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The Cult Of Transgender

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 [1]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 [2] 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.” [3] 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.

Even more:

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.

And finally:

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?


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 [3] 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.

It’s crazy.

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.

182 Comments (Open | Close)

182 Comments To "The Cult Of Transgender"

#1 Comment By Roger C. On August 11, 2016 @ 3:58 pm

Is it me or are the same people who say a 16 year old’s decision to murder someone shouldn’t hold lifelong consequences for them absolutely endorsing the same 16 year old’s decision to have endocrinologists and surgeons mutilate their bodies with lifelong consequences?

#2 Comment By grumpy realist On August 11, 2016 @ 5:09 pm

I think what we’re seeing is a perfect storm of a) angst-ridden kids going through standard adolescent hormonal shifts b) a conspiracy of teachers/social service people/doctors who are perfectly willing to trot out the latest hot thing as The Solution to whatever is bothering the kids c) a social media mess that just bounces the idea of “hey, look at how cool these transgender people are!” d) a social environment for these kids where they’re looking for attention/not pestered for sex/are getting bullied…..and voila, the result.

Which is really unfortunate, because I predict 10 years down the road when all the transsexual fuss has died down, we’re going to have a lot of very unhappy and sterile adults.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

#3 Comment By EmpathyLouis On August 11, 2016 @ 5:22 pm

If your adult child claims to be transgender, the kindest thing you could do for them is to not accept them. Acceptance isn’t the same thing as Love. If they become verbally abusive or disrespectful towards you because of this, you should just cut them off. Love them from a distance. Dedicate your time to the elderly, the destitute, or the forgotten instead.

#4 Comment By Commenter Man On August 11, 2016 @ 7:37 pm

From New Jersey here, an upper middle class town, daughter will be a senior in the fall at a large Public high school. My personal view is, these parents are stupid and possibly causing harm to their child. I would use the word criminal for their doings, not in a statutory way though.

But I wanted more data, so I asked the daughter. In this school with about 1600 kids, two are openly transgender but it is not known if they are taking hormonal or other treatments. There may be a few more, who prefer to keep quiet about their situation. The attitude of the school staff is, “accepting”. Daughter says the school programs like health or sex-ed or general atmosphere there is definitely no incitement or cheering on of gender transformation. They are accepting and that is it.

Then the daughter laughed and wanted to know why I was asking .. was I, you know, considering a change myself. I replied, if I could really change I would want to become a bird.

Just one data point from the liberal northeast.

#5 Comment By Libertarian Moralist On August 11, 2016 @ 10:22 pm

[NFR: I don’t believe any objections to this insanity to be treated as reasonable by the cult, and I don’t trust non-religious people to find the wherewithal to fight it. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not betting on it. — RD]

I’m a non-religious person (a deist), and have posted pro-traditional marriage comments on Yahoo message boards.

The medical profession has had millenniums to find a biological explanation for same-sex attraction (homosexuality), and has failed to produce a credible one. I seriously doubt that after mere years the medical profession will find a biological explanation for the transgender condition. Given the sharp rise in transgender cases among minors, it’s apparent that transgender is largely a fad, often the result of ineffective parenting, or bad parenting (or absent parents) or peer influence, and the sexual revolution. Letting a six year old choose his gender or cross-dress borders on child abuse.

I don’t have kids, but it appears that public schools are complicit in the increase in transgender cases. That’s reason enough for parents to take their kids out of public school.

#6 Comment By Brendan from Oz On August 12, 2016 @ 1:18 am

“Most feudal titles were passed on by successful pirates and highway robbers to descendants who with the accumulated booty, could afford to be more sedate and formal, and hire retainers to help their more effete selves keep the loot.”

Most feudal Lords trained from childhood to use arms and armour to protect their lands. Richard the Lionheart was no slouch with a sword in hand. Same for William the Conqueror, Edward 1, Harald Hardrada etc.

They fought, in combat, and usually had the diet (which peasants often lacked) and the training to be the best. When threatened, the peasants went to the castle of their Lord for safety. Two way street, not simple Tyranny.

Once guns and cannon …

Had the beggar said that to Harald Hardrada I expect Widowmaker (his sword) would have made another.

Cultures over generations form distinctions until another order replaces it – often in the West for technological as much as moral reasons.

#7 Comment By Daniel (not Larison ) On August 12, 2016 @ 9:54 am

JonF wrote:

Sorry, but the conclusion is ludicrous. Are we on the verge of normalizing theft? Murder? Rape? Do we approve of barefaced lying (I mean, not socially lubricating white lies)? Malicious gossip? Is hypocrisy off the list of public and/or private sins? Do we think well suddenly of racism? Torturing animals for kicks? Littering? No, the vast bulk of our moral structure is quite intact and not crumbling at all. Unless one’s definition of morality begins and ends at the bedroom door.

Well, there are a few of us who believe.that society’s acceptance of abortion, euthenasia, and suicide (certainly not complete, but in process) are rather troubling.

You might argue that acceptance of abortion is a bedroom thing, though I’m pretty sure most medical abortions don’t take place in a bedroom…and it kind of supports a point that some activities behind bedroom doors have comsequences beyond them.

#8 Comment By Jacob Masterson On August 12, 2016 @ 9:59 am

Taking dangerous medications and mutilating your body is utterly unacceptable. You can’t change sexes and sex is the basis of gender. Trannies and their enablers are sick, sociopathic people who need to be rejected

#9 Comment By Ian Greenwood On August 12, 2016 @ 11:44 am

Dreher sure loves ranting about transgender people but I wonder if he has ever actually spoken to a one.

#10 Comment By BCaldwell On August 12, 2016 @ 11:52 am

“This dad’s dismissal amazes me. His daughter all but comes right out and says “I’m being sexually harassed every day at that school and it’s doing a number on my mental health,” and he answers as if all she wants to know is whether the kids who talk about their “sexual exploits” are telling the truth.”

Speaking as a father of 4 with 2 girls and 3 sisters, I know where this father is coming from . One thing you have to teach your kids is how to have some level of mental toughness. I’m raising my kids to actually function in the world and know b.s. when they hear it. They have to learn how to cope in this world. I taught my sons that for the most part guys talking about their sexual prowess and prodigious success with girls generally were full of it….I’ve taught my daughters much the same. They can’t run to the authorities every time they get hit on or some 16 year old says something lewd. Sixteen year old boys are idiots, of course they know this because they have brothers who are in this age group.

As to stop sexual harassment. It is very tough to do so in the public school system. If something like this were going on in a Catholic school, you could get much more cooperation from the admin, but in a public school not so much. How do you stop two girls from talking about another girl in a “private” conversation in a public sphere? Go talk to the parents? There are so many out there who have the attitude of “not my little angel.”

I’m not sure that you, Joan, understand how ingrained the sexual thing is today. I speak with educators all the time about this sort of thing. They hate it too, they try to stop it, but there is only so far they can go. I for one am not teaching my kids to be snowflakes who run and hide every time they hear some thing lewd whether it is directed at them or not. Call B.S. when you think it is B.S.. Learn to ignore the asshole.

#11 Comment By kate On August 12, 2016 @ 5:36 pm

Recently I wrote a novel called Magic’s Grace where I slapped this ‘fad’ for what it is.

#12 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 12, 2016 @ 6:44 pm

Brendan, much of what you say is empirically true… and quite irrelevant to my response to Ken-ichi, who has distinguished himself with a quite open and unabashed advocacy for the notion that what society demands is paramount and the individual will obey or have their head removed. Now he says that if we have people thinking they can change their sex at whim, well, that is because we introduced the notion that “all men are created equal…” I disagree. Nothing you say refutes my point. Harald Hardrada was essentially a brigand and a pirate, and made quite a success of himself at it.

Dreher sure loves ranting about transgender people but I wonder if he has ever actually spoken to a one.

Does it matter? I’ve never to my knowledge spoken to anyone who had syphilis, but I still have reasonably well-informed opinions on matters of public health. I’ve never spoken to anyone with ALS, but I have a definite notion of what we as a society can and cannot do for those who have it.

#13 Comment By Joan On August 13, 2016 @ 8:41 am

Behind the advice given to young women that they should simply ignore obnoxious guys, there is an assumption that the guys are all basically decent human beings who just have nasty mouths and that, if they are firmly ignored, they will take their unwanted attentions elsewhere.

My parents used to think that way. They definitely did not want to hear about what I was going through in the sixth grade. Twelve years old, I was taller than the teacher and pretty much had my adult body. By the time things escalated to the point where I was coming home with bruises, it never would have occurred to me to tell any adult about them.

Then one winter day while walking home from school, I was ambushed by one of my most fervent tormentors, who pelted me with snowballs with rocks in the middle, which he threw hard enough to really sting. The last one, flung just as I slipped into what I thought was the safety of the house, broke the lower pane on our storm door. (This was the same boy whose best friend called me “Joaner-boner” and constantly sexually harassed me. We think of that kind of thing as new, but this was nearly fifty years ago.)

Once property damage had happened, my parents were finally ready to see that maybe there was a problem. My mom later told me that, during the parent-teacher conference that she demanded, the teacher pleaded for leniency for the boy on the grounds that his parents were getting a divorce. I don’t know whether he was punished at all, but he did leave me alone for the rest of the school year. I have no idea what happened to him after that, or whether the incident influenced my mom’s decision that we would move to a different school district the following summer.

The first friend I made at the new school, another girl who matured early, had the same kind of thing happen to her: she ignored a (much smaller) boy who was pestering her for attention and he physically assaulted her, climbing a few steps up a staircase and then tackling her at, ahem, a little below shoulder level, in plain view of two witnesses, one of whom was me. He didn’t seem to be aware that he was doing something wrong. That boy grew up to go to prison.

So maybe, because of my personal experiences, I am especially sensitive to the fact that, from a victim’s perspective, there is no way to tell the difference between teenage idiots who don’t really mean any harm and budding rapists and abusers testing the waters of sexual violence with one toe. Even now that we know this is how some rapists and abusers get started, all too often the early signs are brushed off. I’m also hyper-aware of the way that girls whose reactions to creepster language and behavior (such as “accidentally” pressing his body against a girl’s in a crowded hallway) get brushed off will be reluctant to come forward if and when the verbal abuse goes over into physical abuse.

And even if a teenage idiot doesn’t mean any harm, he’s still acting like a budding rapist and should be told in no uncertain terms to cut it out.

#14 Comment By ARM On August 13, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

“Twelve years old, I was taller than the teacher and pretty much had my adult body. By the time things escalated to the point where I was coming home with bruises, it never would have occurred to me to tell any adult about them.”

I hear you and I believe you, but just so you know these things are spread across the board, and it’s not all about maturing early: in my family, we don’t physically mature until 16 or 17, but that’s not any kind of salvation. When you’re physically immature, the boys chase you home from school every day taunting you for your immaturity. I still vividly remember having my head bashed against a brick wall on the way home from school by the boy who was chasing and taunting my sister and I on our way home. Our experiences suggests that from a pubescent boy’s point of view, the offense of being pre-pubescent is worthy of any punishment he can devise.

#15 Comment By Joan On August 14, 2016 @ 7:37 am

@ARM: I think the real problem is not maturing too early or maturing too late; it’s going to school with boys who want to injure somebody who won’t retaliate and who use the fact that a girl is an outlier, either the first to mature or the last, as a justification for their aggression. Other justifications may include the target being disabled, being the only member of their ethnic group or religion in the class, and being some flavor of queer. I recently read something by a girl who became a target after she came out as asexual. These boys are the real problem. Their parents, making excuses for them, claim that they are just normal boys, but it’s very rare that you get most or all the boys in a class behaving like that. Instead, the problems will usually come from one clique, or even just one or two boys.

We don’t teach girls to fight back, because that’s not feminine. We don’t protect them, because adults can’t be everywhere and these boys are often good at finding situations where they and their targets will be unobserved. We also don’t teach them the skills to defuse anger nonviolently (the second part of the Biblical advice “Be gentle as doves and wise as serpents.”) Many adults don’t even know that these skills exist and can be taught. There seems to be a notion out there that all a girl has to do is be respectable and the boys will respect her. We need to get over that.

#16 Comment By Eric Kernfeld On August 15, 2016 @ 10:56 am

Why is it that trans people seem so cool to you? Conventional wisdom says to be trans is to be a magnet for bullying and unprovoked violence. This bullying contributes to a high suicide risk as well. It seems you and I are perceiving very different school cultures.

#17 Comment By JonF On August 15, 2016 @ 1:22 pm

Re: Well, there are a few of us who believe.that society’s acceptance of abortion, euthenasia, and suicide (certainly not complete, but in process) are rather troubling.

I don’t disagree that there are moral issues out there where people disagree. My point was that these comprise a rather small slice out of the total of all moral issues. There’s far more agreement than disagreement even if the disagreement can be shrill as mating cats at times.

#18 Comment By Yehoshua Kahan On August 19, 2016 @ 7:26 am

Also, the schools we send our kids to are separate. Boys on one campus, girls on another campus.

#19 Comment By Yehoshua Kahan On August 19, 2016 @ 7:29 am

Hmm…it seems like my first message didn’t get through, so I’m going to try to make the same point again.

As Orthodox Jews, there are reasons that we send our kids to Orthodox Jewish schools, reasons that we would never consider public schools. Saving them from a toxic culture is high among those reasons.

So our kids go to Jewish schools, where they learn our values and beliefs from teachers that share those values and beliefs, with boys going to boys-only schools and girls going to girls-only schools.

Are these schools inferior in terms of math, English, and the like? Yes, sometimes they are. It’s a price worth paying.

#20 Comment By Mikhail Ramendik On September 4, 2016 @ 1:35 pm

Chillax, they’re just words. So your daughter wanted some clothes cnange and to be called by a favourite nickname and some pronouns. Exactly what’s the big deal? They’re just words.

Yeah, if YOU bought clothes and your daughter does not want them they justly revert to you for storage or sale, not into the garbage bin. But other than that I just don’t see the huge deal here. A rose, by any other name…

#21 Comment By Mikhail Ramendik On September 4, 2016 @ 2:34 pm

WhatCountry: “If the feminists were honest about “choice,” they would be as outraged about what we might call “virgin shaming” as they are about “slut shaming.””

Actually. they ARE. Example: [4]

I know, imperfect, written by a man. But many feminists don’t like the word “virgin” at all at all (they don’t believe it is even a thing, biologically too, and they have some anatomic statements to back this up).

So they use “prude” instead. Google “prude shaming”. A very quick find: [5]

There’s actually a lot of feminists defending a woman’s right to be a “prude”.

#22 Comment By Mikhail Ramendik On September 4, 2016 @ 2:39 pm

Joan: “Possibly an effort to identify individual perpetrators and threaten their parents with legal action (or just a phone call saying “Get your son to leave my daughter alone,”) would be advisable”

This post and some others appear to assume “conventional” sexual harassment, that done by the boys. But the OP describes a different situation, when the perpetrators are girls and the form is peer pressure, endless claims of “achievements”.

I am not exactly sure what law can be used in this situation. But I am not a lawyer, and consulting one might be a solution.

There are also strands of feminism that can teach the daughter that these “achievements” are all just being subservient to the desires of men. There is some toxic stuff (basically “all men are bad yada yada”) in that brand of feminism so tread very lightly.

#23 Comment By John b On January 4, 2017 @ 11:53 pm

What recourse is there for parents if the school admin and staff takes on the “cause” of transgenderism for a child against the parents’ wishes? Are there sources of legal funding (or attorney’s willing to take on cases) should things come to court?

#24 Comment By Amyjo9 On January 11, 2017 @ 12:22 am

Who cares if these fools want to sterilize themselves, it’s probably for the best. Darwin’s work at its finest. I know it’s tough when your child decides to destroy their life, but if they are dead set on it, they will do it one way or another.

#25 Comment By Stecia Tasoula On February 14, 2017 @ 1:45 pm

Lawyers will be the end of the transgender fad. Twenty years or less from now this copy will be read in commercials airing all across America:

“Have you or someone you love suffered permanent physical disfigurement due to a transgender surgery? Have you or someone you love been the victim of psychiatric distress due to a transgender diagnosis? Were you castrated as a child due to transgender medical malpractice? You may be eligible for substantial cash compensation. Contact the law offices of Bob Loblaw for help. Call now!”

#26 Comment By A P On March 16, 2017 @ 5:15 am

Let me put a counter-view from my experience.

I didn’t even know the term gender-dysphoria until a year back – and I am 40 now. But I have always known deep within that something wasn’t right.

My parents knew and willfully suppressed it. Apparently when I was 7 i tried to cut off my pee-pee and they took me to a counsellor. I have no recollection of that incident. But I do remember how they used negative conditioning to suppress my desire to cross-dress – it worked. I still find womens clothes somewhat uncomfortable.

But at what expense has this mental conditioning worked? I grew up as a precocious child with a very disturbed childhood – prone to temper tantrums & violent outbursts at the smallest things. As an adult I have had difficulty in maintaining relationships or a job. Gender identity affects every part of your life – including your relationships, career etc. Its a miracle I made it so far!

After 5 years of therapy for acute depression, last year my therapist finally told me about gender-dysphoria and I had to google it to understand it better. Suddenly it makes all sense. I have grown up to acknowledge what ails me and over time will learn to deal with it.

But cant help but think how different my life would have been if my parents had acknowledged the reality when I was 10 and dealt with it differently.

30 years of my life that I am not going to get back! 🙁

#27 Comment By Ashley- mtf, pre transition… :( On April 21, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

im transgender, 18 now and pre transition. i dont even have any female clothes becuz my parents wont even let me buy any with my own money (and not from allowance, from a job i have…) im also a christian and struggled with the morality of my feelings and am now fully convinced being transgender doesn’t have anything to do with morals, just like my having adhd doesnt have anything to do with morals. i just want to defend us trans people by saying not every one of us is all for the stupid “trans activism.” i have a huge problem with these people becuz they are completely destroying people who stand up against the transgender phenomenon. they have a right to their opinion just as we have a right to ours. its just a huge fight over this and everyone forgets that we are real people with real feelings! the activists are honestly doing more harm than good i think becuz they are attacking people who stand up, instead of showing them the truth about this issue like they should be doing. they should be open to contrary opinions if they are truly confident in their beliefs, which i am. theres nothing wrong with being transgender, and i would be entirely willing to show my side and experience with anyone who asks, and i wont attack u. i wish everyone was like this becuz i think my parents just see the negative cultural impact of everything surrounding being trans, and also being heavily involved in the church they are heavily against my transitioning. but just like the activists, they wont hear a single thing about the other side because they are already convinced in their minds that im willfully rebelling or something like that 🙁 tbh id trade just about anything to either be not trans or to be biologically female becuz right now it just sucks no matter what route i take

#28 Comment By H. U. On August 10, 2017 @ 11:15 am

In NJ it is mandatory for therapists to agree with gender confused kids.
Any suggestions about therapist who would look for a problem and heal person?

#29 Comment By Canof Sand On October 10, 2017 @ 2:24 am

@A P – Gender dysphoria is real, but it is a mental disorder, by definition. Mental disorders are not treated by disfiguring the body.

Would you say the best way to treat a girl who thinks she’s a “werewolf vampire” (whatever that is, but this is a REAL case and that’s what she “identified” as) would be to give her fangs and fur? Should we “treat” people who think they’re not “supposed” to have limbs by chopping them off (ANOTHER real condition)?

It’s all in the mind. Before the inmates took over the asylum, all professional psychologists knew this. You can tell the sort of stretching required (and brainwashing that has been done) when you see people use pure logic to talk about how obviously it’s all in the mind… and then they make up exceptions they CANNOT justify logically in order to be politically correct with transgenderism. It’s just nonsense. Emotional drivel like “whatever works for you!” is ENABLING.

Enabling mental illness is not compassionate. It is not just. It is not love.

ALL people who think they’re in the “wrong” body but whose bodies are healthy have something wrong mentally. ALL, whether we’re talking about gender or limbs or blood-sucking or wolves. You cannot create special exceptions.



#30 Comment By Jack On November 21, 2017 @ 7:55 am

The parents are to blame in many cases. It’s become a badge of honor to have a trans or non-binary child. They get a pat on the back, and another pat if they announce it proudly to the world. It’s creepy that parents are so concerned with what their children’s sexuality.

I have a friend from high school who was straight and married the first woman he had sex with – a very butch woman. Over the years he became more effeminate and she became more masculine. Their children were raised watching this. And just now, he has proclaimed on Twitter that one of his children are non-binary and how much fun it would have been if he would have known when the child was very young.

They live in a leftist echo chamber region. He also thinks he is intellectually and morally and spiritually superior to anyone who doesn’t think like he does. Also refers to straight men as ‘cis men’.

#31 Comment By Tobias On January 8, 2018 @ 3:03 am

Just like the time of Noah when the world was too messed up to function, so God simply started over.

#32 Comment By J.P. On July 14, 2018 @ 10:53 am

Our 24 y.o. son just announced that he is transitioning to a female. He was the most boy of boys growing up. Our family is very stable, fun loving,and highly intelligent. Our immediate family and extended family are very close. We were dedicated parents, putting our three boys front and center in life. Our son is highly intelligent, with degrees in Physics and Computer Science. He has had an intelligent beautiful girlfriend for 8 years. They live together. He is a talented musician as well. He was always an old soul, acting 40 when he was 10! Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he tells his girlfriend 10 months ago, that he has been feeling that he is a woman inside? Then, without discussing this life altering decision with us, he starts hormone therapy in March of this year. He tells his two brothers and his close friends, but doesn’t tell us until the ball in rolling because “he knew we would strongly disagree”. You’re damn right we strongly disagree because this make NO SENSE whatsoever. The kid that was into guns, skeet shooting with his friends, history, war, prog rock cover bands, family, and so much more all of a sudden decides he’s going to transition after seeking therapy for 2 months? Uprooting a life of the most incredible girlfriend, immediate family and close friends? Our once extremely rational son a transgender?? Our son wants to transition to be a woman, but wants to date feminine lesbian girls?? Does that even make any sense? And, good luck finding a person like that who is emotionally stable, intelligent, kind, family oriented – all the things our son values?? Every story/testimonial that I have read (100s) all tell of troubled childhoods. Well, our son did not have this at all. The fact that the soft science of psychology has decided to push everyone who thinks they have a thought about gender dysphoria to transition with hormones and sex change operations is ludicrous. The therapists tell the patient that the family will be angry, mourn, feel as though their child has died, but in time will “come around”. I don’t think these therapists have met me? I love all of our sons to the point that I would give my life in a second to save theirs. I am a very open minded forward thinking person, but this push to change everyone who has thoughts of gender dysphoria from one biological sex to the other without heavily weighing the consequences for their future is severe malpractice. My heart and mind tell me this is the wrong treatment (or not the only form of treatment) and will NOT work out in the long term.