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Status Anxiety & Transgender Tots

Sonny Bunch takes a gander at the front-page, above-the-fold story in Sunday’s Washington Post: “Transgender at Five” — as in, five years old. (That’s right, front page, above the fold; The New York Times is even more insistent that every little thing that happens on the LGBTQ-E-I-E-I-O front gets prominent coverage — yet it’s conservatives who are routinely derided for their “obsession” with this stuff). Sonny says:

In truth, it has less to do with the little boys or girls and the discomfort that parents feel with their children. … What a tolerant, modern, decent parent you are, accepting your children just how they are.

It’s complicated. Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Paul McHugh, in a First Things essay cited by Sonny Bunch, expresses skepticism about sex-change operations in general, but particular concern over compelling (or allowing) children, whose identities are rather plastic, to commit themselves irrevocably at a young age. The situation the mother, father, and child in the WaPo story face is heartbreaking, and I would be very careful about passing conclusive judgment on them, even as I am very skeptical of the path they’ve chosen here. I share with Sonny a suspicion that a lot — not all, and maybe not most, but a significant degree — of the storm and stress the overculture constantly expresses about homosexuality, transgender, and related issues has more to do with status anxiety than the things themselves.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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