Seeing An Invisible Elephant
My daughter was identified as ‘trans’ here in Hong Kong in April 2021 at the age of 11, after two twenty minute sessions with an American school counselor. We were kept largely in the dark for months until we discovered that she was already using a boy’s name and pronouns at the school at the same time we were told we must affirm her because she was suicidal.
The year that followed was a long one, during which we felt very afraid and isolated. Fortunately, the law in Hong Kong is clear on the matter of parental authority and, after we felt we understood what was going on, we were able to force the school to cease social transitioning our daughter. We held her very close indeed, and did many of the usual things: we took her largely offline, slowly adjusted her friendship groups and just gently talked to her, drawing her back into family life.
We found in her possession a book given to her by the school counselor with a false cover. This book warned her not to trust us, her parents, and told her to find a ‘supportive community’ online. It also provided her with the addresses to Reddit forums where I found all manner of horrors: pornography, suicide notes, self harm manuals, advice on how to obtain drugs, and template letters inviting children to tell their bigoted parents to ‘fuck off and die’.
My daughter has recently started wearing girls clothes again (at her own instigation) and seems outwardly to have entirely desisted. Throughout that long year following our discovery of her trans identification, I was always mindful that some of her friends were also in trouble over this and I had decided that it was not enough to see her clear of it all, but that I was also obligated to attempt to help others understand the phenomenon, which is why I wrote this account of my experience—to give something back to the forum that really meant an awful lot to us during the dark early days.
In a former life, I was an academic in the world of political theory and once lectured on ‘Gender Theory and Feminist Approaches to International Relations’ so I had a head start in deciphering the lies, falsehoods and propaganda. I have not come across my thoughts on the anesthetizing effect of identity politics elsewhere, but I think they may help explain how obviously harmful ideology has spread so far and been spread by so many apparently well meaning people.
Identity Politics Has Anesthetized Child Safeguarding And Co-Opted Teachers, Counsellors, Doctors And Even Parents Into The Willing Service Of A Castration Cult.
A long time ago a professor of mine explained that the philosopher Michel Foucault had warned everyone to ‘mistrust the image’. I have searched for the reference a few times, but never found it, and do not have the sanity to wade through his books, so it will have to remain an indirect reference. Nevertheless, it made sense to me at the time. Reading text, Foucault is alleged to have said or implied, awakens the critical faculties, meaning that when people read they do so at arm’s length. They accept what appears true, but fully engage their doubts if something seems implausible or poorly reasoned. Images, on the other hand, bypass the critical faculties entirely, seizing hold of the consciousness in unanticipated ways.
I doubt this is still true. Despite the ubiquity of images in our hyper-media age, the proliferating use of photoshop and the substitution of memes and emojis for actual words suggests people are wise to these tricks and look skeptically at all images now, even to the extent of disbelieving what they can see with their own eyes on the grounds that it is so outrageous it ‘can’t possibly be true’. Anyone who has been peaked by the catastrophe of gender ideology will recognize the gnawing sense of disbelief as they point out what has become obvious to them but remains opaque to less interested observers, and face blank looks or rolling eyes as the conversation moves swiftly on.
The only way I have found to describe the experience, is to imagine being in a room hosting a large party of apparently intelligent and civilized people and pointing out the dangerous looking elephant crashing around, knocking over the furniture and occasionally squashing the odd unsuspecting child, only to be met with stares of incomprehension as the other guests encourage the wounded child to celebrate the bleeding stump left in place of its leg. They just do not see the elephant. Or if they do occasionally sense a large, foul smelling animal, they believe the fault lies within them, rather than admit the absurdly unlikely existence of a vast, unwelcome pachyderm bellowing and defecating on the carpet.
A familiar conversation may proceed like this; ‘Gender identity’, I say, ‘makes no sense. ‘Gender’ derives from ‘2nd Wave Feminism’ and describes that which is imposed on women in order to socialize them as willing subordinates, wives and sex objects. No one ‘has’ a gender, it is not internal to the person, it is not innate, it is imposed. To speak of ‘gender identity’ is epistemologically incoherent.’ This statement leads to confused looks, ‘But gay people I know say it’s in their heads.’ ‘Did I mention gay people?’ ‘No, but, you know, trans people say it’s in their heads, that they are ‘born in the wrong body’, ‘was there an alternative body into which they should have been born?’ ‘No but that’s what they say.’ ‘But that’s madness!’ ‘Well how do you know? Are you trans? How can you claim to speak for them, when you are not trans?’
Or it might begin like this: ‘Children should not be castrated’, I argue. ‘They are not being castrated’ comes the response. They are being castrated, but set that aside for a moment. ‘Why not?’ I ask. ‘Because they are too young to understand the consequences.’ ‘But what about their ‘gender identity’? If castration brings their body into alignment with their ‘gender identity’, why wouldn’t you advocate castration for children? Given that they ‘know’ their ‘gender identity’ from as young as two years old—why delay the inevitable? What do they need to understand and consent to?’ Silence. ‘No one is getting castrated before it is medically appropriate.’ ‘Would you deny them cancer treatment because they can’t really know the consequences?’ ‘No, of course not.’ ‘But I thought you said this was ‘necessary, gender affirming care?’ Silence. Rolled eyes.
Gender critical people are always happy to talk about trans issues, yet they are routinely shut down on the grounds that they cannot speak ‘for’ trans people. The fact that they tend to speak against transgenderism is classed as bigotry warranting cancellation, even though they almost always register concern for people who say they are trans and generally believe adults should be free to live their lives as they wish. So who is speaking about trans issues? Trans people and their allies, and that’s it. Some of the most prominent trans medical professionals are themselves trans, Drs Marci Bowers and Erica Anderson among them. Does their ‘lived experience’ cloud their judgment? Should we trust an alcoholic to treat alcoholism? I can see an argument for it, but it’s not compelling. Yet in trans world, the doctor being trans rather dictates the treatment, given that the treatment is to become fully trans. The more important question than ‘who is speaking for trans people’ is, of course, who is speaking truth about trans issues? Are we entirely sure the ‘my truth’ that trans people expound is the same thing as ‘truth’?
If Gender Is Innate, Why Does It Need Surgery?
And treatment for what? Gender dysphoria? Hmmm. Historically, ‘gender dysphoria’ merely described the symptom of discomfort with one’s sex, implying that if the discomfort dissipates during puberty (30 years of medical research demonstrates this happens in up to 98% of cases, one of the strongest findings in psychiatric medicine) that is surely a positive outcome, you would think. Yet in 2018 the American Academy of Pediatrics redefined gender dysphoria from ‘discomfort with one’s sex’ to ‘distress that stems from the incongruence between one’s expressed or experienced (affirmed) gender and the gender assigned at birth.’ So an ‘incongruent gender identity’ is now merely assumed without any scientific evidence offered in support of its existence, the nominated symptom is now simply taken to prove the inferred cause. How can you tell if a child is trans? You can’t, but they know. Very convenient, diagnostically. Assume the existence of ‘gender identity’ and the only way out of ‘gender incongruence’ is castration. Very convenient for well paid surgeons and trans ideologues, if not for the children who will never get their reproductive organs back if they’re wrong. You’d want to be sure, right? ‘They know,’ apparently.
‘Diagnostic overshadowing’ is the term used by Dr Hilary Cass to describe the process at the UK’s Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service by which all further investigation and exploration was curtailed once the question of ‘gender identity’ was invoked. It might be better termed the retreat of critical judgment. Once a patient is identified as trans, there is nothing for it but to castrate them, and quickly too, as any delay is apparently traumatic and you wouldn’t want your unease to harm vulnerable trans kids, would you? All critical inquiry is suspended. Doubts and awkward questions are merely condemned as bigotry. The same pattern happens in schools. A child spends a bit too much time online or picks up the latest playground conversation about ‘non binary’, this chimes with his or her sense of discomfort at the onset of puberty or feeling attracted to other children of the same sex and they speak to the school counsellor. Immediately they are trans and if their parents don’t affirm them they might commit suicide. The child’s identity is protected, parents are put on notice, everybody celebrates as another family is shattered, their beloved child sucked into the gender vortex.
Why does ‘identity’ have this power? Why is a child’s claim to be ‘trans’ not investigated? Why are parents not even asked if the child has ever evinced the slightest discomfort in their sex before? Because that would explode the myth of gender identity premised on the ‘lived experience’ of the child. It would reassert that discomfort is potentially a symptom of many things, incongruent identity being only the most preposterous. For the truth is, gender identity only ever describes behavior or ‘expression’ as the term goes. There is nothing inside a boy or a girl that can ever be the wrong sex. Not the mind, not the brain, not the hormones. Gender identity is a phantasm, invented to describe external conditioning, then used by psychologists to describe outward appearances, now attributed to some mythological inner essence. No one is ‘born in the wrong body’. Any notion a boy has of being a girl, or vice versa, comes from their understanding of social stereotypes. That’s why so many trans women dress like ludicrous parodies of women and speak in erotic terms about menstruation or masochistic sex in which their own violent subjugation is the source of their greatest vicarious joy. Equally girls who imagine themselves to be boys have only the remotest idea of what it is actually like to be a boy. Usually, they are just in retreat at the harrowing thought of becoming a woman.
For anyone to claim that ‘gender identity’ exists, the onus is on them to demonstrate it with scientific research, not ‘lived experience’. Yet this never happens. It never happens because ‘gender identity’ does not exist independently of the claims made on its behalf. How do you know someone is transgender? Because they say they are. Why do they say they are transgender? Because a helpful TikTok influencer or unqualified school counsellor explained it all to them. You’re a boy and you like the color pink? Trans. You’re a girl and you like climbing trees? Trans. You don’t like the sound of your recorded voice? Trans. No matter the problem, all roads lead to trans heaven, and castration is the key. Puberty blockers (chemical castration) are totally harmless, reversible, give you time to think, like Alice in Wonderland finding the little bottle that says ‘Drink Me!’ Or Neo choosing the ‘red pill’ in the Matrix (the directors of The Matrix are trans, if the penny hasn’t dropped yet). It is all perfectly timed to just suck the child in. Parents? Don’t tell them. And when they find out, warn them that the child will commit suicide if they are not ‘affirmed’. Scare the shit out of them. No better way to control people than fear for the life of their child. Yet it is an unconscionable and outrageous lie, quite apart from the malpractice of placing parents under such duress in order to force acquiescence to the castration of their child. No scandal could be more grotesque. That it has gone global, destroying the lives and families of thousands of vulnerable children is an abomination.
The Slow Suffocation of Identity Politics
The whole field of gender medicine is riven with falsehoods, ideology, contradictions, and silence. And on this shaky altar, children’s sexual function, fertility and mental health is being sacrificed by the use unlicensed drugs to chemically castrate them, wrong sex hormones to deform their bodies, and surgery to render them eunuchs. It is literally unbelievable, yet it is happening all around the world. What has suspended the critical faculties of so many professional people, who treat this issue unlike any other? No other medical condition would ever be treated using unlicensed drugs with known dangerous consequences and no research to suggest they work. No other body dysmorphia is treated by surgically altering the body. No other identity claim is used to justify overruling the fundamental rights of women to their own sports, toilets and changing rooms. No other identity claim would put rapists in women’s prisons or ensure the perpetrators served lower sentences for violent assault. No other identity claim would allow a teacher to wear massive false rubber breasts while teaching a class of children, anymore than would allow a white teacher to show up in black face using a comedy Caribbean accent. And as this elephant continues blundering dangerously around the room, the professionals charged with safeguarding our children scratch their heads at all the shattered bodies and calmly tell the parents they need to be more understanding. Of what, exactly?
None of this should be happening, yet mention the magic words ‘gender identity’ and critical judgment is suspended, lest it contravene the ‘lived experience’ of disordered and delusional minds. And here’s where we get back to Foucault and his alleged instruction to ‘mistrust the image’. His concern was not the image per se, but the suspension of critical faculties that left people extremely vulnerable to manipulation and ideological bias. In today’s discursive climate we have subjective truth claims given priority through the auspices of identity politics and the unchallengeable dictums of ‘lived experience’. The effect this has on intelligent and highly professional people is the same as for Foucault’s image, it visibly anesthetizes their capacity for judgment, such that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown, when asked ‘what is a woman’ refused to answer, saying instead that she ‘is not a biologist’. It didn’t escape anyone’s notice that Ketanji Brown is, in fact, a woman, even if conditioned into silence on the wider significance of her own sex class.
All of this is the fault of identity politics, but in a subtle and much misunderstood way. Mention identity and people tend to think of the different categories it is applied to; Nationality, religion, ethnicity, sexuality. These categories are recognized and protected to some extent in laws that deal with discrimination. Trans is treated as just another category, even a subset of sexuality, though many have doubts about what it actually means. What those same doubters don’t notice is that when they think about ‘trans’ they are already thinking about identity, and they have already adopted the epistemic framing for matters of identity, which is non-judgmentalism. Whatever anyone’s identity is, it is not the business of others to speak for them. And every identity must be afforded respect even if you have doubts. In fact, whatever doubts you have about a specific identity claim you must conceal them, for those doubts fall foul of your duty to treat matters of identity without judgement.
It is, therefore, identity that walls off judgement, and if a trans ally claims the life of a ‘trans child’ then it is not anyone’s place to challenge them, however obvious the danger. So the highly qualified professional, the head of Student Affairs or the dedicated Headteacher meekly steps aside and allows the ideological kidnapping to take place in plain sight. The rhetorical function of identity politics works to deliberately suffocate the critical faculties of anyone who does not share the ‘lived experience’ of the identity concerned. To understand is to accept identity claims unconditionally.
This is the missing piece of the strangest puzzle, and realizing it makes visible the elephant rampaging through the room. Once the unsuspecting teachers, counsellors and doctors have accepted the existence of ‘gender identity’ they disarm themselves against its worst abuses. And even the swift, chemical castration of pre-pubescent children cannot rouse in them their protective instincts. Their bargain with ‘identity’ is already made, and if the child is persuaded that he or she is trans, then any further judgment is forfeit, save how to manipulate the bigoted parents. This is how safeguarding has been subverted, indeed, turned on its head. The gamekeepers have become the poachers. And what of the parents? The first they learn is that their child may commit suicide, and if they don’t accept an absurdity, it will be their fault.
The Numbing Truth
Every parent who has fought against this pernicious ideology will recognize the intense dilemmas, the sleepless nights, the minute attention to every aspect of a formerly happy child’s life, the desperate hope, the uncontainable anger, the ocean of fear. Every parent who learns about it will recognize the depths of confusion and the scale of disbelief as they try to explain even the most basic insight to people who simply don’t have a clue and retreat behind the reassuring indifference of identity oblivion. And they will all understand perfectly well that this must end. None want any other parent ever to experience what we’ve gone through, yet all will also seek the anonymity that promises their slowly desisting child will not be subject to yet more pressure and abuse.
And it must end. The elephant must be exposed, and all who claim they cannot see it must also be exposed. This is our children, and our future that we are endangering by not speaking up. Sadly, it is also the ‘lived experience’ of thousands of detransitioners, who now realize what was done to them. Following behind will be all the rest, the supposedly ‘happy’ transitioners, as they realize they are now the isolated victims of a castration cult. Finally there will be the schoolteachers and the school counsellors who fueled this butchery with their cowardice and confusion, and the doctors who prescribed the poisons and wielded the scalpels. The best of them will be filled with a lifetime of remorse, but at least it will be stopped.
When you strip gender ideology of its protective euphemisms and actually describe what is happening in schools and clinics around the world, you arrive at the astonishing truth. Our schoolteachers, counselors, and pediatric establishments have been deceived by their subordination to the dictates of identity politics into persuading vulnerable children who may be gay, on the autism spectrum, struggling with puberty, or just plain shy, into believing that they are the wrong sex, and that the only solution to this problem is rapid castration, which they are delivering with or without the consent of the child’s parents, all across the world.
That is quite an elephant. Do you see it yet?