Shrinking to survive: A former trans man reports on life inside queer youth culture

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

There is power in naming. It’s how we find each other, how we connect to our histories, how we connect to our futures. Driving us apart from each other is the easiest way to keep us from learning to recognize attempts to redefine our realities.

I didn’t know this then. I subscribed to an incredibly misogynistic set of beliefs for years. “DFAB privilege” was a common phrase in our community – “designated female at birth privilege.” It was accepted fact that being born female gave you a lifelong advantage over a male who transitioned. This included men who used transition only to mean using different pronouns on Tumblr and having an anime girl as their avatar. We believed that, as “dfabs,” we needed to shut up about our petty problems. We could never have it as hard as any “dmab women or non-binary people.” Everyone in the trans community agreed that it was our responsibility to uplift “dmab voices.” None of this seemed outrageous or strange to me; it felt pretty intuitive. Growing up under male domination is a grooming process that leaves many girls and women extremely vulnerable to manipulation.

The first experience that did make me start to feel suspicious of male transition was when I was 18 and a genderqueer-identifying man who had never pursued any kind of transition raped my best friend, a woman unacquainted with insular trans community politics.

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In praise of gatekeepers: An interview with a former teen client of TransActive Gender Center

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

I also had an experience there which I believe to be directly negligent on the part of the therapist. During the course of my therapy, before I received a referral for hormones, I began to have trauma flashbacks, which I hadn’t previously remembered. I brought these up to my therapist, and her only response was to devote one or two sessions to it, and then continue with the transition therapy process. This process seemed to be primarily about validating pretty much whatever I said about my gender/planning and mapping out a timeline for my transition, and it was not brought up at any point that prior trauma might have anything to do with dysphoria. The implication that was always present, in therapy or in the other trans-related discussions I was part of, inside and outside of TransActive, was that if I was trans (and my therapist never gave me the impression that I might not be), my options were “transition now, transition later, or live your life unhappy/commit suicide.” To a teenager who is struggling with mental health issues, this is a very attractive proposal: “This is The Cure for all of the emotional pain you’re feeling”.

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“Gender identity refers to a person’s sense of fitting into social categories”: Wisdom for the Youth of Today from GIRES (Gender Identity Research and Education Society)

Originally posted at GenderTrender

The following gems are excerpted from GIRES’ submission to the proposed new NHS Service Specification (“treatment guidelines” to you and me) for the UK Gender Identity Development Service for Children and Adolescents (GIDS). The ‘fitting-youth-into-social-sex-categories-development-service’ in question operates out of the Tavistock and Portman facility and is run by Dr. Polly Carmichael.

The clinic, which attempts to treat children who are disturbed by sex-based social roles with pharmaceuticals, has quietly posted two items on their website for public feedback without notifying the press or public. The deadline for replies is April 20.

The first item is a ‘Policy Proposal’ which quite sensibly rejects lowering the age for cross-sex hormones below the age of sixteen in the UK. This is a response to transgender industry and activist lobbying to allow permanent irreversible changes to be performed on children below the age of legal consent.

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When is a support group not a support group? The troubling story of a UK trans support group

Originally posted on Youth Trans Critical Professionals

Should a TV programme be the basis for irreversible medical intervention? (What would we feel if a troubled teen had instead watched an ISIS recruiting video and announced to her family that she was off to Syria to find a husband?)  Might not a teenager be made to feel uncomfortable about an emerging lesbian identity within the context of a private London single sex school?  Was the chance discovery of a leaflet for Gendered Intelligence really a sign from God? And how free was the child to pass through what might have been a transient phase once enrolled in a group where her newly formed identity would be reinforced by adults?

In the world of ‘Gendered Intelligence’, the thought ‘Am I the other sex?’ is not a thought that can be challenged but is taken as a revelation of an essential truth. The role of the adult and of the parent is to support and affirm this identity. At the monthly parents’ group, we were encouraged to speak freely and not to feel that we had to be ‘politically correct’. But there was an underlying narrative: feelings were our own but the facts were in the possession of the convenor, and those facts were the ‘trans narrative’.  Our children could only be happy if we supported them through transition. We would find it difficult, we might grieve for the child we might feel we had lost but this was merely part of a journey familiar to our experienced convenor, herself the parent of a trans man (who transitioned from female to male I think at age 21). The presence of this convenor necessarily makes it hard to question the trans narrative. ‘Where are you on the journey?’ asked the parent convenor, when I introduced myself.  My answer, ‘Which journey?’ did not go down well.

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A trans man’s egg retrieval

Originally posted at Purple Sage

This is the story of a trans man being misgendered while getting her eggs retrieved so they can be implanted into her wife for gestation. (And I note that this trans man is biologically female and has a female partner, which, by the way, makes her a lesbian.)

I’m already quite fascinated by this person after the first paragraph. She saw herself carrying a child for most of her life, but not after she came out as a trans man. This tells me that she was in fact living as a woman for most of her life, and was not feeling uncomfortable about using her female biology to create a child. This makes me wonder about the nature of sex dysphoria, if a trans man can spend most of her life feeling comfortable with the idea of carrying a child. Doesn’t that mean that she does NOT hate her female biology? This stuff just doesn’t make sense to me.

The first time she recalls being mistreated at the clinic, this is what happened:

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Two Years

Originally posted at Words by Maria Catt

My sweetie pie gay boy co-worker took a vakay to San Francisco and now is going to move there.  He’s roommates with the bisexual, recently raped, very femme- presenting, identifying as a trans boy person. Who has a beautiful singing voice they are about to wreck with T.

At least the mistakes I’ve made are very popular mistakes to make. I have a knack for making the mistakes everyone else is going to make 2 years later. I got into standup ahead of the boom, I threw myself on the rape joke protest pyre ahead of everyone writing a think piece about that, and now I’m over the trans thing a couple of years ahead of everyone else too.

So the question is, since all this harm is being done, and since in about two years a lot of young people are going to face up to lots of regrets about permanent changes they’ve made to their bodies and a whole lot of additional trauma they’ve taken on in that community, what do we have to build to keep them alive two years from now?

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Girl transitions to avoid getting periods and being a lesbian

Originally posted at Purple Sage

This is a young girl who didn’t like the female role, was incredibly horrified when she got her first period, and didn’t want to be a lesbian. These are the reasons she gives when asked how she knew she wanted to transition.

She describes being in denial about getting a period, and seems to think periods are really terrible. When she got her period she cried and felt “crushed,” “shocked,” and “hurt.” She says there is no word to describe how awful she felt about her period.

Getting her period was “the beginning of the breaking point.” The rest of her breaking point was her mother, who did not agree with her plans to transition and attempted to support her natural development as a lesbian woman.

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