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Yonatan Zunger 🔥 @yonatanzunger
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Short version: the study that claimed that 80% of trans kids would "desist" in their transness if pushed hard never to mention it was an unethical sham.…
The basic way this "desistance therapy" works is to put extreme pressure on the child until they no longer say they're trans. It counts "success" as the child's silence, not the child's health.
If you're seeing signs that your kid might be trans: don't panic. This is something that happens to millions of people (1-2M adults in the US alone) and will not keep your child from having a healthy, satisfying, good life.
There's one big If, and it's in your hands as a parent more than anyone else. When parents reject their children for this (they do!) or try to make them "not be trans," this can quickly change from a manageable condition to a life-threatening one.
Gender identity dysphoria - that's the medical name for "untreated transness" is a dysphoria, and suicide is a *medical symptom.* GID boosts your child's chances of dying from this by nearly 10x.…
And that's not counting the much bigger dangers that will face your child if you actually reject them. I won't read the stats for you on what happens to trans kids thrown out by their parents - they're much worse than you can imagine. *You could lose your child.*
So the good news is: your child can be 100% OK; this is a very dangerous, but entirely treatable, condition. Take it seriously and don't pretend it isn't there.
If you're saying "my kid is too young to be trans!" - it turns out that's not true! We don't understand its origins well, but this appears to be something you're born with, and symptoms can start to emerge as early as age 2 or 3.
(It's super-hard to diagnose that young, but often when it is diagnosed you'll be able to look back and say "oh yeah...")
A really important thing to know: the medical options available to your child are way better if you start them sooner. Puberty, in particular, causes major changes in the body and it makes a big difference if you're dealing with it *before* that.
(OK, trans friends: please correct me if I say something stupid here.)
(And dammit, I remember that there are some excellent books for parents and kids trying to navigate this but I'm blanking on the titles)
(Ow... in too much pain to keep writing. More here later if people want it, but more likely this will be pointers to resources by people who know way more than I do)
As @alercah mentions: while symptoms *can* show up early, they can also show up later in life. That doesn't mean they're not real! "Peak time" for symptoms to emerge is teens and 20s, but it can be as young as 3 or as old as 80.

OK, so you might be wondering what's actually happening to your kid. Let me give my best crack at explaining this. That thing we call "biological gender" has three major parts: let's call them macro, micro, and system gender.
"Macro" gender has to do with your organs, mostly. Parts like penises, vulvas, breasts, uteruses, and the like. There are two common combos, the traditional "male" and "female" ones, but there's plenty of variation here.
For example, you can be female but have an unformed uterus from birth, or male with undescended testicles, or you can lose these things later. But people don't have prostatectomies or mastectomies and suddenly feel like they're a different gender.
Macro is the most outwardly visible, but in a lot of ways the most superficial, of the parts of gender.
Micro gender is stuff you can only see with lab tests. You may be thinking of genetics - XX and XY - but even more important are hormone levels in your bloodstream, and how those hormones are received by various cells in the body.
Just like macro gender, micro gender can get complicated. Genetically, there's XX and XY and XYY and XXY and mosaicism (where different cells have different genes) and all sorts of stuff. Most have zero symptoms: unless you take a DNA test, you'll never know which you have.
Hormones, however, are something you'll *feel* - they affect everything from body development to mood. (It's really interesting to read accounts from people who have had to get hormone injections for various reasons: it changes all sorts of stuff!)
But hormones can get complicated, too. For example, there's a genetic condition called androgen insensitivity, in which you have XY genes, produce testosterone... and your cells are mostly blind to it, so your macro physiology develops female!
The number of things that can go on with macro and micro gender is kind of amazing, and this is why there are doctors who specialize in nothing but.
And then there's the one we understand the least: the brain seems to have a switch somewhere in it which says "I am male" or "I am female" or occasionally something else. And while we understand it the least, it seems to be the most important.
Because this is the one that we see as defining us as a person: if you changed this, you'd be someone else.
So here's how it all comes together: in most people, all three of these genders match. But sometimes they don't.
In particular, if your system gender doesn't match your micro gender - and here I'm not talking about genetics, but about the hormone levels measured at the point of reception - this can make you very, very, unwell.
Typically if those don't match, macro gender will more or less match micro, and not match system. This makes you look like the *wrong gender* - which makes people treat you that way, a great way to get extra daily reminders of what's wrong.
If you want to imagine what this is like and you don't have it: if you're male, imagine getting a large daily injection of progesterone and estrogen. If you're female, testosterone. You get this shot every morning when you wake up, high dose, no choice.
To say you would Not Be Feeling Well probably doesn't do it justice. This sort of thing is one of the main varieties of gender identity disorder.
So the basic problem of GID is that these three don't match: you get a bunch of unexpected hormones, plus you end up looking like the wrong gender!

Treatment is all about getting them to match again.
Now here's the very important bit: we have no idea how to change system gender. We have very good reason to believe you *can't* change it short of replacing the person with a different person. It seems to be as fundamental part of you as parts get.
(I mean, think about it. If someone body-swapped you with someone of another gender tomorrow, would you start thinking of yourself as being that gender? Or as someone hiding out in a weird body?)
Fortunately, we *do* know how to adjust the other two: it's generally done with a combo of medicine (hormone replacement therapy to fix the micro side) and sometimes surgery to fix the macro side.
And the good news is, it works. It's far from perfect - medicine rarely is - but it's enough to make the really bad symptoms, the dysphoria and the looking like the wrong gender and so on - get a lot better.
So if you're seeing this in your kid, or in yourself!, don't panic. This is something that can be helped and improved and the best way to start is to read up on it and find good medical support. It's a manageable medical condition, nothing worse.
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