This post will only have screenshots and quotes, no links, due to the age of the poster featured here.
A boy who claims to be twelve years old posts to a transgender sub-reddit:
A year ago he was definitely not trans, then after researching the topic online, he is unsure but thinks he might be. He posts a long laundry list of things that makes him think he’s trans:
From not feeling like “a girl trapped in a boy’s body” to “realiz[ing] this might be the case”. Envious of girls, “from their body parts, to their nature and characteristics”. Suicidal.
Fascinated with “change”, whether is’t transforming into a dragon, a woman, or “an apple”.
He’s fine with being male, but, no doubt because he’s been reading a lot of trans stuff online, he feels sure that the desire to become female will get worse. Notice also the naive beliefs in gender roles: thinking that not wishing to become a strong body builder makes him less male. Thinking that wanting to learn to knit and sew and liking animals is in some way significant to his “gender identity”. Thinking that playing video games as a girl is a “major pointer” of being transgender.
What do the commenters say?
“You are probably trans”
“If puberty doesn’t sound appealing to you, you should take hormone blockers”. As if puberty sounds so appealing to young kids. The commenters also give specifics on what to say to healthcare providers to achieve this:
More planting of the idea of puberty blockers:
The next commenter brings upidea that “the more masculine you get the more you get dysphoria”. This commenter, who is only 13 years old themselves, are eager to have more people like themselves to relate to.
And finally, a 30 year old male chimes in:
The next day, the twelve year old makes four new posts, asking among other things if he will look feminine with hormone therapy and whether he will “pass well”, He also say now that he’s “80-100% sure” that he is transgender”.
He gets told again how important it is to take blockers, and that only blockers will let him “make it out unscathed”. The second commenter is an adult male who transitioned late in life, who emphasizes how important it is to transition early.
“The younger you start the better”:
More talk of how vital it is to start early:
“As long as you get puberty blockers, grow out your hair, and start HRT when it’s possible, it’s all good”:
It took one day to go from being ok with being male, to being 80-100% sure he is trans. The majority of the replies he is getting focuses on how important starting early is, and some of them feature exact quotes he’s supposed to parrot to healthcare providers with the explicit goal to get prescribed hormone blockers and then hormones. Both serious medications that, if taken without going through his natural puberty, will sterilize him. No one asks him why he wants to be female or why he envies girls. No one talks about how it’s normal to wish we were someone else.
One day later, he posts this:
He can’t wait 5 years or he will go insane or kill himself. It’s hard to believe this kid would have gotten ideas like these on his own accord. The “helpful” commenters each push a tiny bit, each provide a single drip of “male puberty will ruin you”, “get on blockers”, “the younger you start the better”. And not only in the comments directed at this boy, comments of the same type are all over reddit and other websites, and young people questioning their identity can read them all. It reinforces their beliefs again and again.
To parents whose children tell you they are transgender: GET THEM OFF THE INTERNET! Websites like reddit is full of people reinforcing belief systems like the one we see in this blog. Some are well-meaning, some are creeps. But few of them seem interested in helping kids figure out why they feel the way they do, and none seem to consider that there might be other things going on in the life of kids that make them feel inadequate in their bodies.