Susie Green’s 2017 TED Talk tells the story of how she transitioned her male child to live as a girl because her homophobic husband couldn’t accept the child’s gender-nonconformity. It has been removed from YouTube.
Green is the former CEO of the now-disgraced trans charity Mermaids, a group that has spent years advocating for child sex changes and that is now under formal investigation by the UK Charity Commission after revelations that staff were secretly sending chest compression devices to teenage girls without parental consent and dishing out inaccurate medical advice in chat forums.
Green’s TED Talk, Transgender: A Mother’s Story, opens with Green describing a little boy, first called Jack, then later Jackie, who “was gravitating towards things that you would see as stereotypically female.”
Green describes being fine with the fact that her male child’s “favorite outfits were the tutu and the snow white costume,” but says her husband was not supportive.
“His thoughts were that because I allowed the Polly Pocket and the My Little Pony that I was facilitating and encouraging. And I disagreed and it caused tensions…I had come to the conclusion…that I had a very sensitive, quite effeminate little boy who was probably gay. But Jack's dad did not approve of our child's effeminate behavior,” explains Green, adding that the two ended up going to marriage counseling over it.
The couple came to the agreement that all the “girly toys” were to be put away, and their child was to be “made aware that this was not appropriate.”
“A suddenly confident, happy little boy became quite quiet, withdrawn, very clingy and tearful,” says Green.
“Mummy, God’s made a mistake. And I should have been a girl,” the confused child said at age four.
Rather than interpreting her child’s distress as being the result of having parents who were trying to force their child to conform to gender stereotypes, Green took Jack’s confusion as a sign her child was transgender.
“What happened was she kept reiterating, ‘I'm a girl. I'm a girl. I'm really a girl.’ Six years old, she asked me when she could have the operation to make her a girl,” says Green, without any explanation as to how a six-year-old child knew about the existence of sex-reassignment surgery.
“It was really hard for me as a parent to watch the devastation when I told her that she had to wait until she was a grown up before that could happen,” said Green.
Green describes the pivotal moment that she discovered Mermaids, the charity she was later destined to lead down a path of scandal and controversy, and how she had to travel to the US for puberty blockers because at the time they weren’t available at the Tavistock gender clinic.
She placed her child’s future in the hands of Dr. Norman Spack of Boston Children’s Hospital, whom Green describes as a “world renowned expert.” Spack was the clinician who first brought puberty blockers to the US and who apparently "more than once recalled salivating at the prospect of treating patients" with the experimental drugs, according to Dr. Michael Biggs.
Green’s TED Talk glosses over what happened next, when she famously took Jack to Thailand for vaginoplasty on the child’s 16th birthday, and later joked about how there wasn’t much for the surgeon to work with because the child had taken puberty blockers and had not developed sufficient penile tissue with which to sculpt a neo-vagina.
Comedian and gender-critical activist Graham Linehan summarized the talk mostly succinctly in a tweet.
"Kid seemed a bit gay, Dad didn’t like it, so we cut his penis off and told him he was a girl.”
No reason has been given for the removal of the TED Talk but on social media some are linking its erasure to the Charity Commission investigation or the upcoming release of Hannah Barnes’ book Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children.
The theme of homophobic parents unable to accept their child’s gender-nonconformity is common in the stories of so-called “trans kids.” Kai Shappley’s parents tell of punishing their male child for “stealing girl toys” and Kai’s mother speaks of being horrified about the thought of having a gay son and researching conversion therapy.Whistleblowers at the soon-to-be-closed Tavistock gender clinic in London witnessed this phenomenon and raised safeguarding concerns that some homophobic parents were attempting to trans away the gay.
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