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Is trans the new anorexia? Becoming a woman is an unappealing business

'Nowadays, there’s ostensibly no such thing as a norm' (Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Nowadays, there’s ostensibly no such thing as a norm' (Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


April 27, 2023   6 mins

When teaching freshman composition in New York colleges in the mid-Eighties, I picked up a peculiar pattern in one-on-one conferences with my female students. With improbable frequency, they’d confide that they were anorexic. The term had only entered the popular lexicon about 10 years earlier, and public awareness of the perturbing derangement had been given a huge boost by the pop singer Karen Carpenter’s death in 1983. Yet not all these 18-year-old students were disturbingly underweight. It took me a minute to get it. They aspired to be anorexic. Anorexia was a prestige diagnosis.

While some of those students may have been merely flirting with the condition, they were canaries in a very dark coal mine. All too many of their peers were undertaking life-threatening calorie restriction in great earnest. Anorexia was already known to be the very deadliest of all psychiatric ailments. (Wanting to be anorexic, then, is like pining to contract necrosis.) In the Nineties, my natural ghoulish voyeurism inspired me to read several books about obsessive self-starvation, the best of which was Jenefer Shute’s harrowing novel Life Size.

So surely this month I jumped at the chance to read Hadley Freeman’s Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia? Beginning in 1992, the columnist struggled for many years with the eating disorder, for which she was repeatedly hospitalised for months on end. Yet before diving into what proved a compelling and forthright memoir, I resisted. Honestly? The topic felt dated. Because as a prestige diagnosis, anorexia has been replaced. With trans.

Although Freeman spends half a chapter on the overlap between the two afflictions — both are “rooted in the belief that if you change your body, you will no longer hate yourself” — throughout her account I began to notice other intersections.

Both neuroses are clearly communicable. Ever since a preoccupation with thinness took off in the Sixties, eating disorders have soared, making the more recent insistence that anorexia is more of a heritable genetic proclivity than a cultural contagion dubious. From the Seventies onwards, an accelerating number of young women have got the idea to express their discontent through debilitating hunger from lavish media coverage, and one another. In kind, since 2010 the number of teenage girls referred to the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service increased by 5,000% — making claims of a purely genetic explanation equally iffy. Both these afflictions are social confections. Although tales of people who starved themselves or passed for the opposite sex exist in the historical record, eating disorders and transgenderism on a mass scale are recent inventions. Collectively, we made these dire maladies up.

Freeman identifies her “trigger” at 14 for dropping an alarming amount of weight as a single moment. Sitting beside a prominently bony classmate in gym class, Freeman asked, “Is it hard to buy clothes when you’re so small?” “Yeah,” the girl replied. “I wish I was normal like you.”

“A black tunnel yawned open inside me,” Freeman writes, “and I tumbled down it, Alice into Nowhereland. ‘Normal.’ Not ‘slim’, not ‘thin’—‘normal’. Normal was average. Normal was boring. Normal was nothing.”

Nowadays, there’s ostensibly no such thing as a norm. In Left-wing jargon, the clunky “norm” words — such as “cis-heteronormative” — are pejorative. A fifth of Americans under 30 identify as LGBT-whatever. Never mind that Eric Kaufmann has documented the large proportion of supposedly bisexual young women who don’t engage in actual same-sex coupling; today’s young people adopt the label of sexual atypicality the way earlier generations wore crocodile-logoed Lacoste shirts. As Freeman notes, normal is “nothing”. Not only heterosexuality but, increasingly, contentment with your natal sex is uncool. According to the report, 12% of millennials identify as either transgender or gender-nonconforming, compared to 6% in Generation X.

Both self-starvation and transgenderism guarantee elevation to a perceived social elite. At least in the minds of some anorexics, being immune to the temptations of crisps and biscuits that seduce mere mortals induces an emotionally nutritious sensation of superiority. Freeman portrays her fellow sufferers in hospital as competitive with one another over who eats less, as well as picky about how grimly skeletal one must become to qualify for admission to their rarefied circle; the same rivalry is readily located online. Public slow-motion suicide inevitably secures outsize attention from terrified parents, worried teachers and concerned physicians. (Freeman claims that anorexics don’t aim to look thin; they aim to look ill.) With its plethora of frenetic exercise rituals and strict internal rules surrounding food, being anorexic can readily evolve into an identity, attachment to which makes recovery still more difficult. A blandly healthy weight threatens the loss of knowing who you are anymore.

Coming out as trans likewise greatly increases attention from schoolmates, teachers and a whole industry of therapists, endocrinologists and surgeons. In a single syllable, “trans” likewise seems to offer a readymade answer to who you are. Freeman tells us that “when an anorexic says, ‘I don’t want to be fat, I want to be thin,’ they are saying, ‘I want to be other than I am, and what I am is unhappy. I want to be someone else.” Clearly, transition to the opposite sex makes the same statement: I want to be someone else. But is becoming someone else really an option?

Especially since girls came to dominate boys in paediatric gender clinics 3:1, both forms of dysmorphia often hit the same population: suggestible, insecure adolescent girls with a fragile sense of self who are desperate to forestall all that womanhood entails: painful periods; vulnerability to rape and pregnancy; sex, often portrayed in ubiquitous internet porn as female humiliation; and fat. For some anorexics, their refusal to grow into women is implicit; when girls take puberty blockers, their refusal to become women is explicit. Having suffered the physical indignities of mature femininity for over 50 years, I don’t entirely blame them.

Both diagnoses have significant intersections with autism, anxiety and depression, making patients susceptible to a tangible-seeming solution to a generalised discontent. Both populations mistake self-annihilation for a route to enlightenment and rebirth. Both populations seek to salve psychic torment by renouncing the body, the trans child through reconfiguration, the anorexic through evaporation. Both brands of patient embrace the recognisably religious practices of self-abnegation, redemption through suffering and purification via repudiation of the flesh.

It’s in the social sphere where the disorders part ways. When self-starvation was still a hot topic last century, it might have conferred a measure of cachet, but few parents these days would boast that their child is anorexic. I’ve a niece who’s suffered for years from anorexia, and my brother and his wife have been at their wits’ ends. The experience of having a child who refuses to eat is abundantly one of helplessness and despair. Ditto many trans parents — but not all.

For the paediatric gender clinic whistle-blower Jamie Reed testifies that in America’s liberal enclaves, having a trans kid has become a prestige diagnosis for many parents — one far preferable to the passĂ© status of having a child who’s plain old gay. Reed identifies the root of the problem as another plain old: homophobia.

Yet two distinctions between disordered eating and transgenderism are signal: diagnosis and treatment. In its latter stages, anorexia is visually conspicuous. While anorexics are often duplicitous, starving to death isn’t subtle; it’s not a secret you can keep for long. Freeman was hospitalised because her low weight was measurably dangerous. Yet according to current medical orthodoxy, diagnosis of transgenderism is purely subjective. The condition has no observable physical symptoms, no objective correlative. If I tell you I’m really a man, you have to take my word for it. The status is therefore unfalsifiable, the population of patients prospectively limitless.

As for treatment, anorexia is universally acknowledged as an illness. Doctors regard this potentially fatal form of dysmorphia as a psychiatric ailment that must be arrested and resolved. Not so transgenderism, which is often celebrated, if not beatified as a state of higher consciousness. “Gender-affirming care” doesn’t treat the illness but indulges the patient’s delusions to the hilt. Rather than coach a child to reconcile with reality, clinicians twist reality to reconcile it with the disorder. Anyone who dares describe the bizarre and biologically baseless conviction that one was “born in the wrong body” as a mental health issue is tarred as a transphobe. Were teenage anorexics treated anything like trans kids, they wouldn’t be encouraged to finish their dinner, but rather abjured, “You’re right: you’re fat! Your true self is even thinner! You will never rise to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty until you completely disappear!”

Anorexics negotiate the universal human challenges of finding identity and purpose by shrinking their internal world to a simple commandment: don’t eat. But true anorexics can never be thin enough. Freeman describes a rivalry between anorexia ward residents over who’s been “tubed” — the gold standard of really having made it as an anorexic, because the very last medical resort is force-feeding. Thus the obvious goal of severely restrictive eating is, however hazily conceived, death. Meanwhile, before this morbid conveyor belt reaches its inexorable end point, anorexics undergo hair loss, the breakdown of internal organs, osteoporosis, and mental disarray. Fellow starvelings may whisper competitive encouragement on those websites regulators are always trying to shut down, but at least no one in authority is urging that, if a cadaverous anorexic just loses another 15 pounds, her body and her deep, innate inner being will finally match up.

Conversely, we’re implicitly dangling the promise that on the other side of transitioning to the opposite sex — or feigning transition, since inborn sex is written in our every cell — all a young person’s problems will be solved. Being trans is now a misguidedly easy-seeming shortcut to knowing who you are. But I’m betting that as an identity, being surgically mangled and hormonally discombobulated rarely goes the distance. Moreover, the physical price of buying this false promise of turning into a butterfly is stupendously high: sexual dysfunction, infertility, surgical complications and infections, and the side-effects of powerful medications for life.

What these conditions have most in common is being dreadful answers to the questions that inevitably torture young people: who am I, what makes me unique, what makes me loveable, what do I want to achieve, why does just being alive seem so hard, am I the only one who feels so dejected, what does it mean to become a man or a woman, and is there any way I can get out of growing up? The responsible adult’s reply to that last one must be a gentle but firm “no”.


Lionel Shriver is an author, journalist and columnist for The Spectator. Her new book, Mania, is published by the Borough Press.


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Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago

This also shows why transgenderism is a “first” world problem. For everyone else in the world life is too hard to waste on this nonsense.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Exactly.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

It is being widely exported, though, like most U.S originated maladies.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

Think UK and ANZAC started all this – no issue with drag queens in USA, but indoctrinating kids to hate their bodies? Proddies every time. Jayne County 1979…Harry Styles??

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Sorry, I don’t understand your comment.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Sorry, I don’t understand your comment.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

I understand why it’s popular to think so, but that’s not true. I’m sure many people would love to think that the US created transgenderism.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

Think UK and ANZAC started all this – no issue with drag queens in USA, but indoctrinating kids to hate their bodies? Proddies every time. Jayne County 1979…Harry Styles??

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

I understand why it’s popular to think so, but that’s not true. I’m sure many people would love to think that the US created transgenderism.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Fascinating examination of these first world problems by the author. I wonder what the death rate is via suicide or malnutrition is and are they also aligned statistically.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Well malnutrition is not a choice. With regard to anorexia some are still anorexic in their old age and cannot get back to what they used to be even if they know it is unhealthy. I think Lionel is right about the trans people. It appears there has been an explosion of it in the last few years. It cannot be that they are really in the wrong body. Just a thing that is happening now. You see this social strangeness in primitive societies in a different way, but now it is coming to us as we have forsaken the old paths for something strange and new. I find it sad that some reject their sexual identity as a man or woman and take on something off the wall.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago

It may be a first world problem but as we happen to live in this first world we should try to solve it. And the solution is staring us in the face: restore the authority of normality; do not patronise, cultivate, praise or encourage deviancy; establish clear expectations and reactivate the hierarchy of social, cultural and moral preference, which was dismantled in order to make the marginal feel better. The inevitable result of this foolish and even malignant policy has been to muddy the minds of the majority. Hard cases make bad law.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

The authority of normality? I suppose you’d want to get rid of the gays, then. Definitely not normal. Abnormal sexual practices should be banned as well. Which would probably be defined as anything but missionary position. Sounds fun.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Nona Yubiz

Get rid of them??? How quickly you recourse to an extremist caricature of my position – indeed, it is your first recourse. Doesn’t this say something about you rather than me? I should say it speaks to the paucity of your argument. But in a world which enforces your views so coercively, your capacity to argue will naturally have atrophied.
From screaming caricature of this sort it is an easy path to total condemnation and thence to persecution. The left is far along this road and ought to start turning back, but given that its fundamental priority is and always has been power, it probably won’t.
Nevertheless, by means of this dishonest shift you manage to skirt around the nub of the current issue, which is precisely that where – once – deviant practice was tolerated it is now advocated. That is the change I would reverse, re-establishing the status quo ante not of 1950 but of 1980. This will doubtless leave your spitting fury intact, but, perhaps, if you at least note the difference you will begin to approach enlightened standards of disputation.

kristen mccabe
kristen mccabe
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I intend to steal this and wallpaper the internet with it. Sorry. It’s amazing and you’re amazing.

But in a world which enforces your views so coercively, your capacity to argue will naturally have atrophied.

kristen mccabe
kristen mccabe
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I intend to steal this and wallpaper the internet with it. Sorry. It’s amazing and you’re amazing.

But in a world which enforces your views so coercively, your capacity to argue will naturally have atrophied.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Nona Yubiz

Get rid of them??? How quickly you recourse to an extremist caricature of my position – indeed, it is your first recourse. Doesn’t this say something about you rather than me? I should say it speaks to the paucity of your argument. But in a world which enforces your views so coercively, your capacity to argue will naturally have atrophied.
From screaming caricature of this sort it is an easy path to total condemnation and thence to persecution. The left is far along this road and ought to start turning back, but given that its fundamental priority is and always has been power, it probably won’t.
Nevertheless, by means of this dishonest shift you manage to skirt around the nub of the current issue, which is precisely that where – once – deviant practice was tolerated it is now advocated. That is the change I would reverse, re-establishing the status quo ante not of 1950 but of 1980. This will doubtless leave your spitting fury intact, but, perhaps, if you at least note the difference you will begin to approach enlightened standards of disputation.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

The authority of normality? I suppose you’d want to get rid of the gays, then. Definitely not normal. Abnormal sexual practices should be banned as well. Which would probably be defined as anything but missionary position. Sounds fun.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago

And the solution is to reestablish normality. This would offer a guide to the perplexed, in favour of health, fertility, balance and happiness.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
1 year ago

The trouble is, every suicidal thought or impulse to a ‘confused’ teen will always be attributed to their gender issues, even when they have multiple co-morbidities. I attempted suicide twice before 18, just down to other issues not related to anything ‘popular’.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago

By “first-world” problems do you mean problems that affect mostly girls and young women?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Well malnutrition is not a choice. With regard to anorexia some are still anorexic in their old age and cannot get back to what they used to be even if they know it is unhealthy. I think Lionel is right about the trans people. It appears there has been an explosion of it in the last few years. It cannot be that they are really in the wrong body. Just a thing that is happening now. You see this social strangeness in primitive societies in a different way, but now it is coming to us as we have forsaken the old paths for something strange and new. I find it sad that some reject their sexual identity as a man or woman and take on something off the wall.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago

It may be a first world problem but as we happen to live in this first world we should try to solve it. And the solution is staring us in the face: restore the authority of normality; do not patronise, cultivate, praise or encourage deviancy; establish clear expectations and reactivate the hierarchy of social, cultural and moral preference, which was dismantled in order to make the marginal feel better. The inevitable result of this foolish and even malignant policy has been to muddy the minds of the majority. Hard cases make bad law.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago

And the solution is to reestablish normality. This would offer a guide to the perplexed, in favour of health, fertility, balance and happiness.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
1 year ago

The trouble is, every suicidal thought or impulse to a ‘confused’ teen will always be attributed to their gender issues, even when they have multiple co-morbidities. I attempted suicide twice before 18, just down to other issues not related to anything ‘popular’.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago

By “first-world” problems do you mean problems that affect mostly girls and young women?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

As Chris Rock jokingly remarked in the 1990s: There’s no lactose intolerance in Rwanda.”
(Yes, yes, I know real lactose intolerance and milk protein intolerance are real, but that isn’t the point.)

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Today, it would be “gluten allergies”. And again, there are people who really have them, but they’re pretty rare because the were genetic dead ends until very recently in human history.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm


.. asked whether I had any food allergies in a pub recently,I was tempted to jokingly respond “Do I look like a millennial ? “

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Today, it would be “gluten allergies”. And again, there are people who really have them, but they’re pretty rare because the were genetic dead ends until very recently in human history.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm


.. asked whether I had any food allergies in a pub recently,I was tempted to jokingly respond “Do I look like a millennial ? “

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Even in the WEIRD world, trans is a luxury good. Practitioners are overwhelmingly white and middle class or above.

Whether it’s rural India or urban America, people who have to worry about where tomorrow’s dinner is coming from or how to avoid getting shot on the way to work today don’t have the time for the serious navel gazing that is required to “realize” that you’re “trans”.

CF Hankinson
CF Hankinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Or women know their place there and are kept in it. It’s only in the elite west that women are being empowered and are such a threat to men and therefore under new attack

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  CF Hankinson

Of course you got a lot of dislikes. There’s a strong flavor of misogyny tainting a lot of these comments. There is heated propaganda coming from all directions regarding the surge of transgenderism, and my sympathy lies with the young people who are bearing the weight of it. Having the anxieties, shame, and anger of your elders projected onto you is never fun.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  CF Hankinson

Of course you got a lot of dislikes. There’s a strong flavor of misogyny tainting a lot of these comments. There is heated propaganda coming from all directions regarding the surge of transgenderism, and my sympathy lies with the young people who are bearing the weight of it. Having the anxieties, shame, and anger of your elders projected onto you is never fun.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nona Yubiz
Mark Shulgasser
Mark Shulgasser
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Many a trans person aspires to a lifetime identity as valetudinarian, to continually suffer from medical problems, gain medical attention and the impersonal care of medical institutions, and be freed of the responsibilities of healthy people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Shulgasser
J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I sometimes wonder if there are transvestite Eskimos. I understand it’s a rude question to ask.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Is Pakistan part of the “first world”?

Sarah Clark
Sarah Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

This comment is ignorant in the literal sense – transgender people are and always have been a part of humanity the world over, and there is ample evidence of this if you didn’t confuse research with confirmation bias.

Guess what, Isabel? You don’t have to waste ANY of your precious time or life worrying about transgender people, since all they want is to be left ALONE to live their lives like everyone else. Simply leaving people alone requires you to make no effort whatsoever, and I have to wonder how you feel so entitled and qualified to proclaim what is best, authentic, or appropriate for a group of people you know very little about.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah Clark

Quite. It’s the transgender activists we have to worry about. They are willing to use any means to destroy the lives of people that don’t go along with their views.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah Clark

Quite. It’s the transgender activists we have to worry about. They are willing to use any means to destroy the lives of people that don’t go along with their views.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Exactly.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

It is being widely exported, though, like most U.S originated maladies.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Fascinating examination of these first world problems by the author. I wonder what the death rate is via suicide or malnutrition is and are they also aligned statistically.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

As Chris Rock jokingly remarked in the 1990s: There’s no lactose intolerance in Rwanda.”
(Yes, yes, I know real lactose intolerance and milk protein intolerance are real, but that isn’t the point.)

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Even in the WEIRD world, trans is a luxury good. Practitioners are overwhelmingly white and middle class or above.

Whether it’s rural India or urban America, people who have to worry about where tomorrow’s dinner is coming from or how to avoid getting shot on the way to work today don’t have the time for the serious navel gazing that is required to “realize” that you’re “trans”.

CF Hankinson
CF Hankinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Or women know their place there and are kept in it. It’s only in the elite west that women are being empowered and are such a threat to men and therefore under new attack

Mark Shulgasser
Mark Shulgasser
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Many a trans person aspires to a lifetime identity as valetudinarian, to continually suffer from medical problems, gain medical attention and the impersonal care of medical institutions, and be freed of the responsibilities of healthy people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Shulgasser
J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I sometimes wonder if there are transvestite Eskimos. I understand it’s a rude question to ask.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Is Pakistan part of the “first world”?

Sarah Clark
Sarah Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

This comment is ignorant in the literal sense – transgender people are and always have been a part of humanity the world over, and there is ample evidence of this if you didn’t confuse research with confirmation bias.

Guess what, Isabel? You don’t have to waste ANY of your precious time or life worrying about transgender people, since all they want is to be left ALONE to live their lives like everyone else. Simply leaving people alone requires you to make no effort whatsoever, and I have to wonder how you feel so entitled and qualified to proclaim what is best, authentic, or appropriate for a group of people you know very little about.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago

This also shows why transgenderism is a “first” world problem. For everyone else in the world life is too hard to waste on this nonsense.

Paul Ten
Paul Ten
1 year ago

Excellent analysis, as ever. I think the comparisons between anorexia and trans are very enlightening in all sorts of ways. I do wonder, though, (and I’ve posted along these lines before on Unherd), if the benign end of the trans spectrum fulfils the role of a youth cult. When I was a teenager in a Midlands town in the 1970’s we had skinheads, suedes and fribs (long-haired scruffs with prog-rock LPs). There was glam rock and Bowie. The previous decade had mods and rockers. Later generations had punks, emos and goths. Cults were a form of teenage self-definition, provided a sense of belonging, and came with a hint of rebellion – my mum and gran hated my long hair. But in the vast majority of cases it was harmless.

What is a teenager to do in the 2020’s? The youth cults have all been used up, your mum and dad go to rock concerts and the headline acts at Glastonbury are 80 years old. Gender identity offers a new framework within which to define your emerging self, with the added benefit of befuddling your parents and carrying with it a hint of rebellion. I do think trans ideology needs to be called out and some cases do lead to psychological or physical harm, but maybe the majority of teens who declare themselves to be non-binary will forget all about it as they grow a bit older. I hope so.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Too true – fact is Punks, Skins and 1%er bikers seemed to scare the beast, so they used trans and (male) gays as a safety valve. The hippies wear punk and the system wears hippy.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I’ve thought about this too, how everyone has cringey memories from adolescence, following some silly trend that their adult self can see was preposterous. Like you said, these were usually benign: wearing unflattering clothes and hairstyles, or embarrassing behaviors. When I think about child-rearing, I imagine that containing the damage of these juvenile phases is a big part of the job (I don’t have kids but may start a family soon so it’s on my mind a lot). A parent has to accept their kid might act like an idiot for a few years, and the minimum threshold for intervention must be to mitigate long-term harm such as a serious injury or jail-time.
Now that these phases entail serious medications or even surgery; and depending on where you live, the government may take away your children if you don’t allow “gender-affirming care”, how is a parent supposed to fulfill their duty to allow their children to grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults?

Mindy Mitchell
Mindy Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Agreed the youth have nothing subversive they can do/be anymore. Even bankers have tattoo sleeves and nose piercings!
And that would all be fine except this ideology has become deeply embedded in all our institutions (at least in the US, at the federal level), in our corporations, in the “health” care system, in the mental health treatment system. And to the profound harm of children, women, and gays and lesbians. No such disastrous consequences for the punk or goth aesthetics…

Nancy G
Nancy G
1 year ago
Reply to  Mindy Mitchell

So true: many – perhaps most – of our institutions have been captured. But there is pushback. The Sex Matters petition – “Update the Equality Act to make clear the characteristic “sex” is biological sex” (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/623243) – got 100,000+ signatures and is going to be debated in Parliament. The debate is scheduled for 12 June 2023. Write to your MPs and tell them that you want them to support it.

Nancy G
Nancy G
1 year ago
Reply to  Mindy Mitchell

So true: many – perhaps most – of our institutions have been captured. But there is pushback. The Sex Matters petition – “Update the Equality Act to make clear the characteristic “sex” is biological sex” (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/623243) – got 100,000+ signatures and is going to be debated in Parliament. The debate is scheduled for 12 June 2023. Write to your MPs and tell them that you want them to support it.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Apart from the ones that have allowed their genitals to be operated on leading to a real disablement. Why a doctor or a politician can agree with this shows how our general civilisation is on the slide and getting really dangerous for the young. Angela Spiel head of Ofsted is on a crusade to accept it in the schools and the politicians allow it. If this is just a fashion I welcome the day that it changes and that those in authority who pushed it will be questioned and exposed.

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

There’s hip-hop, garage and various other “unacceptable” musics and cultures still for kids. I don’t think going trans or gay can be compared with that sort of “motorcycle” teenage rebellion. In any case, if you follow Shriver then the mood music is trans is not as bad as listening to f**k Da Police. There’ the argument that trans and gay can be attention seeking, looking for sympathy almost but that doesn’t apply to teenage rebellion.

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I very much agree with the idea that part of this phenomenon is good old fashioned “rebellion”
but unlike the youth subcultures you mentioned, gender theory is literally making forced changes to our legal system and our culture in ways that impact important groups’ rights (esp. women).

I remember having great fun during the punk era, but we didn’t force people to change THEIR lives to suit our tastes. Gender theory is a full frontal assault on reality, and something we can ill afford, IMHO.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

Full frontal assault – great imagery, true comment!

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

Well said!

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

Full frontal assault – great imagery, true comment!

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

Well said!

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

To be a real rebel, go to church, get married (opposite sex) and have kids. That is so kool. If you still have yearn to be more militant, pray in Latin.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

Like my mother said. Never throw away your old shoes. One day they will become fashionable again.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

Like my mother said. Never throw away your old shoes. One day they will become fashionable again.

Jane Bray
Jane Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Paul! Teens are definitely looking for a way to be a part of something and there isn’t even a new genre of music for them to cling to!

As responsible adults, it’s our duty to target the monsters that are encouraging medical transition and even surgery and stop them from indulging their Frankenstein obsessed behaviour. What kind of doctor/surgeon/care provider thinks the outcome for these poor kids will be a good one? They are deluded and cruel.

The perfect and tragic example was yesterday’s news story of the poor 18 year old who died after ‘his’ vaginal surgery using bits of his colon failed!

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I agree the benign end of trans might be “growing pains”, but unfortunately rather than roll their eyes or issue a stern “you’re not wearing THAT to school”, now it seems (mainly) mom is fully on board, “supporting” their new son/daughter on social media as they shop for clothes. Back in the day, doctors didn’t confirm that you were indeed a skinhead and surgically remove your hair, parents didn’t sign their kids up for drag queen summer camp and schools didn’t create litter boxes for “furries”.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Good points. It’s the poor mutilated detransitioners who will have the most angst though.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Too true – fact is Punks, Skins and 1%er bikers seemed to scare the beast, so they used trans and (male) gays as a safety valve. The hippies wear punk and the system wears hippy.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I’ve thought about this too, how everyone has cringey memories from adolescence, following some silly trend that their adult self can see was preposterous. Like you said, these were usually benign: wearing unflattering clothes and hairstyles, or embarrassing behaviors. When I think about child-rearing, I imagine that containing the damage of these juvenile phases is a big part of the job (I don’t have kids but may start a family soon so it’s on my mind a lot). A parent has to accept their kid might act like an idiot for a few years, and the minimum threshold for intervention must be to mitigate long-term harm such as a serious injury or jail-time.
Now that these phases entail serious medications or even surgery; and depending on where you live, the government may take away your children if you don’t allow “gender-affirming care”, how is a parent supposed to fulfill their duty to allow their children to grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults?

Mindy Mitchell
Mindy Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Agreed the youth have nothing subversive they can do/be anymore. Even bankers have tattoo sleeves and nose piercings!
And that would all be fine except this ideology has become deeply embedded in all our institutions (at least in the US, at the federal level), in our corporations, in the “health” care system, in the mental health treatment system. And to the profound harm of children, women, and gays and lesbians. No such disastrous consequences for the punk or goth aesthetics…

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Apart from the ones that have allowed their genitals to be operated on leading to a real disablement. Why a doctor or a politician can agree with this shows how our general civilisation is on the slide and getting really dangerous for the young. Angela Spiel head of Ofsted is on a crusade to accept it in the schools and the politicians allow it. If this is just a fashion I welcome the day that it changes and that those in authority who pushed it will be questioned and exposed.

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

There’s hip-hop, garage and various other “unacceptable” musics and cultures still for kids. I don’t think going trans or gay can be compared with that sort of “motorcycle” teenage rebellion. In any case, if you follow Shriver then the mood music is trans is not as bad as listening to f**k Da Police. There’ the argument that trans and gay can be attention seeking, looking for sympathy almost but that doesn’t apply to teenage rebellion.

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I very much agree with the idea that part of this phenomenon is good old fashioned “rebellion”
but unlike the youth subcultures you mentioned, gender theory is literally making forced changes to our legal system and our culture in ways that impact important groups’ rights (esp. women).

I remember having great fun during the punk era, but we didn’t force people to change THEIR lives to suit our tastes. Gender theory is a full frontal assault on reality, and something we can ill afford, IMHO.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

To be a real rebel, go to church, get married (opposite sex) and have kids. That is so kool. If you still have yearn to be more militant, pray in Latin.

Jane Bray
Jane Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Paul! Teens are definitely looking for a way to be a part of something and there isn’t even a new genre of music for them to cling to!

As responsible adults, it’s our duty to target the monsters that are encouraging medical transition and even surgery and stop them from indulging their Frankenstein obsessed behaviour. What kind of doctor/surgeon/care provider thinks the outcome for these poor kids will be a good one? They are deluded and cruel.

The perfect and tragic example was yesterday’s news story of the poor 18 year old who died after ‘his’ vaginal surgery using bits of his colon failed!

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I agree the benign end of trans might be “growing pains”, but unfortunately rather than roll their eyes or issue a stern “you’re not wearing THAT to school”, now it seems (mainly) mom is fully on board, “supporting” their new son/daughter on social media as they shop for clothes. Back in the day, doctors didn’t confirm that you were indeed a skinhead and surgically remove your hair, parents didn’t sign their kids up for drag queen summer camp and schools didn’t create litter boxes for “furries”.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Good points. It’s the poor mutilated detransitioners who will have the most angst though.

Paul Ten
Paul Ten
1 year ago

Excellent analysis, as ever. I think the comparisons between anorexia and trans are very enlightening in all sorts of ways. I do wonder, though, (and I’ve posted along these lines before on Unherd), if the benign end of the trans spectrum fulfils the role of a youth cult. When I was a teenager in a Midlands town in the 1970’s we had skinheads, suedes and fribs (long-haired scruffs with prog-rock LPs). There was glam rock and Bowie. The previous decade had mods and rockers. Later generations had punks, emos and goths. Cults were a form of teenage self-definition, provided a sense of belonging, and came with a hint of rebellion – my mum and gran hated my long hair. But in the vast majority of cases it was harmless.

What is a teenager to do in the 2020’s? The youth cults have all been used up, your mum and dad go to rock concerts and the headline acts at Glastonbury are 80 years old. Gender identity offers a new framework within which to define your emerging self, with the added benefit of befuddling your parents and carrying with it a hint of rebellion. I do think trans ideology needs to be called out and some cases do lead to psychological or physical harm, but maybe the majority of teens who declare themselves to be non-binary will forget all about it as they grow a bit older. I hope so.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

An important essay. We live in a world of increasing medicalisation, where nothing is ‘normal’ and everyone needs a treatment for something. What’s your illness? instead of What’s your line? They even think we are the disease for the planet. More drugs and interventions please.
At the root, we seem to have lost the importance of resilience, robustness. and perseverance. I wonder sometimes if it’s because many humans have lost contact with animals, either farms or pets, and so are missing some basic insights into life.

Jimjim McHale
Jimjim McHale
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

Excellent!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

. . .or it could be losing touch with God; we want to be our own authority.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Not could be. Is in my opinion.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Not could be. Is in my opinion.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

The American psychiatric and counselling industry has long been busy medicalising the outer edges of normal behaviour, so that now, even a small deviation from “normal” is a “condition” requiring (expensive) intervention by a professional.
Psychiatry.org – DSM

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

The American hyper-capitalist system that is much more to blame than the professionals as such. Including core tenets of customer entitlement, rather than patient treatment. ‘I want anti-depressants, valium and adderall, and if I don’t get them I’ll sue you for failing to treat my problems.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

The American hyper-capitalist system that is much more to blame than the professionals as such. Including core tenets of customer entitlement, rather than patient treatment. ‘I want anti-depressants, valium and adderall, and if I don’t get them I’ll sue you for failing to treat my problems.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

We are the despicable ones, Our carbon footprint is too high and we don’t deserve to be alive and all that zero carbon claptrap.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

My gf came back from teaching work (higher ed) last night with a terrifying account of this. In a meet and greet the students took turns announcing their illnesses, and the concurrent special treatment they expected – the one who didn’t do this, looked increasingly panicked – as if she was thinking that there was something wrong with her/ that she was missing out!

Jimjim McHale
Jimjim McHale
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

Excellent!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

. . .or it could be losing touch with God; we want to be our own authority.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

The American psychiatric and counselling industry has long been busy medicalising the outer edges of normal behaviour, so that now, even a small deviation from “normal” is a “condition” requiring (expensive) intervention by a professional.
Psychiatry.org – DSM

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

We are the despicable ones, Our carbon footprint is too high and we don’t deserve to be alive and all that zero carbon claptrap.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

My gf came back from teaching work (higher ed) last night with a terrifying account of this. In a meet and greet the students took turns announcing their illnesses, and the concurrent special treatment they expected – the one who didn’t do this, looked increasingly panicked – as if she was thinking that there was something wrong with her/ that she was missing out!

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

An important essay. We live in a world of increasing medicalisation, where nothing is ‘normal’ and everyone needs a treatment for something. What’s your illness? instead of What’s your line? They even think we are the disease for the planet. More drugs and interventions please.
At the root, we seem to have lost the importance of resilience, robustness. and perseverance. I wonder sometimes if it’s because many humans have lost contact with animals, either farms or pets, and so are missing some basic insights into life.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“…am I the only one who feels so dejected, what does it mean to become a man or a woman, and is there any way I can get out of growing up?”
If I had entertained such thoughts as a youngster I wouldn’t have been hospitalised, I would have been laughed at. Derision is a powerful cure-all. Sounds like poor Hadley missed out.
Am I being harsh? I don’t think so – There is plenty of genuine misery in the world, so I won’t waste my time on those who fake misery.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I don’t disagree. I used to be resentful of the sometimes harsh treatment we got from the Christian Brothers who ran our Catholic schools growing up. But the reality is that life is hard and you do need to be tough. Telling young people to suck it up is generally good advice.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I think it would depend on what the problem is. If ‘suck it up” is to be dished out as “generally good advice” to young people there are going to be feelings of being emotionally abandonded. One size does not fit all.

Gary Wayne Lee
Gary Wayne Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Feelings of being emotionally abandoned= I’m not getting the attention I demand and deserve.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Wayne Lee

As Clare Knight points out the “suck it up” variety of parenting might suit some kids very well but not others.
Why ? – because children are individuals in their own right and all different from one another and different from you and me and your parents and my parents. They are not blank sheets on which you imprint or programme your biases / opinions / values / view of life.
What is so undesirable about giving a child attention when they ask for it ? What are you afraid of ?
The skill of parenting it seems to me is determining what style of conversation is required when.
If of course you aren’t interested in having conversations with your kids then you shouldn’t be surprised by anything outside your usual experience that subsequently happens to them.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Wayne Lee

Maybe it is a by product of being emotionally abandoned these days.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Wayne Lee

As Clare Knight points out the “suck it up” variety of parenting might suit some kids very well but not others.
Why ? – because children are individuals in their own right and all different from one another and different from you and me and your parents and my parents. They are not blank sheets on which you imprint or programme your biases / opinions / values / view of life.
What is so undesirable about giving a child attention when they ask for it ? What are you afraid of ?
The skill of parenting it seems to me is determining what style of conversation is required when.
If of course you aren’t interested in having conversations with your kids then you shouldn’t be surprised by anything outside your usual experience that subsequently happens to them.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Wayne Lee

Maybe it is a by product of being emotionally abandoned these days.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Pull yourself together Ms Knight!
Polidori and Peter have said all there is to say on this ridiculous subject.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think it is being cruel to be kind. Suck it up can be a good thing if done in the right loving spirit. I told one of my grandsons who had a penchant for wearing girls clothes that God made him male not female. I haven’t seen any sign of that kind of thing since.

Gary Wayne Lee
Gary Wayne Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Feelings of being emotionally abandoned= I’m not getting the attention I demand and deserve.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Pull yourself together Ms Knight!
Polidori and Peter have said all there is to say on this ridiculous subject.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think it is being cruel to be kind. Suck it up can be a good thing if done in the right loving spirit. I told one of my grandsons who had a penchant for wearing girls clothes that God made him male not female. I haven’t seen any sign of that kind of thing since.

Gill Holway
Gill Holway
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

To pick up on your education with the Christian Brothers….Schools vary ..a lot. On return from living abroad I was sent to a convent in Somerset, a brilliant school and even during my shortish stay there, I learned a lot and had great respect for the nuns. Then we moved. I went to another convent presumably because my father assumed things would continue the way they started with the previous school…they didnt. I did however learn that where no choice is offered, you have to deal with it. I did miss not having classes in Latin though!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Gill Holway

With a good father it was easier for you to accept. I was in a residential convent with nuns as well. I am glad I got away from that culture personally.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Gill Holway

With a good father it was easier for you to accept. I was in a residential convent with nuns as well. I am glad I got away from that culture personally.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Merely a variant of the ‘National Service would sort them out’ argument. And maybe it does, for some. Others are clearly traumatised by it. Just because (you think) it worked for you, doesn’t mean that attempting to hammer all young people through the same shape of hole is a good idea.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

I don’t think a little of it harms you when you have no choice looking at what that age group does these days. Being a Sheila as they called it never went down well in the army, but these days who knows what is happening?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

I don’t think a little of it harms you when you have no choice looking at what that age group does these days. Being a Sheila as they called it never went down well in the army, but these days who knows what is happening?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I think it would depend on what the problem is. If ‘suck it up” is to be dished out as “generally good advice” to young people there are going to be feelings of being emotionally abandonded. One size does not fit all.

Gill Holway
Gill Holway
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

To pick up on your education with the Christian Brothers….Schools vary ..a lot. On return from living abroad I was sent to a convent in Somerset, a brilliant school and even during my shortish stay there, I learned a lot and had great respect for the nuns. Then we moved. I went to another convent presumably because my father assumed things would continue the way they started with the previous school…they didnt. I did however learn that where no choice is offered, you have to deal with it. I did miss not having classes in Latin though!

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Merely a variant of the ‘National Service would sort them out’ argument. And maybe it does, for some. Others are clearly traumatised by it. Just because (you think) it worked for you, doesn’t mean that attempting to hammer all young people through the same shape of hole is a good idea.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I think if one needs to “fake” misery on must be pretty miserable. And yes, it does seem to be a first world problem.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think if one needs to šfakeš misery one must be pretty miserable.
Or an attention-seeking narcissist.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Maybe they have the POM’s. Poor old me.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Sounds like you’ve met my neighbour, for whom the tragedy of cancer is offset by its effectiveness as a tool for manipulating others. Not very endearing, which unfortunately renders her much less likely to get the love she seeks, and deserves as much as the rest of us. Narcissism is not actually fun.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Maybe they have the POM’s. Poor old me.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Sounds like you’ve met my neighbour, for whom the tragedy of cancer is offset by its effectiveness as a tool for manipulating others. Not very endearing, which unfortunately renders her much less likely to get the love she seeks, and deserves as much as the rest of us. Narcissism is not actually fun.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think there is a subset of these people who really are struggling and are not faking it and for whom “suck it up” simply doesn’t work.
The fact that these clearly are almost exclusively “first world problems” does not mean they are not in some cases real problems. The demands of first world life can be very different from those in less developed countries so it’s only to be expected that we may have some different problems.
Of course, we’ve gone massively and dangerously overboard on some of this stuff.
The problem as ever is distinguishing what we used to call the “deserving” and “undeserving” and focusing help and resources on the first group who really do need help.
The single biggest problem for me is the cheerleaders and do-gooders sitting on the sidelines insisting that everyone is “deserving” when that is patently untrue. And all that does is devalue the suffering of those genuinely afflicted and prevent them getting the help they need. And eroding any sympathy and understanding they deserve from us.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Incredibly this and my other comment on this article took 17 hours to get past the censors. What on earth is going on ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter B
Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The problem is that in the (recent) past, body dysmorphia usually appeared in young males, well before puberty. When they decided to “transition” the process was long (2 years) and involved living as a woman all while engaging in therapy. Today (as I’ve heard listening to Jordan Peterson) the process is often 2-3 sessions in which the patient diagnoses themselves and hormone blockers are an early option. If parents disagree they are often ignored, and the child is affirmed without their knowledge. The difference today is that the patient is often an early adolescent girl. Given there is a 4000%-5000% increase (and no other female age group has similar increases) this is strong evidence that this is a socially engineered experiment (that makes people money). These girls are often depressed and anxious. ROGD (Rapid Onset Gender Dysmorphia) is a subset of these mental health issues. Changing your body (removing breasts, taking male hormones) won’t fix what are essentially brain disorders – therapy, supplements and good nutrition should be the first line of defence – and lots of support from women who’ve made it through puberty and came out the other side fully intact.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Incredibly this and my other comment on this article took 17 hours to get past the censors. What on earth is going on ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter B
Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The problem is that in the (recent) past, body dysmorphia usually appeared in young males, well before puberty. When they decided to “transition” the process was long (2 years) and involved living as a woman all while engaging in therapy. Today (as I’ve heard listening to Jordan Peterson) the process is often 2-3 sessions in which the patient diagnoses themselves and hormone blockers are an early option. If parents disagree they are often ignored, and the child is affirmed without their knowledge. The difference today is that the patient is often an early adolescent girl. Given there is a 4000%-5000% increase (and no other female age group has similar increases) this is strong evidence that this is a socially engineered experiment (that makes people money). These girls are often depressed and anxious. ROGD (Rapid Onset Gender Dysmorphia) is a subset of these mental health issues. Changing your body (removing breasts, taking male hormones) won’t fix what are essentially brain disorders – therapy, supplements and good nutrition should be the first line of defence – and lots of support from women who’ve made it through puberty and came out the other side fully intact.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think if one needs to šfakeš misery one must be pretty miserable.
Or an attention-seeking narcissist.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think there is a subset of these people who really are struggling and are not faking it and for whom “suck it up” simply doesn’t work.
The fact that these clearly are almost exclusively “first world problems” does not mean they are not in some cases real problems. The demands of first world life can be very different from those in less developed countries so it’s only to be expected that we may have some different problems.
Of course, we’ve gone massively and dangerously overboard on some of this stuff.
The problem as ever is distinguishing what we used to call the “deserving” and “undeserving” and focusing help and resources on the first group who really do need help.
The single biggest problem for me is the cheerleaders and do-gooders sitting on the sidelines insisting that everyone is “deserving” when that is patently untrue. And all that does is devalue the suffering of those genuinely afflicted and prevent them getting the help they need. And eroding any sympathy and understanding they deserve from us.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yeah, but I think this idea for young women is by no means new nor one that their mothers necessarily laughed at. The puberty of boys and the puberty of girls are quite different. Girls go through it earlier, which explains some of it. They are literally still children. But puberty is not a good thing, it is a cessation of power. You stop growing. You start bleeding. Even if your periods aren’t a big deal, it hurts (and for many girls they are a deal). Your body changes in a way that brings you problems. You go from a feeling of control to becoming prey, not simply to the boys around you but grown men, some of them your friend’s dads or coaches, etc. And all this happens in the space of a year. There is refinements later, and warnings earlier but the process generally, is rapid and dizzyingly transformative. All to kids who are barely out of elementary (and some in it).
Boys meanwhile start growing in earnest. They become more powerful. Their voice drops. Yes there is a vulnerable aspect to this but it is moving towards more respect, more power, more ability to assert their will. And for the most part it doesn’t happen until 8th grade but really not until high school and it takes years. It is a very slow process.
Both get hair in new places of course but even that is different. Girls hair is dirty, disgusting, and disqualifying. Boys don’t have to shave except their faces and even that is somewhat up to choice. Having hair on the face for boys might not always be culturally approved but it is always a sign of power.
And that is not even getting into the mechanics of reproduction. Yeah, girls can sort of get pregnant. That should make them feel powerful except the first thing society says is DON’T you dare. If you do it in any way that we have not specifically approved, we will punish you and punish you big time. And we are going to create all these new rules limiting your freedom to be sure nobody gets you pregnant, so even that is a lessening of dignity and power. (Meanwhile boys are not so held back)
So far from this feeling of not wanting puberty from girls being a new thing, I think it is part and parcel with being female. It helped when in the past some girls went through it later but overall yeah, we feel alienated.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago

This is is really well stated. I’ve often felt that when “the talk” happens in schools it should involve discussing all that you mention above with the goal of helping girls see there is beauty and power in the change. As for when puberty hits, I do think diet (i.e. nutrition), overly processed foods, chemicals and perhaps estrogen in milk/meats/water are partially to blame for puberty coming earlier. Helping girls (and boys) stay lean and healthy would support better mental health and, at least for girls, perhaps stave off early puberty. They just aren’t ready. Interestingly, there was a surge in early puberty (girls) during COVID – scientists are blaming blue light, stress, lockdowns and the virus…no mention of any other possible causes…

Steve Hayward
Steve Hayward
1 year ago

There’s a reason why we urge “girls” not to get pregnant. For the same reason that we urge “boys” not to get “girls” pregnant. Because they’re girls and boys.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago

This is is really well stated. I’ve often felt that when “the talk” happens in schools it should involve discussing all that you mention above with the goal of helping girls see there is beauty and power in the change. As for when puberty hits, I do think diet (i.e. nutrition), overly processed foods, chemicals and perhaps estrogen in milk/meats/water are partially to blame for puberty coming earlier. Helping girls (and boys) stay lean and healthy would support better mental health and, at least for girls, perhaps stave off early puberty. They just aren’t ready. Interestingly, there was a surge in early puberty (girls) during COVID – scientists are blaming blue light, stress, lockdowns and the virus…no mention of any other possible causes…

Steve Hayward
Steve Hayward
1 year ago

There’s a reason why we urge “girls” not to get pregnant. For the same reason that we urge “boys” not to get “girls” pregnant. Because they’re girls and boys.

Persephone
Persephone
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No. Being laughed at when one questions ‘am I the only one who feels so dejected, what does it mean to become a woman, is there any way I can get out of growing up,’ is one of the reasons people end up with eating disorders or transing themselves (as ways of avoiding those same questions you’re laughing at). The need these troubled youngsters have is for someone to engage with them about these questions ie to help them grow up. Laughing at those questions is not helpful at all. Hadley missed out, yes, but if you were subject to derision for asking the natural questions adolescents have in the face of the human condition, then you missed out on something too polidor.

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

This is why I think the solution to these attention seekers is to ignore them. I refuse to use incorrect names or pronouns and so should everyone else. Do not feed the cancer.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I don’t disagree. I used to be resentful of the sometimes harsh treatment we got from the Christian Brothers who ran our Catholic schools growing up. But the reality is that life is hard and you do need to be tough. Telling young people to suck it up is generally good advice.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I think if one needs to “fake” misery on must be pretty miserable. And yes, it does seem to be a first world problem.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yeah, but I think this idea for young women is by no means new nor one that their mothers necessarily laughed at. The puberty of boys and the puberty of girls are quite different. Girls go through it earlier, which explains some of it. They are literally still children. But puberty is not a good thing, it is a cessation of power. You stop growing. You start bleeding. Even if your periods aren’t a big deal, it hurts (and for many girls they are a deal). Your body changes in a way that brings you problems. You go from a feeling of control to becoming prey, not simply to the boys around you but grown men, some of them your friend’s dads or coaches, etc. And all this happens in the space of a year. There is refinements later, and warnings earlier but the process generally, is rapid and dizzyingly transformative. All to kids who are barely out of elementary (and some in it).
Boys meanwhile start growing in earnest. They become more powerful. Their voice drops. Yes there is a vulnerable aspect to this but it is moving towards more respect, more power, more ability to assert their will. And for the most part it doesn’t happen until 8th grade but really not until high school and it takes years. It is a very slow process.
Both get hair in new places of course but even that is different. Girls hair is dirty, disgusting, and disqualifying. Boys don’t have to shave except their faces and even that is somewhat up to choice. Having hair on the face for boys might not always be culturally approved but it is always a sign of power.
And that is not even getting into the mechanics of reproduction. Yeah, girls can sort of get pregnant. That should make them feel powerful except the first thing society says is DON’T you dare. If you do it in any way that we have not specifically approved, we will punish you and punish you big time. And we are going to create all these new rules limiting your freedom to be sure nobody gets you pregnant, so even that is a lessening of dignity and power. (Meanwhile boys are not so held back)
So far from this feeling of not wanting puberty from girls being a new thing, I think it is part and parcel with being female. It helped when in the past some girls went through it later but overall yeah, we feel alienated.

Persephone
Persephone
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No. Being laughed at when one questions ‘am I the only one who feels so dejected, what does it mean to become a woman, is there any way I can get out of growing up,’ is one of the reasons people end up with eating disorders or transing themselves (as ways of avoiding those same questions you’re laughing at). The need these troubled youngsters have is for someone to engage with them about these questions ie to help them grow up. Laughing at those questions is not helpful at all. Hadley missed out, yes, but if you were subject to derision for asking the natural questions adolescents have in the face of the human condition, then you missed out on something too polidor.

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

This is why I think the solution to these attention seekers is to ignore them. I refuse to use incorrect names or pronouns and so should everyone else. Do not feed the cancer.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“…am I the only one who feels so dejected, what does it mean to become a man or a woman, and is there any way I can get out of growing up?”
If I had entertained such thoughts as a youngster I wouldn’t have been hospitalised, I would have been laughed at. Derision is a powerful cure-all. Sounds like poor Hadley missed out.
Am I being harsh? I don’t think so – There is plenty of genuine misery in the world, so I won’t waste my time on those who fake misery.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago

We never would have got into this mess if we hadn’t imported the word “gender” from a linguistic noun descriptor into a replacement for “sex”. Sex is real (and binary), personality is real (and a spectrum), but gender isn’t.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Hear hear. When I was growing up, “gender” was a mere prissy middle-class synonym, what you said instead of saying “sex”, if in polite company. Such as the band “The Gender Pistols” lol. 
I’ve never been sufficiently narrow-minded to have had a “gender”, and never have been too perturbed or impeded by the lack thereof.
This is a wonderful article, and nails the trivial modishness of this silly fad.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Quite right. Gender is a linguistic term, not a psychological one. The wokists, whether they know it or not (probably not) are using the term metaphorically and yet expect it to be taken literally. When a demonstrable fiction is imposed as truth on society, there will be costs.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Of course. We are seeing a massive cost amongst children who naturally look to adults for a lead which doesn’t appear to be forthcoming in this day.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Of course. We are seeing a massive cost amongst children who naturally look to adults for a lead which doesn’t appear to be forthcoming in this day.

Mint Julip
Mint Julip
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Many years ago I downloaded a simple word game onto my phone. It annoyed me hugely by repeatedly refusing to accept the words sex, sexual etc, and piously informing me that there was no such word as sex! At the time I believed these bizarre pronouncements were due to American prudery (I had heard in the past of such a phenomenon) but in retrospect I believe it was an early attempt by some small Silicone Valley ap producers to “correct my thinking”.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It’s true that “gender” is not real in the way that “sex” is real. In another way, however, gender is indeed real–not inflexible but real nonetheless and therefore not to be trivialized as nothing more than a “social construct” that exists only to prevent “marginalized” people from seizing power.
This kind of reality is not always obvious at the personal level, but it is clear enough at the collective level. We can change gender systems (within limits), because gender is a cultural system and therefore governed primarily by culture instead of directly by nature. But plenty of historical and anthropological evidence indicates that cultures consistently favor some forms of gender expression over others.
That’s not what I once wanted very much to believe, because I clearly didn’t fit well into the gender system that I had inherited, and still don’t, but I now think that gender is a fact of life whether I (as an individual) like it or not. There’s some dignity, at any rate, in acknowledging even uncomfortable truths about the human condition.
Moreover, I can’t say that gender is inherently sinister. No society could exist without a gender system, no matter how minimal, or ever has existed without it. Like other cultural systems, including moral systems, it makes communal life possible for a social species. Unlike other species, which rely entirely or almost entirely on instinct, our species relies largely on the transmission of culture (and other traditions) from one generation to the next while allowing enough flexibility to encourage adaptation to new circumstances. This is a defining feature of Homo sapiens.
In short, it’s one thing to argue that men and women should negotiate a new gendered social contract, one that serves the needs of both sexes better than earlier ones, but it’s another thing to argue that there should be no such thing as gender (as some feminists have argued) or even that there’s no such thing as gender in the first place (as transgender ideologues argue). That’s because their notion of “gender identity” is entirely subjective and therefore unreal.

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

I think you’re using the word “gender” when you’re actually referring to “sex roles” within culture. One may not fit the expectations a culture has for the stereotypical male or female, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you belong in some other category that doesn’t conform to your gametes.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

I don’t see your problem, Apo. Gender consists of masculinity and femininity–that is, “sex roles” roles for male people and female people. Some people don’t like theirs. As I say, though, that has nothing to do with sex. We’re all still either male or female.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

I don’t see your problem, Apo. Gender consists of masculinity and femininity–that is, “sex roles” roles for male people and female people. Some people don’t like theirs. As I say, though, that has nothing to do with sex. We’re all still either male or female.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

My goodness! I wonder how people managed before there was no word to name all that you see as being described as “gender”, before the word “gender” lost its purely grammatical meaning and came into use as something to do with sex-roles?
Perhaps, before 1950, people just used the term “sex-roles”. Or perhaps they just assumed some things were male and other things were female. Where I live, women still speak of “men’s colours” (brown, dark green, maroon etc) and “women’s colours” (yellow, light green etc).
As a young child I never ever heard the word “gender”. I first hear it when I started to learn languages in high school. Some languages had two genders, other had three (masculine, feminine and neuter).

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Janet G

Yes, “gender” is a recent innovation and still confuses people because of its ideological context. Even for grammarians, though, gender had nothing to do with either sex (maleness and femaleness) or sex roles (masculinity and femininity). They noticed that every noun, or almost every noun, had one of two characteristic sounds (in many languages, an ending).They noticed also that the most obvious paradigm of two-ness would make a convenient grammatical paradigm. So they called those nouns with one sound “masculine” and those with the other sound “feminine.” In some languages, additional nouns were neither one nor the other, so they were “neuter.”
I seriously doubt, for example, that the people of France associate some countries (such as La France and la Russie) with femaleness and others (Le Canada, Le Maroc) with maleness. In Hebrew, the holiest of days (shabbat) is masculine, but the holiest object (Torah) is feminine. In German, a woman is feminine (die Frau) but a wife is neuter (das Weib). It’s all arbitrary but nonetheless logical within the context of learning languages.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Janet G

Yes, “gender” is a recent innovation and still confuses people because of its ideological context. Even for grammarians, though, gender had nothing to do with either sex (maleness and femaleness) or sex roles (masculinity and femininity). They noticed that every noun, or almost every noun, had one of two characteristic sounds (in many languages, an ending).They noticed also that the most obvious paradigm of two-ness would make a convenient grammatical paradigm. So they called those nouns with one sound “masculine” and those with the other sound “feminine.” In some languages, additional nouns were neither one nor the other, so they were “neuter.”
I seriously doubt, for example, that the people of France associate some countries (such as La France and la Russie) with femaleness and others (Le Canada, Le Maroc) with maleness. In Hebrew, the holiest of days (shabbat) is masculine, but the holiest object (Torah) is feminine. In German, a woman is feminine (die Frau) but a wife is neuter (das Weib). It’s all arbitrary but nonetheless logical within the context of learning languages.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

I reluctantly came to the same conclusions, after resisting the very idea of gender norms for many years as a huge misfit in my own gender. Nowadays I find the idea of our society dismantling all gender norms altogether completely utopian and therefore unhelpful. Though many feminists may hate to hear this, many if not most people find life much easier with pre-existing guidelines on how to be out in the world, rather than having unlimited options and no rules. The gender norms can still be scrutinised, reviewed and negotiated of course, and there should be acceptance for those who for whatever reason don’t fit the mould.
What I never bought into is the bonkers idea that in order to free ourselves from gender norms, we must also throw out the reality and biological sex so that in theory there’s nothing left to attach gender norms to. Which seems to be the basis for the modern “gender-free” parenting.

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

I think you’re using the word “gender” when you’re actually referring to “sex roles” within culture. One may not fit the expectations a culture has for the stereotypical male or female, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you belong in some other category that doesn’t conform to your gametes.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

My goodness! I wonder how people managed before there was no word to name all that you see as being described as “gender”, before the word “gender” lost its purely grammatical meaning and came into use as something to do with sex-roles?
Perhaps, before 1950, people just used the term “sex-roles”. Or perhaps they just assumed some things were male and other things were female. Where I live, women still speak of “men’s colours” (brown, dark green, maroon etc) and “women’s colours” (yellow, light green etc).
As a young child I never ever heard the word “gender”. I first hear it when I started to learn languages in high school. Some languages had two genders, other had three (masculine, feminine and neuter).

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

I reluctantly came to the same conclusions, after resisting the very idea of gender norms for many years as a huge misfit in my own gender. Nowadays I find the idea of our society dismantling all gender norms altogether completely utopian and therefore unhelpful. Though many feminists may hate to hear this, many if not most people find life much easier with pre-existing guidelines on how to be out in the world, rather than having unlimited options and no rules. The gender norms can still be scrutinised, reviewed and negotiated of course, and there should be acceptance for those who for whatever reason don’t fit the mould.
What I never bought into is the bonkers idea that in order to free ourselves from gender norms, we must also throw out the reality and biological sex so that in theory there’s nothing left to attach gender norms to. Which seems to be the basis for the modern “gender-free” parenting.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It’s a psychological / social / cultural problem. If it was simply about terminology, most non-English speaking cultures would be immune.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Gender has become something you think rather than the reality of what you actually are in your actual real body. Talk about ignoring reality.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Hear hear. When I was growing up, “gender” was a mere prissy middle-class synonym, what you said instead of saying “sex”, if in polite company. Such as the band “The Gender Pistols” lol. 
I’ve never been sufficiently narrow-minded to have had a “gender”, and never have been too perturbed or impeded by the lack thereof.
This is a wonderful article, and nails the trivial modishness of this silly fad.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Quite right. Gender is a linguistic term, not a psychological one. The wokists, whether they know it or not (probably not) are using the term metaphorically and yet expect it to be taken literally. When a demonstrable fiction is imposed as truth on society, there will be costs.

Mint Julip
Mint Julip
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Many years ago I downloaded a simple word game onto my phone. It annoyed me hugely by repeatedly refusing to accept the words sex, sexual etc, and piously informing me that there was no such word as sex! At the time I believed these bizarre pronouncements were due to American prudery (I had heard in the past of such a phenomenon) but in retrospect I believe it was an early attempt by some small Silicone Valley ap producers to “correct my thinking”.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It’s true that “gender” is not real in the way that “sex” is real. In another way, however, gender is indeed real–not inflexible but real nonetheless and therefore not to be trivialized as nothing more than a “social construct” that exists only to prevent “marginalized” people from seizing power.
This kind of reality is not always obvious at the personal level, but it is clear enough at the collective level. We can change gender systems (within limits), because gender is a cultural system and therefore governed primarily by culture instead of directly by nature. But plenty of historical and anthropological evidence indicates that cultures consistently favor some forms of gender expression over others.
That’s not what I once wanted very much to believe, because I clearly didn’t fit well into the gender system that I had inherited, and still don’t, but I now think that gender is a fact of life whether I (as an individual) like it or not. There’s some dignity, at any rate, in acknowledging even uncomfortable truths about the human condition.
Moreover, I can’t say that gender is inherently sinister. No society could exist without a gender system, no matter how minimal, or ever has existed without it. Like other cultural systems, including moral systems, it makes communal life possible for a social species. Unlike other species, which rely entirely or almost entirely on instinct, our species relies largely on the transmission of culture (and other traditions) from one generation to the next while allowing enough flexibility to encourage adaptation to new circumstances. This is a defining feature of Homo sapiens.
In short, it’s one thing to argue that men and women should negotiate a new gendered social contract, one that serves the needs of both sexes better than earlier ones, but it’s another thing to argue that there should be no such thing as gender (as some feminists have argued) or even that there’s no such thing as gender in the first place (as transgender ideologues argue). That’s because their notion of “gender identity” is entirely subjective and therefore unreal.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It’s a psychological / social / cultural problem. If it was simply about terminology, most non-English speaking cultures would be immune.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Gender has become something you think rather than the reality of what you actually are in your actual real body. Talk about ignoring reality.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago

We never would have got into this mess if we hadn’t imported the word “gender” from a linguistic noun descriptor into a replacement for “sex”. Sex is real (and binary), personality is real (and a spectrum), but gender isn’t.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

The more I learn about it the more convinced I am that ‘trans’ is nothing more than a means by which low-status ugly people gain negative attention.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I think it’s more complicated than that. Simple answers are very seductive.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Indeed. Yesterday’s article on Buck Angel neatly demonstrates that.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It is and they are. That once-trusted institutions have not only succumbed to this sexually dysfunctional ideology but are also actively promoting it is very much a cause for concern. There seems to be a self-reinforcing loop at play here where authority figures love-bomb young people by affirming their delusions while at the same time denouncing those who refuse to participate in this massive lie as bigoted troglodytes who need to be silenced.
One has to ask where this is all heading. Myself, I think it’s about stripping away identities to make way for new ones more conducive to corporate consumption and state manipulation. Note how these gender identities, no matter how diverse they are, exclude masculine traits, unless exhibited by the correct group such as women or ethnic minorities. I would even go so far as to say that much of the current transgenderism is both a reaction to the pervasive demonization of men wherein many young boys feel that the only safe way to express themselves is in a ‘safe’ effeminate manner (a sort of bimboism) and a subconscious drive to compensate for the loss of femininity in Western women.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You might be right. It could be our culture’s subconscious drive to compensate for the loss of femininity in Western women.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Indeed. Yesterday’s article on Buck Angel neatly demonstrates that.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It is and they are. That once-trusted institutions have not only succumbed to this sexually dysfunctional ideology but are also actively promoting it is very much a cause for concern. There seems to be a self-reinforcing loop at play here where authority figures love-bomb young people by affirming their delusions while at the same time denouncing those who refuse to participate in this massive lie as bigoted troglodytes who need to be silenced.
One has to ask where this is all heading. Myself, I think it’s about stripping away identities to make way for new ones more conducive to corporate consumption and state manipulation. Note how these gender identities, no matter how diverse they are, exclude masculine traits, unless exhibited by the correct group such as women or ethnic minorities. I would even go so far as to say that much of the current transgenderism is both a reaction to the pervasive demonization of men wherein many young boys feel that the only safe way to express themselves is in a ‘safe’ effeminate manner (a sort of bimboism) and a subconscious drive to compensate for the loss of femininity in Western women.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You might be right. It could be our culture’s subconscious drive to compensate for the loss of femininity in Western women.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You could try Jan Morris’s autobiography “Conundrum” for an in depth, reflective account of a good looking, talented guy transitioning over a period of 30 years or so, as an educational corrective .

Alice Bondi
Alice Bondi
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Many of those young people (and some adults) who decide they are ‘trans’ do so in response to feeling utterly terrible as a result of trauma of one sort or another. Not at all sure what you mean by ‘low-status’ but these young people are certainly not uniformly ‘ugly’ and it saddens me that you don’t grasp the underlying difficulties that lead people to claim to a ‘trans’ identity. It’s a dreadful fact that people who are suffering will grab onto anything that promises to make them feel better – traditionally it was religion. ‘Transgender’ is the new religious cult promising relief from psychological pain.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Lots of people, especially younger ones, that get sucked into it are perfectly normal or attractive, and very middle class.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I think it’s more complicated than that. Simple answers are very seductive.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You could try Jan Morris’s autobiography “Conundrum” for an in depth, reflective account of a good looking, talented guy transitioning over a period of 30 years or so, as an educational corrective .

Alice Bondi
Alice Bondi
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Many of those young people (and some adults) who decide they are ‘trans’ do so in response to feeling utterly terrible as a result of trauma of one sort or another. Not at all sure what you mean by ‘low-status’ but these young people are certainly not uniformly ‘ugly’ and it saddens me that you don’t grasp the underlying difficulties that lead people to claim to a ‘trans’ identity. It’s a dreadful fact that people who are suffering will grab onto anything that promises to make them feel better – traditionally it was religion. ‘Transgender’ is the new religious cult promising relief from psychological pain.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Lots of people, especially younger ones, that get sucked into it are perfectly normal or attractive, and very middle class.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

The more I learn about it the more convinced I am that ‘trans’ is nothing more than a means by which low-status ugly people gain negative attention.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
1 year ago

Great piece. My last comment didn’t post, so I will try again. As a teacher of 25 years (HS English) and mom of 2 daughters with autism, I am not surprised by this in the least. I see it every day at school. I am grateful my two daughters grew up before this entire business was infiltrated youth. They are both quite happily young women.
Children today are growing up drenched in the most violent and perverse pornography available on their devices at all times. I cannot fathom why neither party on either side of the political aisle makes any moves to do anything about that.
Clothing for girls today is damn near scandalous, and if girls don’t want to be fashionable, their only choice is sweats which some of them opt to wear. When I ask my students about the state of affairs for girls and women today, they talk about rape on college campuses, girls sports being secondary, their fears about safety, depression, anxiety, etc. I never felt as unsafe in the world as they do and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape as an adult. But to them to world is a hunting ground.
No wonder then that some girls want to avoid it all – leering men, college rape, the hypersexualization of women, pornified sex – by halting puberty and staying childlike boys. It’s a sad statement on how they feel about become women.
As for the men who want to be women, I think that is entirely different. I read a piece recently about trancels – incel men who have no success with women (whom they actually hate) and choose to live as women to access women (whom they still hate). I think a large amount of the trans activists we see are this lot. They perhaps are fetishists and often dangerous.
I do think some people truly have gender dysphoria, but I think are and have always been quite rare. And in all likelihood, those who have had counseling and treatment have passed as the opposite gender without fanfare or notice. I feel badly for them now because I am sure they didn’t want to be dragged into all of this nonsense.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samantha Stevens
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I’m with you on the pornography. There’s some very dangerous stuff out there – not just in terms of visual matter, but also hypnosis videos encouraging demasculation. Some of these are rooted in witchcraft and even have occult symbology thrown in.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

And a good comment on the article.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, the huge inflation in “cases” is bad for the genuine sufferers not only because they get dragged into the nonsense. It also diminishes our visibility of the fewer real sufferers (unless you have personal experience) and makes us generally sceptical and unsympathetic. Even worse, it sucks resources away from those in need to those who really aren’t.
My own limited experience in childhood anxiety problems is that coping with them is so demanding for both the child and the parents that there’s little tiem or energy left to go out campaigning and flag waving. Most of the suffering and hard slog is done in private in people’s homes – often by people who feel unable to even leave home.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

17 hour delay getting this past the UnHerd censors. Why ? Just why ?

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes, indeed. I had a student recently tell me her autism was “flaring.” This child has no diagnosis at all. And as someone who lives with two autistic people, autism doesn’t flare; it’s always there. But, another new trend is diagnosing oneself with any variety of mental health disorder or disability via Tik Tok.
The student wanted to go to the Student Center, our little mental health clinic at school where they can go pet therapy dogs and color. I had to let her go lest I be deemed unresponsive to her mental health needs, but I knew full well she is not autistic. Having two daughters who are autistic, and one who is quite autistic -will never be able to live independently – her words stung a bit. But it’s the culture. It’s not entirely her fault. Your observation is so correct. Students who are truly bipolar or have Tourette’s, etc. are not shouting it to the rooftops for attention.
It’s so strange that things that used to be wrongly stigmatized and hidden are now sought after and the result it the way they actually affect people is obscured. We have gone massively in the other direction, but people are just as insensitive and narcissistic. It’s hard to listen to the self-diagnosed autistics who wax poetic online about their autism while my sweet 24 year-old daughter watches another episode the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

17 hour delay getting this past the UnHerd censors. Why ? Just why ?

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes, indeed. I had a student recently tell me her autism was “flaring.” This child has no diagnosis at all. And as someone who lives with two autistic people, autism doesn’t flare; it’s always there. But, another new trend is diagnosing oneself with any variety of mental health disorder or disability via Tik Tok.
The student wanted to go to the Student Center, our little mental health clinic at school where they can go pet therapy dogs and color. I had to let her go lest I be deemed unresponsive to her mental health needs, but I knew full well she is not autistic. Having two daughters who are autistic, and one who is quite autistic -will never be able to live independently – her words stung a bit. But it’s the culture. It’s not entirely her fault. Your observation is so correct. Students who are truly bipolar or have Tourette’s, etc. are not shouting it to the rooftops for attention.
It’s so strange that things that used to be wrongly stigmatized and hidden are now sought after and the result it the way they actually affect people is obscured. We have gone massively in the other direction, but people are just as insensitive and narcissistic. It’s hard to listen to the self-diagnosed autistics who wax poetic online about their autism while my sweet 24 year-old daughter watches another episode the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

You are probably so right in what you say. I wonder what the solutions are? Certainly the politicians do not have the answers apart from Miriam Cates.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Thanks for those comments, makes perfect sense.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I’m with you on the pornography. There’s some very dangerous stuff out there – not just in terms of visual matter, but also hypnosis videos encouraging demasculation. Some of these are rooted in witchcraft and even have occult symbology thrown in.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

And a good comment on the article.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, the huge inflation in “cases” is bad for the genuine sufferers not only because they get dragged into the nonsense. It also diminishes our visibility of the fewer real sufferers (unless you have personal experience) and makes us generally sceptical and unsympathetic. Even worse, it sucks resources away from those in need to those who really aren’t.
My own limited experience in childhood anxiety problems is that coping with them is so demanding for both the child and the parents that there’s little tiem or energy left to go out campaigning and flag waving. Most of the suffering and hard slog is done in private in people’s homes – often by people who feel unable to even leave home.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

You are probably so right in what you say. I wonder what the solutions are? Certainly the politicians do not have the answers apart from Miriam Cates.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Thanks for those comments, makes perfect sense.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
1 year ago

Great piece. My last comment didn’t post, so I will try again. As a teacher of 25 years (HS English) and mom of 2 daughters with autism, I am not surprised by this in the least. I see it every day at school. I am grateful my two daughters grew up before this entire business was infiltrated youth. They are both quite happily young women.
Children today are growing up drenched in the most violent and perverse pornography available on their devices at all times. I cannot fathom why neither party on either side of the political aisle makes any moves to do anything about that.
Clothing for girls today is damn near scandalous, and if girls don’t want to be fashionable, their only choice is sweats which some of them opt to wear. When I ask my students about the state of affairs for girls and women today, they talk about rape on college campuses, girls sports being secondary, their fears about safety, depression, anxiety, etc. I never felt as unsafe in the world as they do and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape as an adult. But to them to world is a hunting ground.
No wonder then that some girls want to avoid it all – leering men, college rape, the hypersexualization of women, pornified sex – by halting puberty and staying childlike boys. It’s a sad statement on how they feel about become women.
As for the men who want to be women, I think that is entirely different. I read a piece recently about trancels – incel men who have no success with women (whom they actually hate) and choose to live as women to access women (whom they still hate). I think a large amount of the trans activists we see are this lot. They perhaps are fetishists and often dangerous.
I do think some people truly have gender dysphoria, but I think are and have always been quite rare. And in all likelihood, those who have had counseling and treatment have passed as the opposite gender without fanfare or notice. I feel badly for them now because I am sure they didn’t want to be dragged into all of this nonsense.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samantha Stevens
Lizzie J
Lizzie J
1 year ago

I fear that the focus on effeminate men drinking low alcohol beer is distracting (possibly by design) from the real issue of FGM and MGM, whether by drugs or surgery, being advocated for adolescent children. It’s good to see Lionel focusing on the impact on children.

Safe single-sex bathrooms, prisons and refuges matter, but perhaps it’s a different problem, relating to some rather strange people, that crowds out the conversation about the harm being done to children. (That said, I can’t even begin to understand the insanity of mixed loos in schools.)

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Lizzie J

I totally agree but there are some politicians and school inspectors who live in cloud cuckoo land.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Lizzie J

I totally agree but there are some politicians and school inspectors who live in cloud cuckoo land.

Lizzie J
Lizzie J
1 year ago

I fear that the focus on effeminate men drinking low alcohol beer is distracting (possibly by design) from the real issue of FGM and MGM, whether by drugs or surgery, being advocated for adolescent children. It’s good to see Lionel focusing on the impact on children.

Safe single-sex bathrooms, prisons and refuges matter, but perhaps it’s a different problem, relating to some rather strange people, that crowds out the conversation about the harm being done to children. (That said, I can’t even begin to understand the insanity of mixed loos in schools.)

Richard 0
Richard 0
1 year ago

What a classy, smart writer Lionel Shriver is. This is an excellent article for which, no doubt, she will receive torrents of abuse.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 0

Most agree with her as far as I can see. Get in the schools and politics and you might see dissension.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 0

I agree, absolutely. What’s more, she knows very well what the reaction will be. That’s what makes her courageous as well as brave.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 0

Most agree with her as far as I can see. Get in the schools and politics and you might see dissension.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 0

I agree, absolutely. What’s more, she knows very well what the reaction will be. That’s what makes her courageous as well as brave.

Richard 0
Richard 0
1 year ago

What a classy, smart writer Lionel Shriver is. This is an excellent article for which, no doubt, she will receive torrents of abuse.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

Viewing newsreel footage of 100 years ago it would be easy to assume that everyone was anorexic in the 1920s. No one would pay attention to a person eating barely enough to survive because everyone ate barely enough to survive. It is only as people have started eating more that attention has started to be paid to anorexic people. Attention-seeking as much as self-identification is probably the reason for people to claim to be anorexic or trans.
BTW De Beauvoir wrote about anorexia in the 50s in ‘The Second Sex’. One of her explanations was the desire to delay or reverse puberty (as mentioned above). The other was the desire of girls to control their own lives, when the only control they could exercise was the refusal to eat.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

Viewing newsreel footage of 100 years ago it would be easy to assume that everyone was anorexic in the 1920s. No one would pay attention to a person eating barely enough to survive because everyone ate barely enough to survive. It is only as people have started eating more that attention has started to be paid to anorexic people. Attention-seeking as much as self-identification is probably the reason for people to claim to be anorexic or trans.
BTW De Beauvoir wrote about anorexia in the 50s in ‘The Second Sex’. One of her explanations was the desire to delay or reverse puberty (as mentioned above). The other was the desire of girls to control their own lives, when the only control they could exercise was the refusal to eat.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
1 year ago

Excellent article. But Lionel is taking personal and professional risk in stating the truth.. That’s the other very dark aspect to this modern , western insanity.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

But that’s very much what she does. And kudos to her for speaking truth to power.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

But that’s very much what she does. And kudos to her for speaking truth to power.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
1 year ago

Excellent article. But Lionel is taking personal and professional risk in stating the truth.. That’s the other very dark aspect to this modern , western insanity.

Richard Turner
Richard Turner
1 year ago

Why does nobody seem to point out that this is an American problem which they have, like so many others, exported to us. American cultural imperialism is real and very damaging, yet we have no defences against it.

Tony Conrad