Those who advocate an unquestioning “affirmation”-based approach to trans-identified children often will claim that any delay or hesitation in assisting a child’s desired gender transition may cause irreparable psychological harm, and possibly even lead to suicide. They also typically will cite research purporting to prove that a child who transitions can expect higher levels of psychological health and life satisfaction. None of these claims align substantially with any robust data or studies in this area. Nor do they align with the cases I have encountered over decades as a psychotherapist.
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An increasingly common characteristic of children presenting with gender dysphoria is a deep involvement within online chat groups that support their sense of dislocation, encourage them to view voices of moderation (including parents) as enemies, and which echo the cultish language of pro-anorexia and pro-suicide websites. As in actual cults, followers are encouraged to believe that their entire gamut of personal problems can be solved so long as they embrace one overarching dogma. “Feel dislocated from your sex, feel like you do not fit in?” asks the Transgender Heaven website. “Here is a group that understands your feelings of dislocation and confusion and can offer you an identity that can provide certainty and a feeling that you belong.” Or as one pro-trans vlogger said on YouTube, “trans is a solution to feeling shit.”
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“First do no harm,” should be the least we expect from those who treat our children. Yet in 2019, it was revealed that the GIDS program at Tavistock clinic had lowered the age at which it offers children puberty blockers on the basis of a study that—it later was revealed—concluded that “after a year of treatment, ‘a significant increase’ was found in patients who had been born female self-reporting to staff that they ‘deliberately try to hurt or kill myself.’” The fact that Tavistock officials ignored such evidence suggests they have bought into the idea that transition is a goal unto itself, separate from the wellbeing of individual children, who now are being used as pawns in an ideological campaign.