Sex and ROGD
How many ROGD female teens have ever experienced orgasm? I don’t know the answer, of course, but I do know that, despite being in her late teens, my own trans-identifying kid has never even kissed anyone, boy or girl. She mistrusts her body, likely because she hasn’t yet become acquainted with it. Yet she’s suddenly sure that she wants to undergo radical sex change surgery, which, along with a host of other irreversible somatic changes wrought by cross-sex hormones, will destroy her chances of ever experiencing sexual fulfillment, whilst massively reducing the dating pool of potential partners of either sex.
This generation, thanks to lockdown, the internet, and parental fears of ‘stranger danger’, stages its teen rebellion indoors. My own generation’s learning curve was a messier business, involving flesh and blood interactions—underage drinking, clumsy snogging and fumbling in the back row of the cinema, smoking weed together on the school field, going to gigs and nightclubs, sneaking back into the house at 3 am. We parents of trans-identifying kids ought to feel relieved then, after all, we know that our loved ones are ‘safe’ in their bedrooms and not about to announce an unwanted pregnancy or a substance addiction.
Our kids are beating a retreat from adulthood and puberty; the uncompromising femaleness of breasts, periods, body hair. And is it any surprise? Regression to the safer space of childhood all whilst making the ultimate ‘épater les bourgeois’ / fuck you statement to your parents, you get the best of both worlds; to stay forever young whilst exercising the ultimate choice over your future incarnation, the nuke in the arsenal of teenage shock tactics. And how to resist such temptation? A Hansel and Gretel-style cornucopia of candy-striped flags, buttons and paraphernalia in baby pinks and blues, the stylised anime universe, a more sophisticated take on the dressing-up box in cosplay, the lure of the glitter family, the love bombing and acceptance—all in all, a ready-made community for the shy and confused.
Sexuality and identity are distinct from one another, but how distinct? After all, the trans movement, supposedly having nothing to do with sexuality, has piggy-backed onto the LGB movement, which has everything to do with it. Can you have a defined sense of your identity without first understanding your sexuality? And can you know much about your sexuality without actually testing it out with a partner? Many of the kids in question are underage, so no one would want to encourage such premature experimentation. But the ‘born in the wrong body’ narrative refines and justifies the more widespread body hatred among girls reaching the terrifying precipice of puberty. Young transitioners are reacting to what Ariel Levy termed the ‘pornification of mainstream culture’ with the shockingly, and in many cases, literalised fantasy of inhabiting another, more acceptable, male body, made possible thanks to the efforts of Big Pharma and the trans lobby.
Internalized misogyny and internalised homophobia are well-known triggers for young women seeking to transition. The majority of trans youth, whether male or female, if allowed to explore their dysphoria without medical intervention, go on to desist. Of these desistors, most come out as gay or lesbian and go on to live fulfilled adult lives. Under such circumstances, the rush to affirm of itself can be read as a kind of conversion therapy, i.e. ‘transing the gay away’. So is it a push to suggest that, for many, the identity question at the heart of transition could be reframed as a crisis of sexuality?
To go back to the earlier point about the puerile presentation of a trans lifestyle—the manga, the saturated graphics, etc—the cynicism is evident. It’s aimed at very young kids, tweens and younger, yet its appeal stretches to older teens who seek refuge from their burgeoning sexuality. At the very same time that they stage their grown-up revolt against the oppressive cis-world, they long for a simpler time when the alarmingly obviously sexed body and the real ravages of dysphoria did not shape their lives—they’re nostalgic for Never Never Land, the rewind button fairytale childhood that the newfound trans-utopia seems to promise.
My daughter becomes justifiably outraged at the merest whiff of paedophilia attaching itself to various royals and celebrities, yet she’s unwittingly been groomed online by a bunch of AGP fetishists alongside the usual trans-male influencers, into thinking she will never be happy unless she undergoes ‘top surgery’, that childishly euphemistic term in a growing lexicon of authoritarian newspeak. She’s autistic and she’s bisexual, like so many other ROGD presenting girls her age. She claims to be okay with her sexuality, but at this point it’s a theoretical proposition, given that she’s never actually had a girl or boyfriend. I suspect, though, that she is not really not all that ‘okay’ with her sexuality; that she’s running away from it with the encouragement of YouTube and a group of virtual ‘friends’ on social media; and most of all, that she would rather annihilate her sexed body than come to terms with it, first by herself and later on, with a loving partner of her choice.