Transitioning children is conversion therapy.
The claim that it is in fact the opposite is one of the most spectacular DARVOs our culture has ever seen.
Take a girl – convert her to a facsimile of a boy.
Take a boy – convert him into a facsimile of a girl.
Pink for girls, blue for boys
The clue is right there in the trans flag … pink for girls, blue for boys… converting pink kids into blue kids: converting kids who don’t fit gender roles into kids who do.
Converting same-sex attracted kids into straight kids.
sex not gender
Of course you’re not ‘assigned a gender’ at birth- but you will be subject to stereotyping from the moment you’re born.
If you are a girl it is quite possible that your mother will attach a giant pink bow to your little bald head so that strangers may coo ‘how pretty she is,’ at you with more confidence.
If you are a boy, you may well be clad in a khaki ‘lock up your daughters’ T shirt so that strangers can better laugh at your predicted virility and potential promiscuity.
Astonishing as it may seem to those of us embroiled in the gender wars, most people just don’t notice that they do this stuff. They’re not really thinking about it much. And if there are organisations out there pushing the pink brain/blue brain myth, a lot of people are going to accept that without much contemplation. Understandably: we can’t objectively and meticulously analyse every piece of information we come across, our brains would explode. So we take a lot of things for granted.
The problem, of course, is not with the child who doesn’t play the gender game easily but with the fact that adhering to these gendered stereotypes is one of the things that helps kids- that helps all of us- ‘fit in’. And therein lies the problem. ‘Being trans’ offers the child who is having trouble negotiating gender a way of being special and fitting in at the same time. ‘Being trans’ also tells the kid that there’s something wrong with them that needs fixing.
The child can see this as both terrible and exciting.
While in the UK legally adults can wear what they want and date who they want, there is still social pressure to conform. But it is just that, social pressure. Many men and women are able to laugh in the face of gender stereotypes and just get on with their lives. In a truly diverse and open society, these people would be celebrated. Children need to see these role models. But they don’t. When was the last time you saw a short-haired, make-up-less woman on TV? There are none. And nobody seems to care much.
The Ellen Pages and Kate Tempests of this world were precious role models for girls. The message given by their protestations that they literally aren’t women is, ‘if you’re ‘not like other girls’ you’re probably not a girl at all’.
So many young women are coming out as non-binary. Some, like Demi Lovato, despite frantically performing femininity at every turn. The rejection of womanhood seems to have become short-speak for ‘I’d-just-like-to-be-treated-like-a-human-being-please’.
Imagine if the money spent pushing the idea of ‘trans kids’ had been spent on a serious campaign to normalise & celebrate behaviour that challenged those gendered stereotypes. Imagine if children were being taught that discrimination on the grounds of sex was unacceptable; if they were taught to question industries that exploit our bodies and our insecurities about them.
A campaign that rendered it unacceptable to tell a little boy ‘don’t be such a girl’ or to tell a little girl to ‘act like a lady’. A campaign that made sexism unacceptable. Sexism isn’t a word we hear much these days. Acknowledging the sex binary as it does, it’s fast in danger of being deemed transphobic.
A campaign that encouraged kids to truly be themselves, whatever their sex or sexual orientation. How amazing would that have been? Let’s just look at one example.
We could start by celebrating female athletes and their achievements. Teach kids about the differences between male and female bodies, and why women and girls need single sex sports because of those differences. Teach them to celebrate and respect those differences.
While the football association now pays men & women the same appearance money when they play for England, the prize money in tournaments is vastly different- men can receive bonuses five times larger than women. How about we make this unacceptable? How about we teach kids to challenge these stereotypes?
Instead, we get this.
The famous ‘are you Barbie or GI Joe’ Mermaids training slide is not just a little slither of harmless madness. It teaches that a real 100% girl identity is Barbie. A real 100% boy identity is GI Joe.
There is no secret being made of this belief.
Inferred in the hyper-femininity / hyper-masculinity dichotomy is the notion of heterosexuality: a gender identity spectrum is inherently homophobic, pushing boys who exhibit feminine behaviours towards the ‘girl’ identity, and girls who exhibit ‘masculine’ behaviours towards the ‘boy’ identity. These are frequently the kids who are gay and pretending otherwise does great harm to young people still understanding their sexuality.
There is no secret being made of this objective. There it is, all laid out in that slide.
So instead of genuinely challenging stereotypes, we are starting to witness a parade of football-loving girls ‘becoming’ boys, and long-haired boys who like make-up ‘becoming’ girls.
Celebrating the transitioning of children obviously has an effect on how children view gender norms. When we validate and affirm gendered stereotypes to the extent that we are willing to refer to little boys as girls and little girls as boys, because they perceive their behaviours as being synonymous with those of the opposite sex, we are indulging in genuine conversion therapy.
What message does it give the cross, hyperactive little girl and the sensitive, peaceful little boy when trans identities, with all their sexist and stereotypical implications, are celebrated?
Please let’s not pretend we don’t know.