As a child, when I looked into my daddy’s eyes, what I wanted to see more than anything else was a sign of acceptance and approval. I rarely saw such affirmation, because my dad was too focused on his own life to be concerned about mine. But in those rare moments when he did pay attention to me and cheer me, I was elated. I wanted more.
“Mom, look at me!” “Dad, see what I can do!” Who doesn’t remember a childhood partially spent craving parental praise?
Children naturally move toward the behaviors that elicit positive responses from the adults in their lives. If mom claps and calls out praises when little Andy successfully bats that teeball, then Andy likely will pursue that endeavor right on into Little League and perhaps all the way a varsity letter in high school. On the other hand, if mom praises little Andy when he parades around the house in a dress his older sister outgrew, Andy likely will pursue that course.
Such was the case of Desmond Napoles. When, at the impressionable age of two, Desmond’s parents began taking him to drag shows, and the toddler saw his parents cheering on the female impersonators, the little child’s future was being shaped—perhaps unalterably. As the visits to the drag shows continued, no doubt Desmond’s developing brain was processing: Prancing around in dresses and wearing wigs and makeup causes mom and dad—and all these other adults—to smile and cheer. I want that!
Desmond, now 11, is now best known by his stage name, Desmond Is Amazing. Desmond has become a transgender institution. He has his own line of fashions and cosmetics and even a magazine. If that’s not enough, he has his own drag queen nightclub that promotes other child drag queens. After all, if one transgender Desmond is amazing, scores of them must be stupendous!
The question, then, is whether influencing a child in this manner is in his or her best interests. Is the transgender lifestyle healthy? A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that transgender people were more likely to be smokers, more likely to be sedentary, and more likely to experience a diminished quality of life due to mental or physical health conditions or unmet health care needs.
If Desmond’s parents had instead taken him repeatedly to extremely violent movies and cheered on the graphic incidents of bloodshed and gore, and Desmond now had declared himself to be a gun-toting gangster, the progressives who now applaud him would be aghast. How dare his parents influence him in such a manner?
In America, the average life expectancy is just short of 80 years. The average life expectancy for gang members in America is a little more than 20 years. The average life expectancy for transgender people in America is a little more than 30 years. So, statistically, American transgenders are somewhat better off than gang members but, on average, they can expect to die five decades sooner than the overall average for Americans.
Young people enter violent gangs primarily for the same reason they play baseball, take up ballet, or parade on stage at drag-queen shows. They crave acceptance and applause. But not all endeavors are equal; not all pursuits have similar outcomes.
Adults—who are supposed to want the best for the children in their care—need to understand that some lifestyles are not in their children’s best interests. Like bentonite clay, children are impressionable. Bentonite clay can be used to create beautiful, long-lasting pottery. Or it can be used as kitty litter and thrown out after a few uses. Not all uses are equal. Not all choices are equal.