It’s a horrifying situation. It sounds like a terrible divorce. Granted, it is hard for anybody outside a failed marriage to know its internal dynamics. If you take the mother’s side, then the father’s resisting the child’s transgender claims is being cruel to a boy who is really a girl. If you take the father’s side, then the mother is messing with the boy’s head, possibly to exact vengeance on her ex-husband.
What I believe is clear is that no pre-pubescent child should ever receive puberty blockers or other hormones that affect their sexual development. The effects are permanent and irreversible. This is grotesque medical experimentation on children who are not old enough to consent meaningfully to anything. I have no doubt that the child’s mother had lots of expert testimony on her behalf. The medical industry has become besotted with the politics of transgenderism.
This past summer, Dr. Allan Josephson, a distinguished psychiatrist, was fired from his job leading a psychiatric department at the University of Louisville because he gave public testimony dissenting from gender ideology. In an interview with Madeleine Kearns of National Review, Dr. Josephson said:
MK: So this is because of your expressed professional opinion on gender dysphoria in young people. I assume you knew, going to the Heritage Foundation, that this is a very hot topic politically. And yet you felt compelled to speak up. Why?
AJ: Well, I was asked by people that I respected. Their concern was that we hear all kinds of information from one perspective. And the leaders of the seminar recognized that not all voices were being heard. I had given a couple of talks in other places. So, they invited me, and I was aware of the potential controversy. But I also had things I needed to say because I felt they were clinically true and appropriate and because this is a perspective that more people need to hear.
MK: How stressful has this ordeal been?
AJ: It has had various phases. The first phase was “this just can’t be happening to me.” I was very successful and very well liked. I built my division up from a few people to probably 15 and we had a clinic of almost 30 people. I was banned from faculty meetings. I was banned from certain kinds of interactions with staff and told what I could and couldn’t say to people. And this was a place that I built, you know. And then the stress of one’s personal relationships. My family worried about me, friends worried about me. It was probably was six months before I felt comfortable and was sleeping again. You know, the personal stress is pretty enormous, but then I decided to do something.
MK: You mentioned earlier about the politicization of this particular field of medicine more generally and gave the example of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which last year issued a widely criticized policy statement endorsing “gender affirmation” [psychological, medical, and surgical sex-change treatments for minors]. You said something very interesting: that for people who aren’t familiar with this process, this could seem like there’s a medical consensus, when actually, it is a very small number of people driving this change.
AJ: It’s a political process: correct. And the way committees are formed, various people who have various interests get on them. They do intense work, and sometimes very good work, but it often doesn’t meet the scrutiny of a scientific statement. An organization affirming a position is not necessarily science, but it is a group of people agreeing to say something.
MK: So is what you’re saying that, within the profession, a lot of people agree with you in your assessment of this issue?
AJ: Well, it’s hard to know what “lots of people” means. I think it could be that there’s a silent majority. I think there are a lot of people who agree with me: There’s no question. And I’ve spoken with colleagues on various campuses who have had similar situations where someone will come into their office, close the door behind them, and say something to the effect of, “You know, I really agree with you, but for various reasons I can’t speak out.” So whether it’s intimidation, fear of bullying, it’s hard to know how big that number is. But I can assure you since the Heritage Foundation, I’ve had many supportive calls from parents of children experiencing gender dysphoria, etc.
The most potent strategy to drive social change, however, is through education. Gender ideology tiptoed gently into public schools, masked as inclusivity and kindly anti-bullying initiatives (like HRC’s “Welcoming Schools” program). The mask dropped quickly. Programs soon targeted “hetero-normative” and “cis-normative” language and thinking, pretending all students (even kindergarteners) needed freedom to express their “authentic” gendered selves.
School districts adopt gender identity and sexual orientation “anti-discrimination” policies—often over parents’ protests—because of lawsuit threats, state or local regulations, or activists’ pressure tactics. Consequently, the gender agenda affects all children, not only confused children. A welcoming, inclusive, safe school requires everyone to be LGBTQ “allies” and all children to be force-fed a faulty anthropology and destabilizing ideas about identity. Gender ideologues train all school personnel—from bus drivers to principals—in gender terminology, gender transitions, and gender-inclusive language and practices (banishing words like “boys” and “girls”). Worse, activists justify keeping parents in the dark while schools encourage “gender exploration” and gender affirmation, by arguing that children aren’t safe at home when parents (especially religious ones) oppose children’s emerging LGBTQ identities.
Classroom instruction covers gender “definitions” and, increasingly, LGBTQ history. School culture conveys unquestioning acceptance of gender ideology: schools are awash in rainbows, Pride celebrations, safe spaces, gay-straight student clubs, invented pronouns, and transgender-affirming storybooks like The Princess BoyorI am Jazz.
You will notice that the HRC gender snowperson continues to erase actual biological differences (male / female)– but in a new way. First “sex” was reduced to an arbitrary label slapped on a baby’s bottom at birth (“sex assigned at birth”). Now the reality of sexual difference is reduced to “pronouns assigned at birth.” As if the amazing design of our bodies tells us nothing about who we really are — a child’s birth is really just a trigger to assign a pronoun and put the child on the moving sidewalk towards radical self-definition. Sex is a spectrum that includes “girl, boy, intersex, and pronoun assigned at birth,” according to this HRC teacher handout.
These LGBTQ groups–from HRC’s Welcoming Schools to Gender Spectrum to Queerly Elementary, etc, have spawned a profitable industry for themselves (supported in part by taxpayer funds meant for real teacher training, not ideological indoctrination) Professional development training for teachers to help them become “culturally competent” on LGBTQ/gender equity issues, combined with all the free teacher resources (propaganda) on “inclusion,” “gender” and “anti-bullying,” means that these ideological (and non-sensical) scripts about “who we are” are flooding our schools even when they are not formally a part of the curriculum.
So, parents, beware. Better yet, “get out now” from the public school. (But be careful where you go — progressive private and faith-based schools are nearly as likely to have incorporated the same harmful stuff.)
I hope that pastors and clergy will finally get serious about creating alternative ways to educate our children so that no parents have to submit their children to trans indoctrination simply because they have no alternative but the public schools. If we cherish our kids–and want to see them flourish humanly and enjoy eternal life — then we need to get them out from under the spell of the trans pied piper….before they all disappear over the hill and it’s too late.
Mary Hasson is right. If you think this stuff is only happening to other people’s kids, in other people’s schools — or even only in the public schools — then you might be in for a rude shock.
The situation with the Younger boy in Texas looks like it’s serving as a wake-up call to people all over the country about how far the trans ideology has spread, and how much it has captured institutions. I strongly recommend that you spend some time on the 4th Wave Now website, interacting with parents and others who are having to deal with the trans phenomenon. Not all of them are against transitioning; rather, they have all had to go face to face with the extremely powerful trans lobby, in its various manifestations. Most of us have never had to deal with anything like this. You need to know what’s out there.
One of the sadder parts of being detransitioned and public about it is that the parents find you. They’ve been told by a doctor or a social worker that the only route forward that protects against suicidality is to affirm their kid’s trans identity. That they need to be open to the possibility their kid may need their pubertal process disrupted, may need to begin what could within a couple of years turn into a life time commitment to cross sex hormones, and could need surgeries to socially function. They’ve been told asking questions about the impact of their kid’s peer group, internet use, drug use, co-morbid diagnoses, internalization of sexism, or family dynamics is transphobia. They’ve been told, no matter what their authentic emotions are, to celebrate their child’s transition.
At the end of the day, if I had a kid, they’d have to wait till they were 18 to get themselves on hormones and pursue surgeries, so I don’t feel right recommending parents do anything different. It’s not that I don’t believe I could have a kid who, in order to have a good life, truly did need to move through life in a gender role I didn’t expect. I know trans adults like that, and their medical transitions reduced their GD to such a level that they could function well, with loving partners and meaningful work. But my doubts about the ethics of pediatric transition are not based on assuming a trans kid’s identity isn’t going to be stable and long-lasting. (Although it’s worth remembering in 2009 hardly anyone had heard the word “nonbinary,” so I don’t think we can even can speculate about the gender schemas that will be popular in 2029.)
My insistence that any kid I raise be a legal adult before making these choices is based on knowing trans adults who have been surprised by the challenges of their long term healthcare. I am not going to create a situation where my kid is 25 and gets to blame their mom for pain when they orgasm, fusion of their uterus and cervix, reduced mitochondrial function, or straight up never having an orgasm. No way am I running the risk of allowing my kid to halt their puberty with Lupron shots and create a future spending big bucks at the dentist, rheumatologist, and endocrinologist. I didn’t have steady health insurance till my mid-thirties, so I don’t have faith that if my kid had chronic symptoms like the people in the Lupron Survivors Facebook group do that they’d be able to access specialists without sliding into inescapable medical debt.
Callahan’s essay is about what parents can do to build a positive relationship with their child, so that when he or she turns 18, and can get hormones legally from a Planned Parenthood, they won’t go that route.
I know it’s appalling to see. But you need to know what’s happening — and what is being mainstreamed in schools. What is happening to James Younger — a court ruling that he must be separated from his father and given fully to his mother, who claims he wants to be a girl, and who is prepared to transition him medically when the time comes — is happening within a broader cultural shift. As Carey Callahan observes in her column, a decade ago, almost nobody knew the word “non-binary” — but now we are all expected to embrace this new ideology without question, at the risk of being called haters who are driving our children to suicide.
By the way, you see the photo above, from 2009, of the male-to-female trans child Kyla Lechelt? Here’s what he looks like today, via Instagram:
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 Leming—as well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life.Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.