Irreversible Damage: Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze
(SWIFT PRESS, 288 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.29 • tel 020 7799 4064
Abigail Shrier, a Wall Street Journal writer, invokes the First Amendment to defend her decision to speak out about one of the most censored and inflammatory issues of our time – transgenderism. She is a polemical writer, and her book is a disturbing, infuriating and compelling study which opens up a vital and urgent debate.
Shrier recognises that there are adults for whom gender transitioning has been a positive experience, but her concern is with a sudden surge of transgenderism in teenage girls. She asks why, when gender dysphoria was until recently a very rare condition, manifesting itself in early childhood and almost exclusively associated with boys, it has suddenly become a “contagion” (her word) among female adolescents. The statistics she cites are alarming: “Between 2016 and 2017 the number of gender surgeries for natal females in the US quadrupled, with biological women suddenly accounting for … 70 per cent of all gender surgeries. In 2018, the UK reported a 4,400 per cent rise over the previous decade in teenage girls seeking gender treatments.” She refers to London’s Tavistock Clinic, where members of staff have for several years been expressing concerns about what they see as a lack of sufficient therapeutic guidance being offered to young people going down the route of gender transitioning. These are passing references, however, and this is mainly a book about the all-American family and its discontents. Shrier points out that the girls in her study tend to come from liberal, white, upper-middle-class backgrounds with parents who have bent over backwards to provide them with the best of everything.