Escape the trans madness
“I want people to know that there is hope. Young people with 'gender dysphoria' and their families can be helped with a psychological path” writes the American psychiatrist Miriam Grossman in her latest book. Explaining his therapeutic proposal in detail and empathetically. And indicating the most insidious obstacle in the pounding propaganda of the transcult

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Miriam Grossman is an American psychiatrist. The following is an edited excerpt published by Gender Clinic News of his new essay Lost in Trans Nation: A Child Psychiatrist's Guide Out of the Madness. A very interesting and "empathetic" read especially for those families who find themselves facing the problem of a teenage daughter/or daughter with "gender distress". 

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James sports a scruffy beard. Sarah wears skirts and doesn't care about pronouns. Taylor wants to talk about college, not testosterone.

These small changes, all seen or reported recently by patients or their parents, are large. In my book I described monumental struggles and pain, but I want you to know that there is hope. Young people and their families can be helped with therapy.

Can slow their pace on the assembly line leading to harm; some even go down. They can accept, even enjoy their bodies. It's far from guaranteed and it's not always an easy road, but it's possible.

How do I treat my patients with gender distress? The same way I treat anyone else: with respect, empathy, curiosity, honesty and with their lifelong happiness and well-being uppermost in my mind.

I'll start with: tell me about yourself. I want to know who you are.

My patients have been led to believe they need to address a simple problem with a simple solution. I explain that this is not the case. I am, like all people, a huge, complex tapestry, of which gender occupies only a small corner. The whole tapestry interests me, not just one corner. We'll talk about gender, of course, but instead of automatic affirmation we'll look deeper. "In recent years there has been a notable increase in the number of young people suffering from so-called gender dysphoria. This was caused, in all likelihood, by the same mechanisms that operate when others psychogenic epidemics they spread throughout the population: that is, from deployment of social forces, often for political reasons, to model the manifestation of an underlying nonspecific propensity for anxiety, depression, and hopelessness in a vulnerable subgroup of children and adolescents” (Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, preface Lost in Trans Nation). Go deeper.

We will try to determine what living as the opposite sex brings. Will it make life better or easier? Is the new identity about becoming someone from scratch or about escaping who you are? Sure, some of my questions may make patients uncomfortable, but this is the most important decision of their lives and deserves a very careful look.
I observe my patient's family. Is there a conflict at home, is there a sick parent or sibling? It should be understood if he suffers from a psychiatric condition such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADD, psychosis or if he has an autism spectrum disorder or some other form of neurodiversity. Is there a history of adoption, trauma or abuse? Social problems or bullying? Same sex attraction? Is trans identity a way of exploring oneself as independent from one's family, a normal task of adolescence taken to the extreme?

Stereotypical beliefs may be at work about "wrong" men and women. The person may feel that they are not "manly" and cannot find love or acceptance as they are. Perhaps you or someone you love has been hurt, feels helpless against male aggression and is therefore trying to escape femininity. Maybe he or she is afraid of growing up. The point is: being “trans” is a solution, a coping mechanism (a way to cope with conflicts or stressful situations, ed.) but for what problem? This is the mystery we must solve together.

One of my primary responsibilities is to educate. I'm older and wiser, and that benefits my patients. An effective phrase with smart teenagers: “Are you sixteen? I am 116 years old. During my decades of practice, I have learned many things, one of which is that people change. A man of the left changes and votes conservative. Couples once madly in love, certain of marriage, are now at each other's throats. A woman who couldn't have been more certain she wanted an abortion twenty years later is childless and rethinking that decision. People change, I tell my patients. You too will change.
Another piece of wisdom I share is that being human means struggling. It means living with limitations and weaknesses. You're not the first person to hate your body, feel disconnected from your parents, and have no place of belonging. You are not the first human being to experience confusion, pain and loneliness. In some circumstances I can share my difficulty with a patient. In doing so, she or he learns that I have difficult moments too, but they can be managed. For example, if I fear a patient's response, I might say, "I need to tell you something, but I have mixed feelings about it because of how you might react." The patient discovers that I too am afraid of conflict; I feel insecure just like him/her. I demonstrated how I can tolerate those emotions.

A patient needs to feel safe and understood. It is in that trusting and honest space between us that healing begins.

I try to act with thoughtfulness, humility and above all compassion. We must have compassion for ourselves and others, including our parents. They too are human, with limitations and struggles. They are doing or have done their best, and it wasn't that bad. Ultimately the choice is theirs, I tell my patients, their identity is in their hands. At the same time, whether they require new pronouns or surgery, there are risks. I am obliged to point out that what they are doing has enormous implications. What will their lives be like in ten, twenty, fifty years? There may be a high price to pay. I remind patients that as a doctor I deeply appreciate the wisdom of the body. They may think they have all the information they need, they may think they are knowledgeable about social and medical interventions, but I know they are not. Give new names to mastectomies and vaginoplasties, they must understand the risks and be aware of the ongoing controversies.
If I neglect to outline those risks and the debate I am not doing my job. And if he or she comes back crying: look what I did to myself, why didn't you warn me? Speaking of risks, this is a risk I'm not willing to take. At some point I strongly encourage patients with gender difficulties to read the stories of detransitioners or watch their videos. When patients are unwilling to do so, or are unable to learn about the dangers of medicalization, or claim to be indifferent and trusting, these are red flags. We all have some degree of doubt when faced with important decisions. Every decision has advantages and disadvantages. Trusting and making mistakes is dangerous. It's part of my job too gently challenge and plant seeds. Being from an older generation, I ask my young patients to define their new language and explain their beliefs. I am curious. I want to learn from them. If their definitions or explanations don't satisfy me, I will say so. The goal is recognize that each of us is a mosaic of male and female. Honor the mosaic and leave the body alone. And to parents: you must also respect your child's mosaic. He or she may not match your ideas about masculinity and femininity. When I said earlier that my approach with transgender patients is just like with any other patient, I left out a salient point. There's a huge difference. After their short weekly sessions, my patients return to their friends, schools and social media, a world tied to the Articles of Faith that enshrine gender identity as sacred and prohibit any questions.
It's daunting, to say the least, to build a connection with highly indoctrinated patients. They have heard over and over again that there is one answer to their situation: transition. They cannot tolerate the doubts I sow.

The obstacle may be insurmountable. Zoe was an 11th grader attending a school in Boston where the cost of tuition was higher than the average annual family income. His mother informed me that in middle school Zoe and her friends all declared themselves LGBT, they just hadn't decided which letter.

I once tried to inform Zoe that for safety reasons a minor like her living in Sweden or Finland would not have access to puberty blockers. She put her hands over her ears and yelled, “Don't tell me about trans kids who can't get medical care! Don't you know that fifty percent of us try to commit suicide?"

To his accused of being transphobic, I replied "I'm anti-suffering, not anti-trans." I could almost feel his friends and influencers in the room with us frowning at me. He refused to meet us again. In my many years as a doctor I have had patients with severe schizophrenia, incurable cancer, and other very serious conditions. Nobody ever fired me. You understand why I say that Is fighting dangerous ideas more difficult than fighting dangerous diseases?
Once the young person has sworn allegiance to the Articles of Faith, the challenge facing parents and therapists is brutal. Parents who have not yet addressed the situation, please listen to the mothers and fathers of children with rapid-onset gender dysphoria.

Many of them openly say that they live in hell and they want to warn you and teach you something before you find yourself in their shoes. They are trying to save you from the impossible position they find themselves in: a child announcing that in order for him to stay in that family he has to be supported in his self-harm.

These are the parents who when they catch a glimpse of you in a park or a mall holding your baby's hand, or school-age sons and daughters who are still attached to you, who still trust you, feel a stab in their hearts: If only you knew what you might find yourself facing.

Your children are like a sponge, ready to absorb whatever comes their way. They are a work in progress and you are their scaffolding, providing support and structure. If you don't provide a belief system, a compass, or a meaningful foundation from which to understand the world, identify truth and lies, and distinguish right from wrong, trust me, others will be eagerly waiting to do just that. Before you know it your child will be a pawn, a foot soldier in a foreign crusade spreading dark and dangerous ideas, and you will be the toxic parent in a home that is no longer a safe space.

(translation by Marina Terragni)
 


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