I just got done reading a jaw-dropping, rage-inducing article on the lies some people in medicine tell about trans kids. This is one to keep around in case you run in to some jackass claiming that the majority of trans kids change their minds. Newsflash: they don’t.
The studies that say overwhelming numbers of trans kids change their minds about being trans? Horribly flawed. I mean, super mega flawed. Such as:
For starters, the most cited study (Steensma) which alleges a 84 percent desistance rate, did not actually differentiate between children with consistent, persistent and insistent gender dysphoria, kids who socially transitioned, and kids who just acted more masculine or feminine than their birth sex and culture allowed for. In other words, it treated gender non-conformance the same as gender dysphoria. Worse, the study could not locate 45.3 percent of the children for follow up, and made the assumption that all of them were desisters.
The incompetence takes my breath away. Of course, some assholes will still try to use those numbers to argue we shouldn’t provide transition-related services for trans kids. Well, sorry-not-sorry, but here’s the truth:
When Dr. Steensma went back in 2013 and looked at the intensity of dysphoria these children felt as a factor in persistence, it turned out that it was actually a very good predictor of which children would transition.
In other words, the children who actually met the clinical guidelines for gender dysphoria as children generally ended up as transgender adults. Further research has shown that children who meet the clinical guidelines for gender dysphoria are as consistent in their gender identity as the general population.
So yeah, trying to deny kids care based on that original, terrible study is blatantly ignoring reality.
And that’s not even the worst of it:
But, the most outrageous piece of information coming out of CAMH [Center for Addiction and Mental Health] was Dr. Zucker’s claims that gender dysphoria desisted in 80 percent of cases. However, when investigators reviewed the files of children admitted to CAHM, 72 percent of them never met the clinical criteria for juvenile gender dysphoria in the first place.
In short, 90 percent of the kids Dr. Zucker claimed to “cure” were never transgender in the first place. He built his reputation convincing homophobic and transphobic parents that he could fix their kids. When someone actually got around to listening to the transgender community and pulled back the curtain, they found that the 80 percent desistance narrative was a fabrication of an attention seeking, creepy, reparative therapy promoting, snake-oil salesman.
Trans kids need support, understanding, and appropriate transition-related medical care. Their outcomes are excellent when we take them seriously and treat them appropriately:
Gender variant youth know who they are just as much as the general population. Transgender youth who are receive affirming care have better health outcomes. Transgender youth on puberty delaying medication showed no health effects, and mental health outcomes as good as their cisgender peers.
Read the whole article. And support the kids in your life who are trans or genderqueer. By all means, keep them the hell away from people who claim they can turn them into perfect little cis hetero machines.