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How do you define gender?


MercyA
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Eh, see, I often say that my boys play with lego like the stereotype of girls with dolls lol. They have long running stories where minifigs get married and have babies and fight dinosaurs 😄 one of my boys is very naturally nurturing - much more than my dd. He's not the one who loves pink, but he's the one who begs to hold babies and rescues animals 🤷‍♀️

Kids and their personalities are such a trip!

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5 hours ago, LMD said:

Female prisoners shouldn't be locked in with intact male sex offenders. Can we at least all agree on that as a starting point? This is a whole lot more serious than lining up in kindergarten.

I may have missed context in this conversation but, if we’re talking trans women, no, I don’t automatically agree.

The real issue is that prison is fraught with sexual abuse. Perhaps that’s the real problem to address. In the meantime, I would be less afraid of a trans woman than plenty of cis women, and more afraid for a trans woman’s safety in a men’s prison.

Re-reading... and thinking maybe that wasn’t the context.  Oops.

Edited by Carrie12345
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Thanks Carrie, can I probe your thinking a bit there? I'm assuming that you have a certain picture of trans woman in your mind, probably young, 'harmless,' vulnerable, desperate for all the surgeries. I wonder what your picture of female prisoner is? Is it a vulnerable woman, between 65-80% with an acquired brain injury from domestic violence, a similar number being previous victims of sexual violence (both of which are overwhelmingly male violent crimes), up to 80% incarcerated for nonviolent crime (male nonviolent crime incarceration is closer to 40%ish)

I guess we first need to make sure we're meaning the same thing. So, a transwoman is a male born person who declares a gender identity of woman. Upwards of 90% of transwomen do not have 'bottom surgery' (and I don't blame them one bit!) In the UK over 50% of prisoners who are trans have been convicted of a sex crime.

I didn't say in prison for any reason, but in prison for sex offenses. We have already seen cases of transwomen convicted of sex offenses, going on to assault female prisoners. Karen White being the most well known. 

I would agree that prison is fraught with abuse. I wonder why one subsection of the male sex class is afforded more protection than others. Surely gay prisoners, elderly prisoners, disabled prisoners etc are all at higher risk of abuse too. What is done for such vulnerable populations?

Unfortunately, we have no way of telling which male born people are a risk to women, however I'd say convicted of a sex crime is a good baseline for being wary. As a feminist, my priority is with females - and I absolutely object to using the most vulnerable women, many of whom have already suffered male violence in their lives, as human shields for any special subset of the male class.

This thread has talked about females being seen as less human, as other, and males as the default human. Expecting females to simply absorb a heightened risk, so a subset of males don't have to, is exactly misogyny imo.

I hope you understand that I'm not attacking you, and I hope that you will elaborate on how you came to your position.

Edited by LMD
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Anyway, sorry for the long previous post! I am still very interested in definitions of gender and gender identity, and what impacts in law those definitions should have - especially in regards to sex. 

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As to the discussion of "trans women" in women's prisons, dorm rooms, etc.:  I don't want xy in with xx, but I can at least understand a lot of the arguments if we're talking about a person with real gender dysphoria.  But apparently today, being a "trans woman" is a free choice that any male can make.  If I were a male going to prison, choosing to live in the woman's facility could help me in more ways than one.  First of all, it would protect me from being a victim of violence in the men's facility, which is certainly a bigger threat to an xy than whatever could happen in the women's facility.  And secondly, it could provide the opportunity to prey on physically weaker victims.

I'm sure lots of reform is needed in prisons, but let's try not to do it at the expense of xx prisoners.

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7 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

The real issue is that prison is fraught with sexual abuse. Perhaps that’s the real problem to address. In the meantime, I would be less afraid of a trans woman than plenty of cis women, and more afraid for a trans woman’s safety in a men’s prison.

I don’t think trans men OR trans women would be safe in a men’s prison. Gosh, just thinking of my trans kid being put in a prison with men scares the heck out of me 🤢. That’s a definite problem that needs a solution. (Fortunately, my kid is a kind hearted rule follower, so it’s not anything I actually worry about personally.) One difference in a women’s prison is that a cis woman is never going to be able to impregnate another cis woman.  Not the case for a trans woman. 
 

I asked my dh how he would define gender yesterday, and we had an interesting conversation in which his definition was different from anything I’ve seen here. My rule was it couldn’t be circular, and he did have trouble wording it so it wasn’t, but eventually got something out that avoided circular wording (I did think it was an interesting exercise seeing how difficult it was for him to avoid the circular). To him, it has everything to do with social signaling for relationships (romantic or platonic). That one’s gender tells where one lies on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, allowing social partners to know who falls in their zone of interest basically (my words, not his). I don’t know that I agree with him that it’s definitely necessary to have this as a separate classification rather than being one of many qualities you evaluate about a potential social partner, but I could see his point. On the other hand. With the young FTM trans people I know, I don’t see that it’s actually useful that way in practice. The ones I am closest acquainted with (and my own nb kid) do not socialize primarily with other males, unless they are also trans males. Their interests tend to lie in different directions from those that are most commonly found in the general crowd of natal males. My kid has never been one to hang out with guys, and doesn’t like typically “guy” things. But it’s interesting thinking this through that it does end up with me identifying some things as more typically male and others as more typically female. I just haven’t found those typical things to align much with chosen gender in the trans kids I know. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions where it does, and there are some parents here who seem to have kids who that is the case for. (OTOH, I’m certainly not advocating someone has to fit in with the stereotype in order to be any particular gender—that’s the opposite of what I think, I’m just musing over what I’ve seen actually play out around me). 

Eta: Reading this back, it also strikes me that on the other hand, the trans girls/women I know do tend to have more in common with natal females and have more female friends than I see among the trans boys/men. That’s kind of interesting. I don’t know nearly as many MTF as I do FTM though. 

One other note because I keep noticing a trend in these conversations. I keep seeing that among people who see the concept of gender as less useful than sex, there is a high correlation with those same people also mentioning how they are glad that wasn’t how things were when they were growing up, because they did not fit their gender stereotype growing up but they know they are women and wouldn’t have wanted to have made medical changes to their bodies during that growing up stage. 

Edited by KSera
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re real difficulty in staying out of circular reasoning loops

6 minutes ago, KSera said:

...I asked my dh how he would define gender yesterday, and we had an interesting conversation in which his definition was different from anything I’ve seen here. My rule was it couldn’t be circular, and he did have trouble wording it so it wasn’t, but eventually got something out that avoided circular wording (I did think it was an interesting exercise seeing how difficult it was for him to avoid the circular). To him, it has everything to do with social signaling for relationships (romantic or platonic). That one’s gender tells where one lies on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, allowing social partners to know who falls in their zone of interest basically (my words, not his). I don’t know that I agree with him that it’s definitely necessary to have this as a separate classification rather than being one of many qualities you evaluate about a potential social partner, but I could see his point. On the other hand. With the young FTM trans people I know, I don’t see that it’s actually useful that way in practice. The ones I am closest acquainted with (and my own nb kid) do not socialize primarily with other males, unless they are also trans males. Their interests tend to lie in different directions from those that are most commonly found in the general crowd of natal males. My kid has never been one to hang out with guys, and doesn’t like typically “guy” things. But it’s interesting thinking this through that it does end up with me identifying some things as more typically male and others as more typically female. I just haven’t found those typical things to align much with chosen gender in the trans kids I know. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions where it does, and there are some parents here who seem to have kids who that is the case for. (OTOH, I’m certainly not advocating someone has to fit in with the stereotype in order to be any particular gender—that’s the opposite of what I think, I’m just musing over what I’ve seen actually play out around me). 
 

One other note because I keep noticing a trend in these conversations. I keep seeing that among people who see the concept of gender as less useful than sex, there is a high correlation with those same people also mentioning how they are glad that wasn’t how things were when they were growing up, because they did not fit their gender stereotype growing up but they know they are women and wouldn’t have wanted to have made medical changes to their bodies during that growing up stage. 

There is much in the substance here that interests me, but at the risk of veering OT for a moment, I am so terribly curious about the process hinted at in the bolded.

Do you and your husband routinely lay down that sort of marker to... I don't know even how to articulate this... put boundaries around how you navigate particular topics?  If so, are there patterns to what sorts of topics, what sorts of boundaries? Over time, has the marker-setting tradition changed how you interact with each other even when you don't lay a marker down (I would think it surely would?) ? 

So. Many. Questions, lol

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56 minutes ago, KSera said:

I don’t think trans men OR trans women would be safe in a men’s prison. Gosh, just thinking of my trans kid being put in a prison with men scares the heck out of me 🤢. That’s a definite problem that needs a solution. (Fortunately, my kid is a kind hearted rule follower, so it’s not anything I actually worry about personally.) One difference in a women’s prison is that a cis woman is never going to be able to impregnate another cis woman.  Not the case for a trans woman. 
 

I asked my dh how he would define gender yesterday, and we had an interesting conversation in which his definition was different from anything I’ve seen here. My rule was it couldn’t be circular, and he did have trouble wording it so it wasn’t, but eventually got something out that avoided circular wording (I did think it was an interesting exercise seeing how difficult it was for him to avoid the circular). To him, it has everything to do with social signaling for relationships (romantic or platonic). That one’s gender tells where one lies on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, allowing social partners to know who falls in their zone of interest basically (my words, not his). I don’t know that I agree with him that it’s definitely necessary to have this as a separate classification rather than being one of many qualities you evaluate about a potential social partner, but I could see his point. On the other hand. With the young FTM trans people I know, I don’t see that it’s actually useful that way in practice. The ones I am closest acquainted with (and my own nb kid) do not socialize primarily with other males, unless they are also trans males. Their interests tend to lie in different directions from those that are most commonly found in the general crowd of natal males. My kid has never been one to hang out with guys, and doesn’t like typically “guy” things. But it’s interesting thinking this through that it does end up with me identifying some things as more typically male and others as more typically female. I just haven’t found those typical things to align much with chosen gender in the trans kids I know. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions where it does, and there are some parents here who seem to have kids who that is the case for. (OTOH, I’m certainly not advocating someone has to fit in with the stereotype in order to be any particular gender—that’s the opposite of what I think, I’m just musing over what I’ve seen actually play out around me). 

Eta: Reading this back, it also strikes me that on the other hand, the trans girls/women I know do tend to have more in common with natal females and have more female friends than I see among the trans boys/men. That’s kind of interesting. I don’t know nearly as many MTF as I do FTM though. 

One other note because I keep noticing a trend in these conversations. I keep seeing that among people who see the concept of gender as less useful than sex, there is a high correlation with those same people also mentioning how they are glad that wasn’t how things were when they were growing up, because they did not fit their gender stereotype growing up but they know they are women and wouldn’t have wanted to have made medical changes to their bodies during that growing up stage. 

Your post made me sort out my transgender Ds’ friends for the first time ever. He has a pretty even mix of male and female friends, but every single female friend is a lesbian and every male friend is straight (except the one he’s currently dating). I have no idea how it worked out that way but it’s interesting. My Ds definitely has moments where he just wants to hang with the guys and even did a road trip right before Covid with a few. He only has a few transgender friends these days but his close friends for the last few years work out like the above.

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32 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

re real difficulty in staying out of circular reasoning loops

There is much in the substance here that interests me, but at the risk of veering OT for a moment, I am so terribly curious about the process hinted at in the bolded.

Do you and your husband routinely lay down that sort of marker to... I don't know even how to articulate this... put boundaries around how you navigate particular topics?  If so, are there patterns to what sorts of topics, what sorts of boundaries? Over time, has the marker-setting tradition changed how you interact with each other even when you don't lay a marker down (I would think it surely would?) ? 

So. Many. Questions, lol

😂 Are we that weird? Maybe we are. We have all kinds of discussions, and I don’t think most of the time there are “rules” as such, but occasionally it makes sense in order to get more specifically at what we’re talking about. It’s easy to come up with a lazy definition for gender if you allow a circular definition. I wanted specifically to challenge him to come up with one that wasn’t circular, and as I said, it was a good exercise. I could tell by the very halting way he went about it, that he kept having to stop to figure out how to proceed without being circular (and he’s a language guy who usually speaks very well). I have no idea if our marker setting tradition has changed, as you ask. I expect we just have our certain ways of interacting. Certainly we have unspoken markers about not being rude to each other or calling names, or anything else of that type. Sometimes there may be a prelude of, “wait until I get my whole thought out before you start answering”—that one is borne from experience 😉. Is this all strange? It’s not a totally rare occurrence for their to sometimes be something that comes up on TWTM that I pose to him so that I can have an in person discussion about it. We’re kind of nerdy, I think 🤣

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7 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

Your post made me sort out my transgender Ds’ friends for the first time ever. He has a pretty even mix of male and female friends, but every single female friend is a lesbian and every male friend is straight (except the one he’s currently dating). I have no idea how it worked out that way but it’s interesting. My Ds definitely has moments where he just wants to hang with the guys and even did a road trip right before Covid with a few. He only has a few transgender friends these days but his close friends for the last few years work out like the above.

Interesting! Your son had dysphoria that went all the way back to early childhood, didn’t you say? I wonder if that’s part of the difference. Only one of the transgender kids I know had gender issues beginning in childhood, and that one is male to female and still quite young. My dc has lots of trans friends, but those have primarily been made online over the course of the past year. They don’t have anyone they hang out with in person right now, but they didn’t really pre-pandemic, either. I expect that will be different come fall when they are living on campus now that they know a bunch of people from the campus LGBT group. They would like for that to not be the only group they’re drawing friends from, but I honestly just don’t think they know where else they fit right now, and they have long been socially awkward.

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2 minutes ago, KSera said:

Interesting! Your son had dysphoria that went all the way back to early childhood, didn’t you say? I wonder if that’s part of the difference. Only one of the transgender kids I know had gender issues beginning in childhood, and that one is male to female and still quite young. My dc has lots of trans friends, but those have primarily been made online over the course of the past year. They don’t have anyone they hang out with in person right now, but they didn’t really pre-pandemic, either. I expect that will be different come fall when they are living on campus now that they know a bunch of people from the campus LGBT group. They would like for that to not be the only group they’re drawing friends from, but I honestly just don’t think they know where else they fit right now, and they have long been socially awkward.

Yes, Ds had issues early on and most of his current friends are from the beginning of high school. They were good friends before and after he came out so they’re all close. They all met in an after school LARP club (so they all get the socially awkward part but they have fun 😁).

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re laying down markers for particular discussions

12 minutes ago, KSera said:

😂 Are we that weird? Maybe we are. We have all kinds of discussions, and I don’t think most of the time there are “rules” as such, but occasionally it makes sense in order to get more specifically at what we’re talking about. It’s easy to come up with a lazy definition for gender if you allow a circular definition. I wanted specifically to challenge him to come up with one that wasn’t circular, and as I said, it was a good exercise. I could tell by the very halting way he went about it, that he kept having to stop to figure out how to proceed without being circular (and he’s a language guy who usually speaks very well). I have no idea if our marker setting tradition has changed, as you ask. I expect we just have our certain ways of interacting. Certainly we have unspoken markers about not being rude to each other or calling names, or anything else of that type. Sometimes there may be a prelude of, “wait until I get my whole thought out before you start answering”—that one is borne from experience 😉. Is this all strange? It’s not a totally rare occurrence for there to sometimes be something that comes up on TWTM that I pose to him so that I can have an in person discussion about it. We’re kind of nerdy, I think 🤣

Not weird at all, I can definitely see the potential of such traditions for both precision/clarification (which *I* cherish) and efficiency (a value held more dearly by *my husband*, lol).

We certainly have unspoken markers around civility and occasionally-voiced markers along the lines of "this is a three or four step analysis so please don't start the rebuttal until I'm all the way through," also borne from experience.

But aside from a single negotiation decades ago in which first I had him assign mutlivote-style preference weightings to various elements of a multi-part problem; then invited him to choose, in essence, whichever piece he wanted of the cake he had just cut but I got the rest of the cake... which has definitely gone down as often-repeated Family Lore...

...we've never really laid down a marker like "no circularity."  I mean, every so often one of us will say in response to each other's comment "what you're arguing is rather circular," but I can't recall ever laying out a criteria like that in advance. I can see how it could be quite helpful.

#NerdsRule

 

 

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21 hours ago, lewelma said:

I'm curious why this isn't happening with race also. 

We had a big discussion about this in one of my humanities classes in grad school.  The consensus was something like "it just feels wrong."  Which of course isn't a valid argument.

I vote for being able to choose my age.  Because that is just as ridiculous as the rest of it.

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29 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

We certainly have unspoken markers around civility and occasionally-voiced markers along the lines of "this is a three or four step analysis so please don't start the rebuttal until I'm all the way through," also borne from experience.

But aside from a single negotiation decades ago in which first I had him assign mutlivote-style preference weightings to various elements of a multi-part problem; then invited him to choose, in essence, whichever piece he wanted of the cake he had just cut but I got the rest of the cake... which has definitely gone down as often-repeated Family Lore...

Okay, it’s definitely not just us 😂. I love it. 

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I am really appreciating this discussion. I have a question, though. I see a lot of gender critical feminists (which is how I would have classified myself a few years ago, fwiw) express a concern about girls being led/pressured into identifying as nb or trans. I'm wondering if, in anyone's experience, this is really a thing. It's certainly not in ours - I would say that my nb kid led/dragged us into an understanding of their identity, rather than the other way around. The same is true of the 3 other (FTM) trans kids I know well. Their families/doctors are supportive, but certainly no one suggested or led them into "choosing" this identity. It came from inside of them.

I mean, other than a subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok, being nb or trans is not actually an easy, trendy, or glamorous thing, IRL, I don't think. From what I've seen it's usually a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process, which includes a ton of soul-searching & self-education, long conversations with family/friends/doctors, and a realization that you may face an incredible amount of discrimination and even violence once you are out/presenting in a manner that is comfortable for you. You risk losing friends, extended family members, having difficulty getting jobs, being called names when you're out in public. It's an incredibly difficult process that takes courage and fortitude. Totally worth it for the kids I know, but not something anyone would take on just to follow a trend. 

Thoughts? Different experiences? I have found myself worrying about this in the abstract, too, but IRL it doesn't seem to be a real thing, at least among the families of trans kids that I know personally.

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25 minutes ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

Thoughts? Different experiences? I have found myself worrying about this in the abstract, too, but IRL it doesn't seem to be a real thing, at least among the families of trans kids that I know personally.

I haven’t personally seen it with gender, or with sexuality for that matter.  I HAVE seen a lot of reflection on the topics. I have had a tween ask me “What if I don’t know yet?” (Regarding sexuality.) I’ve seen a very young child stand firm in “opposite gender” appearance in a family that I promise would not be inclined to plant any seeds.

I have not seen CHOICE. Just various degrees of... being oneself.

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1 hour ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

Their families/doctors are supportive, but certainly no one suggested or led them into "choosing" this identity. It came from inside of them.

I mean, other than a subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok, being nb or trans is not actually an easy, trendy, or glamorous thing, IRL, I don't think. From what I've seen it's usually a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process, which includes a ton of soul-searching & self-education, long conversations with family/friends/doctors, and a realization that you may face an incredible amount of discrimination and even violence once you are out/presenting in a manner that is comfortable for you. You risk losing friends, extended family members, having difficulty getting jobs, being called names when you're out in public. It's an incredibly difficult process that takes courage and fortitude. Totally worth it for the kids I know, but not something anyone would take on just to follow a trend. 

I expect it varies widely from place to place and group to group, depending how accepting of an area a kid lives in. I don’t think most kids are being led by their parents or doctors. I do think the subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok you refer to  has an outsized influence, and my kid would agree with that, as would I think most people working in the field. With the exception of general therapists (those not working in gender clinics). I frankly don’t think most of them have a good handle on what’s actually going on, so they just get a kid questioning gender and jump right to affirm, affirm, affirm. That’s been our experience. Therapists will be called out and accused of conversion therapy if they want to explore other issues first, so you can’t really blame them.  I think parents are mixed in reponse. Ranging the spectrum from being hateful to their kid to being eager to jump to transition. No one wants to be seen as unaccepting, and all those threats that their kid will commit suicide if they do anything but fully affirm have a big impact. I have a friend in that situation now. She’s very concerned about all of her kid’s other pre existing mental health baggage, but the kid wants testosterone now, and mom has expressed to me she’s afraid of the suicide risk if they don’t allow it right now. It’s hard. Especially when the kids themselves are reading that they will commit suicide if they don’t get hormones 😢
 

So, I guess in general I’d say I don’t think most kids are being led in this direction by adults*, but I think many are very encouraged by their peer group (online or off) and then are affirmed by whatever clinician they go to. In my area, kids will get a lot of support for this decision, so I don’t know how gut wrenching it is or isn’t for kids around here. Then initial decision wasn’t gut wrenching or long drawn out for my dc, but there’s been a whole lot of gut wrenching now in the aftermath 😢
 

eta: I forgot to address my *
* I only know one case where I really do feel the parent led it. I just erased details. Not my story. 

Edited by KSera
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re kids identifying as nb being "led / pressured" into the idea

49 minutes ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

I am really appreciating this discussion. I have a question, though. I see a lot of gender critical feminists (which is how I would have classified myself a few years ago, fwiw) express a concern about girls being led/pressured into identifying as nb or trans. I'm wondering if, in anyone's experience, this is really a thing. It's certainly not in ours - I would say that my nb kid led/dragged us into an understanding of their identity, rather than the other way around. The same is true of the 3 other (FTM) trans kids I know well. Their families/doctors are supportive, but certainly no one suggested or led them into "choosing" this identity. It came from inside of them.

I mean, other than a subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok, being nb or trans is not actually an easy, trendy, or glamorous thing, IRL, I don't think. From what I've seen it's usually a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process, which includes a ton of soul-searching & self-education, long conversations with family/friends/doctors, and a realization that you may face an incredible amount of discrimination and even violence once you are out/presenting in a manner that is comfortable for you. You risk losing friends, extended family members, having difficulty getting jobs, being called names when you're out in public. It's an incredibly difficult process that takes courage and fortitude. Totally worth it for the kids I know, but not something anyone would take on just to follow a trend. 

Thoughts? Different experiences? I have found myself worrying about this in the abstract, too, but IRL it doesn't seem to be a real thing, at least among the families of trans kids that I know personally.

I know one close family member, and two very close friends of my kids, who have come out MTF trans, and s bunch more young people who identify as nb who are the offspring of a pretty close/small circle of friends... and for all of them, it has been a gut-wrenching, kid-dragging-the-families process.  Several dropped out of school for sustained intervals. One of the parents' marriages failed when the father just.couldn't.take.it.

I truly can't imagine any kid being "led" to get on that train out of an impression that it's "trendy." They are carrying some seriously heavy loads.

 

Editing/ slightly qualifying based on @KSera 's response above -- I can't see the decision as being led by *adults.*  I do concur about the outsize influence that that subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok you refer to has.

Edited by Pam in CT
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3 hours ago, KSera said:

To him, it has everything to do with social signaling for relationships (romantic or platonic). That one’s gender tells where one lies on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, allowing social partners to know who falls in their zone of interest basically (my words, not his). 

It feels like the word 'gender' has changed a number of times. I bet there is a PhD thesis out there somewhere for us to read. Here is my nonacademic go

It seems in the old days (30+ years ago), the word 'gender' meant the stereotypical gender norms of society, girls with dolls, boys with trucks. 

From then to about 10 years ago, it seems the definition of 'gender' continued to focus on societal norms, but muted/become more broad, so gender is a social construct but allows for diversity of behaviour (even within a society let alone between society). This is where we started to see a more open exploration of gender norms and the use of the newish words in popular media - trans, nb, etc. It had been there before, but now was openly discussed and kids started change their behaviours to match their chosen gender, but their gender did not need to be aligned with physical parts.

But in the past 10 years, the word 'gender' seems to be morphing to mean the alignment of parts alignment to mind's experience. The word 'gender' seems to now be taking on a lot of what I always considered 'sex'. That your gender should align with your sex which is why there is so much changing of the body features with hormones and surgery.

I think very recently (like maybe the past 3 years), kids are putting on a new gender because they would prefer to be a different gender, and that the medicalized gender dysphoria is not the only reason to do so. It is no longer a medical 'problem' to be fixed. That it is quite insulting to consider it either medical or a problem, and that gender is a choice. (And this use of the word 'gender' is based on the more modern definition of aligning your physical self to your psychological perceptions).

I think we are having trouble defining 'gender' because the meaning is changing, and changing at different rates in different societies and subsocieties, so that multiple definitions are being activity used at any one time in different locations.

 

 

Edited by lewelma
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1 hour ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

 a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process,

Agreed. My son's best friend transitioned from the age of 12 to 16. She started hormones at age 15. It was exactly what you said, a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process. In fact it was awful, and the results have not been that great given that now she is completely housebound and not left her house for 1.5 years. I just wish that for the young we could focus on counselling over permanent physical alterations, and only transition people after the miserable teen years are over and the mind is more stable. But then it is too late to change the secondary sexual features by stopping puberty. The whole thing is so difficult. I think this is why a lot of us are very glad that we did not have this massive decision to make as we questioned our identity as teens. There were no options and no choices, so you did the best you could until you got out the other side.

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51 minutes ago, lewelma said:

The word 'gender' seems to now be taking on a lot of what I always considered 'sex'. That your gender should align with your sex which is why there is so much changing of the body features with hormones and surgery.

I think very recently (like maybe the past 3 years), kids are putting on a new gender because they would prefer to be a different gender, and that the medicalized gender dysphoria is not the only reason to do so. It is no longer a medical 'problem' to be fixed. That it is quite insulting to consider it either medical or a problem, and that gender is a choice. (And this use of the word 'gender' is based on the more modern definition of aligning your physical self to your psychological perceptions).

These get at some interesting aspects that I have mulled over as well. This is part of where the circular reasoning seems hard to break out of. One’s body does not determine their gender, which then begs the question of why the body needs medical treatments which may carry significant risk and harm in order to make the body align with the chosen gender. Now, I do of course understand that the reality is that a lot of kids have gender dysphoria having to do with actual body parts and appearance, and that’s the reason for the treatment, but this seems somehow separate from the body changes being the thing that changes gender. Which then makes me wonder how might we reach a place where more people felt they could express their gender identity in a way that feels right to them without requiring medicalization. Tangentially related to this is that two of my kids (one trans and one not) have also had significant body dysmorphia that has not had anything to do with gender. How that has been approached is so different from how the dysphoria surrounding gendered parts has been approached that it gives me pause. Why does one warrant medicalization when the other doesn’t, when both may cause significant bodily harm?

I was going to address the second paragraph also, but decided it was too personal. 

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16 minutes ago, KSera said:

These get at some interesting aspects that I have mulled over as well. This is part of where the circular reasoning seems hard to break out of. One’s body does not determine their gender, which then begs the question of why the body needs medical treatments which may carry significant risk and harm in order to make the body align with the chosen gender. Now, I do of course understand that the reality is that a lot of kids have gender dysphoria having to do with actual body parts and appearance, and that’s the reason for the treatment, but this seems somehow separate from the body changes being the thing that changes gender. Which then makes me wonder how might we reach a place where more people felt they could express their gender identity in a way that feels right to them without requiring medicalization. Tangentially related to this is that two of my kids (one trans and one not) have also had significant body dysmorphia that has not had anything to do with gender. How that has been approached is so different from how the dysphoria surrounding gendered parts has been approached that it gives me pause. Why does one warrant medicalization when the other doesn’t, when both may cause significant bodily harm?

I was going to address the second paragraph also, but decided it was too personal. 

This is what I wish, too. My kid is over 18, so I'm not having to grapple with this question for a child. At this point, it's their choice, and their dysphoria is significant enough that medical interventions are strongly desired. I would love it if affirmation/support of the gender identity were sufficient, but it isn't. 

 

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2 hours ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

I am really appreciating this discussion. I have a question, though. I see a lot of gender critical feminists (which is how I would have classified myself a few years ago, fwiw) express a concern about girls being led/pressured into identifying as nb or trans. I'm wondering if, in anyone's experience, this is really a thing. It's certainly not in ours - I would say that my nb kid led/dragged us into an understanding of their identity, rather than the other way around. The same is true of the 3 other (FTM) trans kids I know well. Their families/doctors are supportive, but certainly no one suggested or led them into "choosing" this identity. It came from inside of them.

I mean, other than a subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok, being nb or trans is not actually an easy, trendy, or glamorous thing, IRL, I don't think. From what I've seen it's usually a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process, which includes a ton of soul-searching & self-education, long conversations with family/friends/doctors, and a realization that you may face an incredible amount of discrimination and even violence once you are out/presenting in a manner that is comfortable for you. You risk losing friends, extended family members, having difficulty getting jobs, being called names when you're out in public. It's an incredibly difficult process that takes courage and fortitude. Totally worth it for the kids I know, but not something anyone would take on just to follow a trend. 

Thoughts? Different experiences? I have found myself worrying about this in the abstract, too, but IRL it doesn't seem to be a real thing, at least among the families of trans kids that I know personally.

Yes.

That was our experience - this distress was culturally cultivated in at least one of my kids ( the female child). It did not come from home, but from an online friendship group. It was viewed as a peer-approved way to express distress. Just coming out as butch/bi did not garner the same support. A more stable sense of self emerged after DBT treatment. 

The 4000% rise in referral of girls in the UK to gender clinics is suggestive of something going on, other than 'more acceptance'. By contrast, rates of homosexuality are stable over time, largely independent of cultural norms. 

You may be unaware that in the UK, five gay clinicians recently resigned from a major pediatric gender clinic because they believe gay girls (and boys) are being pushed into transition. 

These factors (and others) lead me to leave plenty of room for the idea that distress in young people presents according to the times.

It's currently presenting like this; the distress is real, but the causation is yet to be determined. And I can't see any reason to rule out social causes. I think you are vastly under-estimating the impact and influence of teen culture on teens themselves. 

 

 

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@Melissa Louise Maybe I am "vastly under-estimating" the impact. Which is why I asked. Extrapolating from our own experience and our friend group leads me to think it's not a huge issue, but obviously your experience is different. I'm sorry for that, it sounds really awful. 

I do think it must vary wildly by area. I live in a very queer-friendly area but often in the US news we read of people experiencing the opposite of affirmation. That feels more the norm here than what you are describing in the UK. But again, my personal experience is limited, which is what makes these discussions so valuable.

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5 hours ago, KSera said:

I don’t think trans men OR trans women would be safe in a men’s prison. Gosh, just thinking of my trans kid being put in a prison with men scares the heck out of me 🤢. That’s a definite problem that needs a solution. (Fortunately, my kid is a kind hearted rule follower, so it’s not anything I actually worry about personally.) One difference in a women’s prison is that a cis woman is never going to be able to impregnate another cis woman.  Not the case for a trans woman. 
 

I asked my dh how he would define gender yesterday, and we had an interesting conversation in which his definition was different from anything I’ve seen here. My rule was it couldn’t be circular, and he did have trouble wording it so it wasn’t, but eventually got something out that avoided circular wording (I did think it was an interesting exercise seeing how difficult it was for him to avoid the circular). To him, it has everything to do with social signaling for relationships (romantic or platonic). That one’s gender tells where one lies on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, allowing social partners to know who falls in their zone of interest basically (my words, not his). I don’t know that I agree with him that it’s definitely necessary to have this as a separate classification rather than being one of many qualities you evaluate about a potential social partner, but I could see his point. On the other hand. With the young FTM trans people I know, I don’t see that it’s actually useful that way in practice. The ones I am closest acquainted with (and my own nb kid) do not socialize primarily with other males, unless they are also trans males. Their interests tend to lie in different directions from those that are most commonly found in the general crowd of natal males. My kid has never been one to hang out with guys, and doesn’t like typically “guy” things. But it’s interesting thinking this through that it does end up with me identifying some things as more typically male and others as more typically female. I just haven’t found those typical things to align much with chosen gender in the trans kids I know. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions where it does, and there are some parents here who seem to have kids who that is the case for. (OTOH, I’m certainly not advocating someone has to fit in with the stereotype in order to be any particular gender—that’s the opposite of what I think, I’m just musing over what I’ve seen actually play out around me). 

Eta: Reading this back, it also strikes me that on the other hand, the trans girls/women I know do tend to have more in common with natal females and have more female friends than I see among the trans boys/men. That’s kind of interesting. I don’t know nearly as many MTF as I do FTM though. 

One other note because I keep noticing a trend in these conversations. I keep seeing that among people who see the concept of gender as less useful than sex, there is a high correlation with those same people also mentioning how they are glad that wasn’t how things were when they were growing up, because they did not fit their gender stereotype growing up but they know they are women and wouldn’t have wanted to have made medical changes to their bodies during that growing up stage. 

Congrats to your dh for coming up with a non-circular definition...I'm not sure I'd accept it. *

People do have a type ( more or less feminine/masculine) but plenty of us don't have hard boundaries around our type. 

We do, though, have sexual orientations. I don't see how gender is more important than orientation. 

*Edited this cos I sounded snarky, but he did better than 99% of people asked to provide a non-circular definition! 

Edited by Melissa Louise
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3 hours ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

I am really appreciating this discussion. I have a question, though. I see a lot of gender critical feminists (which is how I would have classified myself a few years ago, fwiw) express a concern about girls being led/pressured into identifying as nb or trans. I'm wondering if, in anyone's experience, this is really a thing. It's certainly not in ours - I would say that my nb kid led/dragged us into an understanding of their identity, rather than the other way around. The same is true of the 3 other (FTM) trans kids I know well. Their families/doctors are supportive, but certainly no one suggested or led them into "choosing" this identity. It came from inside of them.

I mean, other than a subsection of instagram/tumblr/tiktok, being nb or trans is not actually an easy, trendy, or glamorous thing, IRL, I don't think. From what I've seen it's usually a gut-wrenching, painful, long, involved process, which includes a ton of soul-searching & self-education, long conversations with family/friends/doctors, and a realization that you may face an incredible amount of discrimination and even violence once you are out/presenting in a manner that is comfortable for you. You risk losing friends, extended family members, having difficulty getting jobs, being called names when you're out in public. It's an incredibly difficult process that takes courage and fortitude. Totally worth it for the kids I know, but not something anyone would take on just to follow a trend. 

Thoughts? Different experiences? I have found myself worrying about this in the abstract, too, but IRL it doesn't seem to be a real thing, at least among the families of trans kids that I know personally.

What I have seen a lot of in my life is mental health struggles, and the way that a brain that is struggling will latch on to just about anything to explain the agony being experienced.

We have seen a huge increase in trans-identification in the past few years, particularly among teenage girls. I very much believe we are partly facing the reality of the suggestibility of brains struggling with anxiety or depression or OCD or other things. Kids are surrounded by stories of trans people, and I think they latch on to this as an explanation for their personal misery. I especially think this is happening in cases where a person develops rapid-onset gender dysphoria.

The misery is real.

And it is 100% normal for a person to look for something circumstantial to explain that misery.

It is also 100% normal for teens especially to latch on to a thing that a bunch of other people are latching on to.

That doesn't mean that the circumstantial thing identified is actually the source of the underlying mental anguish, or that attempting to "fix" that circumstantial thing will resolve the mental health issues.

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Just now, Chrysalis Academy said:

@Melissa Louise Maybe I am "vastly under-estimating" the impact. Which is why I asked. Extrapolating from our own experience and our friend group leads me to think it's not a huge issue, but obviously your experience is different. I'm sorry for that, it sounds really awful. 

I do think it must vary wildly by area. I live in a very queer-friendly area but often in the US news we read of people experiencing the opposite of affirmation. That feels more the norm here than what you are describing in the UK. But again, my personal experience is limited, which is what makes these discussions so valuable.

Our experience is one tiny corner of a big and emerging picture. When gay clinicians who work with dysphoric youth are themselves shocked at what they see happening, I think it's likely we have a problem on our hands. 

The best thing that could happen from this point on, imo, would be for the chilling effect on research to disappear. Let late onset GD be properly studied. We have close to zero decent research on this cohort, because it's verboten to say they exist. 

 

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19 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

That's a novel definition. Congrats to your dh for coming up with a non-circular definition, but that's wild. 

Under his definition, everyone is pan, and all orientations are to gender, not sex. 

Oh dear, I realize I left a big part of that out. He described this as a separate axis that works in concert with one’s sexual orientation axis, to determine who would fit within potential partners for any given person. So, he gave the example that having always been hetero, that was going to confine him to female bodied people, but that someone who is female bodied but identified as a man would not fit what he was interested in. He did say, on the other hand, that when he was a child just having crushes, probably only the gender presentation would’ve mattered, since sex wasn’t a factor. So, to him, it’s both. It’s someone’s sex, and their gender, together. And he thinks this works for platonic friendships as well. Looking for a guy to hang out with to do “guy” things, gender presentation is what’s going to matter, and sex would be irrelevant.
 

I still have issues with this definition, as we keep coming back to there being guy things and girl things, which bothers me, yet I also see the truth in some of those general stereotypes for many people. I don’t want to talk about cars, for example. Not interested. Neither are any of my kids, except for the only one born male, and he would talk about them all day. That started quite suddenly when he was 18 months old, out of the blue and I thought it was wild. I don’t know how to explain that. (He’s a sweet, nurturing kind of guy and did have a baby he was attached to through childhood, but it was more like a comfort object he slept with, and he never really parented it the way my girls mothered their dolls. I can’t explain that, either. Especially because he’s very caretaking of babies now as a teen.) It’s all very weird and I don’t know what to make of it. All I know for sure is that I’m not comfortable with the idea that not falling into these kind of stereotypes means something is wrong with one and that medical intervention would be encouraged. (Not to mention the fact every one of the trans guys I know well right now would have fallen under the more typical of girls stereotype when they were growing up.) 🤷‍♀️

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7 minutes ago, KSera said:

Oh dear, I realize I left a big part of that out. He described this as a separate axis that works in concert with one’s sexual orientation axis, to determine who would fit within potential partners for any given person. So, he gave the example that having always been hetero, that was going to confine him to female bodied people, but that someone who is female bodied but identified as a man would not fit what he was interested in. He did say, on the other hand, that when he was a child just having crushes, probably only the gender presentation would’ve mattered, since sex wasn’t a factor. So, to him, it’s both. It’s someone’s sex, and their gender, together. And he thinks this works for platonic friendships as well. Looking for a guy to hang out with to do “guy” things, gender presentation is what’s going to matter, and sex would be irrelevant.
 

I still have issues with this definition, as we keep coming back to there being guy things and girl things, which bothers me, yet I also see the truth in some of those general stereotypes for many people. I don’t want to talk about cars, for example. Not interested. Neither are any of my kids, except for the only one born male, and he would talk about them all day. That started quite suddenly when he was 18 months old, out of the blue and I thought it was wild. I don’t know how to explain that. (He’s a sweet, nurturing kind of guy and did have a baby he was attached to through childhood, but it was more like a comfort object he slept with, and he never really parented it the way my girls mothered their dolls. I can’t explain that, either. Especially because he’s very caretaking of babies now as a teen.) It’s all very weird and I don’t know what to make of it. All I know for sure is that I’m not comfortable with the idea that not falling into these kind of stereotypes means something is wrong with one and that medical intervention would be encouraged. (Not to mention the fact every one of the trans guys I know well right now would have fallen under the more typical of girls stereotype when they were growing up.) 🤷‍♀️

I don't know. It all begins to mesh with 1950's stereotypes. 

I don't think I've ever looked for friends by gender presentation. What are girl/guy things anyway? I honestly thought we were beyond that. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

I don't know. It all begins to mesh with 1950's stereotypes. 

I don't think I've ever looked for friends by gender presentation. What are girl/guy things anyway? I honestly thought we were beyond that. 

 

I agree. There’s my discomfort. But I keep not having another way to describe things. (Thus lots of quotes, like “girl” things). I’m not comfortable with that, though. But I’m acknowledging an association of interests I would be intellectually dishonest to claim I never noticed. I absolutely agree I’ve never looked for friends by gender presentation, though. But I also see what he means that he wouldn’t have been looking for a partner who identifies as a man. I don’t know. My mind hasn’t been able to come up with a satisfying way to explain why I don’t think any of this necessitates gender as a separate category. I don’t think it’s progressing us, for sure. 

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14 minutes ago, KSera said:

My mind hasn’t been able to come up with a satisfying way to explain why I don’t think any of this necessitates gender as a separate category. I don’t think it’s progressing us, for sure. 

I think I just hit on part of why it doesn’t feel helpful to me, beyond the primary issue which to me is all about the medicalization. I think the very notion of gender as a separate category is what leads this discussion to feel sticky to me. Instead of it being that lots of guys like cars, but some don’t, now it’s like liking cars is a guy thing and liking Barbies instead makes the guy gender nonconforming. Whereas before, he would just be a guy who liked Barbies and not cars, but that wouldn’t say anything about his gender.

 

I think for some kids it’s about these gender stereotypes they don’t fit, but for others, I think it’s purely about the body parts (frequently adolescent girls who don’t like having breasts). 

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1 hour ago, maize said:

What I have seen a lot of in my life is mental health struggles, and the way that a brain that is struggling will latch on to just about anything to explain the agony being experienced.

We have seen a huge increase in trans-identification in the past few years, particularly among teenage girls. I very much believe we are partly facing the reality of the suggestibility of brains struggling with anxiety or depression or OCD or other things. Kids are surrounded by stories of trans people, and I think they latch on to this as an explanation for their personal misery. I especially think this is happening in cases where a person develops rapid-onset gender dysphoria.

The misery is real.

And it is 100% normal for a person to look for something circumstantial to explain that misery.

It is also 100% normal for teens especially to latch on to a thing that a bunch of other people are latching on to.

That doesn't mean that the circumstantial thing identified is actually the source of the underlying mental anguish, or that attempting to "fix" that circumstantial thing will resolve the mental health issues.

Well said maize!

The huge comorbidity rate of things like, ASD, ADHD, OCD, anorexia, generalised anxiety (diagnosed), with a trans identity is suggestive to me.

Also, recognizing and ameliorating distress through a social or medical transition, still doesn't actually negate the physical reality nor consequences of a sexed body. Is there any circumstance where sex segregation is important? I think yes, very, especially to females (whatever their gender identity) who are the more physically vulnerable sex class.

Eta - one reason I keep harping on the prison question is because women have already been assaulted by the males (with a gender identity of 'woman') they have been locked up with. Those women didn't have the luxury of wondering about the esoteric gender essence as they were assaulted by a very familiar kind of male violence.

Edited by LMD
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3 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

Our experience is one tiny corner of a big and emerging picture. When gay clinicians who work with dysphoric youth are themselves shocked at what they see happening, I think it's likely we have a problem on our hands. 

The best thing that could happen from this point on, imo, would be for the chilling effect on research to disappear. Let late onset GD be properly studied. We have close to zero decent research on this cohort, because it's verboten to say they exist. 

 

Agreed.

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For those interested in the “being led” topic, the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier is a good read. 

Edited by Hyacinth
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IME where it's coming from is mostly the internet and the peer group.

A lot of my kids' friends who identify as not cis / not straight have still not dared to tell their parents that.  At school, there is tons of acceptance and encouragement, especially from girls.  Lots of attention given to individuals who claim one of the LGBT+ identities. 

And at least some of these kids have switched between LGBT+ identities over time.

About a week ago, one of my kids' 14yo friends implied she was gay while we were driving to a restaurant.  This girl (xx) has had a steady stream of boyfriends for years.  Right now she has 2 or 3 boys she's chasing, and she can hardly talk about anything else.  How on earth can she think she's gay?

Another xx claims she is a trans boy, but she is hiding this from xy straight boys because she wants to date them.  There was a big fight between her and another xx over the second xx "letting it slip" that so-and-so "is a boy" [to the male crush of said "trans boy."]

I think the majority of these kids are just experimenting with the ideas while in their peer bubble.  I think that in today's environment, the distress mentioned in above posts is likely to happen when/if the child decides to come out to people outside this supportive bubble, especially their parents.

While some may think the current version of "openness / supportiveness" is helpful to those with actual gender dysphoria, I don't think so.  I think it trivializes the distress that some parents are talking about above.  In a way it's a little like white kids wearing blackface to a costume party.

Edited by SKL
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12 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

And a final point - affirmation only therapy from medical professionals is not a neutral stance. The being led may he subtle ( it often isn't) but clinicians who bring only affirmation to their rooms are influencing outcomes. 

I wonder if this is different in the UK than the US.  My UK-based sister thinks maybe so, based on recent law?  Sample size of one opinion.

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58 minutes ago, Harpymom said:

I wonder if this is different in the UK than the US.  My UK-based sister thinks maybe so, based on recent law?  Sample size of one opinion.

I'm not sure. My impression is that it's very hard for parents to find neutral  psychotherapy anywhere.

Maybe the Bell case will shift things. Most families in the UK are stuck with a handful of paediatric gender clinics, one of which is currently being sued by its safeguarding lead. 

It's not great. 

 

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On 6/21/2021 at 9:27 PM, Melissa Louise said:

Sex is one of the most salient human features. 

I accompanied 64 kindergarten children to a sports carnival last week. They had to line up by colours. It was chaos! It was written on their hands but they can't read 🙂 I swear, we spent about half an hour sorting by colour. 

You have a point, but pragmatically, I don't think it makes a lot of difference, so long as the division by sex isn't used to justify unequal treatment, as it used to be, and sometimes still is. 

 

They should have used markers or paint of different colors on their hands.  

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1 hour ago, Melissa Louise said:

I'm not sure. My impression is that it's very hard for parents to find neutral  psychotherapy anywhere.

Maybe the Bell case will shift things. Most families in the UK are stuck with a handful of paediatric gender clinics, one of which is currently being sued by its safeguarding lead. 

It's not great. 

 

How many parents seek out gender clinics vs finding a therapist locally, or, if their child is at the "call me X, my pronouns are Y" stage, but isn't terribly distressed, just living with it? I believe the two nearest here are both 3-4 hours away, and I'm in a pretty big city. And I'm not sure either would be covered under my health plan, since we're pretty tied to one hospital network.  I would think that in many cases, you'd go to the first decent therapist you can find, and someone who focuses on, say, anxiety, or self injurious behavior, or an eating disorder or autism spectrum is likely to look at things a little less through a "if you just use the right pronouns, all problems will be solved" lens. And while I admit to not asking, somehow I can't imagine the pediatric office we see prescribing testosterone, since she tends to follow a "stay in your own Lane" and refer for everything that isn't a normal childhood illness. 

 

I'm actually wondering if that's why the kids in my circle mostly don't seem to be rushing to medicalize things. It seems to be social transitioning only, and treated similarly to coming out as gay/lesbian-ok, here's another piece of information about you. But, again, most of the kids I know are claiming to be NB in some way, which doesn't require anatomy changes. 

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54 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

How many parents seek out gender clinics vs finding a therapist locally, or, if their child is at the "call me X, my pronouns are Y" stage, but isn't terribly distressed, just living with it? I believe the two nearest here are both 3-4 hours away, and I'm in a pretty big city. And I'm not sure either would be covered under my health plan, since we're pretty tied to one hospital network.  I would think that in many cases, you'd go to the first decent therapist you can find, and someone who focuses on, say, anxiety, or self injurious behavior, or an eating disorder or autism spectrum is likely to look at things a little less through a "if you just use the right pronouns, all problems will be solved" lens. And while I admit to not asking, somehow I can't imagine the pediatric office we see prescribing testosterone, since she tends to follow a "stay in your own Lane" and refer for everything that isn't a normal childhood illness. 

 

I'm actually wondering if that's why the kids in my circle mostly don't seem to be rushing to medicalize things. It seems to be social transitioning only, and treated similarly to coming out as gay/lesbian-ok, here's another piece of information about you. But, again, most of the kids I know are claiming to be NB in some way, which doesn't require anatomy changes. 

Yes, Ds saw a local therapist for two years after coming out before contacting our gender clinic. He started seeing that therapist for depression/anxiety and she ended up being wonderful for us the whole way through.  Also, our clinic at the time was only for adults but I do believe there is now one for youth at the local children’s hospital. Most I know go to the clinic as a last resort and/or only after much therapy locally. Ds only started going to the clinic at 18 to get hormones (and he still had to meet several times with the staff therapist even though he was still seeing his personal therapist). 

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re sequencing of therapy v medicalization

1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

How many parents seek out gender clinics vs finding a therapist locally, or, if their child is at the "call me X, my pronouns are Y" stage, but isn't terribly distressed, just living with it? I believe the two nearest here are both 3-4 hours away, and I'm in a pretty big city. And I'm not sure either would be covered under my health plan, since we're pretty tied to one hospital network.  I would think that in many cases, you'd go to the first decent therapist you can find, and someone who focuses on, say, anxiety, or self injurious behavior, or an eating disorder or autism spectrum is likely to look at things a little less through a "if you just use the right pronouns, all problems will be solved" lens. And while I admit to not asking, somehow I can't imagine the pediatric office we see prescribing testosterone, since she tends to follow a "stay in your own Lane" and refer for everything that isn't a normal childhood illness. 

I'm actually wondering if that's why the kids in my circle mostly don't seem to be rushing to medicalize things. It seems to be social transitioning only, and treated similarly to coming out as gay/lesbian-ok, here's another piece of information about you. But, again, most of the kids I know are claiming to be NB in some way, which doesn't require anatomy changes. 

 

12 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

Yes, Ds saw a local therapist for two years after coming out before contacting our gender clinic. He started seeing that therapist for depression/anxiety and she ended up being wonderful for us the whole way through.  Also, our clinic at the time was only for adults but I do believe there is now one for youth at the local children’s hospital. Most I know go to the clinic as a last resort and/or only after much therapy locally. Ds only started going to the clinic at 18 to get hormones (and he still had to meet several times with the staff therapist even though he was still seeing his personal therapist). 

This Extended Therapy Before Medicalization journey is what all 3 of the FTM kids I know pretty well have experienced as well (all in the greater NYC area, so clinics did *exist* within 1-2 hour range... though insurance coverage certainly is a gating factor).

Only 1/3 is looking to anatomy intervention at some future point.  2/3 have started hormone therapy (but well after puberty).  The other has sat in the name & pronoun & presentation change lane for going on 8 years now, and after some rocky times seems to have landed there in reasonably stable shape.

 

I would characterize my area as relatively (it's all relative; there are some number of jerks anywhere in the planet) culturally hospitable to the L and G in LGBTQ, measured by early-adoption of state marriage and public accommodation laws, willingness of both public officials and many faith organizations to officiate marriages, rainbow flags and big welcome signs on many churches and etc.

T seems a significantly harder grapple, though, at least for the Boomer generation.

 

[Realizing as I'm mulling over this that I'm sort of conflating the OP question about "gender" with trans... and that is actually not what I believe.

What I actually believe -- this thread has helped me realize -- is, if as a society we somehow did a better job with mitigating the exogenous demands of "gender" expectations, we'd likely have a substantially smaller group of people whose distress led them towards T.  Not a group of 0 -- there clearly are some people who literally physically feel their BODIES don't fit -- but a smaller group of anatomical Ts and another category of folks who dress / affiliate / name & pronoun themselves however they please.

But I dunno how we get from here to there, when the FIRST QUESTION directed at a pregnant belly in the supermarket is "Boy or Girl?", or when male toddlers who wear nail polish to preschool are treated mercilessly by peers and teachers alike, or when any number of faith traditions literally lay down doctrine on what males v females should wear to be aligned with God's will. 

It's really not just about Toilet Policy.  There's something pretty deep and pretty universal that really really WANTS to sort masculine from feminine. As long as that's there -- and I can't see how to make it not-there -- I can't see how to break or expand the "gender" box... however much real distress could be alleviated if we could.

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On 6/23/2021 at 5:53 AM, Dmmetler said:

How many parents seek out gender clinics vs finding a therapist locally, or, if their child is at the "call me X, my pronouns are Y" stage, but isn't terribly distressed, just living with it? I believe the two nearest here are both 3-4 hours away, and I'm in a pretty big city. And I'm not sure either would be covered under my health plan, since we're pretty tied to one hospital network.  I would think that in many cases, you'd go to the first decent therapist you can find, and someone who focuses on, say, anxiety, or self injurious behavior, or an eating disorder or autism spectrum is likely to look at things a little less through a "if you just use the right pronouns, all problems will be solved" lens. And while I admit to not asking, somehow I can't imagine the pediatric office we see prescribing testosterone, since she tends to follow a "stay in your own Lane" and refer for everything that isn't a normal childhood illness. 

 

I'm actually wondering if that's why the kids in my circle mostly don't seem to be rushing to medicalize things. It seems to be social transitioning only, and treated similarly to coming out as gay/lesbian-ok, here's another piece of information about you. But, again, most of the kids I know are claiming to be NB in some way, which doesn't require anatomy changes. 

**don’t quote—I will be deleting**
 

I have thought the opposite-that perhaps gender clinics will be less rapid to affirm than general therapists who only know what they know from reading the popular literature and APA position statements, just based on our experiences. I expect it probably mostly just matters from clinic to clinic and therapist a therapist.[deleted personal details] They finally realized this therapist had caused them far more harm than good and quit. They are working at recovering from all that now. 
 

As for NB and medicalization, top surgery isn’t super unusual for that and/or testosterone. I actually came to think that if my kid was going to do one or the other, the surgery was my preference. The negative aspects of T were more worrisome to me and the irreversible aspects more obvious to the world if they change their mind in the future. Though, I will say top surgery is pretty dang drastic once you actually see it in person. It’s not like they just look like they did prepuberty. Still, given a choice, that still seems the easier one for someone to live with than T if they have regrets. It’s good hearing in the nb crowd you know, the kids are happy without needing to medicalize  

**don’t quote—I will be deleting**

Edited by KSera
Removed some of the personal details
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A sincere thank you for this thread @MercyA and all of you brilliant, articulate, generous folks for taking the time to make your posts and share your personal experiences. This thread has been incredibly helpful to me. 

Edited by Minerva
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