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Just_A_Guy

Irreversible Damage

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I just realized that in my comments about my daughter's friend, I left out a big piece of context.  It seemed so obvious to me because I already knew, but I now see that without that background, my description of events was almost backwards.  

So, now... the rest of the story.

My daughter's friend (let's call him Devon) was a perfectly happy boy who was fawned all over by girls at school.  He was "so cute" (say the girls at school).  He was slight of build and had sparkly eyes, flawless skin, yadda yadda.

He never considered being trans AT ALL.  Still, many of his features and mannerisms lent to the supposition that he was either gay or trans.  He NEVER CONSIDERED THIS at first.

My daughter and he were friends.  They played at each other's houses.  They did homework together.  They were each other's "buddy" on school trips.

One Halloween, he shows up in a princess outfit.  My daughter was more shocked than I was.  Why would he do that?  I didn't think much of it.  It was Halloween.  People wear funny things.  She shook her head and went out trick or treating.  That was when they were about 9 or 10 years old. (I could be off on that.)

Fast forward two years.  She told me that she was concerned about Devon.  He was thinking about being a girl.  I actually tried to be understanding. "He'll get over it at some point."

"No, he won't," she replied. "His parents are driving him into this."  Seeing the confusion on my face, she continued.

"You remember a couple of years ago, when he showed up as a princess for Halloween?" (I laughed in recognition) "Before that they kept pestering him about being a girl.  They were convinced he was a girl inside." (some discussion of the motivation and logic behind such a decision by the parents) "He kept telling them no.  But they wouldn't stop.  Then at Halloween, they convinced him it would be fun to wear a princess outfit for Halloween.  Before that they wanted to take him dress shopping when he didn't want to."

"After Halloween, they said that he'd worn a dress before, so he could wear a dress again.  So, he did.  It's been two years.  Now he's been convinced by his parents that he's a girl." Most of the time he still wears pants and a polo shirt, just like many girls do.  But he will just as easily wear dresses with a bow in his hair.

Because the school we go to is largely made up of Christian (mostly LDS) homeschooling families, they decided to disenroll him Devon and his brother from the school.  Their son no longer fulfills his role in administering the sacrament because he believes he is a girl, so he doesn't think he's supposed to.

Edited by Carborendum

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On 5/6/2022 at 5:15 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

I agree with much of what you say, but let me push back a smidge on this part:

Why?

Have we not just seen the entire church suspend its meetings for something like a year due to a highly infectious physical disease whose childhood mortality rate was nevertheless lower than .01%?  And even now, on the back side of the pandemic underlying that decision, do we not sympathize with and even applaud the hyper-careful folk who proclaim that their peculiar circumstances mean that they still must stay away?

A big part of the gay rights argument used to be “it’s not the flu; you can’t catch it from others”  But with what Shrier calls “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”—apparently, you can catch it.  Or at least, teenagers (especially girls) can.  Over 65% of teens who announced rapid-onset transgenderism had increased their social media use and online time in the immediate run-up to coming out.  Almost 70% belonged to a peer group in which at least one friend had already come out.  In 60% of cases coming out resulted in a popularity boost for the child.  Nearly 70% of children who experience childhood gender dysphoria, and do not receive affirmation therapy or socially transition, eventually grow out of it.

If what Shrier says is true, and many kids that actually don’t have clinical gender dysphoria are nevertheless being pressured to declare themselves “transgender” and engage in life-changing  hormone treatments and surgeries, and if (as some participants here have suggested) it turns out that a significant part of this pressure has been happening at church—

—What then?

There are a few things I'd say to this, and I don't think any one of them stand alone, so bear with me.

First, virology is not sociology, and we treating virological threats and sociological threats identically seems silly. That isn't to say that our response to the recent virological threat didn't create sociological problems: it most certainly did. But I would think we could learn from those sociological problems that the sociological solution we needed was to come back together. (Where that balance between managing virological and sociological threats sits is, in my view, an insanely difficult question, but not very relevant to the current topic). Similarly in the matter of LGBTQ identities, this is a sociological phenomenon. Running away from it, or isolating ourselves from it, may very well do more damage the good in the long run.

Consider also that fleeing to a more like-minded ward/stake comes with the potential for disappointment. So you go find a ward that happens to have no LGBT youth, and a bishop who has a similar mindset at you on these issues.  And then 10 months later the bishop is released, six months later, one of the youth comes out with their social transition, and the new bishop makes every effort to welcome, accept, and include that youth as much as church policy permits.  What do you do now?  Do you pull up stakes and flee again?  As the current policies and teachings around LGBT membership filter into the leadership, I would guess it will become increasingly difficult to find a ward that is free of these influences.

Lastly, as I said earlier, fleeing a ward over disagreements weakens the body of Christ. Yes, we have conflict over this issue. In some/many cases, that is bordering on contention (with a lot of guilty parties from every angle). But conflict and contention are not the same thing. Unresolved conflict breeds contention, but well managed and deliberate conflict has enormous potential to build unity and intimacy (spiritually and emotionally). 

So, please, don't flee. 

 

Now, for my part, I'm going to have to disengage a lot for this topic here. If you want to learn more about my perspective and viewpoint, message me privately. But this is an issue that has deep feels for me, and, quite frankly, there are too many people here that I don't trust with me deepest emotions to air things out in a public forum.

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19 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I just realized that in my comments about my daughter's friend, I left out a big piece of context.  It seemed so obvious to me because I already knew, but I now see that without that background, my description of events was almost backwards.  

The extra background does help.  A lot.  And is utterly baffling. 

19 hours ago, Carborendum said:

"No, he won't," she replied. "His parents are driving him into this."  Seeing the confusion on my face, she continued.

"You remember a couple of years ago, when he showed up as a princess for Halloween?" (I laughed in recognition) "Before that they kept pestering him about being a girl.  They were convinced he was a girl inside." (some discussion of the motivation and logic behind such a decision by the parents) "He kept telling them no.  But they wouldn't stop.  Then at Halloween, they convinced him it would be fun to wear a princess outfit for Halloween.  Before that they wanted to take him dress shopping when he didn't want to."

"After Halloween, they said that he'd worn a dress before, so he could wear a dress again.  So, he did.  It's been two years.  Now he's been convinced by his parents that he's a girl." Most of the time he still wears pants and a polo shirt, just like many girls do.  But he will just as easily wear dresses with a bow in his hair.

If we posit my perspective, which is admittedly more permissive than most here, this does the same psychological and emotional damage* that refusing a child their chosen identity does. It's just doing the damage from the different direction.  Each person's path to self discovery and self confidence should be their own to control (with the mentorship and unwavering support of unconditionally loving parents). If you've put yourself in the driver's seat of someone else's self-exploration, you're doing it wrong.

 

 

* feelings of rejection, depression, etc.

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If we decide this book is "required reading," I would also suggest that at least some of the critiques of the book also be included. As with so many divisive topics, I expect that the real truth is somewhere in the middle. Some trans people are legitimately trans, and to deny them respect and care is unkind and unwarranted. I also expect that there are some falling prey to "social contagion." In either case, I believe that kindness and support seem the best practice, because, for someone genuinely trans, supporting them is best, and for someone choosing this way to fit in, they will eventually mature and find their real identity (as long as there are no other mental illnesses that could drive this need attention).

If it helps, here's a mostly negative review, but he at least says, "there are valid ideas here" while, at the same time, expressing a desire for some real data to drive the discussion rather than something based on partial data from a seemingly biased source. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/checkpoints/202101/review-irreversible-damage-abigail-shrier

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On 4/28/2022 at 6:20 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

(Amazon link)

Has anyone read this?  I just finished it and IMHO it is essential reeding for any parent of a tween/teen girl.

In rereading this thread to remind myself where @MrShorty got the “required reading” verbiage, I just now realized I misspelled “reading”.

Quelle horreur!!! ;)
 

And yeah, the Psychology Today article raises some interesting points.  Shrier herself would definitely agree that there are some people who are “legitimately trans”; and I think the extract that the article cites in context is less about whether a natal female can undergo gender dysphoria than about whether the solutions offered by the therapeutic community are truly a “quick fix” that will allow her to cavalierly disregard the overwhelmingly feminine parts of her nature indefinitely and with impunity.

Shrier also does address the reaction and attempted rebuttals of the Littman study. And although she doesn’t get into detailed discussion of the hypothalamus, it appears from my own research (eg, here) that the studies suggesting “gender identity” resides there date from 1985, 2011, 2013, and 2017 and emphasize transgenderism that initially appeared in early childhood; whereas Shrier alleges that the first scientific treatment of gender dysphoria occurring in girls aged 11-21 wasn’t even published until 2012.  Generally speaking, it seems the girls Shrier is talking about simply could not have been part of the subject population for the studies on which the conventional wisdom is based.  At this point, from what I understand, we don’t even know if the causes of gender dysphoria are the same in natal males versus natal females—lack of testosterone exposure in utero may explain the former, but probably not the latter, which now dwarfs the former category by sheer number of people diagnosed.

Again, Shrier’s thrust is that a lot of girls who are do not have classically-defined “gender dysphoria”, are basically being socialized into an ephemeral belief that they do have it and then making irreversible physiological changes to themselves that they are likely to later regret.

(As a bonus, here’s an article just published today that cites to some new studies and points out some things we can extrapolate from them, and some things we cannot.)

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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3 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

In rereading this thread to remind myself where @MrShorty got the “required reading” verbiage, I just now realized I misspelled “reading”.

Quelle horreur!!! ;) 

 And here I was, looking for my wife's clarinet.

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