THE ISSUE ABOUT TRANSGENDERISM

THE ISSUE ABOUT TRANSGENDERISM

It is the Transgender Awareness Week. And there’s a conversation to commemorate that.

As these things are wont to do, in the Facebook gay group that I’m in was introduced the topic about transgenderism – all the reservation regarding the stand of liberals on the issue, the transitioning of children, and the perception of it by the world at large.

Very many valid opinions were expressed, so much so that I had to share the conversation here. Hopefully, there’d be one or two trans people in the KDian community who will weigh in on this. Some of the comments are long, but it all makes for a very good read. Check on it.

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VHAGAR: This is an opinion piece I would like discussed in-house. If I put it out there, the bigots would come out and I don’t want to provide a nidus for their hate. What’s your take on children being transgender, if they should transition and when they should transition?

Me, I’ve maintained for a while that gender identity dysphoria is a thing medically. It’s an actual diagnosis. However, the way SOME liberals are going about it by inferring that anyone can choose their sexuality is turning something with an objective backbone into an exercise in subjectivity, and in so doing, harming public confidence in Transgenderism.

Hate it or love it, public confidence is important. Obviously, you can never get everyone on board, but there’s a threshold of neutrals and allies (people who believe in and advocate for a minority cause while not being in that minority themselves) that is required to foster – and maintain – change.

Optimally, people have to transition before age 18 or they would have acquired so many features of their native sex that they’ll find it harder to look authentic in their new sex. Boys get cracked voices and Adam’s apples, and girls get massive nipples/breasts that leave scars after reconstruction etc.

I was discussing with someone and I said age 16. I had initially said age 13. Then I upped it to 16 on the condition that they use puberty blockers until then so that they don’t ruin their features. Side effects of puberty blockers however are reduced bone development (potentially dangerous in growing children) and potentially slow brain development (no medical consensus on this). That’s a bit of a risk for a child.

Here are a few things however that I think are worthy of note.

Number 1: Parents.

I think parents who encourage a male child to transition because he plays with dolls or wears dresses are ignorant. We have literally fought for a world where sex and gender are distinct. A male child can do feminine things and still be male and a female child can play with trucks and still be female. A male child can do feminine things because he’s gay as opposed to trans, as is also the case with a female child. They can even still be heterosexual children who just like playing with toys more often used by the other sex.

You take a dump on all of our liberal progress by making the assumption that a boy is trapped in a girl’s body or a girl in a boy’s body simply because he likes to play with dolls or she likes to play with trucks etc.

Number 2: Confidence.

A lot of principles survive mainly because there’s a collective social confidence in them, even though not everybody buys into every principle. Often, this social confidence has to be built on a bedrock of facts. That’s the foundation that keeps it standing regardless of barrage from the opposition. That was why the American Psychiatric Association declassifying Homosexuality in 1973 (and ratifying it in 1974) was so big. It lent the cause objectivity.

That’s what the medical diagnosis, Gender Identity Dysphoria, is for me. Objective truth.

Which is why I say that people with Gender Dysphoria should be reviewed by a psychiatrist compulsorily. A friend said it would turn something normal into a psychiatric condition.

However, there are objective DSM (psychiatric) criteria that a person should fulfill to be called transgender. For children, there are 8 criteria and they should fulfill at least 6. If a person fulfills these, even a conservative would have a hard time fighting it. Wouldn’t stop them from trying, but the objectivity lent by a professional’s opinion would be hard to refute.

I worry that with this spate of “anyone can be whatever sex they want to be the moment they say so”, soon people will start to see the entire transgender movement as a joke or an exercise in subjectivity. That’s a shaky foundation for long-term progress. In pushing for increased inclusivity in the short term, liberals may erode long-term confidence in what is an actual and important issue.

Finally, Number 3: The failure rate.

Even though right now, most people who have transgendered did so at older ages, there are people who regret it. There are those who stop halfway and slowly transition, back and there are those who go all the way and then regret it. That percentage is the failure rate.

However, that percentage is very small. So when conservatives use that percentage as a reason why the entire movement is a sham, they aren’t being factual. They’re betraying their bigotry. Also, as long as a significant threshold of the population is on board, their opinions don’t matter as much.

The problem however lies in the push to reduce the age at which people can transition, specifically in allowing children to transition. We can argue from now till tomorrow about what exact age children should be allowed to transition but I maintain that children should be allowed to develop mentally to the point where they understand the full weight of what is happening. There’s such an incredible flux between sex, gender, being straight, gay and trans that should not be taken for granted. Kids should be sure which exact point of that spectrum they are before they make the leap.

This is important not just for their long-term mental health but to reduce the failure rate (the number of children who grow up, believe they’ve made a mistake and transition back or regret the procedure if they cannot transition back)

The failure rate will never be zero (nor does it have to be), but it can only rise so high before it’s a legitimate question and not necessarily bigotry to ask “are the cons now beginning to outweigh the pros?”

It can only go so high before even the neutrals and the allies begin to have nagging questions at the back of their minds. That! That would be the real tragedy.

 

DEVIANTUS: I concur with your post. However, in my opinion, the importance of mental health professionals in gender/sex (re)alignment cannot be stressed enough. I personally believe that both parties – parents and child – should first go through a couple of years of intensive therapy by the time the child is 8/9. Puberty blockers should then be introduced by the time the child is 10, whist still undergoing therapy. I believe a full transition shouldn’t be allowed until the child is of legal age aka 18-21. I think the UK has a module like this. Not too certain but yeah, I’ve heard stories of people wanting to revert back to their native sex mid transition. It just goes to show just how ignorant some people are about the subject matter.

 

VHAGAR: The reversion thing is a real worry. Psychiatrist evaluation should be made compulsory. A child cannot/should not use puberty blockers from the age of 10 until 18 or 21. It’s too risky from a perspective of bone development.

 

RED: People shouldn’t be allowed to fully transition until they are 18/19? Really?! Such a restriction on self-expression. Just wow! It’s nobody’s business if people revert o. It’s their life. It’s really not affecting you. And people that revert from transitioning are not necessarily ignorant. A bunch of people don’t know what they want to do with themselves, and I’m not just talking about this issue now. I’m talking about everything. What career choice to make, what clothes to wear, anything you can think of. You can’t because of people like this make such a brazen decision. And even people like this should be respected in their indecision. If a guy changes and feels years later that he doesn’t want to be female again, how does it really affect you? You say it makes the idea of transitioning look like child’s play but whose business is it really? It’s how they feel!

 

DEVIANTUS: RED, no, I am not saying the individual should not express themselves as the gender they see fit. I am stating that the clinico-psychological aspect of the equation should not be undermined either. Like it or not, most people still see transitioning as a “phase”, and as such, it has been reduced to a fad rather than the very serious issue it actually is. Parents should not assume that just because Michael plays with dolls, he automatically wants to be Sophia. When Michael has understood the severity of the situation, including the socio-anthropological ramifications he would face, then can he make the ultimate leap. While Michael is still learning about himself, he should be allowed to be on puberty blockers but not while he is 5 or 6.

 

RED: People will always see these things as a phase. That is “people’s” problem. People see being gay as a phase, so?

And you saying one has to understand the socio-anthropological ramifications is like you implying that a sex is superior to another, or that the child needs to understand that he or she would not be accepted, and that all these depend on other people. Deciding that one wants to transition is a PERSONAL thing. It shouldn’t depend on anything besides how one feels in his skin.

I’m all for counseling to be sure. Don’t get me wrong. But let it be the right kind of counsel. Moreover, like I said, peculiar children talk, even if it’s once. It’s the adults that don’t listen.

And VHAGAR, your first point is you assuming that a child cannot have an opinion of how he/she views him or herself, that so long as he isn’t up to a certain age, every decision should be made for him or her, and that is just wrong. Feeling that you aren’t comfortable in your skin is not something you need to be 16 or 18 to know. It’s just like being gay. You know these things from when you are a tad tall. The decision for a child to transition is not something a parent needs to make for a child because children like that talk about it. It’s not something you need to act on based on your child’s behavior.

I complained severally as a kid that I wanted to be a girl, I really did. I asked my mom why God made me this way. I prayed openly in the night when I prayed together with my mom to wake up female, but my mom just told me God had a reason for making me a man. Kids like this talk about it, no matter how reclusive they are. They must have mentioned it once; a parent just needs to be observant to notice that his/her child is unhappy.

Secondly, “anybody can be any sex they want to be when they want to be” because it’s their choice, and nobody should clear them because they passed a test. This is about how one feels and nobody can certify that your feelings are valid because you feel everything that is written in a textbook that you should feel. However, in the case of kids, especially really tender ones, I agree that a proper psych evaluation should be done to be sure transitioning is what they really want, because kids can be silly and funny.

“The whole transgender thing” is more personal, more emotional, than it is political, so as much as “the whole transgender thing” needs to be taken seriously, it shouldn’t be because it makes sense to people, but because people respect other people’s choices. Being transgender or gay is a subjective thing. You don’t become gay because of public consensus, neither do you need 20 people to tell you, “You behave like a girl” or “You have a girl’s spirit” for you to head to a clinic and cut off your penis.

On your final point, deciding to transition is not deciding to go into business and leaving school, and even the latter is subject to the zeal and “luck” of the person embarking on it. With an issue like transitioning, it’s just wrong to advise people not to do what they feel because they might end up regretting it seeing as Obinna and Amarachi regretted it. You know why? Because you don’t know how whoever you’re telling this to will feel. Knowing that you’re not comfortable in your skin is an innate feeling. It’s not like deciding to go to college or to go into business. So people should be allowed to act on how they feel about something this deep without being warned based on what others have felt. You don’t know how they feel and frankly, you can NEVER tell how they will feel about it 20 years or 20 minutes from when they transition. It is not something you can judge based on numbers. It is not, “most people that decided to pursue acting as a full-time career failed, so dear Junior, you might fail. Why not reconsider? You could love something else.”

Being in a skin you don’t like isn’t something that should be tampered with that lightly. It’s not something you can advise your friend to chill, that he’ll learn to love himself. That’s just wrong.

 

IBK: You’ll classify me as one of those light blue liberals but I believe you’re taking a very personal matter, something intimate as fuck and trying to logic-fy it. Nothing wrong with that, your heart is in the right place, but I’m pretty certain this is something that cannot get a consensus because each life is different and personal.

You’re worried about them getting it right. I don’t see what’s wrong with a parent seeing their child not just unhappy but distressed and letting their child start to become what they think would make them happy.

And I’m not sure what’s wrong with realizing yourself better halfway through and stopping (apart from lost money, of course).

I understand the worry. I understand the fear. But in the end, we can never truly understand what it’s like to hate the body you came in and the gender society assigned to you.

And “what liberals are doing” really shouldn’t affect seeing common sense and empathy when needed. If you can identify as liberal and still see the sense in some republican behaviour, surely the republicans can do same.

 

VHAGAR: RED, you complained several times that you wanted to be a girl. Do you regret being male now? Do you really think you would happier now if you were female? Maybe your answer is No. However, there are quite a few people who would still be happy to transition. If parents are so quick to tell EVERY child who expressed that opinion that they were probably trans, it could be a serious problem long term.

I genuinely thought of being female when I was 6. Now the idea is so alien to me. I can swear a lot of people in this group have similar experiences.

See, there’s a whole world of connection between being straight, gay and transgender.

A person can be a femme gay man.

A person can be a femme straight man.

A man can be a femme who wants to transition.

A man can be a femme who is attracted to other men.

That’s the point. A person actually has to be certain what point on that spectrum they are before they make permanent decisions.

And no, I do not believe that it’s as basic as homosexuality. That’s why I believe that they should be allowed to hit puberty at least. Hormones can reinforce or soften resolve to transition.

Also, around that age, they’re older, have a better grasp of what point on the spectrum they are and have been transgender (at least mentally) for long enough that it’s not a passing thought (like what I’m assuming a number of us in this group had).

Secondly, nope. “Anybody can be any sex they want whenever they want” is how you kill this. I know the psychology evaluation seems mentally invasive and turns a personal thing into this medical thing – but are you telling me that I could go to the United States today, say I feel like a lady and enter the female toilet tomorrow. That’s a thing? Do you not understand how that erodes confidence in Transgenderism as a whole? These are actual people with actual problems and their legitimacy should not be sacrificed on the altar of liberal inclusivity.

There’s a 6-month documented minimum range in the DSM for which the person must have felt the disconnect between mental and physical self. I think it’s adequate.

But honestly, if you think it’s something people feel and they can change the moment they want, confidence in the transgender movement will erode in less than a generation and actual people will suffer.

 

RED: VHAGAR, I don’t know if I would have been happier as a girl because I was not given the choice. I don’t particularly like anything about being male but I like a lot of things about being female. The difference between you and I is that you thought about it. I really wanted it. Being uncomfortable in your skin is just something you know.

 

KAYODE: First of all, confidence in the transgender movement is not an argument here. It’s an argument when you’re talking about political policies. But here it’s not. That something will erode confidence in transgenderism doesn’t make it wrong or right.

I do not believe minors should be allowed to transition. By minor, I mean below 16. And by transition, I mean reassignment surgery.

Before this, other treatments like puberty blockers are ideal. They halt everything and the child can be what he or she wants without too much of a permanent change made to the body. At this age, the prefrontal cortex of the human isn’t fully developed. While they might be transgender, they still shouldn’t be allowed free reign on such long-lasting decision. It isn’t fully developed at 16, but at 16, you’re not a child and at least have some independence of thought.

Of course, this becomes hard in uber capitalist countries like the US where puberty blockers cost a fortune and would be unaffordable for many families. But still in my opinion, it’s much safer and less risky. Some non-binary people would sometimes start off thinking they’re trans when they’re not. And as a teenager, impulses are way harder to control.

So, I think that till they actually reach that 16 mark, the parents are responsible for their decisions. And should serve as some sort of a buffer.

That said, yes, EVERYBODY can choose their sexuality. Even children. They could be mistaken sometimes or they could sometimes make a decision that is not the right one for them. But that doesn’t invalidate that they can choose their sexuality. I hope my comment was successful in explaining that I hold this to be true without exception and that the only thing I’m arguing for is that the parents help them make decisions that give them wiggling room in case they decide on a different action/plan.

 

VHAGAR: I think 16 is appropriate too. I’m still a little worried about long term use of puberty blockers (side effects if used over a year are a little worrying) but there’s no reason why they can’t start hormonal therapy a little before that (at least that’s reversible), work their way through puberty, reinforce or lose their resolve and then be sure before they remove their native organs (that’s permanent).

 

KAYODE: Yeah. Hormonal therapy is another good treatment.

I would also like to add that it’s unethical (I’m not even sure it’s legal) to start giving trans treatment to children who have not reached puberty. And American hospitals rarely offer genital reconstruction surgery unless you’re at least 18.

There is a lot of misinformation about to create this idea that there is a problem when there isn’t. Conservatives and even moderates are relentless. Conservatives, I understand. But centrists will see a 7-year-old allowed to do drag by his parents and start yapping like a broken record about how liberals are going too far and yada, yada, yada.

There isn’t any problem as it is.

Even puberty blockers that are the standard and most common treatment options are so expensive (thanks a lot capitalism) in some places that even loving parents can’t afford to help their kids. And don’t even get me started on insurance companies that don’t cover them.

 

DELLE: Here is my take on this. At age 8, I knew I was attracted to guys, my cousin being my first. I knew this even though I didn’t have a word for it. That, praise God, does not invalidate my feelings.

But I also knew something else. It was not just about being attracted to people I saw that had dicks and talked in low, deep tones. It was more for me.

I saw myself as a girl. It was intense. It was overpowering. The times I would take the house help’s dresses and put them on, slip my feet into her heels, stuff my chest with rumpled paper, just so they’d look full the way I wished they would one day come to be.

This was in the mind of an eight-year-old child.

Oh, how I prayed on a daily not to wake up with my penis still intact. How I envied my female cousins for their ability to whip their hair about and fit their curvy figures into dresses and skirts. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to make the guys worship at my female feet.

At that age, I figured in my head that that was all it would take to be with a guy. I just had to be a woman. I guess that only fueled my resolve to no longer be a boy – this need to be with guys.

A lot of times I would inwardly thank God that people called me a beautiful boy and said they loved how high-pitched my voice was. I loved to identify with the female. This was true…at that time and for a long time after that. As a matter of fact, it was so true I penned an article down about it for Kito Diaries (The Woman In Me). Yeah, it was this powerful for almost a decade.

Until it stopped being that way. All of a sudden, I was really proud of my dick. I was obsessed with the beards appearing on my face and just content being me. Not wanting (anymore) to be a woman. More so because I realised I didn’t have to be woman to be with a man. I don’t want that now. I’m happy being the man that I am. Transitioning doesn’t appeal to me anymore as it did eight years ago.

I think what VHAGAR is trying to say is this:

At eight, maybe in a different clime with liberal parents, a more dogged personal spirit and support, I definitely would have gone through with the surgical procedure to change my sex. I would have and I probably would have relished that transition. But it would have been short-lived. And I would have borne the brunt of my decision at such a tender age.

There’s nothing wrong with guidance and counselling when it comes to children wanting something this life-changing. I think age has a lot to do with decision-making because with age comes experiences and although that isn’t a prerequisite to having sense, for a large part, it is. I mean, there has to have been a reason good heads came together to declare there should be an age of maturity.

Let’s not overlook the percentage of children, like me for instance, that would have been torn that they changed their sex at such an early stage. Kids are boisterous beings. A decision that lasts a lifetime such as that shouldn’t be made by them (nor anyone for that matter) but an older, more mature, version of the person.

Now there are arguments here stating that we shouldn’t bother ourselves with that because it’s that child’s business. But that just brings me to this point. Because that child is just a child (under your care and supervision), you have a lot of blame to take up if he ends up making a wrong choice in his formative years. This isn’t the case if an 18 or even 16-year-old decides this is what he or she wants. No one can be faulted for a wrong decision made by an 18-year-old, but a bad decision made by a child is as much the guardian’s fault even more than it is his.

 

RED: I suppose that in the same vein, one should be well above puberty when his or her hormones are no longer on rampage before he or she can tell If he is gay or not, or if she is a lesbian or not?

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And on and on it went. Very insightful perspectives, all of them valid.

What about you, what do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

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7 Comments

  1. trystham
    November 15, 09:25 Reply

    13? 16? I am reminded of the ‘age of consent’ thingy we talked about in a group I am in with regards to paedophilia. I think at those ages, we are still experimenting and not yet decided on which side of the sexuality spectrum we fall on. I may have seen Ariel as a kid and kept thinking I was born to be a mermaid, but I most certainly don’t think like that any more. Perhaps its the societal conditioning, but I do not think I want to transition into a woman, even with my feminine traits.
    While I understand the cosmetic aspect of Vhagar’s worries, I still think exposure to ‘intense therapies’ at such ages might do more damage to a teenager than actual good. I’m not so certain that the confidence talked about might still be there after these sessions. They might keep second guessing their actions forever

  2. Ace
    November 15, 11:17 Reply

    This is an issue of assent versus consent. There are legitimate reasons why minors are not allowed to make certain decisions on their own without input or support from a parent or guardian. I agree that it could be distressing to feel uncomfortable with one’s gender and feel like there is nothing that can be done because the choice is out of your hands but we need to understand that sometimes it’s in our best interests that we cannot act based on how we feel during a time when there’s so much going on in our body, in our mind. There is scientific proof that the part of the brain I responsible for decision making and judgement (prefrontal cortex) does not fully develop until around the age of 25.

    In my personal opinion, minors suffering from gender dysphoria should be provided with therapy before any drastic changes are made because sometimes the real issues require questions and a listening empathetic ear not a scalpel. At the very least, it affords the family an opportunity to gain insight into their ward’s struggles while making sure that the individual him/herself is able to make an informed choice after careful consideration of other possible factors that might have played a role in the distress he/she is facing.

    I would also like to point out that there is a very distinct difference between sexuality and gender identity as well as between gender and sex. Sex is biological while gender is a social construct based on assigned roles and expectations. Some people seem to confuse those that have a problem with their sex with those that have a problem with their gender.

  3. Malik
    November 15, 17:38 Reply

    I have often opined that if we de-emphasized gender and permitted boys to be effeminate, and wear pink, and make up and heels – and to like dick; and if being a girl didn’t come with all the restrictions it comes with today, then maybe we wouldn’t have to tamper with biology to have full expression of of our preferred gender identity.

    🤷

    • Ace
      November 15, 18:36 Reply

      The irony is staggering when you realize that behaviour and symbols associated with femininity today were once exclusively masculine- high heels were originally developed as riding shoes for men during the ninth century then became symbols of wealth, class, masculinity and power around the 16th to 17th century in Europe before the intellectual “enlightenment” sometime after saw it become a feminine symbol, women have crossdressed in theatrical history most notably Shakespearean times in order for their character to be taken seriously while sending a message to the largely sexist culture at the time, make-up was once a very male affair (those Victorian era paintings of male figures weren’t portraying clowns, even if some of them looked the part-_-).

      The fact that gender is a social construct means that it’s defining features change just as society does and what is viewed as atypical now may just be one decade away from being a norm. We are presently in that age where our society is in a war for this change. Some of those termed insane by their society are now hailed as revolutionary heroes who were ahead of their time, time will soon distinguish who are the hatters and who are the haters.

  4. Dimkpa
    November 16, 19:12 Reply

    I think that anyone who is not transgender is not really be in a position to tell a transgender person how to feel or what to do with his life. It is really ironic that after enduring all we have about being gay, (like people telling us it a phase, it is unnatural, how can a man like his fellow man, how are you sure you are gay?) we turn around and do the same for transgender.

    We now want a psychiatric evaluation for them before they transition. Remember homosexuality was once considered such an illness.

    There was also once a debate in the UK about the age of consent for gay sex being 18 while that for straight people was 16. That has also with time been resolved and the age of consent is now the same.

    What I am trying to get at is this, some are advocating that a transgender child live till the age of 25, a quarter of a century, some of the best years of their lives waiting till they can live their authentic lives.

    We now feel a child cannot know if he is a boy or girl. Gender identity is not wholly social, some of it is innate. That little boys like playing with cars, rocks, sticks and stones is not entirely learned some of it is due to genetic programming. The same applies to girls liking sugar and spice and everything nice.

    I have mentioned the story of the guevedoces in this forum before. These are children in the Dominican Republic who are apparently female but transform to males at puberty. The thing that struck me about their story is the fact that they maintain they are boys even while being raised as girls. For them it ends well as biology does their transitioning for them. Who are we then to say that kids cannot know, by this example alone that is false.

    In all the arguments and hysteria regarding transgender whipped up by the right leaning people. Let us not forget that this affects a very small percentage of people. There are not many kids everyday shouting that they are transgender. No child learns it in school therefore if a child says what he feels he is, it is better that we sit up and take note.

    There is a reason transgender have a high suicide rate and all this pontificating about how they shouldn’t be their authentic self is not going to help. Thankfully some sensible countries are recognising this and making things easier.

    As for those that choose not to transition or stop halfway or revert, there may be many reasons for this. I wonder if all factors social and external are removed, if they have all the support they need in an accepting society, if they have rhe same chance as dinding lasting relationships like everyone else, whether there would be as many unwilling to go through with transitioning.

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