A few months ago, I blogged about this British woman who sued the NHS after they transitioned her when she was still very young. At 16, the NHS gave her puberty blockers and testosterone injections. At age 20, they gave her a double masectomy. She regretted what they did to her, and won a case against them in court. She’s posted an article at Persuasion telling her side of the story.
From the earliest days, my home life was unhappy. My parents—a white Englishwoman and a black American who got together while he was in Britain with the U.S. Air Force—divorced when I was about 5. My mother, who was on welfare, descended into alcoholism and mental illness. Although my father remained in England, he was emotionally distant to me and my younger sister.
I was a classic tomboy, which was one of the healthier parts of my early life in Letchworth, a town of about 30,000 people, an hour outside London. Early in childhood, I was accepted by the boys—I dressed in typically boy clothing and was athletic. I never had an issue with my gender; it wasn’t on my mind.
Then puberty hit, and everything changed for the worse. A lot of teenagers, especially girls, have a hard time with puberty, but I didn’t know this. I thought I was the only one who hated how my hips and breasts were growing. Then my periods started, and they were disabling. I was often in pain and drained of energy.
Also, I could no longer pass as “one of the boys,” so lost my community of male friends. But I didn’t feel I really belonged with the girls either. My mother’s alcoholism had gotten so bad that I didn’t want to bring friends home. Eventually, I had no friends to invite. I became more alienated and solitary. I had been moving a lot too, and I had to start over at different schools, which compounded my problems.
By the time I was 14, I was severely depressed and had given up: I stopped going to school; I stopped going outside. I just stayed in my room, avoiding my mother, playing video games, getting lost in my favorite music, and surfing the internet.
You know, the first thing I would do with a girl like this is get her to talk to a doctor about what she should expect. Maybe get her some medication to ease some of the puberty troubles. But mainly, just spend some time with her, talking to her, playing with her, and so on. But really the most important thing would be to tell her the truth about where she stood in terms of value, meaning and purpose. After all – how sad can you really be if Jesus gave his life for you, and has very important work for you to do? Young people seem to put so much emphasis on what their peers think of them, but on a Christian worldview, that doesn’t matter at all. What matters is what God thinks of you, and what he thinks is based on your character inside, not on how you look. He’s not selfish.
Around the end of that first year post-surgery, something started happening: My brain was maturing. I thought about how I’d gotten where I was, and gave myself questions to contemplate. A big one was: “What makes me a man?”
I started realizing how many flaws there had been in my thought process, and how they had interacted with claims about gender that are increasingly found in the larger culture and that have been adopted at the Tavistock.
[…]I was also concerned about the effect my transition would have on my ability to find a sexual partner.
Then there was the fact that no one really knew the long-term effects of the treatment. For instance, the puberty blockers and testosterone caused me to have to deal with vaginal atrophy, a thinning and fragility of the vaginal walls that normally occurs after menopause. I started feeling really bad about myself again.
[…]Five years after beginning my medical transition to becoming male, I began the process of detransitioning. A lot of trans men talk about how you can’t cry with a high dose of testosterone in your body, and this affected me too: I couldn’t release my emotions. One of the first signs that I was becoming Keira again was that—thankfully, at last—I was able to cry. And I had a lot to cry about.
The consequences of what happened to me have been profound: possible infertility, loss of my breasts and inability to breastfeed, atrophied genitals, a permanently changed voice, facial hair. When I was seen at the Tavistock clinic, I had so many issues that it was comforting to think I really had only one that needed solving: I was a male in a female body. But it was the job of the professionals to consider all my co-morbidities, not just to affirm my naïve hope that everything could be solved with hormones and surgery.
Her article has a lot more information about her experiences with the NHS, and her court case. But what I wanted you guys to see was how important it is to not let children just say “I want this”, which is something they saw on TV, or heard from their peers, or read online. Instead, you need to find out what problem they are really trying to solve. Once upon a time, Christians thought that the Christian worldview and a relationship with God in Christ was the most important thing you had to offer people who were in distress. What happened to that? When did we stop offering truth, and start offering disinterested agreement and shallow affirmation? Did we just want to feel good and have people think we were “nice”?