Penny was just 11 years old when she decided that people online were right — that she was “transgender.” At 13, she was prescribed hormone blockers, and by 15, she’d had a double mastectomy. Now, at 16, she’s raising money on gofundme for a breast reconstruction.
“Very shortly after surgery, my depression got worse. I hated myself just as much as ever, leading me to a psychiatric hospitalization in October 2019.”
Gender ideology — a fairly new and contradictory belief system — is seeping into the school curriculum, pulling kids down the internet rabbit hole, and encouraging young people to question and analyze their “gender identity.”
As an alarming number of desisted and detrans young people come forward, more and more as time passes, they bring visibility and awareness to the medical malpractice that’s been going on for years.
The major surge, in the number of kids who identify as “trans” in recent years, has done nothing to slow the medical field down. On the contrary, they’re willfully ignoring everything we know about how the brain develops, and normalizing youth “transition.”
“During my hospital stay, I realized my mistake. Transition wasn’t the fix I needed and it couldn’t take away my mental health issues. I had never been tested for any body issues, so we assumed it was gender dysphoria… I was completely distraught with my surgery.”
It’s being spun as “bigotry” to disagree, and “progressive” to get onboard. Labeling toddlers as young as 1, medicalizing children as young as 8, and performing double mastectomies (“top surgery”) on kids as young as 12, way before they ever even have a chance to reach full cognitive brain development, isn’t progressive. It’s abuse. And my saying so, publicly, out in the mainstream, for several years now, hasn’t been without consequence, even threats. But reading about kids like Penny, fuels me to speak even louder than before.
“From the very start, people online told me that if I was uncomfortable with my body, I was probably trans.”
After Penny decided she was “trans,” at age 11, she “attended a gender clinic to express [her] issues of gender dysphoria.” At 13, she was put on hormone blockers. At 14, she was prescribed testosterone. She was 15 years old when medical professionals performed a double mastectomy on her.
We don’t reach full cognitive brain development till around age 25, and up — And this isn’t something we’ve just discovered. We’ve known this the whole time. Penny’s doctors knew. The entire medical field knows. In fact, it’s so basic, I learned this as a first year PSY student.
In a fundraiser, posted in June of 2020, on gofundme, Penny writes, “Hi, my name is Penny and I’m a 16 year old detransitioner. When I was 11 years old, I came out as transgender. My parents were hesitant at first and of course scared for my safety, but overall supportive. I attended a gender clinic to express my issues of gender dysphoria. They asked me the usual questions about if I felt disconnected with my body, my desire to be the opposite sex, and my issues with my period. From the very start , people online told me that if I was uncomfortable with my body, I was probably trans.”
Some well-meaning parents weren’t prepared for this crazy period in time — Where the medical field is lying, the so-called “LGBTQ” is gaslighting, and children are growing up surrounded by constant rapid-fire, with the worst of the world at their fingertips.
The so-called “LGBTQ” has promoted the idea of “trans kids.” A great number of people have decided it’s progressive, played along, or kept quiet.
The fight to enforce gender ideology, which comes with an extremely long list of often irrational demands, has been compared to the fight for gay and lesbian rights, which mainly consisted of two requests — ‘don’t abuse us, and let us get married.’ The two movements are not even remotely alike. Pray, do tell, what parent could ever walk into a room and introduce their toddler as a lesbian, without seeming certifiably insane?
Statistics show that 85 percent of the time, young people who are diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” grow up to desist, with uninterrupted puberty, and more than 75 percent of the time, kids who experience “gender dysphoria,” grow up to be LGB, if allowed a chance to grow up. That number drops to around 0-10 percent with “early transition.”
What we’re seeing now is a massive human rights violation that targets LGB youth, and it’s being spearheaded by the very organizations that were once set up to protect us. It’s harming young straight people as well.
“I had giant scars on my chest and a body part gone.”
Penny writes, “I am glad I had the support at the time of my doctors because I was in a near constant state of depression and suicidal ideation. However I am not glad that they did no psych evaluation on me to test me for underlying disorders such as body dysmorphia or eating disorders. When I was 13 I was put on hormone blockers, which keep the estrogen from producing. This is what was recommended and it made me happy because I thought I was sure. After this, I gained around 40-50 pounds due to hormone imbalances, making my body issues worse. I only got more depressed and uncomfortable with myself, but I was happy it stopped menstruation. The next year at 14, I got a therapist approved letter to start testosterone, hormone replacement therapy.”
The entire medical field collectively chose to ignore the fact that Penny couldn’t possibly give “informed consent” to these treatments, because she hadn’t even come close to reaching full cognitive brain development. Like many kids, she wasn’t questioned about other things that might’ve been going on.
Penny lives in Pennsylvania. In many places, such as NY, you’re no longer allowed to do anything but “affirm” a child’s “gender identity” — it cannot be questioned.
Penny writes, “Although I was pleased at the time with the changes I saw, my mental health still wasn’t improving, and transition was not the easy fix i expected. I insisted that I go through with surgery, a double mastectomy. At this point, I was starting to have doubts but I assured myself it was normal. On August 16th, 2019 I got top surgery at the age of 15, one of the youngest people that clinic had operated on. Very shortly after surgery, my depression got worse. I hated myself just as much as ever, leading me to a psychiatric hospitalization in October 2019.”
We rarely hear the major organizations and media personalities, who promote the medicalization of youth, so much as acknowledge the shocking number of desisters and detransitioners coming forward, unless it’s to say they don’t exist — The “LGBTQ” silences detrans youth and tosses them out like collateral damage. But we do often hear them threaten parents with false statistics, the idea that their child will commit suicide if they don’t allow them to transition, and it’ll be their fault.
For years we’ve been shouting about this, often feeling like no one would listen. Lesbians, in particular, have been aggressively silenced within mainstream “LGBTQ” media, and in mainstream media as well. We’ve also been excluded from what few lesbian mainstream publications we had remaining, in the name of “inclusion.”
Recently, J.K. Rowling stepped up in a major way to back up lesbians when she shared an article I wrote, titled, Anonymous Letter From a Terrified Lesbian.
Amidst a surreal amount of abuse and death threats she received, for speaking up in a number of tweets, the author of the Harry Potter series didn’t back down. On the contrary, she too, spoke louder. She used her platform to bring awareness to issues surrounding self-ID and the unethical medical abuse of young people.
A young detrans voice, who had a double mastectomy as a teen, responded to J.K. Rowling with gratitude for highlighting what’s going on, and said, “countless trans people have told detransitioners to shut up and sit down because we were ‘never trans’ and we ‘should have known better.'” A year after her surgery, she generously shared her story online — That she’d attempted suicide the year prior because she didn’t want to admit that she needed to detransition.
On censorship, Charlie, a desister in her late 20’s, writes about Reddit banning a DT/D online forum, on July 10 — “13.6K detrans/desisted men and women have just had their community taken away from them. 13.6K people who’s only crime was to suggest that maybe there might be some things wrong with the way we view gender and transition, based on our own experience.”
While the Reddit page was restored, an account holder warned, “make no mistake, it will be gone again soon. We no longer have the option to be silent.” This follows Reddit’s June 29 removal of a “Radical feminist” subreddit, “Gender Critical,” which is the site’s “most active feminist community” with “nearly 65,000 subscribers.”
One of many young detransitioners creating visibility, writes, “While I was on Reddit convincing myself and others that I totally had male brain structures that lead to innate dysphoria my genius therapist was probably like ‘well she has short hair and kinda looks like a guy already so clearly she’s better off as a man’ and called it a day.”
It’s important for kids like Penny to be able to find a visible and supportive community — To be able to find the stories that mainstream and social media are actively trying to censor.
“My doctors didn’t take into account my autism, body issues, or other mental illnesses when allowing me to transition. My therapist agrees that I was too young at the time…” — Peggy
In Penny’s homecoming pictures, her and her date look like they could be any young same-sex couple. The adorably dapper name Penny took on at the time — Spencer — fits her as well as the suit she wore.
Only time will tell where Penny’s life will go from here. Kids like Penny will often come to the realization that they were struggling with issues, such as internalized homophobia. For this reason there’s a unique camaraderie between lesbians and detransitioners.
Both groups have been dehumanized and silenced by the “LGBTQ” — And notably, the loss of lesbian autonomy, deeply impacted our ability to guide the next generation.
“I have severe discomfort from the way my body looks currently and I just want to fix the mess I got myself into. I never knew that I could be a girl and be myself without being judged.”
Detrans and desister voices are setting up to guide the generation that will come after them — About a year and a half ago, they began making their presence more visible, carving out space that kids, like Penny, may someday benefit from. Pique Resilience Project was set up by young lesbian/bi desisters/detransitioners in the US, as was The Detransition Advocacy Network in the UK.
Penny tells a story that’s now becoming more and more familiar — “During my hospital stay, I realized my mistake. Transition wasn’t the fix I needed and it couldn’t take away my mental health issues. I had never been tested for any body issues, so we assumed it was gender dysphoria. After changing my name back to a female name and telling my family, I was completely distraught with my surgery. I started to feel better about my identity, being a woman felt much more comfortable. However, I still had giant scars on my chest and a body part gone.”
Females grow up submerged in a world that relentlessly pushes ‘norms’ — A world obsessed with ‘gender-ing’ everything: names, clothes, haircuts, colors, toys, hobbies, jobs (and so on). For children who are grappling with same-sex attraction, one of the ‘norms’ we grapple with is heterosexuality. It’s pretty easy for kids who don’t ‘conform’ to so-called ‘norms,’ to conclude that they were born in the ‘wrong’ box.
Saying “[people] who don’t ‘conform’ to so-called ‘norms'” might seem like a more tedious way to say GNC (or gender non conforming), but my consistent avoidance of shorthand terms, such as GNC, is intentional. Shorthands make it easy to glaze over what we’re saying, and in many cases they’ve been hijacked to fit under umbrella terms. For example, the American Psychological Association, among others, now has guidelines that cram “TGNC” (transgender & gender non conforming), into a single category.
In using shorthand, we can’t always see the way that we’re, perhaps inadvertently, continuing the normalization of something that we should be deconstructing — Like the idea that conforming is the default, and anything outside of conformity might just need to be pathologized.
Penny goes on to say, “I detransitioned around 8 months ago and have been living as a female since then. I have applied to get reconstructive breast surgery that will use fat transplants and implants to create the look my body once had. I have severe discomfort from the way my body looks currently and I just want to fix the mess I got myself into. I never knew that I could be a girl and be myself without being judged. Through detransition, I have found there isn’t just one right way to be a gender, and that it’s okay to be a bit different.”
The medical field, along with “LGBTQ” organizations, have intentionally conflated a number of terms, not least of which, the most basic, “sex” (biology), and “gender” (stereotypes expected based on sex).
Given a chance to grow up, a kid like Penny might someday realize that the box of stereotypes has nothing to do with sex. That the box is man-made, and uncomfortable for a great many of us. But what happens when the world tries to censor the women that would teach them that? Welcome to the current times — where what I’ve just written, as a lesbian, on the left, all factual mind you, is considered controversial.
Penny explains, “I was diagnosed with autism last summer, and my current doctors have researched the link between autism and gender identity, finding that might have been the cause of my issues. I understand that I am responsible for my choices and that I have to fix it myself. But my doctors didn’t take into account my autism, body issues, or other mental illnesses when allowing me to transition. My therapist agrees that I was too young at the time and that making such a life changing decision has brought challenges to me.”
Penny is not to blame. But she blames herself. At some point she’ll likely realize she was a victim of propaganda, grooming, child abuse and violent medical assault. That the same system that has a long precedence of waiting till age 30 for various procedures, such as a hysterectomies, collectively decided to forget why that long-standing precedence exists. Medical professionals also know there’s a link between autism and “gender identity” issues, it’s simply being ignored.
Penny finishes her letter explaining, “The insurance doesn’t want to pay for an ‘elective’ surgery, so my family will be paying for it out of pocket. I have some money that was meant for college that I will be expending on this surgery, however it won’t be enough.”
How did we get here? A 16 year old child, using her college fund, to once again go through an excruciating surgery, before she’s ever even reached adulthood.
My memories start at around age 6, for many people their first memories begin years sooner. Till the age of 15, I was completely flat-chested, and I wasn’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies till the age of 16 (and only on rare occasion).
By 11, Penny self-diagnosed herself, and adults “affirmed” her diagnosis. By 13, Penny was medicalized, and by 15, medical “professionals” had decided it was appropriate to perform a double mastectomy on a kid who wouldn’t even be allowed to decide to sit at a restaurant and drink a beer for six more years.
Penny Cunningham is brave to go public, especially given the backlash detransitioners face. Many more just like her would sooner suffer in silence, feeling they are to blame. It’s up to us to let them know they’re not to blame. It’s up to us to explain why.
At an age where it’s hard to get most kids to make their own bed or have a conversation, we have to try to explain things that young people used to have years and years to slowly come to understand.
At the end of June 2020, Penny posted an update. “Hi everyone! I am overwhelmed with support right now… Thank you so so much. Seeing the amount of people who relate to my experience or know detransitioners is so shocking and I just wanted to say my messages are always open. Seeing people genuinely care about what’s going on with me means the world…I am happy to announce that we have booked a surgery date!! They still don’t know if insurance will pay for it, but we are keeping our hopes up. If they do, we will still be paying deductibles, so the money will be going to good use to help us out. July 23 is the current day for my surgery, and I couldn’t be more excited. Getting my body back to normal is so happy for me, and I’ve been miserable with myself since the mastectomy…”
From the moment we’re born, we’re put into boxes — roles, rules and expectations (gender), assigned to people on the basis of sex. The expectations can feel so impossible and limiting. A child cannot be expected to process the impact this has on them — let alone begin to deconstruct that impact — with so few years of development under their belt.
My wife is naturally small chested (not even an A cup), and I’m naturally a C or D, depending on the bra. As kids we both had strong feelings around chest size. As adults we realize we were influenced to place a great deal of importance on something so trivial, by the world around us.
There are days I long for the braless freedom of my A cup friends. There are times those friends might wonder if the grass could be greener on my side — Once, I was asked to accompany a friend to a surgeon so he could replicate my chest for her. No way — I said. A gay guy friend would insist my “boobs” weren’t “real.” There’s a lot of stress placed on us over chest size, well into adulthood. There’s a lot of stress placed on girls and women over their bodies, and appearance in general.
It can all make you feel extremely uncomfortable in your own skin. This might all fall under ‘chest dysphoria’ or ‘body dysphoria’ or even ‘gender dysphoria’ these days. There aren’t likely too many girls and women who haven’t experienced some sort of ‘dysphoria’ to some extent or another — Imagine having the option to self-diagnose as a kid.
Now, more than ever, young people are being asked to think far too much about these things. They’re taught that feeling discomfort might mean they should medically and surgically ‘fix’ their bodies. They’re told they can make decisions and give “informed consent” on those alterations. Kids are being taught that they might’ve been born in the wrong body.
What we should be teaching them instead, is that there’s no wrong way to be a girl or a woman. That there’s no such thing as “incorrectly female.” That equating ‘girlhood’ and ‘womanhood’ with the stereotypes of ‘femininity,’ is extremely sexist… and oftentimes homophobic (not to mention boring). And that sometimes the things that you hated the most about yourself when you were young, are the very things you’re going to love the most about yourself when you grow up.
*article edited to include more detrans voices
جوليا ديانا — Julia Diana Robertson, is a an award-winning author, journalist and Senior Editor at The Velvet Chronicle.