Expanding the Definition of Child Abuse: Anti-LGBT Parenting

Jan 7, 2015

By Blake

Leelah Alcorn’s suicide has brought about a fresh public awareness of the phenomenon of parental negligence and abuse under the guise of religious freedom. As People describes it, “Leelah’s death has sparked a growing debate about how to approach transgender youth, as well as a public backlash to how her parents, Doug and Carla Alcorn, handled their child’s situation.” As we’ll see below, it is clear that there is a link between higher rates of LGBT teen suicide and the anti-LGBT religious households in which many teens grow up.

The following is an argument that we as a society should hold parents and guardians accountable for working to improve the emotional well-being of their LGBT children as based on a science-based understanding of mental health regardless of their held religious beliefs. In the same way we have begun in the U.S. and the U.K. to criminalize attempted “faith healing” as a form of physical abuse against dying children, we can and should criminalize attempted “gay healing” as a form of emotional abuse toward LGBT children. In short, to attempt to convince a child that the sexuality or gender with which they identify is the result of a mental disorder is nothing less than child abuse.

LGBT teen suicide

To build the case, let’s look at LGBT teen suicide. We need to stop ignoring the fact that higher rates of LGBT teen suicide are correlated to anti-gay religious parenting. While it is difficult to determine the exact percentage of LGBT youth who attempt suicide relative to their non-LGBT counterparts, studies have clearly shown the incidence is much higher in LGBT youth. Further, it has been demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between high rates of suicide attempts in LGBT youth who are living in anti-LGBT households.

According to a San Francisco State University study, LGBT youth “who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence (when compared with those young people who experienced little or no rejection from parents and caregivers) were more than eight times likely to have attempted suicide, more than six times likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times likely to use illegal drugs and more than three times likely to be at high risk for HIV or other STDs” by the time they reach their early 20s.

In this spirit, gay rights activist Dan Savage tweeted in reaction to Alcorn’s suicide, “We know that parental hostility & rejection doubles a queer kid’s already quadrupled risk of suicide—rejecting your queer kid is abuse.”


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

46 comments on “Expanding the Definition of Child Abuse: Anti-LGBT Parenting

  • The sexuality of parents is irrelevant. The important thing is they accept their kids the way they are.

    If you had a choice, gay parents are more likely to be accepting. They are happy if their kids are gay. They are happy if their kids are straight. They don’t want kids to have to put up with discrimination. The other advantage of gay parents is they definitely want to raise kids. Many heterosexuals fell into it by mistake. My Mom repeatedly told us she never wanted to have any kids, but by errors, she had 5. My parents were much happier before any of us were born. Ideally they should have remained childless.



    Report abuse

  • First, as a father of 3 small children, I don’t think any decent parent would ever do anything that they didn’t believe was in the best interest of their children. These parents who teach hatred of sexual preference and attempt the “gay healing” of their LGB children are not doing so out of hatred for their kids. They are doing what they feel is going to help them the most, as insane as that seems. Criminalizing the practice may help in some circumstances…but in most cases you are not going to be able to prevent a parent from doing what they think is best for their child. I think the only real course of action that will have any positive impact on gay/lesbian parent/child relationships would be education, dereligionisation (ugh…I can’t think of a real word), and exposure to gay/lesbian people. Parents need to accept and understand that you can’t teach someone to be sexually attracted to men if they are not, just as you couldn’t teach a person to love the taste of cilantro. You’ll notice that there has been a certain letter missing from my post…and this brings me to my next point…and from the tone of this article, I can already tell that my views / questions might be very different from this author.

    I’d honestly like an explanation of why the “T” in LGBT has been so well accepted and integrated into this culture. The first three, it seems, are preferences; “tastes,” if you will, developed as one would develop an affinity for certain wines or fashion or music. Nobody actively controls their own preferences…they simply develop. The fourth item though, transgenderism, it seems to me, is a delusion. I think its beyond time to have a community-wide discussion about this. Please understand, this is not coming from a place of any bigotry or hatred. I am simply puzzled as to how this always seems to be lumped together with sexual preference as if it is part of the same thing. If I may offer what I feel is a very real analogy: Suppose I were to go into a psychologist’s office and tell them that I believed (as a white male) that I was really supposed to be Chinese; that I was born with the wrong Caucasian features; that I believed with every fiber of my being that I was “internally” a Chinese person and would like to be recognized as such and that my DNA and family genetic tree was inconsequential in my identification as Chinese. Isn’t this the same argument being made by the transgender community? I feel at this point that I must again qualify this with saying that I am in no way attempting to trivialize the plight of the transgendered or mock, belittle, or ostracize…I am simply asking why it is being accepted and often embraced and surgically cemented instead of being treated as a mental disorder? I am admittedly NOT a scholar on the subject and have only met 3 “real” transgender people in my entire life (none of which had been through surgical alteration, but one had been receiving hormones) but I am puzzled as to what would qualify as a bona fide “delusion” if not this? My understanding of the word, as it applies to mental illness, is that it is a perception or belief that is in contrast with actual fact or reality. I just don’t understand why a doctor (surgical, psychiatric, or otherwise) would encourage and even help to foster such a delusion rather than to attempt to cure it? I’m also curious as to how gay and lesbian people feel about being placed in a group with transgendered people. Please don’t reply with hate or anger. I would like to simply open a dialogue and help to better understand this issue, as I do NOT currently have a grasp on it. I don’t think, by definition, that you can argue that it is technically NOT a delusion…so I would like some insight as to why it is treated as a “respected delusion” for lack of a better term. Why does this particular delusion command respect and acceptance, when others (I see Aliens all the time, they visit me at night) are dismissed as mental illness?



    Report abuse

  • As for the LGB part, I don’t think – for the most part – that sexuality is a taste.

    Some people “develop” as gay/lesbian in the most adverse of environments, where it would obviously be in their best interests to “choose” to be straight if only they could be. Are they developing their sexuality, in an environment where it would be dangerous or criminal to practice it, just out of a sense of rebelliousness and a need to be different? I don’t think so – generally they hate being different but can’t help it.
    Perhaps there are a few on the spectrum (B) who don’t really care and would go with the flow, and might end up hetero- or homo- or bi- depending on the environment they land in and the opportunities they are presented with. But most (I think) are either hetero- or homo-, regardless of environment.
    Even so, the boundaries can still be blurred – a heterosexual male might display homosexual behaviour when incarcerated, and revert to heterosexuality when released. 
    As for the T, it’s an interesting question but it’s dangerous to argue from analogy.
    It’s easy to find further examples. Take anorexia. Here we have a dangerously thin individual who is convinced they are overweight according to some internally calibrated aesthetic standard. Are they deluded and in need of medical intervention, or do we respect their lifestyle choice and encourage them to diet further?
    But the existence of some delusions requiring intervention does not shed light on any individual condition as to whether it’s a delusion or a lifestyle choice or a medical condition or whatever.



    Report abuse

  • 4
    Lorenzo says:

    I don’t think any decent parent would ever do anything that they didn’t believe was in the best interest of their children.

    Well, decency or thinking to act in the best possible way for one’s child isn’t guarantee for actions to actually turn out the way they were intended. I may convince myself that all my child needs is soja milk and raw cabbage, but she’s still gonna end up with serious problems if animal proteins and vitamines aren’t added to her diet -and if injury or death comes to her, I am to be prosecuted. Even if my intent was good, I had the information, I had the possibility to choose not to harm her and yet I did, thus I am guilty of that.

    I agree with you that the ultimate cure for this kind of violence is education -secularization and everything will just follow: that’s part of education, I think. But violence is violence, still, and a decent society cannot turn away and leave potentially lethal practices unsanctioned.
    In time, I think mass education and moral progress will make sactions in this sense almost redundant, but I don’t think we’ll grow out of the need of having written communal laws before we will grow out of ourselves.

    I’d honestly like an explanation of why the “T” in LGBT has been so well accepted and integrated into this culture.

    I suppose it’s a convenient joint venture for everybody… I mean: strength through unity. Even because much of the LGB’s an the T’s problems in being accepted are very closely related, indeed.

    so I would like some insight as to why it is treated as a “respected delusion” for lack of a better term. Why does this particular delusion command respect and acceptance, when others (I see Aliens all the time, they visit me at night) are dismissed as mental illness?

    First of all, if someone manages to convince himself that he’s being abducted by aliens is not mentally ill. If that someone actually sees and experiences himself being abducted by aliens when he isn’t, then is mentally incapacitated and should be treated -with drugs and with respect. Mental illness is not a good excuse to suspend human respect toward anyone. Nor are self induced delusions, for that matters -even though some are toxic if spread.

    That said, the phenomenon of trangenderism is still being researched and there isn’t a very clear definition of it, yet -or, if there is, I’m not aware of it at the moment.
    What I can tell you with a very strong degree of certainty is that the ego of the individual (as in “ego, superego and es”) has no say in it. It doesn’t seem to be a choice the individual makes at some point, any more than sexual orientation or the patterns on her digits. And there are way -quantitative tests!- to tell apart a general wish to be the opposite sex as a compensation for suppressed homosexual tendencies from true transgenderism. That is the reason why, before allowing the surgical alteration of sexual attributes, a therapy by a qualified (qualified here measn many years of study and assisted practice and a severe barrety of exams) professional, lasting at least some months, is very strongly advised.

    While the first (repressed homosexuality) may be assimilated to a self induced delusion, the true transexualism is definitely not. It’s way deeper-rooted than any kind of delusion. For example: there are studies on MTF’s brains that show female-like structures in there -and FTM’s that show male-like structures. Now, I wouldn’t call “mental disease” to be physically female or male, even down to the brain’s structure.
    Evidence point to a transexualism that is not a choice, not a delusion but a mismatch: a brain of the wrong gender in the wrong body. Since you don’t cure perfectly well formed, balance personalities -it would be deeply immoral to alter someone’s personality to fit her/his outer appearence!-, you’re stuck with correcting nature’s blunders by means of a scalpel -and, really, you’re ought to put your cortex to good use and see beyond a misplaced set of genitals, even if it feels weird, and treat people as people. I suspect that weird feeling is largely culture driven and only partially due to how H.S.Sapiens’ brain works.



    Report abuse

  • 5
    Lorenzo says:

    Take anorexia.

    As you stated yourself, it’s dangerous to argue by analogy. And indeed…
    Anorexia is a psychological disorder and it is life threatening.
    Transgenderism is neither. For further elaboration, please read my answer to Matt.



    Report abuse

  • @Matt

    They are lumped together because they are all medical conditions, not preference or choice. They are lumped together because they all suffer from the same people invoking the same prejudice and discrimination. Those same people, intellectual pygmies, incapable of putting down the remote control and researching the topic. Lots of promising science involving hormonal levels at the 3 month gestation point which force, or fail to force a male brain, or over force a male brain in a female. Physical deformities are nothing new in humans. The only time the bigot’s get excited is if the deformity is in the genitals. Sheesh…

    While the science of the physical cause(es) is not settled, your sexual orientation is determined by your brain, not what is between your legs. And despite god being a perfect and infallible designer, he messed up on this one. Human sexuality is a dumbbell graph. Heterosexual Peaks at both ends but with a thick smeared handle in between. Your sexuality can live anywhere along this graph. It is not choice. Although, if someone wanted to choose, that is still nobodies business.

    So it is not a delusion. It is not choice. It is not a preference. It’s science. And because the LGBT people didn’t choose to be this way, it means that when the bigots discriminate, they should also discriminate against ever other human that has ever been born not perfect. A ridiculous position to hold, that deserves to be ridiculed.



    Report abuse

  • Yeah well… There is something more to it, and you find it in the synopsis of the document you posted. It’s not transgenderism per se that is life threatening, it’s society’s rejection of it that is. There’s a difference.

    Suppose you’re constantly humiliated, target for verbal and attemptedd physical violence, rejected and depraved of the right of identity -as banal as it may sound: a transgender can find her/himself thrown out of the public rest room for both genders. That’s not going to feel good, it hits you hard on a soft spot.
    This is not something connaturated to the condition, it’s a pathology of the society. So yes, society is potentially lethal to transgenders: that’s one more good reason to consider sanctioning discrimination and private violence against transgenders. The same way racism is now widely sanctioned.



    Report abuse

  • It’s not transgenderism per se that is life threatening, it’s society’s rejection of it that is. There’s a difference.

    No. The data is nothing like that clear as the report indicates.

    The survey data did not allow us to determine a direct
    causal relationship between experiencing rejection,
    discrimination, victimization, or violence, and lifetime
    suicide attempts.

    The dysphoria experienced in looking in the mirror is still a significant aspect of the problem. For very young children to find transgender role models is a long way off.



    Report abuse

  • Note: In order to avoid awkwardness, I will use “gay” and “he” to stand for “LGBT” and “he or she” respectively.

    The better approach to the problem should seek humane solutions that go beyond wallowing in outrage over abuse, suicide statistics, and punitive measures for anti-gay parents.

    Third parties from child protective services should be available to gay minors who find themselves tormented or abused by parents. The kid himself, or other responsible persons, could use a hotline -a widely publicized phone number- to contact an agency authorized to intervene on the minor’s behalf.

    A social worker would take the first step by meeting with the parents and child in their home to discuss the complaint, record accounts, and the overall conditions of the home environment. Whenever feasible, professional family counseling sessions would be scheduled on a regular basis and progress or the lack thereof monitored. Conversion therapy would be prohibited.

    The program attempts to lead parents to a sympathetic understanding that their teen’s “offending” sexual orientation is grounded in biological identity -not chosen or subject to change -but in no way harmful to the gay person himself, his relations with others or to the larger society. Cognitive-behavioral techniques are employed to reform or effectively mitigate dysfunctional parenting of a gay child.

    Therapy deals with the family as a unit of dynamic interrelationships, but never loses sight of individual pathologies. Advocates may especially tend to absolve the gay teen of any complicity in family dysfunction and lose sight of his own serious personality disorders manifested in drug addiction, truancy, illegal activity, uncontrollable rage or domestic violence.

    Realistically, diverse outcomes, very few of them completely satisfactory, will be the rule. Some parents obsessed with pathological hatred will continue to injure their gay son physically or psychologically unaffected by counseling. Intractable cases or crisis situations would trigger removal of the minor from parental custody into the home of a responsible volunteer relative or friend or into foster care. Most families will have to accept compromise relationships where co-existence characterizes the best case default scenario. Once again the gay minor, disposed to the extremism of gay advocates, may be the one who will reject compromise short of enlightened full acceptance and unrealistic demands for “unconditional” love from parents who simply cannot shed their core beliefs and bias, prompting (sigh) further action.

    Not to throw a wet blanket on my own recommendations, I would caution against much optimism for this program for two related reasons: First: Legal intervention into family matters is complicated, often ineffective, and therefore infrequent given strong legal protections for parental rights, discretion and due process. “Abuse,” outside of referring to wanton physical injury, construed more vaguely to mean emotional or psychological cruelty inflicted verbally in a relationship seldom rises to the level of a crime. Similarly it is virtually impossible to criminalize religious or cultural beliefs involving disapproval, bias or rejection in personal or family relationships. Second: Intervening on legal grounds for purposes of child protection is very expensive and hamstrung by budget constraints. There are already dire shortages of social workers, counselors, administrators and staff, and responsible foster parents in the system. Courts and law enforcement resources are stretched thin.

    Social service attention to parental abuse of gay children will probably be narrowly limited to the most egregious cases and subsumed under an existing mission statement.



    Report abuse

  • 13
    Lorenzo says:

    No. The data is nothing like that clear as the report indicates.

    Actually yes. The authors aren’t very clear themselves about what they conclude form it. Reading the synopsis (the only part I had time to read when I wrote my previous post) it seems that “violence and rejection” plays an important role. The you find the piece you reported. Then, in the conclusion, you find somethin else entirely -which I find very interesting: they claim a correlation of sucidality with the fact that others are able to identify them as transgenders (see page 15, 3rd paragraph).
    Yet, in the “further study neede” section they come around with the thesis that the correlation they found might actually be related to rejection after all (page 16, last paragraph).

    This actually bring us back to the facct that transgenderism is a very poorly understood phenomenon, as yet. Still, I wouldn’t mark it as life threatening by itself: one way or another, the behaviour of “others” seems to be related to suicidality. This is something very different from anorexia, it seems to me.



    Report abuse

  • I take no position on what T is, I was just making the point that listing delusions and arguing that T works in a way analogous in many ways to a delusion does not make it a delusion.
    But whether it’s a psychological disorder or whatever it’s classified as, is an expert call.**

    ** Not that they always get it right, homosexuality was a psychological disorder until fairly recent times, according to the US community of shrinks.



    Report abuse

  • It’s true that transgenderism doesn’t really have anything to do with sexual orientation. It’s grouped with LGB for the historical reason that gay rights activism has tended to be an “umbrella movement” covering various groups characterised as persecuted sexual minorities. But unlike homosexuality, transgenderism tends to be regarded as pathological in nature insofar as it’s associated with gender dysphoria, for which various medical interventions (hormones, surgery etc) are generally prescribed in persistent cases.

    You talk about gender dysphoria in terms of it being “delusional”, and wonder why the doctors don’t attempt to “cure” it. The trouble with gender dysphoria is that it’s very real – subjects are well aware of the mismatch of their psychology and bodily gender. Presumably this reflects an idiosyncracy of brain structure/functioning, but there’s certainly no “magic fix” at this stage, and modifying the body to better match the psychology has met with considerably more success than attempting to change the psychology to match the body.



    Report abuse

  • There is one Tory MP who is calling for all sex education in schools to cease.

    He is a practicing Christian – keep on practicing, you’ll get the hang of it in the end – who says that he will home school his offspring in matters sexual; I can’t imagine what the poor little mites are in for.

    “Go forth and multiply” is a somewhat problematic injunction for the faithful, since they cannot do so without sinning.

    An expression containing the words rod and back springs to mind.

    Ludicrous.



    Report abuse

  • The government has a compelling interest in preventing the abuse of any child, gay or straight. Gay children, or responsible parties acting on their behalf, should have access to child protective services. Complaints of physical abuse, or severe psychological abuse, involving threats to personal safety, confinement [to home], removal from school, isolation from social interactions, extreme incessant verbal condemnation, coerced silence, confessions or contrition, should trigger an investigation of the home and counseling for the family. Criminal prosecutions should be avoided where possible to encourage family cooperation and prevent clogging the courts with misdemeanor cases. Children should not be removed from homes except in egregious cases for material cause defined by law and regulation following due process for all parties.

    Official agency interventions should have as their first priority the protection of the minor. Family counseling focuses on parent and child reconciliation through educating the parents about the facts of homosexual orientation recognizing the inalienable rights, dignity and humanity of LGBT persons. Realistically, the majority of cases may not bring about the ideal goal of full acceptance by parents of their gay child’s sexual orientation and behavior. For most the outcome may have to default to strategies of respectful co-existence where all tensions and conflict do not disappear from the home. Simply put, the gay minor as well as the parents should acquiesce to the reality, and learn ways to deal with conflict and move on.

    Under no circumstances should social workers or counselors demand a pure change of heart from parents unable to accept homosexual orientation and practices. Feelings and beliefs about homosexuality, grounded in many different forms of socialization both religious and secular and in diverse motives not limited to religious dogma cannot be legislated. Anti-gay parents and their gay child should understand the need for coping with conflicting attitudes which cannot be uprooted. “Coping, compromise, co-existence” describe practices which in no way imply the exclusion of love and may actually tend to nurture love in complex family relationships.



    Report abuse

  • I need some feedback on a related issue. I hope this forum is a decent place for this query.

    I often participate in petitions on change.org. There are many opportunities to express my opinion on a sensitive topic such as humanitarianism, religion, secularism, animal rights, etc.

    Recently, a new petition has shown up and I am torn on whether or not to sign it. Here is the link for those who want to review it:
    https://www.change.org/p/tlc-cancel-your-upcoming-tv-show-my-husband-s-not-gay?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=215146&alert_id=LPMkNUnQnG_9ZkjmqmOX6kivmoY9uV9SDW%2Bn0cZ2NLfU3XIXd7Fbd0%3D

    The gist of the petition is regarding a new TLC program espousing anti-gay religious propaganda (at least that is my impression). Apparently, the topic is in relation to ‘converting’ gay people to straight.

    I wholly oppose this position as I think it is not only deluded but dangerous and destructive however I am concerned about suppressing free speech. I believe even these deluded people have the right to speak their beliefs and I do not want to do more harm than good.

    Does anyone here have any opinion on the topic?



    Report abuse

  • Oracle T raises sensitive questions concerning the controversy swirling around the “LEGALITY” of conversion therapy. From a layman’s point of view, my tentative judgement depends on factors of “coercion” (implied in my comment above) and “informed consent” operating in specific cases. Fortunately, sexual orientation usually emerges behaviorally with the onset of hormonal changes coincident with adolescence, usually between the age of 12 and 13 when minors have also matured sufficiently to grasp the concept of “informed consent.” In my view, conversion therapy should be legally prohibited for persons under the age of 14 because preponderant evidence suggests that sexual orientation is neither chosen nor subject to “change.” In a democracy, a few gay minors may claim a desire to change sexual orientation and the right to voluntarily submit to the therapy usually with the encouragement of religious parents and peers. Such individuals, freely signing onto and expressing informed consent, should be permitted to enter therapy on the condition they could quit at will, renounce any attempts at coercion, and freely criticize or publicly ridicule the methods, goals and efficacy of the therapy itself in light of their own experiences. I suspect that conversion therapy required to proceed under these transparent justified constraints will wither away.



    Report abuse

  • No. The data is pretty clear. I think there is a bit of political wish thinking here in the report hoping for a mostly social solution to the problem.

    Table seven is the key. Those who claim they are never or only occasionally identified as Ts have the same or nearly the same attempted suicide rate as those who report being identified as Ts by others most of the time.

    Feelings of dysphoria are mostly in the frame for this result.

    Annorexia is a body dysmorphia which is primarily understood to be a social/developmental artefact.

    In a cognitive-behavioral model, BDD arises through interaction of personality factors, such as introversion and self-consciousness, with early childhood experiences and social learning. As a group, BDD cases report high incidence of emotional abuse during childhood.

    Dysphoria, however is, an anhedonic anxiety, brought about by the sensation of bodies not delivering the expected agreeable sensations of comfort. It is, in a fashion, an inwardly directed version of Capgras Syndrome where the sufferer sees and recognises the body of a friend or relative but has the sensation they are an imposter. This points strongly to neural processing errors.

    Annorexia is truly a psychiatric disorder, spectaularly dangerous because of organ damage with sustained malnutrtion. Transgenderism may be a little more tractable to patient reason, but like any depression, the anti-euphoria that is dysphoria, when it runs to 42 to 46% attempted suicide rates (whilst still remaining an entirely private experience!) can only be considered life threatening also and its undoubted neural underpinnings mean we cannot rely in any way on a purely social solution.

    We must not imagine that transgender, body positive views adopted by all in society can make the dysphoria go away even if it can eliminate a sense of shame/isolation.



    Report abuse

  • 23
    Lorenzo says:

    No. The data is pretty clear. I think there is a bit of political wish thinking here in the report hoping for a mostly social solution to the problem.

    I’ve been reading the tables and, yes, the data is clear: social rejecion does have an effect after all. A sizeable one. Perhaps the most pronounced of them all. Together with -how surprising!- education level.
    Have a look at:

    1)Table 3, Education. There’s a good 10% difference between those who have an higer education and those who have a lower one. Even stronger is the dependence from income: the richer are less likely to attempt suicide than the poorer.
    Always in table 3, it’s interesting to note a correlation with age.

    2)Table 15: Clearly, those who experienced school victimization are more likely to commit suicide, with a strong correlation with the gravity of that victimization. It is interesting to note that absolute numbers are also pretty high.

    3)Most notably, table 17: The correlation with experienced social injustice is quite there, even if it might be disappointing to some to find that it’s not that strong. Anyway, you go from a general below-average suicidality for those who are socially accepted to some 10% or more above-average suicidality for those who experience socila rejection -peaking with insitutionalized social rejection.

    Of course, this is a statistical review more than a study -there’s no control group listed, and there ought to be one to actually assess whether transgenderims actually makes a difference in correlations. However, those correlations are there.

    The risk of attemptedd suicide is actually very much higer among transgenders than I expected but, clearly, social rejection does play a role. It’s not whishful, political thinking that puts that role there… it is there. To assess how much there it is a more solid study, with a proper control group, has to be done. But, still, it is there.

    Furthermore, even if the role social rejection and abuse played were minutely small, I would find deeply immoral not to address the matter. It would be immoral not to address and eliminate any sort of discrimination against transgenders, in fact.

    ~~~

    As for the parallele with anorexia, I still mainain that is misguided, because of the deeply different nature of the two phenomena: while anorexia is a purely psychiatric disorder, transgenderism has at least a strong physiological component -even though I stand corrected about the statement that it is not inherently life threatening: it obviously increases the risk of death by suicide, thus in some measure it is.



    Report abuse

  • The risk of attemptedd suicide is actually very much higer among transgenders than I expected but, clearly, social rejection does play a role. It’s not whishful, political thinking that puts that role there… it is there. To assess how much there it is a more solid study, with a proper control group, has to be done. But, still, it is there.

    Furthermore, even if the role social rejection and abuse played were minutely small, I would find deeply immoral not to address the matter. It would be immoral not to address and eliminate any sort of discrimination against transgenders, in fact.

    Your first part of your first sentence here tells me we are getting on the same wavelength. Even with little or no social rejection Ts attempt suicide ten times more often than the general public. 42 to 46% instead of 4.16 percent.

    I completely agree with the moral requirement of making Transgenderism totally socially acceptable…whatever.

    I agree that a parallel with annorexia isn’t helpful.

    But I do insist that Ts may well need yet more help and compassion even in an ideal society. My point is really that reassignment may still be the route to the greatest happiness for some….maybe half.



    Report abuse

  • There was an announcement by the medical society that the best thing to do was to listen to the patient, they know best what is going on with their body. I have put this to the test on many occasions and found that the doctor always seems to think they know best. There are many reasons why this happens. Putting myself in the position of transgender-ism and the all round deaf ears and know-it-alls, I cannot do anything else but doubt the data and trust the words of the sufferers. If I could wake up each morning not worrying about all the rest of the crap the world throws at me and only whats between my legs then suicide must pale into insignificance. At least that is how I think of it until a transgender in a perfect world tells me different. IMHO



    Report abuse

  • What you say is completely at odds with the advice published by the British Psychiatry Body (I forget the full title.) I published a link on one of the three related threads to the whole document. Its worth a read. They counsel great caution. Talking therapy and years of thinking it through and noting your experiences. Finding strategies that are not irreversible first. But after that….

    I have put this to the test on many occasions and found that the doctor always seems to think they know best.

    I find that experts generally get it righter than I do…



    Report abuse

  • I can only go on personal experience Phil and have come to trust my feelings. While I don’t completely dismiss data I am highly suspicious of it. I have a very good friend who is a perinatologists (and a very good wine advisor to me) who divulged, very recently, that Turkish women have a tendency to moan a lot about pains experience during pregnancy and birth, so the whole ward ignore these women when the complaints start. Although I can understand the problem, it seems very risky and professionally irresponsible to make such racist comments let alone admit the general feeling in the ward. Will you argue that he is the expert and knows best? BTW, he is not English and his family go to church every sunday.



    Report abuse

  • Moaning is a very good way of managing your own pain. The English (particularly the middle classes) are terribly “buttoned up” about making a noise. Wailing at funerals is not on at all! The cultural differences in noise making don’t necessarily demand different levels of intervention so it may be wiser not to interpret every moan as a cry for help. It is probably better to learn to help those who ask for it, rather.

    The annecdote may conceal a wealth of knowledge about the situation. Annecdotes are invitations to find out more not become the basis firm inference building. Presumptions of ignorance on behalf of the doctor are entirely unproved without far more evidence.



    Report abuse

  • Sorry Phil but that has got to change. We are great at victim status twenty years after the event. We must be doing something wrong. We should start to question these things in real time. Too many cover ups by professional and religious bodies rings alarm bells for me. Pedophilia, malpractice, bad political acts, mis-selling insurance/mortgages….etc etc etc……….We poo poo the critics on the day and then claim ignorance after the event. Its all wrong.



    Report abuse

  • Get evidence, Olgun! Build a case.

    I don’t recognise the global failure of all experts you are alerting us to, only a few instances. What do you think is going on in the world? Are you proposing a general moral decay? I see a slow version of the reverse, fueled by us finding the problems.

    Take a look at page 6 here and read the first three paragraphs under “Treatment”. Is this policy document wrong?

    Impressions of the world are not transferable from one field to another except in poetry.



    Report abuse

  • So I just ignore the wrongs (of which I stated a few examples without insulting you knowing you know full well what I was referring to, which did not include all and sundry FFS) except what I am given, in the form of data and not question what I have seen with my own eyes. Sounds a lot like those religious leaders asking the world of their followers. What case would satisfy you? A nurse killing aged patients? Sterilisation of women? Great Ormond street cover up of Jimmy Saville? MPs claims of money on second homes? Are they all lies?

    Ill take a look at the report but it seems pointless if I am expected to take it as the gospel with no room for even the slightest error.



    Report abuse

  • I’m sorry, Olgun. I just don’t understand what you are arguing for. I don’t understand the general principle you are trying to make.

    I point to policy statements on Transgenderism. You claim doctors just do what they want without listening to patients. You illustrate it with an annecdote from another medical field. I suggest this is a) an annecdote and b) possibly not a complete understanding of what may be going on. Then

    Pedophilia, malpractice, bad political acts, mis-selling insurance/mortgages….etc etc etc……… A nurse killing aged patients? Sterilisation of women? Great Ormond street cover up of Jimmy Saville? MPs claims of money on second homes?

    Are they all lies?

    Maybe its the aspie in me but….what?!!

    Do doctors routinely not follow policy? Is the policy in this case wrong?



    Report abuse

  • I hoped you understood me a little better by now Phil and am disappointed but hey ho….

    I am not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have not stated that all things at all times are wrong but have hoped you would understand my asking the questions, as is/was the custom of this site, in all subjects. There should be little room for error, although I accept it can happen. My ‘annecdote’ was to say that even if one person is allowed to slip through the net and result in the death or hurt of a baby or mother, then that is a travesty. You seem to want to put all professional people on an infallible pedestal and I am saying that they can, and often do, make mistakes and silly ideas about racial traits that put mother and baby in danger, or at least in the fray so that it may get out of control, should be challenged now and not in twenty years time.

    Don’t know what I am arguing for? ‘Fix Society’ is what I am arguing for. It does not win awards for professionals or a pat on the back by their compatriots. Maybe its as simple as that but a zillion page report makes a better busman’s holiday.



    Report abuse

  • 36
    Lorenzo says:

    I do insist that Ts may well need yet more help and compassion even in an ideal society. My point is really that reassignment may still be the route to the greatest happiness for some….maybe half.

    Of course. I think a strong focus on the social rejection is prevalent here because of the original topic. But the elimination of social rejection is not, by any means, the ultimate solution.

    Actually, even before reassignment -as I already mentioned here and there on this site- a psychotherapy is needed. I indicated a general “some months” for the length of it but… most of the time is longer and deeper. Because the individual comes with a grand confusion in her or his mind and needs help to make sense of it, needs help during the “the hormons”, while chemistry is used to begin the reshaping of the body to fit the brain, and help is often needed after the reassignment itself.
    And, for this kind of help, a very strongly qualified and experienced professional is needed, because her skill can make the difference between life and death.



    Report abuse

  • Actually, even before reassignment -as I already mentioned here and there on this site- a psychotherapy is needed. I indicated a general “some months” for the length of it but… most of the time is longer and deeper. Because the individual comes with a grand confusion in her or his mind and needs help to make sense of it, needs help during the “the hormons”, while chemistry is used to begin the reshaping of the body to fit the brain, and help is often needed after the reassignment itself.

    Exactly so, Lorenzo.

    Here are the UK NHS guidlines for best practice. Page 6 “Treatment” encapsulates the slow investegatory approach, with lots of emphasis on the requirement for an individual, case by case solution plan, often not involving reassignement.



    Report abuse

  • The thing with transsexuality (the concept gender is just pseudoscientific bs, go look where it comes from and what these people really say) is that among those “hyper-progressive” subcultures, there have been some parents who want to give hormonal treatment to children as young as 5 years old, without any “hard” facts about it. This is just as much child-abuse as the religious parents indoctrinating and shaming their gay teenager. There are data on the brain of self identified transsexual people that a significant number of them have brain structures of the other sex. Going from there, it seems that it is a different type of intersexuality. I’m fine with adult people or if the evidence are strong, even teenage people have it done. But it needs to be done by a person old enough to understand the decision. And hey, nobody ever talks about asexuals. We are apparently not outlandish enough to make it into sensationalist media. Or make parades about being proud about it. I’m not. I’m just born this way. Sometimes I even wish I could feel these desires others have. Would be cool to be able to turn it on and off.



    Report abuse

  • @Matt, You ask for no hate because you want to learn. Yet you go on and on with your argument that transgender is a “delusion.” What are you basing your idea of male and female on? Genitalia at birth? People are born with a variety of genitalia that fall into 3 categories currently: male, female and intersex. There are people born with female genitalia who have male chromosomes. There are people who are born with apparent genitalia of one sex who have internal organs of the opposite sex. This happens more often than you think. So is it really so far fetched that a person could be born with female genitalia and have a male brain? Or be born with male genitalia and have a female brain? I think not. Being transgender is not a delusion. I agree with you that you do not currently have a grasp on this topic. Your analogy of someone claiming to be Chinese is really tasteless and offensive in many ways. Also, you will never know how many transgender people you have met because many are not detectable, they pass that well. I don’t know what you mean by “real” transgender people. Additionally, it is not any of your business whether they have had surgery or not. There are many reasons why a transgender person might not have surgery. The most frequent is financial. At this time, in most areas of the US and other parts of the world, insurance doesn’t cover the surgery. Out of pocket expenses are quite high and out of reach for many transgender people. Secondly, some people just don’t want to have surgery for personal reasons, health reasons or other reasons. Surgery is not fun. Additionally, someone is born transgender. They don’t become transgender just because they went on hormones or had surgery. Being transgender CANNOT be cured. Let me repeat that. Being transgender cannot be cured! The idea that being transgender can be “cured” is part of the problem with bigoted parents imposing so-called “conversion therapy” on their transgender teen children, which is not okay. It is harmful and dangerous. Forty-one percent, 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide! Do you realize how high a rate that is? Ideas like yours that being transgender is delusional adds to this dangerous situation. I will not go on about your comment as others have commented on it. Let me just end by saying that you can educate yourself by going to http://www.pflag.org/transgender.



    Report abuse

  • Excellent reply Nate. I suspect Matt is a “Hit and Run” poster. They occasionally dash in to this evil web page, post a killer argument, like, “The Bible is proof that god exists” and are never heard of again. I note Matt hasn’t come back with supplementary questions or counter arguments to any of the rational responses.

    Being transgender CANNOT be cured. Let me repeat that. Being transgender cannot be cured! The idea that being transgender can be “cured” is part of the problem with bigoted parents imposing so-called “conversion therapy” on their transgender teen children, which is not okay. It is harmful and dangerous.

    LIKE



    Report abuse

  • Jan, your post reminds me of how my dad, who was a product of his time, didn’t want me to have a teddy bear because it might turn me into a “queer”; I kid you not.

    Those were times of happy daze; and as we all know, ignorance is bliss.

    I must add that my parents loved me dearly and, although it may sound slightly anomalous given the zeitgeist of the time, they left me to make up my own mind about religion; for which I am eternally grateful.



    Report abuse

  • 45
    Natasha says:

    Hi all. This is my first time posting here, but this is my favourite place to read and learn, so “hello!”

    Matt I just wanted to respond to your thoughts.
    Sometimes the question is the problem. You’ve said that your understanding of a mental illness is
    where the person has “a perception or belief that is in contrast with actual fact or reality.”

    If we say it is widely accepted/felt/understood that there is male, female and intersex…
    but we be open to the idea that there are more than these 3…
    then ‘actual fact’ is now just ‘widely accepted thought’ and the person is no longer ‘mentally ill’ but ‘someone we previously didn’t know as much about.’

    As societies we need to learn the lesson once and for all, of not judging things until we understand them.
    I think you sound like you genuinely do want to understand more, so good on you for asking. I want to know more too. I look forward to learning more with you all on this great site. xxNatasha.



    Report abuse

  • product of his time

    Unfortunately, I think it applies even today, at least here in the bible belt.

    A few months ago, at a southern Indiana Walmart, I witnessed a boy about 4-5 hiding a plush toy/animal behind his back as an adult man fussed at him. I wanted to draw and quarter the scumbag, alas, could only glare until he backed off. Still breaks my heart thinking about it.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.