The rise of gender ideology and its variations—a discourse on self-determination and on indifferentiation—pushed by determined activists, leads to the dangerous spread of the idea that sex is a purely cultural determinism disconnected from any biological basis. As a result, it becomes easy to change it, at an ever-younger age, with the help of medicine, hormone treatments, and surgery.
All this would not be so serious if it remained in the realm of intellectual exercises and served as a hobby for idle academics recruited according to their ability to conform to the prerequisites of woke thinking. But these theories are accompanied by a galloping development of physical sex change practices, especially among minors, most of which create irreversible damage.
Today, we are witnessing an explosion of cases of children allegedly ‘imprisoned’ (or assigned) in a ‘gender identity’ with which they do not identify and who require a ‘transition,’ i.e., a change of sex, which is initiated earlier and earlier, sometimes even before the onset of puberty.
This question of biological identity has become a media phenomenon. On French television, the successful programme, Touche pas à mon poste, featured the testimony of Lilie, an 8-year-old transgender child, while the documentary programme CàVous featured Stella, also an 8-year-old transgender child. In Spain, the transgender child Elsa was invited to speak in front of the Spanish deputies of the Estramadura Assembly in a particularly embarrassing tearful production. Germany also has made a deliberate effort to normalize the transgender community among its children through the popular program, Die Sendung mit der Maus.
Particularly in France, the phenomenon is now exploding. Jean Chambry, a child psychiatrist in charge of the CIAPA (Centre Intersectoriel d’Accueil pour Adolescent) in Paris, recounts that only a decade ago, there were about ten gender-transition requests per year. In 2020, there will be ten requests per month, just in the Ile-de-France region alone. Chambry is not offended by this and prefers to highlight the acceleration as a “liberation of speech.” However, there is reason to be concerned about expediting medical and social responses to these transitional requests.
A contemporary case
A mother, who wishes to remain anonymous but is now fighting for her son, gave us her chilling testimony. It all started with a slightly violent teenage crisis on the part of her young son. He began by attacking his mother for her positions, which were considered too conservative, and gradually adopted the media’s arguments on gender theory and wokism. He then revealed his homosexual inclinations, which were eventually accepted by his parents despite their initial shock. But then things got out of hand: the young man announced that he was transgender and had felt like a girl for years. For his part, the son perceived himself in danger within his ‘transphobic’ family.
He became more and more withdrawn, introducing a rupture in family relations that had always been serene and open to discussion. Life for the boy changes: the young boy suffers, has dark thoughts, thinks about suicide, scares himself. Seeing a psychologist is complicated, as he fears that they want to “prevent” him from becoming a girl. He runs away from home and displays cult-like behaviour. He uses highly constructed rhetoric and discourse on trans-identity issues, with stereotyped answers. His judgement is impaired, he tries to cut off his family—his parents, his brother. He spends an increasing amount of time on websites that reinforce his trans-identity—to the detriment of his sleep. Finally, he takes refuge in families that he considers benevolent because they support him in his gender transition project. The parents, as they are cast in his drama, have become antagonists.
The poor parents are helpless, because the slightest attempt to keep a link with their son, to care for him in his anxiety, is turned against them because of the well-oiled administrative and social machine that sees them above all as guilty: guilty of not understanding the problems linked to trans-identity, or guilty of transphobia. The social services get involved. They consider refusing to change the young man’s name, or making a remark about his female clothes not being adapted to his morphology, as abuse. The family doctor is appalled at what is happening to the family, but is dismissed as ‘transphobic.’
Beyond her child’s suffering, what strikes this mother is the gigantic public conspiracy that has been set up to support her son—a child who is clearly suffering—on the path to gender transition, to the point of doing everything to keep them apart, obscuring the issue with silence and concealment.
In her case, the school played a particularly harmful role. Its detrimental influence became clear when she saw, on his school papers, the new name chosen by her son written in place of his former one. When she questioned him, the mother discovered that her son’s teachers and friends had been strictly adhering, since the start of the 2021 school year, to the official government circular in the support of transgender children, known as the “circulaire Blanquer.” This official document states that it is good for those in the school community to “name and gender the child correctly,” even if this means not informing the parents, a requisite made in case children face danger from “transphobic” family environments. In the young man’s case, the school considered him in enough danger not to inform his parents of his choice.
Here, the school institution, and the parents it’s meant to serve, have become dire enemies.
Transgenderism in the EU
France is not an isolated case in this respect. From August 2021, children in Scotland from the age of four will be able to change their name and gender at school without their parents’ consent, according to new LGBT inclusion guidelines drawn up by the Scottish government. This is not a conspiracy mirage, but the progressive agenda of determined activist groups.
The mother in the account above is not the only one suffering. A French association has been set up for parents to voice their grievances, the Observatoire Petite Sirène (Little Mermaid Observatory), which has collected dozens of similar testimonies. Reading them is a painful ordeal. The situations are, unfortunately, terribly predictable: the young people involved are often very sensitive children, suffering from various traumas, like the loss of a parent or divorce, sexual aggression in childhood, and school bullying. Their malaise takes root in adolescence and is accompanied by a procession of behavioural disorders already known, such as anorexia or bulimia—sometimes even suicide attempts or scarification. But modernity, which has gone mad, has nothing better to offer these young people, whose psyches have been flayed alive, than the illusion that by changing their bodies they can solve their problems—instead of listening to them and helping them to overcome their suffering.
No European country is spared. Fortunately, voices are beginning to be raised, and The Little Mermaid Observatory is not only working to take stock of various victims, but to also put forward essential protections for children. It relies on a multidisciplinary group of professionals and researchers: doctors, child psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, lawyers, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, juvenile judges, teachers, and school managers. It has also set up an international network of partner associations, with groups in Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain, but also in Canada and the United States.
In France, an article was published in L’Express, in September 2021. It is signed by fifty personalities, health professionals, philosophers, but also feminist activists, and sounds the alarm for these abuses: “Children are made to believe that a girl could become a boy and vice versa because they have decided to do so without the advice of adults, and this is happening at an increasingly young age.” The group behind the forum sees this messaging as the work of associations that spread a false directive “based on ideology.”
It is transmitted on social networks where many teenagers with identity problems come to look for solutions to their malaise. In the name of ‘self-determination’—a slogan that appeals to all progressives—children and teenagers are convinced that they can change their sex with the help of hormonal treatments or even mutilating surgery. This rhetoric, spread by activists in many Western countries, uses fallacies designed to deceive.
The letter identifies a pattern of behaviour by transgender advocates that amounts to the recruitment of children and adolescents: “This hold generates an anti-social and accusatory discourse, and a specific idiom, even a novel language, is imposed on those around them. The discourse of these young people is often stereotyped as if they had lost all critical thinking, which is a characteristic of the hold.” This is exactly what the mother who gave us her testimony experienced with her son.
Gender transitioning: an ethical problem
In their book La fabrique de l’enfant transgenre (The Factory of the Transgender Child), published in February 2022, psychoclinicians Caroline Eliacheff and Céline Masson denounce an underground and extremely pernicious process that has no other effect than to destroy childhood.
During the French presidential campaign, the Ypomoni collective, which advocates an “ethical approach” to gender issues, had published an opinion piece aimed at the candidates, noting the multiplication of unjustified heavy transition processes, conducted without proper medical enquiries or explorations of alternative ways to cure suffering teenagers. The French Académie de Médecine is also beginning to sense an ethical problem emerging in the excessive increase of demands for transgender treatment.
Indeed, the medical profession finds itself carrying out treatments and surgical interventions on children who have not yet reached their sexual and emotional maturity (removal of breasts or testicles). These interventions have an impact on their future psycho-affective life, their physical health (complications of the treatments), and their subsequent fertility. Children are required to decide on fertility preservation practices at a very young age. Surgical or hormonal intervention on healthy organs, as well as the consent sought from these children and adolescents at an age when the developmental process is still evolving, raises serious ethical questions. The changes induced are irreversible and can produce trauma when awareness is too late.
In the ‘treatment’ of gender dysphoria, lies abound. It is one of the rare diseases for which self-diagnosis is overvalued, contrary to all usual medical practices. Prof. Chambry defends this practice by explaining that minors are first treated with puberty blockers, whose action would be reversible should the patient have a change of mind. But the facts prove that reversibility is not always possible.
A cold awakening and efforts to the stem the tide
Currently, countries that had gone very far in promoting medical transition before the age of majority have begun to ban hormone treatments for minors because of this ruse of reversibility. Sweden has recently banned the use of puberty blockers on minors. In England, the Keira Bell case has exposed the mystification of puberty blockers, supposedly reversible.
Keira Bell is a 24-year-old British woman who lives with the regret of having transitioned to the male sex as a teenager. She was given puberty blockers after a few appointments at a gender clinic, before switching to testosterone injections. By the age of 20, she had undergone a double mastectomy. The surgery is restricted to those over 18 in England, but cases of mastectomy as young as 13 have been reported in the U.S.
In December 2020, Bell won a High Court case against the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) of the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust in London, claiming that clinicians should have asked her more about the transition decision before starting medical treatment. In addition to their many negative side effects, puberty blockers do not pause a child or adolescent’s gender development, but are the gateway to transsexual hormones. “I was an unhappy girl who needed help. Instead, I was treated as an experiment,” says Keira Bell. “As I matured, I recognised that gender dysphoria was a symptom of my general misery, not the cause. Five years after I began my medical transition to male, I began the process of detransition. The consequences of what happened to me were profound: possible infertility, loss of my breasts and inability to breastfeed, atrophied genitals, permanently altered voice, facial hair.”
Today, puberty blockers are banned for minors under the age of sixteen in the UK. The Ypomoni collective is calling for the Finnish regulation to be applied in France—showing at least a minimum of common sense.
The madness of transgender children is the culmination of an ideological delusion that has been with us for many years. The omnipresence of gender ideology has led to an overemphasis on ‘feelings’ to the detriment of biological and sexual facts. This discourse has been trivialised and presented as harmless. It is based on the erroneous idea that we can free ourselves from the sexual differences that are rooted in the bodies of men and women.
Identity discomfort in adolescence is a normal, well-known phenomenon. Adolescents are confronted with bodily changes due to the hormonal upheavals of puberty. This body evolves rapidly, as does the psyche, before reaching sexual and emotional maturity. Discomfort during this time is temporary, but transgender ideology tends to sacralize it. Too much importance is given to a transitory state, which will pass without hormones or serious surgical procedures. Believing that it can be resolved either by hormones or by serious surgical procedures is a deception with serious consequences, because these treatments cannot be easily reversed, if at all.
What is urgently needed is a balanced education, respecting the body, its richness and its sexual singularity. The years during which the child, then the adolescent, builds and forges his soul and body are sacred. Excessive hormonal and surgical techniques will never contribute to a person’s happiness or dignity.
Hélène de Lauzun studied at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. She taught French literature and civilization at Harvard and received a Ph.D. in History from the Sorbonne. She is the author of Histoire de l’Autriche (Perrin, 2021).