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Maybe not but this is absolutely awful
when journalists pepper articles like this with phrases such as 'very modern malady', 'fashionable syndromes of our time' and 'take what was once considered a human quirk and officially diagnose it as a catalogued syndrome'
cos like, we'd probably all be better off if medicine and psychology just didn't bother with that whole 'scientific progress' and 'discovery of new knowledge' thing
'Now, I don’t suppose many of us have to wander far down memory lane to remember the dozens of little Zachs we all knew. They were those irritating boys who created havoc in their mothers’ or sisters’ wardrobes: long silk dresses ripped to useless where the far-too-big stilettos had caught the hems; eye pencils snapped from being sneakily applied with an amateur hand.
There were, too, the equally irritating girls we called tomboys: hair hacked into crew-cuts; skirts and dresses stubbornly rejected — at least until puberty struck and they discovered make-up and boys.'
literally: GID has always existed but let's go back to the good old repressive days when we bashed it out of them by puberty, the irritating fucks
'I’m sorry Zach Avery thinks he’d rather have been born a girl; it’s a hard way to learn that you can’t always get what you want.'
fucking PC psychologists, inventing disorders so that more people might be able to get what they want
The majority of present psychological treatment isn't really empirically tested (or indeed testable) enough to be seen as in any way scientifically proven, the biggest piece of clinical psychological research currently taking place in this country (assuming IAPT is still the big thing) is fundamentally flawed in its results gathering and so heavily incentivises clinical psychologists to get the 'right' results that its fundamentally useless and with more complex psychological conditions such as this, intuition, theory and guesswork are the main factors at play.
but there's certainly an unpleasant tendency among daily mail types to minimise all sorts of mental health issues (i'm sure a quick search will find plenty of rants about how depression is just a whiny excuse to get out of work), because they're 'modern inventions' and in the good old days everyone just pulled up their bootstraps and dealt with it. you can absolutely criticise the methods we use to diagnose or treat these things, but it's nasty and marginalizing to write snide articles about how depression and ADHD and GID are made up or exaggerated problems
And the problem isn't that mental health problems are 'modern inventions', just the fact that, compared to physical medicine, we're still in the middle ages in terms of diagnosing mental health conditions and treating them. I remember having a conversation with a psychologist once where he compared the current state of psychiatry to medieval apothecaries giving people certain herbs because they appeared to work even though they weren't really sure why and clinical psychology (i.e his job and training for the past twenty-five years) to superstitious local "wise" folk telling people to stand in a forest and turn round ten times and perhaps that'll find the cure.
Obviously this has nothing to do with the Daily Mail objections, nor is it a particular criticism of GID, ADHD or any other diagnosis - as current evidence goes these are the best we've got and. as time goes on, knowledge can only broaden and people will know more and more about mental health issues and its probable more and more mental health problems will be identified, and it will become clear some have been completely misclassified and are something else entirely and of course the Daily Mail will be furious about all of this and claim these "new invented disorders" are a problem whereas of course these conditions have existed all along but we've never understood them.
All I'm saying is that its important to be mindful of the fact that at the moment pretty much all psychological and psychiatric medical progress is a bit like any new medical innovations that came pre-1543 and the whole field desperately needs a Vesalius to help us understand things much better. As it stands, it is not at all impossible that everything we currently "know" about psychology and psychiatry makes as much sense as the theory of the four humors...
it's awful that they've made the decision to effectively change the kid's sex long before they could possibly know that it is the best decision for him. It's like the parents are trying to make a point about trangenderism and are using this kid as a guinea pig.
that no doctor would approve actual surgery or hormone treatment for a child of this age; it's hard enough for adult transgender people to get approved for transition (pretty sure they have to spend a good chunk of time convincing at least two doctors that they have a serious psychological need for the treatment). as far as i can tell, all that's happening here is following advice from psychologists on the best way to react to the kid's self-identification until s/he is old enough to decide about transition. not sure where the problem is (with the obvious caveat that selling any 'look at my kid!' story to papers is shitty and unhelpful)
My issue is I don't really get why psychologists need to be involved at all. A 3 year old (now 5 year old) boy decides he wants to wear dresses. So what? If he gets to 12 or 13 and still wants to wear dresses then maybe you might look at if he really wants to be a girl but for now I just don't see how it matters.
I just think going through all the stages of getting him assessed and making adjustments because he has GID (rather than making the same adjustments 'cos he's a boy he wants to wear dresses and claim to be a girl, which they could do without that diagnosis) actually means that, as he gets older, he'll be being told by his parents, friends and everyone around him is that this is his identity and this is who he is. And that's something he'd be better off being given space to figure out for himself without that pressure being brought to bear.
is that nobody has space free from pressure when it comes to gender identity. without this kind of diagnosis, many children with GID spend their childhoods being told by parents, friends and everyone around them that they're 'really' the gender they were assigned at birth, even when they insist otherwise, that (as per the article) it's 'just a phase' or they're just a bit deviant or maybe they're gay... and that shit leads to plenty of mental health issues for trans people, so i think it's eminently unfair and marginalizing to assume that this case is qualitatively worse than the childhood pressures that most transgender children experience.
secondly, i would assume - given that an experienced psychologist has diagnosed GID - that it's not just a case of 'wanting to wear a dress', it's a case of consistently wanting to be treated as and referred to as a girl. this can't be a terribly easy thing for parents to just go along with over a long period of time, let alone to convince teachers and peers to go along with, and getting a real diagnosis is likely to be extremely helpful in cultivating an understanding and supportive environment. the thing is, there's no neutral here: the options are to respect the child's self-identification, which involves things like letting her use the girl's bathroom and be called 'she', or to not respect it - let her wear a dress but continue to treat her as being 'really' a boy. i happen to think the latter option is worse. i guess you could do the former without an actual diagnosis, but it would be much less likely to be taken seriously or supported as a valid choice.
i do understand the instinctive issues that people have with this kind of medicalization, and in an ideal world we wouldn't need psychological labels to validate non-normative identities. but bear in mind: if she does later decide that actually she'd rather live as a boy, she's still likely to have a vastly easier time (medically, socially and psychologically) of shifting to that identity than most trans people ever do
is a form of insidious 'pressure' in itself, y'know? it's an insidious pressure that says the body you're born with has fixed you as a he no matter how girly we let you act. like i said, there's no neutral
For what it's worth I wouldn't use "she" when talking to the child. But when talking about the child it seems to me "he" is slightly more accurate than "she" at this stage as currently the child has a Gender Identity Disorder but hasn't had any sex change treatment. I've tried to avoid "he" or "she" in my response just below this.
*feel free to swap for any other country with a native language with no gender-specific pronouns.
should be called by their original pronouns until they've 'had sex change treatment'. i know you're suggesting that talking about a five-year-old child isn't the same thing, but many adult trans people choose not to medically transition for a variety of reasons, and it's respectful to call people by their chosen pronouns regardless of medical history
you mean you would when talking about them? that's not much better...
The parents seem very supportive and could support their child in wearing feminine clothes and being referred to as she without the label being attached. I know people would take it less seriously without the label but this is a socio-cultural problem with the fact that people seem to need a label stuck on things to make them more "real" and I'm not too sure it's necessary - in practice a biological boy who wants to be treated as a girl and a biological boy with a label of GID are essentially the same thing. I actually think it makes sense to make toilets gender-neutral for young primary school children anyway as gender is such an unformed thing at that age so I think the adjustments are just ones that could be made without specific diagnoses of children.
The problem with criticising the claim that they'll grow out of it is that it's actually borne out by the little research that exists on the subject. The only quotable study I could immediately find on the subject (admittedly one I don't wholly trust due to it only being based on a sample of 25 girls) suggested that only 12% of GID children grow up to be GID adults. Like I say I don't trust that figure at all but it seems far from certain a child with GID will grow up to be an adult with GID. Of course the people who write these sorts of articles or say "it's just a phase" are bigoted idiots and almost certainly aren't at all conversant with this research so it doesn't excuse them ignorantly claiming "it's just a phase" but they are unwittingly in synch with current research.
Re the 2nd paragraph, you're right that this is interesting and I'm sure there is more we don't know about and it's obviously not going to be that simple. I was being a bit flippant but, as a general rule psychologists steer clear of any medical label for children, so there will be more reasons for a diagnosis and perhaps you're right that this diagnosis will support them whichever gender they go for. Certainly I wouldn't assume (and I'm not sure you are) that the psychologist treating will be encouraging the child to identify as a girl. I'm not sure what approach the Tavistock and Portman takes on this but certainly, particularly given the fact that statistically the child is expected to ultimately identity as their own sex, it's as common for psychological treatment to try to help the child reconcile with their biological identity as it is for them to help them take on the opposite sex. So again this is another way in which diagnosis may hinder rather than help if the child does grow up wanting to be a woman.
All this said, what I think is very helpful in this case is (selling the story aside) the parents do seem very supportive and it's far better that they do what they're doing than try to force the child to be a boy. So hopefully that at least will help as the child grows older. I'm just not sure the actual label will.
i'm deeply uncomfortable with the idea of treatment that 'helps the child reconcile with their biological identity' (i'm sure i don't have to point out all the unpleasant parallels there), but yeah it does seem that this is what GID diagnosis has most widely been used to facilitate, which is certainly a good reason to be suspicious of the label. and i realise a lot of the adult trans community are not happy with the idea of it being categorised as a mental disorder at all; i'm only really defending it in this case because it seems to have been used to slightly more positive ends than usual, but there are lots of other arguments against it being used at all. i do see the value of psychological counselling for kids like this, but i guess ideally it would be focused on the idea that gender can be fluid and personal, that 'boy' and 'girl' can mean all sorts of different things, and generally helping them feel comfortable with their identity while also emphasising that identities aren't set in stone. y'know, rather than a concentrated effort to 'encourage' one identity or the other. but then counselling can only go so far when the kid actually has to step out into the world, huh
And we used to have some dealings with the Tavistock and Portman in my old job and they're generally seen as the best specialists in their field, not rogue contrarians as they're portrayed here. And she makes some terrible arguments BUT it is bizarre to medicalise a 5 year old boy wearing dresses and deciding at this stage there is a 'disorder' does seem to not only predict but also determine the child's future behaviour and I do agree with her that (especially as you could let the kid wear dresses without having to make any statement or decision on gender at this stage) it'd be much better to let the child develop for a few years, see if the desire to wear dresses continues and then make a decision on the child's medical/psychological status.
I genuinely don't see the benefit of a diagnosis this early on and think there is a real potential for harm if the label is wrong.
I was curious as to what the diagnosis meant in tangible terms- is Zach to undergo any course of treatment, medical or pyschological? Or is it simply an acknowledgement of his condition, an earmarking perhaps for future attention?
Sarler's disdain for the diagnosis and treatment of, ahem, modern maladies in children and young people seems to be borne of cynical, mean-spirited and pretty backwards reducutionism, but I do think there's something a little unsettling about prescriptive treatment for personality 'disorders' in young children.
For me it's not really about the gender issue itself so much as labelling a child with a "disorder" due to a particular identity assumed during childhood.
Based on what I know, which - let's face it, isn't very much - I believe the child is likely to have regular sessions with a psychologist and, probably through play and drawing, they'll explore the child's identity and why they want to be a girl. They certainly won't do anything to encourage a sex change at this stage (and certainly there won't be any kind of medical/horomonal intervention at the moment). It's possible they might even try to get Zach to adjust back to being a boy, as this is something that often happens in GID treatment of children in the US & Canada at least, but I don't know the general UK stance or the stance of that particular clinic.
STOP IT OR I'LL CUT MY PEEPEE OFF
but no less ignorant opinion:
He's also gone as far as including the opinion of Kenneth Zucker who has previously suggested gender is a product of nurture not nature, and that gendered variant children can be 'fixed' via reparative therapy.
and is probably closest thing there is globally to an 'expert' in GID in children. Whether or not you like his findings (and he's deeply unpopular with sections of the transgender community) he's probably the relevant person to quote if you're writing an article about this, whatever side of the stool you fall on.
He's also being mischaracterised here somewhat. His argument (which again, to be fair to him, he's backed up by research even if samples are perhaps a little small) is that the majority of children who have GID do ultimately decide to revert to their 'birth' gender in later life so it makes more sense to assume the course of action is to counsel children to be comfortable in their own skin rather than assume they will subsequently want a sex change. At the same time, my understanding of the little I know on this is that he doesn't try to 'fix' every child referred with GID and does support people through sex change if that's what transpires to be the appropriate course of action.
I'm not saying he's wrong or right (and, for reasons I've stated in posts above, it's quite possible every psychologic or psychiatrist has got a fair amount wrong because we just don't know enough about how the mind works yet. But he is a relevant expert in the field who's reached his findings through years of research and years of experience diagnosing and treating GID rather than some ignorant know-nothing crank who's being wheeled out 'cos they've convenient argument.
Zucker explained to Carol that she and her husband would have to radically change their parenting. Bradley would no longer be allowed to spend time with girls. He would no longer be allowed to play with girlish toys or pretend that he was a female character.
whoops I forgot quotes break everything on this site.
the article from which the quotes come from:
My point in posting the above quote was that Ken Zucker's reparative therapy is in my opinion an attempt to polarize the gender of the children who partake in it.
To be honest Zucker's approach is part of the reason why I'm uncomfortable with children being diagnosed with GID - because all of a sudden there's a 'disorder' you need to fix and I'm unconvinced on that.
All I'm saying is that Zucker does approach things from years of experience of working with GID, is an experienced doctor and scientist and, as far as I can tell from interviews with him, isn't bigot trying to 'correct' people working from a misguided sense of morality but someone who's research and experience has led him to believe his is the best approach.
I don't agree with him but he sure as Hell isn't ignorant and he's a perfectly reasonable person to quote on this subject.
that comment was directed at Bracchi and his comments on the Tavistock and Portman foundation.
I do however take issue with his biased views on gender variance in children being seen perfectly reasonable and being cast in that light as Bracchi attempts to do along with questioning the idea that transgendered individuals might be more vulnerable in society,simply because I disagree with the idea of non-tolerance of gender expression in children being a viable option in therapy.
The bottom line is if I've not read his research in enough detail I don't necessarily like his methods and I'd be quite happy if research proved him wrong but, as far as I am aware, nobody has yet raised any significant flaws in his research and he's got as robust a clinical defence for his methodology as anyone else working in the field. If the facts do bear him out, and he produces happier and healthier patients in the long-term than any approach anyone else has come up with, then it'd be irrational for me to say he's wrong just 'cos I don't like his method.
if the aim is to prevent transgender identitification and produce not just 'happier, healthier patients', but patients who are happier and healthier in normative (some might even say restrictive) gender roles, his methods may indeed be successful. the argument, presumably, is that cisgender people are generally able to lead happier and healthier lives than transgender people. i'm sure you wouldn't disagree, though, that this is a societal issue rather than an intrinsic psychological one (ie, if we lived in a society that was a lot more accepting of gender variance, being trans would not be a 'problem'). you could make a very similar argument in favour of homosexual reparative therapy: straight people are generally happier and healthier than gay people because of societal intolerance. now, say there was an anti-gay therapy that was proven to be overwhelmingly successful and produced statistically happier and healthier patients: do you think it would be 'irrational' to be against the promotion of that?
"Zucker and Bradley believe that reparative treatments (encouraging the child to accept their natal sex and associated gender) can be therapeutic for several reasons. They believe that treatment can reduce social ostracism by helping gender non-conforming children mix more readily with same sex peers and prevent long-term psychopathological development (i.e., it is easier to change a child than a society intolerant of gender diversity). Reparative therapy is believed to reduce the chances of adult GID (i.e., transsexualism) which Zucker and Bradley characterize as undesirable."
so yeah, it's not as neutral as you suggest up there
Zucker believes that failing to control a child's gender expression at a young age and seek early counseling for transgendered behavior is neglectful. He claims some parents have been swayed by an activist transsexual agenda to "cement...in more and more" behaviors that may not result from transsexualism.
but it seems pretty disingenuous to claim that there's absolutely no anti-trans agenda here
What I'm saying he's formed an opinion through years of working with and researching around people with GID rather than bigotry or moral prejudice. That doesn't necessarily make his opinion right but does mean it can't be dismissed out of hand without acknowledging and challenging the research he's carried out.
Zucker's argument as far as I can tell is exactly as you characterise it - i.e. most people who grow up with GID are unhappy due to social treatment of the disorder, transexuality is something which people get from external influences rather than a biological situation and that, if you can persuade someone at a young age to accept their gender, they'll be much happier in later life.
For sure it makes uncomfortable reading and sits at odds with the views of anyone who sees transexuality as a comparable thing to homosexuality (for the record Zucker's opposed to treating homosexuality). And I'm sure it makes appalling reading to anyone who's a transexual as it suggests their whole identity is basically an illness that should have been nipped in a bud.
But uncomfortable or appalling reading in themselves don't make something wrong. And if a doctor or scientist has carried out extensive research and come to a conclusion then it's not enough just to say they're wrong and ignore all the evidence they offer. To reiterate I'd fully support someone coming up with a researched, clinically proven scientific rebuke to Zucker's research. But it's not enough to say "this research must be wrong because I don't like the implications".
and again, this is not something that can be considered in purely neutral scientific terms. that doesn't mean it can automatically be declared 'wrong', but it can certainly *reasonably* be considered harmful to the place of trans people in society
in a society intolerant of variance, the best solution is to prevent or suppress variance. based on rejecting that premise, can i not reasonably say kenneth zucker's methods are 'wrong'? that's an opinion rather than a verifiable fact, but so is accepting the premise. so again, this can't be reduced to pure neutral scietific binaries of 'true or 'not true'
man i really have to stop being creaky and making fifty posts in a row
If you reject the premise then of course you can reject the argument.
my whole point is that his arguments can be rejected on the grounds of what is essentially an opinion - we don't NEED to produce new 'evidence' that he's 'wrong' to be able to rationally disagree with his methods, as you repeatedly seem to be suggesting
I am saying we can't dismiss them as being invalid or outright wrong.
but i can dismiss them as wrong from a political pro-trans-rights perspective. those are both valid perspectives to assess something like this.
i.e. someone who obstinately persists with the own irrational opinions despite having no evidence to back them up.
but to talk about 'an activist transsexual agenda' that's trying to make more kids trans is so directly analogous to homophobic save-the-children rhetoric that it's not even funny
For example, to a large extent, we've now completely swapped sides and are defending the exact opposite positions to where we started off, in so far as that originally I was criticising the diagnosis of GID in children and saying treatment was inappropriate and now I'm basically defending the position of the person who's been at the forefront of diagnosing and treating GID whereas you originally were attacking the Daily Mail for criticising GID treatment and are now arguing against GID treatment yourself. I'm not saying either of us has been inconsistent, as I don't either you or I have and I think we're still maintaining the same arguments and beliefs, but it does show how complex an area it is that, at one moment an argument can put you on one side of the debate and the next moment the same arguments take you over to the other side.
Anyway my answer, as far as I can give one, to this is as follows:
1) Yes, I agree this is a societal issue (although I might argue all psychological issues effectively come down to how your behaviour fits in with a societal context and expectation and not the behaviour itself - I've not entirely thought this through though). To my mind, GID in itself definitely shouldn't be a psychological condition at all. Although it must be said, especially in adults who've not sought psychological input before, GID often will be combined with a wide range of other psychological symptoms, which is perhaps understandable due to the social implications of growing up with this condition, and one of the toughest jobs psychologists have working around gender issues is clarifying that the patient is unhappy because they feel they need a sex change, not that they feel they need a sex change because they're unhappy which is a subtle but important distinction.
2) At the same time I do feel this is different to homosexual reparative therapy, although there are obvious parallels. The key difference being that with homosexual reparative therapy you're persuading someone to inject someone with hormones in order to repress someone's biology whereas with gender reparative therapy you're actually trying to persuade someone not to inject themselves with hormones to repress their biology. That's not to defend it but to say it is clearly different.
3) Your last question is not really a straightforward or fair question. Rationality, as a philosophical term, involves basing decisions on evidence so, if something is proven to work, you would make your decisions based on that. Quite simply there isn't an anti-gay therapy that's overwhelmingly successful and it's widely-proven that these treatments do not produce statistically happier and healthier patients. The very reason why it would be irrational for me to answer yes to your question is because rationality prevails in dealing with homosexuality so that kind of 'cure' would never be medically accepted. With treatment of GID (and specifically GID in children) the research is lacking and the imperfect research that does exist suggests it's more likely that the child will grow up to prefer their identity to be of the own gender rather than the opposite gender. Rationally I wouldn't accept this outright as I don't think the research I've seen is good enough to say this is definitely what works. But equally rationally I'd add that so far nobody has managed to prove Zucker to be ineffective or for his treatment to have a detrimental effect on his patients and the evidence he has produced suggests that he's actually benefitting his patients.
I'd very much like someone to research this further and I hope for everyone's sake this results in someone finding a more effective approach to tackling GID that doesn't risk repressing and suppressing someone's personality. I also suspect that, as a decent scientist and a doctor who wants the best for his patients (two things which there's no suggestion aren't the case with Zucker), he'd also welcome an alternative approach if it were proven to be more effective. But as it stands Zucker's got research and evidence on his side and all I've got is my instinctive dislike of his conclusions with no actual evidence that they're wrong. If I were to conclude Zucker was wrong on that alone then I'd be no better than the Daily Mail columnists irrationally and biased dismissing arguments whilst ignoring all evidence against my position and providing no evidence of my own.
and can definitely see the problems with it
2. um, i didn't think most homosexual reparative therapies have historically involved hormone treatment, and a (very) quick skim of wikipedia would back this up - seems to usually be a combination of things like psychoanalytic and aversion therapy... the whole way you've framed that (and i realise this wasn't intentional) kinda sets it up as being gay is 'natural' so shouldn't be interfered with, but being gender variant is something 'unnatural' that can be brought into line with the 'natural' body. again, i know you're not necessarily advocating the latter, but this is a really problematic way of conceptualising trans identity (i could write you a whole essay on the tyranny of the 'natural' but i guess that's outside the scope of this post)
3. you've ignored my point here though: what is proven to 'work' depends on your definition of 'work'. fetishising rationality isn't necessarily helpful here, because pure reason can't always untangle the complexities of identity and politics and mental health. the point of my hypothetical was that, if such a 'cure' DID exist (and i think we've actually had threads about this before), many people would still consider it politically objectionable and oppressive to allow the widespread promotion of that therapy, *even if* it was empirically and rationally capable of improving the lives of some gay people. i was asking if you think that would be an 'irrational' response, because it's certainly to some extent comparable with the way people feel about zucker's treatments. when an identity is already marginalized and oppressed, treating it as an 'undesirable' illness to be cured has implications that go far beyond repressing individuality
the fact that many kids with GID will grow up not to have GID is *not* evidence in favour of zucker's methods. it's evidence *against* assuming that all kids with GID will grow up to be trans, but the most 'rational' conclusion i take from that is that they should be given space to go either way. zucker's methods are designed specifically to make sure as many kids as possible *don't* grow up to be trans, because it's undesirable. that's not a neutral, evidence-supported stance unless you accept that conditioning people for normativity in an oppressive society is the most 'rational' thing to do. that's a stance you can take, but it's by no means a stance of pure reason.
whereby zucker's methods are either 'right' or they're 'wrong', and opinions are irrelevant because the evidence will neutrally favour one side or the other. surely you can see it's a bit more complex than that, and it's not always unreasonable to take a politically-motivated stance on things like this (as in the gay-cure example)
Zucker's a doctor whose role is to make people feel happier. Ultimately either he succeeds or fails in that.
Going back to the 'gay cure' debate, my main issue with curing homosexuality is fundamentally that I think it makes people who are "cured" unhappy and merely teaches them to repress their feelings.
I suspect that might be true of GID people too and suspect sooner or later that'll be proven, hence why I cling to the idea of scientific evidence 'cos when that does happen, there'll be a firm reason to stop this kind of treatment.
it's a thought experiment. the point of thought experiments is to help clarify your thinking on the principles of a thing as opposed to the definite present facts. so: if curing people of gayness ultimately succeeded in making a majority of people who had it happier (because of the fact that society is more tolerant of straight people), i wouldn't say it was wrong for gay people to choose to have that therapy, but i *would* say it was wrong to promote it as the best course of action for parents of kids expressing gay identity, because it would ultimately help to entrench prejudice (and also be more traumatic for the ones it didn't work on). do you or don't you agree with my assessment of that hypothetical situation? if you do, then you agree with my assessment of this one - we don't *need* evidence that he's making life worse for his patients to still disagree with the widespread promotion of the treatment
ken zucker's treatments are kinda closer to this shit than you might have thought. it's not even just about preventing trans identification or future sex change surgery, it's about preventing *any* kind of gender-variant behaviour, and a lot of parents take their kids to his clinic because they're worried that they're acting too gay - have a read of this: http://archives.xtra.ca/Story.aspx?s=1423736
Although GID is not supposed to be diagnosed on the basis of "simple nonconformity to stereotypical sex role behaviour" (ie average sissies and tomboys), Dr Zucker asserts that a pattern of cross-gendered behaviour can itself be a problem.
For him, the cross-gendered child "is saying each and every day by his [or her] behaviour that they are, in fact, not feeling good about who they are. Because they are constantly trying to be someone else."
- so literally, any kid who isn't conforming to stereotypical gender roles is 'trying to be someone else'. so again, regardless of evidence about the 'effectiveness' of this kind of therapy (the question arises here, effectiveness for whom? it seems from the article that it's less about kid's mental health than about parental paranoia), i think promoting strict binary gender enforcement is just an unambiguously bad thing for society in general
But my argument is basically that comparing homosexual aversion therapy to gender aversion therapy doesn't quite work because someone can completely consistently be against homosexual aversion therapy and accept gender aversion therapy by following the exact same path of logic to attack one and defend the other.
3) I apologise for ignoring your point but I'm not sure how helpful it is to discuss it without an appropriate frame of reference. Zucker's research might have a skewered judgement of happy and healthy or might not. I honestly don't know. I'm not conversant enough with the research and haven't seen that as a specific criticism. If he does assume happy and healthy is the same as being "normal" then of course that's a problem.
In answer to your question, the stance of pure reason is to make decisions based on the evidence available without prejudice. It would in that sense be irrational to oppose any therapy that's proven to work based on an instinctive dislike of it. At the same time it would also be irrational to insist people had it if they felt they were happy and healthy already. At the same time I can't answer your hypothetical question without implying homosexuality is an illness (and hence requires curing). I do not believe that to be the case and there's no evidence for that to be the case so I can't really see how a cure could possibly exist.
I also don't believe gender identity issues to be an illness. Zucker claims it is and puts forward evidence for that to be the case. I'd quite like someone to put forward evidence against that.
that gender identity issues are an illness? i'm genuinely curious as to what you're talking about because i've never come across any. i thought the 'evidence' you were talking about was the evidence that GID in children does not necessarily lead to GID in adults, or that it's often possible to make children accept normative gender roles through therapy. i accept both of those things are true, but that does not lead me to conclude that gender identity issues are an illness or undesirable. evidence doesn't mean anything until it's interpreted, and i'm not sure that interpretation of evidence is ever completely neutral or 'without prejudice' (i suppose, perhaps, this is a fundamental philosophical disagreement in our positions). once again, we're arguing at cross-purposes: *even if* ken zucker's therapy is proven to 'work' in the sense of producing happily gender-normative children, and *even if* nobody can disprove that, i disagree that it's irrational to disagree with its promotion as the 'best' treatment, because i disagree that variant gender identity is an illness. 'illness' is not a neutral word that can be proved or disproved.
Surely that implies that it's being treated as an illness?
I phrased my argument quite badly - Zucker hasn't put forward evidence for it to be an illness but put forward evidence on the basis of it being an illness. But as long as we're talking about a Disorder we're effectively talking about a mental illness.
and it does seem quite dodgy classifying it as a disorder. sorry, should have stopped using the term, 'gender dysphoria' is probably more appropriate
the Tavistock clinic do not dispute the fact that some children diagnosed with GID do revert back to their birth gender, early diagnosis is simply meant to create an environment where their potential gender variance is acknowledged and respected.
Medical intervention for the children is usually only suggested when the child is around 12 years old.
And there may be some sense to flagging people early on. It's one of these areas where I suspect it's all so new nobody knows quite what the best approach is.
There are many reasons a five year-old boy might identify more as a girl, not least having lots of girl friends and wanting to fit in, or by having parents who are discouraging of traditional gender roles and are happy to buy their little boy a Barbie. I'm sure there are many things I did at that age that might be considered a bit girly, but it wasn't until after I'd been at school for a few years that I'd find my 'group' and the interests we would develop together. It seems that what is happening to this kid is that he's being allowed to refuse to acknowledge his birth sex before he can possibly know what he wants for the rest of the perhaps 95 years he will spend on this earth. He is being encased in a tolerant little bubble and once he gets into the real world he may be shocked at how cruel it can be. This almost seems like pro-transgender conditioning to me. If the kid still feels the same way in a few years, after he's had to endure the slings and arrows from his peers, fair enough. But imagine if this kid decides this 'girl game' (I know this sounds patronising, but is there any guarantee with a five year-old that living as a girl isn't just seen as extended fantasy play?) isn't for him, and has to grow up in a school where he'd dressed as a girl for the first few years.
I know this might come across a little simplistic but I think people are getting too caught up in what is right and wrong for people with GID, rather than what is right and wrong for a five year-old child.
and also i'm generally in agreement now that GID diagnosis isn't necessarily a good or helpful thing but can we please stop with this shit: "This almost seems like pro-transgender conditioning to me"
do i really have to point out the ridiculously obvious precedent for this kind of rhetoric being Not Cool?
But if Not Being Cool is taking a harder line with kids when they say they want to play the keytar, be someone of the opposite gender or throw bricks at old ladies, then colour me Not Cool.
And I'm sure this is a special case, I just don't understand the parents' motivations, and it comes across like they do have an agenda.
I just hope it doesn't encourage other parents who have young boys that like playing with dolls, or girls that like cars, to take them to counsellors and complicate matters that could just be a passing developmental phase.
but you still want your opinion to count for something
And why your opinion counts for more
i know i know very little and i know that humanity as a whole knows very little. i'd rather see people attempt to understand an issue than what you're doing.
Is something I've been called out for several times on this board. I don't see what makes you any different.
At the end of the day though, I can only construct an opinion from what I know and what I've been told. I don't hold any prejudice towards LGBT folk at all, but they need admonishing for foisting their opinions on people just as much as anyone else. And that's what I think they're doing here. You can't project complex adult emotions onto a five year-old kid.
the parents aren't LGBT.
And I think the media and general public, particularly some of the more hysterical sections of the LGBT community, are advising decisions be made with the child that should be his own, adult decisions. Sure, he hates being a boy, but he needs to know he is one, and he needs to accept it, or the whole nation is just pandering to the tantrums of a toddler. Sure, tell him there are options when he gets older, tell him to ignore people who attack him for his 'feminine' habits and encourage him to be himself at all times. But in my opinion, it's just cruel to agree that the boy should have a transgendered identity at five years old.
I suppose I should take this opportunity to say that I don't particularly believe homosexuality or trangenderism is genetic, but learned behaviour based on experience - not that this makes it wrong in any way.
the child has attempted self-harm ffs
you're deliberately shaping the situation to fit your prejudices
Rather than the usual DiS bleeding heart stance. Do you think the child's suffering will be eased by adopting a female gender ID, especially now its story is splashed all over every tabloid? I think you're under-playing the prejudice some kids suffer at school. I got bullied for getting good grades, I hate to think what would happen if I rocked up in a skirt. Better the counselling focuses on personal acceptance and the self-harm problem until the kid is old enough to make a decision for himself, which is the whole crux of the matter to me.
if anything, he's probably somewhat less likely to be bullied presenting as a girl and being called 'she' from a young age (an age at which kids are a lot more accepting, btw) than as a feminine boy wearing a skirt (once again, though, agreed on the tabloid thing)
but yeah you're right, let's solve bigotry and bullying by encouraging kids never to deviate from society's norms. gay adoption? but WHAT ABOUT THE BULLYING?!?!
i'm not that bothered about what this particular kid does or doesn't do, but i'm bothered about institutionally changing attitudes and approaches to childhood gender identity to help break down systematic oppression and dominant structures of heteronormativity
you're just like 'but he'll get bullied'
bleed bleed bleed
word-for-word identical with 'save the children' arguments about the gay agenda, yeah? 'i'm totally fine with adults being gay if they want but teaching kids about it or indulging their phases is just encouraging it'.
i, too, have no interest in genetic arguments, but i don't really see how that's relevant here. do you believe that being cisgendered (that is, having a 'normal' gender identity that matches your body) is genetic? i'm not arguing for telling feminine boys 'you must be trans', i'm arguing for tolerant and fluid approaches to gender identity that don't centre around 'he needs to know he is a boy and he needs to accept it'. no, why does he need to know that? he needs to know that boys and girls come in all shapes and forms and that boys can be feminine but also that people who look like boys can sometimes actually be girls and it's totally okay if it turns out that he's a girl
fuck i wish people would stop bumping this thread
I don't think he has to change his behaviour.
You might think I'm being far too harsh but I think you're being far too naive. You can tell him he's a girl all he wants but once he gets out of his bubble I don't think the world will see it that way. It's not like telling them that Father Christmas exists. I will defend anyone's right to be feminine, masculine or whatever regardless of gender to the death. If you're making such a big decision the kid will need to know there are big ramifications, and I think - again - that he's entirely too young too understand.
don't think we're gonna get much further with this, though
so yeah, it sounds like the parents have a radical 'agenda' of doing what they think is the best way to make his life easier and not forcing him into an identity he despises. of course, i'd hope that will also involve making sure he knows that they'll support him however that identity might change. but i mean, what else would you suggest is the best path for this level of gender dysphoria, other than a ken zucker style YOU WILL BE A REAL BOY AND ONLY PLAY WITH GUNS AND CARS AND NO MORE HANGING OUT WITH GIRLS
anyway, i've gotta say i'm more pissed about all those parents who flagrantly engage in pro-cisgender conditioning, with their radically normative agendas being forced on poor innocent kids. it's literally an epidemic.
'Some might ask whether it’s wise to allow vulnerable 13-year-olds to attend ‘sessions’ with 25-year-old transexuals.'