A reader comments on an earlier thread; emphases below are mine:
As a parent living the nightmare of having a teen who suddenly announces she’s transgender, I can tell you there are NO doctors who will do anything but agree. There is NO science behind this. There is NO way to medically “diagnose” her. Her therapist knows that she is not transgender but fears there’s no way we can stop her. Three of her closest friends have already had full transition, paid for by their parents, so it is difficult for her to understand why we won’t do the same. It is no different than having your child captured by a cult, only this time the cult is a societal bandwagon which wants to do permanent physical harm to her perfectly healthy female body, all in the name of “love”. As one of Rod’s sisters in the ancient faith, I ask for your prayers.
You might recall earlier this summer I posted this piece that included an excerpt of a conversation I had in Baltimore earlier in the year:
She said, “I know people accuse you of being alarmist all the time, but let me tell you that they aren’t raising teenagers in this culture.”
The woman told me that at her kids’ high school, a shocking number of students are going to their parents asking to be put on hormones and asking for surgery, because they are transgender. This is the cool thing, and the school is falling all over itself to be supportive, and to encourage an “ally” culture.
“What about the parents?” I said.
“They’re going along with it,” she replied.
“Why on earth?!” I said.
“Because they don’t want to lose their kids. Because everything in the culture tells them they should. Because they think that’s how they love their child. And these parents usually become the fiercest LGBT advocates.”
She told me that the high school kids are now sorting themselves by where they are on the gender spectrum. She added that her brother is a liberal Democrat, an atheist, and a biologist. He tells her that he’s extremely worried about this trans thing. The science simply isn’t there to justify these radical interventions, but scientists are terrified to speak out because of the general atmosphere in academia around these issues now.
Earlier this year, I contacted a scientist about a strictly scientific question related to biology and homosexuality, but he refused to comment. I found that strange, because my question wasn’t ideologically loaded at all. It was just scientific, and his answer presumably would have been too. He said that in academia, there is among professors now such fear of the mob that many of them figure it’s safer to keep one’s mouth shut rather than say something that one of these young Jacobins will take as offensive, no matter how absurd that reading is, and then set about ginning up the mob to destroy the scholar’s professional life.
If this isn’t McCarthyism, what is? It doesn’t become any less McCarthyist because it’s done by the cultural left.
God help the poor parents living this nightmare with their children, because the kind of professionals — doctors and others — who ought to be there reining in this insanity appear to have been totally compromised.
It cannot be the case that there are so many truly transgendered young people in the country. To call something with such severe physiological consequences a “fad” is too trite, but the transgender thing seems to be a faddish way for teenagers struggling to figure out how to relate to the world sexually to resolve the normal stresses of the maturation process. My belief is that there are and always have been teenagers who question their sexuality, and maybe even their gender identity, but most of them resolve these questions conventionally. We know for sure that this is the case with transgenders. A 2008 medical study found that most gender dysphoric youths had resolved their dysphoria by adulthood, without transitioning. Most of that group turned out to be gay or bisexual. Had they been put on high doses of hormones or even had surgery, they would have done potentially or actually irreversible damage to their bodies.
But today we live in a cultural climate in which to have ordinary questions about one’s sexuality is to be drawn into a powerful cultural movement that is celebrated by the media, and that demonizes anyone who challenges its radical claims. They have torn down the cultural and psychological barriers that in the past would have guided young people through the often difficult psychosexual terrain of adolescence and early adulthood. Now there is no road map. To be lost is to find yourself, they say.
As longtime readers know, we homeschool our kids, so they are not exposed to the usual American pop culture trends. We do not fully shelter them from the culture, not at all, but we curate what they are allowed to see. We have zero participation in American television culture, except for old things we choose to watch with Netflix and Amazon Prime. Point is, we are blissfully unaware of how the cult spreads through the culture. Lately I’ve been hearing parents who are fully part of the culture complaining that LGBT messaging is very strong in pop culture now, and that to disagree with the party line, so to speak, is becoming literally unthinkable for their kids’ generation. Which is precisely the point.
We are going to have to take radical steps to withdraw from this popular culture if we are going to spare our kids its madness. I was talking last night over dinner with my friends about how completely clueless most parents are about the nature and pervasiveness of the threat. As Catholics, they were talking about how so many of their pastors, including bishops, desperately want to believe that everything is going to be okay, and that nobody should rock the boat. Meanwhile, the boat is about to go over the falls. This is not just pastors and bishops, though; this is most parents. Why do they do this? Because if what we are warning them about is true, then they are going to have to take drastic steps for the sake of their children’s faith and moral sanity. That is something most people would prefer not to do, so they deal with the tension by denying the threat.
Back in the late 1990s, PBS broadcast a Frontline documentary called “The Lost Children Of Rockdale County.” It begins with a syphilis epidemic in an upscale high school in suburban Atlanta. When public health officials began to investigate, they uncovered a culture of teenage promiscuity within the school that beggared imagination. How did this happen? Watching the show — and I urge you to follow the link and do so — revealed that these relatively affluent parents were disengaged, and trusted the culture to form their kids. It was too much bother to dig in deep with their kids, and guide them. The parents were laid-back, so the kids followed popular culture and their own instincts, straight into hell. Excerpts from the transcript:
NARRATOR: State health officials, fearing a widening epidemic, called in Claire Sterk, a Dutch-born professor at Emory University’s School of Public Health. It was to Sterk that some of the children began to reveal the details of their sexual activity.
Prof. CLAIRE STERK, Emory Univ. School of Public Health: It was not uncommon, when all the young people would get together, to engage in group sex. There was group sex going on in terms of one guy having sex with one of the girls, and then the next guy having sex with the same girl. There was group sex going on in terms of one girl having sex with multiple male partners at the same time, multiple females having sex with each other at the same time. I would say that the only type of group sex that I did not hear about in this overall context was group sex between just guys.
NARRATOR: In the end, 17 young people tested positive for syphilis. More than 200 others were exposed and treated. Approximately 50 of them reported being involved in extreme sexual behavior.
CYNTHIA NOEL: You don’t expect to see a 14-year-old with 20, 30, 40, 50 or 100 sex partners. You expect that of someone who is more into the line of being a prostitute or something. And these girls were not homeless. They were not abused in any way. These were just normal, everyday, regular kids.
Prof. CLAIRE STERK: A lot of the adolescents had parents who worked, were at home alone, had parents who put in 40, 60, 80-hour work weeks and were doing that to insure that all the resources that they wanted to give to their children were available.
BETH ROSS, Dir. Counseling, Rockdale County Schools: The activities they were involved in, whether it would be sexual or otherwise, the majority of their behavior was taking place between right after school and right before parents came home from work, like between 3:00 and 7:00, and some of it late at night then, after midnight, after the parents would go to sleep. [www.pbs.org: More on the state’s investigation]
NICOLE: Most of my friends’ parents were not the kind of parents that really cared. They cared what went on, but if it interfered with their lives they didn’t really- wouldn’t- they didn’t want to bother with it.
INTERVIEWER: When you came home from being out with all these kids and you saw your parents, what did you think?
AMY: I felt ashamed because I was just- I was, like, “Oh!” You know? I’ve been around some bad people, and coming home, and I would just- a lot of times, I would try just to go down to my room and not have to talk to them. A lot of times I would be high when I came home, so I really tried not to talk to them or look at them or anything.
FRANK: I knew it was possible that it was happening, you know, that she was sexually active. But we didn’t sit down and talk about the diseases and dangers that are out there, either. And I know it’s there. I guess we could have talked more about what she was doing then, and we didn’t. You know, we didn’t talk that much about what was happening when she was not with us.
I’m not a George Bush fan, but when he talked about the family unit and the breakdown of the a family unit, that’s the way it is. And as much- I do as much to destroy it as anybody else. We got T.V.’s in every room of the house. I watch my programs. My wife watches her programs in another room in the house. You know, the kids watch it or play on their Ataris, their video games.
You mentioned a while ago about the time we spent together. Yeah, we would spend time together, but much of the time that we had in the house together was not together.
Dr. KATHLEEN TOOMEY: What was so extraordinary to me is these parents started looking for externally who to blame. “This has caused this,” “T.V. has caused that,” “External groups have caused this.” But few of them – none of them that I can recall – ever looked to themselves. And the minister turned to me and said, “They don’t see. It’s them. It’s the parents. They have done this. The kids don’t talk to them.”
What was extraordinary to me, a year after this outbreak, was here was a community in total denial about what happened.
For some kids, the message has stuck. Before the morning bell rings at Heritage High, a Christian prayer service can be heard echoing down the hallways.
JENNIFER: I know where I stand. I know who I am in God. And nobody on this earth is going to be able to pull me off of that.
NARRATOR: Jennifer is 17. Her friends, Penie and Kira, are 16. They are devout Christians.
INTERVIEWER: Are you guys all virgins?
JENNIFER, KIRA, PENIE: Yes. Yes.
INTERVIEWER: Why? Why have you stayed virgins?
KIRA: Because that’s- that’s my morals that I live by. My parents have taught me from- since I was little that that’s a good thing to do. I mean, it’s just always been a right to me. It’s always been right to save it.
NARRATOR: The girls say their way of life has isolated them from their peers.
KIRA: We got into high school, and high school’s a lot different than middle school. Sex is the cool thing, and drugs is the cool thing, and drinking is cool. I went to one party in 9th grade, and I just- I just didn’t like it after that. I mean- I mean, I wanted to go, I mean, because everybody wants to go to parties. And I got there, and I just knew that was not what I’m- that’s not what I’m about. I’m about something different.
NARRATOR: The girls all left the Conyers public schools for a private Christian school called Springs Academy. Their circle of friends has narrowed, too, to those who share their beliefs.
JENNIFER: Guys definitely seem to be intimidated- I don’t know by other Christian girls, but seem to be intimidated by me. Sometimes it’s hard, and it’s- like, you question yourself. It’s, like, “Why is this worth it?” It’s, like, “These guys are there afraid of me.” It’s definitely been lonely at times.
PENIE: It really is hard, you know, when you try to be good, and then people want to always tar you and say, “Oh, no. You’re a hypocrite,” you know? It’s really hard.
NARRATOR: At times, the girls say, they have even been harassed by their peers.
PENIE: People like to say things. You know, they said that I was sleeping with- around with a lot of guys, you know, and that’s not the case, you know? And they’d say I get drunk, and I was not doing that at all, you know? And drugs and anything else you can imagine. You know, none of that was true.
I bring up the Lost Children documentary as an example of how disengaged parents, a highly sexualized popular culture, and teenage peer pressure can conspire to destroy the spiritual, emotional, and bodily integrity of teenagers. The transgender fad strikes me as a different outworking of the same principle. Since the 1960s, we have built a culture around the valorization of disordered sexuality. What we’re living through now is not an aberration, but the fulfillment of the Sexual Revolution.
To be fair, I don’t think it’s always about disengaged parenting. I would not be the least bit surprised if the reader with whose comment I began this blog had been a fully engaged parent. I know a few parents who have faced this or similar things with their kids, and who have been engaged parents. It’s just that past the age of 14 or thereabouts, parental influence takes a back seat to peer culture. Their kids went to schools where the peer culture was far more sexually experimental than anything that would have been permitted in their home. And their folks lost them to the cult behind the culture.
One of these days, the madness will subside, but the damage to real lives will be catastrophic. Meanwhile, there will be a chorus of denial all around. The schools will not help you. The medical profession will not help you. Maybe your church won’t even help you.
UPDATE: This e-mail from a reader validates my point. I’ve slightly edited it to protect privacy:
I read your blog regularly and sometimes post. I was very much taken with your post n Transgenderism today. Rod, it is almost ubiquitous throughout high schools today. It is a thing. I know this through personal experience.
About 5 years ago my oldest daughter started school at a rather large public high school in a very conservative school district in [very red state]. She had previously spent her elementary years at a small Catholic School in the same county. The student population grades preK – 8th was about 325 kids. In 2011 she started at the public high school in the Fall. My wife and I had absolutely no clue what was coming at us.
The school year started off as any regular year would, orientation, supply buying, etc. It was not as if my daughter did not know other kids in the school; she did. She had friends from the neighborhood who had spent their lives in public school and many of the kids from her Catholic school had gone to the same school as well. Anyway, as the semester wore on, I started to a change in her. She had always been somewhat quiet and introspective as a child, but also very social, but she had begun to withdraw. She would complain about the sexual tension in school and she did not like it. She did not like how the boys acted semi predatory and she really hated how women were seen as sex objects and how many of the girls went out of their way to make themselves sexual objects . She would tell stories of how girls even her age were pressured into having sex…not necessarily by the boys , but by other girls. They would talk about their sexual exploits out loud. I, at first, dismissed it and tried to tell her that as she got older she was going to hear stuff like that and that coming from a family full of boys that there was a lot of bullsh*t associated with guys making those claims and given the world today probably from the girls as well.
Anyway, as the semester went on I started to notice major behavioral changes in her. She became withdrawn and very short with her siblings. Her mood became dark. She would tell me that she thought maybe she was gay. I told her that we would love her just the same, but I paid no attention to it, mainly because she had a boyfriend in 8th grade. By November of her freshman year I noticed a change in how she presented herself, she started dressing more and more like a bum.
Then she hit me with it. She comes in one evening and says that she believes that she is probably a man inside of a girl’s body. Naturally, as a father and a guy, I was like, “What level of ridiculous is this? You were boy crazy not six months ago. Three months ago I saw you flirting with some boys at a party, where does this come from?” This is crazy and she looked serious. I thought, OK she’s just trying to get one over on me and she’s doing a little rebelling. Then I got a call from her counselor a few days later.
“ You know, **** has been having trouble adjusting here” My wife and I agreed with this, we saw it. Then skipping over all of the other stuff, the counselor says, “ You know your son….. “ I stopped her, “ My son? My son is 7 years old, what does he have to do with this conversation?” “No, said the counselor”” I mean your son here at this school.” I was like, “I have one son and he’s in second grade, I have a daughter in this school.” The counselor leans over and in a very smug, self assured manner, “No **** identifies as a male, she — he says that he has always felt this way, but it is causing him a lot of anxiety.”
Anyway, I told her that I thought she was crazy and that just because my daughter may not be as sexualized as the other girls, it does not mean she is not a woman, it just means me and her mother must have done something right.
The next thing I know, over that weekend , **** takes all of her clothes that looked feminine and started throwing them in garbage bags. That Sunday night, she walks right past her mother and I and announces that she is now a boy and that we should call her _____. Obviously a real mindblower.
So now I am incensed. I told her, “No you are not throwing your clothes out, and no I am not going to call you anything other than your name that your mother and your father gave you and the one that is on your birth certificate.” So of course, now I am the hateful one.
Rod, this battle went on for all of high school and the more I explored it and the more questions I asked, I found that the gender fluidity thing was not all that isolated — itt’s kind of “encouraged”, if you will. I heard from a number of parents that their kids were coming home and telling them that they were transgendered or pan sexual or genderqueer. The kids always seemed to be the ones who were not as self confident, kind of the nerdy outcast who had not yet gained any type of true sexual or self confidence.
The stories all sounded the same too. Freshman year of high school, immense pressure to conform to a highly sexualized environment, then if your self confidence is not where the crowd thinks it should be, the name-calling and rumor-mongering. It was so bad a friend of mine told me that her daughter would come home in tears every day because the girls thought she was lesbian and the boys would too, and worse, make lewd gestures. This girl, the victim, told me that a lot of the girls that were picked on were doing this and identifying as male, she thought, as a self defense mechanism so that the rest would leave them alone.
The problem with this play acting is that everyone has to buy in and if you are the one trying to “transition” you have to do a sell job in all aspects of your life. There are books on it, there are sites on the internet that encourage the exploration of gender roles. They see this and they start to think they are. It was not until recently that my daughter finally decided or gave up the pretense and was a girl again. She has kind of told me that this transgender movement is something that is all the rage right now in the 15-21 year old age group.
It is so prevalent, so ubiquitous, that the schools have just given in. The counselors and psychologists have been instructed not to question the veracity of the claim that the individual is other than what they identify themselves as. The counselors are told that they must comfort and “support” the person going through this and be nurturing. If a kid has a sexual confidence problem, they are probably gender queer according to many counselors or psychologists. I learned that there is a whole network out there actively promoting transitioning and gender fluidity and that many of the psychologists have bought into it so much that they are skipping protocol and advocating for hormone therapy after only 2-3 visits. There are networks out there for these kids to get hormones without a prescription and that these networks are referred to these kids by then psychologists themselves.
How much longer can traditional Christians, Jews, and Muslims risk leaving their kids in public school?
UPDATE.2: This e-mail from a reader commenting on yesterday’s report I posted about how the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district — that is, the public schools in Charlotte, NC — are going transgender-positive now:
I am a native Charlottean, as are my parents and grand parents before me, and on down the line to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in AD 1775. I am also a product of what was once an excellent school district, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. I graduated four years ago this June and was shocked beyond words when, on Saturday last, I heard the news channel my family has watched since I was nought but a child covering the District’s new policy recommendation as if it was as ordinary as claiming the sky is falling when a thunderstorm rolls through – our news channels can be a bit sensationalist with the weather, as I’m sure they all are nowadays.
Though my incredulity as a Christian and conservative man is I’m sure fairly unsurprising at this point, my father’s reaction may be more so. He is a legitimate deist and an old school economic liberal raised in a lower middle class family, but still fairly no-nonsense in terms of the “Progress” agenda as you call it. He himself is also a product of CMS and is a retired veteran of thirty years in the same district’s classrooms. His response may have been more visceral than mine: he nearly spat out the water he’d been drinking and sat there staring at the television, mouth agape and eyebrows furrowed before simply shaking his head and sitting back in his chair, commenting on his utter disbelief.
My father and I, along with many in Mecklenburg I am sure, are greatly distressed with this disturbing turn of events – to put it frankly, this is not the District we were educated in and grew up with; but then again, neither is the County nor City. Nevertheless, the true shock for me came not from what was done, as I have no faith in the Democrats running the city, despite coming from a lower middle class upbringing; rather, my shock stems from the rapidity with which this change has taken place. This would have been unthinkable when I graduated a mere four years ago, and though being away from home at engineering school has isolated me somewhat, I still never believed this lunacy would begin to sprout up here, in my native state. Truly, the Law of Merited Impossibility has been borne out. I can say with one hundred percent confidence that if I were to raise I family in Charlotte, which I pray God is not the case when such time comes, I would not even consider putting them in the public schools, and this, to me, is a true tragedy.
My apologies for rambling on so long, but I couldn’t help but reach out and give you some sort of view from one of the “bitter clingers” in North Carolina. I eagerly await your Benedict Option book in the coming year.
Note well, readers: This young man thought it could never happen there. But it has happened, and happened with staggering swiftness. Don’t you be dumb enough to think it cannot and will not happen where you live.