In a largely thoughtful, meticulously documented and thorough review of the state of trans madness and "gender affirming care," author Pamela Paul brings a moment of sanity to the pages of The New York Times.
As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do.
Paul is not one of those conservatives periodically paraded before The Times' readership as a sacrificial lamb so The Times can claim to respect diverse viewpoints. Paul isn't even a conservative. She is on staff as an opinion columnist and shares many of the same views as her readership. Just last November, she wrote a de rigueur anti-Trump piece in which she referred to the former president as the "bomb under the table."
Still, she routinely pushes back against the excesses of her compatriots on the Left, even writing a book suggesting that maybe a pornography-saturated culture might have some downsides.
(And we all know how much progressives love their porn.)
There is plenty to nitpick in this piece, but it is on balance a pretty straightforward recitation of the patently obvious, and all-too common, downsides of the mad rush towards "gender affirming care."
She starts her piece with a heartbreaking story with which Not the Bee readers will be sadly familiar.
Grace Powell was 12 or 13 when she discovered she could be a boy.
Growing up in a relatively conservative community in Grand Rapids, Mich., Powell, like many teenagers, didn't feel comfortable in her own skin. She was unpopular and frequently bullied. Puberty made everything worse. She suffered from depression and was in and out of therapy.
A mentally ill tween, the economic lifeblood of the multi-billion-dollar trans industry.
Reading about transgender people online, Powell believed that the reason she didn't feel comfortable in her body was that she was in the wrong body. Transitioning seemed like the obvious solution. The narrative she had heard and absorbed was that if you don't transition, you'll kill yourself.
At 17, she told her parents that she was trans. They sent her to a "gender specialist," and as a senior in high school she started on hormone therapy and had a double mastectomy before she went to college.
Did anybody in the medical community, upon which she depended to help her, suggest alternatives?
You know the answer.
At no point during her medical or surgical transition, Powell says, did anyone ask her about the reasons behind her gender dysphoria or her depression. At no point was she asked about her sexual orientation. And at no point was she asked about any previous trauma, and so neither the therapists nor the doctors ever learned that she'd been sexually abused as a child.
She has since detransitioned.
Progressives often portray the heated debate over childhood transgender care as a clash between those who are trying to help growing numbers of children express what they believe their genders to be and conservative politicians who won't let kids be themselves.
That last part, the progressive argument that conservatives "won't let kids be themselves," rarely gets challenged, and yet represents nothing less than the complete abdication of parental and adult responsibility.
"Won't let kids be themselves?" Of course, we won't let kids be themselves, otherwise we wouldn't stop them from smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, driving, selling naked pictures of themselves, and a whole host of other things.
But right-wing demagogues are not the only ones who have inflamed this debate.
"Right wing demagogues." Hey, it is The Times!
Transgender activists have pushed their own ideological extremism, especially by pressing for a treatment orthodoxy that has faced increased scrutiny in recent years. Under that model of care, clinicians are expected to affirm a young person's assertion of gender identity and even provide medical treatment before, or even without, exploring other possible sources of distress.
This is in large part the heart of the piece, and Paul recounts other stories which track similar themes. Despite all the protestations to the contrary, gender affirming care usually leaves out the care part and goes straight to the affirming, abandoning even a pantomime of mental health ethics in a mad, no, evil, pursuit of money, personal affirmation, and the feeding of whatever demons occupy the space where their souls used to be.
After Kathleen's 15-year-old son, whom she described as an obsessive child, abruptly told his parents he was trans, the doctor who was going to assess whether he had A.D.H.D. referred him instead to someone who specialized in both A.D.H.D. and gender. Kathleen, who asked to be identified only by her first name to protect her son's privacy, assumed that the specialist would do some kind of evaluation or assessment. That was not the case.
The meeting was brief and began on a shocking note. "In front of my son, the therapist said, ‘Do you want a dead son or a live daughter?'" Kathleen recounted.
The fact that the very institutions on which we rely for our health and well-being, and the protection of the vulnerable, are the perpetuators of this madness is surely one of the greater crimes in all this.
Pediatricians, psychologists and other clinicians who dissent from this orthodoxy, believing that it is not based on reliable evidence, feel frustrated by their professional organizations. The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have wholeheartedly backed the gender-affirming model.
Paul's piece is thorough, pushing 5,000 words, and meticulously researched and careful to cite sources for various claims.
Of course this does not stop the hysterical pro-kid-mutilation lobby from going full mouth-froth on Twitter.
Hi @nytopinion: You have a critical responsibility to cover transgender health care in a manner that relies on data — not opinion.
This is some three-hand-monte subterfuge. It is technically an opinion piece, I suspect because The Times wanted to protect itself from its readership, but it reads like a well-sourced and data-dependent piece of journalism.
The safety of health care providers — and the people they mutilate — depends on it.
I'm sorry, I think I misquoted that last one. Serve, not mutilate. Serve is what they wrote.
Here are the facts
When you click through, you are greeted by a screed of hysterical agitprop followed by a helpful FAQ, well, helpful if you want to further the mutilation of children.
What does it mean for Children to transition? Aren't they too young to do so?
The answer, if you are a warm-blooded human being with a soul, is yes, of course they are too young.
Not if you are The Human Rights Campaign!
Transgender and non-binary people who begin transitioning during childhood or adolescence work closely with parents and health care providers — including mental health providers — to determine which changes to make at a given time that are age-appropriate and in the best interest of the child. At all stages, parents, young people and medical professionals make decisions together, and no permanent medical interventions happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
It's like they didn't even read Paul's piece, because of course they didn't.
What are puberty blockers? Why are they used? Are they safe?
They have a long answer to this, but this is my favorite part.
Puberty blockers are fully reversible. If a person stops taking puberty blockers, normal puberty will resume, with minimal long-term effects, if any.
See, this is why it's important to read the article you are attempting to refute. From Paul's piece:
Today Emerick's voice, permanently altered by testosterone, is that of a man. When she tells people she's a detransitioner, they ask when she plans to stop taking T and live as a woman. 'I've been off it for a year,' she replies.
The Human Rights Campaign, or "HRC," does admit that there is one side effect.
While there may be some loss of bone mineral density, this can be easily addressed with calcium and vitamin D supplements.
"There may be some loss of bone mineral density," but hey, just spend the rest of your life treating it!
The HRC makes no similar attempt to suggest that gender-affirming surgeries have minimal long-term effects, instead they make believe it either doesn't happen, or only takes place after years of mental health evaluation which we already know is a lie.
Transgender and non-binary people typically do not have gender-affirming surgeries before the age of 18. In some rare exceptions, 16 or 17 year-olds have received gender-affirming surgeries in order to reduce the impacts of significant gender dysphoria, ... [and] is limited to those for whom the surgery is deemed clinically necessary after discussions with both their parents and doctors, and who have been consistent and persistent in their gender identity for years ...
What about social media and rapid onset gender dysphoria? Total nonsense says the HRC.
Are the kids transitioning because of social media, or because their friends are also transitioning?
This is a right-wing theory known as "rapid onset gender dysphoria" or 'social contagion' — and it has been thoroughly debunked.
Yeah, except it hasn't. Again, from Paul's piece:
Many parents of kids who consider themselves trans say their children were introduced to transgender influencers on YouTube or TikTok ...
Of course they were, I have direct knowledge of this. My son finishes up middle school this year, prime-time for troubled tweens and teens to be exploited by adults and "influencers." It was cool to be anything other than "cis," a slur for being straight and the sex you actually are. I witnessed this all up close with the pronouns, the self-declarations of various forms of non-binary, the name changes and so on. It mostly burnt itself out in a year or two.
Paul nailed this in her piece:
To the trans activist dictum that children know their gender best, it is important to add something all parents know from experience: Children change their minds all the time. One mother told me that after her teenage son desisted — pulled back from a trans identity before any irreversible medical procedures — he explained, 'I was just rebelling. I look at it like a subculture, like being goth.'
Another commenter took the battle-of-the-studies cage-match approach:
What's funny is even with her cherry picking, misdirection, and dissembling, the best she can claim is, "misleading."
Others just vented their spleen.
Pamela Paul's obsession with children's genitals is really creepy. Why does she spend so much time thinking and writing about children's genitals? Is she a pedophile? Can't think of any other reason a grown woman would spend this much time thinking about children's genitals
(Says the person who wrote "children's genitals" three times in one tweet.)
And there was a lot of this.
Not all the comments were like that. Many were encouraging, thanking the author. Perhaps even more surprisingly, many of the comments to the article in the New York Times itself had a positive, thoughtful tone, more so than on Twitter, certainly, at least the early ones (I did not read all 2,000-plus). One example:
Thank you so much for this article. Respecting children must include an acknowledgement that the ability to understand complex issues and make good decisions is not inborn, but developed. We don't allow children to smoke, drink alcohol, stay out all night, quit school, and countless other things, and for good reason.
When one of our daughters expressed the desire for a tattoo at the age of 14, I told her that she was too young to fully understand permanence, so I couldn't allow her to. I said that she would be able to get one when she turned 18, but advised her to wait until she was 25. She got her first tattoo at 25, and is very glad that she waited.
A tattoo is nothing compared to a double mastectomy or other permanent changes, and my heart breaks for people who were allowed to make major life decisions before they had the maturity or self-knowledge to do so.
These are progressives, to be sure, but even they draw the line at children, particularly those who are parents.
What is really weird to me about all this - or more accurately, what really points to the trans madness that has gripped so much of the Left - is the manner in which these so-called liberals have abandoned once long-held beliefs and former allies to push an extreme trans agenda.
Gay men and women often told me they fear that same-sex-attracted kids, especially effeminate boys and tomboy girls who are gender nonconforming, will be transitioned during a normal phase of childhood and before sexual maturation — and that gender ideology can mask and even abet homophobia.
As one detransitioned man, now in a gay relationship, put it, 'I was a gay man pumped up to look like a woman and dated a lesbian who was pumped up to look like a man. If that's not conversion therapy, I don't know what is.'
Progressives are so desperate to become ever more progressive, they've come full circle turning into a Frankenstein-monster version of their own ridiculous caricature of the evil conservative.
... Which is how you end up with disillusioned traditional liberals.
'I was always a liberal Democrat,' one woman whose son desisted after social transition and hormone therapy told me. 'Now I feel politically homeless.'
Maybe there is hope, because there is one thing that little, if any (I found none) commenters were willing to address: The very real-life stories of human tragedy.
It comes down to, who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes?
Interestingly, Kathleen Kingsbury, opinion editor of The Times (and who is responsible for overseeing the editorial board and the opinion section) felt compelled to write a companion piece (a link to which is prominently displayed early in Paul's piece) providing Paul some cover and calling for, almost pleading for, respectful conversation on the topic.
She's walking a tightrope, but these stories of lives wrecked because of a mad ideological agenda are only going to grow and will become increasingly difficult to hide, paper over with "studies," or ignore.
A tidal wave is coming, and hopefully, for all the human cost, it brings some sanity to our shores.
P.S. Now check out our latest video 👇