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Mary Hasson: Parents & Pastors, Wake Up

Mary Hasson of Catholic Women's Forum: Parents and churches must wake up to the gender ideology threat

The journalist Abigail Shrier has a new Substack column out in which an anonymous source — a former Planned Parenthood worker — tells her how the organization allegedly handles young people who show up asking for cross-sex hormones. It’s eye-opening, to say the least. Most people do not realize that, as Shrier writes, “Planned Parenthood is now one of the largest providers in the United States of cross-sex hormones like testosterone to females seeking medical gender transition.” Excerpts:

The employee insisted (both on Twitter and during our interview) that she was reluctant to say anything critical of Planned Parenthood because she believes in its core mission.

“[T]hey still provide vital services for women,” she wrote on Twitter, and anti-abortion activists “will jump at any opportunity to smear them.” But she went on to write: “Having said that, their recent roles in trans activism are abhorrent, and they’re digging their own grave.”

The Planned Parenthood clinic where she worked was located in a small town of roughly 30,000. Abortions were the clinic’s “bread and butter,” something this employee fully supports. But, she noted, “trans identifying kids are cash cows, and they are kept on the hook for the foreseeable future in terms of follow-up appointments, bloodwork, meetings, etc., whereas abortions are (hopefully) a one-and-done situation.”

How significant is this revenue stream?  I’ve never been able to obtain numbers on that, though the Planned Parenthood website for Central and Western New York states that: “Nationally, Planned Parenthood is the second largest provider of Gender Affirming Hormone Care.” It seems reasonable to conclude that hormone treatments—pricey as they are—now contribute materially to Planned Parenthood’s bottom line.

According to the employee, based on her recollection, 1-2 new biologically female teen patients seeking testosterone would arrive per day.  A few reasonable assumptions and some arithmetic reveal that a shocking percentage of the town’s teen girls came through the clinic over just a few years.

There were no doctors at the clinic where she worked. Nurse practitioners were the professionals with the highest medical training, she said. The clinic employed a gender counselor who had “no actual professional credentials or formal training other than being MtF” (that is, a male-to-female transgender person). Adolescents would come and speak to this gender counselor and Planned Parenthood would then forward the counselor’s “notes to an actual licensed mental health professional somewhere off-site, and rubber stamp approve the patients to begin their transition. This is basically how they circumvented the requirement to speak to an actual counselor,” according to the employee’s Twitter post.

Adolescents! We live in a society in which school nurses won’t give students a Tylenol without explicit parental approval, but kids can walk into Planned Parenthood and start the process to get cross-sex hormones. More:

Each day, new teen girls would present at the clinic (sometimes with mom). They often arrived in groups of girlfriends, all claiming childhood histories of gender dysphoria and asking to be put on testosterone. Did she believe their testimonies? “I think they were telling what they perceived to be their authentic history to them at the time. Like, I was a 13 year old girl, you know. Everything is very dire, everything needs to be remedied immediately,” she said.

In any case, the script Planned Parenthood instructed her to read from didn’t grant much room for evaluation of patient histories. “The questions that we asked were like, very closed ended…It would be, ‘you know, at what age did this start’? Boom that is it. ‘What kinds of dysphoria do you feel’? Boom that’s it, you know? ‘What do you want out of your transition’? ‘Do you want top surgery?’ ‘Do you want bottom surgery’?”

In taking their histories, the employee did discover that these girls seemed to be suffering from a great deal of emotional pain. “A lot of them have serious emotional issues, a lot of them had a history of abuse and baggage.”

Putting girls at that age on testosterone could permanently alter their bodies, rendering them infertile. But kids are treating this like a previous generation regarded going to the shopping mall to get their ears pierced:

Most interesting to me was the fact that, according to the employee, the girls would often arrive to the clinic with a group of friends. (For what other medical treatments do girls arrive with peer group in tow?) It smacked more of the gleeful trips teen girls once took to the mall for ear piercings than the sober medical treatment of a genuine mental health disorder.

What was the mood in the waiting room among these friends? “Super cheerful, giggly. It’s a fun thing,” she said, a touch of cynicism whetting her tone.

I asked her if she and the other nurses and reproductive health assistants didn’t think there was something suspicious about girls’ showing up in groups of friends for treatment—whether it didn’t cross the employees’ minds that peer influence might be at play. “It’s kind of one of those things where you just roll your eyes.” She told me. “The extent of our intervention” was to grant “their requests to start the hormone therapy.”

Read the whole thing. It’s horrifying. Truly dystopian stuff. This ought to be illegal. Where are the Congressional hearings? What about state legislatures?

Mary Hasson, who directs the Catholic Women’s Forum at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, a Washington think tank, tells me that the medical industry is working hard to make it easy for minors to gender-transition. She sent me some slides from presentations last summer at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics by Dr. Jo Olson-Kennedy, one of the country’s top medical transgender advocates. She is the Medical Director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Olson-Kennedy is also married to a biological woman who presents as a transman. 

Hasson tells me that Dr. Olson-Kennedy gave two presentations at the conference. In the one titled “Conversations With LGBTQ Youth,” said Hasson, the doctor
advised pediatricians to be proactive in raising sex and gender questions — asking questions about whether kids like boys or girls or both, or whether they are comfortable in their bodies, etc — no matter whether a kid comes in for a sore throat, bee sting, or for a physical. (The parents is always shooed out of the room)   It is insidious and designed to sow self-doubt in kids, who can’t help wonder why the doc is always asking if the child is gay, etc.  Docs are told that their operating presumption should be that “any” child could be LGBTQ, so all kids should be addressed in a way to make it easy to “come out” or explore those identities.
Hasson points out that Dr. Olson-Kennedy, in an NIH-funded study, reported referring a 13-year-old girl for a double mastectomy, and starting puberty blockers on children as young as eight. “She has no concerns about a child regretting a transition,” says Hasson, “because she thinks it’s all part of the ‘gender journey’ — even though it might cost a teen her fertility.”
“There is no ‘safe zone’ in our institutions anymore,” Hasson says. “Parents need to be on guard and they need the support of their faith communities.”
This is a big problem. As far as I can tell, many parents are really clueless about the dangers of this culture. It’s not really their fault. The media are all-in on trans advocacy. You have to look for balanced information, and many parents don’t even know where to start. And, based on anecdotal data from readers of this blog around the country, their churches offer no guidance at all.

I’m excited, then, to point you to Person & Identity, a new web resource for parents, clergy, and parochial school teachers and administrators. It’s a project of the Catholic Women’s Forum, and is written by Catholics, for Catholics — though my perusal of its pages reveals that most of the information there is useful for all Christians. Not only useful, but a godsend. I interviewed Mary Hasson about Person & Identity:

RD:  I hear all the time from Christian parents who feel overwhelmed by gender ideology, and have no idea what to think of it. Now I have somewhere to send them. In my experience, most parents seem to think that this is just going to pass them by, that it can’t happen to their family. Are they wrong?

MH: Yes, 100% wrong. Gender ideology is already affecting them and their kids. From the classroom to the Internet and social media, to entertainment, sports, and corporate advertising—it’s inescapable.

The CDC reports about 3% of young people identify as trans, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Social contagion is at work, which means it’s more important to pay attention to your child’s immediate environment. A school with one “trans” child will soon have five, with a dozen more who are “questioning.” The adolescent world is flooded with images presenting “trans” as normal and healthy. Teens on social media face daily dilemmas – when a classmate (or a celebrity) “comes out” as “trans” or “non-binary” on Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok, should they “like” the trans declaration or risk being tagged as a “hater”? Should they signal their wokeness by adding trans or rainbow flags to their profiles for Pride month or any of the dozens of LGBT-themed days?

It’s critically important to realize that even if a child is not personally confused about being male or female, it is deeply de-stabilizing to every child when authority figures outside the family normalize and validate the core beliefs of gender ideology—and they do, routinely. Teachers in public schools (and some private schools) teach gender identity concepts, “debunk” the binary, and affirm “trans” or “non-binary” students. Pediatricians ask adolescents privately about their gender identity or pronouns. Youth ministers, trying to be compassionate, affirm a troubled adolescent’s self-declared “non-binary” identity, and encourage the group to do so as well. The President of the United States has decreed that it is “discrimination” and “bigotry” to refuse to include, affirm, or validate a person’s self-declared “gender identity.” It’s hard for an adult to stand fast to the truth in the face of such opposition. Imagine the difficulty for our children.

Some kids are particularly vulnerable to trans ideology: adolescent girls, kids with autism, pre-existing mental health issues, histories of trauma or abuse, and those already have trouble fitting in or are socially isolated. Anecdotally, although more kids from progressive families might “come out” as trans (because they often encourage sex and “gender” experimentation or pride themselves on being “open”), I know of many kids from strong faith backgrounds who are seduced into the trans craze, including kids who were homeschooled, or attended solid Christian or Catholic schools. The culture is like a powerful riptide pulling our kids out to sea, and many of them are drowning.

RD: I also hear from Christians — Catholics and others — that they are getting no direction at all from their parishes. What should priests, pastors, and church personnel be doing?

MH: I hear the same. The silence of pastors, ministers, and pastoral teams is deadly in the face of the never-ending gender ideology soundtrack that plays in the background of our kids’ lives. Silence means the lies go unanswered, the believer’s pain is unrecognized, and their confusion unresolved. Faith communities need to act with urgency—because lives depend on it. Some specific suggestions:

  • Get up to speed now on gender ideology—the core deceptions, its destabilizing and destructive impact, the chief spreaders (schools, social media, the Internet, entertainment, counselors and medical professionals), and the dangerous idea of “transition.” Learn who is most vulnerable and why.
  • Get the facts on “gender transition” so you can confidently speak the truth to families needing advice. Sex is immutable. “Transition” is a mirage, a false “solution” to deeper issues that need to be resolved.
  • Know who your allies are—and aren’t–within the medical and mental health communities. Families want referrals. Find out who is trustworthy, e.g. professionals who accept biological reality and share the same anthropology. (Hint: “Gender” clinics and therapists are never the right choice—they are the fast-track to transition.)
  • Face the ugly reality of transgender “medicine” so you will grasp, on a gut level, the evil of gender ideology and why it is never “compassionate” to affirm a person’s false belief in a “trans” identity. How? Read at least three stories of suffering parents who lost teens to the trans cult because other adults “affirmed” them as “transgender.” Browse the thousands of YouTube videos of teens “transitioning,” e.g. 16 year old girls showing off bloody mastectomy scars, discussing their mental health, etc. And visit the website of a “gender surgeon,” who is getting rich off the barbaric surgeries he performs on vulnerable young people. You must confront the evil in order to feel the urgency of speaking the truth and condemning the lies.
  • Speak the truth boldly, and often. Be intentional about educating your staff and your congregation. The Person and Identity Project has resources and expertise to help.
  • Openly acknowledge the pain of families whose children are caught up in the trans cult. Many parents are berated by “professionals” for not supporting a teen or young adult’s transition. Their extended families and the world at large tell them to support their child’s transition—which they know is destructive physically, spiritually, and emotionally—lest they drive their child to suicide (a lie). They may fear being blamed and shamed as “bad parents” by fellow believers. They need you to acknowledge their pain, speak the truth about the person, and support them in this difficult time.
  • Pray, with confidence, but urgency. The Biden administration is ramping up the flow of trans propaganda. The human costs will be devastating.

RD: Person & Identity makes a claim that undergirds its reason for being: “Gender ideology is irreconcilable with Christian anthropology and Catholic teaching.” Explain why.

MH: A full explanation is on our website, but in brief: The Christian believes that we are created by God, male or female, and that we are called to accept our sexual identity as a gift. We are “embodied persons, a unity of soul and body, called to eternal life. Males and females are oriented to one another sexually, and their union brings forth new life—a family. A person’s happiness comes from living in accord with the Creator’s design (accepting our bodies, following the moral law). To manipulate, degrade, or destroy the body’s natural function in pursuit of an alternative “identity” is morally wrong.

Gender ideology views the person as material, autonomous, and self-defining; it rejects the idea of human nature and denies the significance of sexual difference. Thus, it champions the person’s supposed “right” to self-define on the basis of feelings. Gender ideology asserts it is possible to be “born in the wrong body” (a scientifically erroneous claim), that the body is merely a canvas for self-expression (a dualistic separation of will and body). It justifies medical interventions to modify the body according to the person’s desires as the legitimate expression of individual autonomy and a path towards authenticity.

RD: Catholic Women’s Forum has created this site for Catholics, but from what I can tell, most of what you all say about gender ideology is applicable to all Christians. What can concerned parents from other Christian confessions learn from Person & Identity?

MH: We hope that our website and expertise will assist people from all faith traditions. The Christian vision of the human person that we promote was—until recently—accepted by most Christian denominations as well as the wider secular world. Sound science—biological reality—is not a matter of faith. But God is the author of the created world, so it’s no surprise that science solidly supports the truth of the human person as explained by faith. Our website reflects the Catholic reliance on faith and reason, so our resources are drawn from the best secular and scientific sources as well as those within our faith tradition.

We encourage all faith communities to address this issue head on, because believers need the wisdom of faith, and clear teaching on the truth of the human person. They also need their leaders to call out the lies that are becoming woven into the law and our cultural institutions. We invite other faith leaders to be in touch with us—we are happy to serve in any way we can.

RD: I know you have read Abigail Shrier’s new piece about how Planned Parenthood is facilitating young teenagers’ attempts to transition. This phenomenon seems so clearly to be a matter of social contagion, especially among girls. Why is nobody stepping up to protect these kids?

MH: There are good legislators who are stepping up on the state level, proposing various bills to prevent medical interventions on minors and seeking to safeguard girls’ and women’s sports. But they are facing a negative media onslaught, big business (which bends to the will of the LGBTQ lobby), and the corruption of the medical establishment. (Harvard Medical School is piloting a program, funded by LGBTQ donors, to train physicians in trans-affirming medicine. The intent is to duplicate it in other medical schools.) Pharma is investing heavily in promoting the transgender phenomenon. Cancel culture is making it virtually impossible for people to stand up and speak the truth with boldness—unless a person is willing to face the substantial costs.

If the Church doesn’t stand up and speak the truth with confidence and boldness, then who will?

Please explore the website — trust me, you’ll learn something — and share the link to Person & Identity widely, especially with your pastor, and with other parents. This is urgently important. People need to know what’s going on, and how to resist it. The lies are overwhelming, and this ideology has captured the mainstream media, many in the medical profession, and the educational field. Parents need to step up to protect their children — and Christian parents deserve to have the Church behind them.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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