Playing both sides: Trans people, autism, and the two-faced claims of Ken Zucker and Susan Bradley

In late 2015, the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health was closed following a review of its practices in the treatment of gender-nonconforming children. The clinic, founded by Dr. Susan Bradley in the 1970s and later directed by her frequent collaborator Dr. Kenneth Zucker, was notable for its use of an approach focused on discouraging children from identifying with or expressing a gender other than the one they were assigned, with the intention of ensuring that they would grow up to be cisgender rather than transgender. This clinical goal does not reflect the contemporary professional consensus that gender-affirming therapy and watchful waiting are the healthiest approaches when treating children who are potentially transgender or gender-questioning.

The allegation that the closure of the Gender Identity Clinic was purely “politically motivated” has received extensive coverage in an investigation by New York magazine, a recent BBC Two documentary on transgender children, and several articles in the Globe and Mail. However, considerably less attention has been given to Zucker’s and Bradley’s lengthy history of inflammatory and self-promoting rhetoric which irresponsibly plays to popular prejudices. While these researchers have claimed to support transgender adolescents and adults in transitioning, they continue to issue statements which misinform the public about the nature of transgender identity and are scientifically unfounded – in some cases going so far as to offer their tacit approval to religiously-motivated transphobia and long-running malicious rumors about queer and trans “recruitment” of children. Their misleading claims in the media do a disservice to transgender youth and adults, as well as the wider public. Continue reading

Posted in Autism, Media, Trans youth, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trans toy reviews: the Magic Wand Rechargeable, at Hey Epiphora

While I’ve previously covered transgender sexuality from a mostly academic perspective, I haven’t spent much time on firsthand experiences of sex as a trans woman throughout transition. Hormone therapy has had an extensive range of effects on my sexual response, and even though I haven’t had genital surgery, sex is hardly anything like it was before I started estrogen. It’s been an overwhelmingly positive change, but making it there meant relearning a great deal about how my body works. Continue reading

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“Transtrenders” aren’t a thing, but transphobia-trenders are

It’s common nowadays to encounter the insistent claim that “there are only two genders, male and female”. These simplistic and loud declarations resemble nothing more than a random interjection by a person who’s shouting for no clear reason. This is one of those instances where a statement manages to be as wrong as it is brief. Inaccuracy is compact like that – reality is detailed, and the more details you strip away, the further you get from reality. Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonbinary, Personal, Sociological research, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Myth: Pimozide and gender dysphoria (Gender Analysis)

Summary: Transphobes are irresponsibly promoting the idea that trans people should be treated with ineffective antipsychotic drugs. The “evidence” they present is so weak as to be practically nonexistent. Such a claim could only be plausible to those with no knowledge whatsoever of the broad consensus of scientific research: that transitioning is the only effective treatment for gender dysphoria.

There’s a particularly odd belief that’s been popularized by transphobes over the past few years: the claim that the antipsychotic drug pimozide can treat gender dysphoria in trans people by removing their desire to transition. This idea has been promoted in videos like these describing trans people as ‘mentally ill’, some of which have several hundred thousand views:

[08:11] Also echoing the research thus stated are pharmacotherapy studies that are 20 years old that used the drug pimozide on a cross-dressing man with a strong wish to undergo a sex change. The outcome of the study, as far as I know, has never been mentioned in the mainstream media, or at least I’ve never heard about it between the cacophony of how Caitlyn Jenner is so brave and so beautiful. But, “There was an excellent response to pimozide 2 mg daily, with a cessation of both cross-dressing and the wish for sex reassignment. When, after 1 year, the dose was reduced to 1 mg daily, there was a rapid return of the cross-dressing and the wish for sex reassignment. An increase in the dose again led to a remission which has been maintained since then.” And the conclusion was that, “Pharmacotherapy with pimozide should be considered in cases of doubtful gender dysphoria.” But in all reality, this is one of those cases where you don’t really need to appeal to scientific authority, as it’s clear even enough to a layman to come to these conclusions.

Continue reading

Posted in Gender dysphoria, Health care, Hoaxes, Outcomes of transition, Psychology and psychiatry, Regret and detransition, Transgender medicine, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What are the odds you’ll stop harassing trans kids? (Gender Analysis)

Previously: Debunking common myths about transgender youth, Transgender youth fact check

Let’s connect some dots. On December 22nd, the Kansas City Star reported:

It didn’t take long for two public reactions to erupt on the announcement this month that Avery Jackson, a 9-year-old girl from Kansas City, would be the first known transgender individual to be pictured on the cover of National Geographic.

The first and most overwhelming reaction to her appearance on one version of the magazine’s January cover continues to be an outpouring of support.

The second: hate — scorching and violent messages. One suggested that the only way Avery would be safe is if her mother were “exterminated.”

“It’s a bunch of internet trolls,” said Debi Jackson, 42, Avery’s mother. “And what they do for fun is find people to make fun of and start threads. This one particular group likes to target the trans community — a lot of them try to target people and harass them so much so that they’ll commit suicide.

“They’ve started a thread about me, (describing me) as a horrible and abusive parent who is using my child for fame and fortune, and obviously I have a twisted sexual deviancy issues to make my boy act like a girl…”

“They found information (about our family) and put it out there. People later commented, ‘Yeah, she’s definitely one who needs to be cyberbullied until she commits suicide.’ ”

Obviously this harassment is horrible and completely unacceptable. What kind of person would target a child and her family in this way? Who could be behind something like this?

Take a guess. Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Media, Outcomes of transition, Psychology and psychiatry, Replies, Sociological research, Statistics and demographics, Trans youth, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment