The Trans Teen Industrial Complex
Y’all remember around 2003, the media started propagandizing for gay marriage? I don’t mean “reporting on the emerging movement in favor of gay marriage”; that would have been entirely understandable. I’m talking about openly advocating for it, and ignoring counterarguments. I can remember as far back as 2005 being told by fellow journalists that there is no argument against it other than the naked assertion of bigotry, and that we were under no more obligation to be fair and balanced in our coverage of the issue than we would be if we were covering the Civil Rights movement.
This wasn’t in 2012 or thereabouts. This was in 2003-05, in journalism circles. And now, that view is mainstream. Don’t you remember the line about how this was only about giving the nice gay neighbors a chance to find some stability in their relationship, and that people who said otherwise were just cruel homophobes who were trying to scare people? Well, the script worked so well last time, why not try it again? That’s what’s happening. This is the Law of Merited Impossibility in action.
Take a look at Margot Cleveland’s piece on how the Indiana House gutted an informed consent bill that would have required public schools to allow parents to inspect educational material used to teach their kids about human sexuality and gender identity. The bill would have required schools to obtain signed parental consent before teaching kids about any of this stuff.
The state Senate passed the bill earlier this year by a comfortable majority. But the House Education committee — controlled by Republicans, note well — gutted it. Here’s Cleveland:
What does that mean? Schools may teach children as young as age five that a boy can become a girl or a girl can become a boy. Teachers may tell students that they must refer to a transgender student as belonging to a false sex and using incorrect pronouns. In other words, it allows exactly what transpired in a California kindergarten in August.
As I explained at the time, parents in California, as well as most other states, have no ability to prevent this type of indoctrination in public schools because “gender identity” is not considered “sex education.” In fact, in opposing Senate Bill 65, the ACLU of Indiana used this point to argue that the law should be scrapped, tweeting, “[g]ender pronouns are not sex education. Learning how to treat transgender people with respectful language should not be controversial.”
What the ACLU calls “respect,” however, is a demand for science denial and heresy. The Indiana legislature had a chance to prevent the public-school system from steamrolling parents who refuse to submit to the latest idolatry. Unfortunately, the House Education Committee bowed to the god of political correctness when pressured by LGBT activists. It’s a repeat pattern in a supposedly socially and fiscally conservative state with a decade-long GOP majority that in 2015 famously capitulated to LGBT activists in reversing a religious freedom bill to strip potential legal protections from religious people while extending extra legal rights to LGBT people.
Where are the Indiana conservatives? Where are the state’s Catholic bishops, its Evangelical pastors? Or is this just one more sign that moral and religious conservatives should abandon the public schools in states where legislators have capitulated?
Similarly, Mary Hasson finds some value in an Ohio judge’s opinion in that Michigan case in which the judge removed the transgender teen from his parents’ house in part so he could continue to receive medical treatment to become female-like. Hasson says that the judge expressed a lot of concern about the impartiality of medical experts in cases like these. As Hasson writes, “Put differently, the judge seems suspicious that just as everything’s a nail to a person with a hammer, every troubled kid is ‘transgender’ to a gender ‘specialist’ with hormones to dispense.”
The closing paragraph of the judge’s order quite likely foreshadows the looming fight on the horizon. The judge called on legislators to propose criteria for courts to use in deciding whether and when a minor has the “right to consent” to transgender treatment.
Parents’ rights have been eroded already by “mature minor” laws, which allow minors to consent to medical care regarding sexual and reproductive matters. For example, teens may consent to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, receive contraception without parental notification, and undergo abortions (although some states require parental notice or consent, with judicial bypass options).
Parents’ rights have been curtailed in indirect ways as well, as states, cities, and school districts increasingly promulgate new regulations or policies that prohibit schools from informing parents—unless the child consents—that the child is expressing a new gender identity at school. Schools also integrate gender ideology into anti-bullying programs and general school culture, making it impossible for parents to “opt” their kids out of exposure to LGBTQ or transgender issues while keeping their kids enrolled in public schools.
If state legislators heed Hendon’s call, parents will face the terrible prospect of losing the ability to protect their children from the harms inflicted by self-serving gender “medical professionals”— “experts” bent on advancing an ideological agenda and growing an increasingly lucrative business.
By the way, the (non-political) site 4thwavenow, which is for parents and others skeptical of the transgender child/teen phenomenon, has a good analysis of the judge’s decision by a couple of lawyer parents in the 4thwavenow community. They say it’s balanced, and not a reason for pro-trans people to be triumphalist, or for skeptics to freak out. But they do add:
Know what you’re getting into when you seek psychiatric care for your child or teen. In this case, a referral for anxiety and depression “quickly turned into” a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Forewarned is forearmed.