Written by Hudson Crozier
Updated July 1, 2023, to correctly identify the authors of the study of girls with gender dysphoria
More than ever, children are a key focus in the campaign for transgender rights. Progressive gender ideology is embraced in public schools, either openly or implicitly to subvert parental authority. The Left has mainstreamed the chemical and surgical procedures involved in "transitioning" a child, waging all-out legal war when they are in any way threatened by regulation.
The political and medical establishment imposes these ideas with such certainty that it often has no tolerance for personal objections. For example, the Biden administration recently attempted to mandate that religious healthcare workers perform transition treatments for children as young as newborns against their consciences. In accordance with their message that children desperately need this "life-saving care," advocates are willing to employ state force to enable it.
How did we get here? Where did the transgender movement in medicine come from, and what has been the impact on its youngest "patients"?
The Origins of Progressive Gender Science
The 1950s introduced a group of intellectuals known as "sexologists" who began popularizing the idea that gender is separate from biology. An expert at the Witherspoon Institute explains that "Until that time, the psychoanalytic professions considered the desire to be a member of the opposite sex as a (rare) disorder to be treated with psychotherapy."
That began to change as these doctors challenged traditional notions of sex and gender, creating much of the modern vocabulary for the transgender movement. German-American endocrinologist Dr. Harry Benjamin referred to opposite-sex feelings as "transsexualism." He had previously spent time attempting to surgically change the sexes of guinea pigs and wished to see a day when "sex reassignment" surgery was available for humans. In the 1990s, German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch popularized the term "cisgender" to describe an individual identifying with their birth sex.
The most influential of these men was New Zealand psychologist Dr. John Money, who coined the terms "gender identity," "gender roles," and others, believing that male and female behaviors are socially constructed. He theorized that a child could be instilled with gender roles contrary to what would be expected based on their biology, making them "transgender." Money and other sexologists were also known more controversially for viewing pedophilia as a legitimate sexuality.
In 1966, 8-month-old Bruce Reimer had his penis destroyed in a failed circumcision. While withholding circumcision from his twin brother, Brian, his frightened parents were approached by Dr. Money on behalf of John Hopkins University. He convinced them to have Bruce castrated and raised as ''Brenda'' alongside his masculine brother, keeping it a secret that Bruce was born male. This was shortly after Money founded the John Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic.
By the 1970s, Money was receiving fame for reporting success with the Reimer parents in raising a transgender girl, complete with surgery, social transition, and hormone treatment. A John Hopkins official who disagreed with what he called the ''nakedly false'' idea of sex change shut down the program in 1979, but by that time, transitioning treatments had already become commonplace in the medical field.
It wasn't until decades after Money's experiment that the Reimer twins began telling what had really happened. At every stage of childhood, Bruce had rejected the female identity prescribed to him. He bitterly resisted feminine clothes, toys, and activities, but Money and his colleagues pressured him into feminine behavior while his parents allowed it. It continued until the twins were 13 years old.
Bruce and Brian also confessed to an author that Money had used their private visits to educate them on sexual activity, which he argued was necessary early in life for a healthy understanding of one's gender identity. He showed them pornographic images of adults, made them undress and perform sex acts on each other, Bruce acting as a woman, and occasionally took pictures, shouting and growing angry at them when they wouldn't cooperate.
Bruce's parents told him the truth of his birth sex at age 14 after he threatened to kill himself if they made him continue visiting Money. He had his estrogen-induced breasts removed, his testosterone levels boosted, and a penis constructed via surgery, calling himself "David" for the remainder of his life.
Both of the twins endured severe depression from the trauma of their childhood. Brian died of a drug overdose in 2002, and two years later, Bruce committed suicide. Money dismissed criticism of his career as a bigoted smear campaign by social conservatives until his death in 2006. He was given watered-down, even flattering obituaries by left-wing outlets that focused on his help in mainstreaming gender identity concepts for future generations.
The Truth About "Gender-affirming Care" Today
The slim minority of children who display persistent discomfort with their birth sex, wishing to live as another, suffer from what is known as gender dysphoria. Based on the premise that gender is a non-physical reality, a matter of "expression," the Left argues that reorienting the bodies and environments of gender-dysphoric kids is the humane response.
Research shows, however, that most children with gender dysphoria grow out of it if not otherwise influenced.
In 2008, researchers in Canada released the results of a study of 25 girls diagnosed with gender dysphoria, then known as "Gender Identity Disorder," based on lengthy and stringent criteria describing a persistent discontentment with identifying as one's birth sex. At a later point in childhood or adulthood, 88 percent stopped displaying gender dysphoria.
At the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, 139 gender-dysphoric boys were studied based on the same criteria. Upon follow-up in 2012, 88 percent identified comfortably with their birth sex.
The evidence is clear that the majority of gender-disoriented minors can reach long-term comfort in their sense of identity without any attempt to transition.
There is no proof of an opposite trend aside from a 2022 study on kids who were "socially transitioned" (given new clothing, pronouns, and environment). Ninety-four percent of these boys and girls still identified as trans 5 years later, the highest follow-up age being 17. Rather than invalidating the earlier data, this behavior demonstrates that children are malleable and easily influenced one way or the other under the purview of parents.
Likewise, at least 3 studies have shown that over 90 percent of children put on puberty blockers proceed into cross-sex hormone treatment. A majority of children under those substances then proceed into "gender reassignment" surgery.
All of these methods have life-altering effects, most commonly sterilization and/or castration, for which adults experience regret at a rate that is largely unknown. Adults and teens considered to be transgender are also far more likely to contemplate, attempt, and commit suicide than the general population.
Altogether, this means that every time a gender-dysphoric child is deemed "transgender" by adults and transitioned, that child is highly unlikely to resist the process, will most likely have their body permanently altered, and will be significantly more suicidal than before, all for a condition they would most likely grow out of without any such interference.
On top of that, the accuracy of the initial gender dysphoria diagnosis preceding this "care" is sometimes questionable, as in the case of Texas' James Younger. If the diagnosis is false, the trans identity is being imposed entirely by adults onto the child.