I’m supposed to be talking about book stuff, but fk it, this is more important.
Things to keep in mind:
1. Please don’t use this as an excuse or reason to attack trans people.
Instead, please HEAR HIM as you would hear any other victim when he talks about his healthcare story–about how he was manipulated by mental health providers while he was in a vulnerable state. I can absolutely affirm these things can happen: there was a young straight man whose record I was reviewing for deployability who had been sexually assaulted by several other men, and as I was reviewing his record all the notes from the psychologist were notes questioning whether the man really was straight and really was assaulted. “Maybe he wanted it and feels embarrassed about being gay, so he is calling it rape,” was essentially what the notes were reading. Utterly imbecilic unwillingness to believe male victims aside, manipulation does happen. There’s a reason I’ve fired multiple therapists myself. I don’t know Chris’s story, but I do believe victims.
2. Transition failure like this would not happen if there were more rigorous medical controls rather than purely psychological controls for transitioning patients.
I FULLY believe all trans patients should be given a full karyotyping and pelvic ultrasound on top of in-depth hormonal measurements. Why?
Because there are some people who actually do have physiological causes for their gender dysphoria. There are people who were XY at birth but because they did not develop a penis except for a micropenis at puberty, their parents kept them assigned female, and they’ve been raised female even though they are and feel XY male. There are XX people who have unusual kinds of 17-OH progesterone disorders that just haven’t been severe enough to be noticed early, and as a result seem to have male or undeterminable genitalia. One major trans activist in the 60s was found on ultrasound to have ovaries–“he” was “she” just like she had always said she was. Currently, the systems for transitioning do not typically include karyotyping and do not typically include full imaging or diagnostic evaluation for these orphan intersex conditions.
But WHY NOT? We don’t have infinite resources so WHY NOT preselect the people who need hormones and surgeries most? We may find other things that need treating this way, and people whose bodies CLEARLY need hormonal and surgical treatments will logically be those with least risk of detransitioning later. In fact, it could be for THIS reason that the large Swedish study everyone complains about found that risk of suicide doesn’t drop after transition: we’re not actually differentiating between two populations here that we NEED to differentiate between.
Because the second population–the population who is more likely to be like Chris Beck–is the population I am in: the one with pure gender dysphoria and no other known physiological “sex mismatch.”
Gender dysphoria–when you hate yourself for the gender you are and you hate your body for it–is serious and it is seriously painful. I have had it most of my life, and anytime my depression is at its darkest it absolutely comes back. But I hold that in the case of PURE gender dysphoria, the problem is NOT the person’s body, but society. It is society that says a man can’t be beautiful and a woman be tough, not the body. Society that insists women are always going to be weaker, and men should always lead. But instead of changing the gender or even going so far to alter physiological sex, society needs to change, and the person needs to experience self-love, not bend to that society. Society has screamed at me for years that I’m a man trapped in a woman’s body. From colleague comments about the man in my marriage to in church and school lessons to clothing brands and job roles, people would always say “girls are this way” and I never was that way. My dysphoria got so much better when I began to question: “WHY do I have to become a man to obtain this right? WHY do I have to become a man to be this way that I am?” And the answer was always no reason: I should have the right to be this way AS A WOMAN. Woman just means I’ve got these parts downstairs and I’ve been asked to play certain spiritual roles that aren’t anyone else’s business. Everything else is fair fucking game and society needs to back tf off.
You may not believe that, and that’s your right as a thinking adult.
Which leads us to:
3. Selling gender roles to CHILDREN is the worst thing 1950s suburban churchy traditionalists do and now it’s the worst thing physicians and activists can do to children now.
From the age of six years old I was already, in my head, acting as a boy, because I felt I was one. I have diaries from when I was eleven screaming at God for making me female. If you had asked me as a child if I wanted to transition, I would have said yes. I would have accepted the increased risk of cancer with the FDA-unapproved use of androgel because, bloody hey, cancer is cool but being a girl definitely ISN’T so let’s get out of THAT mess. That’s honestly how I would have thought. Children think kind of dumb. So when you teach a child, “man means a person with a penis, but he can be a nurse or love flowers if he wants,” they can grasp that. When you teach them, “man means a person who loves playing with guns and cowboys and StarWars, do you feel like a man or a woman?” you’ve now created something abstract the child can’t grasp, and you’ve led them to what is going to be always a conclusion skewed by toy marketing and movies. Teaching children that “boy” and “girl” is somehow more than body parts just means that their gender will now be determined by whoever’s marketing the most interesting toys at that moment.
It goes beyond that when you’re now talking adding androgel to the equation. Children cannot meaningfully consent to ANYTHING. So when you force something on their bodies, or manipulate them into accepting something on their bodies, or kindly teach them something is good for their bodies–none of it is real consent, and you better be making sure that thing you’re doing to that child’s body is life-saving or at least very life-needed.
Who do you think profits most financially from children’s genders being determined by pop culture and children’s physiology being determined by parentally-chosen medical procedures? Is it coincidental that androgel hadn’t been doing as well with men as it used to, and now it’s being directed towards young girls?
The point isn’t to be anti-trans. The point is to question if we’re really doing good things for trans people, or being manipulated by a healthcare system that just wants money.
4. It’s possible to teach love and respect for trans people without taking away the concrete realities children need to grow.
How about when we teach trans issues to kids: “This little girl was born with a different genes, genes that said she was a little girl, but her parts said she was a boy, so she went to the doctor to get the parts to match the genes and now she’s all better. When someone is trans, it could mean they have a treatment like that girl did. Other times when someone is trans, it means it’s hard for them to love their body because it’s a boy or girl and too many people told them they can’t follow their dreams if they are a boy or girl. We have to help them to love and keep their bodies and make sure they can reach any dream they want even in those bodies.” That is a tolerant, gentle, and understanding philosophy that won’t limit anyone’s decision to transition later in life if needed. Because some people will need to transition. I don’t doubt that. The question is who.
And the growing number of people suffering detransitioning is telling us that we are casting far too far a net when it comes to that WHO WE TRANSITION. We as a society refuse to “transition” to gender equality, and so instead we manipulate people who don’t fit our gender roles to get surgeries and hormones and change pronouns so they’ll better fit what a man or woman is “supposed” to be. What if instead we took our time before bringing out the knives, loved all trans people, and took a long hard look at underlying CAUSES for each individual’s unique dysphoria rather than just paying pharmaceutical companies and wealthy surgeons to hide it?
My body isn’t the problem. Society is the problem. Change IT.
That’s my hero ethics thought for you today, but if we were superheroes, we wouldn’t rely on everyone else to solve the problem–superheroes find solutions themselves. Do you have ideas for ways we can meaningfully push this kind of thought forward to help more trans people? Ideas to correct my thoughts? Do you know a physician you’d like to share this with? Do you have ideas for testing and developing better screening tools? A children’s picture book that actually talks about how to help with early gender dysphoria instead of just playing to gender roles? Do you know how to care for the trans person in your life amid all this crazy mess?
Let me know what you’d like to DO, because I’d be interested in partnering with you. Doing is better than talking, and if I’m able, I’d like to be useful to someone who’s not just out to trash trans people but also not out to lie to us, either.
(Not sure where you fit in to the superhero thing? Start your hero journey here.)