Guest writers contribute their analysis of damaging ‘guidance’ from Transgender Trend. The Queerness will share these over 5 days.
We are publishing a series of essays provided by Teachers Against Conversion Therapy over 5 days. Read Part 3 here
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Suggests being transgender is a mental disorder.
The document contains numerous statements associating being transgender with a mental illness or delusion.
“To believe that your ‘authentic self’ is split off from the body (in the form of a brain‑based innate ‘gender identity’) results in a mind‑body split which is recognised as an indication of mental ill‑health. The body becomes the enemy. Good mental health is also characterised by the ability to accept reality.
The document does not accept transgender as a natural part of human variation, instead pathologising gender diversity, associating it with ‘underlying problems’ or ‘abuse’:
“In a study of young women who regret their transition, 93% said they did not receive adequate counselling before starting a path of medical transition so underlying problems were not resolved”
“Children who have troubled backgrounds, have suffered previous trauma or sexual abuse, have underlying mental health issues or are bullied and don’t ‘fit in’ are also vulnerable to interpreting these problems as due to ‘gender dysphoria”
A resource pack intending to educate an ill-informed school should not be in danger of being interpreted as suggesting that underlying problems are significant in leading to transition, associating being transgender with mental disorders or abuse.
“eight children to have been observed with gender dysphoria. Four were remembered to have had severe associated mental disorder, one associated attention deficit/hyperactivity, one had been investigated for neurological disease on the basis of strange fidgetiness, and two had suffered sustained sexual abuse.”
“How common are associated mental problems? There are at least four reasons why a child with gender dysphoria might have associated mental disorder. The first is that transgender is but a symptom of a general disturbance.”
“transgender was a symptom of an underlying disorder and not a result of ostracism”
“This renders optimistic, if not delusional, the concept that massive intervention may secure happiness.”
“Where is the line between transgender surgery and that for Body Identity Disorder in which the sufferer demands transformation of the physical state to satisfy the mental: for example, the removal of a normal leg in the false belief it is gangrenous?”
“Lastly, I confess a family conundrum. I have a four-year-old grand-daughter who insistently, persistently and consistently declares she is a shark. Worse, she declares her name is “Bruce the Shark”. Reference to DSM-5 dismays: she plays with model sharks, dresses in shark motifs, wears a shark headdress, will take herself to the corner to await fish, loves to sit before the shark ponds in aquaria and thrills to caress their tails in special ponds for children at SeaWorld in California. Not above deriving some benefit from the tragedy, her father coaxes her to finish her meals by suggesting she “eat her fish”. But, dejected, he seeks my private advice: “When should we deliver her to the aquarium?””
The inclusion of a reference like the above that consistently compares being transgender to a delusion is dangerous and out of step with all medical consensus.
In the list of recommended further reading, there is inclusion of a blog post by Transgender Trend on social transition. As part of a critique of peer reviewed academic research by Olson et al, Transgender Trend (in their own blog) argues:
“This study also does not prove that gender dysphoria is a not mental health pathology any different from any other body dysphoria. It simply shows that gender dysphoria is relieved by support and/or social transition as measured by symptoms such as depression and anxiety. An anorexic who was supported and validated in their desire to lose weight may well also present with reduced levels of depression and anxiety. This remains untested as such a study would rightly be deemed unethical.”
The comparison with anorexia is deeply unhelpful and inappropriate. Transgender Trend comparing being transgender with an eating disorder is a prejudiced and un-evidenced claim completely out of step with medical consensus.
The Endocrine Society 2017 Guidelines states:
“The medical consensus in the late 20th century was that transgender and gender incongruent individuals suffered a mental health disorder termed “gender identity disorder.” Gender identity was considered malleable and subject to external influences. Today, however, this attitude is no longer considered valid.”
 (Endorsed by the world’s leading centres for evidence based practice: the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Society of Andrology, the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology, the European Society of Endocrinology, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health).