Posts Tagged ‘Conversion Therapy’

Professional Therapist Stephanie Winn Interviewed by Trans-Critical Author Helen Joyce about the Myth of Gender Conversion Therapy

July 4, 2022

On Saturday I posted a piece about the email I received from the chair of LGBTQ+ Labour and Anneliese Dodds about the Labour party’s proposed policies for gay and trans people and their intention to give them greater protection under the Equality legislation. I have no problem with gay equality. What does concern me is the pair’s proposals to ban trans conversion therapy alongside gay conversion therapy. Gay conversion was a brutal form of what can only be described as medicalised torture. Clive Simpson, a gay YouTuber, has described its horrors in one of the videos I put up yesterday to support some of the points I made in my reply to the Labour party. Gay conversion therapy used aversion therapy to try to ‘cure’ gay men of their sexual attraction to other men. They were given electric shocks while being shown pictures of naked men. Alternatively, they were given drugs that made them sick. They were also locked in their rooms for three days at a time, not allowed out even to go to the toilet. They were also deprived of food and water as this was also believed to make the process more effective. I have absolutely no hesitation in describing this treatment as hell, and that the people inflicting it on their patients were sadists. Such procedures have, however, been mercifully illegal since the 1970s.

There is a profound difference between gay conversion therapy and supposed trans conversion therapy. The activists demanding a ban on trans conversion therapy do not say what they consider trans conversion therapy to be. There’s thus a real fear that any such ban will mean that the only legally permitted form of treatment for gender-confused and trouble children and adults will be the affirmative model. This form of states mandates the therapist to agree with the patient that they really are of a different gender than their biological body, and must set them on the path for medical transition. This may be appropriate for some, but not all, as many sufferers who believed they were trans had underlying mental health or emotional issues which were the real sources of their confusion, and which should have received treatment instead. There is a growing community of detransitioners who believed they were trans, underwent clinical transition, but now believe they were wrong and are trying to get back, as far as possible, to their birth gender. There is an online community of 20,000 of them and its seems some of them are considering legal action against the therapists who put them on the trans pathway.

Stephanie Winn is a licensed therapist and councillor in Oregon in the US. She is also the host of this, the ‘You Must Be Some Kind of Therapist’ podcast. In this edition of the podcast, she’s interviewed by former Economist journo and anti-trans author Helen Joyce about how she came to be opposed to the affirmation-only model while treating confused teens. She speaks about the dangers of the laws in America as enacted in individual states, which seek to outlaw gender conversion therapy, as a result of which she stopped treating children and moved instead to setting up help groups for adults with children experiencing these problems. Because of this and her social media presence, she was targeted by trans rights activists and a former member of one these support groups, who complained to the board about her. She describes her struggle to combat these false allegations and her eventual success. She also goes through the specific Oregon legislation banning gay and trans conversion therapy, showing that it’s unnecessary and actually harmful in the case of trans people. She also foresees a time when the ban on trans conversion therapy will be seen in its way as savage and barbarous as lobotomy and other discredited and deeply unethical medical practices.

The blurb for the podcast reads

’11. ”Helen Joyce: Debunking the Myth of Conversion Therapy’, I recently emerged victorious from a harrowing battle and successfully defended myself against false allegations of “conversion therapy.” Part of how I got through the stress of it all was envisioning that some day I would be able to use my story to encourage and inspire others. But what I couldn’t have imagined was that I’d share it with the illustrious Helen Joyce. Under any other circumstances I would have loved to interview Helen. But in this conversation, she actually interviewed me, in the hopes that my story could help her organization demonstrate to UK officials how including “gender identity change efforts” in its “conversion therapy bans” could backfire. So today, this is my story: where I started off; my experiences as a gender-affirming therapist; what brought me around to seeing matters differently; why I decided to take a stand against gender ideology and medicalization; how I found the courage to share my views publicly; who targeted me, and why; how I defeated them; and what I want lawmakers around the world to understand about these proposed “conversion therapy bans” (hint: they’re not what they seem.) This is a very timely conversation, so I bumped it to the front of the queue and am publishing it right away. I hope to have Helen back another time to discuss her own ideas. But for now, I really appreciate this opportunity to share my story with Helen, and the world. If I do say so myself, this is an important conversation for therapists, governing bodies, lawmakers, those seeking therapy, and anyone who cares about the treatment of gender issues in today’s society. Helen Joyce is author of “TRANS: When Ideology Meets Reality”, published in July 2021 by OneWorld and in paperback since May 2022. A Times of London and Spectator book of the year, it is a UK and Amazon top ten bestseller. It received rave reviews in publications ranging from the Telegraph to the New York Times, and endorsements from, among others, Daniel Dennett (“A sane, humane book”), Lionel Shriver (“Utterly unintimidated by extremist orthodoxy”) and Richard Dawkins (“Thoroughly researched, passionate and very brave”). Helen now works as Director of Advocacy for Sex Matters, a human-rights organization that campaigns for sex-based rights. Her journalism can be found on her website: thehelenjoyce.com’.

In the podcast, Winn makes the point that the barbarous methods of gay conversion therapy are now illegal. Sexual orientation is fixed, and these methods were absolutely failures. They could not prevent gay men from still being attracted to other men, and certainly couldn’t make them attracted to women. All they could do is destroy their self-esteem. Gender-identity, on the other hand, is, in her words, incredibly mercurial. She makes the point that there are underlying mental issues with many of the teenagers experiencing difficulties with their birth gender. Sometimes these are mental health problems or mental conditions like autism, which can give some of the symptoms that may be interpreted as trans. Sometimes they’re internalised misogyny or homophobia. She talks about instances where the sufferer or their families believe it’s preferable to have a live daughter than a dead gay son. She also saw many lesbian girls, who seemed to want to transition partly out of loneliness. As lesbians they were in a narrower pool of potential romantic and sexual partners than if they were men. Part of the process of treating them involved reconciling them to the fact that as lesbians, they would have more difficulty finding partners, but that it was all right to be gay.

She makes it very clear that she’s opposed to gay conversion therapy, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. It doesn’t hurt anyone, except where there’s homophobia, and doesn’t cost anything. The affirmative-only model, however, sets gender confused people on a long medical process of puberty blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones and finally surgery. This has profoundly detrimental effects on the patients’ lives and health. The drugs and hormones actually shorten their lives and the treatment as whole sterilises them and leads them unable to experience orgasm, an important part of sexual relationships. She is afraid that the poor health many trans people therefore suffer will leave them vulnerable to suicide.

She also believes very strongly that the contemporary explosion of Rapid Onset Dysmorphia amongst girls is a social contagion. Previously there was only a small number of people seeking treatment as trans, and they were mostly boys. Now its a large number of girls. It looks very much to her like a social contagion, passed on by teenagers and young people reading about it on the internet. She is also concerned about children using the threat of committing suicide to force their parents and therapists into accepting that they are really of the desired opposite gender. This is another tactic kids have picked up from the Net. She talks about how she set up her support group for the parents of trans-identifying kids to reassure them that they were right and not the bigots their children and trans activists accused them of being. This, however, allowed one woman, who only attended the group once, to accuse her of malpractice. She was able to seek very capable legal advice, and the case was eventually dismissed. She also pre-empted the trans activists attack on her for what she was posting about on the Net by informing the ethics board first, resulting in their accusations also being dismissed.

She states very clearly that the affirmative-only model is not the sole method of treatment. For the majority of gender confused kids it is only a phase they go through before emerging as gay adults. And that’s fine by her. There are also plenty of other therapies and forms of counselling that can effectively treat the condition so that the sufferers do not have to transition. What therapists should not be doing is giving in to children who insist they are of different gender. These are teenagers, and no-one makes sensible decisions or knows what’s really best for them as a teenager. Many of them are uncomfortable going through puberty, and Winn asks if anyone was ever comfortable with this period in their lives. Unfortunately, the law has given these children a terrible weapon to use against those therapists who disagree with them and believe it is more appropriate to use alternative forms of therapy. She also states that if all the therapists were like her and stood up against the affirmation model, then the laws banning gender conversion would be struck down. But they’re not. Many are afraid of their patients suing them if they don’t agree with them. She concludes by saying that people must stand up as the responsible adults to this oppressive, harmful attitude. She compares it to an incident when her 13 year old son accidentally drilled into his hand. This caused a lot of pain and distress, but the injury wasn’t serious. And so, she says, into gender confusion. But she is very critical of the passage in Oregonian legislation that states that gender confusion is not a mental disorder. She states that according to the accepted medical definitions, a mental disorder is a condition that causes distress so extreme that the person experiencing it is unable to get on with their lives properly. And most trans people do indeed spend their time consumed with this problem to their great distress. She also observes that there has been a mental change in young people generally. While previous generations were more outward-oriented, geared towards others, this one has become more inward-oriented, obsessed with how they present and what others will think of them. She states that when she started off, she believed that most of the issues she would experience with girls would be about crushes. But it isn’t. She therefore spent her time treating girls by telling them that not everyone would like them, and some would even actively dislike them, but that this was normal and natural.

The pair discuss what the proposed legislation about banning gender conversion therapy may mean in England. Winn tries to answer the question by citing her experience as a therapist in Oregon. Winn states that gay conversion therapy is already banned, and all trans conversion therapy means is that someone questioned whether the patient really was a member of the opposite sex to that of their birth. She is also expresses the same scepticism towards the statistics cited in the Oregon legislation, though she accepts that some of the people cited as having experienced gay conversion therapy are probably older men, who really did go through such horrific maltreatment. When it comes to England, the pair hope that such legislation banning gender conversion will be rejected by MPs and voted down.

This is a fascinating video, as a proper, licensed therapist Winn is well worth listening to for her criticisms of the trans ideology, the affirmative-care model of treatment, and the misguided laws that mandate and support this. The podcast is, however, 2 hours and four minutes long, so if you listen to it, you may wish to do so in sections.

Government Bans Gay, But Not Trans, Conversion Therapy

April 12, 2022

Last week the government finally came to a decision about banning gay and transgender conversion therapies, and the result has predictably been controversial. Gay conversion therapies were outlawed, which is what LGBTQ+ groups wanted. But trans conversion therapies weren’t, which was very much what the gender critical movement wanted but definitely not welcomed by the mainstream gay organisations like Stonewall. The government had intended to put on a gay conference attended by members and representatives of the various gay organisations in the UK, but a large number of these have pulled out in protest. The decision itself follows a consultation process with the British public which was also controversial. It was initially going to be short, spurring fears amongst the gender critical that the government had already made up its decision to ban trans conversion therapies and that the process was deliberately being kept short to prevent people opposed to a trans conversion ban having their say. Then, after pressure and criticism, the government lengthened the consultation period.

I filled out the consultation document online. The link and web address was provided by my local Labour party in concert with one of the gay organisations. There was also a request or a directive telling us to vote for a ban on both types of conversion therapies. In fact I filled out the form stating that I was in favour of banning gay conversion therapy, but not trans. I’ll explain why.

Gay conversion therapy is horrendous. As gay people have explained, back in the past it involved the use of aversion therapy, giving gays electric shocks or drugs to make them sick, and worse, in order to destroy their sexual attraction to their own sex. Pat Mills, one of the titans of the British comics industry and a man of very left-wing opinions, tells how the Roman Catholic church in Belgium in the 1950s had a group of 15 young gay men castrated in order to cure them. Way back in the teens and the twenties of the last century, the Italian Futurists attacked a contemporary Italian scientist for advocating the same thing. Clive Simpson, a gender critical gay YouTuber, has made the point that such treatments are illegal and would not be used today. This was in response to an article in the Pink Paper by a transgendered person stating that he had been subjected to such terrible medical treatment back in the 1960s. The Lotus Eaters have weighed in on the issue in one of their videos, citing statistics that showed that only a tiny percentage of gay and trans people had been subjected to conversion therapy. The therapy itself, they stated, was mainly attempts to talk them out of their sexual orientation and was consensual.

I’m not entirely convinced this is the case.

Some of the readers of this blog may recall an episode of South Park where the adults misinterpret comments by Butters as indicating that he’s bisexual. Butters isn’t, but he’s sent to a centre to cure him of his perceived bisexuality. I think the place is run by Christians, who believe they can ‘pray the gay away’. In actual fact, it’s a hellish place whose inmates are made to feel humiliated, worthless and hopeless because of their sexuality. There are jokes about the terrible amount of suicide in the centre, with the officials running the place shocked and alarmed as yet another gay youngster takes his or her own life. The comedy’s black, as in just about all South Park episodes, but there’s a point to it. But there’s a serious point to the satire. Eventually Butters is released by his family, who find themselves no longer caring if he’s a little bit bicurious, just so they can have him back.

I think the type of institution South Park was satirising is largely an American phenomenon, but Private Eye has raised the alarm about similar places over here. I recall that a little while ago there was an article in the ‘In The Back’ section about a similar centre in Wales, and the suffering it inflicted on the young people sent there. I believe some of the inmates may have tried to harm themselves or commit suicide, and there were fears for safety of a young girl, who’d been sent there. It was definitely a case where the ‘cure’ was far worse than the ‘disease’. I am also unsure how consensual such treatment is. The young people that go there may well have given their formal consent, but I suspect they would have been under great pressure from their families to do so. It’s because of all this that I have absolutely no hesitation in demanding gay conversion therapy be banned.

Trans conversion therapy, however, raises a number of different issues.

I gather that historically aversion therapy has been used to treat people, who are now classed as trans. I think Han Eysenck used it to cure a transvestite trucker, and the trans soul who wrote the piece in the Pink Paper claimed it had been used on him in the early ’60s. As Clive Simpson said, this wouldn’t be used now. I believe others have described going through a process of counselling like the gay conversion therapy, which similarly left them feeling degraded and hopeless. If this was all that was involved, then I would have cheerfully voted for a ban on trans conversion therapy as well. But it’s more complicated than that.

Traditionally the process of transition has been lengthy and subject to stringent medical supervision. Those changing sex have been required to live as a member of the opposite sex for two years and are continually asked if this is what they really want. As it should be for such radical, life-changing surgery. I’m sure that the sexual reassignment surgery is appropriate and beneficial in many cases. But there’s a real danger of misdiagnosis. The gender critical activists have noted that quite often people with severe mental health problems and autism have been diagnosed as transgender when they very probably aren’t. And there is a large a growing number of detransitioners, former transpeople who are attempting to return, as far as possible, to their birth sex because they have found that the transition hasn’t worked out for them. Clearly you need to be as sure as possible in such cases that you are doing the right thing, and that may involve deterring people who have become mistakenly convinced that they’re trans.

The danger is, therefore, that any ban on trans conversion therapy would prevent this, so that the affirmative care model is the only treatment permitted.

This is predicated on the assumption that the individual always knows what is best for him- or herself, and that their desire to change gender must therefore be supported. This has resulted in gay and trans activist teachers over the other side of the Pond claiming the right to ask small children as young as four what their gender, as opposed to their biological sex, is.

Which in my view is highly dangerous.

If there was a way to distinguish quack and pseudo-scientific trans ‘cures’ that just lead to despair and humiliation from serious medical advice intended to deter the genuinely mistaken from going down a surgical path they would later regret, then I would be all for it. But at the moment this doesn’t seem to be the case. I therefore conclude that I fully agree with both the ban on gay conversion therapy and the decision not to ban it for the transgendered.

One of the strict requirement of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors were required to take since the development of rational medicine in ancient Greece was ‘First, do no harm.’ I am terribly afraid that a ban on trans conversion therapy, especially in today’s ideological climate where trans identification seems to be encouraged for ideological reasons, would do exactly that.