Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Call for an Alternative Treatment path For Dysphoria

The following appeared on my twitter feed from Rosemary Goude (@greengoude):

I thought it was beautifully written and a very humane and moving call for a better way to deal with dysphoria.

I'll keep a copy of it here.  As a reference and an inspiration.

  • Trying to understand why on earth anyone progressive would endorse a person's view that they were "born in the wrong body"
  • Wouldn't our first response be to validate the beauty of their body? To try to find out what negative experiences had led them to this view?
  • Would we not consider if racism, sexism, disableism or physical or sexual abuse had brought them to such a conclusion?
  • Would we not hold them & care for them while they shed whatever negative feelings they had had imposed on them about their beautiful bodies?
  • Would we not expect that any professional, counsellor, teacher, mentor would start from this position & work to ease their pain before...
  • ...deciding the only way forward is to affirm the negativity a body-shaming society has imposed & concluding transition is the only answer?
  • In other words, have we abandoned everything we know? And what the hell has happened to our duty of care to children & young people?


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  2. Yes fine. But why do the psych mainstream go along with transition? There is not much evidence for an alternative. By all means do the steps Rosemary suggests, that is good sense. But today's transition has come about through the NHS after DECADES and decades of trying to get trans people to accept their born bodies in every way possible (therapy, conversion therapy, electroshock therapy, more therapy, medicine) and failing. Show us some successful other way. Other than the very few - or even one off - Ken Zucker, why is no one else trying it or claiming success? Why didn't they succeed in the 70s, 60s, 50s? It's like regressing in a way and re trending the same ground as if no one had ever tried it before. This journey has already been well done I think. But good to critically examine and discuss anyway.

    1. "But why do the psych mainstream go along with transition?"

      For the same reason diagnoses of ADHD and autism have also risen in the last couple of years. Money. People/insurance companies will spend more money on hormones and unnecessary surgery than therapy that tells you your body is fine the way it is. Maybe no one claims success because no one tries any different methods. Why don't you listen to all the detransitioned people who were strongly encouraged to transition just because they were gender non-conforming or felt an amount of sex dysphoria? Or how incredibly easy it is for children to begin transitioning simply because doctors and therapists REFUSE to consider any other treatment besides transition to treat the patient? Forget about research that says the feelings of suicide increase post-op for trans people. Or that the hormones used in transitioning cause a lot of irreversible physical damage to people's bodies. This journey has not been well done at all.

    2. If you speak to parents of children with ADHD/ autism then they will tell you there is nothing wrong with the diagnoses. In fact many parents are pushing for treatment. Too many I think but that is another issue. They will tell you that because awareness of the condition is growing, in part due to the internet and social media, people are recognising it more often and demanding treatment. That is probably true, as something becomes more widely known it becomes more widely recognised. Additionally some parents want a quick fix to their childrens’ behaviour problems.

      “no one tries any different methods”. But people have tried different methods in the past. There is no good evidence that they have worked and this is about evidence not opinion. I have listened to ‘all the detransitioned people’ they are a VERY important voice in this debate, but they are still a fraction of the number who do not detransition. As awareness of young transitions increases then the numbers will grow and there are all sorts of reasons for that: increasing awareness, increasing gender fluidity in society in general, better training, behavioural contagion yes and possibly some groupthink. We do need more gender non-conforming (non-trans) people to become more visible, with detailed stories about their lives and feelings and to be role models. I think that would help considerably and perhaps we are to some extent at the beginning of that journey. I too am concerned that today there is a danger that more GNC young people will go down the wrong route when in the past they would have become gnc gay/ lesbian adults and assimilated their gender variances into their personalities.

      Most doctors and therapists refuse to consider another treatment besides transition because at the moment they haven’t got any other treatment. They have had no training for other treatment and they have no evidence for any other treatment. Have you asked them? If you’ve actually had any contact with normal mental health professionals then you would know the majority are not putting children through transition for money. Of course drug companies make money from selling drugs - they wouldn’t be able to make any if they didn’t. Most health professionals don’t want to put people through unnecessary hormones and surgery - not in the NHS. I just don’t believe that and if you do then we’re off into the realm of conspiracy theories. You casually reference “feelings of suicide increase post op” yet pay no attention to he fact that the well known long term study showing an increase in problems led the researcher to conclude that more support was needed - not that they shouldn’t necessarily transition. That has been confirmed by the researcher. There does need to be more discussion and there does need to be a search for alternatives and more support. But if all the gender critical element of this debate can come up with is conspiracy theories, opinion and a small proportion of people who have changed their minds then that is not going to get anywhere with health professionals, researchers or the government.

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