The Parallel Realities of Gender: Two gender conferences in the same town present starkly different realities.

The European Professional Association for Transgender Health, or EPATH, held its fifth conference there, titled “Strengthening the standards: communities and research.” Some 500 attendees, from psychologists to surgeons to sociologists, gathered in the local convention center to showcase research ranging from “Acoustic long-term effects of a speech feminization protocol for transgender women” to “Being a trans* person during a pandemic.”

Some 1.8 miles down the road in downtown Killarney, another group had assembled. Genspect, a non-partisan organization “devoted to advancing a healthy approach to sex and gender,” was holding a conference of its own, intended as a counter to EPATH’s, which, Genspect alleged, “brooks no debate and incorrectly insists that the ‘science is settled.’” Genspect’s “Bigger Picture” conference would challenge evidence and showcase damage wrought by the gender-affirmative approach, offering “the human stories beyond medical transition.”

Genspect had invited anyone with an EPATH badge to attend their conference, and had actively reached out to journalists—quite the opposite of EPATH, which had banned journalists because they didn’t like the way they’d been portrayed last time journalists had been allowed access. In fact, I did see a few people from EPATH in the audience, including a trans woman who’d transitioned as a child, from puberty blockers straight to cross-sex hormones. She told me she was probably more partial to EPATH’s perspective, but she was curious. I also met a Dutch plastic surgeon who’d come because she was concerned about what she called “sudden onset” cases, and wanted to learn from detransitioners. “Nobody wants that outcome,” she said.

At EPATH, one long presentation acknowledged the low-quality of evidence to support puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for young people with gender dysphoria. But at Genspect, Dr. Julia Mason went into detail about what that actually meant.

That EPATH paper, which showed a spike in mental health directly after puberty blockers or hormones, followed by a serious plummet, was nothing but an abstract graph at the clinicians’ conference. But at Genspect’s The Bigger Picture, the numbers, the figures, came to life during a panel of detransitioners.

One panelist, Ritchie, wasn’t sure that “detransition” was a useful term anymore. “I think I’m in recovery,” he said. Indeed, one person compared transition to the Eagles’ song Hotel California—you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. They’d each be dealing with the repercussions of their treatments for the rest of their lives.

Though I don’t usually publicly opine about whether or not it’s okay for children to medically transition, I left there thinking that the careful tack I’ve chosen was part of the problem. There are too many people getting hurt to ignore them anymore, to gently prod those in denial to open their eyes. There are too many risks to only focus on benefits. Gender clinicians cannot live in their own subjective reality anymore. They must cross the street, and listen to the other side.

Source: (80) The Parallel Realities of Gender: Two gender conferences in the same town present starkly different realities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.