Psychiatrist sheds new light on “gender confusion” among children


The majority of children treated for gender confusion “just like to do things that the opposite gender likes to do” and aren’t actually suffering from gender dysphoria, according to psychiatrist Stephen Stathis of Australia’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

Stathis treats children for gender confusion as part of a statewide service.

Stathis cautions parents who feel they should start hormone treatments for their young children. He says that out of 180 children that will visit his practice this year, a smaller percentage will be classified as gender dysphoric than not. He claims many are “trying out being transgender,” and many see being transgender as a lifestyle choice and not something with which you are born.

Remembering a specific patient, he recalls, “One said to me, ‘Dr. Steve, … I want to be transgender, it’s the new black’”.

Stathis says they typically begin to identify as the gender they were born with by the time they hit puberty. He also believes some of the gender confusion comes from girls who have been sexually abused. “The girls say, ‘If only I had been a male I wouldn’t have been abused.’’’

The doctor is concerned about children that are so desperate to start hormone treatment that they harm themselves. “I’ve seen genital mutilation,” he says. “Some who try to cut off their penis. The thought of touching their genitals is so abhorrent, they don’t wash them and get infections.’’

Stathis brings cultural expectations into question, as well. Girls who like traditionally male activities are affectionately referred to as tomboys. “But boys, you put on a pink tutu and you’re off to see the doctor,” the psychiatrist said. He believes that many young people just like to do things that are not traditionally associated with their gender. He calls it “gender variant.”

“A little boy would say to me, ‘Dr. Steve, I like playing with dolls and I like fairies and I like dressing up, but I’m still a boy.’ That’s not gender dysphoria,” Stathis explains.

According to the psychiatrist, approximately three years ago, he started to see a significant increase in clinic traffic. At that time, it was not funded by the children’s hospital and he was running it himself. He says that in November 2016, “I had a two-year waiting list for me to see young people. And then, the waiting list continued. The numbers were growing by about 25 per cent per quarter.”

Although the doctor has real world experience with the recent gender identity phenomenon, many people on social media are referring to him as a transphobic. On Twitter, his comments have incited a flurry of angry responses.

H/T: The College Fix

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