Puberty can be a stressful, even turbulent, time with its physical and emotional changes. And these days, especially because of the influence of social media, it may happen that young people project their difficulties onto the idea that they are, or may be, ‘trans’. Such a belief, sense, or feeling – better to call it delusion – may be the first step on the slippery slope of ‘affirmative care’, which is very likely to result in infertility, little or no sexual function, and regret for the rest of one’s life.

The parents of such a boy or girl, being surprised or shocked and feeling out of their depth, may seek the assistance of a so-called gender clinic or gender specialist, probably not realising this implies a decision to treat accordingly.

What do gender specialists know that the rest of us, including ordinary doctors, don’t? This speciality is false, because it never seems to happen that a gender specialist says, ‘Well, actually, you’re not “trans”, you’re just a mixed-up kid, and my advice is that you learn to accept yourself according to your physical reality.’

If gender specialism means anything, it’s expertise in facilitating manipulation of a deluded person’s healthy body with abnormal hormone administration and mutilating surgery. Unlike all other medical specialities it does not attempt to correct or prevent a recognisable abnormality. Being trans, if such a state exists, is only in the mind of the person, and therefore, if it’s causing significant distress may need psychological treatment.

Sex Matters
Furthermore, acceptance of the idea of ‘gender identity’ leads us into all sorts of curious twists and turns. For example, the ambiguously named organisation, Sex Matters, in the first of their three-part document, Teenagers and gender identity: the evidence base, they start by saying, ‘We have a singular mission.’ Do they mean singular in the sense of exceptional or remarkable, or are they a single-issue organisation? They could mean both. But if there is any confusion it may be because one of the authors is the Irishwoman Stella O’Malley who is also one of the directors of Genspect, and the Irish, as is well known, are prone to prolixity.

As with so much writing in this area, they start with a number or assumptions. In the Introduction we are presented with the concepts of gender dysphoria, gender identity, and various derivatives such as ‘gender questioning’ and ‘teenagers identifying out of their sex’, but what do these phrases mean?

They do attempt to define sex and gender, but with regard to the latter the way they do it doesn’t get us very far: ‘By sex, we mean biological, binary male/female sex.’ Sex is sex; it hardly needs to be qualified as ‘biological, binary male/female’, because what other kind of sex is there? But it’s when they get to ‘gender’ that confusion really sets in:

Gender is a little harder to define, but we use it to mean social customs and identities that are related to what we traditionally associate with the concepts of being male or female.

What do they mean, the concepts of being male or female? These are not concepts but irrefutable biological states. Furthermore, if we shorten their definition and say: ‘Gender means the social customs and identities traditionally associated with being male or female,’ it’s vague to the point of uselessness. These days there are very few ‘traditional’ gender roles that cannot be assumed by either sex. Men can be nurses and even male midwives; women can be airline pilots and participate in combat roles in the armed forces. It’s only the benighted country of Afghanistan where women are suppressed almost out of existence, or at best limited to the roles of housewife and mother.

Sex Matters continues:

At the heart of this is whether parents believe their children’s sex is real and unchanging or whether they were ‘assigned’ a sex at birth and have an innate sense of gender identity that doesn’t necessarily match the assigned sex.

Even though they add, ‘Many researchers, including us, would say that sex is observed at birth, not assigned,’ the above quotation is nonsensical. Whether parents believe their children’s sex is real and unchanging or whether they believe their children have an innate sense of gender identity, is a meaningless linguistic abstraction. For the vast majority of children, and, indeed, of adults, the question of gender identity never arises. For example, I don’t have a gender identity because I am a man since I was born as a male, and obviously this is real and unchanging. In other words, since I am a man it would be superfluous for me to ‘identify’ as a male as well.

There are some people, however, who think of themselves in a way that differs from their sex. For example, a girl may be deluded that in spite of having a female body she is ‘really’ a boy (and vice versa for boys). Then that is how they are, but often such delusions will change as they grow up, and these children will come to accept themselves as belonging to the sex in which they were born.

Here are three links to ‘detransitioner’ stories; they’re enough to bring tears to your eyes:

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Picture credit: Mihai Surdu on Unsplash