Keira Bell, with its battle against the large London-based gender clinic Tavistock, has become the symbol of the thousands of young women mutilated and damaged for life because they do not conform to stereotypes of femininity. Today we tell you what happens to parents of little girls like Keira Bell through the words of a psychiatrist who has one of these mothers in her care.
Miriam Grossman is a child psychiatrist who has been working for decades on the problem of the sexualisation of children - of which 'gender transition' is one form - and publicly expresses her critical views on gender identity and the rest of the 'trans umbrella' (sex work, pornography, surrogacy, etc.). Although she specialises in children and adolescents, in a recent article she writes that is increasingly being contacted by a new type of patient: parents of so-called 'trans children'.
Grossman tells 'from the inside' what happens when your son - or, increasingly, your daughter - starts to say that he is 'trans', and what were the consequences of this? psychological consequences for one of his patients, the mother of a teenage FtM. Here is an extract from the article.
My patients [...] are shocked, overwhelmed, confused and anxious. They do not sleep and do not eat. Many have post-traumatic stress disorder.
After their teenager's bombshell announcement, most parents initially turn to therapists or gender clinics. The vast majority of these tell them that they must unconditionally accept the identity chosen by the child, use a new name e "helping Sara to bind her breasts and Michael to hide his genitals".
Parents objected, suggesting a slower process and deeper exploration. They insist: "We know our daughter (our son)! " Ideologists reject parents' instincts. They see their discomfort, but they brush it off.
For these therapists, the parents are the problem. Not the child's social anxiety, autism, irrational thinking or social media addiction. No, the problem is mum and dad's refusal to embrace the identity the teenager has been declaring for a fortnight and allow the child to lead the games.
The therapist communicates this assessment to the parents, sometimes in front of the child-o. By doing so, The gender identity 'specialist' is a heavy influence on a family in crisis, which has turned to him with hope and trust: he undermines the parents' authority and weakens the parent-child bond.
As if that were not enough, refers them, after a hasty and incomplete assessment, to an endocrinologist for puberty-blocking drugs. " They are safe and reversible"the therapist reassures the parents. "Your child needs it now. In fact, it's already late..
He speaks with authority and confidence: "These drugs now have the approval of professionals", he explains. "If you refuse them, the risk of losing your child to suicide increases.
The therapist foresees this risk for their child, or their child - the centre of their life, the dearest thing! The "professional" has only spent a short time with him or her, but knows what is best.
Parents return home, their emotions in turmoil. Some decide to trust the expert and rush to the endocrinologist's office, signing a consent form for the endocrinology tests. drugs that will impede physical, emotional, sexual and cognitive development of (their) teenager. Their child seems happy, they pray it will last.
Others immerse themselves in the search. Sooner or later they are surprised to learn the truth: if adolescents go through natural puberty there is a 60-90 per cent chance of 'desistance' (overcoming the idea of 'being born in the wrong body', i.e. 'being trans', Ed.). Changing names, pronouns and social presentation can lead to a fast drift and decrease the [percentage of] desistance. Once the child starts taking puberty blockers, desistance is very rare.
Blockers are controversial, have already been the subject of lawsuits, and their off-label use in healthy children is experimental (off-label use, i.e. use other than that for which the drug has been approved: in the case of puberty blockers, for example, the chemical castration of convicted sex offenders in some countries, Ed). There is a risk of suicide in adolescents who question their gender, but there is no evidence that this risk is lowered by transition.
Parents learn that the United Kingdom, Sweden and Finland closely examined the dangers of hormone treatment of minors and their ability to give informed consent for such treatment. As a result, these countries have made aU-turn in their policies: very young patients have to wait until the age of 18 for medical intervention. Similar concerns come from the New Zealand and theAustralia.
In conclusion: Parents who look beyond therapists and gender clinics find that there is a lively debate on how to help children like theirs.. "There is a consensus among experts, we are told. Are you kidding? There is no consensus whatsoever ! "
So the parents They seek a therapist who does not immediately affirm the new identity, but instead takes it slowly, to get to know their child and understand why the idea of having a new identity appeals to her so much. A therapist with a more cautious and nuanced approachparents do not want this. Another shock: there are hardly any.
Between psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counsellors, there are more than a million therapists in this country. I found a group of therapists who they practice long-term exploratory therapy for young people questioning gender, and there are only 60 members, many of them outside the United States.
My patient's experience "Cheryl', an example of a traumatised mother. Her 18-year-old autistic daughter, the only daughter, identifies as a man and has been taking testosterone for six months. Cheryl is convinced that she and her husband have been misled by a gender clinic and that 'Eva' has not had proper assessment and treatment. For the first time in her life, Cheryl is taking some psychotropic drugs for insomnia, anxiety and constant crying.
Cheryl feels she has everyone against her: Eva, family members, friends, schools, doctors, therapists, politicians, the media and culture. How many fronts can you fight on at once?
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital tell Cheryl to embrace her daughter's 'evolving sense of self'. But when she first heard Eva's voice made lower by testosteroneCheryl threw up. Eva will make a double mastectomy, the date is already setThe thought floods her with panic and horror. She fears for her daughter's physical and emotional health, including her sexual health.
Cheryl also grieves for the grandchildren she will never have. But there is nothing to be done. Horror, fear, helplessness and pain are Cheryl's constant companions, except on days when she simply feels dizzy from the drugs.
Full article here
Translation by Maria Celeste