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26 comments

Excellent article.

The further you go—the more patients you cut up, the more critics you silence—the harder it is to see your destination clearly. But it must be beautiful and just because you've sacrificed for it and identified yourself with it and you are a Good Person.

I have friends who fall into the above. They believe they are on the right side of history and have shut down their brains.

[–] m0RT_1 3 points Edited

special genderqueer scales that let teens rank how many body parts (out of a possible 33) they want to surgically alter

what the everloving fuck - hearing the cash register total that $$$$ up helps solve any ethical concerns

[–] Gwen 13 points

I'm stunned that any medical professional could morally justify 'nullification' surgeries to themselves. What mentally healthy person would want such a surgery?

No mentally healthy person would ever seek such a surgery. Asking for it should be clear evidence it should never be granted.

Very interesting, I'd love to hear more details about the people there... the notion that people have just become caught up in the possible new technologies we can create to the extent that we no longer reflect on whether we want them is something I think about a lot, in a broader context - it seems like there are so many ways that we don't need to "progress" in every direction, but simply because we can we are driven to do it.

And in medicine, this is one where the lines of progress are easier to find, perhaps... curing cancer or Parkinson's have been hitting roadblocks for decades, but devising new surgeries to create fake genitals? Well, that's more like it, that's something with a clear end goal, plenty of room to grow, very popular, a large potential clientele - plus it's a positive business, supplying a demand rather than dealing with constant bad diagnoses and sometimes managing to keep them alive. So maybe it's not surprising that specialists would get focused enough on their work to become convinced it was a product of value. I guess what matters is whether that will become the new norm, or whether that is truly unsustainable as a way of thinking.

I have a longer piece about it coming out soon in a different outlet -- will share when it's up.

Definitely being enraptured with medical technology and losing sight of the ends is part of it. The feeling of progress is broader -- language, self-education, new identities always being recognized and brought in out of the cold. You get to be at the frontier of a social movement -- lauded for your allyship. But you lose sight of what that social movement enacts.

Chase Strangio tweeted something the other day about never regretting her breast surgery but always having negative feelings about her knee surgeries which were done as a teenager, and there was a whole thread following of people talking about their surgical regrets and how "people never talk about that" as if that made it silly to talk about regrets with gender surgery. To me it just highlighted how much power we give to doctors, and how much trust we put in them to do whatever crazy experiments they want. I don't think high regret rates for other possibly unnecessary surgeries is acceptable either, but it is becoming sold as just another product - something you can choose, a modification. The medical industry focuses on making more procedures and selling them to more patients - way more exciting than trying to prevent things or keep the whole body healthy - and they don't always make it clear what the risks really are or why you might want to try other routes first.

I don't like surgery as a general rule. I cried after having a lump removed from my breast. I'm very attached to my body and cutting it up is just a big deal - I've had worse surgeries and they were way worse, and I've been talked to about brain surgery and there's no way I'd consider it. I do get that sometimes chopping is the best answer but I don't recommend unnecessary surgery to anyone for any reason & it freaks me out when loved ones have to go under. Anesthesia, blood clots, infections, are all risks for even the most minor procedure, and a scar is never the same as the original skin...

The tendency of the modern world to think we can just cut 'n paste human beings is messed up to me, and at least we should hold off until people have finished growing into their bodies. At that point, okay, you do you I guess, but let's not teach kids they can turn into robots or download themselves or change sexes when it doesn't really work that way.

Anyway. Looking forward to your longer piece. I see this as all part of trans humanism and the medical world in general getting quite taken over by technology and a trans-humanistic perspective, so very interested to see how people within a career and a mindset understand their relationship to progress, the future, technology in general...

And where do these clients go when they experience surgical complications or deep regret and need detranstioning, the patients are effectively being treated with new technologies and methodology based on slim evidence. Would other non-invested medical specialists be willing to touch these cases with all the legal connotations of untreated mental co-morbidities and "experimental" work?

At least if you are experimenting on lab animals in most countries you HAVE to be in consultation with an ethics committee. Where are the Medical ethics boards on this? Would they sign off on it knowing the risk of a class action?

Thanks for sharing this... curious any thoughts/reactions

How did it affect you emotionally, being there? I find it hard enough talking to dedicated genderists just on message boards

While the conference was going on, I had to check my feelings about it. I didn't participate in anything -- no clapping, no pronoun badge (was very obvious I didn't have one, as they were bright ribbons on everybody's tags) -- but could not really show my actual feelings, so it was easier not to feel them. On the last day, organizers knew reporters were there since two who had attended virtually had published (they didn't know those reporters were virtual) so there was a witch hunt for reporters and people were supposed to report suspicious behavior to organizers. So that was extremely nervewracking, since the day before two people behind me in a session said I looked like a reporter. But the main thing -- that I didn't anticipate -- was that it's physiologically extremely stressful to be surrounded by fired-up people who are talking about people who want to eliminate trans people and KNOW they mean you and KNOW you'd never be able to convince them otherwise. My heart raced for days after. When I got home on the last day, I honestly felt super fucked up and kind of collapsed, just being around all of that. I just felt this very deep horror and it took me several days to come out of it.

Very interesting read.

I'm wondering - was there anyone there who still advocates waiting and holding off on medical intervention? Does anyone talk about how children can go through phases and that in some cases they should be left to grow out of it? Or is the current climate there one where no one questions transitioning anyone who asks, or advocates slowing down? I'm just curious.

Climate is no questions... no comorbidity too serious to rule out or even delay treatment. Doesn't matter if severely autistic, three years old, sexually traumatized, eating-disordered, multiple personalities, whatever.

That is horrifying . . . one day they will be going after these folks with pitchforks, I imagine.