Thursday 5 April 2007

Inhuman Monsters

I recently read an article, written over a decade ago, that had me in tears. While reading it, I couldn't help bit say over and over again "But these were children... how could they do this to them....".

Let me explain. There are two clinical centres noted for their inhumane treatment of patients with gender issues. One I've mentioned before, Charing Cross in the UK. A woman I was in Chonburi with at the Suporn clinic, a serving member of the British Armed Forces, was given an appointment to see one of the "experts" there. Nothing too good for her, you see, the MO thought he was doing the right thing.

The brutal physical examination by this "expert" left her split and bleeding. The trouble is, he really is probably the best surgeon in the UK. The others are even worse.

That's Charing Cross. But worse, far worse, so bad that it is spoken of with a shudder, is the Clarke Institute in Toronto, Canada.

The article is about kids with the wrong-shaped brains for their bodies - either transsexual or gay - who are given "aversion therapy" - tortured, basically. Many are "cured", and only suicide after treatment. This is considered a "success", and no, I am not joking. I genuinely believe that a small element in the Psychiatric profession, really bright people (you have to be unusually smart, even a genius, to qualify as a psychiatrist), are so used to being amongst comparative morons that they cease seeing their patients as human. No cruelty is too painful if it leads to a "successful cure", and besides which, most of the rabble are better off dead anyway.

I've seen the same sorts of attitudes amongst many elites. The Hackers who are bright and can cut code, but are nowhere near as good as they think they are. The ones whose talents are large, but whose egos are far larger.

In Software, all that happens is that projects are late and the product is buggy. But let such people loose in positions of power, and see what happens:
When Daphne Scholinski was fourteen years old, her distraught parents
had her committed to a psychiatric institute in Chicago. She had become
unmanageable, they said. She was doing poorly in school, experimenting
with drugs, defying her parents. And she would not do anything to soften
her behavior or appearance. Her hair was short, she liked playing
baseball, and she wouldn't wear dresses. At Michael Reese Hospital, her
psychiatrist gave her a diagnosis: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
complicated by Gender Identity Disorder. He placed Daphne on a behavior
modification program along with individual and group counseling

Part of Daphne's treatment consisted of cosmetics therapy: Every day,
Daphne's treatment partner became her beauty consultant, applying
lipstick, rouge, eyeliner, foundation, and eye shadow to Daphne's face.
Professional counselors talked to Daphne about ways she could appear
more feminine. Daphne was asked about her sexual fantasies. Her
friendship with another girl on her ward was treated as a problem. When
she spoke of male friends, she was told she was making progress.

Daphne spent four years in psychiatric institutions, all because she was
"an inappropriate female," she says today. Her "treatment" didn't change
her feelings about dresses or baseball or hair length. It only made her
feel insecure, as though who she was wasn't acceptable to the world. It
only made her sad.
Daphne Scholinski, the girl who underwent cosmetics therapy, was released at the age of eighteen ("just when my insurance ran out," she notes dryly). She felt no different than when she was admitted, even though her mental health counselors declared her "cured." For years afterwards, she says, she was wary of the world and intensely unsure of her place in it. She came close to suicide. As she writes in her memoir of those years, The Last Time I Wore a Dress, "In the hospital, I lost my ability to trust myself. In any interaction, I'm always thinking, I must be the one screwing up." Far from changing her, Daphne's treatment only delayed her acceptance of herself as a gay woman, she says. She couldn't think of herself as a lesbian until she was an adult.

These days, she is mostly sad and bewildered that she had to endure treatment for Gender Identity Disorder: "I still wonder why I wasn't treated for my depression, why no one noticed I'd been sexually abused, why the doctors didn't seem to believe that I came from a home with physical violence. Why the thing they cared the most about was whether I acted the part of a feminine young lady. The shame is that the effects of depression, sexual abuse, violence: all treatable. But where I stood on the feminine/masculine scale: unchangeable. It's who I am."
That was at Chicago, where the behaviouralist theories if the time held that that should have cured her. Brainwashing.

But there's worse.
Parents who brought their children to Rekers had to agree to participate in the "curing" of them. "Kraig," a four-year-old who participated in the UCLA Feminine Boy Project, was also monitored in the clinic's play-observation room. Only this time, it was his mother who wore the bug-in-the-ear, listening for her behavioral cues from the folks behind the wall. While playing, "Kraig would have seen her suddenly jerk upright, and look away from him toward the one-way window," Burke reports (based on transcripts of his case):

His mother was being prompted, through the earphones, by the doctor. She was told to completely ignore him, because he was engaged in feminine play. Kraig would have no understanding of what was happening to his mother. On one such occasion, his distress was such that he began to scream, but his mother just looked away. His anxiety increased, and he did whatever he could to get her to respond to him, but she just looked away. She must have seemed like a stranger to have changed her behavior toward him so suddenly and for no apparent reason . . . He was described as being in a panic, alternating between sobs and "aggressing at her," but again, when his distraught mother finally looked at him and began to respond, she stopped mid-sentence and abruptly turned away, as if he were not there. Kraig became so hysterical, and his mother so uncomfortable, that one of the clinicians had to enter and take Kraig, screaming, from the room.

Kraig's treatment continued in this vein. He was also put on the "token system" at home. Inappropriate, feminine behaviors earned him a red token, masculine ones, a blue token. Each red token earned him a spanking from his father. After more than two years of treatment, Kraig's behavior had turned around. He was now described by his mother as a "rough neck," and he no longer cared if his hair was neat or his clothes matched. But when he was eighteen, after years of being held up (under a pseudonym) by Rekers as "the poster boy for behavioral treatment of boyhood effeminacy," Kraig attempted suicide, because he thought that he might be gay.
How could they? How could they? Sorry, maybe I'll write about the Clarke institute, their crackpot theories and Mengele-like treatment later, I just can't stop crying.

How COULD they?


Anonymous said...

And in Australia, too. There are people with gender dysphoria who were subjected to electric shock therapy in the 70s and 80s.

Anonymous said...

You should read 'Gender Shock' by Phyllis Burke. It's not for the squeamish. It graphically illustrates the 'modern' treatment of gender dysphoria on the 1960s.

Joseph said...

Some people don't have a strong sense of gender identity in either direction. Maybe the doctors in question didn't and were applying "therapies" which would have worked on themselves.

Introspection has its limits.

Zoe Brain said...

Sometimes, for a weird SF Fan, you can come up with some extremely insightful observations.
This one has the ring of Truth. Thanks for making it, and I may take the idea further in some TS fora.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 'self-treating' (over the counter HRT) trans person because the country I'm living in at the moment does not recognize my 'problem'..... but I'm from Toronto, so I eventually have to face those goofs at the Clarke Institute. Oh happy day :(


Anonymous said...

Oh poor little tran freaks, can't figure out how to be human so the world has to cater to them. Choice, boys and girls - even if all your nonsense about being born "wrong" were credible - of course it is a crock - but were it true then CHOOSE to keep your dick in your pants and your nasty crotch out of sight and do without your precious sexuality - and if that doesn't sit well with you too freaking bad - the deficit you bring to civilized society is far too great to pander too. It's like feeding cancer. What narcissistic, crippled whores you are.