The Consequences of Transgender Encouragement
Almost every social media website, when asking for the user’s gender, provides “Custom”or “Other” as an option in addition to “Male” and “Female,” and when that option is selected, the user often can write in his own gender. According to them, two opposite genders simply do not exist. The individual being is told that they can be any gender they choose, regardless of whether they were born with a penis or whether they have two X chromosomes or one X and one Y chromosome in their DNA. Gender identity disorder has been renamed to gender dysphoria (GD) so it does not sound harsh but still describes a mental state of depression, fear, and anxiety. For those diagnosed with GD, surgical operations and hormonal therapies have been developed to allow for a physically exterior change of sex. And if any remark is made against transgenderism, it is treated as if it were a remark against a specific race.
Accepting gender identity as a choice rather than a fixed attribute, however, can cause many problems down the road. Children who act like the opposite gender and are therefore given medical treatment can accumulate catastrophic health issues as they advance through adolescence into adulthood. Many adults who have undergone surgical operations and take extra hormones experience not only physical health issues but also mental issues and regret. Finally, just simply legalizing transgender rights can have unintended results. For these reasons, medical treatments, like surgery and hormone therapy, should not be considered for people with GD, especially children under the age of 18, and the government should not make it legal for citizens to officially change their genders.
You Cannot Fully Change Your Gender
It is not humanly possible to entirely change sex. The physical differences between men and women are huge, and they start with the DNA. Women have two X chromosomes and men have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. Within weeks of conception, the fetal body develops based on this gene. While the exterior physiological differences are obvious, they are not the only differences. Males and females have differences in the structure of the brain, which leads to psychological differences as well. Because surgical operations and medical procedures have become more achievable, many people obtain the notion that changing sex is fairly simple.
However, these operations only affect the outward appearance of the patient. They do not change the behaviors of the brain or much of the endocrine system, and they certainly do not affect the reproductive system in a beneficial way.
In an article by Thaddeus Baklinksi, he argues that transgender does not exist. He writes:
Cosmetic Surgery will not change the chromosomes of a human being in that it will not make a man become a woman, capable of menstruating, ovulating, and having children, nor will it make a woman into a man, capable of generating a sperm that can unite with an egg or ovum from a woman and fertilize that egg to produce a human child.
Certain reproductive features of the two sexes cannot be entirely changed. Transgender females, males who transitioned to females, cannot produce lubrication needed for traditional vaginal sex. They cannot menstruate or experience female ejaculations, nor can they get pregnant, as Baklinksi writes. Transgender males, females who transitioned to males, cannot get naturally erectile penises. They have to have a device implanted in their hip that can manually toggle on or off the erection by pressing on the side of the hip. Furthermore, they cannot ejaculate or impregnate a female. This restricts transsexuals from fully transitioning to the opposite sex.
Many Transgender People Regret Changing Sex
On top of the fact that cosmetic surgery does not provide full change, many people regret undergoing the operations. Walt Heyer, a previously transgender male-to-female but now a proudly male author, has written several books about sex change regret. In one in particular, Gender, Lies, and Suicide, Heyer sheds light on a study conducted over 6,500 random transsexuals. Forty-one percent responded in the affirmative when asked if they had ever attempted suicide. This suicide attempt rate is much higher than any other demographic, and this shows how often transsexuals are not satisfied with transitioning.
The media and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocates have used this statistic and others like it to show how bad the discrimination is against them, but the truth is most of these suicides were not caused by rejection from the community. In his book, Heyer describes that, having been a former transgender female for eight years, he was experiencing suicidal thoughts, depression, and regret, but he did not attribute these problems to rejection; he blamed himself. Any law that is passed to protect transgender people will not help.
Another journalist, Alison George, wrote an article for the New Scientist Magazine, and while in the article she tries to defend treatments for people with GD, George admits that “some studies suggest that a significant number, perhaps even the majority, of children with an initial diagnosis of [GD] end up happy in their original gender.” These widely hidden facts show that a surprisingly high rate of transgender people were not as satisfied with their surgeries as they expected and that many of them regret their sex change.
Reverse Options are Limited
What makes sex change regret worse is that it is not possible for a full reversal, especially when surgery was involved in the first place. David Betty, who writes for The Guardian, wrote an article on a few specific stories of transgender people who regret their decision. In a story about Marissa Dainton, he writes “Once Dainton had a penis, then a vagina, now she has nothing.”
In another story, Betty notes how limited the reversal operations are. He writes “the best a patient could expect is something that vaguely resembles an upside-down penis”. These stories show the lack of options to reverse the surgery. He goes on to state that when trying to reverse a male-to-female transition, the patient has lost erectile tissue and urethral tissue, and the tip of the penis would have been mutilated into a neo-clitoris.
These damages mean that trying to go back would be near impossible and would not provide any satisfactory results. This just worsens the already present regret and is one of the reasons why psychiatrists should not look at surgery as a treatment option for GD.
Children Should Not be Treated
Children who are diagnosed with GD by a psychiatrist should not be given any treatment until they are eighteen years of age for two basic reasons. Psychiatrists are taking an inaccurate approach to diagnosing GD. They are doing so based on behaviors of children that are stereotypically gender-specific.
Psychiatrists are Enforcing a Gender Stereotype
An article by Sheila Jeffreys, who argues that helping transition children who are transgender is child abuse, lists the diagnostic criteria for GD. A boy, for example, who plays with typically feminine toys and expresses a desire to cross-dress into feminine clothes can be diagnosed with GD by his psychiatrist.
However, this does not prove that the boy is “born a woman trapped inside a man,” as many transsexuals defend themselves. Children do not make their mind up about their sexuality until puberty. As a result, the criteria should not be considered sufficient to diagnose GD.
Children are too Young
The decision to physically change genders is a decision that cannot be reversed, and not only are children too young to realize the importance of this decision, but also the medical treatment is not safe and causes health problems. Children before and sometimes during puberty do not understand the concept or the importance of sexuality and reproduction. Children therefore do not realize they are making a decision that will destroy their fertility.
Puberty-Blockers Damage the Child’s Health
The medical treatment for prepubescent transgender children causes severe side effects. In Alison George’s article for The New Scientist Magazine, she writes that the medical treatment consists of a GnRH blocker, which blocks the sex hormones that the body begins to produce during puberty. This hormone therapy delays puberty to make it easier to change sex once the child is old enough for surgery.
However, puberty is an essential stage in life. Even George’s article claims that “puberty is a fundamental process in the pathway of human development” and that puberty “boosts growth and bone density, and affects muscle mass and fat distribution.” Additionally, Jeffreys article argues that puberty matures the children’s semen and ova. Consequently, delaying puberty will prevent growth, damage bone health, and prevents semen and ova from maturing. These side effects make medical treatments harmful and primarily why children should not be treated when diagnosed with GD.
Psychiatrists Often Diagnose Adults too Early
The diagnosis of GD as a child is quite early because the child is too young to be confident of his sexuality, but even as an adult, premature diagnoses and treatments are common and further cause the patient to regret his surgeries. Psychiatrists can spend too little time analyzing the patient and produce a diagnosis which will enable them to get the desired treatments, but they will not have discussed the disadvantages of such a life-changing decision.
But psychiatrists cannot be primarily at fault. Many patients do not want to visit therapists or psychiatrists because they do not want to admit they have a mental disorder. Aspiring transsexuals do not want to spend much time in therapy sessions and want to have the treatments right away.
David Betty writes in his article for The Guardian that patients who are visiting psychiatrist with a strong willpower to go through with the surgery will “have actually researched and know a lot of the things they should say — and some of the things they should stay clear of.”
He also describes how Marissa Dainton was already struggling with anxiety just before changing sex. She was given up for adoption as a child and after that, her adoptive mother died. During the therapy sessions, however, she did not dwell on these issues for two reasons. She felt that doing so would just slow the process down and “[she] expected the surgery to solve those anxieties about [her] identity and when it didn’t, [she] began to wonder whether [she had] done the right thing.” Dainton’s diagnosis was inaccurate and premature because the root problems, which surgery did not fix, were never addressed.
Transgender Rights is not a Civil Rights Issue and it can be Abused
Equating transgender discrimination to civil rights causes many problems in society. A person’s born gender is hard-coded into his DNA, just like the color of his skin. Being transgender is a choice, not a genetic trait.
In addition, social protection laws can be abused in many ways. A man can legally change his gender to female and therefore would not be required to register for the selective service. In the work place, if a higher minimum wage for women is adopted, for which some feminism movements are advocating, a man claiming to be a transsexual woman can make use of the higher minimum wage.
This same man can also walk into a women’s bathroom or locker room. While supporters of transgender bathroom rights deny this happens, there have already been several incidents with it happening. In Seattle, a local news source, KING 5 News, reported on a story of a man who walked into the women’s locker rooms of a public swimming area. The report states, “a man wearing board shorts entered the women’s locker room and took off his shirt.” When staff were alerted and asked the man to leave, the man responded, “the law has changed and I have a right to be here.” Social protection laws are prone to abuse, and incidences of abuse have occurred. This causes transgender discrimination, when treated as a civil rights issue, to be a complex problem.
Medical treatments should not be considered for people diagnosed with GD, and the government should not allow citizens to legally change their gender. Surgery and hormone therapy do not produce satisfactory results because they are not full transitions. Many people regret being transgender after surgical procedures. LGBT advocates blame it on the lack of acceptance, but it really is because the surgeries did not help their pain that caused them to request the surgeries. To add to that regret, the options for reversal are limited. Children cannot be diagnosed properly because before puberty it is too early to tell a child’s sexual identity. Kids do not understand the significance of the consequences, such as the loss of fertility. Puberty blockers produce many side effects. Psychiatrists cannot properly diagnose a patient with GD, nor do they warn enough of the consequences, the probability of regret, and inability to turn back if they do regret. Transgender discrimination is not a civil rights issue because the born gender is hard coded into the DNA and GD is a mental state. And finally, laws protecting transgender people from discrimination can be abused.
All of these reasons add up to prove the harmfulness of encouraging transgender treatments and advocating for their special rights. After all, GD is a mental state of depression and should be treated as such. A suicidal person is not encouraged by therapists to commit suicide, and in the same way, a person unhappy with their current gender should not be encouraged to change genders.
Baklinski, Thaddeus. “There Is No Such Thing as ‘Transgender.’” Transgender People (At Issue), edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2015, pp. 26–31.
Heyer, Walt. Gender, Lies, and Suicide. Kindle Ed. 2013.
George, Alison. “Body Swap.” New Scientist. 21 Apr 2007, pp. 40–43.
Betty, David. “Weekend: Sex Changes: Mistaken Identity.” The Guardian; London (UK). 31 Jul 2004.
Jeffreys, Sheila. “Helping Transgender Children Transition Is Child Abuse.” Transgender People (At Issue), edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2015, pp. 98–103
Morrow, Alison. “Man in women’s locker room cites gender rule.” King 5, 16 Feb 2016, http://www.king5.com/news/local/seattle/man-in-womens-locker-room-cites-gender-rule/65533111.
Walt Heyer’s Website: http://sexchangeregret.com