Inventing Transgender Children – Pointicle Review

POINTICLE REVIEW OF ‘INVENTING TRANSGENDER CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’ (ed. Brunskell-Evans & Moore)

You’ve heard of an article, you’ve heard of a listicle (an article based on a list) and now here’s a pointicle!

OBJECT has bought the new and controversial ‘Inventing Transgender Children’, co-edited by our very own Dr Heather Brunskell Evans, and has reviewed and summarised it in bullet points for you. Obviously this approach misses out a lot. We loved the book and thoroughly recommend it. But if your time or money are limited, reading this is better than missing out.

Basically a lot of professionals and parents have decided that the current policy of affirming any child who presents as transgender was a really bad idea as these kids are often struggling with a host of other problems which are the ones they really need help with. Calling them ‘trans’ and sending them off for blockers, hormones and surgery is physically really harmful at an age when they are too young to consent to the consequences (e.g. infertility), PLUS when this happens the abuse, disorders and trauma that they really need help with go untreated. Transitioning, although it appears to offer a solution to unhappiness, gives a short term high and gains lots of attention and support, does not solve anyone’s problems in the long term and can make people psychologically and physically worse not better.

The Foreword is by David Bell, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

  • He says ‘Children who feel lost in the world become radicalised online, join trans groups that provide them at last with an identity, social belonging and an explanation for all their suffering…. Complex disorders, filtered through the prism of gender, can be left completely unaddressed.’

The Preface is by Gender Critical Dad, who is trying to support his daughter while steering her away from permanent body alterations.

  • ‘Transgender ideology is marching into schools disguised as LGBT acceptance….. transactivism is a form of bullying: if you’re not porn-culture straight, a proper ‘boy’s boy’ or ‘girly girl’, you must be defective, in need of fixing, by reclassification (as trans), drugs or a scalpel.’

The Intro is by academics Heather Brunskell Evans and Michelle Moore. They say ‘The idea that ‘transgender identity’ is an inherent, biologically-determined phenomenon is not based on well-established, evidence-based principles of medicine, neuroscience, psychology or psychiatry’. In other words it’s made up, and hormone therapy (as well as not working) is harmful, so doctors should not do it as they promise in their oath to ‘do no harm’.

Chapter 1, also by Heather and Michelle:

  • ‘The Gender Identity Service (GIDS) has no credible scientific basis for the theory it applies in a radical and experimental way to children….. they are left with a mutilated body but the internal conflicts remain.’

  • ‘It is hard to underestimate the incremental power exerted over the GIDS by trans-affirmative lobby groups.’ Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence, GIRES etc have dictated Dept. of Health policy, inventing the trans child.

Chapter 2 ‘Britain’s Experiment with Puberty Blockers’ is by Michael Biggs, a Sociology Professor

  • The GIDS (Gender Identity Service at the Tavistock and Portman Clinic) launched an experimental study of blockers in 2010. Its results were more negative than positive, but were misrepresented as positive. Negative evidence was suppressed or ignored and the study is flawed by a statistical fallacy: two thirds of the subjects left the study before the end.

  • In fact, girls showed a significant rise in behavioural and emotional problems; physical well-being decreased and there was a significant rise in children trying to hurt or kill themselves. Yet the results were presented as positive.

  • The study was funded by trans advocacy organisations: GIRES and Mermaids plus 2 medical charities.

  • ‘The Patient Information Sheet provided to children when they gave consent minimized or concealed the risks’…. As for side effects, there was a vague warning’ whereas in fact ‘depression is common,’ and ‘other side effects include ‘pain in abdomen, pain bruising, redness and swelling at injection site, headache, hot flushes, weight gain, acne, hypersensitivity reactions’.

  • Hence GIDS had no justification for starting to prescribe blockers to children from 2014.

  • The effects of blockers were said to be reversible without harm when this is not scientifically proven.

  • GIDs did not track its patients long-term to check on their progress. So no long-term data was collected.

  • Blockers are more like a ‘fast forward’ button to transitioning rather than the ‘pause’ button they have been likened to.

Chapter 3 is by Lisa Marchiano, a US psychoanalyst.

She says transgenderism is another man-made hysterical epidemic which expresses distress with current life, like the medieval feeling that people were made of glass and therefore very fragile, the Victorian idea of ‘hysteria’, the First World War concept of ‘Shell Shock’, or the modern concept of ‘anorexia’ or ‘body dysmorphia’, which gender dysphoria is close to. Symptoms may be very real but some are subjective and unfalsifiable. There is a strong cultural element in what behaviours are exhibited, a strong element of social contagion and a strong social reward in the positive attention and valorisation given to sufferers.

Chapter 4 is by Roberto D’Angelo, an Australian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.

  • Our focus on medicine and surgery makes us miss environmental and social causes of transgenderism.

  • Families where boys are valued more, or girls are abused (or vice versa), may make a child wish to change sex to improve, especially when innumerable YouTube videos and transgender support groups also push them in that direction and they sees trans kids valorised and heroised. ‘If the current wave of gender dysphoria is in fact a communication or protest about the world in which children find themselves, gender-affirming care is an inadequate or even misguided solution.’

Chapter 5 is by Dianna Kenney, an Australian Professor of Psychology.

  • Children learn gender roles at home and in groups, and can be distressed by the idea that their sex can change.

  • Some of the supposed clues that a child is ‘trans’ (pulling the hair clips out of their hair or undoing their Babygro to make it more like a dress) are highly stereotypical and open to other interpretations.

  • The attention children often get when they ‘cutely’ experiment with opposite-sex clothes from the dressing-up box may foster that type of play and an eventual trans diagnosis.

  • Serious child safeguarding and mental health issues are going unrecognised and untreated because the trans label, like a sticking plaster over a gaping wound, gives the impression of helping while not helping at all.

Chapter 6 is by Nathan Hodson, a UK doctor.

  • Intersex is not the same as trans: intersex people are born with mixed sex bodies.

  • They used to be operated on as babies (too young to consent) to make them the sex their parents wanted. Often they grew up to regret this and they campaign now to be left alone until old enough to make their own minds up.

  • They do not wish to be implicated in the transgender movement, medicalised unnecessarily, used as surgical or medical experiments, or used to illustrate a supposed ‘spectrum’ of sexualities which does not really exist as 99% of people are fully male or fully female.

(OBJECT summarises: SEX IS NOT A SPECTRUM. INTERSEX IS NOT A GENDER).

Chapter 7 is by Robert Withers, a lecturer and psychotherapist.

  • ‘Children are being misled into becoming sterile, life-long drug dependent medical patients through transgender intervention’.

  • He worked with detransitioner ‘Chris’ whose family could only love him as a girl, whose violent alcoholic father abandoned the family and who grew up sexually responding to himself as a woman (autogynephile). Eventually he realised it was not working for him and detransitioned.

  • ‘A young person can easily adopt a trans identity as a way of explaining these difficulties, while actually attempting to use that identity to evade them.’

  • Lupron is marketed online at over $3,000 per MONTH and is often prescribed for several years. The NHS may substitute cheaper generic drugs, but it is still costing a lot.

  • ‘The quality of research into the treatment of gender dysphoria is generally extremely poor… Unlike most other medical treatments, no double-blind trials, or long-term studies comparing different treatments have been conducted.’

  • When a Dr Hakeem at the Portman Clinic ran a group for aspirant and transitioned patients together, he found that the aspirants were put off transitioning by the real lived experience shared by the transitioned members of the group.

Chapter 8 is by Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend.

  • The powerful transgender lobby groups have, (OBJECT adds: like the tobacco lobby before them) so captured policy development that professionals dare not speak the truth and the major inequalities in society, particularly the oppression of women, can no longer be talked about for fear of being called ‘transphobic’.

  • These government-funded lobby groups have produced confusing, non-age-appropriate, untruthful and misleading educational materials for use in schools.

  • The lobby groups want to hurry children down the trans road based not on science or evidence but on their own personal conviction that it is right.

  • For example, Susie Green, head of Mermaids, took her child abroad for cross-sex hormones aged 12, the earliest age in the UK, AFTER which the child attempted 7 overdoses. (OBJECT adds: she also took him to Thailand for castration surgery on his 16th birthday; since then Thailand has changed the law to end this procedure for such young people.)

  • Circular logic is used to say that children who change their minds were not really trans in the first place.

  • Gender-non-conforming children are being disappeared, swallowed up into the trans movement.

  • The Children Act prioritises the welfare of this child. It is being disregarded.

Chapter 9 is by Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and presenter of the Channel 4 documentary ‘Trans Kids – It’s Time To Talk’ screened in 2018

  • Stella was a gender-non-conforming child and expected to have sympathy with trans kids.

  • She was troubled by the huge sudden increases in numbers of children wanting to trans (2500% in boys, 4400% in girls).

  • Children were being sold a false promise that they could change sex and would never reach the promised end point.

  • One such, Kenny, learned that if he had ‘bottom surgery’, he would lose the ability to orgasm.

  • Transitioning focuses on external appearance and ‘passing’ – what’s wrong with looking trans?

  • To provide balance, the film asked for participation from prominent TEN pro-trans spokespersons: Dr Helen Webberley (who provided cross-sex hormones to children online), Susie Green, Gendered Intelligence, Stonewall, Owen Jones, Alex Bertie, Lily Madigan, Justine Greening MP, Maria Miller MP, Polly Carmichael. NONE of them would participate to give their side of the debate.

  • At the Bristol Debate, Stella witnessed the extremes of transactivist violence trying to close down debate, and one transactivist wrote to the Guardian saying that it had hindered their cause.

  • The film went through a huge number of edits and re-calls in an effort not to offend transactivists. Channel 4 nearly didn’t show it. Stella attributes this to transactivism.

Chapter 10 is by detransitioners who feel they cannot openly use their own names.

  • There are no proper studies of detransitioners; they feel like failures and attract stigma and odium from the trans community.

  • They are usually gender-non-conforming girls, lesbian, highly intelligent, have experienced sexual assault and abuse, autistic and have psychological issues.

  • All these issues stem from the mistreatment of women under patriarchy

  • The risk of suicide AFTER transitioning is 19 times higher than average (Dhejne 2011)

  • Transing doesn’t work; there is a brief high after surgery then life gets harder trying to fit in as a man and losing same-sex connections to women.

  • Physical health issues include painful scarring, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes.

  • There is not such thing as ‘true trans’.

  • Society needs to tackle stereotypes, misogyny, homophobia, abuse and mental illness.

Chapter 11 is by Patrick, who transitioned age 37 and detransitioned.

  • ‘Transitioning made me suicidal – I developed a sense of self unconnected to reality.’

  • ‘There is no such thing as a biological transition. One cannot make a biological woman out of a biological man, only a ‘social’ version of a woman.

  • ‘I was only becoming freakish,’ ‘I was ruining myself through medical transitioning.’

  • ‘Deep down I couldn’t bear that I was partaking in a definition of womanhood that reinforces sexism’.

  • ‘Gender-affirming therapy had poured fuel on the fire of my condition…. I hadn’t been treated properly and had only been offered a one-fits-all treatment,’

  • ‘Medical transition is just a palliative treatment, and a very poor one.’

  • ‘Detransition was a beautiful process.’

Chapter 12 by Elin Lewis, who works in marketing and digital comms, is about YouTube trans vlogs

  • YouTube transition videos (vlog=video log) are often not genuine teens, and work as adverts.

  • Audiences feel they know and love the subjects and develop emotional attachments to them up to SEVEN times stronger than to normal celebrities.

  • Smartphones and YouTube autoplay mean that many teens consume vast amounts of trans videos – they feel like friends of the vlogger, but it’s an illusion.

  • Successful transition vloggers are white, ‘attractive’, and aged 14-25. They follow a transition timeline and offer advice as educators, self-appointed experts eg on how to deal with parents, how to ‘cut them out’ if they are unsupportive and find trans friends instead.

  • Parents report that kids ‘come out’ to them as trans using formulas from the vlogs.

  • The myth is that transitioning makes you happy (though evidence points to the opposite) – online vlogger images of sunrise and metaphors of rebirth underscore this.

  • The vlogs say that delaying transition will be harmful. Trans vloggers need to validate their own decisions and keep their YouTube income up by gaining lots of views. Once they have a successful formula they are likely to stick with it

Chapter 13 is by Stephanie Davies-Arai and Susan Matthews and covers materials used in schools.

  • Materials produced by GIRES, Mermaids etc on transgenderism for use in schools are misleading, inaccurate, unscientific and harmful:

  • They say (wrongly) that transsexuality is analogous to homosexuality, and may foster a wish for body modicification. They valorise trans kids which may encourage others to follow suit to get the positive attention. They encourage children to self-objectify their own bodies.

  • They claim to smash heteronormativity when in fact promoting it – there are no normal gay role models. Cinderella is presented as transing into a boy as the only way to avoid bullying and domestic drudgery. The words ‘gay’ and ‘girl’ are used unchallenged as insults, thus validating abuse. The trans child is presented as the only one who refuses to conform – no gay people or gender-non-conformers here. YouTube is suggested as the place to research transitioning, and it is asserted as scientific fact that brains are gendered male or female. All 3 organisations misrepresent equality law by asserting that trans pupils have the right to access sex-segregated spaces.

  • Stonewall rejected Transgender Trend’s schools resource pack, yet its author (Stephanie) was shortlisted for a 2018 science prize awarded for promoting science and evidence on a matter of public interest while facing difficulty of hostility in doing so.

Chapter 14 by Susan Matthews, a literature expert, covers trans lobby school materials.

  • The trans lobby’s attempt to ransack history for supposed precedents for transgenderism in other cultures is a first-world neo-colonial attempt to rewrite history to serve its own ends. Complex, imperfectly-understood social processes are presented as simple choices like a take-away menu.

  • Why do kids need workbooks to see if they are ‘trans’? They are part of the self-help movement but written by enthusiasts, not experts.

  • They present transgender identity as innate, with no acknowledgment of social contagion or promotion by the rich and powerful.

  • They use age-inappropriate language: ‘trans, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid, transgender, gender neutral, agender, neutrois, bigender, third gender, two-spirit’ directed at 3-year olds! (Who Are You 2017, p 20)

  • Children are falsely told that gender is assigned at birth and are repeatedly told that sex is complex.

Chapter 15 by Michele Moore, a Health and Social Care professor, is about ROGD.

  • Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), when children identify as trans out of the blue with no prior signs, stems from social contagion, and is not a reliable indicator (Littman 2018).

  • Littman showed that declaring trans can be a maladaptive way of coping with other problems and often follows online coaching and self-grooming.

  • Transactivists tried to prevent publication of Littman’s work and her own Ivy League university took her article down from its website, later admitting that it may have responded to activist pressure.

  • Thus parents and professionals are pushed aside in response to non-professional lobby groups who manipulate and cherry-pick statistics to their own ends. Vulnerable children are put at risk.

  • Why should transactivists, with no knowledge of the child, no professional standing and their unquestioning one-way ‘affirm only’ policy be gatekeepers of who (if anyone) is trans?

  • Littman details 7 children who, with no prior indication of being unhappy in their sex, experienced ROGD after online activity and parroted online content in ‘coming out as trans’.

  • Clinicians agree ‘Once the child announces that gender is the problem, this masks all other issues. Referring clinicians assume that gender problems are too specialist for them to deal with….. Once the child gets to the specialist service, the clinical work is all about fast-tracking gender-affirmation and transition’.

  • (OBJECT asks ‘Does this remind anyone else of the fiasco that happened when the Met Police were instructed to believe all those who claimed to have been abused as children?)

To conclude…

OBJECT found this book to be excellent: complex evidence from a variety of eminent professionals was clearly presented for the lay person, and parents’ perspectives were given due weight. Sorry, transactivists, but shouting, even ever so long and loud cannot in the long term go against evidence.

OBJECT would like to add:

  • Munchhausen’s By Proxy Disorder, in which a caregiver manufactures or exaggerates evidence of a patient’s or child’s ill health in order to gain attention, could be a factor in parents who seek a trans diagnosis for their child. The best-known example is nurse Beverley Allitt.

  • The proverb says ‘Misery loves company’. If, as we have learned, transitioning is not only unproven to make people happier in the long term, but actually, as detransitioners evidence, makes peope MORE unhappy, then it is understandable that people who have invested so much for so long in promoting the trans agenda are reluctant to admit defeat. It is more understandable in those who have actually altered their bodies, are probably still struggling with poor mental health and unaddressed psychological or emotional issues and are struggling to convince themselves that it will work, eventually, one day. We have sympathy for such trans people and recognise that they have been exploited and mistreated, having been given a painful and harmful sticking plaster to apply to their gaping psychological wounds.

  • It is less understandable in the educated ‘wokebeards’ like journalist Owen Jones, MPs like Justine Greening and Maria Miller, highly-qualified psychologists like Polly Carmichael. They should know better. When you are found to have made a mistake, joined the wrong side, leapt onto a bandwagon heading to nowhere (while crushing vulnerable people on its way), it is time to admit you were wrong and start to tell the truth. We are watching and waiting for when you ‘fess up. Don’t you fancy a peaceful retirement, Polly?

  • As for young social justice warriors who suppress free speech, harass speakers they disagree with and allow themselves to be manipulated by those with a hidden agenda to justify their already considerable misdeeds – grow up. Find a better cause. Think before you protest, no matter how much fun it is to be part of a baying mob.

  • Detransitioner Charlie Evans made an excellent point at the recent Filia conference. She likened the trans movement to the sneaky car that follows an blue-light, sirening ambulance through the traffic, stealing a lead over other traffic. She feels that most people still don’t really get that it’s ok to be lesbian or gay (research shows that lesbians get significantly less positive publicity than gay men), and that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept, at least on the surface, that after Section 28 was repealed in 2000 they had to be nice to gay people, no matter what their private views were. Now gay people came out from the closet, gay ‘firsts’ were celebrated, gay marriage were allowed etc, and while many people still didn’t get it, they knew they had to be positive and enthusiastic about gay people. The trans movement capitalised on this new willingness to accept what we don’t really understand and, like the car that follows the ambulance, stole our acceptance without having a really good reason to deserve it.

  • Our prize for the most important article on transgenderism has to go to the wonderful Jennifer Bilek, who first wrote about the big money behind the movement.

  • Our fave fact about transgenderism is that isn’t ONE long-term scientific study that shows that transitioning makes people happier. When OBJECT mentioned this to the civil servants during the GRA consultation, they gave us details of a study they thought would bridge this gap. Asked for the date, they said ‘It’s not finished yet’. We rest our case.

  • Our least fave fact about transgenderism is that, as pointed out by Dr Jessica Taylor again at the recent Filia conference, trans kids, some of whom have left their parents for being unsupportive, are suffering abuse from their ‘trans supporters’ on whom they are now almost entirely dependent, and Social Services, even if they are aware, have their hands tied by the ‘affirm only’ policy.

  • Finally, is trangenderism just a more specialised and even more than usually profitable (to Big Pharma), form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder? It fits the criteria.

Written by Janice Williams


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