For many people, transgenderism is a fad — but today’s mental health professionals shamefully ignore the emotional disorders that are pushing this fad.
I am a mental health professional with over thirty years experience, so I have seen a lot of mental health treatment and diagnostic fads come and go. Time after time a new diagnosis catches clinical fancy. Suddenly everyone has ADHD. Now suddenly Bipolar Disorder is disproportionately diagnosed. And also Autism Spectrum Disorder. Once autism was a 1 in 10,000 disorder, then a 1 in 5,000, then 1,000, then 700, then 500, then 100, then 75. The latest I’ve seen is 1 in 39.
See where I’m going here? Broaden the diagnosis, generalize vastly, and everyone can have a label. To me it’s a bit frightening. Does anyone know what they are talking about? New labels, new diagnoses are bandied around like oracles, unquestioning professionals nodding their heads and accepting, never wondering, never challenging.
When I began practicing professionally, recovered memory was all the rage. Mostly young women in treatment supposedly suddenly recovered memory of traumatic incestuous sexual abuse or satanic rituals that had been repressed, suppressed and not remembered because of disassociation. Thousands of women abruptly cut parents out of their lives, sometimes accusing them of heinous crimes in court or denouncing them to family, friends and in media. Their recovered memories were recovered in hypnotherapy or in suggestive, leading therapies, and while there is no doubt that heinous sexual abuse occurs, there is also no doubt this became a trend, flames fanned by the media. Recent books have been written by women apologizing for the harm they did throwing around false accusations they really believed at the time when under the spell.
I recall being absolutely told that children never lie about abuse. Never. Their testimony is always accurate. Children cannot make these things up. Specialists declared the same. This culminated in the infamous McMartin Pre-School tragedy in which the innocent owners of a pre-school were convicted and sent to prison for the alleged satanic abuse of children, including sexual abuse, torturing animals, etc.
But it never happened. Suggestible children were led and cajoled by child abuse investigators, frightened parents and poor clinicians looking for confirmation. For heavens sake, they were preschoolers! When I was that age, I got a woman fired by lying as I remember guiltily now. I recall lying to my mother and telling her that a housekeeper hit me (children never lie about abuse…) all because my sister told me that she picked her nose and then cooked our food. When my mother fired her she cried and denied the offense. I didn’t speak up. I didn’t lie much as a child, but I lied terribly then, and viciously, and all I needed was a little pressure from my big sister to do so. Professionals must be wary. People, especially children and teenagers, are suggestible.
In my mental health work for a large school district we all knew about contagion. Teenagers and pre-teens desperately want to fit in. Many want to feel dramatic and to be noticed. If a popular cheerleader began cutting, her entire group of cohorts began cutting too. When a well-liked student died unexpectedly, in an accident, for example, it wasn’t just his or her friends grieving. Some kids wanted to be part of the grieving group despite only a passing connection to the deceased student, sometimes cynically to get out of class, but often to fit in, to feel like a deep, sensitive feeler responding to the emotions of those around them. Yes, again, some were stirred by their own traumatic memories, but not all.
Teens copy each other. They like to be noticed. Yet evidence that the transgender movement among youth fits this typical teenage pattern has been intentionally squelched and shut out.
So forgive me if I tell you that this transgender thing is the latest bandwagon, and professionals, pretending to be tolerant, pretending science validates this, are deeply harming the most confused and vulnerable of youth. Transgenderism is exceedingly rare. Now it’s a trend. It’s a way for kids who never fit in for a whole host of reasons, to claim that this is the reason, and to receive widespread public affirmation in the media and in certain circles for their fashionable struggle. It’s power. Everyone has to affirm the switch or be denounced as a hater.
This weekend I saw a young man I have known for years, mildly retarded, shuffling awkwardly, no facial affect, slow of speech and barely literate dressed up in a charming polka dot dress flared at the bottom, lace collar, stockings, high heels, pink lipstick, and with a huge red flower in his hair. He was re-introduced to us all as “finding her true self,” and his new ultra-feminine name was announced.
He looked so lost and confused, his eyes aching; I wanted to cry for him. If he at last found his true self, then why did he look so haunted and miserable? And who led this extremely vulnerable, delayed young man to make this catastrophic decision? To keep their bona fides, his uber liberal parents must go along with it, but where, who, how was he led to this point, and why doesn’t therapy not help a lost young man like this understand that dressing up in public is not the solution?
No one present was able to look at him and, without engaging in significant mental gymnastics, see a girl. Of that I am sure. My eyes easily and naturally saw before me a clumsy boy in a dress, playing a part, and we were all expected to play ours too. “Oh yes, I see a lovely girl, not a confused and lost young man.” “Oh yes, Zoey Tur is a beautiful and strong woman, not a deeply disturbed and confused man.” (This is the same Zoey Tur who, when offended by Ben Shapiro, grabs him aggressively by the neck and threatens him bodily harm. Amazingly “she” behaves totally like a guy in a bar or, as Shapiro put it, “profoundly unladylike.”)
We are told to constantly tell ourselves that men get their periods, that men give birth, that there are no gender boundaries. But this is another professional fad, a contagion of superficial theories and distortions. And we are asked to defy our eyes and pretend it’s all completely normal and healthy.
The incidence of suicide attempted and completed amongst transgender people is extraordinarily high. This is not an indication of finding one’s true self. It is a sign of the lost, becoming ever more lost. And lost with the so-called support of a society that doesn’t help but validates the pathology.
True transgenderism is rare and can create fulfillment in those cases. But sadly, transgenderism rates are higher amongst mildly autistic and other vulnerable groups, like this young man. And he is definitely not helped by becoming a slow-thinking, confused boy wearing a frilly dress. Now he is confused about one more thing. A big thing. How frightening for him.
We should be allowed to be honest about this, but we are not. I could never voice this in a mental health gathering without facing vicious attack. Yet the comorbidity of depression, autism, family dysfunction and so many other conditions with transgenderism should be a red flag to mental health professionals.
Besides the boy I referenced above, I know another “transgender” young adult. She is a clinically depressed young woman who had been a pretty, feminine, albeit depressed and friendless, young teenager. She grew up in the most dysfunctional family imaginable. Her father was an angry, controlling, very strange man and her mother a depressed, shrill, desperate woman. After alienating herself from all potential friends, this lonely young woman graduated high school, gained 150 pounds and declared herself a male. At last she fit in with a cohort of angry, alienated peers and her life of unhappiness became devoted to transgender topics on the Internet. Unhappy before. Unhappy after. Still seeking stability.
There is an aspect of “look at me,” but more, a power in controlling the behavior of others. I have never told an anorexic she is too thin and needs to diet more. No mental health professional would feed into the pathological thought pattern. The public mocked Rachel Dolezal for pretending to be black, yet a fake tan and hair weave is a much less drastic transformation than children taking hormones and later amputating body parts. Yet I am expected to do a McMartin again and say boys are girls, girls are boys, and affirm all 56 genders, at a huge psychological disservice to the most vulnerable among us.
I will not soon forget this sad, desperate-eyed young man with the red flower in his hair. What a cost to him and to society.
UPDATE (from Bookworm): This seems apropos.