A new AGEDO?

The historic Parents of Homosexuals Association has worked extensively for the acceptance and non-discrimination of gays and lesbians and today dedicates many of its initiatives to children with gender dysphoria. With an essentially affirmative approach, that is, supportive of transition. In a recent webinar it was said perhaps one should break off relations with family members who object and that reasoning about the effects of puberty blockers is off topic. To mention just a few of the more surprising statements
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AGEDO (Association of Parents of Homosexuals) is was an important reality born in 1993 on the initiative of Paola Dall'Orto, founder and president until 2007 and awarded the title of Cavaliere al merito della Repubblica in 2009 for her work: "The purpose' had explained "was to help those parents who found themselves in the same situation as usin a state of unease, often despair, and almost always in ignorance on the subject [...] We thought we would help these parents to get to know what homosexuality is not i.e. to know that it is not a dirty thing, that it is not perversion, sin, criminality, paedophilia, etc., i.e. everything that has been inculcated in us for centuries and that now forms the substratum of our beliefs and creates a mentality that we, even if in good faith, are not allowed to have, we pass to all our children, even the homosexual ones, causing them deep wounds, confusion, suffering".

I was very surprised, after so many years, to discover that perhaps AGEDO has changed considerably. Totally understandable that today I dedicate a increasing part of its activities to the families of people with gender dysphoria: the greater social acceptance of homosexuality probably results in less demand for help and support for gay and lesbian families; on the other hand The tumultuous growth of dysphoria cases necessarily shifts the focus to the issue of transition.

But the fact that surprised me the most is AGEDO's affirmative approach to the issue of dysphoriaIn essence, the removal of obstacles to the path of social, pharmacological and surgical transition.

Una nuova AGEDO?

In a AGEDO webinar a few evenings ago, guest expert Antonio Prunas -psychologist, psychotherapist and scientific director of the Master's programme in Clinical Sexology at the University of Milan Bicocca- was able to see this approach. Some of Prunas' statements were quite surprising. For example, the fact that the increase of people with dysphoria should be read as a growth in awareness and as trans people gaining freedom that in the past they would have been forced to call themselves gay and lesbian or even hetero-cis (when, on the contrary, even in many pioneer countries, from the UK to Finland, affirmative therapy is considered to be a true conversion therapy for homosexuals. LGB Alliance, Lesbian United and other leading associations even speak of a homophobic practice: 'At this rate there will be no more gays' was the joke going around at the now-closed Tavistock Clinic in London at the time of its busiest).

Prunas states that in Iran 'trans people are hung by their feet': is apparently not correctly informed, In Iran it is gays and lesbians who suffer persecution, people who 'change sex' are legally recognised and not prosecuted. LGBs in that country do not enjoy any kind of recognition and protection by the government with the exception of T-persons who have been granted the right to change their gender since 1987.

Another notable statement in reference to the detransitioners who regret having undertaken therapy: trans people should be acknowledged the right to be wrong , right compared to that of separation during a marriage. But the break-up of a bad marriage, painful as it is, is not even remotely comparable to the break-up of an affirmative therapy with all its often irreversible psychological and physical consequences: it will not be so easy for a detransitioner to start living again with a beard, a voice with a masculine timbre, a chest flattened by top surgery and possible genital mutilation).

Again: in case families do not resign themselves to the transition of a child or a family member and perhaps bring scientific articles against affirmative therapy, the person in transition will have to count on losing those family relationships. And so on.

Also significant are the omissis: no scientific studies are reported; there is no mention of the stop in the UK, Great North, even in the Netherlands where it was admitted that the pioneering studies on which the 'protocol' later exported worldwide was based were scientifically very deficient and where Parliament recently launched an enquiry; there is never any mention of the issue of social contagion; there is no mention of ROGD, rapid-onset gender dysphoria that mainly affects girls on the threshold of puberty; some questions posed by logged in users are classified as negative comments to be disregarded; even a question entirely on topic ("are the effects of puberty blockers reversible?" is judged off topic (off topic?) i.e. off topic and will remain unanswered. Besides Hardly anyone in the scientific world now feels like affirming the reversibility of the effects of blockers. The very concept of 'blocking puberty' (to give the adolescent time to 'decide' on his or her gender identity) should be abandoned as totally a-scientific. This is well explained by Professor Angelo Vescovibiologist, neuro-pharmacologist and president of the National Bioethics Committee whom I interviewed for the newspaper The SheetI find Shocking that a scientist could think that a molecule could block a branching process such as puberty, possibly to reactivate it later. On-off is a logic that does not exist in biology. Processes do not stop, if anything they are diverted with cascading effects".  

Some AGEDO webinar-goers report that on previous occasions the affirmative approach had been more assertive and pronounced, and to have observed greater caution in the latter circumstance. But perhaps there is enough for AGEDO, if it sees fit, to consider opening a reflection on one's own positions today also taking into account its important past.


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