30 thoughts on “San Francisco Chronicle article about gender variance”

  1. Try posting it again, Mr. Blakeslee. There may be a window of opportunity to criticize NARTH on this matter. Ex-gay and reparative groups tend to only print comments that praise them.

    To mysurprise, they eventually printed some of my objections to the Berger piece — after deleting most of the earlier ones I sent.

  2. Sorry David, it looks like you’ve been NARTHed. Along with a few others.

    Your input has not appeared. Ever.

    And now, the entire thing has vanished from the NARTH blog.

    September 1, 2006
    Entry pulled on “gender variant” children

    We have pulled the discussion on gender variant children in Oakland. The article contained comments that were deemed offensive to many readers and failed to accurately express the overall views of the physician who expressed them.

    We apologize for publishing the article without getting proper clarifications first about how children with gender identity disorders should be treated by parents, teachers, and counselors.

    Alice, is this Wonderland?

    And why does that homosexuality/gender expert appear to be, well, not an expert at all?

  3. Here is a copy of the blog post I sent to NARTH (it is not posted yet)

    I find Berger’s suggestion that children be harrassed at school as ahelpful response to GID abhorrent.
    > As a NARTH member I apologize for such a comment. There is no possible
    > helpful outcome to a child with GID being ridiculed at school.
    > Bullying at school takes many forms and children’s capacity to exploit
    > other’s weaknesses or difficulties is well documented. Children who
    > use peer ridicule are rarely, if ever, doing it for the good of the
    > recipient. It is often merely narcissism.
    > NARTH should remove Berger’s posting immediately and apologize.
    > David Blakeslee

  4. I have contacted the NARTH website as a member of NARTH and condemned the comments by Berger.

    At best, they are callous, at worst the are scientifically endorsed homophobia. Only Berger knows for sure.

    It is my understanding that the article will be edited and the comments removed.

    I abhor and condemn such comments. Children need our guidance and protection; not to be abandoned to the mob.

    David Blakeslee

  5. “RE: Dr. Berger’s comments. I hope he didn’t mean that literally. If so, it, of course, is offensive.”

    Does that mean it’s ok if he meant it figuratively?

  6. I just left messages for Joe Nicolosi of NARTH and also with EXODUS headquarters expressing my deep concern about Dr. Berger’s outrageous and un-Christian comments about the benfits of teasing and ridiculing children.

    Let us see if either of these groups have the moral fortitude to do the right thing.

  7. Not just offensive. Abusive, Warren. If he really said these things, I think he deserves some sort of censure or consuequences for violating the ethical standards of his own profession.

    If he were a client who did this to his own son, I would be compelled to report him to Child Protective Services.

    Are you using your connections with NARTH and EXODUS to look into this further?

  8. Dr. Throckmorton: What is your reaction to Joseph Berger of NARTH anvocating allowing children to tease, ridicule or bully gender variant kids?

  9. Wow, Ed. That is the most self-affirming post of yours and the most healthy thing I have ever heard you say personally. I mean this sincerely, not sarcastically.

    You seem to have come a long way towards throwing off your internalized self-hatred.

    A lot of us who know you and care about you, on both sides of this argument(all Christian brothers and sisters.)have been sincerely worried about you over the years.

    I am so relieved to hear that you KNOW that it wasn’t your “difference” — whether as gay boy or as a short-statured peace freak that was the root of your discomfort with yourself. It was the way your peers, your culture reacted to those wonderful differences.

    You hit the nail on the head, Ed.

  10. I think we need to realize that the confusions regarding gender variants aren’t just the domain of the right wing church. I’m pretty sure that although the MMPI isn’t as popular as it once was, it reeks with gender role assumptions!

    For example, a male interested in poetry trips the homosexuality scale. If they’re trying to assess something, then this would be a gender variant or gender discordant scale. Poetry isn’t homosexual but it is something that could likely incur extreme peer pressure or bullying.

    Ironically, most of my gym class traumas had nothing to do with my being perceived as gay. I was a hippie and ‘peace freak’ more than anything. That would have probably even gone overlooked if I possessed some ‘rock star talent’ to go with it. But, I was a hippie, peace freak who was also lousy at athletics. Part my small stature, part a vision problem and part the simple fact that I despised competition. “Why does there have to be a loser? Why can’t we all just play ball and have fun?”

    In one actual situation, my gym class wasn’t allowed to start having class outside until EVERYBODY passed the physical fitness test. The entire class was kept inside an additional week because I alone couldn’t do the three required chin-ups. As a teenage boy, I shouldn’t have had to carry that responsibility or reap that pressure.

    Thankfully, I had a friend in the class who saw what it was doing to me–and he also saw what the problem was that kept me from performing the chin-ups–my friend conspired with the other guys to hang me from the bar just as the teacher was coming in and I squeaked out the required three.

    (For the curious, the bar was mounted on the wall about 6 1/2 feet off the floor. I was using all my energy just jumping for the bar.)

    I guess what I’m saying is that our real problem is with understanding and/or tolerating variance of any sort. We should be careful not to put everything in a box labeled ‘gender’ or ‘sexual’; all the incidences of school shootings seemed to involve individuals who were ‘variant’ in other areas.

    But, before we go pointing fingers at society for its intolerance, I have noted that gay people are among the most famous for being intolerant of individual differences. Critical of hair styles, fashion choices, body types, political leanings, religious convictions, etc…it seems that the issue of intolerance is at the heart of it all and WE’RE ALL GUILTY.

  11. I am a gay man. My 27 year old daughter is straight. As a kid, we gave her toys of all types — dolls, trucks, blocks, transformers, legos, cooking sets, beads, dress-up clothes, telescopes, baseball equipment, chemistry sets. She enjoyed them all. She is now a well-adjusted, socially adept young woman engaged to be married to a heterosexual man.

    In some cultures, only the men make pottery. In others, pottery-making would be considered inappropriate for men. According to ethnologists, the only activity apparently not undertaken by women in most cultures is hunting of very LARGE game — like whales. Otherwise, it varies by culture.

    Our founding fathers wore silk britches and powdered wigs. Maybe they needed “gender variant” therapy, huh Warren?

  12. What the on earth are “gender variant interests or behaviors”? Who decides these things? The parents? Western culture? Right-wing psychologists?

    Didn’t Throckmorton or Nicolosi take ANY anthropology courses in college? Or do they assume that their own religious and culture-bound gender stereotypes are somehow God’s eternal design for human behavior and feelings?

    Whatever happend to “informed consent” and “right to self-determination”? What rights do you extend to the “gender variant” kid? I know personally the intense pain that such pressure inflicts on the “different” child.

    By the way, is it OK now for Christian women to have short hair? Can heterosexual men cook, dance, take care of babies? Is it sinful for male actors to portray women on film or in the theater? Is it OK for women to design buildings? Drive trucks? Play football?

    And how and why did EXODUS stop having effeminate (male) ex-gay hairdressers teach butch ex-lesbians to put on make-up properly? Should ex-gay men play football as Liz Moberly suggested?

    It really honks me off to see Christian conservatives promote cultural bias and gender conformity as God’s will. God is the God of VARIETY — in case you hadn’t noticed recently. He didn’t stop at making one kind of butterfly…

  13. Dr. Throckmorton- I didn’t say the pages were glowing, I was only refuting your contention that the surgery “rarely provides the kind of relief soughy.” Logic suggests that if surgery didn’t do what the client wanted it to do the rate of regret would be high. Evidence suggests the rate of regret is quite low.

    No one is suggesting performing SRS on children, or making any irrevocable decision to do so for these children in the future. As with your earlier article about kids “declaring” sexual identity in high school, a “declaration” is not some sort of binding destiny. If they grow out of it then they just grow out of it, everybody’s happy.

  14. Good — I did also wonder about his recommendation to send a child out in the snow wearing nothing but their Reg Grundy’s

    I’m sure the local police will be most understanding when they return the child home.

    We’ve always found a morning routine and an occasional use of “Now!” works a treat. But what would we know.

  15. Grantdale – The Harry Benjamin Society has guidelines for SRS – but I am sure you knew that 🙂

    Yes, I am referring to Dr. Berger’s comments near the end of the NARTH article. Incidentally, Dr. B. clearly knows how to use the word garbage.

  16. Ed/Warren — you’re both being confusing. What is the approach you’d suggest?

    > by “help these kids avoid that trauma” are you refering to those so traumatised by having to share the World with a gender-discordant classmate that they need to act out with distain, abuse and violence?

    > by “what I think is the wrong approach to this matter” are you refering to the views of NARTH’s Joseph Berger?

    Any update on that client-centred approach with regard to SRS?

  17. Boo – the pages you suggested were not as glowing as billed. There are multiple problems with this line of research. I do not deny that there are people who do well after surgery. I have spoken to some who seem quite happy. However, this does not invalidate the point that the least invasive measures should be attempted. Furthermore, preschool is way too early to make declarations about what gender variance “is” or what it means for any given child. Case by case is the way to go.

  18. “As a research scientist I can tell you that relying on one opinion by Dr. Toby Meltzer and ignoring other opinions that say the opposite will not prove the point that sexual mutilation is good.”

    I wouldn’t know about “sexual mutilation” but if you’re referring to SRS success rates, that’s why I put up three separate references. If you know of any studies documenting significantly high regret rates please link to them.

    I hope you would also recognize as a research scientist that if you approach the topic from a viewpoint of “sexual mutilation” you are predisposed to a negative bias that may affect your work.

  19. My God. How can you tell if a preschooler is transgendered? How do you decide which traits are masculine or feminine?

    This whole thing horrifies me. What do you do Warren? Try to make the sissy more more macho? Just what we need.

    Ed faced the horror that was gym class because he was gay and society favors the bully.

    They tried this stuff in the 60’s — punishing “effeminate” boys for picking “girl” toys. Why is our culture to terrified of gay boys? Not enough recruits for the military?

  20. As a research scientist I can tell you that relying on one opinion by Dr. Toby Meltzer and ignoring other opinions that say the opposite will not prove the point that sexual mutilation is good.

  21. “SR surgery is expensive, invasive, and rarely provides the kind of relief soughy.”

    Research on follow ups from the 60s shows a success rate of 80-90%:


    Follow study of Dr. Toby Meltzer’s patients found little to no regret:


    “Most respondents reported high overall happiness with their SRS result, and substantial improvement in their quality of life with SRS. None reported outright regret, and only 15 (6%) expressed even occasional regret. The factors most significantly associated with satisfaction or regret following SRS were a composite measure of the functional results of surgery, and number of postoperative complications.”

    Other studies have found regret rates of around 1%

  22. Helping find out what is happening inside a young person that seems at odds with biological sex can be immensely helpful. Given that many such children unhelped desire sexual reassignment, this seems to be a wise course. SR surgery is expensive, invasive, and rarely provides the kind of relief soughy. It seems merciful to me to attempt the least invasive intervention.

  23. Come on Warren. You know that culture largely determines what boys do and what girls do. In some cultures, the men wear the make-up and jewelry. Are you redirecting them to their biological sex or merely reinforcing cultural sterotypes?

  24. I’m just hoping that they don’t ‘abandon’ these kids halfway through grammar school. This kind of commitment, if embraced, needs to extend throughout all of the public school years. Otherwise, the perceived gender differences will likely be more pronounced at the time when peer pressure is at its peak. I’m sorry…I keep thinking of the “horror” otherwise known as gym class. The tolerance for gender ‘fluidity’ runs at a near zero level in junior high and high school. I hope they have thought to the future and plan to help these kids avoid that trauma when the time comes.

  25. The reporter was pretty fair in her fact-gathering although I am not sure why she went to the TVC. At any rate, I was glad that she selected a couple of clear statements from the interview with me.

  26. I’m surprised, Warren, the SFC would allow your statement!
    I feel sorry for all the normal kids that are being used as guinea pigs in an unproven school atmosphere that is being created by a few agenda driven adults. Where is the study that proves that this type of school atmosphere is beneficial? I wonder if the parents of the normal children care about their children being used to promote a political agenda?
    Those one or two transgender children have a serious mental disorder, as defined by the wisdom of the majority of professional psychiatrist and deserve better.

  27. Yeah. Otherwise we would end up with male chefs and female plice officers. Add electric shock if the kid picks up the wrong toy.

  28. I say FORCE boys to play with boy toys and girls to play with girl toys. Guns for the boys and easy-bake ovens for the girls.

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