Is it fair and desirable to give children and adolescents the right to change their gender on the basis of their “feelings” alone?

A carte blanche from Dr. Jean-Pierre Lebrun, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst; Professor Alain Erali, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at ULB; From Dr. Beryl Koener, Pediatric Psychiatrist and other signatories (see full list below)

There are more young people today – teenagers but also children – who say they are not feeling adequate with their physical sex; As such, they are called “gender dysphoric” or “transgender”; Some want to dress and name according to their chosen gender, including in school, but they also have the right to a medical response, which can go as far as hormonal therapy and later surgery.

The most surprising thing is that such a request is taken literally, as if it is self-evident that it should be answered positively from the beginning. In other words, individual “feelings” should be authentic. Since then, the reality of the genetically determined body, which despite its appearance has remained unchanged, or the aggregate, especially through other children and adolescents, will not be considered; Thus, for example, a trans classmate’s claim that the shock can be presented, such as the chaos of a 9-year-old girl who does not understand why, in the gym shower she is next to Julian, completely naked that claims to be a girl.

The central question of the legitimacy of such a request is thus silently passed: is it just and desirable to grant rights to children and adolescents for gender reassignment based solely on their “feelings”?

Everyone knows that at this point in their lives, teens and even children need to relate to their sexual identity. This is a time when young people need to meet with adults who anticipate potential conflicts, a condition for building autonomy.

Is it to “love” a child or adolescent, to take our responsibility towards him or her as an adult, to recognize him or her from the beginning, and to unconditionally empower and empower oneself? Isn’t it rather restraining its omnipotence and paving the way for any person to approve the claim?

Some place the child’s request to claim themselves as “transgender” in the same position as “gay adaptation”. But it’s not the same thing. There is a radical difference between the attraction felt in the reality of one’s body and the reality of wanting to change one’s gender from one’s sole belief.

Today, “conversion therapies” – aimed at normalizing them – are legally prohibited. In the case of homosexual adaptations, these restrictions do not pose a problem. On the other hand, in the name of this prohibition, the simple truth of hearing questions about a young man’s sexual identity and the opportunities and risks of going through hormone therapy should no longer be condemned. Even surgery.

Furthermore, in order to justify such medical care, it is often said of the child’s suffering that will not be recognized in his or her intimate beliefs. But aren’t we branding against the ghost of a repressed intimate suffix against all adversity to make the young man an instrument? Shouldn’t we rather ask ourselves how such a suffix became so frequent in such a short time? Don’t we have the right to assume that we’ve created a so-called fashionable suffix, but that above all will have the effect of a contagious advice for some young people who identify as transgender? What is part of their autonomy in forming this intimate suffix and part of the influence and pressure of the youth within themselves? What is the role of social networks? And it is a militant organization?

For hormonal treatments that are not accessible to adolescents

The basic question really remains: does a child suffer from not getting what he wants, or does he suffer from not being prepared to endure not getting everything he wants?

Asking such questions, however essential, is unfortunately immediately underestimated by those who must be called converts to the cause, immediately accusing anyone who asks such questions as transphobic, if not worse.

In another sequence of ideas, how is it that Belgium, considered one of the most democratic countries in the world, the majority of citizens did not have a voice on this issue? So some questions should be asked for less relevant, even if they are embarrassing. For example, do we measure the effects of these potential gender reassignments that may affect the bodies of those who desire them: the immutability of certain hormones, even the practice of surgery (cannot be questioned since everything is supposedly the opposite, which is wrong); Depositing the body to a permanent hormone dependence with its detrimental consequences; Embarrassed during sports competitions: Where does a person who declares himself to be of the opposite sex go; What does it mean to force a school to call Julie?

In short, how can we build a society if everyone’s intimate suffix predominates in this way? What is the identity card now to give an identity à la carte? And how far can this process go? If tomorrow a teenager wants to change his parents because he is ashamed of his family, will we let him do it in the name of his suffering?

It is also important that the political authorities do not bow to the demands of the lobby in this area. Let us remember, however, that the relevance of each individual’s personality cannot be thought of outside of maintaining a connection with the community, contrary to what the neo-liberal ideology maintains, for which only individuals will be defined by their rights and their interests.

But it is intimidated by those who still dare to ask relevant questions. The format of this “political correctness” can thus prevent any question from arising in the erroneous premise based on this ideology.

The signatories of these few lines simply want these necessary questions to be reasonably debated, i.e. by asking the underlying ideological and ethnographic questions of the various current positions. In addition, they consider that certain hormonal and surgical treatments for sexual reassignment should be unavailable to children and adolescents.

Full list of signatories:

This article is signed by pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Dechen Sophie; Dr. Inaudi Nicole, Child Psychiatrist; Professor Erali Aline, Emeritus Professor of Sociology ULB; Pr Hayez Jean-Yves, Emeritus Professor of Pedopychiatry, UCLouvain; Mrs. Jungen Catherine, Sex Therapist, Couples and Adolescent Therapist; Dr. Koener Beryl, Child Psychiatrist; Dr. LeBron Jean-Pierre, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, president of the Walloon League for Mental Health; Pr Marchal Pierre, Emeritus Professor of Psychoanalyst and Philosophy UCLouvain; Pr Renchon Jean-Louis, Professor Emeritus of Family Law UCLouvain and Saint Louis University – Brussels; Mr. Turin Francis, former director of a mental hospital for children.

The text was co-signed by more than 200 Belgian signatories, some members of the La Petite Sirin, an observation center for ideological discourse on children and adolescents based in Paris. Information: www.observatoirepetitesirene.org and lapetitesirenedebelgique@hotmail.com

This forum is related to Jean-Louis Rinchen’s carte blanche “Should we delete our sexual mention?” Published in the title.

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