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The Psychological Impact of LGBT Discrimination

Discrimination against LGBT individuals has become commonplace in today's world. With bias at home, school, work, and in the community, research has found serious mental health effects. Action must be taken to stop these practices. Read More

Cross Culture

America loves to hate Russia, and this has been true since the end of the second World War. Unfortunately, a majority of Americans have no understanding of Russia's culture and history, leading them to accept any sensationalist propaganda "reported" to them. Is it truly that surprising to people that a country that has been Orthodox Christan for well over 1000 years has an issue with "non-traditonal" relationships? Is it truly that surprising to people that a country with a demographic crisis is encouraging traditional family planning in order to secure for themselves an adequate workforce to maintain their already hit-or-miss infrastructure?

Additionally, is it truly that surprising to people that others find it extremely strange and inappropriate that students, some very young, are claiming to be a different gender and that they must now use the opposite restroom? There is something incredibly wrong with adults well into their professional lives telling children, and the rest of society, that gender is essentially fluid and that customs seen in this country for generations are now outdated and unacceptable.

No one under the age of 18 has enough life experience or mental capacity to fully understand this situation. We've spent decades asserting that the growing mind is very impressionable and must be carefully developed through the assistance of our peers, only to turn completely around and say that the the same 5 year olds claiming they want to be dinosaurs when they grow up now somehow have enough self-awareness to "know" they were born in the wrong body. Furthermore, we have parents - armed with the deep understanding of LGBT issues endowed to them by one of the various media outlets - encouraging this behavior.

This country first needs to focus on things like our very broken systems of education and government, and in turn may find intolerance and general anger shrinking away.

I replied in the wrong place

I replied to the article instead of to your comment. My answer to your comment should be the comment right after yours. Apologies.

What is this obsession with restrooms??

Seriously, it's like every time someone mentions trans people, they just somehow HAVE to mention using the restrooms. Do you have any idea how LITTLE the matter of restrooms really matters in the life of a trans child compared to everything else? Clothes, shoes, toys, friends, games, names and pronouns and nicknames, and so on and so forth: these are the things that fill a trans child's life. These are the things that matter. So why do you people focus so much on something that happens, what, 4 or 5 times a day at most, and lasts 5 minutes maximum each time?

"No one under the age of 18 has enough life experience or mental capacity to fully understand this situation. We've spent decades asserting that the growing mind is very impressionable and must be carefully developed through the assistance of our peers, only to turn completely around and say that the the same 5 year olds claiming they want to be dinosaurs when they grow up now somehow have enough self-awareness to "know" they were born in the wrong body. "

What about the masses of trans people who knew they were trans as far back as when they were kids? What about the masses of gay kids who tried so hard to turn themselves straight and never managed? If a gay kid can know from childhood that he's gay, then why can't a trans kid know that he's trans just as well?

I do in fact understand how

I do in fact understand how little the matter of restrooms matters to trans people, and it is concerning to me because it is an issue with how these people handle reality. Restrooms are separate based on the differences in how the sexes use them, as well as a certain level of expected privacy. First and foremost, children in high school or younger typically have not had transitional surgeries, meaning they still posses clear physical characteristics belonging to a specific sex. This alone is enough to bar them from a clearly labelled restroom.

The additional items you mention (clothes, shoes, etc.) that are more important in the lives of trans people than restrooms also happen to be items commonly associated worldwide with stereotypical gender roles - roles criticized by activists which are in actuality reinforcing their validity by say, dressing their son in pink instead of blue, or skirts instead of pants.

"What about the masses of trans people who knew they were trans as far back as when they were kids?"

I attempted to address this by highlighting that children frequently express feelings about things they have no concept of - such as growing up to be a dinosaur. It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their child comes to maturity with an understanding of the world which is grounded in reality, and not to enable and encourage behavior which may harm the child in the long run.

Clearly, no, you don't understand

Restrooms are separate based on the differences in how the sexes use them, as well as a certain level of expected privacy.

Do you have separate restrooms in your home? No? Why? Is it because it's a single restroom? Well, in my country at least, all women's restrooms only contain single cubicles, so where is the difference? If a man walked into a women's restroom, there would be exactly NOTHING for him to see. If a little boy walked into a girls' restroom, there would be equally nothing to see. Inversely, if a trans woman or a little trans girl went to the ladies's restroom, she would use a single stall, so there would once again be NOTHING to be seen by the other users of the restroom. So what, exactly, is the problem? Because I really don't see any.

roles criticized by activists which are in actuality reinforcing their validity by say, dressing their son in pink instead of blue, or skirts instead of pants.

Activist parents dressing their sons in girls' clothes have nothing to do with little trans girls asking to be allowed to wear girls' clothes like all the other girls. One is adults abusing children, the other is an individual human being asking to be respected.

. It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their child comes to maturity with an understanding of the world which is grounded in reality, and not to enable and encourage behavior which may harm the child in the long run.

Your words are unbelievably cruel. Do you think that we trans people WANTED to be this way? Do you think we didn't fight it tooth and nail? And above all, do you REALLY think that our families encouraged us??? Well then, let me enlighten you: massive and relentless physical, verbal and psychological abuse towards non-gender-conforming children is the STANDARD response from family members. So far, I have NEVER heard of a trans adult who was in any way supported in their non-gender-conforming ways by their families. It is extremely common for young trans people to be coerced, even blackmailed into gender-conforming, under threat of battery, expulsion from the family home, or even, yes, death.

And yet, 10, 20 or 50 years later, we STILL feel the same. Many of us have tried desperately to live the gender-conforming life: getting married, having kids, having gender-conforming jobs and activities. But it doesn't work. It doesn't work because we cannot change WHO WE ARE.

So if you don't want the current generation of trans kids to be hurt, then you should encourage their parents NOT to hurt them like we were hurt. Letting a deluded little boy wear dresses for a couple of years will NEVER hurt him as much as threatening to beat up or emotionally abandon a little trans girl who asks to wear dresses will.

If you REALLY care about the children, then let them be. Simple, really.

Ugh, messed up the formatting

Obviously, I'm more upset by this than I thought, if I keep making posting mistakes like this. Apologies for the lack of quoting format.

In Response

"Do you have separate restrooms in your home? No? Why? Is it because it's a single restroom?"

Actually, no - it's because it is my house, not a public institution, and such comes with a separate set of formalities.

"So what, exactly, is the problem? Because I really don't see any."

Again, the problem here is that trans people don't think there is a problem. There is something patently ridiculous with the argument that "there is nothing to see" - if that is truly the case and a good reason to allow anyone in any restroom, then why can a trans person not simply use the restroom they were previously using? Is it possibly because they look like the opposite gender and therefore make the other users uncomfortable?

"Activist parents dressing their sons in girls' clothes have nothing to do with little trans girls asking to be allowed to wear girls' clothes like all the other girls."

This is simply delusional. Here, something is referred to as two separate things when it is in fact one (the son). Any parent that continuously indulges unrealistic behaviors in their child and knowingly contributes to said behaviors is exactly what I was talking about.

"Letting a deluded little boy wear dresses for a couple of years will NEVER hurt him as much as threatening to beat up or emotionally abandon a little trans girl who asks to wear dresses will."

What, exactly, is the distinction here? It appears that you are trying to differentiate between a deluded child and one that claims it is a girl when in reality it is a boy. For this, I recommend the definition of "delusion". Additionally, there is a major difference between physically or verbally abusing a child that behaves a certain way and simply telling them "no" and moving on.

A delusion? Try again.

"There is something patently ridiculous with the argument that "there is nothing to see" - if that is truly the case and a good reason to allow anyone in any restroom, then why can a trans person not simply use the restroom they were previously using? Is it possibly because they look like the opposite gender and therefore make the other users uncomfortable?"

You're the one being ridiculous here. You say it yourself: a trans person looks like the opposite gender. So why on Earth shouldn't they use the opposite gender's restroom, where they WON'T make anyone uncomfortable?? I can guarantee you that if you've used public restrooms, then you've most likely already used them in company of a trans person. And what happened exactly? Nothing! You didn't even notice. Nobody was traumatised.

But do you know what is very likely to happen if you send a trans woman to the men's restroom? Physical violence, up to murder. I'm not making this up: the statistics are chilling. Educate yourself.

So if women don't notice her, and men are likely to beat her up or worse, there is NO good reason whatsoever to force a trans woman to use the men's restroom.

" It appears that you are trying to differentiate between a deluded child and one that claims it is a girl when in reality it is a boy. For this, I recommend the definition of "delusion"."

You're 50 years too late. Psychiatrists have tried for decades to make that label, or ANY other mental issue label, stick onto trans people - and utterly failed. Being trans just doesn't fit the criteria of a delusion or anything else, no matter how hard they try to force it to. It also doesn't respond to ANY treatment: not pills (ALL the pills available, including of course anti-psychotics), not electroshocks, not lobotomy, not psychoanalysis, not any other kind of therapy. NOTHING works. Nothing works because it's not a mental issue.

But do tell me: do you also think that homosexuality is a delusion? If yes, then I'll have my answer as to how you can be so selfishly cruel and ignorant. If no, then I'd really like to know what difference you make between being attracted to the wrong kind of sex, and feeling like you are the wrong kind of sex!

To Define

Delusion: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary

Psychotic: having or relating to a very serious mental illness that makes you act strangely or believe things that are not true

Because a certain group chooses to eschew particular labels does not make the labels any less applicable. Words have definitions that typically do not change depending on how a very small fraction of the population feels about them. Being trans does indeed fit into the definition of delusion, and this is especially evident in the consistent denial of this definition despite it being extremely clear.

"it's not a mental issue"

This is clearly false and requires no further explanation.

Of course I do not think homosexuality is a delusion - it has absolutely nothing to do with a distorted body image or expensive, destructive surgeries. Being homosexual and being transsexual are entirely separate situations, and neither side is helped by grouping them together.

"being attracted to the wrong kind of sex, and feeling like you are the wrong kind of sex"

Never have I mentioned anything being "wrong". Additionally, you have highlighted the difference here: one is a sexual orientation which at this point is largely believed to be innate, and the other is a serious mental condition formed in early childhood due to many factors. What is the solution to being gay? There is not one - it is not seen as a medical condition and typically requires only societal acceptance. On the contrary, the "solution" to being transsexual is thousands of dollars worth of surgeries, continual hormone use, and a complete restructuring of daily life - on top of expecting societal acceptance.

Do you even read what I'm writing?

"Delusion: a persistent false psychotic belief"

1. I told you: the psychiatrists themselves had to give up on pinning psychosis on trans people, because the diagnosis simply doesn't fit. Are you saying that you know better than the specialists who worked on the case for decades?

2. How do you determine whether a belief is false or not? By putting it to the test, right? If someone says, "I believe I could run a marathon," you make them try running a marathon and see if they can finish it or not. Easy. Well, trans people say, "I believe I would be happier living as the opposite sex," and when they are put to the test, they turn out to be MASSIVELY right: they are indeed MUCH happier, both subjectively and objectively, living as the opposite sex. So their belief is right, and thus not a delusion.

"Because a certain group chooses to eschew particular labels does not make the labels any less applicable. Words have definitions that typically do not change depending on how a very small fraction of the population feels about them."

This is true... but YOU are the "minority" here. The "majority" consists of the mental health specialists, ie. psychiatrists, and they have determined that trans-identity is NOT a psychosis. Will you accept that they know better than you?

"This is clearly false and requires no further explanation."

Psychiatrists have tried everything they know to cure transidentity. Everything they've tried has utterly failed. The only treatment which ever works, and which happens to give consistently good results, is transition. If surgery works better than the entire psychiatric arsenal, then I'd say it's pretty obvious the problem is not mental. You'd have to be delusional to argue otherwise.

"Of course I do not think homosexuality is a delusion - it has absolutely nothing to do with a distorted body image or expensive, destructive surgeries."

You write this as though the second part of your sentence was supposed to explain the first. But it doesn't, because you're using arguments related to transidentity rather than homosexuality. To this day, there are still LOTS of people who argue that homosexuality is a delusion as in, "These people falsely believe they are attracted to the same sex, when in fact something is going very wrong in their head to make them think so." So now I ask you again: why don't YOU argue this as well?

"Being homosexual and being transsexual are entirely separate situations, and neither side is helped by grouping them together. "

Ha ha! This is hilarious, considering that it was trans-related events which kickstarted the whole gay rights movement. Educate yourself on the Stonewall Riots, will you? Then trans people supported LGB people for more than 4 decades of political activism, and now you would want LGB people to drop T people? Yeah, right.

" Additionally, you have highlighted the difference here: one is a sexual orientation which at this point is largely believed to be innate, and the other is a serious mental condition formed in early childhood due to many factors."

You're showing more and more that you really don't know anything about what you're talking about. Here's what a simple look at Wikipedia would have told you: "In 1952, the APA listed homosexuality in the DSM as a sociopathic personality disturbance. Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals, a large-scale 1962 study of homosexuality, was used to justify inclusion of the disorder as a supposed pathological hidden fear of the opposite sex caused by traumatic parent–child relationships." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental...) Rings familiar?

" What is the solution to being gay? There is not one - it is not seen as a medical condition"

Only since 1973.

"On the contrary, the "solution" to being transsexual is thousands of dollars worth of surgeries, continual hormone use, and a complete restructuring of daily life"

Surgery: same as with some intersex people.
Hormone use: same as with tons of other body disorders. Hell, the hormones trans people use are designed for use by non-trans people in the first place!
Complete restructuring of daily life: trans people WANT this.

Also:
Surgery: bariatric surgery.
Hormone use: insulin.
Complete restructuring of daily life: complete restructuring of diet and lifestyle.
And what do you get? Obesity-linked diabetes. Are you going to argue that this type of diabetes is also a mental illness, a delusion, a psychosis?

Make no mistake: both the psychiatrists and a growing number of the population are coming to realise that transidentity is real and is not a mental illness. In 20 years, you will be in the same place as the people today who keep insisting that homosexuality is a mental illness and should not be socially accepted. Have fun with that!

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Michael Friedman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in how social relationships influence mental and physical health
    
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