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Ideology should not trump children’s health A new Canadian law against gay conversion therapy could affect teenagers with gender dysphoria

Canada's pm loves Pride. But a new law to protect gay people could have unintended consequences. Credit: Steve Russell/Getty

Canada's pm loves Pride. But a new law to protect gay people could have unintended consequences. Credit: Steve Russell/Getty


November 23, 2020   6 mins

“Transition was a very temporary, superficial fix for a very complex identity issue,” recalls Kiera Bell, who transitioned as a teenager and then decided, some years on, that she’d made the wrong decision.

After being prescribed puberty blockers at 16, and undergoing a double mastectomy when she was 20, last year Bell decided to detransition, at 23. She is now taking action against the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust, which operates gender identity clinics in Britain, to stop them from ‘rushing’ other teenagers down the same path.

“There was no exploration of the feelings that I had, no psychiatric assessment,” Bell told This Morning. “It was very brief and based on my recent past. There was no in-depth discussion.”

As a result of her decision to transition, Bell will probably never be able to reproduce, nor will her body or voice recover completely from the impacts of testosterone and surgery. Many other girls are having similar changes of mind; more and more are coming forward to say they were sent down the path to transitioning with little information or warning of the long-term implications.

The trouble is, therapists and medical practitioners are reluctant to interrogate these kids and their wishes too deeply, increasingly fearful of being labelled bigoted or transphobic, or even accused of practising “conversion therapy”.

This particular development is currently playing out in Canada. In 2015, Dr Kenneth Zucker was fired from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) in Toronto, which he had run for more than 30 years, after trans activists called his approach “conversion therapy”. It transpired that this actually meant “watchful waiting” — rather than immediately starting patients who think they have gender dysphoria on the transition process, he thought it better to first try to “help children feel comfortable in their own bodies.” If the dysphoria persisted, Zucker would support them in their path to transitioning.

Today, his approach is close to being criminalised.

Last month, David Lametti, the current Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, reintroduced proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, which would criminalise “conversation therapy”. In principle, most can understand the practice of attempting to turn gay people straight as damaging. But Bill C-6 is dangerously deceptive, in that it conflates this outdated intervention with the practice of affirming “gender identity”.

Lametti told the Canadian House of Commons that “conversion therapy refers to misguided efforts to change the sexual orientation of bisexual, gay, and lesbian individuals to heterosexual [or to] change a person’s gender identity to cisgender”. But while conversion therapy, as it is understood conventionally, is a harmful practice, it shouldn’t be used to describe interventions involving children who believe they suffer from gender dysphoria. Indeed, it is the trend of transitioning children that is more likely to cause harm.

It is common practice to talk about depression, mental health and suicide when discussing the supposed need to “affirm” gender identity in kids, in order to start them on the path to transition. Lametti told the House of Commons of Canada that “scientific evidence” shows people who undergo conversion therapy “must deal with its negative effects such as anxiety, self-hate, depression, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicide”. He fails to mention that while this may be true of gay and lesbian individuals subjected to this practice, there is no evidence to support this claim with regard to youth who are not “affirmed” in their supposed gender identity.

Lisa Marchiano, a Jungian analyst in the US, explained in Quillette that the young female detransitioners she sees in her practice were all “suffering from complex social and mental health issues” at the time they decided to transition, and that “transition often not only failed to address these issues, but at times exacerbated them or added new issues”. Girls struggling with puberty, mental health issues, sexual identity, bullying, trauma, eating disorders, or gender roles will not be helped by testosterone and surgery. The real risk is that, with no caution, these practices will ruin their lives.

Over 90% of children who start on puberty blockers go on to take cross-sex hormones, eventually getting surgeries like mastectomies. But the blockers themselves can also have significant side effects, as Bell’s lawyer argued in court, including loss of fertility and sexual function, as well as decreased bone density. The impact on brain development is not yet fully known, but we do know that the surge of sex hormones at puberty triggers important changes in the adolescent brain, connected to cognitive development. Puberty is not only about developing breasts or body hair, it is a necessary part of developing into a healthy adult in many other ways.

Treatments for so-called “trans kids” remains experimental, yet few in Canada are asking why we are experimenting on kids. The number of referrals to the gender clinic at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital rose from seven in 2007 to 80 in 2017. The trans clinic at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children sees over 200 referrals each year. Ten years ago, the CHEO, a children’s hospital in Ottawa, saw one or two patients a year with concerns about “gender identity”. In 2018, 189 patients were referred to the clinic. And while a decade ago an equal number of boys and girls were coming to the CHEO clinic, today, 75% of patients are female.

Conflating sexual orientation and gender identity has proven to be a very successful means of manipulating public opinion, and those who wish to support gay and lesbian individuals to live joyful lives have come to believe that supporting gender identity ideology is the same thing. It is not.

Many governments and institutions across many countries are now treating “gender identity” as the determiner of biological sex — that is to say, that if one feels more connected to feminine stereotypes, one must be female, even if one is actually male. As a result, questioning gender norms, feeling uncomfortable in one’s body, experiencing same-sex attraction, or preferring toys or clothing typically associated with the opposite sex, is no longer just a normal part of growing up, but a that sign a child may be “trans”.

Bill C-6 proposes to criminalise those who profit from or advertise “conversion therapy”, which would include therapists and medical practitioners who do not practice the “affirmative model” — which means confirming “trans identity” unquestioningly. Choosing not to encourage a child to transition; suggesting a teen wait, and see if the “gender dysphoria” sticks a few years before beginning the process of transitioning; and challenging the concept of “gender identity” itself would potentially set a therapist or medical practitioner up for criminal sanctions.

It is already difficult to question the legitimacy of gender identity ideology in this climate, and it is practically impossible to access therapy that might allow a teen to grow out of their desire to transition, as so many do. Bill C-6 will make it illegal to offer therapy that does not approach transition as the best path.

The conflation of sexual orientation and gender identity in Bill C-6 is no accident. Lametti argued that his bill is an extension of Bill C-16, which added gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code in 2017. Passed with little debate, Bill C-16 set a precedent, leading provinces across Canada to adopt policies allowing males to access women’s same sex spaces. Along with some other feminists, I argued that such legislation would endanger women and girls and reinforce sexist gender roles fought against for decades. We weren’t listened to. But it is, indeed, what came to pass; males have been allowed access to women’s prisons and refuges — and even female beauty therapists are bullied into handling male genitalia.

The ball is already rolling with Bill C-6. Schools in British Columbia and Alberta have adopted SOGI, a programme to direct instructors on how to teach children about gender identity ideology. It claims to be aimed at stopping discrimination against and bullying of LGBTQ kids, but it does much more than that. SOGI insists that “Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity” and directs instructors to teach primary school kids that, “When babies are born, doctors and parents usually decide if the baby is a boy or girl. However, not everybody will grow up feeling like or identifying as a boy or a girl.” Students are to “look for clues” that tell them if a boy is really a girl. Lesson plans for teachers direct them to “ask students, what does it mean to feel like a boy or to feel like a girl?”

It is one thing to attempt to stop bullying and depression and suicide in teenagers who feel different and out of place. But it is quite another to indoctrinate children into gender identity ideology.

Teaching girls and boys that sexist stereotypes determine their sex, and saying that if a young boy prefers dresses or dolls that means he is a girl, is dangerous. Teaching girls that if they don’t conform to old-fashioned notions of femininity they are not girls, but boys, is harmful.

Kids should be free and encouraged to explore a variety of interests, sure. And they should not be shoved into categories if they don’t conform. But they should not be led, by adults, down a path to harmful prescriptions and surgeries without any room for debate — in a country where such debate is about to be criminalised.

While Canada appears to be eager to be first to adopt gender identity policies and legislation, it is not the only country enmeshed in this trend. When 28-year-old Charlie Evans, from the north-east of England, announced that she was setting up a setting up a charity called The Detransition Advocacy Network, hundreds of girls and young women contacted her with their concerns about having transitioned. In the UK, the number of adolescents referred for “gender treatment” has increased from 97 in 2009 to 2,510 in 2017-2018, and among girls from 40 to 1,800 — a 4,400% increase in 10 years.In the United States, surgeries for females transitioning to “male” increased by 289% between 2016 and 2017.

In 2017, our Canadian political representatives ignored the few women who dared speak up about their concerns about Bill C-16. Now we’re facing yet another dangerous bill that will prevent therapists from doing ethical work, and set institutions and practitioners up for very serious legal cases like the one brought forward by Keira Bell. It will restrict freedom of speech and honest debate, and more importantly it will destroy the lives of thousands of kids. I hope all politicians will listen, before it’s too late.

Meghan Murphy is a writer in Vancouver BC and the host of The Same Drugs.


Meghan Murphy is a writer in Vancouver, BC. Her website is Feminist Current.

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Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago

The whole thing sounds like a new form of the Nuremburg Laws. And, welcome back, Dr Mengele, here are some more kids for you to experiment on.

FFS, have these people lost their minds?

Alex M
Alex M
3 years ago

To get to the bottom of this, your question is the first we should be asking: Who are ‘these people’ and what motivates them? I suspect that to describe them as a pro transition ‘lobby’ is to imply greater numbers than actually exist.

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex M

I think big pharma and the billionaires pushing this have plenty of power, which is obvious when you start to really learn about how it’s gone this far this fast.
The MRAs also have a hand in this, as it upturns women’s rights in so many ways and makes women the villain for wanting to preserve what rights we’ve gained.
And hey, when any dude who commits assaults or rapes against women and kids can claim he’s really a woman it saves him from men’s prison where reprisals are legendary. And now he also gets to target the most at risk people, women stuck in a prison system where they are invisible to the rest of the world. Look at what Karen White did.
And they tell us “this never happens.” It happens a lot. Male to female trans people often seem to just be men with mental health issues and this has become an umbrella for them to gain approval, support, and protected status.
When women are facing death threats and losing their jobs for saying they believe in biological sex, the numbers of people pushing this cult have obviously grown, and they have a lot of money and power.
Look at how Pritkin and his donations to Obama inspired Obama to create an executive order for gender self ID as he left office. The one thing I’m glad Trump did was roll that back.
The trans issue has divided sane progressives from brainwashed PC people and it’s probably a huge reason the religious women of the US keep voting for trump. I’ve seen a ton of religious women show up in radical feminist forums in the last two years. They are not people I’d like to be allied to but I welcome the backlash just the same.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex M

We live in the age of super empowered individuals. Think of how Bin Laden was able to change the world through his money, will and focus. The same is true of the trans craze sweeping the West. There are some trans bin ladens out there funding their vision of what is right and good.
https://thefederalist.com/2

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago

Being from Canada, our Prime Minister, if you wish to call him that, is all about being ‘seen’ to be so accepting and pushing that onto everyone. What has happened to let’s step back a bit and evaluate these things? Are we helping or hurting these children? As teens and very young adults, you often think you want one thing when you actually aren’t sure of what you want. Sometimes kids who are depressed just feel like if they can escape from their body/their life – life will be better. If we handicap counsellors from asking the tough questions, won’t we be blaming them in the future for all the ‘mistakes’.

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

As a fellow Canadian, I lament that “O, Canada” is now an expression of dismay rather than pride.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago

I agree Mike. There is so much crap happening in our country right now, beyond the covid thing. My father and all the veterans who have gone to fight for freedom and for those still here, should be shaking their heads in disbelief. What has happened to our great nation?

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago

“Teaching girls that if they don’t conform to old-fashioned notions of femininity they are not girls, but boys, is harmful.”

This in particular bothers me, as not only does it seem it might push people who are not really trans towards it, it also reaffirms and sets in place outdated gender stereotypes. Once again a girl who likes to climb trees and get mucky isn’t really girl, a boy who has no time for football isn’t a boy, and we’re oddly returning to the 1950s by a roundabout route.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

You’re right. It’s funny. The hardest push from identity politics is ultimately towards gender stereotypes. I think a greater sign of progress would be a society that’s completely indifferent about who wears what or who they go to bed with. Maybe then kids wouldn’t feel so compelled to hack pieces off their anatomy.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

“Completely indifferent [ to whom it’s members ] go to bed with ” ? No boundaries at all?

I’m not sure that is progress,

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Knight

Assuming all consenting adults, why not ?

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Your assumption clarifies.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I am certain my wife would not be completely indifferent if I consented to go to bed with another adult. Neither would my children. Furthermore the consequences of my actions would potentially be detrimental to society so, whilst I get your point, I am not in complete agreement.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Indeed, this comes from the same place that causes some white women to go around pretending they’re black. Being a straight ‘gender conformist’ is seen as being complicit in Western Patriarchy. It’s a political statement rather than a fun way to experiment with sexuality and preferences. Unfortunately, it also has permanent physical consequences.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

Who is really teaching conformity these days? The boundaries are so blurry as to be non-existent. Light years ago, there was a segment of girls called tomboys, who took part in what tradition might say were male-dominated activities. No one suggested that this made them boys any more than the effeminate boy was slated for womanhood. What ever happened to leaving kids be, to do their own discovery and exploration about who they are and what they want to be?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Shame I can only upvote you once

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You’re not describing a real past. Homosexuality and non-standard gender weren’t acceptable beyond tight constraints. There was no ‘leaving kids be’. Boys wore blue and played football , girls had pink and dolls, on pain of social ostracism. Encouraging individual identity is a recent phenomenon which we’re now learning can have unintended consequences.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

You’re not describing a real past.
Actually, I am, and there is quite a gap between being a tomboy and being a lesbian. What I am not doing is judging that past by current standards.

There were plenty of girls who had little use for either the pink or the dolls, and plenty of boys who didn’t care for sports. But their parents did not wonder what was wrong with their kids or believe they were trapped in the wrong bodies.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You’re making my point for me. Parents did not wonder anything about the kids. You were male/female and heterosexual. You were ‘left be’ only if you conformed. Tomboys had a shelf life of about 12. There was no room for any other way to be. Is your point ‘that’s how it should it still be now’ ?

Susie E
Susie E
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

In my experience there was definitely a (probably short) time period where girls could do boyish things and still be a girl… I was a Tomboy in the late 90s/ early 00’s, which was probably when this insanity started to creep in. I remember telling my Mum I wanted to be a boy (probably just typical 9yr old tomboy talk) and her telling me I would be happy as a girl/woman once I’d been through puberty, just as she did at a similar age. I feel like I had a lucky escape and if I was 5 years younger I’d potentially be in a real mess now. Very happy to be a woman and a mother.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie E

I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m just disputing the existence of a golden age when everybody was happy with their sexuality and gender. Back then you stayed schtum and kept your difference a secret. Now you run to the surgeon for an operation. Neither is great.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Being unhappy does not have to mean endless navel gazing in public which is the current situation.

Julia Royce
Julia Royce
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie E

That applies to me too, but I was born in the late 50s. My mum said it was similar for her too. She was born in the 20s…

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie E

Yup, tomboy was acceptable from the 50s to the 90s, then the 21st century arrived, and did a 180 and went down the path of regression.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I never remember a time when
“Boys wore blue and girls wore pink”
In the 50’s I had quite a lot of boys toys and nobody thought it strange. In the 70’s I bought my small son a couple of dolls, he usually carried them upside down by one leg.
It’s only of late years that girls have exploded into a riot of pink and segregation of the sexes has been much more obvious.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

As a former tomboy, I disagree. My mother was a tomboy as well, and her aunt was, again, a tomboy.

While boys have probably been somewhat more constrained, we don’t have nearly as strict a culture divide between men and women as some people seem to think. Some individuals are particularly inflexible but generally, there has been a real overlap acknowledged in things like interests.

Clothes, maybe less so a few generations ago, but then, it’s just clothes.

There is something a bit weird about the fact that Enid Blyton could write a character like George, a tomboy, generations ago, and now in a theatrical performance of the work George is, apparently, really a boy.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I’m not so sure about the pink. When I was at university, any male student who was anyone wore dark blue trousers and a pink shirt.

Willie Gunn
Willie Gunn
3 years ago

Day after day we read that men have it so easy that it becomes almost accepted as fact. No-one ever mentions that men have their own problems too, maybe different or maybe the same, but still problems. On that basis some unhappy girl beset with her own problems either real, imagined or both could see becoming male as a way out of her difficulties.
She will find herself surrounded by enthusiastic ideologists and reassured that she`s doing the right thing and praised for her courage. But it`s not courage, it`s desperation. None of the enthusiasts will check the reason for her problems. She will be buoyed up by their support, undergo the treatment and then find her old problems still exist and that she has new ones now. Her supporters will have faded away, their job done and now looking for the next confused child to help.
Anyone counselling caution is crucified by the activists and runs the risk of losing their jobs. It`s a scandal in the making but in today`s febrile atmosphere there`s nothing that can be done. I just hope that the names of the leading lights in this movement are never forgotten and called to account in the future.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Ideology is a two-way thing. The tyranny of the <1% is alarming. I’m not pushing for conversion therapy, but I also think using puberty blockers and other drugs on children borders on the criminal.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

And the blockers may end up creating a person who can’t really mature fully. A temporary issue becomes permanent. Puberty is a very bad time to be making lifetime decisions.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago

There is currently a review being undertaken about the services offered by the Tavistock clinic. At a time of an exponential increase in referrals together with record-breaking NHS waiting lists for non-controversial treatments for cancer, hip replacements etc, I would be tempted to see what would happen if all funding for gender identity services and reassignment surgery, and associated treatments (hair removal, voice coaching etc) was stripped out of the NHS and services placed into the private sector where they would be self-funded. My hunch would be that there would be a sharp decline in demand for referrals, with many families preferring to ‘wait and see’ how their children develop.

On a related note, it is utterly breathtaking to me that a 14 year old could be contemplating suing the NHS because they’ve had to wait over a year for an appointment and have suffered ‘distress’, at a time when many people will be dying of cancers caught too late to be operable, or living in acute pain (as well as distress and loss of mobility) while waiting for hip and knee surgeries. People with potentially only a few years left of their lives must feel absolute despair at the current situation. Interesting that the 14 year old in question is being represented by that lawyer who bragged about beating a fox to death on Boxing Day. Apparently basic empathy and a sense of proportion seem to be in short supply.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

I agree that gender reassignment should not be funded by the NHS. Nor should the concomitant lifetime consumption of hormones be funded.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

The Dr. Zucker fiasco was a clear warning of what we were up against and was ignored and now here we are

Feb 2016 G&M
“An external report that contributed to his dismissal has since been revealed to contain errors, including a false allegation that Dr. Zucker insulted a patient. CAMH yanked it from the hospital’s website and apologized for the mistake, but its decision stands.”
“By closing the clinic, CAMH also walked away from a $1-million grant that had been awarded to Dr. Zucker and his team to study the effect of hormone blockers on teenagers.”

Dec 2017 NP
“Only hours before it was set to air, the CBC cancelled the planned broadcast of a BBC documentary after transgender activists accused the film of being “transphobic” and “harmful.”

Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? has faced condemnation for including in its coverage the argument that some children diagnosed as transgender may simply be suffering from treatable mental-health issues.
“It disseminates inaccurate information about trans youth and gender dysphoria, and will feed transphobia,” wrote Joshua Ferguson, a trans filmmaker, in a Tuesday tweet to the CBC.

Although a prior investigation by the BBC had deemed the film to be impartial, CBC removed it from its schedule within hours of receiving complaints on social media.”

It is astounding (but sadly not surprising) to me how the insidious cancer of subjective Trans activism has been accommodated by institutions once thought to be standard bearers for concepts such as professionalism, factual evidence, due process or the greater good.

In Dr. Zucker’s case, there are a few anecdotal reflections from parents and patients but given that he treated hundreds of kids using (the activists claim) dastardly ‘conversion therapy’ then it should have been easy to elicit the testimony from legions of former patients who, having been denied a life as their true selves by Zucker’s therapy, are now miserable unhappy adults.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Everyone worries today of political correctness – again no matter the cost. It is always important to ‘look’ good and look like you care. Mainstream media in our country has lost their way.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Yes – MSM – but also the rest of the supposed ‘adults in the room’.
And it’s not as if we’re plowing new ground here.
You can’t swing a cat without hitting documented histories of the irreparable human suffering caused by societies that allowed themselves to be consumed by demonstrably unsubstantiated, unproven and unsustainable political trends and ideologies.

We literally have no excuse to repeat such folly but yet an institution like CAMH – supposedly well-respected – throws Dr. Zucker under the bus because of a few activists?
How do they explain that?
Because the activists presented peer-reviewed medical research that invalidated Zucker’s 30 plus years of award-winning work?
As if.
If CAMH was willing to make such a silly decision on Zucker how can any of their other treatment protocols possibly be trusted?
What if a person was tormented by thoughts of self-harm or suicide?
Would CAMH offer that person the best care using proven techniques or something trendy the staff pulled off of Twitter last night?

Julia Royce
Julia Royce
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

The BBC was taken over by TRAs/MRAs some years ago. Few in the UK think it’s impartial now; serious consideration wrt its continued State funding and whether we, the population, should be paying for a licence any more.

Signme Uplease
Signme Uplease
3 years ago

Thank you Meghan Murphy for your contribution to this important (and often violently silenced) conversation. The conflation of gay and transgender people is exactly what the transgender activists (who are actually a minority of the transgender community) want. Using the gay and lesbian movement to hide behind, transgender extremists are a sinister group seeking to make billions of dollars from confused teens by medicalizing what is a normally very difficult and confusing time of life for young people. Adolescence and the onset of puberty should be sacred and allowed to unfold with a minimum of irreversible therapy, surgery and other forms of treatment for dysphoria and a maximum of compassion, patience and watchful waiting. What ever happened to the medical philosphy of ‘do no harm’? How many more young people – and young women in particular – must suffer the consequences of what seems to be an overwhelming imperative to control, manipulate and profit from human suffering?

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Signme Uplease

Well said.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

On the beeb website today we have the headline

Trans teen in legal action over gender clinic wait

and above we have

She is now taking action against the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust, which operates gender identity clinics in Britain, to stop them from ‘rushing’ other teenagers down the same path.

I think both cases should be heard together.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

In a sane world, the ‘trans teen’ part would stand out. What adults do is their business, but kids are another matter.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

It’s a messy conversation that’s impossible to understand without more data. Murphy doesn’t contribute enough with comments like “many other girls” want to detransition. Is that 0,5% “many” or 50% “many”? How happy are people after surgery? Do suicide rates go down? I’m happy to accept that for some, surgery is the right option, but it does feel like society is shifting such that it becomes the first option instead of the last.

J Roberts
J Roberts
3 years ago

I wonder how Jordan Peterson feels.about this bill? Hmmmm

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago

Am I alone in wondering why so much coverage and attention are given to the subjects of gender identity and gay/lesbian matters in the media? And why would a doctor or therapist in these overblown minefields want to take on cases if there is, it would appear, the ever-present risk of being prosecuted and sued by the ‘patients’ or by the shrill and hysterical fanatics pushing their own agendas of what they think is right?

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nutkins

I agree John. My brother was gay and I loved him dearly and I have gay friends so I am not against but why is there so much confusion and discussion today. Maybe there are those who want people to think anything goes, no matter the consequences to the person.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

I find it fascinating that in most of these cases where a trans person wants to detransition or is suing the clinic for not making them reconsider, the trans person is usually a trans man wanting to become a woman again. It’s never a trans woman wanting to become a man again. Why is that? Is there some psychological thing where they transition and then find life isn’t easier as a man? Do they lose privileges or something?

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Bruce Jenner is back to “identifying” as a man again. I guess loss of male privilege and realizing that what you choose to wear isn’t the hardest part of being a woman would play a big role in that.
The stories I’ve seen from men who de transition are really depressing. If they went the distance and removed their genitals, it’s often a shocking realization once it’s permanant and your body is mangled and your sex/romantic life along with it.
But the reality is that there is a lot of bullying and silencing within the trans activist cult that keeps those stories from being heard by many. People are quite literally afraid their lives will be ruined and they might lose their job and face a lot of personal threats. It’s amazing how long the reality of this is taking to filter up to the surface where it’s visible.

Doing anything that involves these drugs and surgeries should require that you be at least 18 and that you complete rigorous psychological evaluation and therapy to first try to help you understand where your issues really lie.

We need to move toward gender abolition if we want to be healthy about it. Biological sex is real AF, but gender roles are total bullshit. I was raised without them and allowed to wear what I liked and do what I liked, which was often tomboyish, but sometimes leaned toward “feminine” things.

The truly liberated could allow people to love their biological sex and their body whilst allowing them to present physically any way they want.

The very idea that there are “boys colors, boys toys and games, etc” is absurd. That needs to stop.

Julia Royce
Julia Royce
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

I think very few trans women have their dicks cut off. The removal of breasts can be done as young as 16yo but the removal of a d**k is apparently a more serious matter.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

LGBQT cannot have children of their own. This is why they must constantly seek out streams of fresh recruits.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

On the contrary, many do. Either in alliance with others or using sperm clinics etc. Many transgender people have kids before they transition.

But there’s no particular reason to think those kids are any more or less likely to turn out gay or trans.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

There are no such people as LGBTQ. As for gay people needing to “recruit”, that is just hogwash. Heterosexual people keep both the majority straight population and the minority gay population continually replenished, as they always have done.

Julia Royce
Julia Royce
3 years ago

Sexuality and gender identity are not even remotely the same things and nor are they equivalent. To pretend that conversion therapy applies to both in the same way is disgraceful.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

after trans activists called his approach “conversion therapy”

Ironic that “transitioning” is literally conversion from one sex to another.

Given that dysmorphia is a syndrome that takes place in the brain, why does the treatment focus entirely on the body?

If someone tells his doctor he’s convinced he’s Napoleon, the correct response is not to give him a white horse and a tricorn hat and advise him to lead an army into Egypt.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
3 years ago

“Conversion therapy” is a generic term, used by the psychologist Douglas C. Haldeman to denote “efforts by both mental health professionals and paraprofessionals (e.g. pastoral care providers) to convert lesbians and gay men to heterosexuality”. (JOHN C. GONSORIEK & JAMES D. WEINRICH (1991), Homosexuality: Research Implications for Public Policy, 149)

The appropriation of the term by “trans activists” and their supporters is basically the dishonest trick of bolting together two quite different things ““ viz. attempts to alter sexual orientation and attempts to get people to accept and be comfortable with their unalterable biological sex ““ as though they were in the same category. The implication is that, if you oppose the former, then you have to oppose the latter too. And not only that, you have also to support the prescription to adolescents of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which retard and then distort their physical development. No, you most certainly don’t have to. No such conclusion logically follows.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

This article brings up a number of falsehoods and claims about “science” that are nonsense, and some of the comments I have read so far are very interesting.
It would take a whole article to rebut some of the absurd claims that the author rightly questions.
Let’s start off with the simple one, quoted evidently by the person pushing the bill, “sexual orientation” this is a euphemism for sexual preference,
the implicatuion – and it is very clear – is that there is an inherent in-built “sexual orientation” that people have, and that cannot and should not be changed by any medical/theraputic process.
That is utter nonsense.
There are no cells in the brain, no abnormalities in the blood or tissues, responsible for being “gay” or “transgender”.
Those are preferences, sometimes established very early in life for reasons we don’t understand at all, or very clearly choices made in adolescent or adult life – even late in adult life – sometimes with much publicity, the myth “no-one would choose to be gay” is indeed a myth. For some, it may ‘feel’ as if they never had a choice, but for many – especially those in later adult life, it is a very clear choice.

The only “conversion” that I know is in the religious field, people converting from religion ‘a’ to religion ‘b’.
So-called ‘conversion therapy’ with people who self-identified as homosexual, and were unhappy with their needs/desires did indeed try various procedures that were not standard psychotherapies.
A minority of such people were unhappy with their experiences and were persuaded to launch law suits, which led to this legislation, but in fact there is no genuine scientific evidence that any were ‘harmed, there just have been anecdotal stories from unhappy angry individuals, often unaware of how seriously troubled they were in the first place.

Now regarding the ‘transgender’ nonsense. As the data quoted there are clear indications that many people’s unhappiness has jumped on this notion as the latest fad.
No one is born into the wrong body, young people struggling to find themselves may choose this notion as a way of dealing with their unhappiness. “Ah, if only I were a boy – or girl – or man – or woman – life would be so much better”

Because for the vast majority, that is what it is, and the proper medical treatment of unhappiness is not puberty blockers, and definitely not radical irreversible surgery.
That, indeed, is what is criminal, performing radical genital alteration surgery on teenagers.

A very recent study, reported in perhaps the world’s major psychiatric journal, has shown a much higher level of diagnosable psychiatric disorder (diagnosable means that they fulfill criteria that are much stronger than just feeling down, or unhappy, or sad about a break-up, or the performance this season of Manchester United, or the frustrations of coping with COVID) in people struggling with sexual identity issues.

The behaviour of what sound to have been fanatics at the once remowned Tavistock Clinic has been deeply disturbing, but perhaps the major or lesson to be learned from all this is that intervening legally in very difficult medical issues is something to be firmly avoided.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

So-called ‘conversion therapy’ with people who self-identified as homosexual, and were unhappy with their needs/desires

Bit of a whitewash there buddy, many were forced into it by church or family, and those that were unhappy with themselves were mainly so due to the people around them making their lives hell.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

I can agree with you that I am aware that some young people were indeed pressured into such groups by family, church, etc, but no qualified professional with a proper knowledge of psychodynamics would agree that people became unhappy with the people around them.
People came to such groups with conflicts and unhappiness, otherwise they wouldn’t have been there.
To say that some groups may have been unhelpful, may be even detrimental, is certainly possible, but would have to be evaluated on an individual basis, both in terms of the group and its opotential fior hstm because of its ideas or practices, and in terms if any individual and the level of unhappiness or disturbance with which they entered any particular group..
As I wrote, I am not aware of any serious studies that have objectively analyzed such factors. I am aware of msny anecdotal stories, but those are not scientific evidence.
A person’s own subjective story or experience is absolutely valid, but it does not constitute objective scientific evidence, and ost devinitely a person’s personal ‘belief’ “I was born that way” constitute scientific evidence at all.

Julia Royce
Julia Royce
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

“There are no cells in the brain, no abnormalities in the blood or tissues, responsible for being “gay” or “transgender”. “

Surely gay is to do with sex, and transgender is to do with gender? Those are very different things.
Being gay is to do with which sex you want to sleep with, which sex you are attracted to.
Being transgender is to do with how you feel about yourself, if you feel that you fit the stereotype of male or female – if that’s different from your biological sex you may be suffering from gender dysphoria.
If you are male, with male dna and a male body, and you don’t have a problem with that, then you probably don’t have a ‘gender feelz’ at all. I as a born female, with no trace of dysphoria, don’t have any feeling of gender at all, for instance.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

There are no cells in the brain, no abnormalities in the blood or tissues, responsible for being “gay” or “transgender”.

Note the same old trick of bracketing sexual orientation and “gender identity”, as though they were similar things. They are not.

As for cells in the brain or features in the blood or tissues responsible for people being “gay” or “transgender”, no, there are none, just as there are none which are responsible for people being “straight” or “transgender”.

With regard to harm done by “ex-gay” conversion therapy, the years ““ sometimes even decades ““ which some have been conned into wasting on that useless hokum are quite sufficient harm to justify condemnation.

If sexual orientation were a choice, no-one would have an unwanted homosexual orientation or “preference”, since people don’t choose things that they don’t want. Even if they’d chosen it in error and then decided that they didn’t want it after all, they’d simply discard it and replace it with a heterosexual “preference”, not waste precious time on such charlatanry.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

you have misread what I wrote.
I discussed the myth of “sexual orientation” indicating that sexual preference was the correct term scientifically, in the saense that you as an individual choose whom you are attracted to or not – whatever factors may guide that attraction, but it is still your choice, even if from a young age you have believed that yoiu “have no choice”.
But ultimately adults have choice.
I was not in any way linking that with the notion of “gender identity” , whether a person thinks of themselves as being a man or a woman – or is “uncertain” and whether a person who is unequivocally a man or a woman but is unhapppy with that state of reality wishes to change it, become the other sex,and take medications such as hiormones and perhaps ultimately have radical surgery to try to make themselves appear as close to a replica of the opposite sex as possible.
I don’t know about people spending “:decades” in so-called “conversion therapy”, the ones I have been aware of have been relatively short-term attempts and programmes that are not standard psychotherapy carried out by genuine qualified expert psychiatrists and psychotherapists.
If you are referring to various religious movements attempting to influence people, that is a whole other story. It’s not my area.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

I am glad to read that you were not in any way linking sexual orientation with “gender identity”. That is why it is as inappropriate to speak of ‘being “gay” or “transgender”’ as it would be to speak of ‘being “straight” or “transgender”’.

You apparently prefer “sexual preference” to “sexual orientation”, giving the former term a connotation implying that “you as an individual choose whom you are attracted to or not”. The problem with that is that the implication is false. People do not choose whether they will be sexually attracted to people of the other sex, of the same sex, or of both sexes; they just are. As I have already pointed out, if they did, such scams as “ex-gay ministry” and “conversion therapy” would not exist, since people who didn’t like their sexual preference or orientation ““ call it what you will ““ would simply ditch it and replace it with another. They would have no need to resort to such hocus pocus. (Whether or not religious movements which attempt to influence people’s sexual orientation are your area has no bearing on that point.)

I’m not suggesting that everyone who dabbles in such programs wastes years or decades of their lives on them, only that quite a number have done. In cases where people quickly realise that they have embarked on a wild-goose chase and abandon it, then no great harm will be done, and if the small amount of time that they have wasted causes them definitively to repudiate the self-oppressive attitude which led them to undertake it in the first place, it will simply be a salutary stepping-stone on their journey to self-acceptance. However, those who get trapped and are conned into wasting years on it are being cruelly bamboozled.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

What are the parents doing? Surely they have to sign on ?

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

great question, in some countries, e.g Australia, there have been court cases where judges (I am not sure if it is plural ir just one off-the-wall judge) have allowed a 13 year old to have the whole process including radical surgery.
But the real problem is that usually the parents have either subtly or overtly encouraged or enabled the suituation to develop because of their own psychological conflicts.
There was recently a court case in Texas, widely reported, in which a father of a child was petitioning for custody – because his ex-wife wanted to bring up the seven year old boy as a girl – with no good reason other than the mother’s whim.
Parents who cannot say to a four or five year old child “:you can play dress-up at home as much as you want, but you are a boy – or girl – and you go to school dressed as a boy – or girl – are the ones who have the problem, not the child.

The other reality is that with teenagers, many employ an emotional blackmail “if you don’t give me what I want – I’ll kill myself”.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
3 years ago

It’s a while since there was a fuss made about fiddling with foetuses to give the child certain characteristics, or even producing ‘clones’ of ourselves. I don’t pretend to understand the science, or even the morality of this, but at least the resultant sprog will have known nothing else. And given the complexities of human behaviour is unlikely to grow up into the intended model.

Altering the bodies of living beings seems to be on another level. It’s why we go through exhaustive trials for medication and vaccines, after all. Injecting hormones or using surgery to completely alter the physical and mental make-up of an individual is clearly life-changing and it’s hard to believe long-term research has been done on its consequences. Those carrying out the practice will potentially be subject to colossal litigation for injury caused.

I wonder if such legislation like Canada’s will be the death knell of this specialism.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

good comment

emmamaysmith3
emmamaysmith3
3 years ago

While this article is framed with the intent of protecting children, I note that the author’s website, Feminist Current, is broadly against trans people of any age. I feel that the focus of this article is therefore a sleight of hand as the author doesn’t set out their genuine position.

She is not advocating, “choosing not to encourage a child to transition; suggesting a teen wait, and see if the “gender dysphoria” sticks a few years before beginning the process of transitioning;” but rather, “challenging the concept of “gender identity” itself”.

Both positions are reasonable to hold and argue, but not declaring this openly is arguing in bad faith. This website is meant to encourage honest and open debate, yet the author is neither.

emmamaysmith3
emmamaysmith3
3 years ago

For anybody interested, here’s the relevant part of the Bill C-6, which I think the author has missed:

320.”101″‚In sections 320.”102 to 320.”106, conversion therapy
means a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s
sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or
to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.
For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice,
treatment or service that relates
(a)”‚to a person’s gender transition; or
(b)”‚to a person’s exploration of their identity or to its development.

It would have been nice for the author to let us know that gender identity clinics are specifically exempted from the definition. That is, they cannot be considered conversion therapy if they prevent a person from transitioning.