When I was a child, I was fascinated with makeup. My grandmother would often let me sit on a small pink crushed velvet stool in her bathroom while she “put on her face,” as she liked to say. After putting every platinum blonde curl in place, she would carefully pout her lips and apply a thin layer of ruby red lipstick.
I watched, captivated by her transformation and the satisfaction on her face when every line, every shade was perfectly applied. My mother remembers catching me modeling my sister’s clothes, unaware of her presence and therefore entirely un-selfconscious of my movements. Everything about the female world inspired my imagination, and I longed to be connected to it.
A large contributing factor into this obsession was my grandmother’s open and repeated wish that she had a beautiful granddaughter to dress up and show off at social events. Per my father’s wishes, I was denied the ability to see my mother until I was about seven years old or so, and thus my need for a female role model fell squarely on my grandmother’s shoulders.
My grandmother improvised, highlighting my hair, painting my fingernails, and surrounding me exclusively with her female friends. Around my father, I had to pretend, as he grew aggressively angry whenever I presented the slightest feminine tendency.
At school I blended in with my female peers, who seemed to appreciate having a boy to give them attention, but it was safety for me. The boys were cruel and aggressive, and they never ceased in tormenting me daily. I only felt safe and free to be myself when I was alone with women. I would cry myself to sleep praying for G-d to turn me into a girl when I woke up so I could finally be free from the constant stress and conflict of my daily life. Each day I woke up sad and afraid.
My Struggle with Gender
As I grew up, I learned how to mimic my male peers just enough to avoid suspicion and to exploit my gentle nature as something adults found positive around their daughters. I was just “creative” or “sensitive” or, as was popular at the time, “in touch” with my feminine side to anyone who observed me.
But to me, I was struggling to feel a sense of holistic unity, divided by too many outside expectations that never quite fit into place. I explored transgender transition as a young adult and attempted to dress as a girl, change my voice, and wear makeup, but as the years passed, none of this felt quite right.
Eventually I found a balance between adolescent self-obsession and adult responsibility that did not allow for endless changes in identity or character, and I essentially grew up. Who I am now is everything left over from when I gave up on trying to be someone else, and for that I am grateful.
I have the ability to look beyond myself and understand my place in the world without requiring outside validation or romantic ideals of a perfected self. I have been given the gift of self-awareness, and I now find peace with the unanswered question that plagued me as far back as I can possibly remember: Am I a boy or a girl?
If I were a child today, I very likely would never have been given the choice to try to find myself before the adults around me decided what was best for me. I shudder to imagine how close I was to permanently disrupting my hormones, physically mutilating my body, and spending every waking day trying to convince everyone else I was something I knew I never would be. It is stories like mine that inspire people such as Matt Walsh and Ryan T. Anderson, conservative advocates for children, to fight on behalf of those too young to know what they are wishing for.
The Tragedy of James Younger
James Younger is a seven-year-old boy today ensnared in a gender battle while adults decide his fate. His mother has chosen for him to live as a girl, and his father has fought with every option available to prevent his son from being forced down a path he cannot conceivably choose for himself. A court has ruled that James’ father does not have a say in the matter, and as a country and a culture we face a choice of our own: Should the mother be allowed to transgender her child based on her desires for him?
Transition for children follows a predictable model. A young child is first socially transitioned through clothing, socialization, and identity. They adopt an opposite-sex name, opposite-sex pronouns, and attend school and social events dressed as the opposite sex. With children, the transgender movement is extremely strict on imposing traditional gender stereotypes.
As the children approach puberty, they are given puberty blockers to “pause” physical development until they are old enough to “decide” which sex to live as. Yet these blockers have lifelong negative health effects, and while most children who do not take them grow out of gender dysphoria, most children who do take them will not.
In Ryan T. Anderson’s “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” a brilliant and devastating book, this process is detailed in painful clarity. The system is engineered to create transgender adults rather than to allow gender-dysphoric children the opportunity to test out their identities until adulthood, as transgender advocates market.
When I was about eight years old, my hair reached my shoulders and was highlighted blond, per my grandmother’s choices. At a baseball game I was playing in, despite my profound disinterest, one of my dad’s friends pointed at me twirling in the outfield, my golden curls playfully bouncing in the sun, and asked him, “Who’s that little girl?” My curls were promptly shorn.
Stop Depriving Children of their Future Choices
Imagine if I had been encouraged to style my hair in pigtails, put on makeup like my grandmother, and adopt a female name at that age. Imagine if my puberty had been stopped and my only understanding of my “sex” was my outward appearance and socialization. Imagine if I entered my teenage years living as a girl for years prior and was given the chance to take hormones to grow breasts and stop my voice from deepening.
What “choice” would I make then? How much autonomy would I really have been given to decide something that would permanently alter my physical body in such a profound way as never to recover and always require intensive medical intervention?
Fighting for Younger using the twitter hashtag #ProtectJamesYounger, Walsh tweeted, among many passionate calls for awareness of this cruel injustice, “I have been saying literally for five years that Republicans need to make opposition to radical left wing gender theory a top campaign issue. It’s important and every sane human in the world would stand behind them on it.”
Walsh is absolutely right. Every Republican-controlled state should be introducing legislation to make medical transition for minors illegal and provide clear parental rights for both the mother and the father in disputes over the child’s sexuality. We have tolerated this far too long in the hope sanity would win out on its own. We have failed these children.
Many others have lived the life I struggled through and then made the choice to transition as adults and feel fulfilled and happy in doing so. That is their right, and I will defend that right. But like me, they had the chance to struggle with who they were and came out of it with confidence in who they wanted to be. The left believes protecting children from this struggle is a moral good, but the consequence is denying the child the ability to choose their own future.
Children like me are no less important than those who do grow up to happily transition, but our current system has no room for choice. It is our job to fix that. Every gender-dysphoric child deserves the right to grow up free to decide who he wants to be when he is ready to do so. I am grateful I grew up in a time when I had that chance.