Irreversible Damage: the trans threat to girls

Abigail Shrier's new book is a must-read on the harm trans ideology is doing to young girls

Julian Vigo

Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage is a brilliant exploration of the steep rise of transgender identity among adolescent girls, and the damage it is doing.

Gender dysphoria, the acute discomfort in one’s biological sex, was, until about five years ago, extremely rare. It was diagnosed in less than 0.01 per cent of the population. But for many of us who have conducted academic research or written about gender dysphoria — and its previous incarnation, gender-identity disorder — we have noted the huge increase in the numbers of those identifying as transgender over the past decade.

In particular, there has been a huge increase among teenage girls and female university students, most notably in the US, the UK and Scandinavia. Transgenderism is certainly no longer the preserve of adult males, as it once had been.

However, it is clear from the introduction to Irreversible Damage that critiquing trans ideology is a risky business. The threat of censorship is omnipresent. Just last month, Shrier’s publisher, Regnery, was told by Amazon that it would not run any sponsored ads for Irreversible Damage. Amazon explained that it ‘contains elements that may not be appropriate for all audiences, which may include ad copy/book content that infers or claims to diagnose, treat, or question sexual orientation’. Amazon stated this even though Irreversible Damage does not question sexual orientation. Still, at least it remains for sale on Amazon.

Trans activists have also predictably attacked Shrier. But in many ways, the pushback to Irreversible Damage is a testament to the strength of its research and the power of its case. Indeed, Shrier conducted almost 200 interviews and spoke to over four-dozen families of adolescents, as well as many doctors, psychologists and researchers.

The chapter ‘Girls’ is a case in point. It presents a mixture of personal stories against a broader statistical analysis, in order to illustrate just how much time adolescents today are spending online, instead of socialising with their peers. It also looks at the ways kids now relate to each other through the tick-box categories of hardship. Recording her observations at a young people’s weekend retreat, she noted how the youngsters would introduce themselves via approved identity categories: ‘I’m transgender, and I go by they/them’; ‘I’m depressed’; ‘I’m gay’.

She suggests that too many young people, seeking security in a label, are now missing out on crucial aspects of socialisation: ‘Many of the adolescent girls who adopt a transgender identity have never had a single sexual or romantic experience.’

Situating the narratives of her young subjects within a larger social and medical context, Shrier looks at why many girls, often from the point they start menstruating onwards, start to feel alienated from their own bodies, despite never having experienced any previous discomfort in their biological sex.

The first key factor for Shrier is the role of trans narratives propagated within schools. ‘Gender affirmation’ is rife within public schools across the US, she writes. She goes on to show how classrooms are being colonised by therapists eager to push children towards a pathway of lifelong medicalisation.

Part of the problem, suggests Shrier, is cultural. We can no longer stomach the thought of our children being unhappy. Instead, this unhappiness must be treated. ‘Between the battalions of therapists’, she writes, ‘the upper middle class has made a habit of extirpating anxiety, depression, and even the occasional disappointment wherever they find them’. She adds: ‘Perhaps we’ve trained adolescents to regard happiness as a natural and constantly accessible state.’ And if that means affirming young people’s chosen gender identity, and endorsing transitioning, so be it.

The second key factor is the rise of online trans-influencer culture. In some ways, this has been the engine driving the transgender narrative over the past decade. It hooks into contemporary youngsters’ need to establish a social identity and have it affirmed. Indeed, such is the power of online trans influencers that it is surely no coincidence that, as Shrier puts it, ‘over 65 per cent of teens had increased their social-media use and time spent online immediately prior to their announcement of transgender identity’.

Shrier looks, for example, at online trans guru, Ty Turner. He suggests that if you merely think you are trans, then you are. This shows how quickly typical teenage self-questioning has been transformed into the expectation of immediate affirmation. This cycle of endless self-identification and affirmation leads at points to incoherence. ‘Chase Ross told me he currently identifies as “60 per cent male” and the rest, “squiggle”‘, writes Shrier. ‘Confused? That may be the point.’

Shrier also criticises the common and coercive trans-culture tropes that appear online, including: ‘If your parents loved you, they would support your trans identity’, and, ‘If you’re not supported in your trans identity, you’ll probably kill yourself’. She even uncovers online trans influencers showing kids how to convince doctors they’re trans in order to receive prescriptions for hormone-blockers or hormones. The damage all this does to young girls’ bodies is terrifying.

What’s more, the medical world offers no resistance. When Shrier asks Randi Kaufman, a gender therapist, about those parents who just can’t understand the discourse of gender identity, Kaufman responds: ‘I tell them that we can’t change the mind and so we have to change the body.’ Echoing the online trope, Kaufman says that if parents don’t support their trans kids, they may ‘try to commit suicide’.

Irreversible Damage is a must-read book. It portrays a generation of girls being exploited by a cultural contagion that too few adults are willing to question. It is an exhaustive and balanced investigation into what amounts, for girls, to rebranded sexism. A sexism that tells girls today that if they don’t like being female, don’t speak out or work for change; instead, become life-long medical patients.

Julian Vigo is a writer and academic.

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, by Abigail Shrier, is published by Regenery Publishing. (Pre-order this book from Amazon(UK).)

Picture by: YouTube.

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Carlo Weeks

19th July 2020 at 4:21 pm

This is nothing short of institutional child abuse. All children as well as adults sit on a spectrum of masculinity or femininity.
As the human brain isn’t fully formed until around age 24 it is not possible for the child to give informed consent to any drug or surgical interventions that ultimately render them sterile.

Steven Martin

16th July 2020 at 12:08 am

My daughter was the victim of this subculture and I assure you, what the book describes is completely real and enormously destructive. My daughter (who is mildly Asperger’s, a common trait among the victim population) fell into the on-line trans community. She was actively encouraged by her school counselors and, later, the therapists and doctors she consulted. Our daughter was coached in what to say to these professionals, and – this astonished us – the professionals ate the act, hook-line-and-sinker. We soon discovered that these professionals considered us, the parents, to be our daughter’s enemy – we were cardboard villains in the drama that they wrote with our daughter. The fact that our daughter had a series of boyfriends and talked about marriage like any other teenage girl does – even at the same time she’s saying she’s gender dysphoric – never gave any of them the slightest pause.

My daughter escaped this awful machine and today is just another (somewhat awkward) young lady with a boyfriend and a penchant for frilly dresses. I credit three things for her recovery. First, we cut off the internet as much as possible – particularly social media. Second, as parents we didn’t fulfill her therapist’s expectations – where they warned our girl that parents are judgmental and ignorant, we were loving and kept our criticisms to scientific points. I spent hours with her reviewing the scientific literature – rather than tell her “Hell No!”, I simply insisted that any treatments she consider meet FDA-like standards for safety and effectiveness, and together we reviewed scientific articles for and against, assessing their methodology and possible conflicts of interest. Third, she finally ran into one therapist who actually asked questions, listened, and encouraged her to press the ‘pause’ button. Once the pressure from the trans-industrial complex was off, she quickly lost interest in the whole affair.

Our story is unusual only for the happy ending. We know of several other girls just in our small town that are currently caught up in this web. It is hard to express just how callously evil these people are – so caught up in their bizarre ideology that they push healthy girls to pump themselves full of steroids and allow their bodies to be mutilated. It will take years for the damage they cause to become fully evident to the world. This book seems a good early step.

Kathryn Barbara

15th July 2020 at 11:37 am

Expectations of life today are enormous. Parents naturally don’t want their children to be unhappy and feel ill-equipped to deal with it. So they turn to the “experts”, who almost always have an angle.
In a teaching career of many years, I only met one child who I felt had problems beyond reach of school staff, and consequently the conversation began with parents and experts on gender dysmorphia.
I recall this saying “you prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child”. Perhaps this is the wisest thing anyone can do for the upcoming generation.

Philip Humphrey

15th July 2020 at 11:04 am

I personally feel it’s better to stay out of the “feminists v trans” spat. The “woke” left is having a civil war over it and it’s probably best to let them get on with the carnage. We shouldn’t worry too much about identity politics and we certainly shouldn’t get involved. Concentrate on freedom of speech, everyone’s rights as a citizen to live whatever lifestyle they choose as far as possible, and to hold whatever beliefs they choose. Which is better, a free country, or one divided into endless squabbling factions with authoritarians deciding who gets what?

michael savell

15th July 2020 at 11:40 am

Philip,do you really think it is best to stay out of the fems v trans spat.Seems all fathers and most mothers have been shying away from educating their children about sex matters since the 70’s and I would have said that it is a very real threat to the continuation of our race.The radfems held sway up to a little while ago and the damage they have done to both sexes,mainly boys and men is immeasurable in the spheres of education and employment.Now it is their turn but
change is happening all too fast for evolution and mother nature will not be accomodating for much longer.There appears to be no forethought anymore in the way we deal with things,everything is kneejerk,there is only black and white and nothing must get in the way of the hate that has been promoted between men and women and black and white.Haven’t we got enough problems?

Major Bonkers

15th July 2020 at 9:44 am

Male ‘incels’ who can’t get laid go and shoot up a cinema audience. Female ‘incels’ decide to change sex.

Andrew Shaughnessy

15th July 2020 at 8:31 am

Like most lunacy this started in the USA, where gender reassignment has to be paid for and is hugely lucrative for those carrying it out.

Dominic Straiton

15th July 2020 at 7:15 am

This type of weird madness has happened many time before in human history. The Skoptsy sect in Russia and the soviet Union practiced castration and mastectomy. It seems its relatively easy to persuade humans of anything particularly when everything is in flux and the population is indoctrinated and hysterical. I dont think sudden onset female trans has anything to do with gender.

James Conner

15th July 2020 at 6:55 am

Trans is beautiful?
Most of the trans women I’ve seen are dog ugly.
Man in a dress, adams apple, hairy legs and big hands.

David J

15th July 2020 at 12:19 pm

Looks, surgery, drugs, make no real difference.
A ‘trans’ will stay a male or a female from birth to death, as dictated by the chromosomes in every single body cell.

ciwima ciwima

15th July 2020 at 4:10 am


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