Finally I am getting round to writing this damn thing. Sorry its taken so long, I had planned to do it yesterday but decided to die of food poisoning for the day instead. I am reborn, eating chicken soup, and ready to tell you what I think. Strap in.
First of all, let me just say that this documentary was an hour long and there’s a lot to talk about within it. I’m going to do several posts about different issues in the documentary and I’ll try to remember to link them all at the bottom of this one. Should help you find them all nice and easy. I wrote 4,500 words in my note talking spree, and I want to give each issue a good in-depth analysis of its own, rather than cramming it all into one post.
This post however is just an overview of the whole thing, and frankly as a whole – this was not a balanced documentary. In essence, I would describe it as a hit-piece on trans healthcare. In short there’s a lot of misrepresentations, a lot of skewed perspectives, a lot of focusing on the detransition and desisting side of things.
I’m saving the bulk of my criticisms for later posts, but I will give you this one, in regard’s to Zucker’s dog quote:
Amongst the soundbites in the intro comes an old beardy guy who says the following: “a 4 year old might say he’s a dog, do you go out and buy them dog food?” I’m not going to lie. I’m kinda fuming at this. This documentary is literally about the process of medical support of trans kids – you’d think they would have actually bothered to research it at all. Since the BBC won’t, allow me:
I’ve written about this amazing mother before, Debi Jackson, who’s child Avery has been featured on National Geographic’s cover recently. Causing yet another uproar. You can read about that here, or just skip to this video where she details her own experience with finding out her child was trans. As you can see from her video, it isn’t just “oh my kid just said they’re a dog, better go get some dog food!” Its as Debi describes, persistent, insistent and consistent gender.
This criteria is prevalent amongst all trans kids in gender services, of which hardly anybody starts dressing their kid up and performing a social transition on their children immediately. In fact, studies which are cited by the NHS specify:
Steensma and Cohen-Kettenis (2011) report from a clinical based sample that between 2000 and 2004, out of 121 pre-pubertal children, 3.3% had completely transitioned (clothing, hairstyle, change of name, and use of pronouns) when they were referred, and 19% were living in the preferred gender role in clothing style and hairstyle, but did not announce that they wanted a change in name and pronoun. Between 2005 and 2009, these percentages increased to 8.9% and 33.3% respectively.
That’s 8.9% of children who do a full social transition and 33.3% of which wear whatever clothes and hairstyles they want but haven’t requested a different pronoun or name. So less than half are in anyway socially transitioned, and less than 10% are fully socially transitioned. So it does kinda seem like people aren’t just “giving their child dog food when they say they’re a dog”. (That quote still annoys the heck out of me. So mad right now.)
Furthermore, this comparison is a stupid one as there is no scientific evidence to support “dogsphoria” as I’m now dubbing it. Whereas there is scientific evidence to support transsexualism exists. There’s also lots of evidence to suggest that social transition is helpful to trans children, providing positive mental health outcomes. This was also quoted in the NHS official policy regarding trans kids.
Olsen et al. (2016) report data from a community based national sample of 73 transgender pre-pubescent children in the USA, suggesting that socially transitioned transgender children who were supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only slightly elevated anxiety compared with population averages. They conclude that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group and that, although different samples and methods were used, compared with reports of children with GD; socially transitioned transgender children have notably lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with GD living as their natal sex.” (Olson et al, 2016).
All of this information is readily available to anyone willing to search it out and actually present it. The documentary did no such thing. Merely focused on the dangers of transitioning people who weren’t really trans. Which is something doctors work hard to avoid. There was very little discussion in way of actual trans kids – I think there were two examples amongst three or four detrans/desist examples. This absolutely was not balanced.
Anyway! I’ll carry on writing stuff on this documentary soon and hopefully give each issue its due. Links should start becoming visible at the bottom when they’re uploaded. See you soon!