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The WPATH Files: Another Beginning of the End?

The WPATH Files, published by journalist Michael Shellenberger and written by Mia Hughes are the result of leaked behind the scenes communications from The World Professional Association of Transgender Health. The leaks reveal an organization making medical recommendations based on the advocacy of non-medical activists. The WPATH Standards of Care are held up as the medical standard for "gender medicine" for "gender confused" adolescents and adults. Shellenberger sees the WPATH Files along with the announcement from the UK National Health Service of the discontinued use of puberty blockers as the end of gender affirming care. While I hope that I am just being cynical, he is clearly wrong. I say this based on experience. To paraphrase Jonathan Swift, do not assume that any medical procedure started absent evidence can easily be stopped by evidence.

I had not given much thought to the idea of adolescent transition until 2019. To the degree that I had thought of it, I believed it to be just a process of changing name and clothing. This changed on listening to Dr. William Malone on the Gender, A Wider Lens podcast, and watching a video of Dr. Michael Biggs explaining the history of medical research on "gender confused" adolescents. One important fact from Briggs video is that the historical research on adolescents with body dysmorphia related to their sex is that for the vast majority the feeling dissipated with puberty. There were several studies replicating the result. On Gender, A Wider Lens, Malone explained how gender affirming care had been introduced at a conference of The Endocrine Society. It was presented as best practice for adolescents with no evidence offered and with no question taken. The process they put forward as best practice starts by stopping the child's puberty with a chemical castration drug with more study on pervasive sex offenders than for this use in children. This is necessary to stop development of the secondary sex characteristics associated with her natal sex. The still androgynous adolescent body is easier to mold through synthetic sex hormones and surgery to better mimic the opposite sex, known as passing. The process stops the critical developmental stage which would render the process unnecessary just to ensure each child remains a patient for life. 98% of children who start puberty blockers go on to synthetic sex hormones.

It seemed so sick and insane that I could not believe it was happening. I started researching. There had been a massive increase of adolescents appearing at gender clinics. While historically there had been an infinitesimal number of boys, the increase was mostly girls. I learned of rapists in women's prisons and men on women's sports teams. I read about men bunking with girls as scout guides and men being released from prison after calling themselves trans. I believed that the only way this could be happening was just because people didn't know. They assumed that trans was just like being gay rather than a chosen self concept used to rationalize deeper mental distress. Once it became clear what was happening to confused adolescents, everyone would rise up to stop it. I shared articles on Facebook. I was told that I was harming trans people. I was cherry picking. I didn't understand the difference between sex and gender. I was unfollowed by mothers who wanted to protect their trans children. I had the sort of disillusioning experience that I believe Shellenberger is only seeing on the horizon. Everything revealed has been known to some degree. It has been obvious for years that WPATH is dangerous and lacking credibility to anyone giving even a cursory look. The problem is how few are willing to look.

The first thing to note about adolescent transition is that its institution had nothing to do with adolescents. Remember, studies at the time showed that adolescents grew out of their discomfort through the process of puberty. It was suggested because the Dutch data for adult transition showed negligible results and it was assumed that starting sooner would better facilitate passing. If the process was focused on the needs of children, rather than an experiment on children for the assumed benefit of adults, it would center the importance of puberty. The fact that the "best practice" ensures that a child will internalize the discomfort with her sex as her permanent self concept seems deliberate. How can it not be? So when I intimate that Shellenberger is being naive on the WPATH Files as smoking gun evidence to finally end gender ideology, it's because the evidence that gender affirming care is malpractice has long been available. In fact, the WPATH Files won't even end WPATH. The details following the release of the eighth version of WPATH's standards of care (SOC 8) should have ended the organization.

The final version of SOC 8 removed any lower age limits for "treatment." Following the draft release of the guidelines, journalist Genevieve Gluck noted that for the first time, it included a "eunuch gender identity." She discovered that the guidelines refer heavily to "research" from "a hardcore fetish site called The Eunuch Archives-- a site that features child sexual exploitation fantasies centered around stopping little boys from going through puberty." Considering how little impact that revelation had, the reason for my pessimism should be clear.

Still, I completely understand his optimism. It seems impossible that some key piece of information won't stop the harm to children, until it completely fails to do so. Then those key pieces of information start to mount. For me, first there was Finland stopping adolescent gender affirming care suggesting that it may cause harm without benefit. That was followed by Sweden discontinuing adolescent medical transition outside of a research trial. That, in essence, ends the practice. On what basis would an experiment that replicates endocrine disorders to produce cosmetic effects receive approval? That was followed by the closure of The Tavistock in the UK, the world's largest gender clinic. A review of its services found that its treatments were based on low evidence and left patients at risk of harm. While all of these events were occurring, the television program I Am Jazz moved from propaganda to tragedy. Viewers watched Jazz have the regrettable experience that many have after being castrated, euphemistically called gender affirming surgery. Jennings had multiple complications and surgical revisions. In the episode featuring Jenning's revision surgery, the two surgeons argue over specific steps during the actual surgery. The procedure was necessary because Jenning's primary, Dr. Marci Bowers, president of WPATH, had not anticipated the negative impact puberty blockers would have on surgery. In a Zoom conference in 2022, Bowers informed the other physicians that based on observation, children who have their puberty blocked, like Jennings, never experience orgasm. All of this highlights both the degree to which the process is experimentation, just seeing what happens, and fulfills the interest of men who choose to identify as trans, in this case Bowers.

These are just a few events that I thought would impact the ideology. Not one of them has except in the way that gradual shifts occur against concentrated power. The only way to unseat concentrated power is with more power. Ending the transgender craze will require its own concentration of power. This means simply encouraging the masses to be honest in their opposition to the imposition of the ideology. A belief in the reality and importance of sex is a mainstream position. There has been a major shift in attitudes towards transgenderism as people recognize its harms to women and children. The typical trajectory for individuals awakened to the dangers of transgenderism starts with a nuanced position of wanting people to live their lives while protecting single sex spaces. It usually ends with a complete rejection of the concept of gender and all that results from it. In practical terms it means rejecting the use of female pronouns as well as spaces for all men, regardless of their intent in choosing to call themselves trans. The point is that the use of female pronouns, while less immediately severe, still represents a transgression against women. To use female pronouns for men is seen as supporting gender ideology. Interestingly, there are a surprising number of people who say they are opposed to gender ideology, who don't understand this. Or, perhaps more accurately, refuse to see this.

There has been a large number of grassroots women, some who call themselves radical feminists, others women's rights activists, and still others gender critical, criticizing larger social media accounts. The criticisms revolve around referring to some men with autogynephilia as "she" if they declare themselves gender critical. The people who do so consider it a sign of respect. Those who oppose it see it as inherently disrespectful to women. Autogynephilia (AGP) is a paraphilia of men who are sexually attracted to the idea of themselves as women. Dressing in women's clothing and being referred to with female pronouns is part of the erotic fixation. Some of the strongest advocates of suppressing puberty are AGPs, like Rachel (Richard) Levine. They are men who have fathered children who wish to remove that choice from adolescents because it validates their sexual fetish as normal and something they have experienced since childhood. Many of the grassroots women reasonably see the inclusion of people who choose to call themselves trans or men with AGP in the fight against child sterilization as undermining it. The rationalization of adolescent "gender medicine" is that it is early treatment for a child who will be trans. The inclusion of people with a trans identity or men with AGP is seen as glamorizing the procedures being opposed. It is the equivalent of saying do as I say, not as I do. It includes the ideology they oppose in the fight against the ideology.

The larger accounts have referred to the desire of grassroots accounts to be politically consistent as being authoritarian or totalitarian. The arguments are incredibly dishonest. They equate a large number of women with similar criticisms with being a mob imposing its will. They act as if the mob has the same censorious power as the government. Helen Pluckrose wrote an article adopting the grassroots hashtag of #holdtheline against them. She calls their criticisms illiberal. She writes as if the court of public opinion works like a court of law. People like Pluckrose are deceiving themselves about their actual positions and goals. She is not entirely opposed to gender ideology, she is opposed to the obvious excesses. She worries about how this activism will negatively impact the lives of the "trans people" she likes. Her position is essentially that we have to fight the ideology, just not all of it. This divide seems to mirror the divide between people who oppose "transing" children and those who oppose it. There is a clear class and racial line. Simply stated, if AGP was a paraphilia that most heavily impacted inner city black men instead of upper middle class white men, the larger accounts would see less need for nuance in discussing them. There is no good argument for calling some men "she" as long as they swear they know they are men.

The sterilization of children will not end because of more and better information, although that is critical. It will only end when the concept of gender is destroyed, thoroughly and completely. There is no middle ground, no nuanced position. There is no going back to a time where there was just a tiny number of transsexuals just trying to get by. That would just be placing us back higher on the slope we need to destroy. The WPATH Files will prove useful as long as they are not approached as some magic bullet, rather than yet another tool to amass power around the clear and consistent goal of ending gender ideology entirely. The lesson of transgenderism is that it's not about information. It's about power. Those who oppose gender ideology should be guided by that fact.


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