Making decisions

Recently came across this gem from Occupy Democrats Logic on Facebook:

This is yet another of the many contradictions with regard to the left and standing laws. And also how authoritarian and anti-family they’ve become.

The main point of the “Under 13” item is this idea that kids who have not yet reached puberty are generally capable of determining if they are “transgender”, including the determination of what treatment options they need, all while not being legally able to drink, buy certain video games, have sex, or even work. So the law doesn’t extend trust to minors of such relatively minor decisions, yet many on the left think minors who haven’t reached puberty can somehow discern that they have gender dysphoria.

Except no one can determine for certain they have gender dysphoria without the aid of a psychiatrist, just as no person can determine they have depression or anxiety disorder without the aid of a psychiatrist.

Quoting the British NHS (emphasis mine):

Children with gender dysphoria may display some, or all, of these behaviours. However, in many cases, behaviours such as these are just a part of childhood and don’t necessarily mean your child has gender dysphoria.

For example, many girls behave in a way that can be described as “tomboyish”, which is often seen as part of normal female development. It’s also not uncommon for boys to roleplay as girls and to dress up in their mother’s or sister’s clothes. This is usually just a phase.

Most children who behave in these ways don’t have gender dysphoria and don’t become transsexuals. Only in rare cases does the behaviour persist into the teenage years and adulthood.

And then with regard to teenagers:

The way gender dysphoria affects teenagers and adults is different to the way it affects children. If you’re a teenager or adult with gender dysphoria, you may feel:

  • without doubt that your gender identity is at odds with your biological sex
  • comfortable only when in the gender role of your preferred gender identity
  • a strong desire to hide or be rid of the physical signs of your sex, such as breasts, body hair or muscle definition
  • a strong dislike for – and a strong desire to change or be rid of – the genitalia of your biological sex

Without appropriate help and support, some people may try to suppress their feelings and attempt to live the life of their biological sex. Ultimately, however, most people are unable to keep this up.

Having or suppressing these feelings is often very difficult to deal with and, as a result, many transsexuals and people with gender dysphoria experience depression, self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

The psychological or psychiatric component is what is ultimately necessary to diagnose gender dysphoria. It is often not present in children. And it is extremely rare, rarer than rare, when it does genuinely present.

But this hasn’t stopped the growing trend wherein parents are being “gender fluid” or “gender non-specific” with raising their children. Things such as using “gender neutral” pronouns around their kids to avoid “gender indoctrination” or “gender assignment”. I wish I was making that up. The “trans-trender” phenomenon of social media has leached into parenting.

While transgender awareness is certainly a great thing, just as homosexual and bisexual awareness is also a great thing for society, it’s something that has now gone way too far. Beyond the point of sanity. The logic is one that escapes me: a kid who wants to play with toys of the opposite sex or otherwise act as the opposite sex is presumed to be transgender rather than interpreting it as just a phase. And adults who do not feel 100% masculine or 100% feminine 100% of the time are now called “genderqueer”.

And that trend has been lambasted by transgender activists, most notably from my experience being Blair White, who is a male-to-female transsexual:

Those who are genuinely transsexual, genuinely gender dysphoric, are a tiny minority. And within that tiny minority is an extremely tiny minority of those who are, without doubt, present as such before reaching puberty. In general, though, the psychiatric component of gender dysphoria must also present at that young age for it to actually be gender dysphoria instead of it being just a phase.

Now sure in some children it could be a strong presentation of wanting to act like the opposite sex, one that causes the child’s parents to question if it’s just a phase. And it’s a legitimate concern at that point as well. That doesn’t mean you indulge it, whole-hog, though, without openly and continually questioning it.

The rarity of such genuinely dysphoric, prepubescent individuals makes them generally newsworthy, and they’ve typically received press coverage. I can think of only three examples off the top of my head: Kim Petras, Jackie Green, and Jazz Jennings. Kim Petras and Jackie Green underwent sex reassignment surgery and the full male-to-female gender transition as minors. With medical advice and parental consent. I do not know if Jazz Jennings has started the medical transition process.

But there are numerous concepts that many falsely assert as gender dysphoria. For one, transvestism is not gender dysphoria. Your son or daughter wanting to dress as the opposite sex or play with toys typically associated with the opposite sex is not gender dysphoria and does not make your son or daughter transsexual or transgender. Without the psychiatric components, it cannot be gender dysphoria. Instead, again, it is likely just a phase, one that comes about as a child becomes more self-aware and tries to establish greater levels of independence.

As such, a minor asserting they are the opposite sex and wanting to live as the opposite sex should be evaluated by a psychiatrist, provided it is not a phase.

But proper evaluation and diagnosis can take YEARS to assess whether the person is legitimately gender dysphoric. That time is also necessary to asses the risks posed by treatment options and evaluate what treatment options would be proper and when they should occur.

And that is true for both minors and adults.

The concern with minors, however, is that hormone therapies during puberty can have risks that are significantly reduced by waiting for puberty to complete. They can also exacerbate other risks that would otherwise not present if the therapies never started, such as risks for certain cancers. This is not something to take lightly.

As such, it is not a decision that a minor can make on their own. They are likely not mature enough to fully understand the consequences of that level of decision-making. It’s not even one that adults are permitted under current medical guidelines to make on their own due to the long-term risks and consequences. Guidance from several specialists is necessary and required.

If you believe you are gender dysphoric and want to transition to the opposite gender, before actually starting any kind of transition, you need to get under the care and supervision of a psychiatrist who has a well-documented track record with regard to gender dysphoria. Same if you are a parent who, for some reason, believes your child’s desire to play with toys and dress in clothes normally associated with the opposite sex is more than just a phase.

Again this is not something minors can or should be permitted to do on their own. And it is not something that should be encouraged in minors either, especially prepubescent minors.