Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (2021) by Abigail Shrier has over 6,000 Amazon reviews averaging 4.5 stars. It describes some of the events I missed over the last five short years. It is engaging, poetically written, and an overwhelming indictment. It is not about adult men who believe they are women or the reverse. It is not about gay or lesbian adults. It is about an attack on our most psychologically vulnerable group—adolescent and preadolescent girls. Shirer presents this material without judgment, but I cannot write with her objectivity.
Social media celebrates the transgender (TS/TG) wave, and minor children are the most susceptible. YouTube “influencers” and TS center “caregivers” both say that if the patient notice feelings of this kind, they should be acted upon. I thought I was hardened after the past few years of watching healthcare, but I was wrong. Stick with me and you too will be shocked.
The process typically begins with psychological stress or trauma—a divorce, a rejection, a family breakup, or maybe something more minor. Everyone has dramas, and young women feel them acutely. Next, with the help of social media influencers on YouTube channels and occasionally their peers, these children are trained—groomed, really, over many hours of exposure—to believe the whole thing is reasonable. TS is a new identity with a thrill of rebellion, which is a seductive lock for many young girls. The victims are most often virgins who are innocent of any sexual contact (exploring early sex, which has disadvantages of its own, might clarify the situation). At every stage, emotional separation from the target’s parents is aggressively promoted.
Next, these influencers and counselors encourage the use of breast binders—often without parental consent—to disguise the developing bodies and sexuality. Binders are tight, aggravating, worsen asthma, and occasionally crack delicate ribs. They can destroy developing breast structure and may render breasts flat and saggy.
“Puberty blocker” medications such as Lupron follow, which make most people feel terrible. These are toxic, injectable medications that are conventionally used to treat prostate cancer or adult women’s infertility. This may produce irreversible brain damage.
A prescription for an adult male dose of testosterone is the next step in the process. This is ten to twenty times what a woman needs for proper functioning. Over a few months, faces and bodies assume a permanently masculine shape, and vaginas shrink and become dry. Uteruses also atrophy and frequently cramp. Clitorises become huge and protrude, and voices deepen. Both are permanent as well. If ordinary sex is attempted, it may be difficult and irritating. For many, orgasm is impossible, and after a certain point, fertility is lost forever.
These adolescents are then encouraged to consider “top surgery,” which is the euphemism for getting their breasts cut off. This creates either a low nipple or a better-centered but numb, reconstructed nipple. Depending on the surgeon’s skill, it may or may not look realistic. In either case, an unnatural horizontal scar remains. Some victims have their wombs and ovaries cut out. And a few have their enlarged clitorises altered so they look more like penises and can urinate through them, which involves taking a disfiguring graft of skin, fat, nerve, and artery from the forearm. This procedure is often disastrously botched.
Incredibly, most and sometimes all of this process can be undertaken with little or no psychological counseling or parental involvement. And these children can often obtain a prescription for Lupron or testosterone from the college student “healthcare” clinic on their own. Since the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), birth control pills and other hormones are covered by insurance.
Shrier’s book has story after heart-rending story about the patients, their parents, and the pitiful people running the YouTube channels. These kids end up hairy, with deepened voices, and permanently enlarged clitorises. But they still retain a feminine delicacy, and their identities are fragile, for they are neither male nor female.
The media, the counselors, and the doctors involved seem the vilest and most opportunistic. The surgeons cater to this cash market and function as technicians rather than evaluating each patient as a person. It is the only cosmetic surgery that permanently alters function. No one is in charge of this asylum except the crazy patients and media “influencers.” And, most surprisingly of all, no one ever gets prosecuted for the child abuse of minors.
The most telling hallmark of the TG phenomena is attempted suicide, which has an incidence in many studies of 40 percent. This is about the same for the adults and the children. It is also similar before and after “transitioning,” which is evidence that the process has no positive effect on emotional pain or poor adjustment. One transitioner commented, “There’s so much depression, self-harm, and drug abuse in the trans community. They’re all goddam miserable… it’s just like this misery fest.”
Many of those who transitioned before 20 eventually switch back, but they never get their feminine form again and are mostly infertile. Trying to correct “top surgery” with breast augmentation produces cold, firm, and unnatural results because there is no breast tissue to cover the implant.
America has a long history of destructive fads based on young women’s hysterias. The Salem witch trials were one. More recently, the McMartin-type recovered memories theories sent a lot of caretakers to jail based on imaginary stories told by juveniles. This phantom-memory theory has been roundly discredited and almost all the supposed perpetrators were eventually released. I lived in Los Angeles during this era and went to a psychologist who—absent any memories of mine—spent his expensive sessions trying to convince me that I was the victim of incest. Some psychologists have thought that youth TG syndromes were related to multiple personality disorder, a related disease that some categorize as another hysteria.
Adult transgenders are well under a percent of the total population, but these kids may be influenced by peer pressure to convert in groups. So there are more of them.
Adult gays and lesbians—and many mature TG people—often see this thing as a fraud, speak out against it, and refuse to be identified with it. Social media has weaponized the “transphobe” label for anyone who objects to the TG narrative, and some of Shrier’s reviewers parrot this. But the story has alienated many progressives from their more fashionable and vocal peers. And as one reviewer wrote, “being a teenager should not be considered a medical condition.”
No one is more protective than a mother bear. This book has stories about liberal families who were originally permissive with their daughter’s “transition.” But when the mom realized what was happening, they left progressive states and successfully protected their offspring’s normal development.
Robert Yoho is a physician who blogs at robertyoho.substack.com.
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