Gender issues debated on Dr. Phil Show today

Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family and Joe Nicolosi square off with Dan Siegel and Michele Angello over how to raise gender variant kids today on the Dr. Phil Show. Check local listings for times in your area.
The problem with episodes like this is how polarized it is likely to be with these guests. One side will say gender variance is all environment (well, I hope Glenn doesn’t say that) and the other side will say gender variance is all inborn in every case.
UPDATE: Did anyone else view the show? It was not terribly helpful for the purpose stated which was to help parents who had gender variant children. I will have more to say about it later but the social conservatives offered the close mother-detached father theory of gender variance to open scorn – deserved scorn I might add. The segment was awkwardly edited so that comments were probably not really related to each other as the show was taped.
Thinking about the episode, I have decided not to say much more about it until I can find some video clips. If you didn’t see it, then my descriptions won’t help much. The extreme positions presented left me very frustrated, knowing that most cases of GID do not end up in gender reassignment but also knowing that parenting dynamics in GID situations are not that much unlike families that have no GID kids. Indeed, the woman on the Dr. Phil episode had two other children without gender identity issues. I reported here several months on a mother of twin boys, one with GID and one without any such issues.
Both sides did not address the data points which falsify their perspective. Phil McGraw asked Dr. Siegel why 85% of GID kids do not go on to request gender reassignment. Siegel answered by saying that was a good question and the science isn’t clear but never gave a plausible answer as to why puberty changed these kids in so many cases. On the other hand, Nicolosi is so committed to his theory that he glosses over the problems with parenting theory. As noted above, GID children are often found in families with siblings who are quite gender conforming. Parents report that they do the same things with the GID children as they do with their other children with vastly different results. Most parents with more than one child can relate to this. Kids respond differently to the same environment thus helping to shape different parent and child relationships. Parents cannot be faulted when a GID male hates his gender typical Christmas presents or out of the blue at age 4 says, I want to be a mom and have babies when I grow up. Even if the reparative proponent says we are not blaming the parents just pointing out the causes, the “explanation” fails to account for the fact that the other children in the family did not respond to the parents with gender confusion. Also, as in the case of Dr. Phil’s parent, the mother was not especially close to the son. The reparative proponent is left with a need to assert untestable hidden dynamics which must be true because no exceptions to the theory are allowed. This kind of response from Nicolosi was in clear view on this episode of Dr. Phil. If all you have is a hammer, everything must be a nail.
So both sides of the theoretical debate can be faulted for confirmation bias. Holding tightly to a theory of causation in the face of incomplete science can create a situation where the client in front of you becomes secondary to the felt need to verify the theory.
I soon will be meeting with a group of parents some of who (perhaps all, I am not clear on this as yet) have felt great hurt from the application of reparative drive theory to their children. It must be quite surreal to go to someone who everyone says is an expert only to have that person be so wrong in their guesses about your lives. I am quite sure that those who hold tightly to a theory underestimate the intense anger and frustration this creates in parents. At one point in the Dr. Phil show, Nicolosi criticized the GID mom for getting “emotional.” As Dr. Siegel pointed out, the woman had reason to be emotional. She was on national television talking about the greatest hurt of her life with people who were essentially blaming her for the trauma. I believe I would be upset as well.

55 thoughts on “Gender issues debated on Dr. Phil Show today”

  1. Pathia–
    Don’t worry about the anonymity…only a handful of bloggers on this site use their real or full names.
    I wanted to let you know something that might not come through in my posts. I have a tremendous respect for you. Yours has been a very tough road that most of us cannot even fathom. The fact that you’ve come through it with the strength of character that you portray amazes me! We’re likely to disagree on a number of issues but I’m one of those people that tend to respect people who disagree with me more than those who do. Total agreement is BORING! Telling me things I already know is BORING! You never bore me….you challenge me and my notions…in short, you rock!!!

  2. Response to the clip–
    Shows like this actually do more of a disservice to the general public, I think, rather than a service–edited clips, participants who realize they will only get so much time to make their points, a host who may or may not ask the right questions or allow enough time for discussion.
    My heart was with the child, and I found myself disliking the mother as much as I distrusted Nicolosi.
    She “wasn’t close to her son.” Any mother would ask, “Why the hell not, lady?”
    Maybe some of her child’s behavior was related to her not being close to him and maybe not, but I found her defensive and sarcastic and sense that she was concerned about herself, not about her son who was now her daughter. I have a feeling she was concerned more about herself from the get-go.

  3. Pathia–
    First of all, my apologies for forgetting that you are intersexed. I did know that and forgot in our conversation re transsexuality. My bad!!!
    The conventional definition of ‘bisexuality’ is ‘sexual attraction to both genders’. Is that how you’re using it? I’ve heard people use the term incorrectly applying it to people who are intersexed…figuring ‘bi’ means ‘both’. But I presume you’re talking about sexual attraction to both genders.
    I appreciate your insights re transsexuals who don’t fit the typical definition of ‘gay’. Born with a man’s body, identified as a transsexual, becomes a woman–but is sexually attracted to women. By birth gender, they wouldn’t be gay but by their re-assigned gender they are. And the opposite. Again with my limitations–I really have been a bit of a hermit–but I knew of two or three such people back in the 1970’s, early 1980’s. I thought of it as a fluke. Do you have any idea as to percentages? How many (of either gender) become either a man attracted to men or a woman attracted to women? Are there any studies that we know of?
    I’m guessing statistics and studies are scarce to non-existent but thought you might know.

    1. Transsexuals tend to be so stigmatized even in the more open parts of the world, that there’s almost no studies. Plus we have a tendency to vanish. You will notice I use a made up fictional name here. I do not want people to know who I am, or what I am, unless I am very good friends with them. I do not disclose my status to anyone, unless it is anonymous.
      Thus, we’re pretty darn hard to track down. The latest ‘crop’ of transsexuals, those a little older than me and down on through younger seem to be incredibly more variable in appearance as well as sexual attraction. I don’t know if this is just my own observations and my own personal hangout space that’s biasing this, but it’s best described as everyone is getting a little more queer. Gender walls are being less rigid. Many more people are partially transitioning, or literally living a bigendered life. IE: I know someone who works as a fairly effeminate man, but on the weekends he’s a she, yet he/she’s not a drag performer or anything like that. It’s just a life style.
      I’m sure a study COULD be done, but it would cost so much and there’s simply not enough of us to bother with the funding. Even the most generous estimates give us about 1/10,000 of the population. And when you do do a study, you have the problem of doing what Bailey did. He observed transsexuals, but only one particular kind in one particular part of the country. There’s no way of telling if the community is that uniform etc.

  4. I agree with you Pathia – just remember that the B&B claims that bisexuality doesn’t exist haven’t been proven, it is simply their opinion. Bisexuals are all around us!!!

  5. Have you seen the Atlantic article on transgender children – it raised some unsettling questions on the malleability of gender.

    Green expected most of the boys in the study to end up as transsexuals, but nothing like that happened. Three-fourths of the 44 boys turned out to be gay or bisexual (Green says a few more have since contacted him and told him they too were gay). Only one became a transsexual. “We can’t tell a pre-gay from a pre-transsexual at 8,” says Green, who recently retired from running the adult gender-identity clinic in England. “Are you helping or hurting a kid by allowing them to live as the other gender? If everyone is caught up in facilitating the thing, then there may be a hell of a lot of pressure to remain that way, regardless of how strongly the kid still feels gender-dysphoric. Who knows? That’s a study that hasn’t found its investigator yet.”

    1. If everyone is caught up in facilitating the thing, then there may be a hell of a lot of pressure to remain that way, regardless of how strongly the kid still feels gender-dysphoric.

      Funny how that worked out for many transsexuals. There was a ‘hell of alot of pressure’ for me to remain male. But guess what? We still did. Nothing anyone would say would ever change our feelings. We had that screamed at us for years, but we never changed.
      I would suspect it goes the other way too. A kid who figures out he or she is gay or lesbian, is not somehow going to decide that ‘oh well I might as well go with the flow’ and have drastic irreversible surgery, change everything about one’s self and life ambitions, just because some people encourage it.
      Kids, particularly teenagers, are going to do what they want to do, regardless of parental influence. Are parents powerless? Of course not, but I think it’s overstated. I don’t think there’s anything my parents could have done to stop me from doing what I did.

  6. carole-
    Both DSM and ICD I think put non-intersexed transsexualism and GID in the same basket. They’re considered disorders by most specialists. That should explain why they published the paper in an issue of Bio Psychiatry dedicated to ADHD and autism. ‘Disease-related’ is the technical term when geneticists study this type of conditions.

    is a child with gender dysphoria to the point that he or she becomes tran, someone likely to be at one end of a spectrum and can non-gender dysphoric kids who grow up having SSA fall on the other end of the spectrum?

    Most of them don’t grow up to become trans, AFAIK, and some non-GIDs become adults who claim they are women trapped in men’s bodies (the autogynephiliacs, as Blanchard named them). From the outcomes point of view, the continuum might be related with something other than SSAs.
    Some believe that gender and sexual identity are separate, others that they are partially superimposed. GID children who grow up to be transsexual, GID children who grow up to be effeminate homosexual adults, sex-atypical boys who grow up to be gay, typical boys who grow up to be gay and typical boys who grow up to be (autogynephilic) transsexuals might evolve on two continua. Research separated their adult outcomes in studies on arousal (like this one).

    1. I really take issue with Blanchard and Bailey’s work. Bisexuality doesn’t exist in their view and anyone who claims to be so is lying or in denial. This is incredibly counter to anything I’ve ever experienced. Bailey in particular says bisexuals don’t exist, period, which is absurd, because…uh…I’m right here! 😀 Bailey also completely ignores female to male transsexuals and says they’re all lesbians in attraction if he ever speaks of them at all, when I know plenty of female to male’s who exclusively date other men.

        1. I’ve already got one master’s degree in a completely unrelated field to psych, I have no interest in switching and piling up another 100k of school debt like the first two degrees 🙂
          Plenty of other people who are already have psycho-degrees think Bailey’s full of it. His main work on Autogynephilia is in a pulp science book, with no real science. His ‘science’ was observing transsexual hookers in a few gay bars where he lived. No control group, no blinding, no nothing. Just casual observation of a very specific community of individuals.
          Why not go to a inner city gay bar and observe the circuit scene, and then declare all gays have this lifestyle? It would make just as much sense.

  7. It just hit me when I re-read the passage:

    Specifically, we assessed the role of disease-associated repeat length…

    Do the mean the length is the possible result of disease or do they mean it is the possible cause of disease (the condition)?
    Guess I should read the whole study.

  8. Evan and Drowssap,
    While the same paragraph in the excerpt points to a

    likely genetic component to transsexualism, and genes involved in sex steroidogenesis are good candidates.

    they also add that

    Specifically, we assessed the role of disease-associated repeat length polymorphisms in the androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor ? (ER?), and aromatase (CYP19) genes.

    So, are we reading here of both genes and a “repeat length polymorphisms in the androgen receptor” as a result of disease (infection, trauma?) or am I reading this incorrectly?
    Another question: is a child with gender dysphoria to the point that he or she becomes tran, someone likely to be at one end of a spectrum and can non-gender dysphoric kids who grow up having SSA fall on the other end of the spectrum?
    I know that Pathia pointed out that

    these guys [ therapists] don’t see the issue as separate. Being transsexual is just the most ‘extreme form of homosexuality.’

    I’m not up on any studies, but have you read anything that examines any link between or offers any hypotheses on the two (transsexualism and homosexuality) or is the idea of such a link so non-pc that it’s just not studied or are the studies on sexuality and gender and orientation just so much in their infancy of modern research that no one has yet had money to do such studies?
    Evan I know you mentioned that it’s entirely possible that the centers for attraction in the brain could certainly be separate from the centers for identification of how one perceives one’s self.

    1. I’m not up on any studies, but have you read anything that examines any link between or offers any hypotheses on the two (transsexualism and homosexuality) or is the idea of such a link so non-pc that it’s just not studied or are the studies on sexuality and gender and orientation just so much in their infancy of modern research that no one has yet had money to do such studies?

      I don’t think it’s been actually studied, but there’s a huge problem. GID doesn’t always have SSA with it. IE: I myself am bisexual, I was before, during and after my transition. My transsexuality had little to do with my orientation. I do not dislike men or men’s body’s, I just don’t have a image of myself having one.
      I also know male to females who date only women afterward. I also know female to males that only date men afterward. When you think about trans, it has nothing to do with orientation, orientation is what you are attracted to in ANOTHER individual, while gender identity is your inner sense of your self.

  9. Gene Linked to ‘Dry’ Macular Degeneration
    I think this is a different macular degeneration gene but it’s interesting anyway.

    Although helpful in fending off illness when confronted with certain viral infections, this molecule, when routinely activated, was also found to raise the risk for “dry” macular degeneration by attacking infected retinal cells.

    So much stuff works like this. The gene is in fact fine. If someone with this gene lives in a small town of 500 people he may never have a problem. And if this person runs into a virus his eyes are particularly well protected. However if he lives in New York City and gets bombarded with viruses on a daily basis he might go blind at a relatively early age.

        1. “Heightened sensitivity to social threats may prove to be helpful in many ways, because success in a social group depends on seizing opportunities while avoiding any potential harmful, antagonistic interactions,” Watson said.

          That’s exactly what we would expect to find. Some genes make monkeys more sensitive other genes make them less sensitive. Both are useful, healthy genes that create competing traits.

          What we wouldn’t expect to find would be a common gene that created DISfunction. For example a gene that make monkeys too nervous to thrive in any social situation. That gene couldn’t exist in great numbers. If you found a monkey that couldn’t cope in any normal situation you’d know something happened to it. The “can’t cope with anything” monkeys might be more likely to have a certain gene but that wouldn’t mean much.

  10. Evan
    I remember reading that there was a macular degeneration gene. Something like a quarter of the population has it and nearly every person with macular degeneration also has it. Some syndromes (probably many) require a specific gene to be present. But this doesn’t suggest that the gene has anything to do with the disorder. I doubt if the UCLA researchers would be willing to admit that in their conclusion.

    Leprosy is caused entirely by bacteria but genes play a decisive roll in susceptability to this bacteria.
    Gene fault increases leprosy risk

    I should add that unless this gene is rare it’s doubtful that it’s a bad gene. It probably offers plenty of benefits, especially in climates where Leprosy bacteria isn’t common or perhaps doesn’t exist at all.

  11. Drowssap
    That’s possible too, though this gene was involved, in a mutated form, in some conditions like androgen insensitivity syndrome. It’s the same gene Simon LeVay placed a bet on being involved in male homosexuality, which he lost.
    It’d be adsurd if there was a genetic program for TRSX, but the difference between the groups is real.

  12. John Weaver
    I think you are right about the way the church used to look at mental illness. But I don’t think society was any better. People (myself included) used to think of mental illness as weakness. My parents and extended family definitely thought this way. We didn’t put it together that a lot of homeless people had real problems that they couldn’t help. We called them bums and thought that in some way they had given up, it was their fault. I don’t know if it’s fair to judge today’s churches and therapists by yesterday’s churches and therapists. People know a lot more.

    Strangely enough I had the weird sense that mental illness was a phenomenon of big cities like New York or Chicago. The reason I find that interesting is that today scientists know thats true. Schizophrenia is 2 to 3 times more common in big cities.

  13. Evan
    I think most sex related research is behind the times. UCLA researchers are still spending money in an effort to find correlations between transexualism and a particular gene.

    They did that with Autism for a long time and found all sorts of interesting correlations. But of course none of it amounted to anything. Today that sort of research is considered substandard. I’m not even sure if it’s fundable.
    Autism research refocusing on environment

    “any major article or proposal concerning the causes of autism is coming to be considered incomplete if it doesn’t talk about a potential role of environmental factors.”

    Everything is headed towards environment and how genes interact with the environment.

  14. Evan
    Right on, love the studies!!!
    Here is my rebuttal to the UCLA study.

    There is a likely genetic component to transsexualism

    This of course makes it like every other phenomenon mankind has ever investigated. I don’t have the figure handy but in a previous thread it was mentioned that Leprosy has like an 80% to 90% identical twin concordance rate and it’s caused purely by bacteria.

    A significant association was identified between transsexualism and the AR allele

    There are probably 1,000 good reasons why this might be true and none of them have anything to do with genetics. Perhaps some men have less slack in the system and if something goes wrong they are more likely to become transexual.
    Example: Some kids might process calcium less efficiently than others and if they fall off their bikes they are more likely to break a bone. I’m sure scientists can find interesting corelations between certain alleles and broken bones. But what does that even mean other than another $10,000,000 down the drain? Kids break bones because they fall off bikes.

  15. Pathia brings up a lot of interesting points. I believe it is really hard for evangelicals to deal with the issue of intersexuality. I remember what a revelation it was to me to discover that our convenient sex binaries were just that . . . convenient and not totally correct. My experience in talking to other evangelicals about intersex is that they are not even willing to think about the issue, and immediately push it aside because it threatens their conceptualization of how sexuality is suppossed to operate. I’m sorry for what happened to you, Pathia. I grew up with OCD and the church’s treatment of that disorder is unfortunately all too similar to how intersex and LGBT individuals are treated within the church. Don’t know that there’s anything that can help one get over that pain, though I try to blog about bad Christian counseling practices when I can.

  16. I’m not sure if this subject was covered before but here it is:
    A group of researchers from Australia and the UCLA genetics department reported a significant genetic link with male-to-female transsexualism:

    Androgen Receptor Repeat Length Polymorphism Associated with Male-to-Female Transsexualism

    —Lauren Harea, b, Pascal Bernarda, Francisco J. Sáncheze, Paul N. Bairdc, Eric Vilaine, Trudy Kennedyd and Vincent R. Harleya
    There is a likely genetic component to transsexualism, and genes involved in sex steroidogenesis are good candidates. We explored the specific hypothesis that male-to-female transsexualism is associated with gene variants responsible for undermasculinization and/or feminization. Specifically, we assessed the role of disease-associated repeat length polymorphisms in the androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor ? (ER?), and aromatase (CYP19) genes.
    Subject-control analysis included 112 male-to-female transsexuals and 258 non-transsexual males. Associations and interactions were investigated between CAG repeat length in the AR gene, CA repeat length in the ER? gene, and TTTA repeat length in the CYP19 gene and male-to-female transsexualism.
    A significant association was identified between transsexualism and the AR allele, with transsexuals having longer AR repeat lengths than non-transsexual male control subjects (p = .04). No associations for transsexualism were evident in repeat lengths for CYP19 or ER? genes. Individuals were then classified as short or long for each gene polymorphism on the basis of control median polymorphism lengths in order to further elucidate possible combined effects. No interaction associations between the three genes and transsexualism were identified.
    This study provides evidence that male gender identity might be partly mediated through the androgen receptor.
    Biological Psychiatry
    Volume 65, Issue 1, 1 January 2009, Pages 93-96.

    The entire report was published here.

  17. LOL….but it’s the brush of my personal experience and it’s the only brush I have. I thought that by describing my limitations as I did, I was being very forthright. “Don’t expect a stellar paint job ’cause this is all I’ve got to work with”.
    The alternative–for myself or for anyone else on this site who isn’t a therapist who has dealt with numerous transsexuals–is to remain silent and let yours be the only voice that sheds any light. Just as I may have painted with a broad brush, your light only focusses in one direction. We are both limited by the scope of our experience. (Warren and David, I think, are our only blogging therapists and they’re admittedly still trying to fully understand the condition.)
    What I was trying to say is I don’t know how many there are. And you, not being a therapist, are also limited. You have your experience and that of the people you know…but you know them as a fellow transsexual (there’s a tendency to see ourselves and to project ourselves when we identify).
    I should also mention that those transsexuals are the only ones I talked to at any length. I know others but not in a context where we’ve discussed the origins of their transsexual feelings. (In fact, I appreciated your point about today’s transsexuals being more mainstream. I can see where therapists may have been coaching either stereotypical or exaggerated femininity in days gone by. I was most happy for “J” the first time I saw her in casual jeans and a pullover. To my mind, she was finally really becoming comfortable with her ‘new’ gender…after some 30 years!)
    One point of clarification. In the latest post, you said that you didn’t have therapy but in the earliest one, you seemed to have an insider’s view of Nicolosi’s therapy. I’m guessing this means that your family went but you didn’t. If that’s the case, your impression is a bit ‘second hand’…you have a view of Nicolosi’s treatment based on how your family responded to it. Were you privy to what issues they presented to him and the full sense of what he was saying. (I take issues with what I’ve heard of Nicolosi too…I’m just trying to assess how much of what you know is firsthand and how much is an interpretation.)
    I’m not trying to be rude here. I still vividly remember a time when I was putting out one or two ‘teaching sheets’ per month re homosexuality. I mentioned the theme of “deliverance from demons” once–and allowed for the possibility that it might be the case but that I’d never seen it. Anyway, a guy who I thought was apprehending my basic message cornered me one day with an important question. “Oh, I get it,” he said, “I’ve read all your stuff. What I want to know is “do you think it’s ALWAYS a demon?” I shuddered to think of how this man was twisting my words…of how he was hearing through his own filters. So–even when something is a very close second-hand–I still want to assess the accuracy of their second-hand impression.
    Don’t mean to bail on you. If you have a response that begs mine, I’ll try to get back to you tomorrow after work. It’s time for me to wind down for the night and get ready for another day of sub-zero temperatures.

    1. I wasn’t under Nicolosi’s care, I was under therapists who admired and implemented his care methods along with their own methods.
      I was treated for being too effeminate. I did not ever outright state ‘I want to be a girl” because I didn’t even really have a concept of transsexuality. I grew up in a pentecostal community, I didn’t even know what the word WAS, because we were only allowed 30minutes of TV a day and only to watch christian programming.
      I thought I was gay, and all that treatment was to make me straight. It was ex-gay therapy, not ex-trans therapy. When you’re treating kids, these guys don’t see the issue as separate. Being transsexual is just the most ‘extreme form of homosexuality’. So excuse me if I am confusing by wobbling between the two, it;s because in my experience they were one and the same as a child.
      When I say I had no transsexual therapy, I am referring to therapy *I* wanted. I do not count the ‘therapy’ I had as a child as legitimate. It was mental and physical torture. Maybe that makes it a little more clear?

  18. Drowssap,
    So what if it is thankless. Therapists ought to consider the value of a life over the value of their peer reviews, publishing and getting accolades for their research work on live human beings. Identifying suicidal ideation, purpose, and intent are not hard to discover. How loud exactly does a child who is forced into this have to kick, scream and buck to be heard? Pathia is still shouting and you dismissed him – again? Shame on you.
    And maybe Pathia’s parents do feel badly – why didn’t they recognize his pain? Were they so focused on the concerns of other people or their son? There are some parents out there who will do anything to keep a child from embarrassing them in the community, at work or in their social circles. If they demonstrate a constant and vigilante attention to trying to get thier child to change – then no on can blame them??? Some people just cannot stand the fact that their children are different. It is a huge, costly human error. They may not feel badly at all.

  19. Pathia
    Maybe your parents didn’t do the best job but there isn’t an instruction manuel for raising a child who thinks that he is the opposite sex. Did you ever stop to think about how hard that was on them? I can’t think of a more confusing situation for a mom and dad. You might not be able to get over your childhood but I can assure you they feel 10x worse about those years.

    The other thing you mentioned was how traumatizing Nicolosi’s treatment was. Maybe it sucked, I dunno. But how many times have you heard people say that drug rehab made them suicidal? People with every type of serious mental health problem always complain about how unfair and traumatizing treatment is. Therapists are there to help and so many times they end up taking all of the blame. It’s a thankless position.

    1. I did, which is why I waited until I was old enough to leave and take the choice from their conscious. It was my choice, not theirs. What they did to me ruined me and caused multiple suicide attempts, thankfully I apparently stink at killing myself. Don’t you think it’s odd for a nine year old to try hanging his/herself? That’s the first time I tried. I was perfectly happy and doing well into school until everyone decided I was too queer. The more therapy I got, the more attempts I took at my own life. When did I stop trying to kill myself? When the religious based terrorism on my psyche stopped!
      Nicolosi is treating CHILDREN. Do you do the hard core drug rehab tactics to children? I’m not just saying people ‘felt’ suicidal. I walked in on two suicides of my fellow cohorts. We all lived together, it was a happy jolly pentecostal nightmare. Why should I feel sorry, or hold back anything when a kid names his therapist as ‘people who made me want to die’ list on his suicide note! The kid was thirteen. THIRTEEN. Do you have any idea what it’s like for a eleven year old to walk in on a friend who took his life with his father’s shotgun? To realize even after this, you still have NO CHOICE and must go back to the therapist, who was just named in the note you showed to the police only a few days later?

  20. Pathia–
    I knew that you wouldn’t appreciate my comments. I’m fine with that. I tried to qualify several times with the fact that I was being speculative and anecdotal and I allowed for the fact that I haven’t had that much exposure.
    But your response to me indicates that all of us–you included–are caught in a perplexing situation. While today’s transsexuals may be victims of the Nicolosi’s; yesterday’s transsexuals were the victims of conventional psychologists telling them how to be one. If we can’t discuss our differing opinions, all we have to go on is 1) the self report of transsexuals (who have all experienced some level of therapy) and 2) the therapists (who, although they may have altered their therapies, are still floundering in their attempts to understand.)
    In any event, I submit that whenever you have any classification of peoples, there will likely be some who end up in that classification by mistake. I don’t know how to discuss their dilemma without stepping on your toes. But–just as my far-reaching conclusions didn’t speak to your situation, please don’t assume that your situation speaks to and for all transsexuals.

    1. My issue is, you based all of your assumptions based off of the observation of less than a handful of individuals. You tried to say you didn’t intend to use a broad brush, but then you went ahead and used one anyway. That is what I take issue with.
      Any modern therapist is going to have observed hundreds of more situations than you. Nevermind the fact that many transsexuals get through without even going to therapy. I have never actually gone to therapy for my transsexuality, I go for my other issues. I ‘transitioned’ as it called without even stepping into a doctor’s office. I did it more or less entirely without the medical community’s help. When I ran away from home, I transitioned on the street and I didn’t step foot (To be honest it’s because I couldn’t afford it) into a therapist’s office until I was back in school and legally female.
      Are there people labeled transsexual that aren’t? I would agree with you there, but you seem to be stating it’s a majority of transsexuals, when you admit you’re basing your guesses off of the casual observation of a tiny number of individuals.

  21. Pathia,
    At least from where I stood as I read his post, Eddy was clear that he was only speaking about transsexuals from his limited experience, thus his use of the word “anecdotal.” He was, I believe, careful not to portray himself as an expert of any sort.
    Eddy said,

    It was only a few…and it was very long ago but, what stood out to me, was that their image of both maleness and femaleness were exaggerated caricatures

    This made me think about very young children, limited to some boys in particular, who are quite feminine in their manner and speech. (I hope that for the purpose of this post I don’t have to get into a discussion about what is extremely feminine behavior and what isn’t. I think most know what I mean.)
    The child to whom I am referring here is not necessarily one who dresses up in his mother’s clothes nor one who wishes he were a girl–just a child whom classmates perceive as a real “sissy boy” the way he expresses himself, walks, uses his hands and/or body to communicate, etc.
    It struck me when I was young and now that I am no longer young that such boys were far more feminine in their mannerisms than any of the girls in the class , more feminine-acting than any sisters that they may have had. It’s as if they were imitating old women rather than the girls in their age group.
    On the surface, at least, this would lead us to believe the child was seeking to imitate behaviors of the opposite gender and when we seek to imitate anyone, we often overshoot. Thus, it makes it seems as if the child has decided that he wants to behave as he perceives the opposite gender behaves.
    Thus, one wonders: since girls themselves do not “act” that way, it would seem that the boy’s behavior is not likely to be any more innate than the girls’ behaviors are. Consciously or not, he seems to want to be feminine and thus acts on it and overshoots as we do when we imitate.
    I do not mean this suggests his gender feelings are not innate–only that his behaviors don’t seem as if they are since his feminine behaviors go far beyond the girls.’
    CAn anyone explain?
    Can there be some compulsion at work here? After all, compulsions often manifest themselves in exaggerations of expression.

  22. I personally believe that the notion that “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body” is a delusion that stems from society’s somewhat rigid definition of what it is to be a man or a woman. On one level, as people, both genders have much in common but then we try to define the emotional and psychological distinctions between the genders not fully grasping that many of the clear cut distinctions are often arbitrary.
    Men like sports. Men are agressive. Men are dominant. Men prefer action over talk or reflection.
    Women like domestic things. Women are nurturing. Women are compassionate. Women would rather follow than lead.
    And when we see someone who doesn’t quite fit those distinctions, we question their sexual identity. (I remember the questions about Hillary Clinton’s sexuality…mostly based on the fact that she’s a politically driven leader type.)
    We don’t actually shout these distinctions but we reinforce them daily nonetheless. A child who discovers that they don’t have the qualities or interests belonging to their gender isn’t a void. The qualities and interests that they do possess likely line up more with those we’ve assigned to the other gender.
    We’d be far better off if 1) we stopped trying to place so much blame. 2) we sorted out what it is actually that we’re calling a fault. and 3) we tried to change perspective rather than behavior.
    1 is easy to understand. 2 goes to my belief that when therapists are blaming, they are actually reinforcing the shaming of the child. “Mrs. Jones, you’re smothering your son and that’s why he’s more interested in domestic concerns than about sports.” That statement, while laying blame on Mrs. Jones, is also telling the son that it’s somehow wrong to like domestic things and also somehow wrong not to be interested in contact sports. Based on what???? 3) if we understood the erroneous messages we were sending in number two, we wouldn’t focus on changing behavior but rather we’d focus on helping them to see that there’s nothing wrong with those behaviors and show them some models of men, who while they don’t fit the norms, are nonetheless men. (And, conversely, that the diversity in womankind has some crossovers too.)
    Of course, this doesn’t address issues like dressing up as the opposite gender but, I believe, that once the conflicts presented in 2 and 3 are addressed adequately, the dressing up ‘acting out’ would likely diminish. Not saying it would disappear…but to the extent that it’s an expression of the internal conflict…it would diminish.
    (This is purely anecdotal but the few transsexuals that I ever talked to at length seemed to have a distorted image of their non-birth gender as well. They became very uncomfortable when I would point out instances of women who were comfortable in jeans and flannels…or women who rebelled at the notion of wearing makeup…women who enjoyed getting dirty–as in real dirt. It was only a few…and it was very long ago but, what stood out to me, was that their image of both maleness and femaleness were exaggerated caricatures.)
    All that said….it’s only what I believe. I can’t presume to speak for anyone who feels that gender conflict going on inside them. I’ve known one post operative transsexual who went back to living by their birth gender. I’ve also known two individuals who believed they were ‘women trapped in men’s bodies’ that were turned down for reassignment treatment and surgery because, even the experts questioned their self-assessment. So, perhaps what I’ve said doesn’t apply to all who have that conflict but, it seems it would apply to some.

    1. I don’t mean to sound rude, but you haven’t met any modern transsexuals. Do you know why many of them came across that way? Because the therapists told them hoe to be female (or be male), you had to do those things and act a certain way. This was how therapists told their patients to be from the 50’s to the early 1980’s. This is where you get the stereotypical transsexual, which doesn’t have much basis in reality. Most of is are fairly invisible.
      I wouldn’t say I’m ‘butch’ but I’m in IT at work, I’m aggressive at the job, more so than most of my coworkers (only 3 women in the entire company of 100+), I don’t even OWN a single dress or a pair heels. I wear jeans and collared shirts or t-shirts at most. I don’t own or wear makeup. I’m more stereotypically ‘masculine’ in my behavior now than I ever was as a boy. I’m not exactly how anything I do or wear is ‘conforming’ to stereotypes of men and women.
      There is only one thing I was simply uncomfortable with my physical form. Since before I can remember, when I closed my eyes, something else was between my legs. I have no problems being who I am personality wise, it’s all about the anatomy as far as I am concerned. Once I figured myself out and deprogrammed all the drivel NARTH force fed me, I managed to secure two degrees where before I was failing out of highschool.
      I just fail to see how your overreaching broad statements about an incredibly diverse set of individuals holds up at all against many, if any at all of ‘real world’ examples rather than the parodies the media and jerry springer bring out to ‘show’ the world what it means to be transsexual.

  23. My parents shipped me off to therapists that seemed to worship at Dr Nicolosi’s feet. It was the worst time of my life. It completely destroyed the relationship with my family. All they did was blame my parents for every single aspect of my life. Everything was their fault, and they went so extreme in trying to get me to change my behavior that I suffer from nervous breakdowns when anything reminds me of the therapy sessions.
    I have now been in therapy to RECOVER from this therapy for over a decade.
    Half of the kids I was with in therapy are now dead by their own hands. Did this therapy cause it? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but of all the kids that weren’t in such therapies that I met over the years, they were much less suicidal.

    1. I know a guy who was born with deformed genitals. He was part of a study (yeah that’s ethical???) where they performed gender reassignment of half of the boys and the other half they tried to reconstruct. He was part of the recontruct group. Anyhow, they are all dead except for him.
      Also, he had been morbidly obese and has lost the weight and kept it off for more than three years. When the option for having his excessive skin removed, he declined because he was tired of hospitals, doctors and surgeries.
      I truly respect and admire the man.

      1. I am intersexed myself, genetically. (This has come up in other posts).
        The church and the pastor knew and were the main people that encouraged us to do the therapy, because they viewed my ‘deformed’ birth as a sign of satan’s work. They wanted to work extra hard to make sure I didn’t know about it and put me in therapy the moment they saw a sign of me being non-straight acting. ‘God Made Them Male and Female’ and I was a direct violation of this, so they did everything they could to purge the part of me that was not god ordained.
        I didn’t really know any of this until I was old enough to seize my medical records.

        1. Well, as one person says about the bible that the truth is there but not the whole truth and we limit ourselves. I get so angry with the way christ has been corrupted and twisted and turned.

          1. That was the oddest thing, I really don’t remember them talking about Jesus all that much. Despite being ‘christian’ the heavy focus was on Old Testament stuff. It didn’t really ever strike me until I moved out and met much more typical (read: nice normal) Christians as opposed to what I was surrounded by in youth.

  24. funny people
    I am an exceptional therapist trapped in an average therapists body…
    My ego masquerades as intuition.

  25. Drowssap said,

    It could be the gender dysphoria is inborn but so is Autism and Schizophrenia.

    It’s been very difficult for researchers to conclude absolutes about either of these. So, they have labeled both of them spectrums and have been careful in their research to limit their conclusions to “some” cases of schiz are triggered by this or that and “some” cases of autism may be triggered by “this or that.”
    In other words, while the private physician and the parents term a child “autistic” that only describes a group of behaviors and there is a very wide range of behavior exhibited from child to child so are all these cases we term “autism” really resulting from he same thing?
    Anyway, some of what I have read about autism is similar to what Warren posted about PANDAS–a rather abrupt change in behavior while other stories seem to describe a gradual shift to withdrawal and uncommunicative behavior.
    So, if children do not exhibit these unusual behaviors until a certain age, is this something that was set in motion in the womb and has interrupted normal brain development or is it something the child encountered after birth?
    I wonder with gender dysphoric children if their infancies and infant medical histories have been studied much or at all. Anyone know? My guess is “no” since the parents would not be aware of the dysphoria until a certain age.
    Nevertheless, studies could at least be conducted of their specific medical histories if parents were vigilant about regular visits to the doctor.

  26. It could be the gender dysphoria is inborn but so is Autism and Schizophrenia. That doesn’t mean much. These parents need help.

    1. Kids will only accept so much help before it kills them it seems. My solution was to remove myself from my family as soon as I could manage to run away. I haven’t seen them in years. I don’t know if I could ever face them again for what they made me go through to ‘fix’ me.

      1. Pathia,
        Thankfully you survived to speak out. I think when people are accepted (regardless of their uniqeness (sp??) ) then suicidal tendencies decline. Even a therapist who does not accept their client for any number of reasons can cause high anxiety and self loathing in that client. We have so much to learn.

        1. That’s my main concern with this sort of therapy. It’s not that they’re trying to cure someone. If someone WANTS curing, by all means, I believe in choice in that matter.
          However, when you FORCE a child to go into this therapy. Often it’s when they’re so young they don’t even really understand sexuality yet, it had nothing to do with it, it was just how I was.. All I knew and understood that I was ‘wrong’ and I didn’t act ‘right’ and that everything from the way I played, to talk to what I liked to read, all of it was wrong. I didn’t understand how such things could be ‘wrong’. It drove me completely crazy.

          1. Yeah, it’s the forcing of an individual that irks me. I did notice the woman was very defensive. And angry. Overall, it did not appear as though she had/has good or adequate stress management skills. And the man in her life may have been very transient and we do not have a full picture of him. Strange how she says he focused on the “lost” child and then split afterwards. I’d want to know about any sexual abuse (irregardless of all other things.) She told Nicolosi/Stanton that they were wrong – completely wrong. And yet, in black and white we have a child without a stable consistent father figure (not saying that it is the problem but she denied what they suspected) and she backed it up with her own telling of her story.
            Still, we do not know how and what contributes socially or naturally to gender variance. Right now, I’m kind of up to here (waving my hand above my head) with all of this girls are to be girls and boys are to be boys stuff.

  27. @David Blakeslee:
    I am a Hall of Fame NBA forward trapped inside Warren Throckmorton’s body.
    It is really depressing in here.

  28. I wish we could count on Phil as a moderator…but he is not very bright or courageous. Quite the opposite, he seems trapped in PC land.
    I hope errors will be pointed out on both sides…that the human psyche is not endlessly maleable (socializing to gender or against gender has had negative outcomes).
    Surgery outcomes?
    Can anyone comment on the oft made assertion: “I am a man trapped in a woman’s body?” Identity? Self-Concept? Delusion?

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