by Joan Smith
Tuesday, 15
November 2022
Reaction
15:00

The New York Times pushes back against puberty blockers

The resistance to trans ideology is well under way in America
by Joan Smith
Screengrab from The New York Times

The edifice is beginning to fall — and it’s happening faster than anyone could have predicted. The latest evidence comes from the New York Times, which has published a long article questioning the use of puberty blockers in children who reject stereotypical behaviour. “They paused puberty, but is there a cost?” asks the headline. But the bylines on the piece, Megan Twohey and Christina Jewett, are as significant as their investigation.

Twohey is one of two Times journalists who broke the story about Harvey Weinstein’s long history of abusing women. She and Jodie Kantor shared a Pulitzer, while a screen adaptation of their book, She Said, has just opened in British cinemas. Their work took down a Hollywood mogul who had previously been regarded as untouchable, which is why Twohey’s name on the article is so striking. Her colleague, Jewett, is an award-winning journalist whose beat includes drug safety.

Their article acknowledges that “concerns are growing about long-term physical effects and other consequences” of prescribing puberty blockers to children as young as eight. It cites cases where teenagers have developed osteoporosis, a condition of weakened bones that is usually seen in adults in their 50s and 60s. A girl in New York, who had been taking the drugs for two years, was found to have lost as much as 15% of her bone density.

These risks are widely recognised in the U.K., where the interim Cass report has led to the use of puberty blockers in children being restricted to research settings. But gender ideology has embedded itself in a wide range of institutions in the U.S., including much of the medical and political establishment. The Biden administration is completely captured, so much so that the President recently held a meeting in the White House with a 25-year-old man who ‘identifies’ as a girl. Biden told him that individual states have no right to restrict “gender-affirming” health care, including puberty blockers. He described attempts to do so as “outrageous” and “immoral”. 

In this context, the New York Times article is close to sedition, even though it repeats some of the most questionable claims of trans activists. “Transgender adolescents suffer from disproportionately high rates of depression and other mental health issues,” the authors say, claiming that the drugs “have eased some patients’ gender dysphoria”. The existence of ‘trans children’ is a central pillar of gender ideology, even though NHS England points out that most kids will grow out of it. 

Many of these children are just gender non-conforming. What the New York Times article calls “anguish” is what happens if they’re encouraged to reject their own bodies by well-meaning parents, and by doctors with an agenda. Prescribing powerful drugs is a way of medicalising healthy children, putting them on a pathway that leads in many cases to mutilation of the body. 

Even so, the pushback against trans ideology in the U.S. had to start somewhere. Any breach in the wall of silence is welcome, and what feels like heresy in Biden’s America has the ring of truth to anyone who dares to listen.

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Paul S
Paul S
18 days ago

Abigail Shrier, Kathleen Stock, Helen Joyce and others like them deserve all the respect one can muster for withstanding such levels of abuse for raising questions.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
17 days ago
Reply to  Paul S

Yes, their respective books ‘Irreversible Damage’, ‘Material Girls’ and ‘Trans’ are interesting, factually research books. The way Kathleen Stock in particular was treated was indeed appalling.

Einsteins Daddy
Einsteins Daddy
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul S

The UKs Tavistock gender clinic was recently shut down in the midst of a 1000+ plaintiff class-action suit for medical malpractice.
Many concerned parents who were searching for information concerning this phenomenon were presented with only pros and no cons by big tech’s suppression of “wrongthink”.
Amazon’s suppression of Abigail Shriers book is a concrete example that comes to mind.
Ideally we would see a additional class-action suits against big tech for the removal of information that would have allowed parents to make informed decisions about their children’s Healthcare.
There needs to be accountability for our “moral betters”.
I think a few thousand multi-million dollar pay-outs to children who’s lives were ruined would do the trick.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
18 days ago

Sedition is a serious concept, and for it to be used even in a slightly removed context in describing the speaking out against something that the POTUS “approves” of shows just how far down the line of anti-democratic thought control the US has moved.
I wholeheartedly agree with the wall-breaking stance of Twohey & Jewett in questioning the use of puberty blockers in youngsters, except in exceptional circumstances. Their credentials are important but it’s almost beyond belief that it’d take that level of agency to finally breach the medical, psychological and ethical idiocy that’s prevailed in the transgender field where juveniles are concerned.
I can only think that future generations will look aghast at what current political leadership has promoted through taking an entirely ideological position on something they simply won’t understand.

Jim R
Jim R
18 days ago

There’s about 20 minutes after the end of an election cycle where its safe for each side to admit the lunacy of some of their hardline positions. It won’t be long before we are once again justifying the brainwashing, mutilation and poisoning of children, in order to ‘save democracy!’.

Vince B
Vince B
18 days ago

Think of the radical trans ideology movement like communism. It was a lie enforced by punitive groupthink. The radicals cowed the cowards, conveniently confused, and milquetoasts. But once enough people start speaking out, the gutless find their voice and the whole house of cards quickly collapses.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
17 days ago
Reply to  Vince B

I do hope you’re right.

John Serrano-Davey
John Serrano-Davey
17 days ago
Reply to  Vince B

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
13 days ago

“Have you noticed that the Greek androgynous statue is always the woman in man, never the man in woman? It was made for men who loved men first.” —W. B. Yeats
He defended Oscar Wilde when most thought him bad.

Last edited 13 days ago by colr
Einsteins Daddy
Einsteins Daddy
13 days ago
Reply to  Vince B

The cowards are the media and politicians. They’re only speaking out now because they’ve seen the way the winds are blowing, primarily because parents are learning about the dark side of this ideology and fighting back.
The doctor’s who were on-board need revocation of their licenses.
As for the doctors and other establishment figures who kept quiet out of fear…?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
17 days ago

Progressivism ain’t going away, you know. Next up is paedophilia.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
17 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

True. Because if you can redefine what a man or woman is, you can redefine child, and then you can claim anything you do to “it” is perfectly fine. To object is then bigotry. What grotesque horror that comes after, I hope I’m not alive to see.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
17 days ago

I think such things are also behind the promoting of childhood agency regarding gender.

The ‘progressive’ position is that children know what they’re about and are capable of making decisions that affect their future sexual lives. So, why not in their present lives too?

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
16 days ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Who do you think might have an interest in young people delaying puberty and keeping their pre-teen brains and bodies for longer?

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
17 days ago

Bestiality will be next

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

The far right’s obsession with pedophilia is disturbing in the extreme. Turning your minds to bestiality is a logical next step for those people.

Emre S
Emre S
17 days ago

This is what happens when there’s no conception of what’s right or true, everything is relative, and the main guidance to what’s to be done becomes amplifying the voices of the oppressed. Amplifying the voices of the trans-people leads to the mutilation of children, and mutilated children as an oppressed class now can raise their voices. Making terrible mistakes is baked into the mode of operation, call it a Hegelian tragedy if you will.

Last edited 17 days ago by Emre Emre
Betsy MacKinnon
Betsy MacKinnon
17 days ago

Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps. Trans is a powerful mature industry which has been described by Jennifer Bilek. Some say it is a cult and the pictures from the NYC event Monday amplify that view. Its demise will be a fight to its last breath.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
17 days ago

Finally and long overdue, we admit that trying to alter human hormone balance may have poorly understood consequences. Those who have had the procedure are revealing the errors.

Patrick Butler
Patrick Butler
17 days ago

This welcome report by Joan Smith also illustrates why the term “trans ideology” she uses is a serious misnomer. In her report, the term is supposed to cover not only disturbed children treated with puberty-blocking drugs but the “ideology” of a-25-year-old actor, Dylan Mulvaney, who is gaining fame and fortune by identifying himself as female.
In fact, trans is being promoted as a panacea for a wide range of individual problems ranging from children’s psychological distresses, through resuscitating the flagging careers of actors and doctors to helping men trapped in the “wrong” bodies or prisons. These irresponsible promises in aggregate are better characterized as the trans panacea.

Ange Neale
Ange Neale
14 days ago
Reply to  Patrick Butler

Sorry, have to disagree, Patrick. Gender identity is a cult-like ideology as evil and insidious as anything Scientology or Naziism or anything else that demands slavish, unquestioning obedience has ever hatched. For one thing, it requires an acceptance that one has something that is scientifically unproveable: a gender identity, the equivalent of a soul. I don’t have one. I AM a woman – an adult human female, which is scientifically proveable, and must therefore be destroyed in the language for the challenge it presents to what the cult takes – and asserts – on faith. You can see the cultish mentality of the mob of believers in action in the responses that detransitioners and dissenters (like so-called TERFs) get: the most vile abuse, as if they’re the lowest of heretics and should all die horrible deaths for daring to challenge it. That doesn’t sound like a panacea to me.

Patrick Butler
Patrick Butler
13 days ago
Reply to  Ange Neale

Interesting. Your take makes the President of the US a cult leader. His video endorsement of trans actor Dylan Mulvaney promotes legal sex change which is evidence of this leadership. President Biden uses cult-like techniques: you’re in with us or you are a bad person who deserves to be punished. But he is also playing politics and uses the trans idea as a panacea for his lagging poll numbers. 

Last edited 13 days ago by Patrick Butler
Helen E
Helen E
13 days ago

NYT “pushes back” against puberty blockers? My god, at least be honest. NYT for years has refused to acknowledge the problem, instead branding anyone as transphobic who raises an issue with transgender health care that pushes medical intervention as the only option for minors.

After many thousands have had their health, families, and careers ruined, NYT finally, finally, publishes one piece, and is lauded as pushing back. Those who actually risked everything years ago—academics, journalists, scientists, parents, educators, gays, straights—were the ones who “pushed back.” And were cut off at the neck for it.

David Pogge
David Pogge
2 days ago

Finally, some sanity and critical thinking is starting to seep in through the wall of ideology.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
18 days ago

“Trans ideology” is a right wing fantasy that conservatives think they can use as a wedge issue (see CRT for the race equivalent).
The numbers of kids involved is miniscule and and any treatments prescribed are done so for sound medical reasons. The only person here with an agenda is the hack who wrote this piece.
But this is yet another dumb reason for working class Americans to continue to vote against their own interests and leave their gruesome elites to their tax cuts and dividends.

John Davey
John Davey
18 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Graeme, are you seriously suggesting that this article’s author is just “a right wing hack”?
Have you bothered to click the link to the NYT article mentioned, or read the comments made by the incredibly well respected journalists Twohey and Jewett?
I simply don’t understand your apparent visceral hatred for anyone who might hold a different opinion from yours.
Do you not agree that rational dialogue and expert opinion have value?
Are you unaware of recent events and actions taken surrounding our own Tavistock Institute here in the UK?

Last edited 18 days ago by John Serrano-Davey
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
18 days ago
Reply to  John Davey

Yes, I am serious. She is a hack. The NYT piece is reasoned and thoughtful – Joan Smith should take a lesson. Her bile has zero to do with rational dialogue or expert opinion.
I am completely aware of the Tavistock Institute and anti-trans bigot’s attempts to paint the issues there as a reason to deny vital care to young people suffering from gender identity issues. It won’t work.

John Davey
John Davey
18 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Ok, well thanks for responding in a respectful manner.
I’m still confused by your stance.
The NYT article is indeed “reasoned and thoughtful”, and clearly referenced in the article, so please explain which parts you feel are “bile”.
Trust me- I’m absolutely no “anti-trans bigot” having several very personal ‘irons in the fire’ as one might say, but I have also many LGB friends as well as “historical well intentioned empathy with and support of” the “feminist cause”.
Nobody is suggesting “denying VITAL care…..”, but the debate is surely around “where the dial is swinging”?
The medical profession and psychology profession have a Duty of Care, to “do no harm”, and the NYT article clearly suggests that there is much greater debate needed before we “sanction” irreversible and potentially life-threatening treatments to young people, without studying and debating the science.
Finally, please elaborate: What “won’t work”?
Thoughfully yours,

John

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
18 days ago
Reply to  John Davey

“the pushback against trans ideology in the U.S. had to start somewhere”
Did it? Why?
The writer makes it plain that any possible negative medical effects of puberty blockers are of little interest to her (as opposed to the NYT writers). She just thinks that she has found some ammunition in her attack on trans kids and young adults. Fairly bilious I’d say.

John Serrano-Davey
John Serrano-Davey
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I would hardly call that statement “bilious” now.
Personally I tend to agree with it. In my personal experience, “Trans Ideology” certainly doesn’t appear to feature much amongst my own transgender friends, so I’d politely suggest that it’s another example of a small minority of (usually) ‘ extreme Leftwing ideologues ‘ stoking up a fire where none is needed.
As you correctly point out, genuine Transgender people make up a minuscule proportion of society, yet have of late been very vocal in shouting down anyone who (dares) disagree with them.

Even the admirable Peter Tatchell has spoken out against this anti-democratic tactic.
Whats their tagline?- “No debate- end of.” or something similar.
in a democratic society that’s simply not acceptable.
Its certainly not a “Right wing ploy” ( why is everything to the Left of “Tote-Left” now considered to be “far right”) that perfectly decent people like Kathleen Stock and Rosie Kay have been hounded out of their jobs for not simply kowtowing to this ideology. (Doesn’t mean I agree with everything they say, but it’s certainly not “hate speech “)

Last edited 17 days ago by John Serrano-Davey
Jp Merzetti
Jp Merzetti
17 days ago

Correct. And if a comparatively miniscule percentage of society has been handed the kind of power to make a ridiculously overbalanced majority toe the line, we might wonder just what abuse of power is afoot.
If gender ID becomes a feeling and a whim from day to day, completely subjective, then we might ponder the small legion of adults attendant in their supportive industry, to cater to the subjective and individualized manufactured and jiffy-pop truths, the ones creating mayhem and divisiveness, rather than the objective observations that have supported scholarly and rigorous understandings throughout modern times.
When pop culture replaces trusted mechanisms, we find out just what kind of dysphoric novel we find ourselves living in. So much less than merely just lazy thinking, we give ourselves over to a kind of mesmerized focus on tigers and elephants, hiding each other for our amusement. To no greater understanding of ourselves or any other sustainable measure of being.
Simple factual gathering reveals that enough time and results have gone by for us to have more than an inkling of the results that arise from playing with dangerous toys. Even mere children have been known to respond favorably, intelligently, and even responsibly to such phenomena. Adults are, apparently, dragging their bottoms on this one.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago

As I originally said, ‘trans ideology” is a right wing fantasy. It doesn’t exist. It is just another extremist scare tactic.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
13 days ago
Reply to  John Davey

Rational arguments won’t work against someone secretly mourning his own Whack-a-d**k-off-o-me.

N Forster
N Forster
18 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

At it again Graeme? You’d probably be better off over at the Guardian. You’ll find more agreement there. Or get a twitter account.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
18 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

I’m not some teenage girl on Instagram looking for your validation. Seems like you, on the other hand, are unable to handle a point of view that doesn’t align with your own.
Maybe you need a Twitter account?

N Forster
N Forster
15 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

No thanks. It’s full of people like you.

Quit whilst you’re behind old thing.

Emre S
Emre S
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

So a minuscule number of mutilated kids are a worthy sacrifice to affirm a minuscule number of trans-people?

Last edited 17 days ago by Emre Emre
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I wish you were right, but unfortunately you are wrong. Trans ideology and CRT are not mere right-wing wedge issues. The college in which I’m pursuing a doctoral degree is steeped in this stuff. Part of a group assignment I was given was to draft a policy brief to K12 schools on how to eradicate whiteness in the classroom, the underlying idea being that virtues like politeness and punctuality are tools of the ‘white man’. I wish I was making this up. Critical theory, whether race or queer, is nothing more than a concerted attack on Western frameworks of thinking in order to replace these with an infantile consumer-slave morality.

Jp Merzetti
Jp Merzetti
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

What a waste of higher education. I might be tempted to start referring to it as liar education (and although I work in my nation’s largest university, within its library system, mercifully, I am peculiarly insulated from what you describe, even venturing into the hallowed regions of post-doc and fellowships.) But I’m sure the jungle rages out there just beyond my narrowed horizon.
Occasionally I ponder the idea, that if ‘whiteness’ were to suddenly vanish as if having never existed at all, what valued goods and services would blip out with it? But regardless of all that fluff – for divers’ ages I’ve been aware of the fact that there are more people now alive on this planet who value the fruits of ‘whiteness’, than there are at this moment’s existence, actual real and live white people. Go figure.
So that we know we are not dealing with a color versus non-color. We are dealing with a very selective and specifically politicized colorization. The question is, what sort of difference does this make?

Ange Neale
Ange Neale
14 days ago
Reply to  Jp Merzetti

I’ve often wondered what would happen “if ‘whiteness’ were to suddenly vanish as if having never existed at all”, too. It wouldn’t just be ‘valued goods and services’ that would disappear. It’d be ideas, too, and knowledge: the very best fruits of the Enlightenment.
Would much of humanity still be wrestling with scourges like smallpox and polio? Almost certainly. How would we do without antibiotics? (Although I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough as their widespread misuse is giving bacteria opportunities to learn resistance.)
Would humanity still think Earth was at the centre of the universe, or have figured out that the sun was just another star in a vast universe of them? Would humans have been to the moon and sent probes into the void beyond our solar system? Would we have been to our planet’s highest mountains and deepest ocean trenches or reached its poles? Would we be able to recognise that we’re causing or exacerbating problems (such as resources scarcity) before they really set in so we have a chance to solve them collectively using science and diplomacy?
Would we still be sacrificing other humans to beg feckless Gods to end droughts and famines? Would some cultures among us still openly practice cannibalism? Clearly slavery is still alive and well, but the white West didn’t invent it. It’s older than recorded history. Would the vast majority of us still be illiterate, and lead lives that are perhaps not so much ‘solitary’ as ‘poor, nasty, brutish and short’?
That’s not to deny Western civilization hasn’t always acted in a civilized manner, let alone been incapable of monumental stupidity and cruelty – that we started, for instance, a second World War after the traumatic horror of the first should surely dispel any such notions – but to sheet blame home to white people alive now for all of the evils of the last few centuries is unfair and unjustified.

Last edited 14 days ago by Ange Neale
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“assignment I was given was to draft a policy brief to K12 schools on how to eradicate whiteness in the classroom”
This never happened.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
16 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Here’s the policy brief, at least a snippet of it:

…policy recommendations promote the unlearning of whiteness in the educational system and to achieve strategies that empower students to claim their space while supporting teachers in fostering these environments. Massey (2019) further states, “critical approaches to analysis are important not because they expose educators as unprofessional or unfit, but because they can often uncover subtle and hidden ways that structural oppression is conveyed through practice and discourse” (p. 238). By analyzing [Anonymous School’s] educational policies through the lens of critical theory, all traces of whiteness are erased and replaced by a new order of social justice policies that promote racially equitable goals (Massey, 2019, p. xiii).
Here’s another:

‘Whiteness’ and ‘white’ values are held up as cherished characteristics to be taught to all school-age children (Harris, 1995). As such ‘whiteness’ is a property that is conferred from birth to those born with white skin, while other POC have to earn it by adopting ‘white’ ways. Education reinforces this notion of whiteness thus contributing to a “pattern of oppression” (Harris, 1995). Gillborn (2005) calls this ‘white supremacy’, and rather than associate it with extreme right-wing rhetoric, suggests that it is merely the system within which white values are propagated while others are diminished or trivialized.
It was a dreadful assignment, because the teachers I worked with at this school were crying out for more behavioral policies and support from administration. Instead my CRT professor kept insisting that ‘whiteness’ was the problem and that notions of ‘discipline’ and ‘behavior’ merely reinforced whiteness. There’s nothing more demoralizing to educators to hear that their innate racism is the reason why their students are not learning.

If you’re wondering why teachers, particularly men, are quitting education en masse, it is because of wrong-headed ideas like this. You simply cannot teach when everything you do is construed through the lens of white racism.

I actually keep a daily journal. Here’s what I wrote about my CRT course during that time:

20201020: Today, during the Critical Theory class, the professor turned quite nasty when we questioned the texts we were being made to read. The texts are about white oppression toward black people, and how all US institutions perpetuate a system of racist segregation. Theorists such as Crenshaw, Bell, Du Bois, Delgado and Solorzano come up a lot: their main premise is that dominant white narratives must be countered by oppositional story-telling predominately originating from a third-world feminist perspective. One student, a black female, was questioning the methods with which our assignments were being graded, when the professor just told her to shut up. The irony wasn’t lost on us: a white professor advocating for black female voices silencing a black female student who was expressing nothing but valid concerns. We were all a bit shocked, and one student began to cry.
We are not sure what to do. The professor keeps changing the parameters of our assignments, so that we can never pass the first time around. She insists that grades aren’t important, and we will all pass eventually, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that grades aren’t being awarded based on intellectual rigor or our ability to engage with the readings, but on our acceptance of the Critical Theory materials being presented to us.
The professor’s attitude toward us can only be what I describe as passive-aggressive; her behavior alternates between kindness and cruelty which makes it very difficult for us to speak honestly to her. The materials we are being made to accept as truths are putting many students in a state of cognitive dissonance as we feel our very identities are under attack while new ones are being thrust upon us (an angry victim if you are black, a sadistic oppressor if you are white).
I’m in a quandary, because I’m not sure if it’s me seeing things that aren’t there, or if I’m being subjected to some form of indoctrination. I have received straight A’s throughout this program, but am seriously considering quitting. I feel I cannot continue in this Critical Theory class and remain true to myself and my core beliefs. It’s also difficult for me to ascertain if the professor is acting from a position of well-meant misguidance or calculated malice.
20201006: The professor said that if we don’t like the material we’re free to leave; she has tenure anyway.
For a class that’s about quelling oppression and raising voices, we all feel oppressed and silenced. 

Last edited 16 days ago by Julian Farrows
N Forster
N Forster
15 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Not a good idea to spend so much energy dealing with a troll like Graeme.

Bruce Jollimore
Bruce Jollimore
13 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Thanks for the honesty Julian

N Forster
N Forster
15 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Any attention is better than no attention eh Graeme?

Ilana Harrus
Ilana Harrus
13 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

You either have no kids or are woefully uninformed. My daughter’s school in UTAH (yes, Utah) is 75% trans. The principal told me that this is a typical number for HS nationally. How is that minuscule?? Kids are pushed toward trans identification by adults, including doctors and teachers. I’m sorry, but “I’m afraid to lose my job” is not an excuse. They are damaging the lives of countless kids. I hope lawsuits include school systems and teachers. When kids are talking to a doctor, it is already too late.