Internet chat rooms are not safe places for the young or the vulnerable. Transgender chat rooms are full of activists and those desperate for others to validate their own choices. The number of stories on the internet about the harm done via these chatrooms is disturbing.
Sascha Bailey, son of David Bailey, has shared his experience and warned others from heading down a similar pathway. At a very low point, members in the chat convinced him he was transgender and that transforming into a “real-life Barbie”, with curves and long blonde hair would solve his problems.
"Transitioning was a way of killing myself without dying, because I was so unhappy with my life," he told the Daily Mail.
"I thought that if I could do this one thing it could change everything, I could reinvent myself as an entirely new person."
After deciding that transitioning was the right thing to do, he went to see a private doctor who confirmed he was transgender and wrote him a prescription for female hormones.
But with the help of his family and new partner, photographer Lucy Brown, Sascha was guided away from what he believes was a potentially disastrous decision.
He added: "'I feel there's a huge problem with over-diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
"Obviously it is very real for some, but I think there are a lot of people who, like me, aren't actually trans, they're just incredibly unhappy and transitioning is a way of making themselves into a new person which they believe will fix everything.
"This new person won't have the old problems or the old societal expectations. But of course that's not really true."
"I'd already been thinking about it and it's an idea that just grew and grew," he says. "It became this way of not having to kill myself, but to become someone new."
On reflection, Sascha said: "One, there was no actual way I can know what it feels like to be a woman because I'd never been one, so the idea of me saying 'Oh, I feel like a woman' was absurd."
He added: "Thank God I didn't do the hormones because within a few months, you're risking infertility and the thought that I could not have children is devastating.
"But it also shines a light on the uncomfortable reality, which is that we are asking kids aged 15 and 16 to make the choice about whether or not they will want children themselves and that just isn't right."
It is stories like this one, and first hand accounts of detransitioners that should be mandatory reading for anyone considering buying into the lie that you can change your sex.
All politicians should be made aware of how disastrous their desire to appear inclusive can be by legislating harmful laws that enshrine affirmation practices in law and penalise anyone who objects.
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