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.
We think we are being compassionate by accepting individuals' thoughts about their gender. But when a little boy dresses as a princess or a little girl wants to cut her hair short, who is more cruel: the adults who worry those children are gay or the adults who lead the kids themselves to wonder if they are not really a boy or a girl?
Both sets of adults put too much consequence in the typical and normal experimentation of children. Kids try on the oppositite gender identities the way they try on the identities of dinosaurs, kitty cats, elves, and dragons -- each of which they can never be. When children think they are birds, we do not support them by attaching wings on their backs and telling them they can fly. We know if they seriously try this, they will end up with broken limbs or far worse, at the foot of the cliff they hopefully launched themselves off of. Why do we think that turning a male into a female would be any less disastrous?
In so many areas, we hardly trust modern medicine. Witness the rise in homeopathy, naturopathy and assorted alternative medicine. But for sex do we really think doctors can work miracles and turn our wishes into Truth?
And onto this cruel compassion, we can add a dollop of absurdity. From the Fort Worth story:
The guidelines go on to say that “if other students feel uncomfortable sharing a restroom with a transgender student or if a student has a need or desire for increased privacy, the district must allow student access to a single stall restroom, a gender neutral restroom or the opportunity to visit the facility when other students are not present.”
Many school districts are already upside down on their budgets, with a disproportionate share going to administrative costs and leaving too few dollars for teachers. Now we want schools to divert dollars to retrofit bathrooms and locker rooms as single stalls? Mix in the regulations from the American Disability Act, and single stalls are space hungry, too.
Many Texas public schools already have to resort to temporary buildings to accommodate the immigrant influx. And we are going to blow the time, money, and space on bathrooms for the gender confused, who are poorly served in the long term by the public confirmation of their dysphoria?
As a Texas mother, I'm curious. Between STAAR testing (our delightful standardized test here in Texas), the budget and space realities, and the time-intensive micromanaging oversights the gender neutral rules require, when will the teaching happen?