This article is the second part of a two part series.
It started out as a plan for a collection of resources with a brief introduction but the brief introduction took on a life of its own, rather like one of my mum’s enthusiastic runner bean plants, and morphed into Part 1.
Part 1 is designed to be read first, and you can do that here.
Welcome to Part 2.
When my daughter identified as a boy, back in 2015, there were very few questioning and critical resources available online for parents whose kids thought they’d been born the wrong sex.
Now, putting this article together, I’m struck by how much more attention the subject has gained in the media this last couple of years. There are hundreds of articles, videos and podcasts out there, questioning the current trans narrative and the ethics of imposing it on children.
I call this article ‘So your child thinks they might be transgender’, although generally kids who think they’re transgender don’t think they ‘might’ be: they absolutely, definitely KNOW they are – until, often, they don’t and they aren’t.
Fewer and fewer kids are being given the time to think about this as we rush in with the untested but fashionable affirmation model, assuring them that it’s quite possible to be ‘born in the wrong body’ and that it’s quite possible to change sex. I discuss this dubious approach in more detail in part 1 of this article.
This second part concerns itself with sharing resources that may be of especial interest to the parents of trans-identified children and young people.
Many of the writers, speakers or organisations that I mention below have come under attack from transactivists who support the transitioning of children. Some accuse them of being funded by the far right and/or of hating trans or ‘LGBTQ+’ people. These accusations are disingenuous, untrue and unconvincing.
I have not linked to the work of any individual, group or organisation promoting hate, bigotry or intolerance. It should go without saying that the fact that I list an article or video here doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with everything said therein, or share every opinion of the content creators.
I’ve tried to be diverse in my selections, so you’ll come across everything from newspaper articles to peer reviewed studies; the views of young people who thought they were trans but changed their minds (desisters) and those who started down a medical transition pathway and then stopped (detransiitoners), taking in the writings of feminists and parents; psychiatrists, clinicians, doctors and academics along the way. The links here are far from exhaustive – I had to stop somewhere! – but many have links branching out to other thoughtful and informative pieces.
An excellent starting place for parents wanting to know more from a reliable and established source is Transgender Trend. The TGT website has a wealth of articles on the subject of children, gender identity, safeguarding and inclusivity.
Transgender Trend was started by a group of UK parents who question the current trans narrative. It has been established for many years and has no political or religious affiliation.
“We don’t have any evidence that children really are trans, this is a very new phenomenon which is based on no credible scientific research. Children’s preference for particular toys and activities just reflects their personalities and we need to take care not to read any deeper meaning into their choices, but allow children to explore and form their own identities at their own pace… We do believe in listening to children, we think it’s really important. But listening doesn’t mean always agreeing with a child. Children know who they are as children, they can’t know how they will change, in fact the belief that you will never change is a symptom of childhood and adolescence.”
Transgender Trend has produced a schools resource pack, in consultation with teachers, child protection and welfare professionals and lawyers. It can be downloaded free, or you can ask for a hard copy to be sent to you for your child’s school. A template for an accompanying letter is also available at the above link.
Transgender Trend has recently worked with writer and Primary and SE teacher Rachel Rooney and illustrator Jessica Ahlberg to produce ‘My Body is Me’, an adorable, high-quality, picture book for 3-6 year olds.
The book can be purchased here for just £5, with a free lesson plan for teachers.
The Transgender Trend website also has extensive information about puberty blockers, sex hormones and social transition.
4thWaveNow is an American website, a ‘community of parents & others questioning the medicalization of gender-atypical youth’.
What Transgender Trend is to the UK, 4thWaveNow is to the USA. Although the groups are very different, both are reasoned, reliable and a treasure trove of articles, facts and information on gender and trans issues in relation to children and young people.
Like Transgender Trend, 4thWaveNow has been established for many years and is an organisation with no political or religious affiliation.
4thWaveNow was started by a mother whose daughter announced she was transgender ‘after a few weeks of total immersion in YouTube transition vlogs and other trans-oriented social media’. Her daughter has since desisted.
Struck by the lack of information and resources available to parents who questioned the ‘born in the wrong body’ narrative, this mother began writing about her own experiences and views. The website has grown into a platform featuring not only her writing but that of ‘other parents, formerly trans-identified people, and people with professional expertise and experience with young people questioning their gender identity’.
4thWaveNow is where mine and my daughter’s story was first published, here, in December 2016.
The Gender Critical Support Board was established in 2017. It has nearly 2000 members and is run for parents and families by parents and families who share the experience of coping with a child, teenager or young adult who believes she or he is transgender.
While most of the content is only visible to members of the board, always beware of giving out identifiable personal details on any online forum and be aware that people may not be who they say they are.
Safe Schools Alliance is concerned that schools are being ‘trained’ by trans lobby groups and advised to use policies regarding gender identity that are based on misleading or inaccurate information. It encourages schools to review these policies.
“Safe Schools Alliance is a group of concerned parents, grandparents, teachers, governors, health professionals, education professionals, and carers from more than 30 local education authority areas in the UK. We are from a wide range of backgrounds and have no religious or political affiliation.”
This group was started by ‘parents whose children have suddenly—seemingly out of the blue—decided they identify strongly with the opposite sex and are at various stages in transitioning.‘ They are skeptical of the ‘affirmative approach’ which they beleive ‘only seems to confirm and solidify our children’s misguided, externally-influenced sense of self’. Their resources include guidelines for finding a trustworthy therapist for your child and co-ordinating support groups for parents.
GHQ are a group of LGBT people and allies who want to protect all gender nonconforming youth- with or without gender dysphoria. Objectives are to ‘prevent the over-medicalisation of gender nonconforming youth, prevent harm resulting from medical treatments on trans-identified minors and to address confusion and rights conflicts that arise from new ideologies about gender’.
A group of ‘parents and professionals concerned about the medicalization of identity and the erosion of sex-based rights… and the lack of open discussion on issues that are affecting Canadian families and children.‘
The recently established ‘Our Duty’ Facebook page collects articles, videos and stories concerning trans-identified young people and desisiters.
“Our Duty as parents is to protect our children from serious harm. Our children are being harmed by those who tell them they can change sex. ”
BSG are a group of parents in the UK and Ireland who have been ‘brought together by our experiences of parenting children with gender dysphoria or who have declared a transgender identity‘.
Their website offers resources and advice; they also have a support forum which parents of gender dysphoric children can register to join.
Many trans-identified children first come out as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and homophobia can often play a part in the change in perspective. The LGB Alliance stands up for ‘the right to live as same-sex attracted people without discrimination or disadvantage’.
“The numbers of children, particularly girls, seeking help has increased at an alarming rate. We believe that this is related to the rise of pseudoscience and increased misinformation about basic biology along with a rise in homophobia and anti-lesbian sentiment and lesbian invisibility.”
Organisations concerned with the effect of trans ideology on women’s rights as well as the rights of children include:
Fair Play for Women campaign for the rights of women and girls in sports.
Hands Across the Aisle is an alliance of radical feminists, lesbians, Christians & conservatives committed to working together to oppose gender identity ideology.
Other groups that may be of interest are Standing for Women, Resisters United, OBJECT, and The Lesbian Rights Alliance
From peer-reviewed scientific research to mainstream newspaper articles; taking in thoughts from parents, psychologists, academics, doctors, feminists, journalists and young people themselves along the way.
After a few failed attempts to specifically categorise these writings, I decided to list them by date.
“The oppression linked to sex begins at birth, operating through the social imposition of gender… the value system that prescribes and proscribes forms of behaviour and appearance for members of the different sex classes.” Whilst not dealing specifically with its influence on children and young people, Reilly-Cooper’s excellent analysis of gender is a good place to start.
The mother of a desister writes:“Without even meeting my child in the flesh, all four (gender) therapists talked to me like this trans thing was a done deal… Until the last few years, parents who recognized that teens go through phases weren’t considered abusive. They were considered well informed… Given my own daughter’s desistence from the idea that she is or was ever ‘transgender’, I feel even more strongly that parents are right to resist the push by every sector of society to identify gender dysphoric minors as ‘trans’.”
Davies-Arai says that a generation of kids is being used as guinea pigs: “the theory that children have an innate ‘gender identity’ which does not match their biological sex has no scientific basis; it is impossible to have a brain which is the opposite sex of the body.”
Cantor recounts, “There have been three large scale follow-up studies and a handful of smaller ones… all the studies have come to a remarkably similar conclusion: only very few trans kids still want to transition by the time they are adults.”
Callum McKenzie reports on the marked increase in children referred to the NHS with gender identity issues. With graphs showing figures from the Tavistock.
Singal looks at the story of Dr Kenneth Zucker, who led the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), in Toronto before being unceremoniously fired for his resistance to the ‘gender affirmative’ approach.
“..there seems to be an immediate tension between the claim that gender is not a binary but a spectrum, and the claim that only a small proportion of individuals can be described as having a non-binary gender identity”. One of my first ‘peak trans’ moments was coming across Rebecca Reilly-Cooper’s article dealing with the ‘illogical and politically troubling‘ issues surrounding the idea of being non-binary.
Journalist Singal discusses a subject that ‘can get extremely heated and tricky‘: addressing how homosexuality, trauma and psychological issues can affect a young person’s gender identity.
“So, if transgender children have existed since the dawn of humanity, and if the only cure for intense childhood gender dysphoria is medical transition, then there can be no doubt that there would be historical records of such miserable transgender children. Right?” Yet it seems not.
If we accept that the only reason a girl says “I’m a boy” is because she really is one, it absolves us of any responsibility to examine that statement within the wider context of a girl’s life experiences and influences. It means we’re not obliged to look at the culture within which our girls are growing up in the UK; we can assume that girls are happily immune to any harmful cultural messages and experiences. We need not ask the question “Why do so many teenage girls not want to become women?”
How much truth is behind the oft quoted statistic that almost half of trans-identified young people attempt suicide? Analysis of the study quoted shows that only 27 of the young people were trans-identified- not over 2,000 as was claimed by Mermaids. Other issues are also raised. ‘Presenting this trope to families of transgender children and young people is nothing short of emotional blackmail.’
Sarah Dittum discusses the work of Ken Zucker, the silencing of doctors and what it means to call a child ‘trans’.
Herzog interviews several young people who detransitioned, as well as some who didn’t.
Brown addresses ‘why the myth of pink brains and blue brains sticks so firmly in our collective consciousness,’ when even neuroscientists can’t tell if an individual brain belongs to a man or woman.
First in a series of two: psychologists Blanchard & Bailey discuss problems with the current mainstream narrative regarding gender dysphoria.
Mum Penny White talks to Bartosh about her 12-year-old daughter who “diagnosed herself with gender dysphoria” and explains her concerns about the approach taken by organisations such as Mermaids and GIRES.
“Currently, we appear to be experiencing a significant psychic epidemic that is manifesting as children and young people coming to believe that they are the opposite sex, and in some cases taking drastic measures to change their bodies.” Jungian psychologist Marchiano discusses this in the journal ‘Psychological Perspectives‘.
Janice Turner investigates the rise in girls wanting to be boys and meets trans icon Alex Bertie. Behind a Times paywall (you can register to read 2 articles free each week and this one is well worth the effort) she also talks to my daughter Jessie and others.
Second in a series of two: psychologists Blanchard & Bailey discuss different types of dysphoria and how ‘the best scientific evidence suggests that gender transition is not necessary to prevent suicide’.
Endocrinologist Laidlaw looks at popular children’s book ‘I am Jazz’, suggesting it ‘contains both false information and very troubling omissions. Children who are experiencing gender dysphoria will likely be harmed by this book, as will children who do not have the condition’.
Claire is a 14 year old girl from Philadelphia, where she lives with her parents. Despite using awkward language like ‘assigned sex’, this article tells the story of a Claire’s sudden trans-identification and desistence.
Littman’s peer-reviewed academic study was met with anger by much of the transgender community who accused both Littman and the parents who took part of ignorance, transphobia and bigotry.
Helena is a young woman who is a detransioner; a young woman who got a prescription for testosterone after a single appointment. She joins the ever-growing ranks of desisters and detransitioners and agreed to write this piece as a guest post for my blog.
Vigo reflects on her communications with trans lobby group Mermaids and explores what kind of support the group really offers ‘gender non-conforming’ kids and their families.
Academic article: summary of 12 adolescents who resolved or diminished their gender dysphoria with counseling. Discusses adolescent gender identity.
Beliefs about sex differences inform stereotypes… which, in turn, historically carry with them huge amounts of ‘contents assured’ information and save us having to judge each individual on their own merits or idiosyncrasies.
Biggs calls for the impartial investigation and publication of statistics from the Tavistock study on the provision of NHS prescribed puberty blocking drugs to children.
Bartosh reports on the protest made by Parker and others at the Stonewall ‘Children and Young People Conference 2019’. Banners featured graphic images of the results of so-called ‘gender affirming’ surgeries and the wording ‘‘Transing children is child abuse. Are you part of it?’
(behind a paywall but you can register for 2 free articles a week)
‘Jacob’ claims side effects of taking puberty blockers included insomnia, exhaustion, low moods & rapid weight gain. After stopping, Jacob (who still identifies as male) says “I grew taller, I lost weight, I felt livelier. It was like getting the poison out of my system.”
“…instead of offering counselling, medical professionals now are commonly telling children that they may have been “born in the wrong body.” This new approach, called “gender affirmation,” makes gender dysphoria less likely to resolve”. Detailed and thoughtful piece from an endocrynologist, an evolutionary biologist and a journalist.
Jane Galloway is an Autistic woman with ADHD. She is a passionate advocate for autistic women and girls. Here she writes of her own experience and gives her view on the reasons behind the exponential rise in the number of autistic girls being referred to Tavistock GIDS.
(behind a paywall but you can register for 2 free articles a week)
The advice given to school teachers in a Mermaids training session was attacked as “misleading and potentially dangerous” by an Oxford academic. The session is believed to be a blueprint for training by the group in schools nationally.
A doctor writes, “I’ve learned that if I refer a patient to the gender clinic, they are going to get the maximalist treatment. They’re not going to get any help figuring out if they really need the full medical/surgical transition. I am now wary of referring to the gender clinic.”
Stephanie Davies-Arai’s essay (quoted above) ‘Is ‘affirmation’ an appropriate approach to childhood gender dysphoria?’ These two essays for CIVITAS, the other by Toby Young: ‘Why are so many schoolchildren coming out as trans?‘ can be either read or downloaded here.
Walsh talks in the Telegraph to Charlie Evans and Keira about how young women are ‘sold this idea that transitioning was magically going to solve their problems’ and how
Sullivan meets some desisters who ‘worry that any kind of therapy apart from affirmation of transgender identity is now seen as transphobic, and that teens are able to get hormones far too easily‘.
Here are links to my own articles concerning child transition, its harms and its facilitators:
Bind Me:“I’m feeling ecstatic and scared & mum’s feeling sick” October 2017
When is a girl not a girl? November 2017
What makes somebody ‘real trans’ part 2: Kids’ January 2018
But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans! March 2018
ROGD July 2018
Child transition – the myth of informed consent – August 2018
The Gendered Child April 2019
Kool-Aid for kiddies – teaching little ones about the gender fairy – June 2019
GenderCare – Dr Lorimer brings all the transboys to the yard – August 2019
Inventing the Transgender Child – a conference – October 2019
Sometimes you can’t take the time to sit down to read an article or watch a video. Here are some podcasts for anytime listening.
This podcast from Feminist Current asks, ‘are we moving too quickly? What are the consequences of medical interventions like this on children? What are the social consequences?’ Meghan Murphy talks to social worker and analyst Lisa Marchiano.
Debra speaks with Dr. Susan Bradley, a world-renowned expert on gender dysphoria. In this podcast they discuss the link between gender dysphoria & sexual orientation, the incidence of psychiatric co-morbidity- including autism and depression – in girls presenting with ROGD. They also discuss the dismissal and work of Ken Zücker.
Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works with adolescents on issues around gender identity. She’s been an outspoken critic of the affirmation-only gender therapy model that is pushed by trans activists. Her therapeutic approach is exploration-based, compassionate, and seeks out a more nuanced understanding of the client as a whole person.
In this conversation (their second) they speak about her therapeutic approach, the developmental importance of identity, and how it can often be confused with individuality—that is, being an authentic self.
“My 17 year old, has undiagnosed high-functioning Autism, a high IQ, a history of school refusal, debilitating homesickness, anxiety and addictive behaviour but …” Stella O’Malley and Lisa Marchiano discuss this woman’s story.
Trans-sceptical feminists Posie Parker and Venice Allan talk with Brendan O’Neil, discussing the silencing of women, the dangers of transitioning children, and the Orwellianism of preferred pronouns.
There are lots of videos out there that will tell you that transitioning children is effective, even essential, and that transition is the best answer to a child or young person’s gender dysphoria. Videos that question gender ideology, address the harm that can be done, or the ineffectiveness of transition, are harder to find. Here are some of those videos and documentaries.
One of Peach’s first videos, this does what it says on the tin: “All you need to know about gender in one short video”. Possibly one to watch with your child, it raises some basic questions and answers around gender roles and their relationship to our sexed bodies.
With her trademark dry humour and wry cynicism, Berns looks at some of the inherently sexist reasons behind transitioning children, and the professionals and parents behind the social transition of a five year old girl.
23 year old man from Florida talks about what led him to transition and detransition.
Documentary exploring approaches parents can take if their child has childhood gender dysphoria. “The film presents evidence that most children with gender dysphoria eventually overcome the feelings without transitioning and questions the science behind the idea that a boy could somehow be born with a ‘female brain’ or vice versa.”
Who am I? – 60 minutes Australia documentary – September 2017
Patrick was diagnosed with gender dysphoria age 12. His mother supported and enabled his transition and provided him with hormones which caused him to develop breasts. She now says ‘they were wrong to pigeonhole him so quickly’ Age 14, Patrick changed his mind. This documentary tells his story.
Michele Moore co-editor of ‘Transgender Children and Young People, Born in Your Own Body’ speaks at a Woman’s Place about the implications of affirming self-declaration of gender in children and young people and the influencers who are ‘fixing children in a one way street’. Essential viewing.
Posie has a chat with Stephanie Davies-Arai about her work in assisting gender questioning children and their families, her schools pack and activism.
Peach turns her hand to addressing concerned parents, observing “I was such a child, but now I’m a healthy and happy lesbian.” What are the criteria for declaring a child transgender?
This Swedish documentary with English subtitles looks at the increase of teenage girls with gender dysphoria, the concerns of parents and health care staff and discusses the lack of research within this new group of patients. Can transition be a mistake? Two detransitioned females speak. The Swedish Lundstrom gender clinic provides trauma therapy for detransitioners.
Swedish politicians argue that fifteen-year-olds with gender dysphoria should be allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery without consent from their parents or they are at risk of committing suicide. But is this really true? ‘Mission Investigate’ continues to investigate transgender health care and explore the arguments from politicians.
England’s only NHS youth gender clinic lowered the age at which it offers children puberty blockers, partly based on a study now being investigated. The study’s full findings have not been published – but early data showed some taking the drugs reported an increase in thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
Stella O’Malley considers the huge rise in numbers of young people embarking on gender transition, through the prism of the gender identity issues that she experienced when she was a child.
Subtitles added in 2019 by PeachYoghurt. This Dutch documentary deals with ‘the dark side’ of transition, regret, the one that is rarely lauded in the press.
Detransition Q&A #1 – Pique Resilience Project -February 2019
Four young women who have detransitioned or desisted answer some questions about detransition and their feelings around their own transition. The channel also features interviews with individual young women who have desisted or detransitioned.
Charlie Evans, who detransitioned in 2018, speaks to Sky News about young people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery but wish they hadn’t.
Reynolds talks about her own transition and detransition and her feelings about transitioning children.
Sally Lockwood and Helena Lambert look into claims that children treated for gender dysphoria are ‘over-medicalised’ as psychologists fear being branded transphobic. They look at the ever-increasing number of transitioning girls and the ease with which they can access medical transition if they can bypass the NHS waiting lists. With accompanying text.
Endocrynologist Michael Laidlaw’s clear, calm and informed testimony for the Vulnerable Child Protection Act of South Dakota, presented to the House State Affairs Committee of the Great State of South Dakota, explains the harms that are being done to vulnerable children from a medical perspective.
I started writing this article several months ago. Where to stop? Whereas there were some pieces I knew I had to include right from the start, others I came across as I went along. Of course, I had to read, listen to or watch every piece before deciding whether to include it or not, so the process certainly was an education. I plan to continue to add to this occasionally, as exceptional new pieces surface.
Parents, you are not alone; I truly believe the tide is turning.