Outlawing Psychotherapy For Trans-Kids Will Not Prevent Suicides

Outlawing Psychotherapy For Trans-Kids Will Not Prevent Suicides

The White House is backing a move to end some psychotherapies for transgender children. This is risky and could lead to more suicides.
Walt Heyer
By

Psychologically healthy people do not commit suicide. Changing genders is an outward expression of some form of depression that started long before the suicide.

Studies have shown conclusively that suicide is the result of mental illness and untreated depression, but the elite who push for gender change ignore the evidence. Gender-change advocates blame lack of support from parents and society for the suicides of transgender people. Advocates blame bullying, discrimination, and inequality in society—anything but mental illness or depression.

In the 1970s, Dr. Charles Ihlenfeld administered hormone therapy to hundreds of transgenders over six years in his practice as an internist and colleague of Dr. Harry Benjamin. His conclusion? He saw too much unhappiness and too many suicides. Not much has changed since the 1970s. Hormone therapy is still administered to transgenders. Suicide still occurs with far too much frequency, and 41 percent of transgenders attempt suicide. Affirming the false belief that changing genders is a cure for depression has not changed the outcome.

According to those who study suicide, “Over 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.”

When transgenders realize sometime later—after a few months, a few years or, in some cases, a few decades—that gender change didn’t resolve their unhappiness, discouragement and depression follow. They experience first-hand that no amount of surgical manipulation of body parts, cross-gender behaviors, or cosmetic changes to appearance will ever medically change a person from one gender to the other.

Gender Does Not Change

I know; I lived the “transgender life” for eight years. I followed all the prescribed steps to change my gender and I was surrounded by affirming friends. I totally invested myself physically, psychologically, financially, and emotionally into the promise of a future free from gender dysphoria. But I was also one of those 41 percent who attempted suicide out of despair.

Changing genders was a temporary diversion. It offered no permanent solution to my mental distress and, in fact, created new problems.

All my life I had looked forward to changing genders. All the steps in the transition process added to the anticipation: gender-affirming clothing and hairstyle, a new gender-affirming name, cross-gender hormones or hormone blockers, and surgeries for gender-enhancing appearance. All these activities reinforced the false belief and unrealistic expectation that, by following this process, I could change my gender.

Several years into my new life, I found that I was depressed. Changing genders was a temporary diversion. It offered no permanent solution to my mental distress and, in fact, created new problems. I felt ashamed, broken, and beyond hope.

For me, the first step to walking out of the grip of depression was letting go of the unrealistic expectation that boys can magically change into girls, or girls into boys. The next step was exploring the possibility that I might have some mental illness beyond gender dysphoria.

Transgenderism Means Rejecting the Self

When a person wishes to change his or her gender, her or she is in every sense rejecting his or her core gender self-identity. The avalanche of affirmation for the opposite gender encourages them in their self-rejection and inspires an unachievable hope that happiness is waiting for them on the other side of transition.

When a person wishes to change his or her gender, her or she is in every sense rejecting his or her core gender self-identity.

In the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41 percent of more than 6,000 transgenders surveyed reported they had attempted suicide at some time. How high does the number have to go before the foolishness of denying the role of mental illness stops? The advocates refuse to acknowledge a link between transgender suicide and mental illness ,and by doing so they keep transgenders from receiving appropriate treatment that could prevent suicides.

The enlightened elite blame lack of affirmation and acceptance for transgender suicide. They say that transition and cross-gender hormones are the answers to transgender happiness and suicide prevention. Perhaps you agree with them. Think again.

It’s Time to Focus on Preventing Suicide

Kyle Scanlon, a female-to-male transgender, lived the life that activists claim will prevent suicide. Fully integrated, supported, and loved, Scanlon was the executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bi Youth Line, and a well-known and well-respected valued leader and mentor in the trans community in Toronto, Canada. He was committed to improving the quality of life for others. Yet, he turned to suicide on July 3, 2012. His friends said he suffered from depression before and after his transition. Not a smidgeon of discrimination or inequality existed in this transgender’s life; no society to blame. He chose to die, even after changing genders.

We know untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, but when people tell their doctors they dislike their birth gender and hate their bodies, that fact seems to go out the window.

Scanlon, with every possible support for being transgender, still took his life. That should be a lesson for us. You can blame society, but it’s the unresolved mental disorders causing suicide.

The time has come to focus first on preventing suicide, not changing genders. We know untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, but when people tell their doctors they dislike their birth gender and hate their bodies, that fact seems to go out the window. Doctors treat the gender-confused by assisting them toward changing their genders. Perhaps the recklessness of doctors in not identifying mental disorders is causing suicides. For kids, perhaps add in parents and school boards who encourage living the trans life, which places undue psychological pressure on kids who can’t deal with it.

Adult and kid suicides will continue as long as doctors fail to effectively diagnose and treat their mental disorders. Kyle’s suicide is the factual evidence, an unfortunate consequence of focusing on the outward appearance when psychological issues run deep inside. Some day we will learn that no amount of change—including all the surgeries to “look good”—will ever be enough to heal the ache inside.

Transgender People Need Help

In 2008 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force joined with the National Center for Transgender Equality to conduct a survey of more than 6,000 transgenders in the United States. Their findings show the stark reality of the transgender life:

  1. Transgenders suffer four times the national average of HIV infections.
  2. 70 percent of transgenders misuse drugs and alcohol.
  3. Transgenders are twice as likely to be homeless as the general U.S. population.
  4. Transgenders are twice as likely to be unemployed as the general U.S. population.
  5. Transgenders live in extreme poverty and are more likely to have incomes under $10,000 a year.
  6. 41 percent of transgenders report attempting suicide.

In my view, this sad list makes the case for the prevalence of transgender psychological issues, especially depression, which leads to suicide. The survey results point to the failure to provide effective treatment to individuals who struggle with their gender identity.

Psychologically healthy people do not commit suicide. Changing genders is an outward expression of some form of depression that started long before the suicide.

Walt Heyer is an accomplished author and public speaker with a passion for mentoring individuals whose lives have been torn apart by unnecessary gender-change surgery.

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