The parent of a transgender teenager has hit out at a number of “tired” anti-trans claims, including that being trans is a “fad” that young people grow out of.
In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, Karen Lee, from Earlwood, Australia, said the suggestion that it’s “too easy” for trans young people to transition “[does] not accord with my experience or those of other parents I know”.
“In no other field of medicine would the claim that ‘it is too easy to get medical care for children’ be a criticism,” Lee said.
She added: “Access to care in accordance with government-approved guidelines should be applauded not derided. However, in most states of Australia, access to healthcare for transgender teens is anything but ‘easy’.
“Clinics are woefully underfunded and there is a real shortage of specialists to see transgender children. The public healthcare system is failing families at a time when they need support and expert advice most.”
Lee was responding to a 13 December column titled “My child is transitioning gender, but I feel the system makes it too easy”, in which an anonymous person claimed to be the mother of a trans teen.
Misgendering her child, the anonymous mother repeated the trans-hostile claim that “transgenderism is a topic that infuses plenty of youth culture” and said: “I suspect that nowadays a conflicted young girl can reject her vulnerability by rejecting her femaleness.”
The mother also drew on the repeatedly-debunked conspiracy theory of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” to attempt to explain why her child is trans.
This anti-trans assertion was firmly rejected by Lee, who said “the tired claim that being transgender is a teenage ‘fad'” had been “widely debunked in the medical literature and is totally illogical”.
“What teenager would risk rejection by family and friends, and a life of challenges for the sake of a fad?” Lee asked. “In my experience, teenagers spend months if not years weighing their decision to come out.
“I do agree that if we get it wrong, ‘the results will be devastating in the long run, and the sense of damage to relationships will be incredibly deep’.
“Transgender teens need the love of their parents, and the support of the health and education systems if they are to stay safe and thrive.”
Studies have demonstrated time and again that affirming the gender of transgender people is linked to positive outcomes — while failing to affirm trans people’s identity has been linked to depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behaviour.