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Trans in children's and young people's services

(475 Posts)
YetAnotherSpartacus Sat 01-Oct-16 14:58:11

OK … I can’t hold this in any longer. I went searching for a safe space to talk about trans issues and I found you guys (as per a previous post). I’m really hoping that you won’t think I’m stirring the trans pot for the sake of it. I really do have concerns.

I teach people who will one day, amongst other roles, work with boys, girls, young women, young men, parents and others in a range of ‘social care’ roles. This includes child and youth services and protection. In both my teaching, and the broader sector of practice that I prepare people to work in, I am facing a wall of ignorant, unthinking, militant trans orthodoxy, or a general fear of challenging this, or downright don’t-give-a rat’s-ism. The kinds of things that I hear people (and these are people with power as teachers, workers and even policy-makers) say uncritically (and as if they were droning a script) are:
- trans children have the brains of the opposite gender
- children should not need court consent, counselling or parental permission to have puberty blockers or hormonal drugs
- if a child wants to access PB’s or other hormonal drugs and the parents object, it should become a child-protection matter
- children should be watched for gender variant behaviour
- children should learn about trans from an early age
- all school toilets should be gender-neutral
- boys / men should be allowed into women’s / girls’ facilities if they say they are girls. Girls should not object.
- single-sex residential care homes (for girls, often those who have been sexually abused) should accept males who say they are female (even though we know there are high levels of sexual abuse in care homes)
- terms such a ‘women’ or ‘girls’ should be changes to ‘people who identify as …’

Beyond this, I have the following experiences:
- teaching a small but significant number of males who identify as ‘queer’, ‘trans’ or ‘female’ who have made it clear that they are entering the area to ‘save’ trans children from not being able to transition
- being told by management that the official position is ‘pro-trans’
- being told by some students that I am transphobic if I mention ‘women’. One was a ‘trans’ male who dressed in leather and studs and wore shirts with violent imagery and slogans.
- having colleagues tell me that they think the orthodoxy is rubbish, but being afraid to speak out (as am I)
- being in a meeting of practitioners and told that we must use ‘persons who identify as …’ instead of ‘women’ or ‘men’
- being in a meeting of practitioners and being shown a ‘trans-positive’ manual that advises that trans boys be allowed into girls’ spaces (camps, homes, detention facilities, etc.)
- raising an actual instance of harassment of a young lesbian by a trans man and general instances of lesbians being denied lesbian-spaces to be told that ‘trans comes first because they are so oppressed’.

This does not happen all the time, and nor is it ‘me against the world’, but it is prevalent enough to concern me and make me feel marginalised and silenced.

The reason I am writing this, apart from to get it off my chest and hopefully find some people who don’t think I am nuts for questioning it, is that I don’t think this is spoken of much (i.e. institutional responses to trans issues). Plus, these people have power over the lives of individuals, and some have the ears of policy-makers. Some make policies for organisations. This isn’t stuff happening on social media – it’s real – and to me it is terrifying because it can lead to the abuse of children, whether they be ‘trans’ kids or girls.

We don’t know the long-term effects of a set of drugs (PB’s) that were developed as an emergency measure to allow the treatment of some childhood cancers. We don’t really know much about child-transitioners. We don’t know much about the long term effects of hormone therapies on children’s bodies. Yet, we have generally moved away from a treatment regime that saw medical and surgical interventions as the last means to the first. Counselling and other therapies have fallen out of favour – and indeed are seen as ‘oppressive’ by some. This has all happened so fast that we don’t really know much at all, beyond isolated and mostly non-longitudinal studies. We know that some variants of ‘the pill’ have had detrimental effects, as has HRT – why are people naïve enough to think that hormonal treatments on young children are going to be magically better?

The issue of boys in girls’ and women’s spaces has been spoken of here, but I worry for girls who have no (or inadequate) parents to care for them or look after them, such as those in justice centres or care homes. These are vulnerable children.

Honestly, I know that many of us are wondering when this trans rubbish will dissipate, but I can’t help thinking that it might take a class-action of young people with cancers or a girls or two to be raped / murdered by a male claiming to be ‘trans’ for this to happen.

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 16:44:31

- if a child wants to access PB’s or other hormonal drugs and the parents object, it should become a child-protection matter
In total contrast I think the opposite. I think it should be a child protection matter if kids are offered puberty blockers and such. Especially given the vast majority of children who 'identify' as trans grow up to simply be gay. I see the use of hormones and blockers at such a young age as eugenics.

children should be watched for gender variant behaviour

What the bloody hell does this mean. Be watched for being gender-non conforming? Then I presumed, pushed towards believing that being masculine or feminine means you actually are the opposite sex. What a bizarre stance.

- all school toilets should be gender-neutral
- boys / men should be allowed into women’s / girls’ facilities if they say they are girls. Girls should not object.
- single-sex residential care homes (for girls, often those who have been sexually abused) should accept males who say they are female (even though we know there are high levels of sexual abuse in care homes)

These are all extremely concerning. There are those of course who argue that sex-segregation is not necessary at all these days. A view I disagree with but they are entitled to hold it. However it still makes no sense to me what the point of sex-segregation is if we do not separate based on sex at all?!

The care homes bit just sickens me. And this is a huge reason why I am so against the transagenda. The juggernaut expects us to just forget about women/girls who have previously been sexually abused by men/boys. And as such have definite reason to fear people of that sex. While there is of course the 'not all men' thing...I don't feel comfortable with the notion of telling these women/girls with very real concerns to just get over it tbh...

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 16:48:56

terms such a ‘women’ or ‘girls’ should be changes to ‘people who identify as …’

OK onto this. Another big part of the transagenda. People are whatever they say they are. So lets assume the same stance for a second and think this through.

'Women' now includes men. Which in turn surely means 'woman' just means person. So without a marker (ie. biology) how does one 'identify' as the opposite sex at all? You cannot identify as something that no longer exists?

zsazsagaboredom Sat 01-Oct-16 16:51:05

I'm with you Spartacus. It's terrifying.
I'm exhausted just reading (and reading and reading) about it all.
In fact, reading about your experiences just reinforces the fact that this is really happening.
You're not nuts and you're not the only one.
What do you want to do about it?

(I enjoyed your posts on consequences of self-identification and will use some points from that thread to write letters to my MP & MM)

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 16:57:10

The puberty blockers thing is another HUGE issue for me. I should take the time right now to say I am not a scientist so not sure if my opinion on this is 'right' or not. But as I understand it, during puberty your brain develops at a massive rate. So to me, using puberty blockers also delays brain development? People say blockers are a good choice as they are 'reversible'. But to me, those children who take blockers and then decide at a later stage in life to go onto hormones..if their brain has not reached full maturity because of said blockers...do not have the emotional development to understand the impact of their decision? And surely, those who do decide to come off blockers (from statistics I have found , seemingly none. Once blockers are in place 100% of cases go onto hormones and such...worrying) then have late brain development as a result of the blockers in the first place?

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 17:00:27

Honestly, I know that many of us are wondering when this trans rubbish will dissipate, but I can’t help thinking that it might take a class-action of young people with cancers or a girls or two to be raped / murdered by a male claiming to be ‘trans’ for this to happen.

Sadly, this would not even make a difference. As the people perpetrating the crimes would be written off as 'not true' trans and we would be back to the start. I do wonder how much collateral damage is acceptable in this whole movement.

ATransMum Sat 01-Oct-16 17:05:50

Should start by saying I'm transgender (if the username didn't give it away).

- trans children have the brains of the opposite gender

Oversimplification of the issue, but that is the current accepted theory. I know a lot of feminists don't like it and will argue against it. Until medical science has a different theory this is the currently accepted one.

- children should not need court consent, counselling or parental permission to have puberty blockers or hormonal drugs

I disagree with this. Medical consent for any treatment should rest with the parent until age 18. The only reason to overrule this is if there is sufficient evidence that the parents aren't accepting of the child's desire and putting the child at risk (e.g. religious grounds and wanting the child to 'pray the trans away' - this is pretty much why Leelah Alcorn committed suicide so preventing that from happening again is always a priority)

- if a child wants to access PB’s or other hormonal drugs and the parents object, it should become a child-protection matter

See above response. Parental rights should not be removed unless there is valid reason to do so. The child doesn't know better unless the parents are blocking that access for an unwarranted reason.

- children should be watched for gender variant behaviour

Nope. Teachers have enough to handle. Parents / Guardians should take some responsibility here. Although if a child mentions stuff to a teacher etc. it should be noted and passed on. 'Johnny was playing with dolls today' is not an indication of gender variant behaviour. It is an indication that Johnny wanted to play with dolls today. There is bugger all wrong with that.

- children should learn about trans from an early age

As part of a greater package of Sex and Relationship Education and taught in an age appropriate way, yes. But this should be unilateral and mandatory for all schools (especially faith ones). And parents can't opt out of it either (the whole package, not the trans bit). Good luck with that.

- all school toilets should be gender-neutral

Well it would save a lot of headaches. But it would also freak out a lot of parents. Expensive and unrealistic in the real world. Schools have more important things to spend money on.

Having a gender neutral toilet however is much more possible and should be encouraged.

- boys / men should be allowed into women’s / girls’ facilities if they say they are girls. Girls should not object.

This works both ways for trans boys as well don't forget. I know of schools where this has happened and pretty much there were no issues other than a few outspoken parents. Ironically the kids were all totally fine with it and just treat the transitioning child as their new gender more often than not. Sometimes we can learn a lot from our kids.

But it needs to be done carefully, only if required and with the full awareness of everyone involved. Equally girls should be given an alternative (e.g. gender neutral/disabled toilets) if they or their parents object (and vice versa for boys).

- single-sex residential care homes (for girls, often those who have been sexually abused) should accept males who say they are female (even though we know there are high levels of sexual abuse in care homes)

That's a much more complex issue. I think for a child that is showing an incredibly strong level of gender dysphoria putting them in a care home of their birth gender is going to have massive negative effect on them, possibly putting them at risk of self harm or suicide. So this needs to be handled delicately. It is more case-by-case than a generic rule.

- terms such a ‘women’ or ‘girls’ should be changes to ‘people who identify as …’

Grammatical gymnastics aren't easy and are sometimes pointless. I'm not a fan of this as it's over pampering. But I do like pronoun respect and using generic introductions such as 'young people' rather than 'boys and girls'.

Puberty blockers aren't dangerous - they've been in use for over 30 years and their effects are fully reversible.

Trans suicide during teenage and early 20's however are statistically very high. It's not an exaggeration to say that puberty blocking drugs save the lives of trans kids.

But you need to identify them correctly and not just hand out complex hormonal treatments to every boy that starts playing with Barbies.

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 17:12:33

That's a much more complex issue. I think for a child that is showing an incredibly strong level of gender dysphoria putting them in a care home of their birth gender is going to have massive negative effect on them, possibly putting them at risk of self harm or suicide. So this needs to be handled delicately. It is more case-by-case than a generic rule.

Would the answer to this not be, rather than a case by case basis, that the child with gender identity issues is put in a mixed carehome rather than one separated by sex? Otherwise, even with case by case, this leaves us with the issue of...whos rights are more important. The rights of the transchild to feel comfortable, or the rights of the 'cis' girl to feel safe. Surely the answer is...transchild goes to mixed place and as such is not uncomfortable as they are not being lumped in with the sex they try to distance themselves from. 'Cis' girl remains in her safe space of other girls and women.

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 17:16:01

Trans suicide during teenage and early 20's however are statistically very high. It's not an exaggeration to say that puberty blocking drugs save the lives of trans kids.

Out of interest, are the suicide rates of 'transkids' (not sure if this is the correct term) any higher than the suicide rates of LGB children?

Numerous studies have shown that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth have a higher rate of suicide attempts than do heterosexual youth. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center synthesized these studies and estimated that between 30 and 40% of LGBT youth, depending on age and sex groups, have attempted suicide.

LyndaNotLinda Sat 01-Oct-16 17:16:56

It is most definitely an exaggeration. And it's untrue to boot: 4thwavenow.com/2015/08/03/the-41-trans-suicide-rate-a-tale-of-flawed-data-and-lazy-journalists/

IrenetheQuaint Sat 01-Oct-16 17:19:24

That does sound rather worrying, Spartacus.

In terms of what you personally can do, have you tried breaking down the issues to identify a) immediate risks and b) ways in which you personally can make a difference - for instance, fighting to protect the victims of harrassment such as the lesbian girl you mention?

I expect you've already quoted the statistic that (I think?) only 1 in 5 gender nonconforming children go on to transition as adults.

CharlieSierra Sat 01-Oct-16 17:21:24

trans children have the brains of the opposite gender

ATM, as extensively discussed on the other thread, there is NO evidence of gendered brains. STOP IT.

WankingMonkey Sat 01-Oct-16 17:26:20

www.independent.co.uk/news/science/there-is-no-such-thing-as-stereotypically-gendered-male-and-female-brains-a6755336.html

Most people are in the middle of the two groups, having a combination of feminine and masculine characteristics

www.newscientist.com/article/dn28582-scans-prove-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-male-or-female-brain/

And so on...much research.

Gendered brains my be the current accepted theory among transpeople. But not among scientists.

WinchesterWoman Sat 01-Oct-16 17:28:50

ATransMum this is now really a thread and debate about child abuse. I for one would be grateful if there were no attempts to justify it.

JacquettaWoodville Sat 01-Oct-16 17:30:31

"- trans children have the brains of the opposite gender

Oversimplification of the issue, but that is the current accepted theory. I know a lot of feminists don't like it and will argue against it. Until medical science has a different theory this is the currently accepted one."

What do you mean by this, please? AFAIK brain gender isn't a theory from medical science but I might have misunderstood you.

JacquettaWoodville Sat 01-Oct-16 17:31:37

X post. Sorry, didn't realise

WinchesterWoman Sat 01-Oct-16 17:33:01

YetAnotherSpartacus: Thank you for speaking up. I am reading. I believe there is a forum of gender critical health professionals which possibly operates out of the US but is a space where health professionals can share their fears anonymously. I don't know how you would find it. I hope you do.

WinchesterWoman Sat 01-Oct-16 17:35:58

I found this

WinchesterWoman Sat 01-Oct-16 17:37:30

And this interview with a founder

It crosses all sorts of professions that might have contact with the trans agenda, social workers, HCPs, teachers.

Felascloak Sat 01-Oct-16 18:00:13

I also struggle with Puberty blockers. Theoretically they are reversible, however in reality it seems most children who take blockers socially then medically transition. So in practice they aren't reversible but instead are the first step to a life of infertility and dependence on hormone treatments.
Suicide is such a red herring and emotional blackmail. Trans people remain at high risk of suicide after transition. The group with highest rates of suicide overall are white males. This suggests to me a) suicide isn't linked to social oppression and bullying and b) trans women are retaining a male pattern of suicide.
In normal circumstances risk/threats of suicide suggest someone is mentally ill and needs appropriate medical treatment for that. I struggle that in the case of trans it's suggested that it's all soctets fault. I just don't believe that's true.

Felascloak Sat 01-Oct-16 18:01:58

Should say high suicide rates of a group aren't linked to social oppression. I'm sure individuals have committed or attempted suicide attributing theiron suicidal feelings to their trans status.

FirstShinyRobe Sat 01-Oct-16 18:11:39

As always, I have questions...

What does opposite gender actually mean?

Can anyone explain something about blockers to me? I've tried to Google, but am none the wiser. If medical transition is pursued, then puberty never happens? Because, obviously, you can't go through the puberty of the opposite sex just by taking/blocking hormones.

OP, I don't get how we have got to a situation you describe in such a short time. And, unfortunately, woman really have to speak out about this at every opportunity. This has become a suffragette/ist situation - under the parapet is not really an option. Just trying to figure out what I can do.

WinchesterWoman Sat 01-Oct-16 18:12:27

Can we have a mumsnet demo

PoldarksBreeches Sat 01-Oct-16 18:21:26

I'm too freaked out to even read this thread to the end. I'm a CP social worker in a very right on local authority. I genuinely fear the day I get my first trans kid. I just know I will be in direct opposition to the orthodoxy and I will have to witness the transing of a child or risk losing my job I think. I don't think I'm brave enough to fuck my career and livelihood over this sad

Felascloak Sat 01-Oct-16 18:23:21

Blockers stop puberty starting shiny. I think it's usually an off-label use of drugs so no one is really sure of safety, the long term effects and how long they can be taken for.
If you stop taking them then you go through Puberty.
Obviously trans kids on them end up looking like pre-pubertal kids while their peers are growing up so there is some pressure to then medically transition.
There is some evidence that around 80% of dysphoric children grow out of their dysphoria and end up as gay adults. So to me puberty blockers seem like a hammer to crack a nut.
Equally for the 20% it's probably easier to pass if you've not been through Puberty ad the opposite sex. I'm not sure if that just applies to MTT or is also true of FTT.
I find it so odd that we as a society think 12 or 13 year old son are capable of making a decision that has such impacts on their whole life.

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