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In Rejection of Nihilism: Gender Identity Ideology as Propaganda for Our Destruction

I was recently expelled from my neighborhood Facebook group. I was accused of bigotry and spreading misinformation, not directly to me, but in explanation to the group. What this means is that I expressed views that were heterodoxical to the mainstream views of the group and counter to the current discourse.  It would be more accurate to say that I was expelled for noting that the neighborhood was abandoning its principles over a disagreement. My offense was suggesting that people are not evil for expressing skepticism with our current public health regime. I want to address that more fully in another piece.

There is a professed value for supporting local businesses, especially restaurants in this community. After the owner of a new restaurant wrote on the page to welcome the neighborhood to his establishment someone took screenshots of his personal page to advertise his political beliefs. He had expressed doubts over the efficacy of masks and vaccines and support for due process in the Rittenhouse trial. The flood of moral outrage was predictable. The attacks on the restaurant and wishes for its failure were not.  There is a striking current of dehumanization that runs through the moral idealism or "wokeness" of the left. It leads to individuals wishing for or applauding harm to others as punishment for their "immoral views". Increasingly activism is focused less on expanding resources and protections for exploited people than it is on using them to admonish skeptics for not supporting the positions of authority.

Being blocked from social media spaces for my opinions is nothing new. People on social media say that "wokeness" breaks everything that it touches. This experience leaves me wondering if that's the point. Moral idealism centers subjective cultural values detached from anything concrete or measurable. It is entirely discursive and filled with the deconstructionist aims of postmodernism. The inherent disconnect from material reality is especially obvious with what is called gender identity ideology. The attempt to replace sex, which is universal, with gender, which is undefined, is an obvious attempt to irrevocably break society. It is propaganda promoting human destruction from the level of the individual, to the family to the institutions which act as pillars of civil continuity. It is an attack on the idea of institution as an essential concept. The remaining question is whether that damage is the ultimate goal or whether it is in service of another goal altogether.

Historically, "transitioning" to approximate living as the opposite sex was one possible treatment for people experiencing pervasive gender dysphoria, a deep discomfort with their biological sex. Transition meant making cosmetic changes to the body through surgery and cross sex hormones. People going through the process were clear that they were not actually changing sex, which would be impossible, just making cosmetic changes to their bodies. Transition is not a cure for gender dysphoria. At best, it is an extreme strategy for living with gender dysphoria with less disruption. 

Gender identity propaganda has created an identity for people to occupy, called trans, based on entirely subjective internal feelings which they are led to self diagnose as gender dysphoria. As a result of the propaganda people ceased to TRANSition as treatment for gender dysphoria, instead assuming they were trans. As trans people the way to fully occupy the identity may be through 'gender affirming' surgery and cross sex hormones. Transition has gone from being a treatment for a specific disorder to the means of fulfilling an identity. It has gone from an extreme strategy for a vanishingly small minority involved in a diagnostic process to something as elective as a tattoo. The primary difference is that adolescents cannot get tattoos at 13. It is also likely that the evidence for tattoos offering psychological satisfaction is stronger than it is for medical transition.

Prescription for testosterone on initial appointment for an assessment of endocrine disorder without any diagnostic test.

The number of people choosing to identify as trans has risen exponentially over the last decade. The two cohorts growing the fastest are adolescent girls identifying as boys or non-binary and middle aged straight men identifying mostly as lesbian women. Gender identity propaganda would have the world believe that these two cohorts are the same. The reality is that the propaganda induces the rise in trans identity in these groups in very different ways. Many of these males identifying as trans are expressing autogynephilia, or AGP. AGP is a paraphilia in which men are attracted to themselves as women. This identity expression based on sexual idealization is not only different from the cohort of adolescent girls, it suggests that their identities as "trans" are completely unrelated. 

Although the motivations remain poorly studied there is enough evidence to suggest that many girls are attempting to identify out of being girls more than they are attempting to be boys. This is one possible reason for the growth of non-binary as an identity. It's a rejection of being sexualized in a society where extreme pornography is easily available and influential. It has an impact on how children going through puberty understand themselves and the world around them in relation to their changing bodies. Gender identity propaganda prepares adolescents with an easy explanation for the almost universally awkward feelings of puberty and the awakening of sexuality: The uncomfortable feelings are probably an expression of gender dysphoria, and a sign the child may very well be trans. This new "gender identity" must be affirmed. Affirmation for adolescents starts by suppressing puberty, which is followed by cross sex hormones, and cosmetic surgery. Affirmation entails making permanent changes to the body which reflect a specific gender identity, despite gender identity being something so fluid it may change from hour to hour.

If the destruction this propaganda promotes on the bodies and minds of especially young people is unclear there are a number of facts to keep in mind. There is little evidence to suggest that any aspect of this process improves mental health. This is likely because the strategy is designed for specific aesthetic, rather than health outcomes. There is no long term evidence that this process is best practice or provides ideal results. The most likely result is that the child will be a sterile adult incapable of reaching orgasm. Studies have found that the vast majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria desist, or grow out of it with puberty. The process of affirmation starts by placing them on a path that almost guarantees they will not desist. It stops the essential developmental process which renders transition unnecessary. Puberty suppression is framed as giving children the time to decide on transition, but they are a virtual guarantee that the child will transition. Rather than allowing for the possibility of desistance, they ensure that rejecting the trans identity means detransitioning and regret for the pursuit of an ideal that can never be achieved. 

Reported 13 year old post double mastectomy with visible scars resulting from self harm.

The propaganda has either convinced or allowed a growing segment of the population to convince themselves that changing sex is not only possible, it is necessary. It has persuaded people to base their sense of self on a lie. It is also necessary for strangers to recognize and believe that their sex has changed, and accept the lie. According to the propaganda, anyone not offering that affirmation clearly wants trans people to cease to exist. The irony is that the negation is internalized from the propaganda but attributed to others. Declaring that identifying as trans makes one the opposite sex from birth, despite biology, is the epitome of denying the existence of trans people. It's impossible to be trans without first being one sex and identifying as the other, or neither sex. The most dangerous impact of this propaganda on the individual comes from the framing of self harm from this externalized self negation as the fault of others. Self harm becomes assault, suicide becomes murder. Parents questioning if the sudden identification of a child as trans should result in medical transition are accused of pushing those children towards suicide.

Gender identity propaganda has created an impressive trap for families confronted by this cultivated gender confusion. Affirming ensures the child will be confronted with the negative risks of transitioning. Expressing caution or disagreement risks driving away a child convinced that the love from which that caution originates is actually hatred. This often results in the child transitioning and severing relationships with parents. As there is growing evidence to suggest that adolescent desires to transition are heavily influenced by social media, parents may similarly be swayed by online gender propaganda. It provides a ready explanation for parents with unexamined homophobia for their gender non-conforming children. One study of detransitioners found that a high proportion were suffering from internalized homophobia. Studies have shown for years that the vast majority of adolescents who desist become gay and lesbian adults. The propaganda has also effectively equated rejection of a child's "trans identity" with rejecting a gay son or lesbian daughter.  In a sense, the propaganda enlists well-meaning parents into helping their children transition their gay away, potentially causing irreparable harm to the trust between parent and child. 

There are also clear examples of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP), a condition where a caregiver induces a physical or mental illness in a person in their care. In this case, the illness is the belief that a child was "born in the wrong body" usually induced by the parent from a very early age. One very public example of this is the family featured in the I Am Jazz television series. Jazz Jennings was essentially diagnosed by her mother as dysphoric at five and began making media appearances at six. In these appearances Jazz describes understanding himself as being the opposite sex at two. While the account may be organic, it's difficult to see it as anything other than coaching. Jazz is currently struggling with a massive weight gain, surgery complications, and psychological fragility at home in what was meant to be his first year in college. It's worth asking what about Jazz' current situation speaks to this process as best practice or ideal. It's also difficult to view the situation as anything other than socially sanctioned child abuse.

Jazz Jennings with mother.

The propaganda uses the threat of suicide to cast the negative risks from medical transition as a worthwhile cost. The refrain used to push parents into affirmation based on their child's self diagnosis is, "Would you rather have a living son or a dead daughter?" This positions the parent's options as accept medical transition or be prepared for your child to commit suicide. This is frequently asked in front of the child, in a sense promoting suicide as an acceptable response to a parent showing caution with medical transition. There are two facts which make this hostage-taking particularly noxious: there is no evidence of this connection between suicide and blocked medical transition, however, there is some correlation between transition and increased suicide risk. 

One long term study of people post-transition found the rate of suicide to be 19 times the general population. One possible adverse effect of the drugs used for puberty suppression is increased suicidal ideation. Puberty blockers, as well as cross sex hormones and cosmetic surgery offer little evidence for improving mental functioning while increasing risk to health. The connection to suicide is made by a study from Jack Turban, a doctor widely promoting the use of puberty blockers. His study is based on a self reported survey in which respondents who likely never had their puberty suppressed speculate that they would have experienced less suicidal ideation if they had. It was a self selected internet survey which would be difficult to replicate, making it a weak source for evidence, especially in support of elective treatments with a high risk of harm and low evidence for positive benefits.

In a 2020 podcast appearanceDr. Will Malone of the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) contrasted the method by which gender affirmation guidelines had been disseminated by the Endocrine Society with guidelines for other treatments. "In stark contrast to my previous experiences they rolled out a set of guidelines for gender dysphoric adolescents, and children that had really no evidence base, and essentially said that, okay, your job as endocrinologist now is to medically affirm children."  Lending weight to his assessment, an international panel evaluating clinical practice guidelines for treating "trans people" found the protocols focused on affirmation to be the lowest evidenced. Only one of the six judges would recommend the use of the Endocrine Society guidelines without extreme modification. Yet, these are the basis for every major medical association's guidance on treating what is assumed to be gender dysphoria in children. There have been a rapidly growing number of events in recent years which make this particularly disturbing.

It seems that every time the evidence for gender affirmation is evaluated it is found to be inadequate to support medical transition. In 2020 the Finnish Health Authority issued new guidelines for treating gender dysphoric youth after an evaluation found the evidence weak. Medical transition remains possible but the emphasis of treatment is on psychological care. One of Sweden's largest hospitals, Karolinska, stopped prescribing puberty blockers and cross sex hormones to patients under 18. The decision was made based on evidence reviews of the two treatments by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK. It was determined that any potential benefit must be weighed against the unknown long term risks of the treatments. The reason the Endocrine Society guidelines are so disturbing is that they commissioned their own studies which found the evidence for medical transition to be weak two years before offering their guidelines. 

At the moment there is no reckoning. Much of this background remains unknown because this top-down gender propaganda has captured our news media as well as our civil, and medical associations. It has been validated at the highest level of the US with President Biden's executive order for protections around gender identity. There is good reason to believe this is unsustainable. Events like sexual assaults in girls' bathrooms, males competing and winning in women's sports, and rapists being placed in women's prisons are awakening a growing portion of the silent majority unaware of the extreme consequences of the propaganda.

The doctors most experienced with medicine for "transgender youth" have begun expressing concern about the one size fits all treatment protocol as close to 2% of teens identify as trans. They are worried over how quickly young people are prescribed hormones and the growing number who regret transition. The process lacks a thorough examination of any mental health comorbidities, such as anxiety disorder or anorexia. Presumably, they are also worried about the implications of the treatment protocol not being supported by evidence. When asked if puberty blockers were a good idea, Dr. Marci Bowers, Jazz Jennings surgeon, responded, "This is typical of medicine. We zig and then we zag, and I think maybe we zigged a little too far to the left in some cases." One could cynically view this as an attempt to distance themselves from the consequences of the medicine they've practiced. While they are speaking up now, it doesn't remove their culpability in the harm produced by this evidence free protocol or the damage done to the field of medicine. Still, speaking publicly about their concerns when many others remain silent is a valuable public service. It represents one of the strongest opportunities to successfully blunt the impact of the propaganda. The change in approach to treatment for dysphoric youth from 2018 - 2021 offers some cue of how this might be achieved.

Like many western nations, Sweden experienced a massive increase of adolescents identifying as trans in the decade following the creation of the Yogyakarta Principles. In keeping with the objectives of Yogyakarta + 10, in 2018 the Social Democrats proposed a law that would lower the age for sex reassignment surgery from 18 to 15 and remove the need for parental consent. There was backlash from scientists and parents, which led to a documentary series focused on regret, Trans Train, with three parts released in 2019. The backlash also resulted in the law being shelved and a review of the evidence by the government. In this climate there was a 65% decrease in the number of adolescents referred to gender clinics.

A fourth part of Trans Train was released in late 2021 focused on the extreme negative health impacts of puberty blockers on one child. The interviews with the mother are harrowing. The sense of guilt emanating from her feels inescapable. It is clear that she and her child were not fully informed of the risks of side effects. One doctor says of the protocol, "[i]t's chemical castration. It can affect mental state in a way that [the patient] did not think and did not want." 

Putting aside, for a moment, that there is little evidence to support affirmation, what would constitute strong evidence in support of a protocol that chemically castrates children? What desired outcome would justify sterilizing sexually immature adolescents as a side effect? Every major US medical association, whose members are under oath to "do no harm" is promoting a treatment protocol premised on the unscientific idea that it is possible to be born in the wrong body. As the inevitable harm of that premise becomes unavoidable how do they recover the trust of the public? After promoting harm to children with no evidence of benefit, can they ever deserve that trust again?

It's striking that from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Pediatric Association this propaganda is so effective at convincing the professional class to reject the principles of their own organizations. In doing so, they are not only abandoning their role in promoting our civic well being, they are working actively to harm it.  It's clear that we can no longer rely on these institutions to be objective. Less clear is how much we lose in the decay of these pillars of social and societal continuity.

1/4/22 Addendum: This piece was in part inspired by reflecting on a Twitter thread from Australian psychotherapist and best selling author, Tania Marshall. She shared the stories of healthcare professionals whose work was negatively impacted by gender ideology sent to her over the course of a month. It's worth reading all of the accounts and considering how wide spread this damage is when there are hundreds of responses to an Australian therapist on Twitter. Imagine what might be uncovered by a journalist actively looking


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