Guest post: This is so not a leap forward

Originally a comment by Artymorty on The evidence behind this surge in treatment.

It could be that there was a huge underserved population of adolescents suffering from gender dysphoria and getting no help, or it could be that a huge population of unhappy adolescents has latched on to “gender dysphoria” as the source and meaning of their unhappiness. It could also be a mix of both.

I find it frustrating how the entire medical profession has to tip-toe around the subject of gender distress, holding back from saying things that are obvious. It’s patently obvious that this is the first generation of adolescents experiencing anything like this, in terms of the number of adolescents affected, and the degree to which they seem to be experiencing distress over sex and gender.

This is the only area of medicine I can think of that believes “an overabundance of caution” means caution about offending activists instead of caution about the health of vulnerable patients. It was out of an overabundance of caution over fears of being perceived as transphobic that they rushed to greenlight experimental treatments on vulnerable adolescents before they had any good data to back them up, and in the face of overwhelming data that shows none of this treatment is entirely necessary, plus a growing body of data that shows most of it may in fact be harmful.

“Gender dysphoria” is being defined ever more broadly, and treated more aggressively at the same time. Fifteen years ago it was “gender identity disorder” —a full-blown debilitating mental disorder. Now it’s just a feeling of distress. And plans are already underway to redefine it again, this time as “gender incongruence” — nothing more than a preference to be one sex over the other. But these softer thresholds aren’t being matched with softer treatments. It’s full-on sex changes for everyone; the more the better. So there it is, the underlying ideal, a bizarre new “human right”: sex is a choice.

A lot of people have drifted into the position that sex is a choice without properly examining it. It’s bad on multiple levels. At the lowest level, it’s not true: sex is not a choice; it’s something we’re all born with. Next level up: so-called “sex change” treatment doesn’t literally change anyone’s sex, because that’s impossible. This is all just cosmetics with sterility and other major medical problems as inconvenient side effects. And up on the social level, simply giving in to everyone’s desire to change their sex ignores the social factors that are influencing people to feel this way in the first place: namely, sexism and homophobia.

Because if men and women, gays and straights, were truly equal, and were truly free to live our lives the way we see fit, then why would anyone feel such an urgent need to switch their body from one sex to the other? Especially when they aren’t even really switching sexes; they’re just paying a massive medical price to undertake a lifelong pretence of switching?

This is so not a leap forward for humanity; it’s such an obvious lurch in the wrong direction.

5 Responses to “Guest post: This is so not a leap forward”