One of my first memories is of sitting behind several shrubs that lined the playground of my preschool. I had an agreement with a few of the girls, who let me squirrel away a My Little Pony or two and perhaps some accessories. I would retreat to my hiding spot and indulge my curiosity of their bright colors and long, pretty hair. I don’t remember what stories I told or what adventures my toys had, but I remember how ashamed I was when a disapproving teacher found me, and worse yet, I remember the fear in my stomach on the ride home with my dad.
The anxiety I felt then carries with me to this day when someone comments on my feminine choices. I learned very early to be ashamed of what came so naturally to my experience of joy and curiosity. Only girls allowed me to be myself around them, so I identified most closely with them. I had no reason to believe being a girl would be far better than being a boy. For years after, I obsessed over this with prayers, wishes, and trying everything I could to manufacture a way to be feminine without shame.
As a teenager, one of the things that drew me to gay culture was watching men fully embrace feminine stereotypes, often to the extreme, without a hint of embarrassment. It permeated every aspect of their media and advocacy. It looked to me like a beautiful escape into a world of true freedom. Even as I lowered my head at school and kept a distance from my family, in my mind I was dancing alongside RuPaul and sashaying down the runway. This fantasy was the polar opposite of the world I knew.
What I didn’t understand then was that I didn’t need to escape or shift my sense of self from one extreme to the other to be “me.” What gay culture got wrong in the ’90s and 2000s was the idea that to be a gay man meant to be a caricature of yourself, a character, created solely for the purpose of public fascination and celebration. Many people like me expressed their repressed sense of freedom in opulent, self-destructive, and isolating flamboyance. What we all had in common was a resentful sense of rebellious validation.
LGBT Activists Double Down in Support of Trans Kids
Memories of this shared struggle for identity motivate many in the LGBT movement today in their blind support for the modern transgender agenda. They see themselves in the children being given the promise of a better future through transgender medical intervention. When they hear stories of children taking their lives and see the happy smiles on young boys twirling in princess dresses, they can’t help but identify with both realities. If only we had been given the chance to be embraced for who we were and allowed to flourish at such a young age as well.
So these activists double down in front of gender clinics and courthouses, and loudly shout down the representation of their childhood bullies. They believe they are doing what is right. As a result, they immediately reject all concerns and objections as hateful rhetoric — akin to how their parents and teachers worried their own gender non-confirming behavior would “make them gay.” With medical authorities on their side, they confidently march forward, believing this generation will be better than the last.
Just as my generation looked to the far-away gay centers of endless partying and celebration for hope, today children and teens across the country look to puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery for the same. As so many gay people found after indulging the culture for a time, that nothing there offered a personal sense of peace and purpose, so many trans children will discover, too late, the same in medical intervention.
Not All Gender Deviations Are Transgenderism
As a child, I would sit in my room frustrated by what seemed like adults in my life obsessing over my every thought and feeling. I wanted to relax, let my walls down, and just be. I looked in the mirror and wondered what was wrong with me and why I was the way I was. What excited me in life and brought out my creativity was viewed as something that needed to be “fixed.” I cannot imagine the burden of being told by everyone, including doctors, that all of this meant my body itself was wrong.
Somehow, liberals moved from advocating that femininity in boys was something to be encouraged and celebrated to arguing it represents some sort of birth defect requiring immediate medical intervention. These liberals now view feminine behavior, interests, and other stereotypical gender differences in boys as evidence of gender dysphoria. The left argues the only reason a boy would express any of these characteristics is that he is very literally a deformed girl who needs hormone replacement and extensive surgery to live as her true self.
Had medical thinking been the way it is today when I was a child, doctors would have sat me down with my parents to tell me the reason I liked the color pink and wanted to play with dolls was that I was actually female. They would have dressed me as a girl, given me a girl’s name, and injected me with puberty blockers to stop my physical development. By the time I reached my teenage years, I would have embraced my female identity, beginning extensive and lifelong medical treatment to force my body to look as womanly as possible.
Diversity of Expression Doesn’t Need to be Fixed
Rather than viewing my sensitive nature, creativity, and interest in stereotypical female gender norms as a problem to be solved, imagine if I had simply been accepted exactly as I was. Something we often accept in girls but not in boys is gender expression beyond what is culturally normal. Sadly, masculine behavior in girls is now increasingly evidence something is “wrong” with them too.
It is true that both boys and girls generally identify with fairly predictable gendered toys, colors, and interests. But it’s also true that some of us simply don’t, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with us.
When I watch the advocacy for transgender transition in children, all I can see is an organized effort to “correct” something that should never have been viewed as wrong in the first place. While gay activists may see themselves in these children and feel hope for them in this journey, I wish they could see the the harms that trans activists and medical professionals are perpetuating.
I wish they could see that the very qualities they celebrate in themselves are being used as medical evidence of a severe disorder. The religious right once advocated “praying the gay away” to counteract a deviation from sex and gender norms, and now the left seeks the same through what they consider medically necessary health care.
The most important lesson I learned throughout my journey to finding peace is that the feminine part of who I am is simply that, part of who I am. I wish I could have understood as a child that my personality was my own and my gender didn’t define who I was allowed to be. Being gay could have been another part of who I was, and I could have just grown up.
It took a long time, but I like the person I am today. Had I gone through transition, I would still be struggling to prove to the world and to myself that I deserve to be loved and accepted.
For all of their talk of a gender spectrum and gender fluidity, the left is Puritan about the rules of gender expression in children. We could all benefit from a return to the idea that sometimes boys are sensitive and creative, and sometimes girls are aggressive and competitive — and it’s perfectly okay. We don’t need to be “fixed.”