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My 'I Would Have Been Trans' Story
I have a lot of opinions about transgender issues and I’m often asked ‘why?’
For the past year I’ve been working tirelessly to expose the pseudoscience of transgender ideology that has corrupted our medical institutions. I’ve been called a “radical anti-LGBTQ far-right journalist” by leftwing media outlets, despite the fact that not long ago, I was a “social justice warrior” and have voted Democrat in every election thus far. I am frequently—daily—accused of being a transphobic bigot and I’m often asked, “Why do you care so much about trans issues?”
I care because at the root of “trans issues” are deeply unhappy people desperate to relieve their unhappiness, and I know exactly how that feels. From adolescence on, I was socially awkward, self-conscious about my body, obsessed with finding an identity, and severely depressed. Throughout my teens, I was in and out of treatment centers for self-harm and suicidality. If gender ideology were in vogue in the early 2000s, I would have been one of the hundreds of thousands of young girls seeking to escape their bodily reality by undergoing a gender-transition.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I would correctly be diagnosed with Asperger’s. Now I spend every waking moment thinking about how to help others navigate the current moment where our trusted medical institutions have been captured by radical social justice ideologies and are fast-tracking confused children and unhappy adolescents towards medical transition. To understand the woman I am today, you have to understand the girl I was.
In 2002, when I was 12, I developed obsessive-compulsive disorder and insomnia during the month my 7-year-old neighbor went missing. Her body was discovered dumped on the side of the road after having been strangled and raped repeatedly over 3 days in a motor home belonging to our 49-year-old male neighbor. The trial was televised; it was a big event in my community. In my formative adolescent years I couldn’t stop thinking about her and what she endured. That was the catalyst to my mental health decline.
My adolescent and teen years were more difficult than most. I dreaded school every day, and the chaos of crowded hallways. I couldn’t make sense of social rules and had trouble making friends. I sought quiet places to be alone and hide from other people during break and lunch. I held my head down in class, covering my face behind a curtain of hair because I thought I was hideous. I drew all over my arms with a Sharpie, or in a notebook. I had difficulty focusing in class, and would even get up and walk out of the classroom when I became overwhelmed. I wore the same oversized black hoodie and worn-in jeans every day. When I came home, I would mutter one word to my parents—“Fine”—when they asked me how my day was. Then I marched straight to my room to shut the door, draw the curtains, and retreat into a fantasy world. I spent a lot of time on the computer, teaching myself how to code HTML/CSS, practice graphic design, and delve deeper into my various fandoms.
I was extremely self-critical and easily embarrassed. I was flat-chested and hyper-aware of it, which was a monumental source of stress for me. It appeared that every girl at my middle school was starting to develop but me. I thought it made me less of a girl, a freak even, and I saw myself as undesirable and unlovable. I then began starving myself and cutting my arms—ideas I picked up from my favorite movie at the time, Thirteen.
At age 15, I was in and out of hospitals, group homes, and day treatment centers for frequent self harm and suicidal ideation. I had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) because I was so frequently absent from school. 2004 was a chaotic year that ultimately led to my 1-year stay in a Level 13 lock-down residential treatment center in Provo, Utah, called Provo Canyon School. Yes, the same one that Paris Hilton is trying to shut down for child abuse, to which I am sympathetic, as I have my own horror stories from that place. My views depart from Hilton’s in many ways, but that’s a story for a future Substack post.
For so many years, I was desperate for an explanation for why I was so unhappy. I would regularly “try on” different diagnoses to see what fit, such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality. But nothing stuck. Had someone merely mentioned that it was possible I could have been a boy trapped inside a girl’s body, I would have immediately latched onto the idea. I would have found confirmation bias in my stereotypically male preferences and behaviors. I would have convinced myself, like so many others, that this was the answer to all of my problems.
Enter stage left, gender ideology—the pseudoscientific set of beliefs that everyone has a “gender identity” (a term invented by John Money, a psychologist infamous for experimenting with sex-reassignment on infants, and made popular by the most intellectually bankrupt sectors of the Humanities departments) that can differ from your biological sex. Gender ideologues are Cartesian dualists, viewing the relationship between one’s body and gender identity similar to how many religions view bodies as being vessels for a separate immaterial soul. When your “gender identity” is misaligned with your body, the “mismatch” is supposedly able to be “corrected” by cross-sex hormones and surgeries.
Your “gender identity” is determined by how well you align with the stereotypes associated with your sex. If a young girl likes playing with legos and roughhousing outside with boys, a gullible parent might take that as an indication her daughter might be transgender. In fact, I’ve infiltrated every existing “parents of trans kids” Facebook group there is, and I can tell you this is exactly what’s happening. Children’s hospitals and pediatric gender clinics are now capitalizing on the expanding definition of transgender, which is now understood by most medical institutions as an “umbrella term” that includes simple gender nonconformity. These gender non-conforming children, many of whom would otherwise grow up to be gay or lesbian, make up the vast majority of transgender medical patients.
Transitioning is viewed as an escape for people who are hurting. When you know you are different from others and you can’t pinpoint why, gender ideology offers an explanation, and a solution. The wrong explanation—being transgender—and the wrong solution—transitioning. But how would you know it at the time when you are vulnerable and desperate to try anything to feel better?
A new identity would have appealed to me, along with all of the other perks being transgender has to offer: a community and instant constellation of new friends, a fresh start in a new body, a cause to champion, a way to absolve you of all your past mistakes, status as an oppressed person. And with all that comes social currency.
Having spent all of my adolescence and teen years in treatment, with therapists and psychiatrists, inpatient and outpatient hospitals, residential treatment facilities, step down programs and self-esteem camps, I am certain that every well-intentioned adult would have validated my “trans” identity and recommended me for “gender affirming” medical care, had this ideology been popular when I was a teen.
For many states, there is no alternative to “affirming” the identity of a child who believes themselves to be transgender. California, like over 20 states, passed laws in recent years banning “watchful waiting,” an alternative to gender-affirmation, by branding it as "conversion therapy." They succeeded in the ban by equating watchful waiting, which is psychotherapy that focuses on exploring underlying causes of dysphoria and delaying medical interventions, with the discredited practice of trying to get gays and lesbians to "convert" to heterosexuality.
The best evidence currently indicates that roughly 60–90% of children who identify as transgender who do not socially or medically transition will no longer identify as transgender in adulthood. But now, gender-affirmation care is the only legal option in many states for parents of dysphoric kids to pursue. This takes kids' claims about their identity at face value without question, which puts them on a one-way track towards "gender affirming" medical interventions.
While puberty blockers have a long history of different uses, including the chemical castration of violent sex offenders, they are now most commonly recognized for the off-label treatment of gender dysphoria because of their mechanism to stop the production of estrogen and progesterone.
Proponents of puberty blockers, which halt the development of secondary sex characteristics of adolescents with gender dysphoria, claim they are "safe, effective and completely reversible." Even the Biden administration has perpetuated this falsehood. As it stands, there are no studies on the long-term effects of puberty blockers during this critical window of human development, and they are not FDA approved for their off-label use. In light of new evidence, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) recently changed its stance on puberty blockers as being fully reversible to an admission that their long-term effects are unknown.
Researchers have also found that puberty blockers stunted the height and impaired the bone mass density of children who wished to change gender. There is also evidence that puberty blockers have an adverse impact on cognitive functioning in children, with two studies finding that IQ may drop as a result of the medication. But perhaps most alarming, when a child takes puberty blockers at Tanner stage 2 (the first signs of puberty) and proceeds to cross-sex hormones, they will be sterilized (never able to have children) and never be able to achieve an orgasm as an adult.
The more I learn, the more I feel like we are living through the biggest medical scandal in human history. Previously, I’ve reported on the “standards of care” from the leading transgender health association that continuously lowers the age for kids to access these irreversible treatments with every new guidance issued. Genital surgeries will now be offered to 17-year-olds, face surgeries for 16-year-olds, chest surgeries for 15-year-olds, and cross-sex hormones for 14-year-olds. Some surgeons have performed “gender affirming” hysterectomies on kids as young as 15 and 16 in the US. Health and surgery center websites downplay the severity and frequency of genital surgery complications.
Being an awkward teenage girl is utterly miserable, and I, like so many others, would have done anything to escape it. Why is it so hard to believe that teen girls might find the opportunity for a new identity irresistible? Given the Left’s obsession with the powerful effects of socialization for nearly every aspect of humanity, it seems strange that they would so vehemently deny the role social forces may play in convincing confused teens that they’re trans.
The Detransition Subreddit page is nearing 40,000 members with new heartbreaking posts being made every day from young people who have permanently disfigured themselves with “gender affirming” medical treatments. Reading detransition stories like Helena’s are emotional for me because her history leading up to transition feels so familiar, like I’m reading my own diary.
I care because I can relate to the suffering that people are feeling. When I see young people struggling the way I did, I can feel their pain like it was my own.
It wasn’t until my late twenties when I was correctly diagnosed by a psychiatrist and a therapist with Asperger’s Syndrome, and my life made sense for the first time. I finally had an explanation for why I couldn’t function at the level of my peers or make friends easily, my sensory issues with light and sound, my clumsiness, feelings of being overwhelmed by my environment, my obsessive special interests, and much more. My neurologist confirmed it for me with a brain MRI that showed cerebellar degeneration, a condition that affects balance and proprioception linked with autism, that resembles brain MRIs of other autistics.
Now I use my intense focus on exposing gender pseudoscience—my new “special interest.” I believe that there is nothing more valuable I could be doing with my time than preventing lost souls from taking an unnecessary detour into self-mutilation while they’re on their way to figuring out who they are and how to cope with life.
I believe that some adults will be happier by presenting as the opposite sex and I have no issue with this, as long as it isn’t prefaced on a lie they were told about being “born in the wrong body” or having a “gender identity” misaligned with their body. Medical transition should be a decision made in adulthood, and the transgender friends that I have (Sara Higdon, Buck Angel, Blaire White, to name a few) agree.
The number of females seeking help from a British gender youth clinic increased by 4,000% over a 10-year period. It is obvious to anyone paying attention that the meteoric rise in teenage girls identifying as transgender are not going to be happy in the long run identifying as men. For the vast majority of these young women, being transgender is a symptom of their suffering, not the cause.
Trust me, I know how difficult it is to believe that all of the leading medical institutions, mainstream media, government, and academia have it wrong. The hardest part for me was to accept that all of these institutions that had never given me reason to doubt before cannot be trusted when it comes to this issue. It sounds like some grand conspiracy theory, and in a way it is, without the ill-intent (at least for most). People, even in positions of authority, believe they are doing the right thing, but it is based on a biological impossibility and propped up by extremely low-quality evidence.
If you’re still unsure whether my “conspiracy theory” has merit, answer the following questions:
Should men who have undergone male puberty be able to identify as a woman, compete in women’s athletics, crush the competition, and steal awards from women who have worked their entire lives to be the best in their sport? Should males with fully intact penises be admitted into women’s prisons where there have already been instances of rape and female prisoners have been impregnated? Should children be told they are transgender if they don’t align perfectly with the stereotypes of their sex? Should adolescents be given medical interventions that permanently alter the body instead of talk therapy to find out why they feel the way they do?
If you answered no to these questions, as most reasonable people would, congrats—you’re a far right, radical, anti-LGBT, bigoted transphobe too!
You may be wondering what you can do to help.
Talk about it, learn more, vote accordingly, donate to people and causes who have the capability to influence policy. Although the situation is bleak now, we will make progress on this issue, and in the years to come, we will have common sense medical practices for those who believe themselves to be transgender.
The question is, how many people will fall prey to this regressive belief system before it’s too late?
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