The Corner

Culture

Common Sense, Part II: Not Every Sex Researcher Thinks Young Kids Should ‘Transition’

It turns out that progressive parents helping their kids “transition” just might want to press pause on the process. Neuroscientist and “sex researcher” Debra Soh says that most kids outgrow their gender confusion. Soh is certainly no cultural conservative, but she can recognize some basic realities:

Popular opinion suggests that early intervention is the necessary approach in order to remedy a child’s gender dysphoria. This consists of early social transitioning followed by hormone blockers to prevent the otherwise irreversible changes of puberty, contra-sex hormones, and, if desired, eventual sex re-assignment surgery. Denying a child these interventions is viewed as antiquated and cruel.

But research has shown that most gender dysphoric children outgrow their dysphoria, and do so by adolescence: Most will grow up to be happy, gay adults, and some, like myself, to be happy, straight adults. There is a small proportion of trans kids whose dysphoria will persist and who would benefit from medical intervention, but the tricky part remains predicting whom these ideal candidates will be.

She continues:

For a young child whose gender dysphoria would have desisted without intervention, these procedures amount to a needlessly challenging process to undergo—and that’s without considering the implications of choosing to transition back. Even a social transition back to one’s original gender role can be an emotionally difficult experience for children.

“Emotionally difficult” seems like an understatement. Imagine trying to restore some sense of normalcy to your life after your parents have worked with doctors to physically transform your body, after they’ve invested so much emotional and spiritual energy in labeling you “transgender” and describing themselves as “parents of a transgender child.” Activists would likely try to fight your transition back to your actual sex, because allowing such a transition would undermine other parents and other so-called transgender kids. 

Soh urges families “to not act in haste.” This is undoubtedly correct. Parents who transition their kids are well-meaning abusers, responding to a bizarre ideology by making choices that will harm their kids for the rest of their lives. Progressive parents are unlikely to listen to me. Perhaps they’ll listen to Soh.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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