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The Dangerous Fad of Transgenderism

Fads aren’t always harmful things. Hula hoops, goldfish swallowing, and flagpole sitting have come and gone and generally were not toxic. In the 1970s, various eating disorders were the rage. But they were treated as physical disorders and serious mental health problems. Writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Emily Deans observed, “Eating disorders in adolescents are strongly predicted by the earlier presence of depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.” Her treatment recommendations included, “A personalized approach, based on treating underlying depression, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, and teaching that our bodies deserve to be nourished with proper, whole foods can be surprisingly effective.”

But today, bulimia and anorexia are passé and have been replaced by gender dysphoria, which is being used as a political cudgel by many with a nefarious agenda. In fact, the organized nature of the movement has left many parents in a horrible position. For example, in Washington State, SB 5599 was just passed, which allows the state to legally take children away from their parents if they don’t consent to their child’s gender transition surgeries. Washington State Senator Marko Liias issued a statement that summed up the new law. “Under current law, if a child who has run away from home goes to a licensed shelter, that shelter is required to notify the parents unless a compelling reason applies. The bill allows certified shelters to contact the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) in lieu of parents in certain additional instances, such as when a youth is seeking reproductive health services or gender-affirming care.”

But what is the depth of the problem?

A staggering 99.4 percent of the population does not have the physical traits that cause someone to become transgender, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute, an LGBTQ advocacy group. The 0.6 percent of the adult population who are gender dysphoric—a condition that causes extreme distress—certainly deserve empathy and respect.

Much of the gender dysphoria battlefield takes place in our schools, which have become breeding grounds for this dangerous fad. To that end, Congress passed H.R. 5 in late March. Among other things, the bill, which prevailed in a 213-208 vote, would give parents the right to inspect the books and other reading materials in the library of their child’s school. It would enable them to know if the school operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities that permit an individual whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designed for individuals whose biological sex is female. The bill also enables parents to know if their child’s school allows an individual whose biological sex is male to use restrooms or changing rooms designated for individuals whose biological sex is female.

An article that purports to denounce H.R. 5 inadvertently sells the bill. In “Republican education bill would increase interference in classrooms.” Aileen Arrreaza laments, “H.R. 5 would create more problems than it solves.” And that is just the point. It is supposed to create problems, much in the same way that the cops create problems for bank robbers who are caught in the act.

Sadly, however, H.R. 5 seems to be dead in the water; chances are slim that it will make it through our divided Senate.

So it is left to individual states and school districts to empower parents to fight the gender dysphoria onslaught.

In Montana, SB 99 would ban the chemical and surgical mutilation of minors. The bill has passed the state legislature and the governor has indicated he will sign it.

In Utah, HB 228, “would ban certain health care professionals from providing conversion therapy to minors. The bill defines conversion therapy as subjecting patients to physically invasive or painful treatment to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Perhaps ground zero for normal is Florida whose strong Parental Rights in Education Act was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis just a year ago. The act strengthens the power of parents as to how they choose to raise their child, and the types of things their child could be exposed to while they are at school. The bill, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by its detractors, is in the process of being extended.

If enacted, HB 1069 will additionally protect students and school faculty members from being “forced to use a person’s preferred pronouns and gives the state Department of Education additional oversight over instructional materials used in the classroom to teach reproductive health.”

Sadly, not all states are like Florida, and no state is more unlike Florida than California. Introduced in February, Assembly Bill 1314, would simply have required that schools in the Golden State let parents know that their child is suffering from gender dysphoria or incongruence. It would have allowed parents to support their children and be involved in the life-changing decision to transition. The bill required teachers and administrators to inform parents within three days if their children asked to be treated as a member of the opposite sex.

But AB 1314 went absolutely nowhere. On April 10, Assembly Education Committee chair Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) confirmed that the committee will not take up the bill. “I will not be setting AB 1314 for a hearing, not only because the bill is proposing bad policy, but also because a hearing would potentially provide a forum for increasingly hateful rhetoric targeting LGBTQ youth,” the Assemblyman said.

Without debate, the bill won’t get a vote unless a legislative majority asks for one—highly improbable when there is a Democratic supermajority in the state Assembly.

California set the pace for bad law back in September 2018 when it passed AB 2119, providing that the “rights of minors and nonminors in foster care . . . include the right to be involved in the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of their gender identity.”

The American College of Pediatricians trashed the bill, concluding, “This bill facilitates children being railroaded into dangerous protocols lacking proven long-term records of safety and efficacy for a condition that usually desists.”

The dysphoria zealots are organized and will stop at nothing to achieve their takeover of America’s families. In fact, a Christian teacher in California was fired recently for standing up to them. Jessica Tapias explained that under her school district’s policy (Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County), students have a right to privacy. If they choose to share with a teacher that they are transitioning, or that they wish to be referred to by a specific pronoun, the teacher is required to keep that information from parents.

“I don’t believe [kids] should have this ‘privacy’ to where their parents are being left in the dark about some very pertinent information about their well-being,” Tapias said.

She added that she also had barred students with “male genitals” from accessing the girls’ locker room in violation of district rules related to transgender students.

Tapias isn’t blithely accepting the district’s decision to fire her. She said she plans to sue, claiming religious discrimination. She said, in her role as a physical education teacher she was “expected to lie to parents about their children’s preferred pronouns and their gender transitions—and that was something she said she could not abide by given her strong religious convictions.”

Interestingly, the teachers unions have been mum on Tapias’ firing. In fact, the unions are in the forefront of exploiting gender dysphoria.

For example, the website of the NEA-affiliated Oklahoma Education Association includes an “LGBTQ+ Advocacy Toolkit” web page for its members.

Among the materials provided to teachers through that web page is “Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools,” a document produced by the National Education Association and like-minded groups.

The guide tells teachers that the “expression of transgender identity, or any other form of gender-expansive behavior, is a healthy, appropriate and typical aspect of human development.” The document also states that children begin expressing gender identity “between the ages of two and four years old” and instructs teachers that they should never encourage a student to express their gender based on a student’s sex even if there is concern that a student “lacks capacity or ability to assert their gender identity or expression (e.g., due to age, developmental disability or intellectual disability).”

If a teacher believes a student’s parents may not support their male child identifying as a girl, or vice versa, the NEA guide provides instructions on ways to keep parents out of the loop as school officials work to transition the child.

Elsewhere, the guide similarly declares, “Any decision to raise the topic with parents must be made very carefully and in consultation with the student. In some instances, a school may choose not to bring the subject up if there is a concern that parents or caregivers may react negatively.”

And so forth, ad nauseam.

The group Do No Harm recently published the results of a study which found that “the United States is the most permissive country when it comes to the legal and medical gender transition of children.”

During an interview with Fox News, Dr. William Malone, a board-certified endocrinologist, said that doctors who find the procedures risky fear scrutiny from politicians and reputable medical associations.

“We are dealing with what may be the biggest medical and ethical scandal of modern times,” he told Fox News Digital. “Transgender medicine is big business, and youth who are transitioning today will be medical patients for life—for the next 60-plus years. Mental health among youth is at an all-time low, making them particularly vulnerable to solutions that suggest an ‘easy fix.’”

Yes, mental health among youth is at an all-time low.

Gender dysphoria may not be the only reason for the failing mental health of today’s young people, but it certainly is one of them. As such, it’s time for parents, school boards and state legislatures to pull the plug on this dangerous fad.

Editor’s Note:  A version of this article first appeared at For Kids & Country. 

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About Larry Sand

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network—a nonpartisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

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