Friday, February 1, 2019

Austin Ruse lacks a fundamental understanding of trans kids

Austin Ruse has a new piece regarding the anti-trans, supposedly radical feminists, who joined Ryan T. Anderson for a little chat about how trans women were stealing something from women. Enough has been written by others about this event that there is no reason for me to chime in with one exception:

Prominent among the discussion were two (at least two) people affiliated with WoLF, Women's Liberation Front. This is an organization with a fancy website but no physical presence (it has a mail drop). Revenues are less than $50,000/year and its IRS ruling was only one year ago in February, 2018. I am not sure that WoLF is anything more than a front.

WoLF could be perfectly legitimate but there is no evidence that it actually does anything other than campaign against transgender people. There is some evidence that WoLF received $15,000 from Alliance Defending Freedom in 2017. I cannot confirm that to be true from the organization's tax returns but I have confirmed that they filed an amicus brief for certiorari in Gloucester v. Grimm. Gavin Grimm is a transgender male which should pose no threat to feminists.

Getting back to Austin Ruse, he writes:
In my book, Fake Science, I report on homosexual men who complain that effeminate boys are immediately considered “trans-girls” rather than homosexuals. In the same way, girls who like climbing trees and like the color blue are considered “trans-boys.” Both “trans-boys” and “trans-girls” are pushed by “gender therapists” and other trans cultists into puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and eventually into brutal surgeries.
Gender dysphoria can be a very serious condition, one that has the potential for self-harm. The alleged complaints of gay men have no relevance to a medical condition. We can safely assume that transgender children suffer from acute gender dysphoria — there are no volunteers in that orbit. Most children who experience gender dysphoria do not become transgender.

I do not know who these “gender therapists” are but parents typically take their dysphoric children for a psychiatric evaluation. Again, there are no volunteers. Parents are desperate for their kids not to become transgender.

Medical professionals are not “pushing” anything on these children or their parents. Nor are children and parents influenced by what Austin calls “trans cultists.” They have a medical condition for which there is no known medical intervention.

The gender-affirmative care model is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, it is reserved for the most seriously affected children. What is often the case is that the kids find some way to express their gender which provides some measure of relief. At first they do so in secret. If they have opposite-sex siblings they might wear their brother's or sister's clothing, often in secret. In other words, to mitigate the symptoms of depression and anxiety they are affirming their gender without anyone “pushing” them into anything.

Sometimes psychiatrists do refer children for puberty blockers. Puberty blockers are not without risk but they generally provide a period of time for the kid to find his or her equilibrium. If they desist, the blockers are stopped and the child experiences puberty. Parents and the child are fully informed of benefits and risks.

The risk of not using puberty blockers is also significant because children start to develop physiology consistent with their natal sex. When a trans boy develops breast tissue, for example, it causes immense distress. It might also necessitate otherwise unnecessary surgery.

Hormones might be in the cards for trans teens. They come with risks which are fully known by the teen and his or her parents. The more that a trans child physically conforms to their gender, the less stress they will experience. According to recent research, with gender affirmation children have levels of anxiety and depression at or near cisgender levels which means that they can function quite normally.

Most transgender people do not have gender-affirming surgery. We should not be discussing surgery when we are talking about children. They are not generally candidates.

I wish that Austin and similarly minded folks would watch PBS's Growing Up Trans, a 2015 documentary. Even if one believes that PBS is a liberal-atheist-commie tool of Satan, the documentary is about real kids, real parents and real medical providers. It can be viewed in its entirety online.

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