This will come as a grave disappointment to liberals, who like to fancy themselves in possession of a preternatural degree of sensitivity that permits them to home in on the suffering of oppressed peoples. But their radar may be giving them a false positive when it comes to one of their newest protected classes — transgenders.
According to Dr. Stephen Stathis, a psychiatrist who runs a gender clinic at a hospital in Brisbane, Australia, only a small minority of the children who come to him with gender issues actually suffer from gender dysphoria. This is “a strong, persistent feeling of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned gender.”
In an interview with The Courier-Mail newspaper, Stathis maintains that the majority of the children and adolescents he sees each year are merely unhappy with some aspect of their life. This is hardly uncommon during the formative growth years, when, for example, a child who is shorter than most of his classmates will wish he were taller and might even resort to some extreme measure such as trying to stretch himself.
In cases where gender stereotypes come into play, a young person might wrongly conclude that being the opposite sex would solve a problem. Stathis reports having treated young girls who were sexually abused and say, “If only I had been a male I wouldn’t have been abused.”
In many cases, he notes, adolescents “try out being transgender” as a way of standing out from the crowd. He tells reporters of one patient who said to him, “Dr Steve … I want to be transgender, it’s the new black.”
By the time they reached puberty, Stathis submits, most of these young people revert back to identifying as their birth gender.
A serious problem, he notes, is that children tend to be willful and impatient to solve their problem.
“I’ve seen genital mutilation, some who try to cut off their penis,’’ he said.
‘‘The thought of touching their genitals is so abhorrent they don’t wash them and get infections.’’
Another problem is well-meaning but misguided parents who unwittingly become “enablers.” According to Reuters, many parents in the U.S. accept that their children are transgender by the age of three. According to the article, pioneering research at the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands advocates “watchful waiting.” Researchers there urge “caution in leading pre-adolescent children into a social transition, in part because a significant though not precisely established percentage will revert back to the natal gender, or gender assigned at birth. Experts say further study is needed to determine how many children make such a reversion in their transgender identity.”