‘They’re Being Manipulated and Damaged’: Author Breaks Down Transgender Ideology’s Impact on Children
Helen Joyce thinks she has partly solved a riddle that vexes millions of people worldwide: How can we make sense of the illogical debates swirling around transgenderism?
Joyce and others seek to bring more reason–and solid research–into view at “The Bigger Picture,” the first international conference of Genspect, an organization that is bucking a trend.
Genspect challenges the prevailing notion that everyone, including doctors, should automatically “affirm” people’s gender-identity assertions and desires to transform themselves socially and medically. Genspect says it advocates “a healthy approach to sex and gender.” It also promotes “safe, well-evidenced, and effective care for those who struggle with gender distress.”
Joyce, author of “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality,” gave the keynote speech on April 27, launching Genspect’s sold-out, three-day conference in Killarney, Ireland. About 200 attendees came from the United States and other nations, as hundreds more watched via a live-streamed broadcast.
‘Women Can Be Men?’
Years ago, when Joyce first heard people claiming that “women can be men” and vice versa, she thought they were joking. After realizing these people were serious, that concept “was so crazy, I couldn’t look away,” she said.
Drawing from her background—mathematician, mother of a gay son, and a truth-seeking journalist—Joyce, an Irishwoman, developed insights about why this once-fringe concept has spread.
Claiming that “there aren’t two sexes” is like “introducing just one tiny little false equation into the whole of mathematics,” Joyce said.
As the error is repeated, its effects multiply. “If one equals zero, all of mathematics is broken,” she said. “And I think that’s what’s happened here … and now a lot of things are breaking.”
Girls who think they’re “not very girly,” and effeminate boys often ask themselves, “Why am I different?” In past years, many of those children later realized they were same-sex-attracted. But now, many youths assume they’re “transgender.”
They’re being told: “You are what you think you are,” and there are no criteria for being male or female, Joyce said.
Gender makes up a fundamental part of who each person is. Telling children that males and females are interchangeable “is just as unwise as telling children that some people breathe air and some people breathe water,” Joyce said.
The result: Children are confused.
“They’re being manipulated and damaged,” she says in her book.
The idea that anyone can transform into the opposite sex is so preposterous, “it’s endlessly hard to comprehend why anyone gives it the time of day,” Joyce said.
Two Worldviews Collide
After pondering why this concept has become more prevalent, Joyce had an epiphany, which she revealed at the Genspect conference.
She realized that two disparate worldviews are at work.
On one side, some people believe in individual rights, but they recognize that, for a society to function, those rights have limits. Rules, laws, and social norms are necessary and sometimes clash with individual rights. These people acknowledge the biological reality: there are two sexes.
On the other side are people espousing “hyper-individualism,” a belief that self-declared “identity trumps everything else,” Joyce said.
If those declarations make no sense, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what the individual declares; it is their “truth.” Any attempt to establish norms or categorize people is deemed “coercive and harmful,” she said.
Thus, transgender ideologues reject truisms such as, “Every human who has ever been pregnant is female,” Joyce said, “and you can’t have a test of reasonableness, either.”
In the name of “human rights,” claims that defy logic or contradict facts are accepted and celebrated.
“A cuckoo has come into the nest of the human rights framework,” Joyce said. “A cuckoo has come into the nest of the medical system as well.”
Gender clinics “look like they’re doing medicine,” but they’re not, Joyce said. “People come in thinking that they’re seeing a doctor, and getting a diagnosis and that there’s an evidence base behind that,” but they are being misled, she said.
Joyce’s lilting Irish voice softened even more as she acknowledged that, sadly, some Genspect attendees know this from personal experience.
Several “detransitioners,” people who disavow their former gender identity, spoke at the conference. Many say medical professionals failed to warn them of the possible consequences of puberty blockers, wrong-sex hormones, and body-altering surgeries.
After meeting some of these detransitioners and hearing their stories in 2019, Joyce felt compelled to write her book; she calls these people “some of gender ideology’s most poignant victims.”
“They bought into an ideology that is incoherent and constantly shifting, and where the slightest deviation is ferociously punished,” Joyce says in her book.
While raising alarms over these “experimental” procedures, detransitioners are often vilified; they’re labeled “bigots” or “transphobic,” Joyce said, while they struggle to recover from the mental and physical trauma.
Joyce thinks that, instead of being a medical practice, a gender clinic functions more like “a stage where people go to perform their gender,” Joyce said. Then medical professionals “affirm” a patient’s self-declared identity and largely agree to provide whatever medical procedures the patient wants.
“Everybody is putting on one-man shows,” Joyce said, while failing to recognize that “everyone else is meant to be our supporting actors.”
Noting that puberty blockers have been used for about 20 years, especially in Europe, Joyce has repeatedly asked herself: “Why are they not doing better studies? Why are they not doing long-term follow-ups?”
She now believes she knows why. “They’re already asking the only question they think is worth asking, which is: ‘Who are you?’” And they know the answer: “You are who you say you are.”
Science Not ‘Settled’
Genspect says it welcomes questions and different perspectives; it accuses the much larger World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) of being closed-minded.
“Until recently, there has been only one narrative on how to manage gender diversity,” Genspect said in its conference materials. “However, the world is moving beyond a medicalized approach to gender non-conformity and instead seeking out healthy approaches to sex and gender.”
Many groups, however, are now challenging WPATH’s “narrow narrative;” They “have made great headway in providing progressive, evidence-based, and up-to-date thinking,” Genspect says in describing its conference.
Simultaneously, the European branch (EPATH) is holding its annual gathering nearby. That was by design. Genspect intends this to be “the first in a series of counter-conferences,” a news release said.
Genspect disputes WPATH’s contention that the “science is settled,” holding that it’s beneficial to “treat” transgender people with hormones and surgeries.
WPATH has issued a statement condemning U.S. efforts to ban medical procedures for gender-confused youths.
To Listen or Not
But Genspect’s director, psychotherapist Stella O’Malley, said: “It’s not appropriate to push puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery on vulnerable kids.”
WPATH and its branches promote “heavy medical interventions while Genspect favors the least-invasive approach first,” O’Malley said in a news release.
Genspect’s conference brought together scientists, researchers, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, sociologists, educators, and feminists. More than two dozen groups were represented.
Together, they are striving to “challenge the evidence base for gender medicine and describe the widespread damage that gender identity ideology has wrought,” Genspect said, while also ensuring “that all sides of this complex issue will be addressed.”
Yet, down the road from the Genspect conference, the leader of WPATH’s European affiliate opened its conference by stating: “We respect everyone’s freedom of speech, but we choose not to listen to it.”
Quoting that statement, Genspect wrote on Twitter: “This is exactly why we’re having our conference in Killarney.”
“WPATH/EPATH might not listen to us, but plenty of others will.”