Monday, November 16, 2020

Smearing Trans Youth: Abigail Shrier's Book Got a Bounce

Abigail Shrier
None of this nonsense has any relevance to the overwhelming majority of trans youth.
Target Stores briefly suspended sales of Abigail Shrier's: Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Target restored the book to its shelves after religious conservatives complained about “banned books.”

I hope that the same people remember this the next time they try to ban Alex Gino's George from public libraries. George is a trans girl trying to come out. The book is one of the most frequent targets of religious conservatives.

The Target controversy has caused religious conservative outlets to write about Shrier's book again. It's important to keep in mind that this is about very vulnerable transgender kids. For the latest in transphobia we turn to the hatesite LifeSiteNews and their polemicist Calvin Freiburger.
Target temporarily removed a book detailing the harm gender confusion poses to children from online sale this week in response to left-wing pressure on social media, only to reverse itself when conservatives pushed back.
Trans kids are not confused! They are quite certain of their gender. What harms trans kids is the intolerance of religious conservatives and their promotion of ignorance.

Those religious fanatics disguise their bigotry as concern for children (just as Freiburger has done). The reality is that they have a religious objection to the existence of transgender people. The wellbeing of children is irrelevant to them. The religious objection is based upon scripture; Genesis 1:27:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The mitigation of a medical condition should not be based on 6th century BCE texts that went from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek and back. Then the texts went missing for nearly 2,000 years (the oldest complete Torah has been carbon-dated to around 1250 CE).

For the record the clinical practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics require the gender-affirming care model and are considered authoritative.

The AAP has also determined that the mental health of transgender children who are supported in their identities is comparable, or nearly comparable, to their cisgender peers. So why would anyone with a gender-diverse child listen to religious crazies?

I am reasonably confident that parents make informed decisions. However, the Christian right is promoting prejudice and that is toxic to transgender people, including trans kids.

Freiburger continues:
Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, by The Wall Street Journal’s Abigail Shrier, explores the phenomenon of rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD), a term coined in 2018 by Brown University behavioral scientist Lisa Littman. She found that a significant percentage of gender dysphoria among minors came not from innate feelings of discontent with one’s true sex but from outside influence.
There are many moving parts to the above. I will outline a few issues in no particular order:
  • Abigail Shrier has neither the training nor experience to adapt research into a book.
  • A book is not peer-reviewed research published to an academic journal.
  • Littman did not find that a “a significant percentage” of trans youth were trans due to the influence of others.
  • Littman's research was subjected to a substantial correction which included an apology from the publisher.
  • The correction in contrast to a withdrawal of the paper prevented Littman from becoming the inevitable victim of “woke political correctness.”
  • The key finding of the correction is that most of Littman's subjects would never have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
  • Littman's sampling was not scientifically valid. Passing it on to Shrier did not improve its legitimacy.
Is it possible that a few girls in their teens effect a transition without a proper diagnosis? Sure. However, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the overwhelming majority of transgender youth. As I said, I am confident that parents make wise choices. Among those is an evaluation from a qualified clinician. Many, if not most, get second opinions.
For her book, Shrier “dug deep into the trans epidemic, talking to the girls, their agonized parents, and the counselors and doctors who enable gender transitions, as well as to ‘detransitioners’ — young women who bitterly regret what they have done to themselves,” according to the product description. “Coming out as transgender immediately boosts these girls’ social status, Shrier found, but once they take the first steps of transition, it is not easy to walk back.”
Shrier and Regnery Publishing have a book to sell and Shrier had a predetermined bias based on what would sell. Hell. I could make a fortune simply by claiming that I converted to Catholicism and went from gay to straight. In addition to the book sales, the speaking fees would be enormous. I also wonder what Breitbart pays for crank.

Abigail Shrier became a celebrity in right wing Christian circles. The religious fanatics promote the idea that Shrier's book has great relevance to trans youth. It has none.
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On a related note, I strongly recommend HBO's Transhood which followed trans kids in Kansas City for five years. The kids are amazing. So are their parents. The kids develop this wonderful sense of self. Their insight is awesome.

Another good thing about the documentary is that one of the kids desisted. No harm done except to the religious talking point that transitioning ruins children's lives. Scriptural literalism and dogmatism are far more damaging than transitioning.

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