By Jonathon Van Maren
In January, I wrote a column explaining why I believe that despair, assisted suicide, and the transgender movement are destined to meet. As devastated de-transitioners grapple with the fallout from their surgeries and hormones and realize that they have been rendered infertile and incapable of sexual function before they were old enough to vote, drink, or drive, I suspect that some will, tragically, become suicidal. In fact, I noted, we’ve already seen this happen. A Belgian woman opted for euthanasia after botched sex change surgeries; a Dutch man recently applied for assisted suicide on the same grounds. We are told that irreversible drugs and surgeries are necessary to prevent suicides. We are about to see just how many suicides are caused by these “treatments.”
That, according to Ryan Robert Skillen—who now identifies as a woman and calls himself Savannah Meadows—is not his story. After a difficult childhood and a lifetime of severe mental illness, he wants access to assisted suicide. The National Post published a feature-length piece on Meadows, who is condemning the government’s decision to delay permitting assisted suicide for those with mental illness because he wants to utilize the “service.” The Post, predictably, uses “she/her” pronouns throughout the report, which comes off as a puff piece for providing suicide to the depressed. Meadows has a long criminal record and is clearly a very disturbed person:
Meadows has a family doctor but isn’t currently under the care of a therapist. Psychiatrists the National Post spoke with could not comment on a particular case but said someone struggling on her own under these circumstances would be in itself tragic…She’s tried medications, from the anti-psychotic Abilify to Zoloft, an anti-depressant. She’s undergone counselling with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, though admits her treatment history has been “spotty.” She hasn’t been compliant with her meds in the past, because of the side effects. “I’m anti-authority and have narcissistic traits. That right there makes it far harder for me to be treated.” She’s been hospitalized, involuntarily, at least 10 times for suicidal thoughts. And while she had hoped gender-affirming surgery would be the one thing that would turn things around — “I’m a woman now, that guy in the past, I can erase that and go forward,” she remembers thinking — her hope that the breast augmentation and vaginoplasty would be like a magic wand was fantastical thinking, she said she realizes now. “They may have given me a couple of gasps of air, but my head is still bobbing under the surface.
The sex change surgeries, according to Meadows, didn’t do what he’d hoped, but he doesn’t regret them and still feels that surgeries were the right thing for him. But the point throughout the essay is crystal clear: Meadows wants to die, and he wants the government to endorse and facilitate his decision, regardless of the dangers that might pose to millions of mentally vulnerable Canadians. His case is presented not as an example of someone who desperately needs every bit of mental support society can offer, but as a case study for why assisted suicide for the mentally ill might be important.