What I Would Tell a Teenager Thinking of Transitioning Who Asked for My Advice About What He/She Should Do
What more transitioning teens need to hear
We live in a world where it seems like everyone is encouraging any teenager thinking about transitioning to go through with it. If you are in that position, social media influencers will be telling you to go for it, psychologists in many states start with the presumption that you deserve “gender-affirming care,” your parents are being told that you’ll kill yourself if they tell you not to do it, communities of people online are cheering you on, and your friends at school are going out of their way to encourage you because they’re afraid of being accused of “transphobia” if they suggest that you should put on the brakes.
However, this is a big decision. It could be the single biggest decision of your life and in my view, almost everybody deciding to transition is making a mistake. You may think that’s ridiculous and completely contrary to everything you’re hearing, but that’s exactly why you should listen to it. It’s why you should read a book like Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shirer. It’s why you should read stories from people that have de-transitioned to see if anything resonates. It’s why you should read articles like this one with an open mind to see if anything hits home. When I started getting into cryptocurrency, one of the first things I did was listen to Peter Schiff talk about it. That’s because if I was going to put money on the line in something a lot of people consider to be a risky, controversial investment, I wanted to hear what a smart person who believed it was a terrible idea thought about the whole subject. Unless you understand both sides of the argument, you don’t understand the argument. That’s true when it comes to cryptocurrency and it’s 10 times more important when it comes to transitioning because it’s a much more radical change.
If you have your breasts or penis cut off, that is permanent. Have your hormones blocked during puberty? Your body will NEVER be the same after that. It’s also worth noting that no one really knows what will happen to people who have massive amounts of hormones more typical of the other sex pumped into their bodies long-term. We can make guesses, but even the experts aren’t sure. You get to be one of the test cases for that whole process if you go through with it. That is an extremely risky proposition. Especially since as many as 80% of the teenagers that believe they’re transsexual simply grow out of it and go back to identifying with their original gender. In other words, the odds that you’re right about transitioning are heavily against you right from the get-go.
What do you get in return for all that uncertainty, risk, and potential lifelong damage? It may just end up being a deepening of all the problems that made you wonder if you should transition in the first place. More depression. More anxiety. More alienation.
At first, it may seem great. Maybe you’re feeling anxious, depressed, and ignored. Suddenly, you may go from nearly anonymous to having kids at school and even strangers encouraging you. Next thing you know, you have a new community of “friends” online in the same boat. It can be a boost… in the short term. Over the long-term, I suspect that in most cases it will make the people who transition even more anxious, depressed, and alienated than before.
After all, how could it not? You are undergoing multiple expensive surgeries that dramatically alter your body long-term. You are pumping yourself full of hormones that may do God knows what to you 20 years from now even if they feel okay in the short-term, which, by the way, is iffy. You will run into people who knew you before you transitioned and who will never be able to understand what you’ve done. Relationships with friends and even family who knew you from before may start to crumble. It’s going to feel strange and if you felt anxious, alone, and depressed before, guess what? Once the adrenalin surge from radically changing your life starts to wear off, all of those same issues are highly likely to come back, except you’ll be in an even worse position to deal with them than before.
Just consider dating.
When I was young, I used to feel sorry for people that were gay. In many respects, it was a very different world back then. There was a lot of stigma associated with being gay, particularly in the rural south. A lot of people didn’t want to talk to or hang around with someone who was gay. Many parents were horrified to find out their child was gay and if you think “coming out” to your parents today is an issue, it was 10 times worse back then. However, the worst thing must have been the dating scene. There were some people all of us basically knew were gay, but no one was publicly out of the closet. Dating apps didn’t exist back then and to the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t a gay bar or gay club anywhere near where we lived. Everybody wants to be loved, but can you imagine how hard it must have been for them to find someone else?
Today, it’s a different world, but it’s probably even worse in a lot of respects for transsexuals. Even a lot of good-looking straight people can find it tough to find someone. Now, imagine being someone with a penis who looks like a girl or a girl with a micro-penis made out of her clitoris. Then combine that with the fact that most people, either straight or gay, aren’t interested in dating someone who’s trans – and that’s even if they’re hot. There are certainly people who, after their transition, look like attractive members of the opposite sex. However, it is worth noting that it is probably not going to be you. You are probably going to look a little odd and a little off because you will be. Instead of being designed by nature, you’ll be designed with a surgeon’s scalpel and loads of hormones not meant to be running through your body.
I’m sure there are exceptions because there are exceptions for everything, but most transsexuals have a lonely existence. The incredibly high suicide rate for people that transition confirms that:
The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers.
Will most transsexuals, even ones that are deeply unhappy, tell you that? No way. First of all, can they even admit it to themselves? You’ve heard about those Doomsday cults, right? You know, the ones that predict the end of the world on a certain date. Do you know what studies have shown happens when that date passes and the world doesn’t end? A few of them quit, but most of them hang right in there. Know why? It’s because they made a radical choice that many people disagreed with at great personal cost and they based their whole self-image around it. All their remaining friends? They bought into it, too. Even though they were proven wrong, to admit it would have been extremely painful and it would have cost them all their new friends in the cult. Does that sound like anyone you know?
At the end of the day, everyone does what they want to do. So, you may or may not take the advice I’m giving you. But at least do this much. Read and listen to some other sources that are skeptical of transitioning. Talk to a therapist about whether or not you should transition and if that therapist doesn’t seem to genuinely start with the presumption that the correct answer to that question could very well be “no,” then they’re not someone you can trust. Last but not least, search your own soul by asking and seriously answering some key questions. For example, is this something you’ve been talking about since you were a small child without being pushed or prompted (this is almost always going to be the case with real gender dysphoria cases), or is it something that you started feeling after being exposed to people pushing the idea? Is what you’re imagining life is going to be like afterward realistic? Are you expecting transitioning to fix other problems in your life that may not be related at all like anxiety and depression and if so, is that realistic? Given the level of uncertainty there is about this whole process, wouldn’t it make more sense to at least wait until you were say 21 before making a decision this big? How are you going to feel down the road if it turns out you made a mistake? Will you be able to deal with it and if not, since that’s entirely possible, should you be doing it?
Just as there are some people who could be happy after setting themselves on fire or chopping off their own legs with an ax, there are people that are going to be happy after transitioning. You could even be one of them, but the odds are heavily against it. Chances are, you will be much, much happier if you don’t transition. Just looking at the suicide rate tells us that. I genuinely hope you make the right call, but it’s your life and what you do with it is up to you.
Yes. As I read this it occurred to me: On a much more trivial subject: Whenever I am thinking of buying something that costs non-trivial amounts of money, I make a deliberate practice of putting it off for a little while, a few days or weeks depending on how much it costs. If after that time I still want it, I go ahead and buy it. But very often, I find that after a few days I don't care any more. Something that seemed like a great idea on the spur of the moment seems unimportant if I just let it sit for a while. I've saved a lot of money this way.
This reasoning surely applies 100 times over if you're thinking of radical, life-altering, very difficult to reverse decisions. Before you get such drastic surgery, at the very least think about it for a while. Maybe a few months from now it won't seem like such a great idea after all.
what a very poignant article.