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Quill
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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

Just a further thought on my most recent post: 

I don’t see how it is any different from a teen who loathes some aspect of their body/face and wants plastic surgery to change it. When I was a teen, I had very small boobs and classmates made up mean and harassing nick-names about my flat chest. It sucked. But I don’t think many people would have advised my parents to have bre$st implants so I could get away from my feelings about my small boobs. And fortunately, by the time I was old enough to actually consider getting brea$t implants, I had made peace with the super lithe body I have. 
 

I do believe it is different because breasts are central to the entire gender identity. They are a body part that is fraught with connotations like possibly none other. They embody the essence of "female". Which is exactly why for many women the loss of breasts is very traumatic.

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23 minutes ago, Quill said:

Yes, same one I have mentioned before, so we are a few years into name change, public identity and family being informed. But I disagree that *this* specifically is no big deal, just because the identity stuff has been underway for a while. 
 

So, here’s my thought that some people here will intensely disagree with: adolescence is a time of figuring out identity. We, as a society, acknowledge that in many other areas of identity: the kid who dresses in black and dyes their hair purple is not necessarily going to do that when they are thirty. Kids may think, “I’m a theatre rat” or “I’m an athlete” or “I’m an honor student.” But nobody has surgery to make that known; nobody has to permanently alter their body for those times of working out identity. 
 

In the past, I’m sure lots of people struggled with being female or male for some period of time. But altering their body permanently was not a possibility and they typically did not continue to struggle with it. I’m not sure we are doing the right thing as a society to say that permanent alterations are necessary for every child who struggles for a while with gender identity. 
 

There are such things as trans-desisters. Probably spelled wrong. But people who start transitioning and then desist. 

How would you have ANY IDEA if this is true? 

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3 minutes ago, bibiche said:

What I find particularly egregious is the total disregard for the life of the other person. PP is commenting on a post saying that using correct pronouns can save lives. It totally comes across as “Who cares? I think that’s a lie, which I view as morally wrong, so I’d rather they kill themselves than compromise my morality.” As if being part of the cause of someone’s suicide isn’t compromising morality. Unconscionable.

I don’t think that it’s total disregard for the life of another person to want to avoid lying.  That’s a massive value for lots of people (eg My word is my bond) and it presents a serious moral dilemma that needs to be thought through.  I don’t think it’s polite to use references to someone that are repugnant to them, ever, but then again one needs to think through some kind of third alternative.  

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12 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

That was very harsh.  Not like you at all.  😞

I'm sorry if I sounded harsh, Scarlett. It just bugs me when this moralizing comes out selectively. People tell lies all the time. We all do. Every study proves that. And most of us have a moral code that says that it is bad to lie, so most of us try not to tell lies intentionally. But, most of us do not go around telling the truth 100% of the time because it is obnoxious, so we tell these white lies that most of us deem to be harmless, as in my example.

So, my contention is that using the personal pronouns of a trans person is only a big deal if you make it out to be. No one is asking you (the general you) TO LIE. No one is asking you to tell some huge falsehood. People are just asking you to be polite. People are just asking you not to be obnoxious. And when people say they cannot do that because it's against their moral code, I call BS on that because people do it all the time, all day long -- with the old lady that we humor, or the grocery store clerk making small talk. Except suddenly when it comes to these types of controversial issues, so that's why I say that it's their bigotry talking.    

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7 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

As if you moral highgrounders have never lied in your whole entire lives. Never told a stinking white lie to a family member, a little old lady, or a grocery store clerk because it was the polite thing to do. Give me a break.

Someone asks, "How are you today?"

(You've had a terrible day) You say, "Fine." You don't go on and on with the truth about your crap day because no one really wants to hear about it.

You just smile and say the polite thing. 

Same here. Don't pass on your bigotry with your selective moralizing. Just smile and do the polite thing. 

 

Are you able to see the hypocrisy this post exhibits?

You accuse others of being "moral high grounders" while simultaneously claiming that YOUR perception of morality needs to be accepted. "Just smile and do (what I see as) the right thing ."

 

 

No human has a perfect claim to morality; life is messy and humans are messy and most of us just do the best we can with our own understanding.

There is a strong tendency right now in some circles to not only proselytize but to even attempt to enforce one particular narrow view of morality, one that demands that certain types of identity and choices be 100% affirmed at all times by everyone. It's a limited morality and one that is embraced with religious fervor by many.

"My morality is righteous and anyone who thinks differently is morally inferior and needs to convert."

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3 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I do believe it is different because breasts are central to the entire gender identity. They are a body part that is fraught with connotations like possibly none other. They embody the essence of "female". Which is exactly why for many women the loss of breasts is very traumatic.

I wish my breasts had been big enough early enough to be central to my gender identity, LOL.  Now that I’m old and fat I guess they are, but this was not the case for most of my early adult life.

When I think of this surgery, I mostly think about it in terms of the regrettable removing of the option of breast feeding, which surprisingly enough became a big identity thing for me once I had a baby (completely unexpectedly, I might add.). 

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16 minutes ago, maize said:

Are you able to see the hypocrisy this post exhibits?

You accuse others of being "moral high grounders" while simultaneously claiming that YOUR perception of morality needs to be accepted. "Just smile and do (what I see as) the right thing ."

Not at all. I am saying that you are already lying throughout your day. Every study proves that humans tell white lies throughout their day. Perhaps, you are the rare exception to this rule, but I doubt it. So, the safe money says that all of these anti-trans moralizers are already lying on the regular. Who does it harm for them to just extend the same polite courtesy, that they already extend to the grocery store clerk and the little old lady, to trans folks?

That's not asking people to abide by my morality; that's asking them to be internally consistent about their own, or to admit that it isn't honesty that is motivating their differing response to trans folks.

Edited by SeaConquest
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12 minutes ago, maize said:

Are you able to see the hypocrisy this post exhibits?

You accuse others of being "moral high grounders" while simultaneously claiming that YOUR perception of morality needs to be accepted. "Just smile and do (what I see as) the right thing ."

 

 

No human has a perfect claim to morality; life is messy and humans are messy and most of us just do the best we can with our own understanding.

There is a strong tendency right now in some circles to not only proselytize but to even attempt to enforce one particular narrow view of morality, one that demands that certain types of identity and choices be 100% affirmed at all times by everyone. It's a limited morality and one that is embraced with religious fervor by many.

"My morality is righteous and anyone who thinks differently is morally inferior and needs to convert."

I have noticed the same thing but could not have articulated it as well as you.  Thank you.

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12 minutes ago, bibiche said:

What I find particularly egregious is the total disregard for the life of the other person. PP is commenting on a post saying that using correct pronouns can save lives. It totally comes across as “Who cares? I think that’s a lie, which I view as morally wrong, so I’d rather they kill themselves than compromise my morality.” As if being part of the cause of someone’s suicide isn’t compromising morality. Unconscionable.

"If you don't lie (...) will kill themself" is a manipulatively abusive way of pressuring someone to change their behavior.

Simplistic moralities always have blind spots. Can you step back enough to see one here?

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7 minutes ago, Quill said:

Just a further thought on my most recent post: 

I don’t see how it is any different from a teen who loathes some aspect of their body/face and wants plastic surgery to change it. When I was a teen, I had very small boobs and classmates made up mean and harassing nick-names about my flat chest. It sucked. But I don’t think many people would have advised my parents to have bre$st implants so I could get away from my feelings about my small boobs. And fortunately, by the time I was old enough to actually consider getting brea$t implants, I had made peace with the super lithe body I have. 
 

The fact that you can't see the difference is exactly the issue.

How would you feel if your nephew was born with male anatomy but had a condition called gynecomastia, which causes the development of actual breasts in men & boys? Would you be upset about him having surgery to correct the condition, on the grounds that the breast tissue was "healthy," even though it was on a man? That is the appropriate analogy to what your nephew is experiencing.

It's one thing to say "hey I love my nephew but I'm struggling to deal with this change," but what you seem to be saying is that you simply don't accept that this child is trans and continue to hope that he will "desist" and go back to being the person you wish he still was (or that you thought he was anyway). You can continue to refuse to accept it, or you can choose to acknowledge that this is his reality and work on your own attitude, which is why several people suggested talking about it with a counselor — not because they think you're a "head case," as you put it, but because it may help you work through your feelings so that you can have a loving and supportive relationship with your nephew going forward.

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29 minutes ago, hippymamato3 said:

This is not at all the same thing. Not even close. 

There’s no way to know that definitively. Some young people begin the process and then desist. Some complete it but still have deep body image disturbances. What I think troubles me in the big picture is that feelings of conflict regarding gender as (now) instantly viewed as something we must go all the way on, rather than saying, let’s do what we can and wait on the rest. It’s no big deal to change your name  again, or just keep it, or just dress androgynously forever. But surgery is a big deal, and I wasn’t really noticing that. 

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17 minutes ago, maize said:

There is a strong tendency right now in some circles to not only proselytize but to even attempt to enforce one particular narrow view of morality, one that demands that certain types of identity and choices be 100% affirmed at all times by everyone. It's a limited morality and one that is embraced with religious fervor by many.

"My morality is righteous and anyone who thinks differently is morally inferior and needs to convert."

Maize,

I am much more libertarian in my views than it may appear. IMO, you are free to believe that men are men and women are women. I am not trying to convert you to any particular view re trans folks or LGBTQ folks generally. I have my own personal views, but we don't need to share those views in order for us to be friends and to respect one another. We live in a secular society and I support the free exercise of religion. Having said that, I *am* trying to convert you to the view that we should be kinder to historically marginalized folks in our daily interactions with them and, IMO, it is unkind and impolite to not use a person's preferred pronouns and to hide behind "I don't want to lie" is simply bigotry couched as selective moralizing. Just as Regentrude mentioned, a person may be "against" divorce because of their religious beliefs, but it would be unkind and impolite to refer to someone by their married name after divorce. I see no distinction.   

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On 6/17/2021 at 9:26 AM, SeaConquest said:

I'm sorry if I sounded harsh, Scarlett. It just bugs me when this moralizing comes out selectively. People tell lies all the time. We all do. Every study proves that. And most of us have a moral code that says that it is bad to lie, so most of us try not to tell lies intentionally. But, most of us do not go around telling the truth 100% of the time because it is obnoxious, so we tell these white lies that most of us deem to be harmless, as in my example.

So, my contention is that using the personal pronouns of a trans person is only a big deal if you make it out to be. No one is asking you (the general you) TO LIE. No one is asking you to tell some huge falsehood. People are just asking you to be polite. People are just asking you not to be obnoxious. And when people say they cannot do that because it's against their moral code, I call BS on that because people do it all the time, all day long -- with the old lady that we humor, or the grocery store clerk making small talk. Except suddenly when it comes to these types of controversial issues, so that's why I say that it's their bigotry talking.    

I don't feel any bigotry towards trans people (and that's not a hypothetical for me- I paid for my brother's top surgery nearly 20 years ago and took care of him before and after. I do not lack for experience with these issues) but I also don't think I'm required to adjust my speech or follow all and all decrees made by someone who is trans. 

When my brother first transitioned he wanted all pictures of his childhood destroyed.  I didn't destroy them.   My thinking was that most of them were group shots and I shouldn't have to lose a picture of my mom (we have precious few pictures of my mom) or myself or my softball team because my brother was also in the shot. I didn't even stop displaying one of them.  It pissed him off but I'm his big sister, it's my birthright to piss him off a little. For years my brother bought into the idea that his female childhood was dead/erased.  It was a toxic thinking pattern.  Recently, he realized that he wanted to see those pictures.  I had them in a box in storage and he couldn't wait for me to dig them out.  Called me everyday that week to see if we'd been to the storage unit yet.  But at 18 he had told me *repeatedly* that if I loved him at all I would destroy those pictures so he'd never have to see them again.  Trans 18-year-olds are still 18-year-olds and 18-year-olds often don't have the best long term thinking.  

Literally all of my nieces and nephews under age 19 identify under the trans umbrella somewhere.  I will use preferred names if asked directly to do so by that person. We are a nickname family so I think of it as a nickname.  I tend to default to neutral pronouns with them all if one of them is present.  But I've decided that I won't make other changes (such as calling my niece my nephew) unless they are seeing a counselor and make more concrete changes than changing their name and pronoun every month. I flirted with gender neutral kinship terms, decided it was stupid and stopped (so no sibkid or nibing or whatever either.)  One of my nieces has three different names and pronouns that she uses in different friend groups.  I don't think any people (trans or not) are well served by being excessively catered to.  None of the children in my life feel that I am bigoted or intolerant towards them- but they also know that my views on this topic are nuanced and diverge from the mainstream in our circle.  None of my nieces and nephews appear to have actual gender dysphoria and yes, my approach would be different if one of them did have gender dysphoria.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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Loving and supportive doesn't equal blind and completely self-effacing.

Quill loves someone who is walking a hard path, a double mastectomy is serious. Medical transition is experimental and permanent, concerns aren't bigotry. This young person will have to reckon with the reality of their sexed body one day, that just is.

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26 minutes ago, maize said:

"If you don't lie (...) will kill themself" is a manipulatively abusive way of pressuring someone to change their behavior.

Simplistic moralities always have blind spots. Can you step back enough to see one here?

You were literally responding to someone’s post about how using correct pronouns saves lives and saying (implying) you wouldn’t do it. 🙄

Edited by bibiche
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14 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

Maize,

I am much more libertarian in my views than it may appear. IMO, you are free to believe that men are men and women are women. I am not trying to convert you to any particular view re trans folks or LGBTQ folks generally. I have my own personal views, but we don't need to share those views in order for us to be friends and to respect one another. We live in a secular society and I support the free exercise of religion. Having said that, I *am* trying to convert you to the view that we should be kinder to historically marginalized folks in our daily interactions with them and, IMO, it is unkind and impolite to not use a person's preferred pronouns and to hide behind "I don't want to lie" is simply bigotry couched as selective moralizing. Just as Regentrude mentioned, a person may be "against" divorce because of their religious beliefs, but it would be unkind and impolite to refer to someone by their married name after divorce. I see no distinction.   

Can you see that DEMANDING that people lie can also be an unkindness?

Is it for you to determine what is or is not a significant moral issue for someone else?

To put it another way, is it morally consistent to insist that linguistic affirmation of gender identity can be really, truly important for one person, while simultaneously insisting that linguistic affirmation (even just in their own use of language!) of biological sex cannot be really, truly important to someone else? 

You might note that I haven't advocated against using preferred pronouns etc..

I have advocated against demanding that others conform their behavior to your perceptions of morality.

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

...  In re: my niece/nephew, there are other reasons it feels like grief to me, but cutting off healthy br3asts when still a teen is not great no matter how I look at it. ...

A mastectomy was best gift we gave our transgender ftm child.  Unfortunately he inherited my large breasts, which caused him discomfort both mentally and physically.  Until his mastectomy, he bound his breasts which often caused soreness and irritation.  His mental health was much improved by the mastectomy.  I have had breast cancer too but my situation was not comparable to his even though I chose to keep my original breasts.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

But why? What would your goal be? That’s just being unkind. Like mocking someone or calling them names. You may think someone is overweight, but presumably you don’t make a point to tell them that? It doesn’t hurt to call someone what they ask to be called (except in the case of sexual assault when someone is assaulted by a trans woman who is anatomically male. The victim should call them whatever she wants.) OTOH, it’s upsetting to continue to hear people say that using the wrong pronouns or name is going to cause people to kill themselves. This is a very harmful statement that can be a self fulfilling prophecy. It makes me angry for my trans kid to be getting the message from everyone that the wrong pronoun is a suicide-worthy offense. It's dangerous and it's just not true. People should call people the name they want and use the pronouns they want, but please stop saying that otherwise they will kill themselves.

1 hour ago, MEmama said:

Yeah, that’s not what this is though. Surgery isn’t mutilation. 

eta if that’s the perception though, more education and possibly counseling would indeed be helpful to better understand. That’s not a judgment. A lot of people struggle and that’s totally valid. But not learning more…isn’t okay if one wants to preserve a relationship. And since this her nephew, I think remaining close is important to her. 

 I do think a lot of trans allies don't necessarily know the full realities of some of the surgeries. We're not at Star Trek level plastic surgery yet. The recipient doesn't end up looking and functioning just like a natal male would. It's a major deal, and almost all the surgeries result in loss of function in one or more ways. I think that's important to know and acknowledge. Top surgery, besides meaning that the person will never breastfeed, also frequently leaves the recipient with no sensation in the chest skin, and almost always leaves them with no erogenous sensation. Nipple grafts fail with some frequency, and the nipple grafts themselves don't look the same as natural nipples. With the most common technique, scarring is extensive. That doesn't mean it's not the right decision for some people, but it's not a neutral decision without significant drawbacks.

2 hours ago, MEmama said:

 your nephew isn’t becoming a different person. He’s becoming who he has always been.
 

I would say the nephew is the same person he's always been, not that he is becoming the person he's always been. It's not the case that trans people can always be said to have always been the gender they transition to. That's most common in transwomen who express they felt like women from the time they were a young child. There are a lot of other trans people, particularly trans men and nonbinary people, who had no gender dysphoria until adolescence or later. My own trans kid still acknowledges their past gender having been different the whole time they were growing up. They had no dysphoria. This is the case for the majority of the young adult AFAB trans people I know (I know quite a few). I do know (less well), one young transgirl, and that case is the historically more typical case of beginning at a young age. Gender is not an unchanging characteristic, as it's currently conceptualized. It can't be both something that people get to choose and can transition to and from, but also be immutable and lifelong.

 

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This topic is just, unbelievable. Being kind doesn't mean you leave your brain and morals and boundaries on the floor.

Actual, physical, sexually dimorphic, mammalian bodies exist. Trans people with good therapists know that better than anyone.

Classical education board fgs

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4 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

I don't feel any bigotry towards trans people (and that's not a hypothetical for me- I paid for my brother's top surgery nearly 20 years ago and took care of him before and after. I do not lack for experience with these issues) but I also don't think I'm required to adjust my speech or follow all and all decrees made by someone who is trans. 

When my brother first transitioned he wanted all pictures of his childhood destroyed.  I didn't destroy them.   My thinking was that most of them were group shots and I shouldn't have to lose a picture of my mom (we have precious few pictures of my mom) or myself or my softball team because my brother was also in the shot. I didn't even stop displaying one of them.  It pissed him off but I'm his big sister, it's my birthright to piss him off a little. For years my brother bought into the idea that his female childhood was dead/erased.  It was a toxic thinking pattern.  Recently, he realized that he wanted to see those pictures.  I had them in a box in storage and he couldn't wait for me to dig them out.  Called me everyday that week to see if we'd been to the storage unit yet.  But at 18 he had told me *repeatedly* that if I loved him at all I would destroy those pictures so he'd never have to see them again.  Trans 18-year-olds are still 18-year-olds and 18-year-olds often don't have the best long term thinking.  

Literally all of my nieces and nephews under age 19 identify under the trans umbrella somewhere.  I will use preferred names if asked directly to do so by that person.  I tend to default to neutral pronouns with them all if one of them is present.  But I've decided that I won't make other changes (such as calling my niece my nephew) unless they see a counselor and make more concrete changes than changing their name and pronoun every month. One of my nieces has three different names and pronouns that she uses in different friend groups.  I don't think any people (trans or not) are well served by being excessively catered to.  None of the children in my life feel that I am bigoted or intolerant towards them- but they also know that my views on this topic are nuanced and diverge from the mainstream in our circle.  None of my nieces and nephews appear to have actual gender dysphoria and yes, my approach would be different if one of them did have gender dysphoria.  

Katie,

This is a far more nuanced view, based on lived experience with actual trans human beings. You know as well as I do that most of the people that pull these shenanigans have no love for trans folks and generally that's because they have no real connection with trans folks in their lives. Clearly, there is a distinction to be made between catering to every whim of a teenager and honoring the simple requests of another human being re how they are addressed in our daily interactions with that person.

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1 hour ago, SeaConquest said:

Those of us that support trans human beings exercising personal bodily autonomy need therapy? Judgmental much?

But, let me guess, forcibly circumcising infant boys without their consent is no problem? Mhmmm.  

 

No, circumcising infant boys is also body mutilation and should not be done.

 

Susan in TX

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17 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

Trans 18-year-olds are still 18-year-olds and 18-year-olds often don't have the best long term thinking.  
 

QFT

3 minutes ago, LMD said:

Trans people with good therapists know that better than anyone.

 

This seems to be a unicorn. My dc can not find a therapist that doesn't have a trans agenda that is not serving them well. Their mental health is suffering, and their therapists keep being more interested in toeing the trans party line than in really delving into what is going on and what they need to feel better. Why don't people care about that when they threaten that trans people are going to kill themselves if everyone doesn't agree with everything they think? The opposite can be true as well.

2 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

Katie,

This is a far more nuanced view, based on lived experience with actual trans human beings. You know as well as I do that most of the people that pull these shenanigans have no love for trans folks and generally that's because they have no real connection with trans folks in their lives. Clearly, there is a distinction to be made between catering to every whim of a teenager and honoring the simple requests of another human being re how they are addressed in our daily interactions with that person.

QFT This could not be more true

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8 minutes ago, maize said:

Can you see that DEMANDING that people lie can also be an unkindness?

Is it for you to determine what is or is not a significant moral issue for someone else?

To put it another way, is it morally consistent to insist that linguistic affirmation of gender identity can be really, truly important for one person, while simultaneously insisting that linguistic affirmation (even just in their own use of language!) of biological sex cannot be really, truly important to someone else? 

You might note that I haven't advocated against using preferred pronouns etc..

I have advocated against demanding that others conform their behavior to your perceptions of morality.

Just to be clear, I don't assume that you personally feel a particular way about this issue. My use of you is really meant generally. I have no idea what you personally believe.

I absolutely see that their linguistic affirmation of biological sex is important to them. It is so important to them that they refuse to be polite and kind to others, or to tell the usual little white lies that they do numerous times throughout their day without even thinking about it. So, that's why I don't believe that it's about being honest. It's only about being honest some of the time. The rest of the time, they don't care and will go with the flow (like with the divorced lady's name). But biological sex affirmation just happens to be SO IMPORTANT TO THEM that they have to virtue signal about it by being rude and unkind. No bigotry about that distinction at all. Got it.      

 

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26 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom said:

The affirmation only model, which the US embraces, does not have enough safeguards and exploration of co-morbidities.    The early medicalization is being driven by money, and teens are paying the price.  There are a growing number of desisters who are angry (the reddit thread is up to 20k members now) and they blame the medical professionals who are rushing them through the process.  

These are kids that are overrepresented with an autism diagnosis, or have severe depression, often have eating disorders, and most frequently have had a huge amount of social media consumption prior to their decision.   There are an incredible amount of (monetized) transition timelines out there that these kids are watching and internalizing, much like I did when I was in my 20's and consuming information on eating disorders so that I could be better at starving.  Rumination and depression mixed with social media love -bombing kids who feel out of place is leading to this massive increase in numbers.  

So much all this. But no one wants to investigate what's actually happening and what would help these kids without such drastic measures with lifelong medical impacts especially because anyone who does gets labeled as a hater and people have gotten fired for questioning what is happening. I hesitate wading into this, because I don't want to give fodder for anti-trans folks. That's not what this is about. But my kid couldn't get proper counseling because all anyone wanted to do was jump directly to the affirm step. And now [deleted personal info]. It's not a panacea, and it can't be reversed. ***DO NOT QUOTE THE LAST FEW SENTENCES****

Edited by KSera
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8 minutes ago, KSera said:

QFT

This seems to be a unicorn. My dc can not find a therapist that doesn't have a trans agenda that is not serving them well. Their mental health is suffering, and their therapists keep being more interested in toeing the trans party line than in really delving into what is going on and what they need to feel better. Why don't people care about that when they threaten that trans people are going to kill themselves if everyone doesn't agree with everything they think? The opposite can be true as well.

QFT This could not be more true

The good therapists are quitting, in droves, because ideologically driven agendas that prohibit questioning aren't conducive to good therapy, and good therapists don't like to perpetrate bad therapy.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

I would argue that it is acceptable because kindness and compassion and the wish to save another person's sanity and, possibly, their life outweigh my potential need to be "morally correct."

Edited to add: Perhaps a more concise and more personal way to express my feelings about this would be to say that, for me, my over-riding moral/ethical value is compassion. If that means going along with what another human being believes about themselves -- even if I question that truth -- I'm going to default to treating the real-life person standing in front of me with respect and compassion. 

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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2 hours ago, maize said:

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

I totally understand this, maize, and I used to really struggle with the thought of having to lie. I tried to just avoid pronouns for a while in those situations and sometimes I still do.

Now I do think it's okay to just address someone as they prefer out of politeness and kindness, as Laura said below. 

But of course you have to follow your conscience. There may be consequences to that, like any decision that affects your interactions with other people. 

2 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

I think of it as a courtesy to address people as they wish to be addressed. I believe that homeopathy is dangerous and false.  But if someone wishes to be addressed as a doctor of homeopathy, I would bite my tongue and do it.

 

Edited by MercyA
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2 minutes ago, Jenny in Florida said:

I would argue that it is acceptable because kindness and compassion and the wish to save another person's sanity and, possibly, their life outweigh my potential need to be "morally correct."

I agree with the kindness and compassion, but can we stop with the life-saving? It really does harm. Suicide is a suggestible act, especially among young people. If someone is in a state where the wrong pronoun will make them suicidal, they need much more extensive mental health help and just making sure no one ever uses the wrong word around them is not a solution. 

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57 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

Maize,

I am much more libertarian in my views than it may appear. IMO, you are free to believe that men are men and women are women. I am not trying to convert you to any particular view re trans folks or LGBTQ folks generally. I have my own personal views, but we don't need to share those views in order for us to be friends and to respect one another. We live in a secular society and I support the free exercise of religion. Having said that, I *am* trying to convert you to the view that we should be kinder to historically marginalized folks in our daily interactions with them and, IMO, it is unkind and impolite to not use a person's preferred pronouns and to hide behind "I don't want to lie" is simply bigotry couched as selective moralizing. Just as Regentrude mentioned, a person may be "against" divorce because of their religious beliefs, but it would be unkind and impolite to refer to someone by their married name after divorce. I see no distinction.   

Those of us who don't want to lie aren't "hiding behind" that as an excuse. That is such a judgment on other people's thoughts and motivations. How can you possibly know what we feel in our hearts? I don't hate or fear trans people. 

Lying is a very, very serious thing to some of us, and just because *you* put preferred pronouns on the level of a "little white lie" for others doesn't mean that they themselves consider it such.  

If you want to have a respectful dialogue, refraining from calling people bigots would help.

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2 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

As if you moral highgrounders have never lied in your whole entire lives. Never told a stinking white lie to a family member, a little old lady, or a grocery store clerk because it was the polite thing to do. Give me a break.

Someone asks, "How are you today?"

(You've had a terrible day) You say, "Fine." You don't go on and on with the truth about your crap day because no one really wants to hear about it.

You just smile and say the polite thing. 

Same here. Don't pass on your bigotry with your selective moralizing. Just smile and do the polite thing. 

There are absolutely people who don’t lie.

Just because studies show that lying is normal doesn’t mean that an individual person is a liar.

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46 minutes ago, KSera said:

But why? What would your goal be? That’s just being unkind. Like mocking someone or calling them names. You may think someone is overweight, but presumably you don’t make a point to tell them that? It doesn’t hurt to call someone what they ask to be called (except in the case of sexual assault when someone is assaulted by a trans woman who is anatomically male. The victim should call them whatever she wants.) OTOH, it’s upsetting to continue to hear people say that using the wrong pronouns or name is going to cause people to kill themselves. This is a very harmful statement that can be a self fulfilling prophecy. It makes me angry for my trans kid to be getting the message from everyone that the wrong pronoun is a suicide-worthy offense. It's dangerous and it's just not true. People should call people the name they want and use the pronouns they want, but please stop saying that otherwise they will kill themselves.

 I do think a lot of trans allies don't necessarily know the full realities of some of the surgeries. We're not at Star Trek level plastic surgery yet. The recipient doesn't end up looking and functioning just like a natal male would. It's a major deal, and almost all the surgeries result in loss of function in one or more ways. I think that's important to know and acknowledge. Top surgery, besides meaning that the person will never breastfeed, also frequently leaves the recipient with no sensation in the chest skin, and almost always leaves them with no erogenous sensation. Nipple grafts fail with some frequency, and the nipple grafts themselves don't look the same as natural nipples. With the most common technique, scarring is extensive. That doesn't mean it's not the right decision for some people, but it's not a neutral decision without significant drawbacks.

I would say the nephew is the same person he's always been, not that he is becoming the person he's always been. It's not the case that trans people can always be said to have always been the gender they transition to. That's most common in transwomen who express they felt like women from the time they were a young child. There are a lot of other trans people, particularly trans men and nonbinary people, who had no gender dysphoria until adolescence or later. My own trans kid still acknowledges their past gender having been different the whole time they were growing up. They had no dysphoria. This is the case for the majority of the young adult AFAB trans people I know (I know quite a few). I do know (less well), one young transgirl, and that case is the historically more typical case of beginning at a young age. Gender is not an unchanging characteristic, as it's currently conceptualized. It can't be both something that people get to choose and can transition to and from, but also be immutable and lifelong.

 

I agree. I meant “becoming” in the sense that his body will now match who he has always been inside. Thank you for articulating it better than I did.

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Scott Newgent, a 42 year old transman and founder of TRE Voices against the medicalization of minors, has a video on how to tell your teenagers, lovingly, why you will not call them by their preferred pronouns. He is very against it because of basic developmental psychology of children and teens.  

 

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17 minutes ago, KSera said:

I agree with the kindness and compassion, but can we stop with the life-saving? It really does harm. Suicide is a suggestible act, especially among young people. If someone is in a state where the wrong pronoun will make them suicidal, they need much more extensive mental health help and just making sure no one ever uses the wrong word around them is not a solution. 

I'm not suggesting that "hearing the wrong pronoun will make someone kill themselves." What I'm saying is that attempting to thrive in a world that continually refuses to accept the person you know you are can undermine a person's desire to keep trying to do so. My sense of this is that people who are already dealing with the emotional load of trying to manage this kind of transition are already vulnerable and need/deserve extra care and compassion and support, rather than to have additional small indignities and cruelties inflicted on them. It's kind of the "death by a thousand cuts" thing. 

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 t's a lot to process, Quill, and especially with your personal history I can certainly see why this one step would really hit a nerve.  I don't have personal experience with this situation, but Lecka's advice upthread about time healing all wounds makes a lot of sense.

In the meantime, i think your instincts to bring this here instead of trying to talk it through with your sister were exactly right.  Offering straightforward support to your sister and your nephew while working your understandably complicated emotions out elsewhere seems the way to go.

 

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@KSera Although she is booked up for over a year, Sasha Ayad has a wonderful podcast called Gender: A Wider Lens.  She and a fellow therapist (Stella O'malley) spend a few episodes talking about what gender exploration therapy looks like, and they give a lot of advice to parents who are in the journey.  They are extremely compassionate and their focus these last five years or so of their practices have been teens in gender distress. There are parents support groups too that supposedly have lists of non affirmation therapists, though they are few and far between and usually booked up as well.  They give suggestions for what to do if you can't get a therapist, or suggest to at least find a generalist who will help develop the teen as a whole person, rather than focusing on gender as the root of the issue.  It's not a substitute but it's at least a start.  

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I really have no idea about some of these issues, I have never heard of them before.  

My understanding with my husband's friend, is that in high school the thought he must be gay.  He always wanted to be like his sister, but he did not know transgender existed and thought he must be gay.  My husband never knew about any of this in high school.  His friend had a crew cut in high school!  

Then after high school, she grew her hair out and slowly (or not?  we don't really know -- gossip is that he was dressing totally as a woman at times when, when we saw him, he dressed very slightly femininely but in a way where my husband could totally blow it off) started to live as a woman.  We don't really know when she switched names with other people,  She only said anything to my husband when she was going to start having surgeries (my understanding is that she had several surgeries, and needed to work at the same place that whole time?). 

My husband was hearing gossip very soon after high school (my husband joined the Army and left for basic training the summer after he graduated high school) that his friend was now a cross dresser and actively cross dressing.  But his friend just did not say anything to my husband, and I think maybe she did tone it down when she saw my husband once a year or so.  Or else people were really making a big deal!  I do remember meeting her, and seeing she had long hair and a scarf I thought was feminine, but my husband felt free to blow it off and think it didn't mean anything, and think it was just mean-spirited gossip.  

Anyway -- I think she was in her 30s before she had any surgery, and it took a lot of planning, she had to change jobs, go to a lower-paying job, stay at the job long enough to have the insurance coverage go into effect, etc, etc,.  

Anyway -- I just do not know about some of these issues.  My husband's friend was out of that age range and it really seems like -- it has been a good choice for her.  I don't know what else to say about it.  

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9 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

Katie,

This is a far more nuanced view, based on lived experience with actual trans human beings. You know as well as I do that most of the people that pull these shenanigans have no love for trans folks and generally that's because they have no real connection with trans folks in their lives. Clearly, there is a distinction to be made between catering to every whim of a teenager and honoring the simple requests of another human being re how they are addressed in our daily interactions with that person.

I see this issue from a wide enough lens that I really do understand what you are saying here but also don’t actually see changing names, pronouns and kinship terms as uniformly being nothing more than a simple request that it is always rude or cruel to refuse.  Sometimes those requests are reasonable to the context of the relationship,  other times they are not.  While I mostly do use new names and pronouns, there are some contexts that I do not. There’s a lot more to these issues than black and white proscriptions of what is absolutely right and wrong- and that goes both ways.  



 

Edited by LucyStoner
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3 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I wish that there was a less drastic way to address the underlying issue.

In my 20s I would have thought that surgery was NBD—you have it, you get better, you move on.  People talked about face lifts and boob jobs fairly often, although I’m not sure I know anyone who had either one, and it was just part of life.  

But now that I’ve lived some decades beyond that immortal age, I can see how long term as well as short term effects of major surgery can impact a lot more than just the immediate, obvious appearance issues, and it makes me want to be able to picture a less invasive alternative.

I don’t think that all of the people who are transitioning now are going to be cured by it—no question, some are, but not all.  And it is undeniably an extreme measure, particularly bottom surgery, which makes it all the more risky.  I wish that it was easier to live as one wants to present, so that the surgery would not be as crucial.  There is a novel that more or less presents that option, and I wish more people would think it through:  “This is How It Always Is”.

I don’t blame you for feeling a loss in this situation.  While your loss is not the major issue, it’s not insignificant either.

I think that someday this era will be looked back on in the way that we look back on frontal lobotomies now, but in order for that to happen a third alternative needs to become manifest.  The way to that is probably single person public restrooms, social acceptance (including availability of clothing) of gender presentations that are not necessarily immutable or in accord with the physical, and a reduction in the immense and contradictory pressures on young women.

So -- this is *literally* the *only* person we know in this situation...... but my understanding is that she lived as a woman for more than ten years before having surgery in her mid-30s.  I don't know what to say other than -- it seems like it's pretty meaningful/necessary to her, and it's not like she did it at a young age or didn't try doing it without surgery for a long time.  I think it makes sense to *me* that the surgery is just not necessary, but I don't know how I can apply that standard to another person who (from my understanding) was doing the whole thing for more than 10 years and still made major sacrifices (changing her employment) to have the surgery.  I don't know what to think other than that it was pretty important and worthwhile to her, and at an older age and after a long time of living that way in other ways.

I think to just say -- you have a ______ you don't want and a deep voice you don't want, it should be fine with you, -- if that is not reality for someone after (I think) more than ten years -- I don't know what to do but think -- that must be the real deal.  

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

Yes, same one I have mentioned before, so we are a few years into name change, public identity and family being informed. But I disagree that *this* specifically is no big deal, just because the identity stuff has been underway for a while. 
 

So, here’s my thought that some people here will intensely disagree with: adolescence is a time of figuring out identity. We, as a society, acknowledge that in many other areas of identity: the kid who dresses in black and dyes their hair purple is not necessarily going to do that when they are thirty. Kids may think, “I’m a theatre rat” or “I’m an athlete” or “I’m an honor student.” But nobody has surgery to make that known; nobody has to permanently alter their body for those times of working out identity. 
 

In the past, I’m sure lots of people struggled with being female or male for some period of time. But altering their body permanently was not a possibility and they typically did not continue to struggle with it. I’m not sure we are doing the right thing as a society to say that permanent alterations are necessary for every child who struggles for a while with gender identity. 
 

There are such things as trans-desisters. Probably spelled wrong. But people who start transitioning and then desist. 

My two cents, which are as always moderate and will therefore probably upset people on both sides: 

1) You should start calling them your nephew. You don't even have to believe in anything to do so -- it's just the polite thing to do. There are lots of times we honor other people's preferences without understanding them. 

2) I share your discomfort with surgery for teenagers, although I imagine that in some cases it's not a hard decision. For instance, DD8 has a trans friend who's been trans since she was 2 (she's the same age as my kiddo), and I imagine she'll wind up doing some sorts of permanent body modifications before her brain is fully developed. 

3) I don't think we have any understanding about how any of these things are going to play out in the future, because making the option accessible has meant that a different population thinks they are trans than they would have when it was taboo. (I frankly think the same thing happened with homosexuality -- if you make something less taboo, the population changes. Same thing frankly applies to homeschooling.) 

But ultimately, I would say that what matters here is that you have a good relationship with this young person, and I'd do the mental work it takes to make sure this is plausible. Sometimes it's helpful for ME personally to read stories about XY children who were brought up as girls due to tragic accidents at birth and always felt like something is wrong -- it's a little easier for me to relate to that, and I try to transpose those feelings onto situations I understand less well. 

And again, I understand how you feel about this. 

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53 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Lying is a very, very serious thing to some of us, and just because *you* put preferred pronouns on the level of a "little white lie" for others doesn't mean that they themselves consider it such.  

 

So are the "little white lies" okay then? And if so, what do you use to guide the decisions about what level of lies are okay, and what aren't? Is it religion, your own personal moral compass...?

Just wondering what the "no lying" crowd would do if a little old lady said, "Hello dear, my daughter just bought me this scarf. Isn't it lovely?" and you thought the scarf was the ugliest thing in the world....

I fully admit to lying all day long! Kid says, "Do you like my new Spiderman action figure?" and I'm like, "Sure! It's awesome!" I do that kind of thing ALL the time. 

Maybe this should be a spin-off discussion.

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55 minutes ago, MEmama said:

I agree. I meant “becoming” in the sense that his body will now match who he has always been inside. Thank you for articulating it better than I did.

I think I still didn’t articulate it well, because that’s still not quite what I meant, LOL. I’m saying many trans people didn’t always feel the other gender inside. So, their gender identity changed, it’s not that they were always the gender they transitioned to. Like, they were born a girl and grew up comfortable being a girl, and then in adolescence some time, decided they now felt more like a boy and made the change. That’s a very common scenario right now. So that doesn’t mean they weren’t actually a girl growing up and now they are remedying something that was always wrong.  It wasn’t wrong until it was (which is part of why permanent changes should not be taken lightly. These things can change and shift as the young person does.)

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I think Quill's situation here is similar to a person who has experienced a miscarriage or infant loss not being able to attend friends' baby showers for a time.  It doesn't mean you don't support the person, it just means your own experience makes thinking about theirs emotionally fraught.  

 

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14 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

 

2) I share your discomfort with surgery for teenagers, although I imagine that in some cases it's not a hard decision. For instance, DD8 has a trans friend who's been trans since she was 2 (she's the same age as my kiddo), and I imagine she'll wind up doing some sorts of permanent body modifications before her brain is fully developed. 

 

There are statistics that show that 80 percent of kids experiencing gender dysphoria, even at a young age, will desist at some point.  The podcast i mentioned earlier is cohosted by a woman Stella O'Malley who was CONVINCED she was a boy from the ages of 3-10.  Surgery wasn't as common when she was younger, and after lots of hard work during and after puberty she became okay with her gender. She is now a happy mom of two and is so grateful there was no early medical intervention.  

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8 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom said:

There are statistics that show that 80 percent of kids experiencing gender dysphoria, even at a young age, will desist at some point.  The podcast i mentioned earlier is cohosted by a woman Stella O'Malley who was CONVINCED she was a boy from the ages of 3-10.  Surgery wasn't as common when she was younger, and after lots of hard work during and after puberty she became okay with her gender. She is now a happy mom of two and is so grateful there was no early medical intervention.  

I would guess that depends on how exactly one defines gender dysphoria. I'm basically in a "suspending judgment" phase -- I want to see what happens given the current social mores. I don't have a strong sense one way or another. 

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It's obvious from your posts that you love your nephew very much even though you'll also miss your niece very much. It's good that you recognize it isn't about you but it's also normal to grieve. Just try to be supportive, or if you can't try to just pull back a bit until you're able to work through it.  ((((hugs))))

Re "not about me" - It's human nature to make things about ourselves. Almost everything is about "me". It's okay to recognize and understand that and it's okay to feel sad about a situation. It's okay even if the situation is something that's good for the other person, something that does no actual harm to us (general us), something that we can't and shouldn't have any say in. As long as we recognize it and don't let it affect our relationships in situations like these we don't need to feel selfish for having normal feelings. You can be happy for the person, in this case a relative, and still be a bit sad for yourself. 

Give it time Quill. It will be okay in the long run. I know you're a loving, caring, generous person and you'll eventually have a great relationship with your nephew. It's okay if that doesn't happen immediately as long as he knows you support and love him (them?).

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34 minutes ago, Kanin said:

So are the "little white lies" okay then? And if so, what do you use to guide the decisions about what level of lies are okay, and what aren't? Is it religion, your own personal moral compass...?

Just wondering what the "no lying" crowd would do if a little old lady said, "Hello dear, my daughter just bought me this scarf. Isn't it lovely?" and you thought the scarf was the ugliest thing in the world....

I fully admit to lying all day long! Kid says, "Do you like my new Spiderman action figure?" and I'm like, "Sure! It's awesome!" I do that kind of thing ALL the time. 

Maybe this should be a spin-off discussion.

For me as a Christian, no, little white lies are not okay. I try not to lie at all. Sometimes I do catch myself doing it out of politeness. I always feel badly and think of how I can do better next time.

I remember once my MIL said, "Is this dress too tight on me?" I said, "No, it's fine." It was too tight, and I shouldn't have lied. She was stressed out and overwhelmed at the time and I was trying to be nice--but really it would have been kinder (and not a lie, more importantly) to tell her the truth about the dress before she wore it to an event. Another time, MIL (again) said, "Aren't these shoes cute?" I agreed but inwardly thought they were quite ugly. Now I would easily say, "They're not my style, but they are really different, aren't they?" or something like that. Both things happened 15-20 years ago and they still bother me, obviously.

I found the more I practiced trying to not ever tell even white lies, the easier it was to be tactful and kind without doing so. It's not necessary to tell the whole truth to avoid lying. 

As to your little old lady example, I'd find something I did like about the scarf. "That's a beautiful blue." Or I'd find something neutral to say, "It matches your eyes! How thoughtful of her!"

If my child asked me if I liked a toy I didn't care for, I'd say, "I bet that's going to be really fun for you!" or "I like how you can brush her hair!" or whatever.

Edited by MercyA
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This thread has morphed from supporting Quill in something that is difficult for her to judging the journey of someone we don’t know anything about (plus tangents on the morality of telling harmless white lies and something that sounds dangerously equivalent to conversion therapy).

I’m pretty sure we all want her to work through her challenges and be able to support her nephew. There are as many paths as there are human beings, but I for one am glad she feels she has a safe space here for her thoughts. Hope it remains that way. 

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