Piled high.Deeper

Standing downwind from the horseshit “science” that has come out of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto (Kenneth Zucker‘s House of Horrors) has never been a pleasant experience. Listening to the braying chorus of Zucker-accolytes repeating the GIGO (garbage in-garbage out) so-called “data” about persistance and desistance of gender dysphoria in adolescents and teens has passed through what I’m calling the 7 Burleton Stages of BullShit…or BSBS.

Stage 1: “Well, it’s the only data out there, right?”
Stage 2: “Well, it seems pretty over-generalized, but maybe it’s right?”
Stage 3: “Wait a minute, they lumped gender nonconforming kids with transgender kids?”
Stage 4: “They say putting kids in therapy to ‘avoid a homosexual outcome’ is OK? WTF??”
Stage 5: “I smell an extremist religious, conservative bias here.”
Stage 6: “I smell a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) bias here.”
Stage 7: “Ok, this would be funny, if it wasn’t dangerous to children and families.”

Freelance writer and PhD Candidate in Sexual Neuroscience Debra W. Soh is one of the more recent voices trying to make a name for themselves by writing ‘scholarly’ articles in places like that Wall Street Journal and the Pacific Standard with titles like “Why Transgender Kids Should Wait to Transition”, and this drivel is pinging the 7BSBS like a hunchback in a bell tower.

Ms. Soh lists as part of her resume one year working as a Research Analyst at the previously mentioned CAMH in Toronto, Canada. While I have not found any evidence she worked directly on Zucker’s team, I would be willing to bet Donald Trump’s life on speculation that she drank Zucker’s Kool-Aid.

Let’s just start by dismantling her version of this bullshit at the very top of her article…or to be specific, at the subtitle to her article. She states:

“Most gender dysphoric children outgrow their dysphoria, and do so by adolescence.”


That statement reflects research conducted at CAMH that “oversampled” their study cohort of youth; it lumped, A) actual transgender kids in with, B) non-transgender kids who just happened to not conform to gender stereotypes. And when the B group ‘outgrew their nonconforming behaviors and self-expression’ or later identified as ‘gay’, the researchers (Zucker and his clown car) announced to the world that ‘gender dysphoric kids outgrow their gender dysphoria and most of them become gay!’

Gender dysphoric children are most often transgender-spectrum children, and remain so (to greater or lesser degrees) through adolescence until the sources of their gender dysphoria are gradually identified by the child/adolescent/teen themselves and addressed. This can include some or all of the following: Freedom to self-express, opportunity to transition social gender role, opportunity to suppress unwanted, ‘wrong gender’ pubertal changes, cross-sex hormone therapy to induce ‘correct gender’ pubertal changes and for some, medical interventions to further bring physical anatomy into alignment with gender identity.

In other words (for Ms. Soh’s benefit), being gender nonconforming is not an indication of gender dysphoria in a child, adolescent, teen or adult, though it certainly can trigger transphobia and homophobia in those observing the gender nonconforming child or adolescent.

Experiencing symptoms of gender dysphoria is a STRONG indicator of falling somewhere on the transgender spectrum and those symptoms of gender dysphoria will almost always persist into adulthood, unless they are addressed through affirmation, empowerment to live in their own truth and healthcare intervention when necessary to relieve the gender dysphoria.

Yes…it’s a much longer explanation, and not as SNAPPY and SOUNDBITE READY as Ms. Soh’s statement, but it does have the virtue of being effing’ accurate.

Ms. Soh states that she was “your typical, gender atypical little girl” that played mostly with boys and engaging in “rough-and-tumble play and running around the house while waving my he-man sword high in the air.” She also states that she “insisted on using the toilet while standing up” and “hated the dolls and the color pink”. Then, by her own admission “something bizarre happened – I reached my late teens, and for the first time on my own volition, I fancied putting on a dress. The idea of appearing feminine no longer repulsed me, so I grew my hair long and began carrying a purse.”

Ergo…all transgender kids should wait until adulthood because transgender boys might suddenly want to “grow their hair long and carry a purse” and transgender girls might suddenly want to put on a codpiece and jackhammer their way through a concrete wall.

Or, and I’m just spitballing here, maybe Ms. Soh was just the kind of girl who liked to do those things in her youth, and then liked to do different things in her adulthood. All the while identifying in her own words as “your typical, gender atypical little girl.”

You were not transgender, Ms. Soh…so while the narrative of your awesome tomboyish-ness was lovely to read about, it has NO FUCKING RELEVANCE to the lives of transgender children, adolescents or teens. Neither does Mike Huckabee’s pervy speculation that he would have gotten in touch with his “feminine side” in high school and pretended to be transgender just so he could ogle and become aroused by girls in the female restroom or locker room.

Personal experience is not a universal translator for how other people experience their own being, or the world around them. Some people are gender nonconforming tomboys, and some people are transgender boys and some tomboys become lesbians and some tomboys don’t become lesbians…and none of those outcomes is the WRONG outcome.

Some people are gender nonconforming ‘sissies’ (there is no non-pejorative word for feminine boys) and some people are transgender girls and some ‘sissies’ become gay men and some ‘sissies’ don’t become gay men…and none of those outcomes is the WRONG outcome.

You know, sometimes I feel like certain evil SOB’s in the world need to be taken down by a well-placed sniper shot…that doesn’t make me Dick Cheney or Chris Kyle. And sometimes I feel like knee-jerk political correctness and oversensitivity to satiric commentary has destroyed intelligent discourse and the field of comedy in America…but that doesn’t make me Donald Trump, Paula Deen or Nathan Bedford Forrest.

To Ms. Soh and all other Zuckerite minions, professional and lay ‘experts’, TERFS, ‘former’ transgender hate mongers and bullies, extremist Christian/Islamic/Jewish oppressors and theocrats and the ever present, underinformed and willfully ignorant general public who believe what they HEAR, rather than trusting what they’ve LEARNED through independent and objective examination, I say the following…

Stop hiding your overt/covert emotional and psychological abuse of children and their families behind sketchy research, political or religiously motivated ideology, ignorance-driven intolerance or hate disguised as ‘righteous’ radical feminist outrage. Stop inciting others to inflict these harms, including physical violence against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color.

Debra Soh reveals her bias in the following comment from the article:
“Outgrowing my discomfort resulted from the realization that gender does not need to be binary…We can have the best of both worlds.”

DUH. Of course it doesn’t, and of course we can. The arrogance inherent in Soh’s suggestion that parents, caregivers, advocates and trans-affirming professionals are promoting gender binary-only outcomes is revealing of her trans-exclusionary radical feminist leanings.

While there are certainly some healthcare providers still stuck in the DSM III/IV, “Harry Benjamin Standards of Care” time warp that was heavily dependent on binary gender expression, most of the voices supporting children and their families today reject those archaic ways of approaching gender…though TERF’s and TERF sympathizers like to accuse people of enforcing binary gender stereotypes (without any evidence) because it suits their agenda.

Our children are not, as Debra W. Soh put it, “candidates” for mental or medical healthcare intervention. If anything, our gender nonconforming, transgender and gender diverse children provide us with the opportunity to learn something about ourselves, about how adults have over the course of time forgotten the value and perfection of individuality, rather than conformity.

There is no “research” or “science” that shows “most gender dysphoric children outgrow their dysphoria”. That is bullshit. Repetitive, often shoveled and widely used to fertilize oppression, abuse and malpractice B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.

Kenneth Zucker’s research does show that kids subjected to disapproval or stigmatization from researchers will eventually learn to suppress, conceal and ultimately deny their gender diverse feelings and identity. It appears that alone constitutes ‘proof of desistance’ for those like Ms. Soh, Zucker and others.

“Waiting until a child has reached cognitive maturity” as Ms. Soh writes, before affirming a transgender child or youth’s desire/need to transition gender or access pubertal suppression treatment does not, as Ms. Soh says, “[make] the most sense.”

Waiting causes uneccessary emotional, psychological and physical trauma, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and death.

You want to know how to tell a gender nonconforming child/adolescent from a gender diverse child/adolescent from a transgender child/adolescent? It’s pretty simple…Shut the fuck up and listen to what they are telling you about their gender experience. Then, do whatever you need to do to make THEM more comfortable living their lives.


About jennburleton

Jenn Burleton is the founder and executive director of TransActive Gender Center. An internationally recognized educator and authority on diverse gender identity in children, youth and adults, she is a passionate advocate for the civil and human rights of gender diverse and transgender children, adolescents, teens and their families. She lives in the Pacific Northwest United States with her partner of more than 30 years.
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