Shermer: Reliably wrong every time


People still pay attention to this conservative fraudster?

Skip it. Irreversible Damage is simply more right-wing hysteria. The premise is that the transeses are transing our kids against their will — the usual moral panic we saw about the gayses recruiting kids with their flamboyant, ever-so-appealing gayness. It’s a garbage book by someone who writes for the Federalist and other such reactionary venues. I’m not going to watch it, but I’m pretty sure Shermer won’t be doing a critical, or dare I say it, skeptical interview.

Watch this instead.

If you don’t want to watch a video, here’s a solid critical review of Shrier’s book. It’s published by Regnery? Yuck. She didn’t interview any of the kids she describes, but rather talked to their parents, who are very upset that their kids were transgender? Jesus.

Comments

  1. raven says

    I saved whole valuable minutes of my life by refusing to read anything by Shermer well over a decade ago.

    If he is ever right about anything, it is only by accident.

  2. Sili says

    I know it’s beside the point not something about using “hysteria” in this context tickles me pink.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    Irreversible Damage is simply more right-wing hysteria. The premise is that the transeses are transing our kids against their will — the usual moral panic we saw about the gayses recruiting kids with their flamboyant, ever-so-appealing gayness.

    Wow. I wonder if anyone ever wrote a book on irrational moral panics and bigoted movements that used pseudoscience, pseudohistory and other “Wrong Things” like Creationism and Holocaust denial?

  4. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Jessie Gender rules. She is a wonderful contrast to Shermer because she is ACTUALLY fair, and balanced, and skeptical. She is incredibly measured and charitable in her responses.

  5. kathleenzielinski says

    Is he talking about the “irreversible damage” of people thinking they might be trans but then later decide they aren’t and resume living as cis? Or is he talking about the “irreversible damage” of genital reassignment surgery and hormones, which in point of fact can’t be reversed later if the child in question decides they are actually cis?

    If the former, then so what? Kids go through phases all the time and I fail to see how this particular phase would be any different. Let someone experiment.

    If the latter, I would hope there would be safeguards in place so that procedures that really are irreversible aren’t done lightly, just like any other medical procedure that’s irreversible. But that’s not a function of it being trans-related; it’s a function of kids being protected from making life altering decisions that they may later regret.

  6. Allison says

    If the latter, I would hope there would be safeguards in place…

    Trust me, medical transition procedures are not done lightly, even for adults. It’s a long, involved process.

    For children, I believe they have to see a therapist first, and they don’t get anything until the therapist signs off on it. And the doctors won’t prescribe hormones until you’re something like 16 or 18; until then, all you get are puberty blockers (which are not hormones.)

    As for surgeries, no matter what your age, you have to get a psychiatrist to sign off on it (in the US, at least), and they won’t do it on children under 18. (I think some surgeons say 21.) You have to have been living as your chosen gender for at least a year (sometimes 2) before they’ll even consider it. And then you have to get on a waiting list for getting a surgery date, which is typically a year or more.

    Read up on what Jazz Jennings went through; aside from being continually slandered by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, it sounds pretty typical.

  7. Allison says

    I think the transphobes who write these things rely on their readers/listeners not actually checking up on their claims. A lot of what they claim they’ve made up out of whole cloth.

    FWIW, the medical protocols are described in various places online.

  8. naturalcynic says

    Is there anything more irreversibly harmful than suicide? That what the results of delay and denial may very well come down to,

  9. kathleenzielinski says

    Fuck off, WMDKitty. Different people have different experiences and there’s probably a dozen different reasons why any given detransitioner chooses to detransition. You’ve got no more right to tell them what will make them happy than anyone else does to tell you what would make you happy. You live your life and let them live theirs.

  10. Marissa van Eck says

    The TERF rabbithole goes really, really deep. I just came across this:

    https://twitter.com/christapeterso/status/1366489983574413317

    earlier today. Maybe the reason they sound like another branch of deranged conspiracy nuts with a terroristic ethos is because one of the leading luminaries is a deranged conspiracy nut with a terroristic ethos. There really does not seem to be a bottom here.

    I’ve got a lot of TERF-y brainworms that still need exorcising from my college days, and am doing my best to be better every day. Finding this really helped.

  11. John Morales says

    kathleenzielinski, you’re aware of retransitioners, right?

    (After all, you don’t dispute that different people have different experiences)

  12. kathleenzielinski says

    John, yes. And my belief is that sex and gender are fluid such that what someone wants today, or how someone identifies today, may not reflect their identity or desires tomorrow. So the fact that someone identifies as trans today does not mean they will feel the same tomorrow. And my beef with WMDKitty is their assumption that the only reason someone might detransition is religious nuttery. I have no doubt that sometimes that’s the reason but not always.

    And I also have no doubt that people sometimes experiment around before figuring out what they really want. So it’s not much of a leap to assume that for some kids, it may be just a phase. Fine. Let them be whatever they ultimately decide they want to be.

  13. raven says

    Google question: what percentage of trans people detransition

    0.3%
    A 2018 survey of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) surgeons found that approximately 0.3% of patients who underwent transition-related surgery later requested detransition-related surgical care. Desistance rates among young children may be higher.

    Detransition – Wikipedia

    OK, anyone who knows more than me about this. Which should be almost everyone.

    3 out of 1000 trans regret their transition and try to reverse it.
    That seems like a very small percentage of people.

    To put this in perspective, 50% of all marriages end up demarrrying, i.e. divorcing.
    I don’t have the percentage of people who regret dealing with Michael Shermer but I’m guessing well over 50%.
    And I and everyone have made decisions in our lives that we regret.
    (Anyone who hasn’t, feel free to mention that fact. We will be impressed.)

  14. raven says

    Wikipedia

    Detransition is more common in the earlier stages of transition, particularly before surgeries.[citation needed] It is estimated that the number of detransitioners ranged from less than one per cent to as many as five per cent.[13][unreliable source?]

    Nobody knows the number of people who want to detransition before surgeries. The data is conflicting and unreliable.
    It’s low though, 1% to 5%.
    Back to the main point of the OP

    Shermer: The premise is that the transeses are transing our kids against their will

    I automatically don’t believe anything Michael Shermer says. Which doesn’t mean this can’t be true.
    But it requires some real data from a source that isn’t notorious for lying.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
    Has anyone seen any?
    (Yeah, I’ll try Google but that only works if non lunatic fringe sites come up.)

  15. William George says

    I just think it’s amazing that even tapeworms are running podcasts now.

  16. raven says

    I put , “Are trans people forcing children to transition” into Google and got nothing except some dubious fundie and right wing sources that have zero credibility. The type that are still babbling on about the imaginary gay agenda and how Obama is a space alien Muslim from Kenya.

    The purpose of looking at detranstion statistics and transition regret statistic should be obvious.
    If a whole lot of children and adults are being pressured and/or forced into being trans, then there should be a lot of children and adults…detransitioning.
    Free country and you can always change your mind.

    We don’t see anything like that in the statistics.

  17. raven says

    Wikipedia;
    Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters is a 2020 book by Abigail Shrier and published by Regnery Publishing

    Jack Turban accused Shrier of promoting the denial of gender-affirming medical care from transgender youth,[18] a fringe[18] position which has been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.[29][30][31][32][33] He wrote that Shrier had misinterpreted and omitted scientific evidence to support her book’s claims.

    OK, this doesn’t have much to do with Shermer except it’s right wingnut trash.
    The author is Abigail Shrier. She is employed by the WSJ. That is bad sign 1.
    It’s published by Regnery, the xian hate publishing site. Bad sign 2.

    It’s just typical right wingnut hate and lies trash. Lunatic fringe stuff.

  18. kathleenzielinski says

    Raven, whether the percentage who detransition is one in a million or 99 percent, I think the bottom line still is that people have the right to make their own choices.

    I also think, though, that up to a certain age people aren’t allowed to make certain life changing choices they may later regret. In my view, a 14 year old shouldn’t be deciding to have gender reassignment surgery for the same set of reasons a 14 year old shouldn’t be deciding to have sex with a 50 year old. There are lots of choices you just don’t get to make when you’re 14.

  19. John Morales says

    kathleenzielinski:

    In my view, a 14 year old shouldn’t be deciding to have gender reassignment surgery for the same set of reasons a 14 year old shouldn’t be deciding to have sex with a 50 year old.

    Well, that’s your absolutist view. You’re perfectly fine with denying 14-year olds agency, because you just know better — a very religious viewpoint.

    (Informed consent isn’t applicable, in your estimation)

    There are lots of choices you just don’t get to make when you’re 14.

    What? No, one can most certainly make those choices, whether wisely or not.

    Only difference is that, sometimes, others can stop you from implementing those choices.

    To be fair, you’re presumably not doing it out of ageism, but out of concern they are insufficiently competent to make that choice. But then, not everyone is particularly competent at making life choices, are they? Should they be restricted on a similar basis?

  20. raven says

    Kathleen the cold blooded serial killer

    Raven, whether the percentage who detransition is one in a million or 99 percent, I think the bottom line still is that people have the right to make their own choices.

    Cthulhu a serial killer and a very stupid one. A killer of poor, defenseless strawpeople.
    I never said anything like that.
    And I just said the same thing in #20 “Free country and you can always change your mind.”
    You are having an imaginary conversation with an imaginary person in your head.

    Kathleen slaughering a strawperson:

    I also think, though, that up to a certain age people aren’t allowed to make certain life changing choices they may later regret.

    Why do you hate strawpeople anyway.
    Can’t you find victims that are at least mobile and able to fight back?
    I never said children should be able to schedule their own major surgery.
    Another imaginary conversation with an imaginary person.

  21. John Morales says

    I should add that, if you look into the process, it’s hardly done willy-nilly on some momentary spur-of-the-moment impulse; there are rather strict criteria and requirements. Worth bearing in mind.

  22. raven says

    Kathleen, in the nicest way I can say this:
    could you go away and stop bothering me?

    You are delusional and having imaginary conversations with imaginary people in your head.
    And I really don’t like serial killers, even if they only slaughter strawpeople.

    I’ve asked nicely this time. After this you go from delusional to a stalker.

  23. kathleenzielinski says

    Raven, in the nicest way I can say this, stop claiming that I said that you said things when I didn’t. I was adding my comments to your comments, not imputing my comments to you. You do understand the difference, right?

    John, are there any decisions you would not allow a 14 year old to make? Become a prostitute? Join a terrorist organization? Become a heroin addict?

    If your answer is that a 14 year old should be free to do any of those things, we just disagree. If your answer is that a responsible adult should stop a 14 year old from at least some of those things, then we both agree that a line exists and are only quibbling about where to draw it.

  24. John Morales says

    kathleenzielinski, I’m not an adult who is responsible for any children.

    This is not by accident, I’ve taken pains to achieve that goal.

    So, I’ve not put myself in a position to be able to “allow” anything from any children.

    But, to answer your question: on a hypothetical level, it would depends on the applicable circumstances and my knowledge thereof.

    (Obviously, we don’t agree — you have an authoritarian tendency, I have a permissive one)

    Also, note my #25.

  25. John Morales says

    And I can’t resist noting you wrote “not allow”, as in that which is not allowed is perforce disallowed. This suggests a pattern of thinking; you could instead have written “disallow” instead of “not allow”, which would not have suggested that.

    FWTW.

  26. kathleenzielinski says

    John, I appreciate that there is a process and I appreciate that. I also don’t have children, but it seems to me that at least some of the time, good parenting means saying no. And remember, I’m not saying the 14 year old can never ever have the surgery; just that there are worse ideas than waiting awhile to be sure it isn’t just a phase. If I had a dollar for everything I thought I wanted when I was 14 that I’m now glad I didn’t get, I could retire to the South of France.

    If I had a 14 year old who wanted to make porn, I would say dont do something now that could permanently change your life in a bad way. That porn career will still be waiting for you when you’re 18 if you still want it. And it’s not because I’m anti-porn.

  27. kkehno says

    I would highly recommend ongoing video series by Cass Eris of this particular book on youtube. She previously did nice thorough critique of JP’s book 12 rule.

  28. says

    @kathleenzielinski
    Not receiving health care during adolescence causes permanent and irreversible changes to the human body. If you really believed that teenagers shouldn’t make irreversible decisions with regards to health care, you’d be demanding that every single human be given puberty blockers until they turn 18, even if they really strongly believe they are cis, because they might change their minds later. Is that what you believe? If not, you support teenagers undergoing permanent and irreversible medical changes.

  29. kathleenzielinski says

    I see a difference between active medical treatment versus simply allowing nature to take its course, particularly when the person is happy to have nature take its course.

    But what is the harm in waiting a few years? We all know that the adolescent brain isn’t fully developed and lacks good judgment. By all means start the process if the child wants to transition. Be supportive. Do the necessary therapy. Administer puberty blockers. Just don’t actually take the last, final, irreversible step until the child has the chance to grow up and make the choice as an adult. Why is that unreasonable?

  30. Artor says

    “John, are there any decisions you would not allow a 14 year old to make? Become a prostitute? Join a terrorist organization? Become a heroin addict?”

    Those are the comparisons you jumped to? Really Kathleen?

  31. says

    @kathleenzielinski

    I see a difference between active medical treatment versus simply allowing nature to take its course, particularly when the person is happy to have nature take its course.
    Ah, as I expected, your faux concern actually has nothing to do with someone being “too young to know,” nor is the issue with changes being “irreversible:” you just don’t like it when they choose differently than you want them too. I’m curious if your faux concern extends to any other kind of medical intervention that is prescribed by a medical doctor based on medical symptoms?
    But what is the harm in waiting a few years?
    As mentioned above, doing nothing and waiting a few years has permanent irreversible effects on the body.
    Why is that unreasonable?
    Because you want to cause permanent physical harm to millions of children. That isn’t “reasonable,” it’s monstrous.

    Maybe I ought to simply quote one of my old blog posts “Transphobes are like more extreme anti-vaxxers:”

    When a medical condition is known to have a safe, beneficial, and effective treatment, most people understand it is better to be treated sooner rather than later. If someone has cancer, waiting too long to treat it could allow the cancer to progress to a stage where it is much harder to treat. If you have trouble seeing, you shouldn’t be forced to struggle without glasses for a long time: you should just get glasses. If you have insomnia, you should take sleeping medicine and not wait for the effects of sleep-deprivation to pile up.
    The need for timely medical treatment doesn’t change if the person in question is a minor. If someone under the age of 18 has cancer, we don’t make them wait until they turn 18 before getting it treated. If a kid has trouble seeing, they can get glasses right away. And if a kid isn’t sleeping at night, it’s important to help them get sleep, since sleep-deprivation can be even more damaging for kids than it is for adults.
    But there are two kinds of medications which some people insist should never be given to minors, no matter how badly needed the medications are. These people are not experts, as the medical community all agree that both of these medications are best given early. Both of these medicines have been around a long time, and their effects are well understood by doctors, though not well understood by non-doctors.
    The two classes of medications are gender-affirming health care and vaccines. A common talking point among both transphobes and anti-vaxxers is that is should be illegal for people under the age of 18 to recieve either vaccines or hormone replacement therapy. The argument goes that minors aren’t yet mature enough to decide whether they want healthcare, so they should just not be treated for any medical conditions until they turn 18. Of course, by the time you are 18, you may have suffered irreperable harm due to not having proper health care for 18 years. And everyone understands this fact for any other kind of medical treatment. Yet these two are somehow a sticking point among bigots.
    Transphobes tend to be more extreme than anti-vaxxers in their crusade against health care. It is common for anti-vaxxers to assert the existence of an Inalienable Rights of Parents to control everything about their kids, including preventing their kids from receiving adequate health care. Such anti-vaxxers will typically argue against policies requiring children to be vaccinated in order to enroll in a public school, or stronger mandatory vaccination laws in countries that have them. It is rare, however, for anti-vaxxers to prevent (or try to prevent) responsible parents from getting their kids vaccinated. On the other hand, transphobes often advocate for restricting health care for people other than their own family.

    (The original is here:
    tinyurl.com/3jnafp2a
    )

  32. says

    Dangit: even though I hit preview and it looked right, somehow it messed up the formatting so that my reply shows up looking like I am quoting? Grr, I hate not having an edit button.

  33. raven says

    I’m not following this subject too closely but it is looking more and more like the transphobes don’t have a valid medical or psychological point.

    Porto Biomedical Journal
    Volume 2, Issue 5, September–October 2017, Pages 153-156
    Buying time or arresting development? The dilemma of administering hormone blockers in trans children and adolescents GuidoGiovanardi

    In their longitudinal study on the first 70 adolescents to receive puberty blockers, de Vries and colleagues37 reported an improvement in general functioning after two years, along with a decrease in depression and behavioural and emotional difficulties. Fifty-five of these 70 individuals were assessed later in early adulthood, after cross-sex hormones had been administered and gender reassignment surgery had been performed.
    Depressive symptoms had decreased, general mental health functioning had improved and no regret about transitioning was found.
    Many (about 70 per cent) reported that their social transition had been ‘easy’. Cohen-Kettenis and colleagues,38 in a 22-year follow-up of the first described adolescent treated with GnRH analogues and cross-sex hormones, reported overall improved psychological well-being and no clinical signs of adverse effects on the brain. An improvement in global functioning following puberty suppression was also found in the UK study of Costa and colleagues39 in their follow-up of adolescents at the GIDS centre in London.

    Consistent with the Dutch and British studies was Spack and colleagues’ report40 about their sample of 97 patients at a clinic in Boston, MA,
    in which no adolescents showed regrets regarding puberty blocking or subsequent cross-sex hormone use.

    One of their phobias is the use of puberty blockers so children have more time to decide what they really want and get to the age where they can legally make their own decisions. This is 18 in the USA.
    These are also given because trans children have problems with depression and suicide.
    “More than one in four (27 per cent) trans young people have attempted to commit suicide and nine in ten (89 per cent) have thought about it. 72 per cent.”

    Children take these voluntarily and the research studies show they work well and most importantly, “no adolescents showed regrets”

  34. raven says

    In realityland, research is what we use to make medical decisions and how we treat various conditions.

    .1. The available research some of which I just posted above indicates that the use of puberty blockers is working well at preventing major depression and suicide attempts. These are BTW, fully reversible.
    “If a child later decides not to transition to another gender the fully reversible medication can be stopped, allowing puberty to proceed.”

    .2. The percentage of post-op trans who detransition is 0.3%. This is very low.
    The percentage of pre-op trans who detransition is ca 1% or so. Still low.
    If teenagers were being pressured into transitioning, the claim of Abigail Shrier, we could expect a lot of them to regret it and reverse it. That isn’t what we are seeing.

    If there are reasons to oppose medical treatment of trans young people, they should have research data.
    I haven’t seen any yet, and I’ve looked for it. It’s up to them to come up with the data or they don’t have any reasons for people to believe them.

  35. John Morales says

    raven,

    It’s up to them to come up with the data or they don’t have any reasons for people to believe them.

    To be fair, we’ve been given at least one reason: that children aren’t capable of making that choice, so it’s entirely up to their parents (or guardians, as may be) to prevent it. I’m sure many people will find that sufficient.

    Also, it’s a viscerally-emotive thingy; people are thinking of dicks being lopped off, or breasts being (gasp!) reduced. Stuff done with the scalpels.

  36. raven says

    Also, it’s a viscerally-emotive thingy; people are thinking of dicks being lopped off, or breasts being (gasp!) reduced. Stuff done with the scalpels.

    That can be done.
    But it isn’t done to children.
    It’s done after they are legally an adult at 18 and quite often much later.
    That is the whole reason for puberty blockers, to make transitioning easier after age 18.

    18
    As part of the next stage, hormones – such as testosterone and estrogen – will be prescribed when the child, in most countries, reaches 16 or 18. Gender reassignment surgery is widely restricted to adults over the age of 18.Feb 14, 2020

    Who should decide when a child can change gender?

  37. chrislawson says

    kathleenz–

    “In my view, a 14 year old shouldn’t be deciding to have gender reassignment surgery for the same set of reasons a 14 year old shouldn’t be deciding to have sex with a 50 year old. There are lots of choices you just don’t get to make when you’re 14.”

    You do understand that the person who will be criminally charged is the 50-year old? You do understand that in most Western jurisdictions, 14 year olds are legally allowed to have sex with someone close to their age, so it’s not like they can’t have sex at all? You do understand that trans teens who are refused treatment have high suicide rates while there are no data at all suggesting thwarted romance with 50 year-olds is an important cause of youth suicide? You do understand that 14 year olds right now are making important health decisions that go against their parents’ wishes — children getting themselves vaccinated without telling their anti-vax parents, children breaking away from their parents’ religious beliefs and starting contraception, children refusing chemotherapy against their parents’ will?

    The key legal standard is whether the child in question has the mental competency to make these decisions, not how much their parents or you hate the possibility of the child being wrong or changing their minds later — which by the way was recently overturned in the UK as part of a concerted conservative plan to attack trans rights, now making gender reassignment specifically the only medical treatment where teens are not treated as competent even if they meet the legal standard that would allow them to consent to or refuse any other procedure. This is the very definition of unfair discrimination. It means a 14 year old is not allowed to have gender reassignment without their parents’ permission, but is allowed to refuse chemotherapy or a transplant that would save their life. This is what you are demanding: that trans teenagers be held to a higher standard of consent than teens with any other medical needs.

    “But what is the harm in waiting a few years? ”

    The fucking mental health damage and suicide rate, and the fact that “letting nature take its course” also has irreversible aspects, which you would understand if you learned anything about this before spewing right-wing hate speech. (I don’t think you’re a right-wing nutjob, so why are you parroting their lies???)

    “If I had a 14 year old who wanted to make porn…” “…Become a prostitute? Join a terrorist organization? Become a heroin addict?”

    Jesus Christ. Are you completely bereft of empathy? Do you not understand that joining a terrorist organisation or using heroin is criminal even for consenting adults and thus has nothing at all to do with legal competency? Do you not see how equating these behaviours with gender reassignment is hateful and harmful? I mean, I’m assuming from your other comments that you don’t have a boiling hatred for transgender people, so why would you talk about gender reassignment this way?

  38. sarah00 says

    Currently the legal minimum age for undergoing gender surgery is 18 in both the US and UK. The idea that children are being given surgery is false. Prepubescent children experiencing gender dysphoria are given (if they’re lucky) puberty blockers which prevent puberty and allow them time to explore their gender identity in a way that is safe and reversible. There is a lot of evidence that puberty blockers are safe and significantly improve the mental health of those taking them, with reduced suicide risk among the many benefits seen.

    The idea that children are being given surgery at their first claims of “I don’t want to be a girl/boy any more” is patently ridiculous. For one thing, waiting lists are so long that even adults who have been approved for gender surgery have to wait years.

    I can’t help but see parallels with anti-abortion activists. The claim that people don’t know their own bodies or minds, that they will regret their decision later, and that medical services are far too liberal in their approval for procedures to take place. What’s the difference between “If you allow abortion on demand you’ll have people terminating at 8 months!!” and “if you allow trans people to undergo gender reassignment surgery you’ll be permanently harming pre-teens!!”?

    The final thing I want to note is that of consent. Children can and do consent to medical procedures all the time. The NHS says that,

    Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they’re believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what’s involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent.

    By denying children the right to consent to treatment for gender dysphoria they are being treated differently to if they were being treated for any other condition.

  39. Dunc says

    Anybody else getting really strong flashbacks to the arguments against allowing access (particularly for young people) to another irreversible, life-changing medical procedure – i.e. abortion? Oh no, we can’t let 14 year-olds decide for themselves whether or not they’re ready to have children, what if they have an abortion and end up regretting it? Especially if you “see a difference between active medical treatment versus simply allowing nature to take its course”…

  40. Dunc says

    Oh, I see sarah00 @43 was thinking along exactly the same lines at exactly the same time. I guess it’s not just me then…

  41. Silentbob says

    @ kathleenzielinski

    You are completely clueless on this topic. Rather than rehash what others have already tried to explain to you…
    – “genital reassignment surgery” is not performed on minors
    – decades of study show cross-gender identity that persists until puberty is extremely likely to persist throughout life (like 99% chance)
    – doing nothing by denying transition is not a neutral option; once forced through an incongruous puberty there’s no going back, the child will be scarred for life
    – healthcare that saves lives is not like being a prostitute FFS

    … please just read this. It’s a primer that explains the basics to you. Hopefully it will prevent you making such unutterably stupid comments on this subject in future.

  42. kathleenzielinski says

    Good morning all:

    First, I used the extreme examples of prostitution, heroin and terrorism, not because I think they are in any way analogous to transitioning, but because I was testing the outer limits of what I understood to be John’s position that there are no limits on the choices kids can make.

    Second, I do not see how anyone can read what I wrote above at No. 15 and conclude that I am transphobic, or that I don’t want people to make the decision to transition, so please put that straw man to bed. The specific issue of allowing a 14 year old to have reassignment surgery is, for me, a bridge too far, at least now; I am open minded and will read the links others have posted and may change my mind. But the fact that we disagree on one very narrow and specific issue does not make me a terrible transphobe. I understand there’s a tendency these days to assume that someone who disagrees with you is a bad person rather than a reasonable person who doesn’t see things the same way you do, but really, re-read my comments at No.15 above before you conclude I’m a transphobe. I’m not.

    And I don’t think abortion is a really good analogy either. If I had a pregnant 14 year old, I would encourage her to have an abortion for the same reason I would discourage reassignment surgery at that age: It maintains the status quo (no child, no irreversible surgery) until the child has reached the maturity level to make a more informed choice.

    Silentbob, I didn’t say they should be forced through an incongruous puberty; that’s what puberty blockers are for. If I really were transphobic and anti-transitioning, I would oppose puberty blockers too. But I don’t. I’m in favor of allowing a minor to do as much transitioning as their circumstances allow, right up until something is irreversible, and that is only a bridge too far for me because I want the child to acquire some maturing first before making an irreversible decision. OK, we don’t agree.

  43. sarah00 says

    Kathleen, no 14 year old is having gender reassignment surgery. Multiple people have pointed this out to you yet you continue to repeat this claim. 14 year olds are, in the best case scenario, put on puberty blockers and given support and counseling in preparation to transition to adult services where gender reassignment surgery will be considered as part of an adult treatment plan. Worst case scenario they are denied any agency or support and suffer all the terrible consequences of that alone.

  44. says

    It’s interesting. A lot of the time, bigots turning the discussion toward “Won’t somebody think of the children?” pearl-clutching evokes emotional responses and shifts things onto their turf. In this case, though, it seems to me like it pushes in the opposite direction. Talking about hormones and agonists and so forth drives home how contingent, fluid, and disjointed the physical manifestations of identity are, while the felt experience of identity comes to the fore.

  45. specialffrog says

    @Kathleen: Transphobes vocally object to 14 year-olds is having gender reassignment surgery so that people who don’t know otherwise will think that is going on and repeat this bogus objection.

    If, as you say, you are not a transphobe then stop furthering their agenda.

  46. says

    @44
    Barry Deutsch pointed out these similarities on his blog:
    https://amptoons.com/blog/?p=25933

    @kathleenzielinski

    Second, I do not see how anyone can read what I wrote above at No. 15 and conclude that I am transphobic

    It’s been pointed out repeatedly to you that not receiving medical care during adolescence causes irreversible, permanent physical harm to trans people, yet you continue to insist that they should not be allowed to receive medical care. Thus, the only reasonable conclusion one can make is that you want to irreversible, permanent physical harm to millions of children just because they are trans.

    If I had a pregnant 14 year old, I would encourage her to have an abortion for the same reason I would discourage reassignment surgery at that age: It maintains the status quo (no child, no irreversible surgery)

    Abortion does not maintain the status quo: it takes someone who is pregnant and makes them not pregnant, and it is irreversible.

    I’m also curious if there are other areas of medicine for which you are against allowing minors to access the best possible treatment as soon as possible. Do you think children shouldn’t be allowed to get measles vaccines because the effects are permanent and irreversible? Do you think I should have been blocked from getting an adenoidechtomy when I was four years old because the effects are permanent and irreversible? Eye-glasses can have permanent and irreversible effects on the development of your eyes if worn between the ages of 5-8, and, much like gender-affirming care, eye-doctors rely heavily on self-report to diagnose eye conditions. Should children who say they have trouble seeing be barred from wearing glasses until their eyes have developed enough that glasses won’t have any permanent and irreversible effects?

    For that matter, every kind of medical treatment given to trans people is also given to cis people. If a cis boy develops breasts during puberty, would you be against him getting top surgery before he turned 18? What if he later changes his mind and decides he wants breasts? Are you against all permanent health care for minors, or just the kind that helps a marginalized group?

  47. kathleenzielinski says

    specialffrog, if in fact that is not happening, I’m happy to hear it. If you will look at the above comments in this very thread, you will find commenters defending the idea of it, though, so if your concern is not furthering the agenda of the right wing, then I’m not sure that defending the idea of it is much less of a public relations problem than having it actually happen. And if, like me, you think it is important to further trans rights and trans acceptance, then it’s bad strategy to defend an idea — especially if it isn’t actually happening in real life — that’s going to create a public relations problem.

    At any rate, I think this conversation has pretty much run itself out, so I’m not planning to say anything more about it.

  48. specialffrog says

    @Kathleen: So you bring up this TERF talking point but the PR problem is that some people did not condemn it when you did so?

    I think it is pretty clear you are operating in bad faith.

  49. kathleenzielinski says

    183231bcb, I did not say they should not receive medical care; I said they should wait to receive one very specific medical procedure. You’re making a false alternative argument, in which the only two possible choices are all or nothing, and life rarely works like that. Please stop with the strawmen.

    (By the way, specialffrog, like I was saying about people here defending the idea of it, whether it’s actually happening or not . . .)

    With glasses and vaccines, and gender reassignment surgery, we’re talking about risks and benefits. The risk of anything really bad happening because of a vaccine or an eyeglass prescription is very, very small (though admittedly not zero). The consequences of getting a vaccine, versus not getting a vaccine, weigh heavily in one direction.

    With gender reassignment surgery, however, if something bad does happen, it’s potentially going to be really bad. So it’s not really an apt comparison to glasses or vaccines. And abortion does maintain the status quo of not being a mother.

    So what I’m against is facile comparisons that aren’t really on point. I’m also against making a risky decision today that can wait until tomorrow.

    And with that, I’m now going to exit before someone else says something so I can keep my word that this is my last comment on the subject.

  50. cjcolucci says

    I don’t pretend to understand transexuality in any meaningful way. I’m pretty sure, however, that there is no worldly advantage to proclaiming falsely that your true sexuality does not match what a superficial physical examination suggests. From which I conclude that a persistent conviction that someone who appears to be a man is a woman or vice-versa is reporting a real condition, whether psychological or physical, that is not lightly assumed, or an attempt to game the system, and should be allowed to do what needs to be done. (Short-term gender-identity confusion is another matter, and putting some roadblocks in the way to make sure that it isn’t a passing phase makes sense.)

  51. says

    183231bcb, I did not say they should not receive medical care; I said they should wait to receive one very specific medical procedure.

    Okay, so you only want to cause permanent irreversible physical injury to teenagers in one specific way. That isn’t making you sound much better.

    With glasses and vaccines, and gender reassignment surgery, we’re talking about risks and benefits. The risk of anything really bad happening because of a vaccine or an eyeglass prescription is very, very small (though admittedly not zero). The consequences of getting a vaccine, versus not getting a vaccine, weigh heavily in one direction.

    Yes, and according to medical doctors who are experts on the subject (unlike you), the risks of gender-affirming care are also far outweighed by the benefits.

    So what I’m against is facile comparisons that aren’t really on point. I’m also against making a risky decision today that can wait until tomorrow.

    It’s been explained to you, repeatedly, that this isn’t an issue that can “wait until tomorrow,” because waiting cause permanent irreversible physical injury. Why do you think causing permanent irreversible physical harm to trans teenagers is acceptable?

    As I mentioned above, your position is a far more extreme version of the position held by most anti-vaxxers: most anti-vaxxers only want to cause permanent irreversible physical harm to “their” kids. You, on the other hand, are advocating for causing permanent irreversible physical harm to an entire class of people, most of whom you will never meet.

  52. says

    kathleenzielinski @ #55:

    Silentbob, I didn’t say they should be forced through an incongruous puberty; that’s what puberty blockers are for. If I really were transphobic and anti-transitioning, I would oppose puberty blockers too. But I don’t.

    But many people do, in the actual world, and are pushing for this care to be forbidden to kids, causing irreversible changes and serious harm to them. But you’re not up in arms about this actual threat to kids’ well-being. For some reason.

  53. chrislawson says

    “With gender reassignment surgery, however, if something bad does happen, it’s potentially going to be really bad. So it’s not really an apt comparison to glasses or vaccines.”

    Again, not even remotely true. The worst outcome of vaccination is death or permanent brain damage. You keep clutching at spurious arguments.

    “So what I’m against is facile comparisons that aren’t really on point.”

    Then stop making them.

    You are arguing in extremely bad faith and have actively repulsed the efforts of dozens of people to teach or direct you towards learning material. I hope you can eventually see your way through this but right now any attempt to help you out of your hole is met by you digging even harder.

  54. anat says

    kathleenzielinski @22:

    I also think, though, that up to a certain age people aren’t allowed to make certain life changing choices they may later regret.

    What about the regret of undergoing the kind of puberty that is inconsistent with one’s identity? That too is a choice. That too is a medical decision. FYI there are parents of transgender children who regret not interfering with their child’s puberty, because it resulted in the child spending years in a body the child could not tolerate and needing more drastic surgery to correct the damage. There definitely are plenty of transgender adults who regret missing out on the opportunity of receiving pubertal blockers. And this is not a trivial issue. See for instance Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation

    Among transgender adults in the United States who have wanted pubertal suppression, access to this treatment is associated with lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation. This study strengthens recommendations by the Endocrine Society and WPATH for this treatment to be made available for transgender adolescents who want it.

    Youth who show up at gender clinics can start with pubertal suppression if they show the signs of having started puberty. Gender-affirming hormonal treatment can start at age 16. In most cases surgical interventions are approved at age 18 or later and require different levels of specialist support depending on the type of surgery (for FtM top surgery it’s a letter from a counselor and a doctor, for genital surgery more letters are needed). However sometimes younger transgender people receive some surgical care – if their dysphoria is more extreme and affects their ability to function in more severe ways. In no case are these decisions being made lightly.

    Resources:
    WPATH standards of care
    Informed Consent in the Medical Care of Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Patients

  55. Silentbob says

    Just realised where we’ve seen kathleenzielinski before. Promoting the “cotton ceiling” conspiracy theory that trans women are pressuring her into sex. Completely coincidentally, I’m sure, she also opposes evidence-based transition related health care for trans youth. I wonder if there could be some common factor here? Some evidence of an agenda. Can’t quite put my finger on it. What could it be now?

  56. Silentbob says

    Incidentally, this is a bit off topic – old timers here, and I know there’s more than me, will remember Jey McCreight who had the popular FTB blog Blag Hag back in the day.

    Jey is trans masc non-binary and has started medically transitioning this year!. Here’s a thread of their little video updates.

    What’s the relevance? Well, they’re totally an adult, but I just wanted to show the happiness that medical transition can bring. It’s easy for us cis to treat trans healthcare as an academic thought exercise. But we’re talking about real people with real lives, and I want people to see the joy and relief transitioning can bring.

    Jey has said they wish they had transitioned earlier, but didn’t know much about trans people and it took a long time for them to work our who they were. And that is why trans visibility and recognition is so important.

    Go Jey!

  57. says

    @62 A certain Patheos blogger weeps at your cryptofascism. The proper way to deal with transphobes is not to cancel or censure them but to give them guest columns and hope that totally avoiding the issue brings them around. After all, there’s only 50 years of evidence that trans identities exist so we can’t make conclusions about such a controversial issue.

    /s

  58. says

    @63
    Yea, I noticed that after my last comment here: I wish I had noticed it earlier and saved myself the trouble of replying to her.

    @68
    Ah, but some TERs now insist that calling them “people” is misogyny.

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