10 March 2021, The Tablet

No turning back: polemicist Abigail Shrier on transgenderism

No turning back: polemicist Abigail Shrier on transgenderism

A marcher holds a sign at a Pride event in Hastings on the English south coast
Photo: Alamy live news, Paul Lawrenson


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.

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