Irreversible Damage

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
© 2020 Abigail Shrier
276 pages

To the degree that gender dysphoria existed prior to 2015, it was almost wholly the domain of young boys.  In the last ten years, however, claims of dysphoria have exploded among adolescent girls,  to the degree that they now far outstrip claims made by teenage boys, and institutions from schools to medical authorities have happily added fuel to the fire, urging girls onto the path of transition with skids greased by the financial support of unwitting parents and those ever-reliable  dopes, ordinary taxpayers.  Abigail Shrier argues that the extreme levels of transgender angst among teenage girls owe more to a social media-fed social contagion than reality, and that the unquestioning acceptance of dysphoria, and relentless promotion of ‘transitioning’ as a cure, is not only unhelpful but cruelly irresponsible. Shier draws extensively on interviews with transitioners and their parents to deliver an informed condemnation of  trans-happy recklessness.

American society is sick and growing sicker, a nation filled with mentally and emotionally distressed people.  Small wonder, given how unmoored we are from everything that used to give life meaning, and treated as we are like cattle – herded into consolidated schools, treated like subjects by increasing technocracy, and offered nothing for our future but a lifetime of pills and consumerism.  Sheltered kids grow into emotionally fragile teenagers, and girls are particularly vulnerable  to emotional turbulence,   confused and alarmed by bodies that are changing rapidly.   Instead of helping teenagers work through their feelings, however,   the postmodern practice often urges hasty assignation of some special, immutable status and its immediate treatment. Ritalin for the boys, testosterone for the girls!  

 Shier’s  interviews reveal that a broad spectrum of emotional stressors – social anxiety, isolation, depression, self-loathing –  are attributed to dysphoria, despite how common these stressors have been across the decades, and despite the girls in question having no background with dysphoria whatsoever. This attribution is then amplified exponentially through girls’ social circles:  not only do they discover online communities that feed their interest, but in adopting a ‘trans’ identity they are able to escape association with a reviled majority (90% of trans claims are from whites) and embrace a new status as a socially-popular rebel. Unlike the upbill battle it took for homosexuals to achieve social acceptance, transexuals became overnight sacred cows in the west, with nonstop idolization of public transitioners, and nation-states and their subsidiaries making it illegal to refer to someone by the ‘wrong’ pronoun: recently  big tech has started kicking people off for questioning transorthodoxy, most recently the Babylon Bee. Were this simply a matter of confused young girls going through a phase marked by moodiness, language-policing, and a preference for male clothing,  it wouldn’t warrant a book. But distressed young women are encouraged, not only by their peers but by authorities who one would think would moderate impulse, not  inflame it, to hurdle head-long down a path from which there is no safe escape. Schools and universities increasingly assist students to begin chemical modification of themselves,  even against or without parents’ consent,   and push girls down a path marked by permanent and increasing body alteration. The risks are especially great for young women approaching or in the midst of puberty, which is a one-time flood of hormones that will  fundamentally alter their bodies and minds. To tamper with it is to miss risking the train altogether, to say nothing of the dangers attendant with cross-hormone treatment (guaranteed infertility and increased cancer risks) or  the deliberate damage that surgeries inflict. Despite the promises of plastic surgeons,  humans are not God and replacement breasts cannot be created de novo:  only a crude, functionless simulacrum can be fashioned,  and surgeries involving genitalia are outright hazardous.  Irreversible Damage is replete with stories of young women who, after  encountering so much biological friction or having time to attend to and understand their feelings more deeply, attempted to de-transition — but for those with broken voiceboxes,   five-o’clock shadows, and barren wombs and chests,   there is no real road back.

Irreversible Damage is heartbreaking and infuriating, written with total compassion for the young victims of this social-political mania. Although Shrier’s book is more narrowly focused than Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally, she writes, like him, with the intention of communicating with those who will disagree with her. There are little-to-no “reactionary” parents in this book: virtually all of the girls come from progressive families, even the first-generation immigrants from India with an American-born daughter, and their opposition to their daughter’s self-harm stems purely from knowing their daughters and realizing they’ve been suckered into a narrative, one that makes them first lie to themselves — inventing histories of mental distress when they evidenced none — and them to those around them. Shrier, too, focuses solely on teenage girls who adopt transgender identity as a way of coping with other mental and emotional stress: she doesn’t attack claims of dysphoria made by adults, or argue with the right of said adults to experiment on themselves as they wish. Children and teenagers, lacking the experience to truly act with discernment, need parents to step up, however that manifests itself — helping a child get counseling for emotional issues, not giving them smartphones until they’re older, or withdrawing them from schools whose teachers betray the very people who fund their paychecks.

It’s tragic and bizarre that a book like this has to be written, and contemptible that amazon attempts to de-list books like it. This is a must-read for parents of young women, but recommends itself more generally to those who have not given the transgender movement and its costs to those carried away by it much thought.

By Any Other Name”, testimonial of a young woman whose story mirror’s Schier’s subjects. Worth reading. She also appeared on a podcast, the General Eclectic, in the episode “Her Name is Helena”. She does not appear in this book, but many like her do.

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement, Ryan Anderson

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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3 Responses to Irreversible Damage

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I do find identity issues (rather than identity politics) rather – or more accurately, slightly – interesting but I’m mostly intrigued by two things: why now? Why has Identity Politics exploded in the last 5-10 years? Plus why is the phenomena so concentrated in (although not exclusive to) the US? Is it (as I’ve speculated for a while) because the atomisation of the individual is more advanced there and one consequence of that trend is that more people are looking for a psychological lifebelt to cushion them and that device is more and more focused on their own personal sexual identity – sort of the last indivisible aspect of themselves? It’s something that I have very little experience of so can only speculate… and ponder….

  2. My personal theory prior to reading this was that it was a result of political energy needing an outlet after the sudden 2015 decision allowing for same-sex marriages. Organizations rarely disband…they just shift missions. This book mentions the very-similar growth in the UK, though, and another I’m reading (Material Girls: Why Biological Sex Matters for Feminists) focuses on the UK explicitly. Brit culture wouldn’t be responding to an American legel precedent, so there’s obviously more to the story. There’s an argument from conservative-trad circles that normalizing gay marriage erodes the distinction in people’s minds between the sexes, which I can appreciate to an extent given how effeminate many gay men act, and how ‘butch’ many gay women act — however, many is not all. I can’t speak for lesbians (only knowing a couple), but I’ve know many gay men who were not in the LEAST effeminate. One example who I don’t know personally is Jack Donovan — no one in any universe would regard him as anything less than a uber-masculine he-man figure. ( if you haven’t heard him speak). The book I’m presently reading (Material Girls) appears to operate from the idea that gender identity theory is an outgrowth of academic feminist theory and has slowly been percolating through society since the 1960s. The author is a lesbian feminist, so it’s proving interesting so far.

  3. I share your concerns and appreciate your willingness to read and report on the issues covered by this book. As a gay man who has never had any interest in being anything other than a biological male I am somewhat dismayed that transgender activists are lumped together with gays and lesbians as if we had a lot in common. I’m obviously from a different generation – one for whom coming out as gay was just that and had nothing to do with LGBT+ alphabet nonsense. Even more than dismaying is the concern I have for the children you describe who are doomed by adults who should know better. I’m not sure where this “bizarre tragedy” will end.

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