Researcher Claims “Social Transition” to Another Gender Is Harmless for Children:
Her Study Findings Say the Opposite
September 27, 2022
Suppose your daughter comes to you and says, “Mom, Dad, I am really a boy. I want you to call me Tom now and refer to me as ‘he’ and ‘him’ instead of ‘she’ and ‘her.’”
PETER SPRIGG, FWI DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH & ADVOCACY
What would you do? Would you agree to your daughter’s request? Would you collude in the fiction that your girl is really a boy?
If Mom and Dad agree to their daughter’s request, they will be facilitating what is called the “social transition” of her child into another “gender identity.”
What exactly is a “social transition?”
It is impersonating the opposite sex and can involve adopting a new name, hairstyle and clothing. It can also involve mimicking anatomical changes of the preferred sex such as chest binding or “packing” a fake penis to produce a male-looking bulge in one’s crotch under clothes.
But is a social transition for children unhappy with their biological sex helpful or harmful?
One possibility is that such a child might come to regret the transition. The child could return to identifying with his or her biological sex, but that process (called “detransition”) could be a stressful one.
This possibility is by no means the only argument against allowing “social transition.”
However, it was the only one examined in an article recently published in journal Pediatrics.
In this new Pediatrics study, long-time pro-transgender scholar Kristina R. Olson and her co-authors addressed only this one, hypothetical concern about possible regret. They did so by studying a sample of children who had undergone a social transition to see what gender they identified with five years later. They found that a large majority of the children studied (93%) continued to identify with the preferred (new) gender. Only 2.5% of the subjects had fully detransitioned and returned to identifying with their biological sex. The authors interpreted their findings as being reassuring to those who support childhood gender transition.
But were the findings really reassuring?
There is a completely different way of interpreting the findings reported in the Pediatrics article. That would be to consider all of the possible risks associated with a “social transition”—not just the risk of later “regret.” Viewed in this broader way, the findings of the study are more troubling than reassuring.
For one thing, other, earlier research has shown that a large majority of children who experience gender dysphoria (distress about their biological sex), or who engage in gender nonconforming behavior (e.g., boys playing with dolls, etc.), will eventually outgrow those feelings and will not become transgender adults.
How can these findings be reconciled?
The earlier research focused on children’s feelings (of “gender dysphoria”) or their behavior (which was “gender nonconforming”). Most of the children in those studies probably did not “transition” to fully presenting themselves in public as identifying with the opposite sex.
The new Pediatrics study included only children who had already made a complete social transition—on average, 1.6 years before joining the study. These children’s parents also volunteered them to be part of the “TransYouth Project.” It was thus likely to draw parents who were already committed to a transgender identity for their child.
So the real significance of the new study is that a social transition may lock children in to a transgender identity.
But the message of the older research is that such a destiny would not be the likely outcome—even for children who are gender nonconforming or who experience gender distress—without the “social transition.”
“Social transition” is a “treatment” that causes disease instead of curing it. This is a risk that the authors of the new study failed to address.
In addition, the new study verifies that most children who undergo “social” transition do not stop there. Instead, they go on from a “social” gender transition to a “medical” one. This can involve the use of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and eventually, gender “reassignment” surgery.
These cause serious and lifelong consequences.
In the new study, 12% of the children had already begun puberty blockers before entering the project, and by the time the study period ended, 60% had begun either puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones. The authors of the study failed to address the risks of these later, “medical” transition procedures.
Rather than giving reassurance, the new study should raise grave concerns.
What it really shows is that some children are embarking on a tragic life journey—not just when they begin cross-sex hormones at the age of 15 or 16; and not even when they begin puberty blockers at 10 or 11; but when they undergo a “social transition”—at ages as young as 6 or 7.
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