A Parent’s Guide To Not Transing The Kids

A Parent’s Guide To Not Transing The Kids

Tobacco companies employed ‘Get ‘em young’ to create lifelong smokers. So it makes marketing sense that transgender activism has targeted kids and public schools as ground zero.
Rivka Edelman
By

In response to the uptick of trans mania, a group of four mothers and one father met at a suburban Starbucks to compare notes on ways to help their children challenge the gender ideology pushed in the media and in the schools.

One mother said these meetings are taking place across the country. Parents are upset. “And it not’s what people think. Day in and day out, that stuff causes people to question their own judgement,” another mother said.

We agreed that most people know how propaganda works in the abstract. Recently many are realizing it is no small thing to force people to accept, repeat out loud, and refer to false facts and absurdities daily.

“It has a psychological effect. It erodes their (children’s) confidence and makes them question themselves,” said one of the parents.

That’s the point. It’s not recommended for raising healthy children. The trendiness leads to some social contagion, which troubles most parents. Other parents are in contact with attorneys. High school students are documenting incidents of boys in dresses twerking girls and other forms of sexual harassment. People are saving the threats transgender activists send on social media. A father told me, “They can’t go after every child and every parent. It isn’t like they claim. There’s been problems.”

The effects of the campaign can be seen in the sudden and dramatic rise of transgender students, mostly males who identify as female. One mother told us about a student who had changed genders three times in nine months and the school supported each change. Another mom said, “If Billy’s parents buy him a dress and the school says he can wear it, then Billy is within his rights. But he does not have the right, and neither do the school and Billy’s parents, to force others to play pretend with Billy. The activists’ attorneys know this, and that is why they need to erode other children’s selfhood and basic rights.”

Start Softly, and with the Basics

We met to brainstorm child-centered strategies that were not ham-fisted and didactic but that used a sensible approach to “teachable” moments. Often the best lessons are indirect and allow children to tease the meaning out for themselves. What we came away with will continue to be adjusted, refined, added to, and honed.

The schools try to make it “personal,” while the media wants to make it social. In both, the transgender narrative uses extreme emotional tactics and junk science. At the same time the media blitzkrieg traffics exclusively in superficial gender stereotypes and sexist notions. Tobacco companies employed “Get ‘em young” to create lifelong smokers. So it makes marketing sense that transgender activism has targeted kids and public schools as ground zero.

The parents agreed to focus on the basics. Give children true and accurate information. Explain the difference between sex and gender, and only use sex categories—male, female, boy, girl, man, woman. Say you “don’t know” when you don’t, and add “We can learn about it.”

Start with the familiar and near to home and within the child’s experience. Remind your child of situations in your community that were hard and sad. Children will be quick to point out that the fourth-grade boy with cancer did not get even one-tenth the attention as the local “trans” kids.

Keep discussions in your own words and family’s context. There are some hard and truthful lessons here. Children can know that some adults live through other people. Some have harmless outlets, such as movies or books, and some try to do it through family members, including their own children. One of the mothers noted that transgender kids often come from either LGBT homes or from homes where one or both parents crave attention and are easily influenced.

Work Out from There to Social Issues

Relate issues to the larger culture and the media. This is a good opportunity to discuss commercialism and consumerism, superficiality, marketing, and fads. Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner is selling MAC makeup, and a trans boy is selling Covergirl. Ask: what are they selling, to whom, and what’s the price? Talk about how people change outward appearance, such as braces to straighten teeth, dyed hair, nail polish, haircuts, etc. Discuss what it means to be superficial.

Tell children about social contagion, and relate it to fads. I have recently spent some time revisiting children’s literature and movies, and found a forgotten treasure trove of lessons. Use children’s literature. Teach character traits and read some fables about the classic scammers: foxes, scorpions, and pity trolls. Ask why people would want others to feel sorry for them?

After laying the groundwork in what now amounts to a lost art of common sense and decency, parents can proceed to empower their children by handing reality back to them. Let children know that they have a right to boundaries, and that includes who they share intimate space with and who can see their bodies.

Girls can refuse. Billy wants to pretend he is a girl while he is at school. His parents and school say is okay for him to wear girls’ clothes. The truth is, a naked girl is a girl, and Billy is still a boy. You and other children do not have to pretend anything you do not want to. You have the choice.

Frame the situation to empower children against relativism and exaggeration. Kids can know that real conditions have real and painful symptoms that are not “cured” because the whole school pretends that Billy wearing a dress makes him a girl.

More to the point, let kids know it is an unprecedented social demand on children that one person’s feelings must define many other kids’ reality. This social manipulation erodes other children’s rights. Ask them what they think. Other children have not agreed to be an active part of a schoolmates’ treatment plan or to listen to classmates, parents, activists, or school staff use suicide as emotional blackmail.

Don’t Back Down. This Is Dangerous to Children

No matter what, including the level of media absurdity, parents need to question the long-term wisdom of encouraging children to embrace and admire what bears all the hallmark of mental illness, and depends on destructive social trends and superficial clichés. Fact: There’s no shortage of high-powered successful sociopaths in America. What would it mean to a society if a whole monied movement pushed a sexual delusion and they had some shared personality disorders, such as anti-social, narcissistic, histrionic, and borderline?

Recently, gender-critical blogger Gallus Mag reported on “A Transgender Children’s advocacy campaign titled There are girls with penises and boys with vulvas!…The campaign was funded by an anonymous donor from New York with Basque family roots, who donated €28,000 in exchange for assurances that his or her identity would remain under wraps, the association said.”

Why the anonymity? Whatever we call this trend that’s being fed through a funnel and rubber tube to the public is backed by a monied group of late middle-aged men who have no intention of picking up the pieces of all the lives reduced to flotsam in their wake. These people want to erode parents’ rights “for the sake of” transgender children.

The conceit that this has been settled by the experts is not true. Untested, off-label lifelong regimens of puberty suppressants have no precedent and violate medical ethics. The ground does not get firmer for questioning. There’s no historical record of anything resembling “transgender” that gender activists have not fabricated.

What exists objectively are Diana Arbus photographs, violent ladyboy gangs in Bangkok, and tales from Berlin in the 1930s. It’s an overview of the last 70 years of the urban sexual kink industry. We do have historic records of the most aberrant conditions known to man, which include cannibalism, incest, sexual fetishistic cross dressing, and bestiality. In mythology we have stories of a half-human-half-goat, a half-woman-half-fish, and swans raping and impregnating. Still in no place either real or imagined is there a record that resembles a 40-year-old married father of five claiming he is actually an authentic woman or mothers and sons being “transgender.”

It takes a lot of dumbing down (not a parental goal) to pull this off. How could parents not be increasingly “gender critical”? I heard parents who are educated, nuanced thinkers who are close enough to their college days to know that, if truth in the postmodern condition is by consensus only, then resistance requires reality.

Rivka Edelman is the pen name of a visiting professor of literature and writing. She has published widely. She is also a feminist, a children’s rights activist, and on the board of a network of adult children raised in LBGT households.

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