Society’s Artificial Production of Transgender Teens

by | Sep 20, 2022

Society’s Artificial Production of Transgender Teens

by | Sep 20, 2022

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According to polls, almost one in six members of Gen Z identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or trans (LGBT). Compared to previous generations, the rates are significantly up. The common explanation is that society has become far more accepting of such individuals, and youth are more willing to “explore their sexuality.” If society is more accepting, why are we not seeing older generations revealing they are also a member of said community? Surely, this cannot be the case.

So what is causing this trend of youth “exploring their sexuality”? Why are children embarking on this “exploration”? Why are children trending towards such things as gender ideology and transgenderism? Is it genuine feelings and diagnosable gender dysphoria, or something more sinister?

If one is to understand this phenomena, one must understand the plight of the anxious teen. Jonathan Haidt describes it in his article turned book The Coddling of the American Mind. The book tells us how helicopter parenting by Gen X and Boomers has resulted in a generation of youth who do not know how to handle strife or conflict. By being sheltered from people who disagree with their ideas, and never knowing real adversity, society has created a generation of fragile and hypersensitive youth.

This is just an exacerbation of the natural teenage condition: being anxious. As a teenager you deal with several factors that can make this an issue. As a teenager, you are in a strange limbo state between being an adult and being not quite a child. In the modern age you are expected to transition into full independence and to know what it is you want to do with the rest of your life after being trapped in what amounts to a prison in the public school system. Children are taught to sit still, be silent, to ask to use the bathroom, and are forced to interact with people they often despise or who will commit violence on them. What about said situation would not cause anxiety amongst teens? The expectations are incredibly high and the forced setting is unbearable to teenagers with all their potential. This is a breeding ground for what might be considered reasonable anxiety.

Rather than improving their situation and encouraging teenagers to learn how to grapple with adversity, we encourage teens to self-diagnose disorders, affirm said mental illnesses, and refuse to challenge with the possibility that it is a normal feeling. The cries of, “It’s not a phase mom!” may, in fact, be incorrect. Being a teenager sucks. The author knows this as a teenager, and most of the time, you will in fact get over it because it is a phase.

Now children are placed on medications with almost no long term studies or which some studies suggest may not in fact help at all. Suicides were on the rise even before the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns. Haidt’s book also highlights the role that social media may play in exacerbating mental health issues. When youth are placed on platforms, flashed in the face with successful celebrities with perfect lives, how are they supposed to react? Suddenly they are met with the realization that their content isn’t blowing up as much as celebrities. They are able to be judged by billions of people, and not receiving the interaction that they expected. When they are noticed it’s often by the trolls of the world and internet. This is sure to drive teenagers towards anxiety. The human mind was not quite made to deal with a platform such as social media, to be judged by these billions and billions.

The numbers show how poorly it is affecting teenagers, especially teenage girls. Among that demographic, the rate of suicide attempts has increased by 68% over the last decade. The number was not as high for boys—remaining at 26%—but any increase in teen suicide and suicide attempts is drastic and startling. This is inextricably linked to social media use.

But social media is addicting, and is able to trigger the same part of the brain as drugs. So when children are now depressed and addicted to social media like a hard drug user, it leaves them vulnerable to misguided actors who may offer “solutions” to their problems. This has indeed been the case with LGBT youth.

That’s not just the narrative of right-wing sources, but also that of USA Today, who describes in an article regarding Transgender ‘influencers’:

“Crowley and others attribute the upswing to a rising presence of transgender and nonbinary people on social media platforms and the internet, more accurate media representation, and growing terminology and social acceptance that offer avenues for self-expression previously unavailable.”

Left-leaning progressive media outlets seem to be under the impression that social media plays a part in helping these youth “explore their sexuality.” TikTok videos that overwhelmingly favor transgenderism have amounted to 1.2 billion views. This rises to 14.1 billion views when the hashtag #transgender is searched. Just one Instagram account dedicated to transgender individuals has gotten over 38.4 thousand followers. Adding onto the pressure of social media, actors like Elliot Page and singers like Demi Lovato have embraced the concept and further spread it to large, impressionable audiences.

This seems odd when one takes into account past rates of gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is “the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics,” and in the past it was the primary cause of someone identifying as what was called a “transexual.” But so-called “gender dysphoria” has been on the rise, as acknowledged by banished psychologist Ken Zucker. Zucker lost his job at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health his resistance to “affirming” care and was almost blacklisted from his profession and country. Zucker as well as Lisa Littman have observed a phenomena of “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” in which youth (predominantly girls) have begun to identify as another gender. Littman has published several studies that challenge the standard narrative of transgenderism amongst youth, as well as those who detransition.

One Littman’s study in particular breaks down some startling facts in regard to this phenomena: that 25.0% had stopped associating with non-trans friends; 62.5% had been diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder previously; 82.8% were around the age of 15 when they announced transition; and that 86.7% had increased social media use and were among friends who had also transitioned at similar time frames. The last statistic has raised concerns amongst many, including Abigail Shrier, that this onset of dysphoria is an example of a social contagion. Shrier, a Wall Street Journal columnist, has fallen under similar scrutiny as Littman and Zucker for her book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Sweeping Our Daughters. Her thesis is that social contagions are responsible for the mass spread of transgenderism, especially amongst teenage girls.

A social contagion is hard to define, but it is a combination of behavior and emotional contagions in which members of groups tend to imitate one another. Dr. Helen Bould, a child psychologist at the University of Oxford, described similar situations when it came to eating disorders: “It might be an unintentional effect of the aspirational culture of some schools that makes eating disorders more likely; it might be that eating disorders are contagious and can spread within a school.”

There is a startling similarity between this and “rapid onset gender dysphoria” since both were largely prominent within friend groups and largely “contagious.” The most likely reason for such behavior is social acceptance in the world of social media as described above. When teenagers are in search of social acceptance and lack it, it is not unreasonable to assume that many will act out. It is a fundamental fact of teenagers that acting out to get attention is fairly normal. But when one is in search of some solution to anxiety or depression, activists will often be among the first to suggest that perhaps they are unhappy with themselves. Doctors do not aid when such behaviors are labeled as one of the broad “symptoms” of gender dysphoria:

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(Source: National Institute of Health)

There is little actual psychiatric evaluation described by the NIH, and instant conviction towards transitioning with surgery. Medicine has turned away from seeking alternatives to treatments as soon as possible, and quickly towards sudden change. Between doctors, friends, and social media, it is no wonder why so many youth are pushed towards gender ideology as a solution to their anxiety.

Culture, as well as medicine, has switched towards a model of affirmation. When one announces they are transitioning, they are met with spontaneous cheers and congratulatory remarks. Counselors and therapists, like Rollins Counseling Center, have fully embraced the concept of “affirmation.” Rather than challenge such life changing decisions, society has chosen to endorse spontaneous decisions that result in instant gratification to lost youth without an understanding of what to do with their lives. Having searched for a way to be seen and feel as if they are at peace with themselves, many youth stumble into a quick decision that is reinforced by their friends, doctors, and social media rather than actual psychological evaluation. The era of feelings has taken over the era of reason.

As healthline describes, “This modern form of medical care is based on the informed consent of the person seeking care. In this model, once you tell your clinician that you’re transgender, they will aim to help you build a healthy transition plan based on your goals.” There is no push back. There is no rigorous psychiatric evaluation. No second opinions. Only affirmation.

The decision to embark on such a journey is hardly an easy one for these individuals and can have profound effects on their reproductive and physical health. Many are also left with the feeling of being duped and with little actual improvement to their otherwise reasonable anxiety. Another of Littman’s studies covered detransitioners and would reveal that 50% were “observing that transition did not help their dysphoria.” More than half (55%) “felt that they did not receive an adequate evaluation from a doctor or mental health professional before starting transition.” While obviously with some bias, this group offers insight into the experiences that many children undergo.

For children already choosing to medically “transition” into another sex, they will commonly be placed on puberty blockers. St. Louis Children’s Hospital in an article regarding puberty blockers suggests the drug Lupron for short term blockage. Healthline however, reveals the use of Lupron as part of chemical castration. The University of California in San Francisco describes a treatment of “binding” in order to flatten chest conteurs, to essentially remove the presence of breasts in women, a procedure that can break ribs or collapse lungs. The procedure of creating female genitalia out of male genitalia requires children to have their genitalia inverted into a canal—in a procedure called vaginoplasty. The vice versa requires skin being removed from, often, the arm and sewed together into non-functioning genitalia through phalloplasty. These children are being treated with invasive surgeries that often have horrendous side effects.

Children are forced into situations through public school and social media that create anxiety and depressive behaviors among them. These children will often search for solutions, anything to stop what is a pretty reasonable poor feeling. Rather than teach them to deal with their emotions, activists provide a solution that’s quick and touches on their insecurities: they must be uncomfortable with their bodies and suffer from gender dysphoria. From there, the medical system refuses to challenge or examine this self diagnosis, leading to drastic decisions that will not address the real issues.

Even without the philosophical underpinnings, this is already problematic. Children are making rash decisions that have permanent consequences to their mental and physical health. There is reason to believe that this push is also motivated by Queer Theory, an ideology based in Marxist Critical Theory and postmodernism, which paints drastic political implications of this ideology.

But one doesn’t need the politics to fear this. This decision is damaging to the children it is targeting and affecting. It is not too late to save these children. Help them overcome their emotional ruts, teach them to handle their emotions, teach them to handle adversity, and, if you love your children, do not let them on social media until they get over their “depressed teen” phase. They may resent you in the moment, but they will thank you later.

About David Brady

David Brady is an At-Large and Social Media Contributor for the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @realDavidBJr.

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