11 votes

Teenage transgender row splits Sweden as dysphoria diagnoses soar by 1,500% – new health report and TV debates highlight backlash against gender reassignment

13 comments

  1. [8]
    tindall
    Link
    More questionable reporting from The Guardian, unfortunately. I'm really annoyed that they are so bad about reporting on trans issues, given that they're so good about most other things. All in...

    More questionable reporting from The Guardian, unfortunately. I'm really annoyed that they are so bad about reporting on trans issues, given that they're so good about most other things.

    All in all this story isn't terrible, but Orange's opinion remains clear. He begins by telling us that this is a great time for trans rights, then dives into all the reasons that allowing children to transition is bad, actually, provides just a few sentences on the responses to his concerns (which are well-discussed in a lot of trans literature and in online resources), and ends with one of two examples he could find who regrets her surgery - but she's not even a detransitioner!

    The truth is that most people who detransition do so because of social pressure. It's obviously bad that some people regret all or part of their transition, but there are very, very few compared to the people who transition and are much happier; see, for instance, the recent study on several thousand trans teens who showed significantly lower rates of mental health issues and suicide after receiving hormone therapy. It seems to me that the way to solve that problem is to make it less incumbent on trans people - and especially trans women - to get surgery before being accepted as women by society, not to make more people suffer through the wrong puberty before being allowed to correct the damage.

    18 votes
    1. [7]
      moonbathers
      Link Parent
      To add onto this, being trans sucks. No one wants to be trans, we identify that way and transition because it's the least awful way forward. Not that that's probably new information to anyone...

      To add onto this, being trans sucks. No one wants to be trans, we identify that way and transition because it's the least awful way forward. Not that that's probably new information to anyone reading this.

      10 votes
      1. [5]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        Ehh I get where you're coming from, but speak for yourself! At the risk of veering off-topic, if I had a pill that would transform me into a cis girl, I wouldn't take it, even with how much agony...

        Ehh I get where you're coming from, but speak for yourself! At the risk of veering off-topic, if I had a pill that would transform me into a cis girl, I wouldn't take it, even with how much agony I've felt over gender throughout my life. @Cleb recently said something which I really like: "i think it's smart to try and divorce the concept of being cis from 'being happy in my own skin'". There's a lot of angles to think about that from, but for me I just like to keep in mind that it's entirely possible to be trans and very comfortable with yourself and your life. For me, transition isn't "the least awful way forward," it's a genuinely fulfilling thing which brings me to an end which I think is pretty fuckin cool.

        That said, there's a lot of external pressures which do make being trans hard. I'm not sure about basing an argument on that, but that part of your point still holds up. I just wanted to throw in that it's a bit more complicated than all of us desperately wishing we weren't trans.

        11 votes
        1. [3]
          moonbathers
          Link Parent
          I've heard other trans people say that too and it feels completely foreign to me. I fucking hate being trans and if I could magically become cis I would do it without a second thought. I don't...

          I've heard other trans people say that too and it feels completely foreign to me. I fucking hate being trans and if I could magically become cis I would do it without a second thought. I don't care what sort of perspective it's given me, I would have been supportive of LGBT people anyway. I haven't been comfortable in my skin in over a decade and there's no sign of that changing anytime soon. Being trans is torture for me.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            Whom
            Link Parent
            I'm sorry that that's your experience, I didn't mean to put you down for how it is for you. Hellish experiences are certainly a common part of transness, unfortunately, and in most of our...

            I'm sorry that that's your experience, I didn't mean to put you down for how it is for you. Hellish experiences are certainly a common part of transness, unfortunately, and in most of our histories somewhere.

            I just wanted to say that we're not all the same in that regard.

            7 votes
            1. moonbathers
              Link Parent
              Absolutely. I didn't take your reply that way at all.

              Absolutely. I didn't take your reply that way at all.

              7 votes
        2. Death
          Link Parent
          Now might be a good time to reiterate that one of the major shifts in clinical treatment for transgender people was the shift away from identity towards distress when diagnosing a person with...

          That said, there's a lot of external pressures which do make being trans hard. I'm not sure about basing an argument on that, but that part of your point still holds up. I just wanted to throw in that it's a bit more complicated than all of us desperately wishing we weren't trans.

          Now might be a good time to reiterate that one of the major shifts in clinical treatment for transgender people was the shift away from identity towards distress when diagnosing a person with Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder). It's not restricted to gender-related questions either, and represents a broader shift towards understanding certain kinds of distress in patients more as a result of external pressure than inherent internal processes.

          That's not to say the feeling of not wanting to be trans is fake or pathological, it is real as evidenced by people's experiences of it. But like you say, Whom, there's a real question to be asked how much of it is due to internal as opposed to external factors. How many people would continue to experience this if the surrounding pressure and internalized fears could be relieved?

          4 votes
      2. HoolaBoola
        Link Parent
        Yeah, 100% this. I sometimes see people like @Whom who feel the other way, but that has always been a totally foreign thought to me. I'm glad some people feel being trans is good, but I would...

        Yeah, 100% this. I sometimes see people like @Whom who feel the other way, but that has always been a totally foreign thought to me. I'm glad some people feel being trans is good, but I would choose to be cis If I could - regardless if that meant my body changed to a girl's one or I became comfortable in my male body. Though I do hope that I someday get to the point where I'm actually comfortable in my own skin.

        5 votes
  2. [3]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Does the fact that in situations like this %s keep being used (instead of raw #s) bother anyone else like it does me? When you are dealing with very large numbers on well tracked, long-term...

    Does the fact that in situations like this %s keep being used (instead of raw #s) bother anyone else like it does me?

    When you are dealing with very large numbers on well tracked, long-term historically stable statistics, %s make sense to use since even minor changes in them can be cause for concern. However when dealing with small numbers, and already highly unstable or poorly tracked statistics, using %s appears to me to be an attempt to make the problem seem far more severe and widespread than it actually is. And in this case, I very much suspect the latter is what is going on here, and I am rather disappointed in the Guardian for not listing some hard numbers anywhere, either.

    And when it comes to this particular issue, IMO that is compounded by the fact that coming out is now not as taboo as it once was. So this is likely not a trend really worth worrying about, but just reflecting that more and more kids are finally feeling comfortable coming out, and more parents are being supportive of their children who do.

    edit: I tried looking for the report itself, so I could verify if my hunch here is correct, but couldn't find it since I don't speak Swedish. I am going to ask my buddy from there if he can track it down for me though.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      mycketforvirrad
      Link Parent
      The report happened to be linked to in my previous post about gender dysphoria here on Tildes. That post was a link to this article in The Local. Unfortunately they only link to a cover page (that...

      The report happened to be linked to in my previous post about gender dysphoria here on Tildes. That post was a link to this article in The Local. Unfortunately they only link to a cover page (that is in Swedish) and the PDF report can only be viewed after purchasing.

      3 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        There is a still a small graph (on page 7) in the free version of the report that is rather telling, I suspect... If my interpretation of it is correct (again don't speak Swedish so please correct...

        There is a still a small graph (on page 7) in the free version of the report that is rather telling, I suspect... If my interpretation of it is correct (again don't speak Swedish so please correct me if I'm wrong), the "diagnoses soar[ing] by 1,500%" appears to be:

        Ages 13-17 = <25/100k people being diagnosed in 2013 rising to ~160 in 2018.
        Ages 18-24 = ~50/100k people being diagnosed in 2013 rising to <300 in 2018.
        Ages 25-29 = ~50/100k people being diagnosed in 2013 rising to ~160 in 2018.

        So the numbers appear to be rather small indeed... and this whole issue is likely being incredibly overblown, and spun by using %s instead of raw numbers in order to create controversy, IMO.

        11 votes
  3. [2]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    (edited )
    Link
    So, this article led me on a long "related info" reading binge. As a result, I come to you now — a straight old white CIS guy — as an expert on gender dysphoria. So, you know ... grain of salt....

    So, this article led me on a long "related info" reading binge. As a result, I come to you now — a straight old white CIS guy — as an expert on gender dysphoria.

    So, you know ... grain of salt.

    Something that is not mentioned in the article, nor (yet) in this discussion, is the concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), which is something a subset of the scientific community is angling to identify as a legitimate disorder which is separate/different from actual Gender Dysphoria. Now, whether or not you accept the premise of ROGD, this is clearly at the core of this article, and should have at least gotten mentioned.

    My in-a-nutshell takeaway is that ROGD is a kind of transgender hypochondria adopted by otherwise-troubled-but-not-actually-trans teens (mostly girls) as a maladaptive coping response. Now, to what extent ROGD may actually exist, and if it does, how do you diagnose w/o trampling on actually-trans-teens, w/o reintroducing a host of transphobic beliefs/behaviors we've only just started getting past .... yeah, Gordion Knot.

    But regardless, this is what the article is (or should be) talking about.

    So, here's a post from a(n apparently) prominent researcher, about ROGD ... and then here's his follow-up post, addressing the backlash to his first post ... and finally, here's his follow-up to the follow-up, addressing the backlash to the first follow-up.


    ETA: Still reading. Here's one more link, for another perspective, documenting how not just the Littman study, but the entire attempt to establish RODG as a "thing" is probably a transphobic con-job. The more I read, the more it reminds me of Creationists inventing ID, then trying to get it taught as science.

    8 votes
    1. deing
      Link Parent
      Brief reply because I'm busy right now (and thus haven't read your linked articles yet), but the methodology of the original "rapid onset gender dysphoria" study is deeply flawed. It was an online...

      Brief reply because I'm busy right now (and thus haven't read your linked articles yet), but the methodology of the original "rapid onset gender dysphoria" study is deeply flawed. It was an online survey among parents — not the actual teens involved or their physicians or psychiatrists, conducted on three websites with rather telling names like 4thwavenow, transgender trend, and youthtranscriticalprofessionals [link to study]. Because of this, the journal asked the author republish her findings, with an extended discussion on possible biases, which the original didn't include. There are some more insightful comments on this ~lgbt post talking about another study evaluating the original study in a similar vein, especially @mftrhu's.

      15 votes