Dianna Kenny is a Sydney psychologist. One of her many interests is gender dysphoria. MercatorNet interviewed her recently about her latest research paper on social contagion.
MercatorNet: The number of teenagers who believe that they are in the wrong body and need to change to the opposite sex is exploding, especially for girls. What’s the conventional wisdom? What’s your explanation?
Dianna Kenny: The conventional wisdom is greater focus and awareness of the prevalence and issues associated with transgenderism and effective advocacy from the trans lobby.
My explanation is that we are all susceptible to social contagion, but not equally. Young people are more prone to social contagion, particularly during adolescence, a time during which peers and peer acceptance become very important and in the case of troubled young people, exceed the need for parental affirmation.
MercatorNet: In your research, you cite an astonishing statistic: that the proportion of American teenaged males between 13 and 17 who identify as transgender is 140 times the number of adult males – and 350 times greater for females. Is this credible?
Please don’t shoot the messenger! According to DSM 5 (2013) (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association), population estimates for natal adult males range from 0.005% to 0.014%, and for natal females, from 0.002% to 0.003%. However, about 0.7 percent of 13 to 17-year-olds living in the United States identify as transgender according to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. This estimate is between 140 (males) and 350 (females) times higher than that for adult males and females.
Epidemiological studies are still lacking so no strong conclusions about the prevalence of GID in children and young people can be drawn.
MercatorNet: Social contagion is recognized as a cause of the spread of anorexia nervosa amongst teenaged girls. Why is the desire to have medical treatment for gender dysphoria seen as a completely different case? How can it be stopped?
It is not a completely different case because both conditions are a result of solipsism as well as underlying psychopathology, which is uniquely characteristic to each condition.
Transgender advocates state that in transgenderism — the belief/assumption that one has been born in the wrong body — the body must be aligned to one’s gender belief, not one’s belief to one’s biological body. They assume that the mind is “correct” in its perceptions and beliefs and the body is diseased and must be treated.
Transgenderism is a disorder of assumption and like other disorders of assumption, is solipsistic. Solipsism is the belief that ideas that arise in the mind are true and cannot be questioned. For example, those with anorexia nervosa believe that they are fat when in fact they are emaciated. People with body image dysphoria engage in endless plastic surgery to correct their perceived ugliness, when their appearance falls well within the norms for their culture. Those with body integrity identity disorder (BIID) perceive one or more of their limbs or organs as alien to the rest of their body and wish to have it amputated or paralysed. If refused surgery, they may self-mutilate.
Can we, as a society, condone the amputation or paralysis of healthy limbs in people with BIID? In the same vein, is the amputation of a healthy penis and healthy breasts ethically justifiable? Disorders of assumption are disorders of perception. Disorders of perception belong in the domains of psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy, not endocrinology or mutilating surgery.
MercatorNet: How can it be stopped?
Transgenderism is now big business. Big pharma is benefiting by skyrocketing sales in puberty blocking medications and cross sex hormones. Surgeons who are specialising in mutilating surgery now have long waiting lists and vastly increased incomes. Gender clinics are proliferating around the world, with millions of dollars expended in their establishment.
Sadly, because most institutions who should be talking sense to the transgender lobby have readily and sycophantically fallen in behind their faulty science to the point that school curricula have been changed to accommodate gender fairies and gender unicorns and lessons that tell young children that they can choose their gender.
The courts are almost always making rulings in favour of transgender treatment and allowing 14 and 15-year-old girls to have their breasts removed. Politicians have also been stung by the social contagion virus and we are increasingly observing the passing of ill-conceived and flawed legislation permitting the proliferation of the madness.
I am afraid that we are dealing with a runaway train.
MercatorNet: Why are girls so vulnerable?
We don’t have good answers to this question. It is certainly the case that proportions of adolescent girls presenting to gender clinics way outnumber the proportion of adolescent boys. It is noteworthy that up to the age of 10, we do not see this gender disparity in referrals.
So it must have something to do with girls being more susceptible to social contagion, or perceiving maleness as more attractive than femaleness. But these are only hypotheses at this point. We have no reliable data to help us understand the reasons why this is so.
MercatorNet: You point out that Oregon permits 15-year-olds to “transition” without their parents’ permission – and there is no age limit if their parents agree. Is legislation like this the goal of trans activists?
MercatorNet: Is there evidence that people who begin to transition as teens regret their decision in later life?
There certainly is. We know that children placed on the mutating transgender train beginning with social transition in childhood (prepubertally) are much more likely to commence puberty blockers, who in turn are much more likely to take cross sex hormones compared with children who are permitted to follow their own biologically driven puberty with none of these interventions.
Figures vary across studies about rates of desistance, but many are converging on a figure around 88% of young gender dysphoric individuals will desist by late adolescence or early adulthood and come to accept their biological sex. Many of these young people will eventually identify as gay.
MercatorNet: You’ve said that “Transgenderism is a cult and must be curtailed forthwith”. Those are pretty strong words. How do you think that it can be curtailed?
There have been psychic epidemics through the ages. As they gain momentum they are very difficult to stop. Once ignited, they have to run their course, in which wiser, more considered voices rise above the din of the slavish cultists and call for a return of sanity. This usually does not happen until thousands of people have been destroyed or injured in the process. It happened during the Inquisition in the Middle Ages and during the “recovered memories of ritual sexual abuse” pandemic in the 20th century, with many others in between. It has been called “the madness of crowds.” In our times, social media is a super-spreader so we are facing a mighty foe.