Transgenderism has been called the medical scandal of our time. Facilitated by contemporary culture’s voyeuristic fascination with all things sexual, and its blithe willingness to turn a blind eye to the mutilated bodies and psychological devastation in transgender activism’s wake, this social and political movement is sweeping through our nation’s schools with catastrophic consequences for children, families, and society.
Abigail Shrier’s latest book, Irreversible Damage: the Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, accomplishes the Herculean task of revealing and explicating the history, circumstances, and repercussions of an ideology that has to a great extent targeted adolescent and teen girls, evidenced by a 4,000 percent increase in child referrals to gender clinics in the last ten years, most of whom are females.
Shrier, a parent and Oxford-, Columbia-, and Yale-educated attorney and journalist who writes for the Wall Street Journal, digs deeply and widely into this phenomenon, interviewing doctors, researchers, teachers, therapists, transgender-identified adults, and transgender-identified children and their parents in a search for answers to two questions: “Why?” and “What now?”
She parses out in shocking clarity how social media influencers, school administrators, medical and mental health practitioners, and calculated activism have created and propagated a social contagion that preys upon young girls as they navigate the struggles common to all females as they come of age. At the time girls’ bodies and minds are transforming from those of children to those of adult women, the transgender ideology that’s been diffused like mustard gas into every corner of our social atmosphere capitalizes on these girls’ search for identity and meaning by affirming their deepest fear: You are not acceptable the way you are.
The Damage Done
Irreversible Damage lays bare the social, psychological, and political forces that converge in a ghastly maelstrom to ravage young lives. At school and online, “teens and tweens today are everywhere pressed to locate themselves on a gender spectrum and within a sexuality taxonomy–long before they have finished the sexual development that would otherwise guide discovery of who they are,” Shrier declares, led there by “so much gender identity and sexual orientation education, delivered with the tireless passion of priests.”
As I read Shrier’s apt and piercing commentary on the origins of transgender ideology and how it’s taken such a stranglehold on our society and children, I found myself underlining whole passages and scribbling commiserative notes in the margins. At the end of a section on bullying, in her chapter on schools’ complicity in the harms wrought on these girls, I penned an epiphany: “Schools and activists have turned their weaponry against the family. The bullies, according to them, are no longer society or other students; by transgenderism’s twisted and sadistic logic, parents are now deceitfully vilified as their own children’s worst oppressors. That is evil.”
Indeed, third-wave feminism’s manifesto on the abolition of the family as a requisite for female liberation serves as a catalyzing force behind the transgender phenomenon. Irreversible Damage brushes against this self-defeating premise in its conversations with radical feminists and lesbians, who recognize the transgender narrative as nothing less than a misogynistic apocalypse for women’s safety and rights.
Shrier catalogs schools’ disrespect for parents as evidenced by policies that not only allow but require school personnel to withhold from parents information about their child’s sexuality and gender. She further records a fifth-grade teacher’s not-uncommon position that “parental right[s] ended when [their] children were enrolled in public school.” But Shrier does not delve into transgenderism’s intentional destruction of the nuclear family as pointedly as I wish she might have.
Shrier is admirably empathetic of the transgender adults she’s met who simply want to live their preferred lives quietly, under society’s radar, and largely do not agree with radical activists’ pursuit of children as recruits. Shrier’s treatment of all who live outside social norms is open-handed, and she affords generosity to those whose perspectives may not agree with her own.
She does, however, endorse the ethos that one’s sexuality is fixed and immutable, a theory weakened by the numbers of former homosexuals who successfully changed their desires through therapy, as well as by former heterosexuals who in mid-life left their opposite-sex spouses to pursue homosexuality. You will not find in Irreversible Damage any whisper of homophobia or skepticism about the LGB portion of the LGBT narrative, for better or for worse.
An exhaustively researched and meticulously organized treatise that deftly interweaves strands of personal narrative, biography, exposé, investigative journalism, and parental guidance, Irreversible Damage draws back the curtain on a phenomenon cloaking itself as heroism while devouring with blood and malice a vulnerable and valuable segment of our next generation. Anyone who has daughters or cares about children should read this book in order to be armed for battle, defensively and offensively.
Hope and Direction
In Irreversible Damage Abigail Shrier has done for us the preponderance of work necessary to demonstrate exactly who are the enemies of all who value healthy children, healthy families, and a healthy society, and what tactics they employ. The gatekeepers we trusted to safeguard our children have not only failed, they have turned their teeth and claws on our kids as well as on us. We can no longer afford to be blissfully ignorant of what’s happening to our children.
In fact, deliberate ignorance explains the overwhelming lack of widespread inquiry into the transgender narrative and its results: “You cannot let yourself imagine that [affirmation therapy] might be a mistake because then you’d have to accept that you’ve been participating in something truly awful,” Shrier quotes Lisa Marchiano, a Jungian analyst, researcher, social worker, and therapist who does not hold with her profession’s party line on gender affirmation.
Marchiano’s haunting words echo throughout Irreversible Damage, and serve well as its central premise: The transgender experiment on our daughters is something truly awful, and unless we put a stop to it, we are all guilty of participation in it. But Shrier leaves us with hope and direction in her final chapter: The Way Back.
She sums up in six simple words all that is necessary for parents of transgender-identified children, for therapists and educators, and for society itself to begin righting the terrible wrongs done to our daughters: “It requires merely knowing the truth.”