April 3, 2018
Bob Withers, a member of the SAP, explains the reasons for writing the 2018 book ‘Transgender Children and Young People; Born in your own body’ edited by H. Brunskell Evans and M. Moore.
As a contributor to this book, I would like to explain what it is about and why I think it is important. In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of young people identifying as transgender. The Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service in London, for instance, saw its referrals rise from 97 in 2009/10 to 2016 in 2016/7. No-one knows exactly why this is. But what is known is that most young people will grow out of their transgender identification if left untreated. Many grow up to become happily gay; but those receiving puberty blockers almost universally go on to medical transition (see references quoted in PP presentation attached- link please). Such treatment has profound implications that can include sterility and life-long dependency on synthetic hormones.
Despite this the media, the education system, the law and the therapy profession continue to affirm and celebrate trans-people’s medically assisted journey to ‘become the person they really are’. And any doubts about the wisdom of that journey have tended to be silenced by accusations of transphobia.
This book is perhaps the first serious attempt to buck that trend. It is written by a group of academics, therapists, parents and people who have reversed their medical transition. It calls into question the central belief of the trans-affirmative lobby – namely that transgender people have somehow been ‘born in the wrong body’- and points to some of the possible psychological and social origins of that belief. This book could herald a profound shift in the way we view and treat young people with gender dysphoria in the future.
Twitter link to @bobwithers52