“I need the estrogen tablets. I need to go through female puberty. I get boobs. I get, um, curves, you know, things that girls have, and I need it. I need it to be myself, and if I don’t get it, I’m not gonna be happy. I’m not gonna be myself.”
These willful words were spoken by Georgie Stone, a trans person who was born a boy and who chose to go through what is known as “gender affirmation surgery.” In Georgie’s case, this meant taking estrogen hormones to block male puberty from happening, culminating in penectomy.
Georgie has made news in “her” native Australia ever since early youth. This trans journey, if we can call it that, is depicted in a new Netflix documentary, “The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone.” Composed of home videos, medical interviews, recorded self-reflections, and Georgie’s foray into the Australian media, the documentary wants to set the record straight and let Georgie speak.
In many video “confessions,” Georgie tells us that knowledge of their true gender identity was apparent from early childhood. We see the toddler Georgie dressed in girl’s clothing, prancing around, pretending to be a princess. Georgie’s hair is long even as a toddler, and make-up is part of the child’s play.
Around age 8 or 9, Georgie begins to see a doctor, who is willing to administer puberty blockers. But Australian law does not allow it. Any gender transitions must be approved by a court. Whether it is the individual seeking the change, a doctor, or a parent—none of them has the right to do the procedure. This includes the first stage (puberty blockers) and second stage (surgery to remove either breasts or the penis) of the “treatment.”
Georgie is despondent. Depression sets in. So does weeping. A great suffering of both body and mind is clear, and Georgie feels there is no exit. There is the obligatory insistence that “being trans” is not a choice. Georgie also insists that things should not change after the final surgery, especially in other people’s perception. But, of course, this is impossible. Once the choice is made, life is irreversibly changed.
As the story unfolds, the documentary depicts two “victories.” One is that Georgie successfully lobbies for the law to be changed. Another is “her” gender transition surgery. At this point, Georgie is 19, and we witness the reaction after the final and irreversible act has been done. There is confusion and resentment over the fact that Georgie’s penis has been removed. The realization is almost traumatic, yet Georgie turns it around: there is great happiness because he has “become” a she. “She” is happy to see the new “vagina,” despite the fact that it’s still swollen.
Yet the short documentary (it doesn’t quite run half-an-hour) fails to show a great deal. The fact, for example, that puberty blockers affect the healthy development of bones, and the fact that such decisions are irreversible. Most of all, the film fails to show what happens in the aftermath. Many people who have gone through hormone treatments and had mastectomies or penectomies have reported suicidal symptoms, regret, fear, chronic physical ailments, “maintenance” of the changed body parts, and lack of relationships with the opposite sex.
This may not be the fault of the filmmakers because Georgie and “her” family are either not aware of such facts, or refuse to acknowledge them. Georgie’s mother in particular repeatedly says she wants what Georgie wants, effectively distancing herself from any input or analysis of Georgie’s mental condition.
A certain emptiness, hollowness, and nihilism runs through the documentary, similar to films about euthanasia. Despair and euphoria seem to run side by side in both conditions. People who choose such dramatic paths can’t seem to comprehend the inevitable end: for assisted suicide, that clearly means death; for “gender affirmation” surgery, it means an end of being. By tampering with the body, Georgie has effectively erased the metaphysical structure of “her” being because there can be no going back. Whether she likes it or not, the decision will have lifelong consequences.
One of the greatest challenges for people who go through the entire “affirmation” process is the lack of a clear future. There are, without a doubt, physical problems that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
But, apart from physical and emotional burdens, they all seem to become activists—and this is where their purpose stops. It is natural for a person to desire to be desired, to be in a relationship with another person, and perhaps even have a family. For someone like Georgie and thousands of others undergoing such procedures, their options narrow greatly. And if they do find partners, the relationship is a twisted perversion of what it should look like. It is literally barren.
In any event, the temporary euphoria brought on by the physical change will return to its original state of mental dysphoria. This activity cannot fill the hole in the soul that causes their innate dissatisfaction with their being. It’s unsustainable.
It is also incredibly sad. Nihilism and a denial of the dignity of the human body are at the disordered core of transgender ideology. Georgie and many others like “her” indeed live in a “dream life.” Even in the documentary, Georgie shows doubts and exhibits contradictions. “She” is wrapped and captured in a labyrinthine way of “her” being from which she sees no exit. There is no room for “her” just to be. Georgie has entered into a room of life that is lit up with neon lights that promise happiness. But it is, all at once, demanding and empty. It is a state of being in which a person is neither a he nor a she. Hormone treatment and surgery are exits, but only into nothingness and temporary relief of an ongoing interior problem.