The Cruel Compassion of Transgender Acceptance

Last summer, when Bruce Jenner's procedure dominated the culture news, a professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School summarized the recent medical treatment history of gender dysphoria. I recommend reading the whole thing, but have pulled a few highlights for this post [emphasis mine]:

At Johns Hopkins, after pioneering sex-change surgery, we demonstrated that the practice brought no important benefits. As a result, we stopped offering that form of treatment in the 1970s. Our efforts, though, had little influence on the emergence of this new idea about sex, or upon the expansion of the number of “transgendered” among young and old....

I am ever trying to be the boy among the bystanders who points to what’s real. I do so not only because truth matters, but also because overlooked amid the hoopla—enhanced now by Bruce Jenner’s celebrity and Annie Leibovitz’s photography—stand many victims. Think, for example, of the parents whom no one—not doctors, schools, nor even churches—will help to rescue their children from these strange notions of being transgendered and the problematic lives these notions herald. These youngsters now far outnumber the Bruce Jenner type of transgender [autogynephilia]. Although they may be encouraged by his public reception, these children generally come to their ideas about their sex not through erotic interests but through a variety of youthful psychosocial conflicts and concerns....

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

I thought of this piece when reading news of a school district meeting on school bathrooms in Fort Worth, Texas. The "pro-transgender" side argued that these reforms are worth it if they save one youth's life. They seem to think that the high suicide rate for those with gender dysphoria—twenty times that of peers!—comes from cultural rejection, although the study suggests that it comes from cultural encouragement. (And as I finish this piece, a similar story from New Hampshire hit my inbox.)

Transgender people descend into despair when even all the medicine and medical advances that everyone encouraged can't change their biological reality. In fact, the medicine used on younger individuals prior to surgeries causes its own harms.

As gender dysphoria becomes more accepted as normal for children, "supportive" adults lead children to "helpful" doctors who use various "treatments" to block puberty. Some can merely delay puberty for a few years. But the blockers lock the child into sterility and health risks in their tweens and early teens.

For what other issue would any parent accept an increasing risk of cancer and suicide? We obsessively control our kids' diets and activities for far less dire outcomes based on far flimsier research.

Next Page: Why people think they are being "compassionate" by encouraging transgenderism, and why they are wrong.