

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First of all it is crucial to determine the definition of a detransitioner. Not all transition medically so first of all the study defines ”social” and ”medical” transition. It is not always the case that people cease to identify as transgender after they stop medical transition. I am also, personally, aware of a post-operative, de-medicalised male who still uses the term ”transsexual” as he feels it best describes his experience. In this case it serves as shorthand to signal the surgery they underwent and also may be a label maintain community links with fellow travellers.

There is some methodological discussion about how a detransitioner is defined. Some data is based on only those who underwent medical interventions. This paper looks at social as well as medical transition but provides research on which medical steps were undertaken by the survey respondents.

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For the purposes of this study the author has chosen to focus on those who claimed the label ”detransitioner”. However, they did include 8 people who rejected the label but whose experience was deemed to be sufficiently analogous to include as a ”detransitioner”.

It is also important to note that there are some trans-identified people who feel they have followed an irreversible path. They believe to re-identify with their birth sex is simply not socially, or medically, achievable. I know both males and females, who find themselves in this sort of limbo or no wo/man’s land, if you will. The author is aware of this complexity but it is outside of the scope of this study.

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Survey participants were identified by targetting people in on-line forums, where detransitioners were known to seek suport. They were asked a simple question about whether they had ever socially/medically transitioned and stopped. Details of the survey sample are below 👇. As you can see females are over-represented. I suspect this not only a function of the new demographic being predominantly female. It may also be indicative of female openness to seeking community. Perhaps, it also suggests males are less likely to, publicly, admit they made a mistake. Note that males also seem to take longer to find their way back, to their sex, so this pattern may change in the future.

The survey had global reach with majority representation from the United States followed by Europe.

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The majority transitioned socially and medically. As this comment reveals there is further complexity in that someone asked about a category for ”Med-trans” only. I assume this is people who didn’t disown their birth sex but did have medical interventions. This may be a niche issue but note that the current WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health ) guidelines have a section on Eunuchs. No I am not kidding!

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Below the author delineates the reported experiences revealed by the survey: 51% started socially transitioning under the age of 18. Average age of Medical transition was 20 for females and 26 for males. Brain maturation estimated to occur around age 25. Detransitioners emerging from cohorts who did this at the age of legal majority, the majority, are in danger of being left unprotected in any future which restricts irreversible treatments, in under 18’s.

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The sample of males was not large but the age of onset of medical transition mirrors what I have seen on other de-trans surveys. Girls tend to start earlier and spend less time transitioning. Not for the first time, I am struck by how sex matters even in communities which furiously deny the significance of biological sex.

Next up the profile of the respondents. The high % of co-morbidities is also a familiar finding. The rates of surgical interventions is also staggeringly high (46%), especially given the length of time the respondents, particularly, the females, identifed as ”trans”.

The table showing co-morbid conditions lays it out rather starkly. I would have preferred to see sex recorded against these conditions but as the number of males was small it may not have revealed any, statistically, significant differences. Sorry, not sorry, I am wedded to the sex binary. 😉

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Now we come to look at reasons for detransition, that are also, inevitably, reveal the reasons for transition. I notice that, in marked contrast to studies funded by Trans Lobby groups, lack of social acceptance/ discrimination scores quite low. A staggering 70% realised their Gender Dysphoria was rooted in other issues.

The kind of support needs the detransitioners identify reflects further on reasons for their initial decision to transition. Many 👇were wrestling with internalised homophobia. See also the comment about a shift in Gender Identity. It is logically incoherent for Trans Activists to argue for the recognition of “Gender Fluidity” whilst defending irreversible interventions for children and adolescents. I am also pleased to see the discovery of radical feminism makes an appearance. It has also appeared in earlier surveys of detransitioners.

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The survey also allowed for open comments which I have reproduced in full in part (4 a) to this blog. Well worth giving voice to all the detransitioners who opened up about their experience: You can read their comments here 👇.

Open Comments Detrans Survey 4

The open comments reveal the ostracism, from the LGBT community, experienced by those desisting from the trans-narrative. They also speak of the betrayal and mistrust they now feel towards Medical professionals. The difficulties of finding therapists able to deal with detransition also features in the open comments.

The survey

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The survey also provides a helpful table which compares and contrasts the sources of support respondents enjoyed while transitioning and detransitioning. As you can see the LGBT community and trans specific organisations largely leave the scene of the crime; once people realise they made a mistake.

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The survey continues to identify the kind of support the respondents would like to be available. These cover psychological, medical, legal and social categories. Counselling to deal with issues such as internalised homophobia, sexism and feelings of regret. Medical support to deal with stopping/changing cross sex hormones or complications from surgeries. Social support covered the need to hear other stories of their fellow travellers and the need to meet up, on-line and in real life.

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The legal support mainly related to the need to re-establish their legal identity as their correct sex but a small percentage wished to take legal action for the injuries caused by the medical interventions. 👇 Those of us waiting for legal action, to put an end to this cannot, in my view, expect detransitioners to shoulder this burden. But, if those 13% do take up the legal fight there will be an army provided to support and fundraise for them.

Politicians need to do their jobs and start legislating. They also, in the United States, need to close loopholes relating to Statute limitation. Many live in states where the average length time before detransition means they are already out of time to get any legal redress.

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Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women & girls as well as the consequences for Lesbians, Gay males and autistic kids. I do this full time and have no income. All my content is open access and donations help keep me going. Only give IF you can afford. Thank you to my generous donors.

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DeTransition: 4th Wave Now (3)

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This post is based on work done by a detranistioner. It was linked to the paper I covered in this post:

Detransition: Cambridge Study (2)

As stated in my earlier pieces getting access to detransitioners requires seeking them out on the social media apps they use. The research was published on Tumblr:

https://guideonragingstars.tumblr.com/post/149877706175/female-detransition-and-reidentification-survey

The work provoked a furious reaction from within the Trans Industrial complex, which you can read about here:

https://4thwavenow.com/2016/09/03/top-gender-doc-dismisses-203-detransitioned-women-as-not-regretters-per-se/

Dan Karasdic likens the work to previous research done by Evangelical Christians and then follows up with a claim the detransitioners were “never really trans” 

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Judge for yourself.

Methodology:

Cari, the author reached out to people who had desisted from a trans-identity with a survey opened for only two weeks, in 2016, which attracted over 200 responses.

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The resulting data garnered some real insight into motivations for a medical transition and subsequent detransition. The survey allowed for the inclusion of people who had ended a medical transition but remained ”trans-identified”. The vast majority identified as female with quite a few rejecting the prefix ”identified” ,as female, to state they simply ”are female”.

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This is what the graphic representation illustrates:

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For those who did not claim a female identity the breakdown was as follows together with a graph of how they had identified while transitioning. As you can see the majority identified as “trans men” closely followed by “non-binary/gender queer”

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The survey also tracked the ages of both embarking on a “transition” and detransitioning: The average age for coming out/starting transition was 17 years old and beginning detransition was aged 21.

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The research also looks at what kind of dysphoria the women experienced. The majority reported they had both social and physical (Sex) dysphoria. That is they desired to have, facsimile, male sex characteristics and a desire to be treated as male or, at least, as other than female. This group constituted 74% of the surveyed.

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The report goes on to detail that 88% experienced ”sex dysphoria” ; something often denied by those who do not want the topic to be discussed. A claim also rejected by those who argue that detransitioners were never really ”trans” and didn’t have dysphoric feelings.

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The research also questioned the particpants about their experience of detransitioning and its impact on their well-being.

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The majority found an improvement in their dysphoric feelings after detransition, some reported these feelings had completely gone. There was also a small minority finding their dysphoria had worsened since they began detransitioning.

The survey uncovered some serious concerns about a lack of counselling with a mean duration of less than three months, even for those who did get therapeutic assistance.

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Of those undergoing a medical transition the figures for those who had zero counselling was a whopping 65%. These women had no therapy whatsoever before embarking on medical transitions.

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Next up the participants were asked what led them to detransition. The top answer was due to political/ideological concerns. The next popular answer was finding an alternative coping strategy. 30% had concerns about their mental health and over one in five reported medical concerns.

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The survey provided space for open comments which allowed participants to expand on the reasons for their answers. They were asked to state their position /feelings about their own transition and on the idea of transitioning more generally. The study found participants were generally more negative about their own experience than they were about the idea of transitioning, more generally.

60% were more or less negative about their own experience with a slightly lower percentage more or less negative about transition for other people.

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The open comments were revealing. Discovery of radical feminism is mentioned, as a positive, by a few of the participants. Support from Lesbian communities, or lack of such a community is referenced. Some felt they had been pushed into transition. Lack of alternatives presented by therapists also cropped up. Here are some comments on their own transition: Here reports of pressure, feeling duped, crops up. Also one woman feels she has so altered her body with hormones, mastectomy and hysterectomy she feels as if she is no longer allowed to identify as a woman, or a man.

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More comments about the lack of exploratory therapy, inaccurate information from trans-activists, no effort made to consider non-medical responses to Gender Dysphoria recurred. The therapeutic community has a lot to answer for, in respect of this unfolding medical scandal.

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More comments reference the need for a stronger community for Lesbian and bisexual women. Even among the detransitioners there is still a belief in Gender Identity Ideology /Queer Theory and one also remains in a relarionship with a ”Trans man” who remains on a medical pathway. Only some are critical of medical pathways more generally, but the majority express the need for careful consideration and more therapy.

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One respondent succintly states :”Burn every gender clinic down”. Many also express concern about children and teenagers put on a medicalised pathway. Lack of attention to trauma, underlying a flight from being female, is also a recurrent theme, as is the lack of accurate information from the trans community and medical professionals.

More than one respondent likens the transitioning of children and young people as a from of conversion therapy. The expressions of anger at those who colluded with this are surprisingly muted. Many seem to blame themselves but one, rather poignantly, wishes people, had been honest rather than encouraging her down this path. A few respondents do, however, blame queer theory or the trans-medical system. In general they show compassion for those who continue on this path or are about to embark on medical intervention.

I firmly believe the poster who calls this “medical recklessness” will be vindicated. Dan may rue the day he dismissed these findings. 👇

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I do this work full-time and unwaged. If you can afford to support my work you can do so here: 👇

Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women & girls as well as the consequences for Lesbians, Gay males and autistic kids. I do this full time and have no income. All my content is open access and donations help keep me going. Only give IF you can afford. Thank you to my generous donors.

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Littman and Detransition

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In this piece I will cover Lisa Littman’s research into detransitioners. A person who detransitions is someone who embarked on medical intervention to deal with a discomfort with their natal sex. This is a bodily disassociative disorder labelled ”Gender Dysphoria”. A person who re-identifies with their natal sex, without any medical intervention is labelled as a “desister”. Both these groups are important to understand what is going on. Lisa’s paper is below: Well worth reading it in full and sharing!

Littman2021_Article_IndividualsTreatedForGenderDys

Here is the abstract from the study:

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Details of the sample are contained above. As you can see natal females are a significant majority at 69%. This is what we are seeing in the United Kingdom where, over the last decade, the sex of referrals to the main Gender Identity Clinic has inverted the sex ratios to be 70% female. The majority, in Littman’s sample, (55%) did not feel they were given an adequate evaluation by the doctor /medical professional who assessed them. Significantly 23% located their discomfort with difficulty accepting a non-hetereosexual orientation.

Its worth referring to this article that evaluated what happens to children labelled as ”transgender” when they grow up. 👇

Do trans kids stay trans

Here are the conclusions from that study:

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This data somewhat predates the explosion in ”trans-kids” sweeping, mostly, the western world. The conclusions were remarkably similar. Most did not wish to transition when they reached adulthood and generally turn out to be, simply, gay. This was in the days of ”watchful waiting” before the days of early medical intervention. In the U.K we now put children as young as 10 on puberty blockers and, increasingly, socially transition them at even younger ages. Are we foreclosing the path to an unmedicalised future and homo/bi-sexuality for a generation of kids?

As Littman points out the visibility of detransitioners is growing with more YouTube accounts, blogs, DeTrans advocacy groups and a growing community on Reddit. Recently these stories have started to break into the national media, especially in the UK but also, more recently in the U.S media.

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R/detrans

There are now 23,000 contributors on the de-trans sub-reddit which you can access here: 👇

https://www.reddit.com/r/detrans/

When I first started to track the numbers on this forum there were around 15,000. This was about four months ago. Here one poster is trying to gain accurate data on de-transitioners. This is a major stumbling block in garnering the attention of politicians. Typically those who regret their medical interventions do not wish to go back to the people they feel hurt them, feel embarassed or are traumatised. These clinics should be forced to follow up every patient. Loss to follow up has distorted the data for decades. Here is a post in the detrans forum on reddit.

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Another poster explains how hard it is to escape media saturation on Gender Identity. We have been pushing the trans-narrative to kids, even in primary school, for at least a decade. Even Children’s BBC showed ”Becoming Leo” , about a female in flifht from her sex. Complete with the promotion of a medical pathway. This to impressionable kids without parental knowledge. I certainly didn’t know what my son was exposed to; though ChildLine (run by the National Society For the Protection of Children), was the most egregious pusher in my experience.

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Another two comment get to the heart of the issue: Social contagion and late stage capitalism 👏👏.

Its an industry. Mining profit from healthy bodies. FYI CAGR is Compound Annual Growth Rate and anything above 15% is considered good 👇

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Back to Littman’s paper

More clinicians are starting to raise the alarm and ask for more research. There are extensive linked papers in the study and a wealth of references.

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Here are some of the reasons given, for medical transition, by those who re-identified with their birth sex:

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A mal-adaptive response to trauma, difficulty reconciling to sexuality, internalised misogyny and peer pressure. An incredible 20% also cited pressure from a person/peope to transition:

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What might have helped was the presence of good role models. The absence of Butch Lesbians in the media is notable:

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In conclusion the author asks for much better research on the phenomenon of detransition. Gender clinics have no incentive to do long term follow-up and their ex patients may have no wish to return to the people who colluded with their mistake. Crucially they will likely disappear from LGBT+ networks enabling a denial of the scale of the issue:

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Next time you see papers on low rates of regret remember to look for loss to follow-up. Bear in mind the length of time patients are followed up is also significant. Medical complications can take time to appear. The current cohort is also a vastly different demographic than the older, males, which typically formed the main clientele for Gender clinics. Also look out for conflicts of interest. Much (most?) of the research is emerging from people who are making their living from the Gender Industrial complex.

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I do this research full-time and unpaid. If you can afford to donate here is how.

Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women & girls as well as the consequences for Lesbians, Gay males and autistic kids. I do this full time and have no income. All my content is open access and donations help keep me going. Only give IF you can afford. Thank you to my generous donors.

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Material Girls: Review

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Full disclosure: Kathleen, very kindly, donated a signed copy of her book which she took the trouble to post to me. This was done despite Kathleen being aware that I was unlikely to agree with every one of her ideas or conclusions. It is true that I diverge on some issues but, nevertheless I highly recommend this book.

Kathleen (Professor Stock) writes from the perspective of an academic, philospher, whilst currently holding a post within a UK University. She has been subjected to a campaign of villification, from within her own discipline, and the university sector more generally. Even the main union for University staff, UCU, has not stepped up to protect women in Kathleen’s position. I cannot begin to imagine writing this book, from within academia, and I commend her courage in doing so. As Kathleen points out there is a huge struggle to get dissenting voices into the literature on this topic. This book represents a significant milestone in breaking this silence.

My reception of the book probably needs some clarity about my own perspective, or biases, if you will. I am not pure enough to claim the label radical feminist but I would say I am radical feminist adjacent; since their analysis makes the most sense to me. In a twist of fate I now find myself the mum of a trans-identified male and caught up in a fucked up, post modern, version of Sophie’s Choice. I am expected to hand my (gay) son over to the medical profession who, I am assured, will return a living “daughter”. My perspective is thus informed by both my feminism and the impact on my son. This is not easy terrain to navigate when you are also a stalwart defender of women’s, sex based, rights. It also makes me more, perhaps too, inclined to want to understand motivations for homosexual transitioners. My compassion should not be taken as compromise where women’s rights are concerned.

A brief history of Gender Identity

The book traces the origins of Gender Identity as a concept and covers feminist voices who argued that feminism could be advanced by a more extreme belief that sex differences were wholly “culturally constructed”. She covers Simone de Beauvoir, John Money, Anne Fausto-Sterling (of “five sexes” fame), Judith Butler and also cites Julia Serano as one of the trans voices covered. I would have added the work of Janice Raymond to this list because “Transsexual Empire” is a seminal text on this area. Its omission may have been tactical because Raymond’s book tends to inflame those who see themselves as activists for the “Transgender” community.

John Money and Robert Stoller concieved of the idea we each have a “gender identity” which, as we have seen, is now being embedded in society and rapidly being privileged over biological sex.

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This chapter also covers the Yogakarta principles which are essential to understanding how activists envision a world where gender identity is embedded in the law. There is also a section on the origin of the term “Terf” ; which is useful for those of you unaware of the history of it’s coinage.

What is sex?

The What is Sex chapter is a good debunking of the common arguments claiming it is difficult to define sex, that we are not sexually dimorphic and conflating issues of intersex (disorders of sexual development) with a trans identity. It may seem ludicrous but some, self-identified, serious academics proclaim we didn’t know to which sex to deny the vote. Apparently it was all a random act of disenfranchisement based on the nebulous concept of “gender identity”. If only Emmeline had come out as Edward Pankhurst the women’s rights movement could have been exposed as a complete waste of time. Below is a seaside postcard from the time.

For those of a philosophical bent this chapter will particularly appeal. I have rehearsed these arguments with trans-activists over many years so much of the content was familiar. One of the key issues that resonates with me is that we must not simply reduce everything to XX chromosomes. I am thinking of women with no abiliity to process testosterone. Their chromosomes will be XY but they will have had a female (oestrogen led) puberty They often have no idea they have male chromosomes until they fail to menstruate. (I am thinking of twitter user @ClaireCais when I type this and some of the painful things she has had to endure). If only for women with DSDs this chapter is important. It is also a useful source to debunk the false conflation of a transgender identity disorders of sexual development.

Why Sex Matters?

Stock then goes on to make a compelling case for why sex matters. She covers medicine, sport, sexual orientation and sex based statistics on crime. Women are still fighting for a world which doesn’t treat males as the default humans. Denying that sex is a significant variable in many areas will further, negatively, impact women. For more on this you can read Caroline Criado-Perez.

Though it is possible that somebody at the Guardian has read Kathleen’s book since the clarification, below, is from the Guardian in July 2021!

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Now we are starting to see males competing, at the Olympics, in the women’s category will more people start speak out. Laurel Hubbard , who is competing in the 87kg women’s weight lifting category, may prove a tipping point.

Legal cases such as the issue of males in women’s prisons and the recording of male sex crimes as if they were committed by women is also covered in this chapter. I have covered many such cases on my blog about this so I am pleased to see this.

What is Gender Identity?

The topic on Gender Identity I found a difficult read, for personal reasons. As a woman I instintively recoiled from Monroe Bergdorf locating the film “clueless” as prompting their thoughts of transition. After watching this film they state: “Oh my God, this is where I fit in, these are my people”. Stock does not include some of the more controversial utterances from Monroe Bergdorf; one of them being to demand that women stop centring reproductive rights on a women’s march. This won’t please all readers but I think she is wise to avoid more sensationalist copy.

The recollections of Paris Lees and other gay trans people echo what I know of the impact homophobic bullying can have on self-acceptance. Interestingly this is a Paris Lees quote from an article (London Review of Books 2014). This was quite an honest assessment and pre-dates Lees adding “Adult Human Female” to their twitter bio:

On the topic of homosexual transsexuals I , inevitably, find myself conflicted. I want boys like my son to be protected in all their variant masculinity. I don’t want to enshrine “gender identity” in law and legitimise the sterilising of, likely gay, males. Neither do I want those gay males, who do fail to reconcile to their sex, to be unprotected. What I do know is that “gender identity ” must never take primacy over biological sex, for the sake of women. Enshrining “gender identity” in law would be disastrous for women’s rights. Sex also matters for trans-identified people. It is dangerous to become so immersed in an identity you deny that sex matters for your health care.

I was pleased to see this statement in the book: in my view there are no cirumstances in which minors should be making fertility and health affecting decisions involving blockers, hormones or surgery”. Personally I take a harder line re decisions to embark on medical pathways. Achieving the magical age of majority is not sufficient for me. I know, from personal experience, our teenagers are being handed prescriptions with no counselling and no interrogation of what motivates a flight from their sex. I would ban it for under 25’s which we know is the average age of brain maturity. Whether it would deflect many from this path we can’t foresee. We do know many de-transitioners embarked on surgery, in their early twenties, only to regret it. Persuading legislators of this is likely to be an uphill, near impossible struggle, at this moment in time. Alarm bells should be ringing as the number of detransitioners in increasing daily. Sadly I fear many more broken bodies before this madness gets reined in.

In this chapter the author also attempts to elucidate the position of various schools of thought on Gender Identity. This is no mean feat giving the contradictions inherent in Gender Identity Ideology. This chapter uses the terminology of Trans Idealogues comparing “Cis” people to “trans people” and even using “non-trans”. That will irk some readers. However I see this chapter aimed at an audience (academics? politicians?) who have wholesale adopted the nomenclature of Gender identity Ideologues. The chapter does end with an unequivocal statement warning of the danger in accepting something which is “in danger of looking unverifiable as when Stonewall tells young people “” Someone else can’t tell you what your gender identity is – only you know how you feel””. This is not a sound basis on which to enact legislation, and perhaps using trans-approved language will convince more people?

What makes a woman?

There follows a long chapter interrogating “What makes a Woman” and looking at the definition of Adult Human Female versus Woman as Social Role. I suspect some people view this chapter as capitulation and some as compassionate. I subscribe to Adult Human Female but welcome the recognition that some people have built their lives around the narrative “Trans Women are Women”. These quotes sum up the difficulty, with the demand that the word “woman” is handed over to males in flight from their sex.

Marilyn Frye is quoted on page 152:

“If a woman has little or no economic or political power, or achieves little of what she wants to achieve, a major causal factor is she is a woman. For any woman of any race or economic class being a woman is significantly attached to whatever disadvantages and deprivations she suffers be they great or small” In response to the (much longer) quote Stock argues “Getting rid of the concept WOMAN would mean we couldn’t desribe, explain, predict or manage these distinctively caused phenomena”.

To those who have built their lives around the idea they are really women, Stock has this to say:

“People have built their lives around this narrative. Perhaps it feels as though I’m ripping all that away, and that causes you pain”.

I have seen this pain up close and its not the performative, twitter, transperbole: though that certain exists. It can be raw and very real. I think compassion has a very real place on this topic and it needn’t include abandoning a very clear view about the necessity for sex based rights and a male exclusionary feminism. We don’t need to be inhibited from centring women in our feminism, indeed it is a necessity if women’s rights organisations are to serve women, as a sex class.

Once again, I quote Miranda Yardley (male transsexual): “Refugees from masculinity exist” and add my own caveat “it is not women’s job to run the refugee camps”.

Immersed in a fiction

This chapter begins with some commentary on the passing of the Gender Recognition Act, 2004. This enshrined to idea of a “legal fiction” allowing males, then the majority sex visiting Gender Clinics, to have their birth certificate amended to show their sex as female. Its astonishing to see the quality (or lack thereof) of contributions to the debate on the passage of the bill in the House of Commons. Below is a link to historic archives on Hansard. I find myself in the unusual position, for me, of recommending Norman Tebbit’s contribution which Professor Stocks also references in this chapter.

Hansard Archive on GRA

Stock them goes on to discuss the difference between fiction and reality and quotes both Miranda Yardley and Fione Orlander. I met both Fionne and Miranda on the same night and it was the first time I spoke publicly about my situation. Here Miranda clearly states ” I now disavow use of the word “woman” for myself and other transgender males, preferring to use the term “transsexual” or “transsexual male”. I should also point out that both Miranda and Fionne used male facilities at the meeting.

Stock covers the therapeutic benefit , to the individual, of being immersed in a fictional belief about your place within the sex binary. She also expresses concern about the risk of losing capacity to think rationally about your biological reality. This detachment from reality can be maladaptive and harmful. Moreover what latter day trans activists are increasingly demanding is the coercion of others to overtly participate in this fiction. This can result in the controlling of others around you. I was particularly pleased to see this sentence“Yet it isn’t reasonable to expect the person who gave birth to you, or the person who married you, or your own children to permanently relate to you mentally as of a different sex when they know you are not”

In addition the author sounds the alarm about the corruption of data which occurs when “gender identity” is substituted for sex. A particular danger is to criminalise speech such as “misgendering”. Something, by the way, which is already criminalised in some of the United States.

How did we get here?

This chapter is an excellent overview of how trans-activists have been allowed to lobby government to set the legal agenda whilst politicans were negligent, in seeking contributions from women’s groups. Stonewall figure prominently, as do Mermaids, and The Guardian newspaper does not emerge covered in glory. Jess Bradley of Action for Trans Health is also consulted. Professor Stock refrains from any reference to the sacking of Jess Bradley. He was the first Trans Officer at Manchester University and departed for sharing a bit more his anatomy ,at work, than would be considered decent.

This chapter has an excellent overview of the propaganda deployed to further Transgender Ideology. One of these is the egregious use of suicide statistics, which are based on dubious data. Hate crime statistics also create a false narrative about widespread abuse of this population.

This chapter also looks at the pornified representations of women and those public “transwomen” who draw on these depictions to demonstrate membership of the female “gender”. These performances reify dehumanising representations of what it means to be a woman; another reason why women are not served by any alliance.

The chapter on autogynephilia is where our attitudes diverge. In part this because my empathy goes to the women who find their husbands are autogynephiles. These women are now getting a voice by organising as “trans-widows”. I have read enough of these accounts to see commonalities with men who coercively control their wives. Many of these women found themselves subject to degrading and humiliating treatment. At the extreme end it involved forced participation in sexual acts which validated their husbands alter ego. At the milder end women report having their personal style and friendship groups co-opted by their husbands almost as if they were replicating, or replacing, their wives.

Even, seemingly, benign, behavioural autogynephilia includes males inserting themselves into female spaces, and conversations, to gratify their need to assert their membership of the female group. The wives, or trans widows, then find themselves excluded from the support of women because their erstwhile husbands have colonised their places of refuge.

Kathleen asks why the lack of coverage, on the gender critical side, relating to trans-identified females. This is surely because, whilst it exists, androphilia (sexually fetishising a male identity) is relatively rare? Women tend to focus on “trans-men” as female and are concerned that many would, if left alone, simply be Butch Lesbians. Gay males are latterly, waking up to the encroachment of those females who identify as gay men on their spaces. Defending gay male spaces is surely the job of gay men and they do seem to be, belatedly, joining the debate in growing numbers.

A better activism in future.

Those not immersed in this debate may regard this chapter as even-handed and reaching out to those who have feared to dip their toe in the water. Others may bristle at the criticism of Radical/Gender Critical feminists.

Julia Long came in for some criticism by name. For the record I am an admirer of Julia Long’s uncompromising stance. I think we need straight-talking women who reject the mantle of “Be Kind”. As a (heterosexual) woman who lives with three males I think Lesbian feminists, of a separatist persuasion, have often been the clearest sighted about the threats Gender Identity Ideology poses to women’s rights. I wish I had listened to them sooner. I also find Julia funny, she has Ovaries of steel; and is unafraid to offend in her direct action. She appeals to my Yorkshire bluntness and I admire her, albeit from some ideological distance. She is unashamedly woman-centred and some of the terminology used is reminiscient of attacks used by Men’s rights activists. For me we need the range of activists challenging this ideology and some of the women shifting the overton window won’t be invited to the top table discussions but will have opened the doors for the women who do get a seat.

At the same time Julia warns about using terms, such as “transsexual” and “transwomen”. I no longer use the latter but I do sometimes use the former whilst also sometimes, speaking plainly about “men”. I am inconsistent in my application and I don’t advocate for my, selective, approach as a basis for any women’s movement. It just happens to be a response to my personal circumstances. I choose to use less alienating language for those I love, or like and respect. I therefore do perform “polite fiction” on this issue and live with some cognitive dissonance.

Kathleen also warns about the alienating use of words like “mutilated” when describing the surgical harms to girls; subject to double mastectomies and other surgical procedures. Again those of us with our offspring’s skin in the game, literally, adopt different tactics in this area. I do regard these surgeons as butchers who are mining my son’s body for profit. I am angry about this. At the same time we need to find a welcome back, into the sex class they never left, for detransitioners. I was irritated by blue-tick feminists (not Kathleen) getting the vapours about some graphic images of phallioplasty procedures. Simultaneously nobody wants to exacerbate the regret of those who have found their way out of the gender cult. This is extremely difficult terrain to navigate because we want people to stare directly at the reality and not minimise by using euphemisms like “top surgery”.

The chapter outlines some ways in which these disparate groups might make common cause. I honestly don’t know if the extreme sex denialism, of the Trans lobby, will allow for compromise. Will it allow women the right to define ourselves and exclude males in any settings?

At an individual level, I find some of the more ruminative transsexuals, suprisingly, find meaning in a radical feminist analysis. They see common elements in questioning sex based expectations and are reflective on how they may have followed very diffent paths had they encountered this framework. At the same time I know of transsexuals who found Kathleen’s analysis of their path as an immersion in a fiction meaningful. Invariably these are homosexual transsexuals who are not quite so invested in the need to validate the “woman” they wish to consecrate their lives to….

It is possible therefore that some of the linguistic concessions, in this book, will reach a new audience who would shrink from the plain speaking of a Janice Raymond. It is also a book written from within existing employment in academia and that surely has an impact on which audience it is intended to reach.

One page 272, there is a really useful list of all the areas which need more exploration (data) and research. She devotes three pages to these areas and it is quite shocking to consider the policy decisions taken without this data. Stock argues that their is a “surfeit high theory” in activism and public discussion. This includes Trans Studies. She goes on to say “High theory is abstract, totalising, seductively dramatic in its conclusions and relatively insulated from any directly observable empirical consequences – which ….makes it harder to dislodge”. She then returns to a critique of Judith Butler whose conclusions are “reached through a byzantine set of theoretical manoevres”. I think it fitting that a critique of the High Priestess of Gender Bollox is in the conclusion.

My conclusion. I think this is a very important book. I imagine every single reader will diverge at some points with the book’s stance. We all are in this with varying perspectives and we need to navigate a path to enable disagreements to be voiced from within feminism. I am one of six sisters and only one of them feels able to agree with me. I still love them and hope they will come round. Thanks for writing this book Kathleen. I hope I have done it justice.

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Researching Gender Identity Ideology and its impact on Women and our Gay Youth. Support is always appreciated (I have no income). All my content is open access so if you can’t speak publicly, and want to support those who can, only IF you have spare cash, this helps me keep going.

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