Two recent protests in British Columbia exemplify some of the fractures occurring within the LGBT population around the medical treatment of minors and gender ideology.
A near riotous protest erupted (near Victoria) against a transgender activist who opposes medical treatments on minors and aspects of trans activism. Jenn Smith identifies as transgender and bisexual. Smith is active with churches and holds some conservative viewpoints but does not consider himself (he uses male pronouns) as a right-wing Christian. Smith is an example of how the LGBT community, or even trans community, is not a monolith where the opinions promoted by LGBT rights organizations are universally shared.
Jenn Smith opposes aspects of SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) mandated education in Canadian schools due to the inclusion of certain viewpoints of gender identity seen to conflict with girls’ rights in schools. These are views that biological sex is determined by gender identity alone, and that gender is a spectrum. Another fear is that they are contributing to a social contagion aspect to gender dysphoria in youth and large increases of medicalized children and teens.
Smith is dismayed by trans activism extremism, which is a newer phenomenon from Smith’s personal historical perspective. Extremism is something our website addresses. Smith also considers gender activism as trendy and thus problematic.
It appears protestors tried to aggressively shut down Jenn Smith’s speaking event using air horns and by creating enough fear for safety that Smith had to leave. A video of the event may be found here.
This Medium piece is a fairly typical response from gender activists. It demonstrates the unfortunate impasse between many in the “queer left” and LGBT people critical of current gender ideology. Critical LGBT people generally believe caution is warranted in treating dysphoric minors and that it is important to maintain biological definitions of male and female for the purpose of empiricism and female sex-based rights to privacy and sports.
Anything less than a full endorsement of a dysphoric child’s medical treatments and full validation of a trans identity in law and every area designated for females, is considered hate speech. “Hate speech” some believe that should be prosecuted by the government and is being prosecuted.
It doesn’t matter that Jenn Smith is trans. Jenn Smith is a “transphobic bigot” in these protesters’ view.
LGBT youth are at increased risk for bullying and schools can be abusive environments. All LGBT youth are at increased risk for mental health problems. Protecting these youths and giving them a sense of belonging are some of the valid goals of SOGI.
However, some people beyond the usual right-wing opposition to sex ed programs and LGBT rights have concerns about gender identity ideology in SOGI, including LGB people who agree with some of what Smith says.
There is a link with these programs and increases in trans-identified females after them. And this increase in trans-identification is looking like a social contagion in female youth. And because of fast-track medical treatments, people fear for the safety of struggling youth who may not be helped by medical treatments.
These concerns occur alongside concerns for the safety and inclusion of gender nonconforming young people and trans-identified youth.
Another ironic protest involving LGBT youth medical transition activists protesting an event attended and supported by other LGBT people, occurred in Vancouver. This was at a presentation by feminist Meghan Murphy, Dr. Ken Zucker (a psychologist), and Dagny, a detransitioned young women. What is ironic is that Dr. Ken Zucker is worried the current protocol of social transition and hormone blocker use is likely to medicalize would be gay and lesbian people. And that Dagny, is a same-sex attracted female who discusses how the affirmative model was harmful in her case and the negative ways “queer” youth culture is currently affecting young females. There were many LGB people who attended the event to hear what the presenters had to say. Detransitioned LGB youth are an LGB community issue.
It was good this call to action did not encourage any violence or major disruption.
However, there was still verbal abuse directed at attendees. A protester lunged at one woman. And there were many accusations of “murdering trans children” by protestors.
A description of the event:
A crowd of about 260 gathered at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver on Thursday night to hear three perspectives on the issue of gender identity and kids. Event attendees had to face about 100 protestors holding signs with slogans such as “Transphobes Kill” and “Support our Trans Sisters or Fuck Off” before entering the venue.
Another woman spoke with a protestor who screamed hysterically “F*** you, you fucking ***” and accused her of “killing trans children.” The woman went out to explain that some dysphoric youth may be gay or bisexual, not trans. This viewpoint is validated by the fact that the detransitioner at the presentation, who came out as trans at 15, now identifies as a bisexual woman. And desistance statistics point to reasons to be concerned about this as well.
The identity politics are untenable when what is at stake is sterilizing minors, some of who may be confused LGB you. These protestors, as well as gender clinicians themselves, do not have any perfectly clear picture about the effect of the youth medical transition movement on borderline, gender nonconforming, same-sex attracted youth.
Whatever one believes about giving tweens hormone blockers and performing surgery on minors or postmodern gender ideology, what is true is that critical LGBT people, so far, are not attempting to no-platform and threaten the pro-child/teen medical transition movement.
Update 06/22/19: A University of B.C. professor and student group tried to ban Jenn Smith from speaking on campus.
“UBC staff and students want presentation cancelled over concerns of hatred towards trans people”
Update 07/10/19: The Vancouver Pride Society banned the University of B.C. from participating in the Vancouver Pride parade because they allowed Jenn Smith to speak on their campus.
“UBC banned from marching in Vancouver Pride Parade after allowing ‘transphobic hate speech”
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