Many children and adolescents are “trying out” identifying as transgender because they think it will make them “different,” an Australian psychiatrist who runs a gender clinic in Brisbane told the tabloid The Courier-Mail. He said many more teens and young adults come into his clinic seeking transgender treatments than are actually suffering with long-term gender dysphoria.
“One said to me, ‘Dr Steve … I want to be transgender, it’s the new black’,” Dr. Stephen Stathis, a pediatric psychiatrist and medical director of child and youth mental health services at Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, told The Courier-Mail. He said he had seen a lot of adolescents “trying out being transgender” to stand out.
Stathis estimated that his gender service would see about 180 children with gender issues, but argued that only a minority would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. By the time these kids reach puberty, most will identify as their birth gender, he predicted.
Rather than a cultural fad like transgenderism among teens seems to have become, gender dysphoria is a strong, persistent feeling of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned gender.
One of the trends Stathis has seen is truly heartbreaking. Many young girls have come into his clinic after having been sexually abused, and wanted to change their gender to avoid more abuse.
“The girls say, ‘If only I had been a male I wouldn’t have been abused’,” Stathis said. Situations like this are tragic, but not a justification for long-term surgeries and hormone treatments which may end up damaging girls who have already been abused. Rather than a solution, it seems this would only worsen their trauma.
The Courier-Mail reported that Stathis “has also seen transgender children so desperate to start puberty blockers then progress to irreversible hormone treatment they harm themselves.” Warning: this description will be very disturbing.
“I’ve seen genital mutilation, some who try to cut off their penis,” the psychiatrist said. “The thought of touching their genitals is so abhorrent they don’t wash them and get infections.”
At the end of last year, Stathis reported there was a two-year waiting list of 100 children wanting to be assessed at the hospital. With state funding, the wait is now down to three or four months, and the service has seen more than 60 patients since December. While it is a good thing more adolescents will actually be checked out by professionals who acknowledge that not all kids who identify as transgender are truly suffering from gender dysphoria, some would argue that even the minority who do are ill-served by suggestions they should irreversibly alter their bodies to match their inner identities.
Even someone as brave (Olympic gold medalist) and as certain about this identity as Caitlyn Jenner reportedly had “an initial freak-out” and worried about the health risks associated with taking the final step of removing the male sex organ. If it was scary and dangerous even for Caitlyn Jenner, why should society encourage transgender identity for children, much less adolescents who aren’t old enough to vote or drink?
Indeed, many former transgender people have expressed deep regret about scarring their bodies in pursuit of an identity opposite their birth sex. The movement is also arguably responsible for encouraging some people to “identify” as no longer human. One transgender man in Los Angeles, Vinny Ohh, has decided to undertake surgery to become an extraterrestrial. Another transgender man, Richard Hernandez, has had costly surgery to become a dragon.
Parents with kids growing up in this environment need to know that many who identify as transgender at a young age will revert to their birth sex. The social struggles of teenagers are legendary, and it stands to reason that with celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner in the news, teens will channel their youthful rebellion and search for attention into identifying as the gender opposite their birth sex. Even psychiatrists like Stathis warn against this trend, and that is significant.
Hopefully, the trend will subside, and fewer teenagers will channel their angst, social stress, and rebellion in this potentially destructive way. Meanwhile, studies show that children are less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior if they are raised by married parents. One of the best ways parents can help their children is to be dedicated to one another, and show a model of love which grounds their children in turbulent times.