As a teen, she transitioned to male but came to regret it. Here’s how it felt to enter history in the trans debate.
Because I am 73, I escaped your fate. If puberty blockers had been available when I was 10 or 12, I would have jumped at the chance to take them. Throughout my youth & early teens, I felt as if I were a boy in a girls body but when I reached my mid 20s & was able to join a lesbian political group - I became so happy to be a lesbian woman. Children and young teens are not mature enough to make such a life shattering decision.
Respect to your courage, Keira. May people listen to your lived experience.
I'm glad to learn more about the person behind the debate over transitioning minors. The decision regarding the NHS has, indeed, reverberated well beyond the UK. Among the appropriately radical in the US today, it represents a triumph for institutional transphobia that must be defeated by any means necessary. There was a time when academic (and activist) feminists debated such issues and often came to different conclusions, but that time is no more. Today, "queer" has won the day, and according to queer gospel there can be no debate on the wisdom of transitioning children--and by children, I don't just mean teenagers. Any position that takes into account parental responsibilities for decision making about children is, by definition, transphobic. Any consideration of psychological co-morbidities or the unique vulnerabilities of children is transphobic. Any academic research that suggests that most gender dysphoria in children usually resolves itself, often resulting in gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity, is transphobic. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual identities are transphobic (note: to claim a bisexual identity is to signal that you believe there are two sexes, which is transphobic). Any possible research agenda that would, for example, investigate the hypothesis that sudden spikes in transgender identification among teenagers might be explained in part by peer contagion is so transphobic that academics will band together to make sure that no such project receives funding or IRB human subjects approval.
Any failure to rally around the cause of substituting gender identity for sex at any time for any reason is transphobic. Harboring any doubt that a person "assigned a sex at birth" as we all presumably are who has this second announced their membership in the other category is not, in fact, a full-fledged member of that category for any and all purposes is transphobic. I could go on. Members of the public who are not academics and who hold that this belief system has no bearing on their lives could not be more wrong. The idea that we should support civil and human rights for transgender people, a view I embrace, is the appealing virtue sitting on top of Pandora's box.
This is an hugely important subject and I applaud Keira for having the courage to enter this most toxic of debates. It’s past time we accepted the reality that sex is biologically determined and gender is a fluid spectrum. People should be free to present themselves as they feel appropriate and be protected against discrimination and violence but we cannot allow the truth to be a victim of intimidation and group-think in the way that it is currently becoming. People are not ‘assigned’ a sex at birth; with the exception of genuinely intersex individuals, people’s sex at birth is clear and is not bestowed by bigoted doctors. Gender identity, on the other hand, is a wide and deeply personal question and people should be free to explore it without fear or coercion. Trans extremists are attempting to deny women, lesbians and feminists their own identities with cries of transphobia on the most spurious grounds. Vulnerable people like Keira need to be respected and heard.
Keira, I wish you the best. One advantage of sharing your experience in a community like Persuasion is there's less of a risk that your story will become weaponized in the hands of militant zealots and militant deniers. That's my hope, anyway. Zealots and deniers give the cliché "I love humanity but detest people" a face and a voice that quickly wear out their welcome.
So relieved I'm not a teenager now. Gay and now in my 60s, I was an effeminate child/teenager. I fear that today peers and some adults would be saying that I was a really "trans". Never would I have thought even 5 years ago that those thought would cross my mind.
The acronym "LGBTQ+++++" pops up everywhere as if an indissoluble tectonic plate. In fact, there is tension among those identities...and I fear that much of current "trans ideology" can come across as an erasure of gay men and women.
And it's the ideology that has sprung up recently that separates....not trans people themselves.
Although her story is really tragic, her clarity is bracing. Good to read a piece that so simply and eloquently outlines the bad thinking that leads to such tragic outcomes. We have to stop sacrificing our young people on the altar of political correctness and medical curiosity.
Your courage at sharing your story is a gift to all. Thank you.
I've heard it said that medical interns are instructed "If you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras". Now the theory seems to be that if we think horses we'll end up oppressing the zebras.
One needn't subscribe to any particular theory about nature or nurture regarding sex to observe that the vast majority of adults think they're the same sex inside and outside, making it disingenuous at best to look at a child who "presents" as a girl and say "who knows?", leading to travesties like the one perpetrated on the author.
Does the intern advice disadvantage people whose inner and outer sex never line up? Yes. But wishing our observations away is not a good plan, and disadvantages *more* people, as there are more people who end up happy with their "assigned" sexes than otherwise.
This isn't an argument for fitting everyone into the same mold, merely for letting plausibility, rather than ideology, be our guide.
We know someone, 15, whom we fear is in this exact situation. Is there a national group in the U.S. who can offer advice to worried observers?
A compelling enough story to be a Hollywood movie, which I'm quite sure will never be made. Here's hoping for a Hollywood happy ending to this story anyway.
I’m a primary teacher and can confirm the hard line Training given to all state school teachers in the UK on the issue; essentially, children who identify as the other sex will commit suicide if not supported to transition. No further questions asked about their holistic environment or mental health, no related stats or research given on the matter. To question their position you’re deemed transphobic. We need a strong lobby group to stand up to the likes of Mermaids and showcase the irreversible harm caused by medicalising children in an attempt to ‘deal’ with what is often a complex matter, requiring high quality psychotherapeutic support. Does anybody know of groups that exist ?
Thank you for your courage and emotional clarity on this complex subject. This is how discussion can take place to improve the lives of all people facing similar circumstances.