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Transracialism, Tic Disorders, and The Limits of Affirmation
Clinicians label many phenomena as social contagions... but not the most obvious one.
This is part two of a series about the rise of transracial identity. You can read part one here.
In Hannah Barnes’ book Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock's Gender Service for Children, she describes how clinicians at the Tavistock, the UK’s only clinic for gender dysphoric youth, noticed an alarming trend:
There were even young people presenting at GIDS [Gender Identity Development Service] who didn’t just identify as another gender, but as another ethnicity too. ‘There were several cases in the service where a young person identified as a different nationality, usually East Asian, Japanese, Korean, that sort of thing,’ Bristow says. Anna Hutchinson confirms this was the case. They would have ‘quite specific ideas about transitioning and then taking on this East Asian identity as well as a different gender identity’, Bristow recalls. It’s hard to imagine quite what must be going on for some of these young people. The fact that they also viewed themselves as a different race was sometimes pretty much parked, and they were assessed for their gender identity difficulties as if the other identity issues were not important, or an indication that perhaps this young person might be struggling more generally.
Transracialism wasn’t the only phenomenon that routinely appeared in patients:
Whereas most of the literature on gender non-conforming children was about boys who had a lifelong sense of gender incongruence, GIDS’s waiting room was overpopulated with teenage girls whose distress around their gender had only started in adolescence. Many of them were same-sex attracted1 – the same was true for the boys attending GIDS – and many were autistic. Their lives were complicated too. So many had other difficulties – eating disorders, self-harm, depression – or had suffered abuse or trauma. How could such different lives and presentations lead to the same answer – puberty blockers?
How indeed? It should have been obvious to anyone who worked at the clinic that there was something off about the entire operation. Just a decade ago, almost all cases of gender dysphoria were found in boys that displayed signs of it when they were very young, and those boys did not have any other comorbid conditions. Suddenly, nearly all the patients were teenage girls with vast clusters of comorbidities. The Dutch protocol used to treat gender dysphoric children quickly grew outdated as patient demographics drastically changed, prompting Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, the U.K., and the Netherlands to all reverse course from their previous affirmative pathways.2
Last year, after mounting evidence of what was shaping up to be the biggest medical scandal to ever hit the UK—or perhaps the entire history of the world—the government’s health service ordered the closure of GIDS. It still operates today, although it no longer accepts new referrals, and will fully close next year.
In my last essay, I examined a spike in teenage girls identifying as transracial, especially as East Asian. As it turns out, there are children that identify as both transracial and transgender. Yet while the clinicians at the Tavistock proceeded with their “affirmative model” on gender, they cast the race element to the side. This creates a contradiction to identity-affirmation: why is “being born in the wrong body”-type rhetoric accepted for gender but not race? Why didn’t the Tavistock clinicians recommend “race-affirming” surgeries or melanin transfers? Why hasn’t anyone threatened their parents with canned lines like “would you rather have an Asian daughter or a dead one?”
As far as I know, there is no big demand to be seen as Black or Indian or White. From what we’ve seen in previous high-profile cases of transracialism, there is a uniform rejection by the public.
The NBC News article about transracialism that I linked to last time featured “experts” that tried to explain why transracialism wasn’t possible:
Experts agree race is not genetic. But they contend that even though race is a cultural construct, it is impossible to change your race because of the systemic inequalities inherent to being born into a certain race.
David Freund, a historian of race and politics and an associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, corroborates the idea that a “biological race” does not exist. What we know today as “race” is a combination of inherited characteristics and cultural traditions passed down through generations, he said. In addition, Freund said, the modern concept of race is inseparable from the systemic racial hierarchy hundreds of years in the making. Simply put, changing races is not possible, because “biological races” themselves are not real.
Changing races isn’t real because biological races aren’t real… but wait, isn’t what they say about gender? Don’t they say that race and gender are both social constructs? Furthermore, they say one can’t change race due to “systemic inequalities inherent to being born into a certain race”. This means that one must say that patriarchy has never existed and does not exist in order to justify changing genders.
Most teens affected by what I’m going to call rapid-onset racial dysphoria (RORD) want to be East Asian. As I mentioned previously, this is because they internalize stereotypes about East Asians that match their own introverted personalities. It is important to note that these teens don’t just identify as any East Asian group, but specifically Japanese and Korean. Why didn’t the children identify as Chinese or Vietnamese or Mongolian? It’s simple: follow the media consumption. Anime has been popular for decades, and in recent years, Korean pop music (K-pop) has gained a large Western fanbase, particularly among teenage girls. For some, being a fan of Korean culture isn’t enough. Listening to K-pop isn’t enough. Even learning the language isn’t enough. They actually have to be Korean.
Even after their attempts to race-change-to-another, there is no big movement to “affirm” transracials. People like Rachel Dolezal and Oli London have been roundly mocked for their attempts to change race, and accused of cultural appropriation for even trying. As transracialism snowballs in size as a phenomenon, it will be clearer and clearer that this is a social contagion driven by depressed teens trying to fix their mental problems via trying to be someone they’re not. Trans activists are currently stuck between a rock (or perhaps a ROGD?) and a hard place. They have two choices: affirm transracialism or twist themselves in knots to deny a link between the two. The first choice might open the door to even more identities: trans-species, maybe. The second choice will spawn a whole cottage industry of thinkpieces from “race experts” desperately trying to figure out a way to resolve the contradiction.
Transracialism isn’t the only social contagion not being “affirmed” by “experts”…
Earlier this year, The New York Times published a longform piece titled How Teens Recovered From the ‘TikTok Tics’, about how teenagers were developing tic disorders such as Tourette’s Syndrome after prolonged periods spent online watching other people display tics:
Over the next year, doctors across the world treated thousands of young people for sudden, explosive tics. Many of the patients had watched popular TikTok videos of teenagers claiming to have Tourette’s syndrome.
Most of these new patients did not fit the mold of a typical case of Tourette’s, which generally affects boys and begins in early childhood. Tourette’s tics tend to be simple movements — like blinking or coughing — and they wax and wane over time. In contrast, the new patients were often rushed to the emergency room with tics that had appeared seemingly overnight. They were relentless, elaborate movements, often accompanied by emotionally charged insults or funny phrases.
What group was most at risk for developing such tics? The answer will shock no one:
In new research that has not yet been published, the Canadian team has also found a link to gender: The adolescents were overwhelmingly girls, or were transgender or nonbinary — though no one knows why.
An overwhelming number of patients had a history of mental health conditions. Two-thirds were diagnosed with anxiety and one-quarter had depression. One-quarter had autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Roughly one in five had a prior history of tics.
Eighty-seven percent of the patients were female, a sex skew that was also found in previous outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness.
At a conference on tic disorders last summer in Lausanne, Switzerland, doctors from several countries shared another observation: A surprising percentage of their patients with the TikTok tics identified as transgender or nonbinary. But without hard data in hand, multiple attendees said, the doctors worried about publicly linking transgender identity and mental illness.
“These kids have a tough enough life already, and we don’t want to inadvertently somehow make things even worse for them,” said Dr. Donald Gilbert, a neurologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, whose adult daughter is transgender.
Looking at a sample of 35 patients with the TikTok tics, the researchers found that 15 of the adolescents — 43 percent — were transgender or nonbinary, compared with 12 percent of their patients with Tourette’s or with no tics. (An estimated 1.4 percent of the general population of adolescents in the United States identify as transgender.)
Other neurologists told The New York Times that they had also seen a disproportionate number of gender-diverse adolescents with the sudden tics. At a London clinic, about 11 percent of patients were transgender or nonbinary. The head of a large clinic in Paris said 12 percent were gender diverse. At a clinic in Hanover in Germany — the only country where many boys developed the sudden tics, probably because of the popularity of a young male influencer with Tourette’s there — the figure was 6 percent.
Dr. McVige, the neurologist who treated the girls in Le Roy, said that four out of her seven patients with TikTok tics were transgender, nonbinary or had gender dysphoria. Dr. Gilbert estimated that among his 200 patients in Ohio, 25 to 30 percent were transgender or nonbinary.
I recommend reading the whole article and letting the sheer amount of denial by these doctors radicalize you. It is truly mind-boggling that the entire article is about how all these teenage girls don’t actually have Tourette’s, that they are being swept up in a social contagion, and that vast numbers of them are also identifying as trans—while refusing to even state the possibility that all these teens identifying as trans could also be a social contagion. As the article states, Tourette’s was usually observed in very young boys before the last few years brought a torrent of teenage girls into clinics, especially those with autism and depression—the exact same pattern as gender dysphoria.
Hearing Dr. Gilbert’s reason for refusing to make the obvious connection between the two is heartbreaking. Even while he sees the parallels, he refuses to link the two because his own child identifies as trans. If he allowed his child to receive irreversible hormonal or surgical procedures, then he will never be able to make the connection. He will have no choice but to deny it forever, because the possibility that he harmed his own child would drive him to suicide.
So this is the bizzaro world we are living in. We are to accept that there are three different phenomena that all appeared in large numbers among autistic and depressed teenage girls over the past few years. We are to accept that transracialism is not real, it’s racist, and it’s a social contagion, thus we should not be trying to affirm them. We are to accept that tic disorders are real, but not in such large numbers, that the current wave is a contagion spread via social media, and that those teens don’t really have Tourette’s, so we should not be trying to affirm them.
And finally, we are to accept that transgenderism is real, that it’s the civil rights crusade of the 21st century, that anyone who self-IDs should have access to any single-sex space, that there is no sex advantage in sports, that not giving kids puberty blockers is trans genocide, and that we must affirm everyone who identifies as such.
Can such a contradictory ideology hold up against serious scrutiny? I doubt it. Poll after poll show that Americans are increasingly dropping their support—especially among Gen Z. Developed Western European countries have all abandoned their old models and set strict limits on puberty blockers in the face of an explosion of rapid-onset gender dysphoria. Will America follow their lead or go off the deep end?
There were even accounts of parents of gay children at the Tavistock overjoyed hearing their child was trans, because they would rather have a trans kid than a gay one. In essence, the Tavistock performed conversion therapy: transing the gay away. “A large proportion of the teenage girls seen by GIDS were same-sex attracted. ‘Initially, some of them had identified as lesbian. And some of them had experienced a lot of homophobia and then started identifying as trans. It was almost like a stepping stone,’ explains Spiliadis… Some clinicians have relayed how there was even a dark joke in the GIDS team that there would be no gay people left at the rate GIDS was going.”
I’ll discuss in a future post why the U.S. hasn’t followed Western Europe’s lead, even while U.S. progressives often claim those countries are superior on social issues.