Updated: Jan 18
America had one gender clinic in 2007, and now, according to recordings and research by volunteers at The Gender Mapping Project, there are more than 300. Alix Aharon conceived the project after spending years working against sexual and domestic violence against women in her home country of Israel, though you can hear her childhood Scottish accent clearly in interviews. While Dr. Lisa Littman, featured in our first blog post in this series, used common techniques to conduct research with this “hidden population, GenderMapper’s approach is to start at the source of the harm by exposing the clinics worldwide that experiment on children.
“Shameless” is how she describes the surgeons who are conducting surgeries on minors, including double mastectomies on 14 year old girls, removal of testicles on 15 year old boys, and prescribing the Schedule III addictive drug testosterone to girls within a one hour visit, using the “informed consent” model. The project collects testimonials from parents, patients, clinicians, and detransitioners who report their experiences with the clinics, and that evidence is added to the map. After completing a survey of what volunteers believe to be every clinic offering “gender treatment” in the US, the volunteers are expanding the project to document what is happening in Canada and across the world.
Alix Aharon feels compelled to continue the work of The Gender Mapping Project, stating, “I don’t want to improve care at gender clinics—I want to shut them down.” The medicalization of children in emotional distress is what she finds most egregious because children lack the maturity and capacity to consent to the medicines and surgeries they are receiving, as stated in the Keira Bell decision at the UK High Court in December 2020. Comparing the compulsion of anorexia to the desperation of young people to alter their bodies in the name of “gender identity,” Alix believes the best strategy is to remove the availability of these cosmetic changes when it is clear they harm young people physically and psychologically.
Alix keeps going because she feels it will be impossible to shut down every clinic harming youth if there is no complete list available. It is an approach of identifying a societal problem and strategically addressing it, step-by-step. Alix constantly seeks new sources of information and multiplies her energy through collaboration with others with a common goal. The work of The GenderMapping Project has been cited in Janice Raymond’s latest book, Doublethink: A Feminist Challenge to Transgenderism, as well as by legislators as documentation of the harms to children.
Alix encourages others to find something that is not being done, and do it. “As soon as you see that something needs to happen and no one else is doing it, that’s when you start. At that moment.” In response to the nay-sayers who waste their breath trying to discourage her, she chuckles. She won’t be discouraged because “these are kids—kids. What kind of person does this to children?” she asks. You can see a recent interview with Alix on WLRN. Follow the project at gendermapper.org, watch on her YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and support the project here.
Courage called, and Alix Aharon answered the call. Will you?