Parents confused and concerned about the unprecedented rise in gender dysphoria, especially among their own children, are facing personal attacks and shame campaigns from the experts who are supposed to be their allies.
Consider, for example, the mom and dad troubled by their 16-year-old daughter, who several months ago declared that she is “nonbinary.” Then two months ago, she began insisting they refer to her by a new name, and accused her own parents of “deadnaming” her by calling her by her birth name. Over that time, she shifted between four different “identities.” The distraught parents reached out to Washington Post parenting columnist Meghan Leahy for advice.
What they got in return from Leahy was reprimands, shaming, and fear-mongering. “I want to be clear around the dangers of denying, shaming or trying to change your daughter when it comes to sexual and gender identity,” wrote Leahy, before citing statistics about how LGBT youth are at higher risk for depression, suicide, substance use, and risky sexual behaviors. “It is a matter of life and death to accept LGBTQ+ teens for who they are,” threatened Leahy. The problem, of course, goes way beyond a single WaPo column, though Leahy’s treatment of these anxious parents is emblematic of what moms and dads are encountering across the country.
Playing the Shame Game
The parents noted that their daughter’s friends are all identifying themselves as either “bisexual, nonbinary, trans, polyamorous and a whole host of other words” and perhaps the friends’ influence — coupled with that of their favorite celebrities and influencers — has something to do with their daughter’s new “identity.” Leahy condescendingly retorted that their child appears to be “purposely surrounding themselves with people who make them feel safe.”
The parents observed, with incredulity, that “there is no attempt by the mental health professionals or school counselors to even entertain that maybe she is confused — quite the contrary.” Every professional they’ve met with “has admonished and chastised” them for questioning their daughter’s decisions.
Leahy piled on, lecturing them that “it is time to stop throwing out lines to find an adult to shame your child into a hetero lifestyle.” And just for good measure, Leahy admitted that she was very purposefully amplifying the shame rhetoric: “I rarely give explicit advice in my columns, but the stakes are high for our LGBTQ+ children and teens.”
The stakes are indeed high for American youth, but not for the reasons Leahy thinks. Rather, an entire generation of our children is being betrayed by the very institutions that are supposed to have their best interests (and health) at heart. The parents in the above terrible story noted that their daughter’s school counselor told them that “schools are not allowed to question or challenge who or what the student identifies as, for fear of a lawsuit.” The clergy member they queried for advice encouraged the girl to develop her “lesbian identity.”
Medical professionals across the United States — like those at Boston Children’s Hospital who we have learned are aggressively promoting medical transition for minors — are engaged in “gender-affirming care” that preys on confused children. When we are talking about puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and various surgeries, the damage can be irreversible. Doctors bully parents by claiming that refusing this “treatment” will put their children at risk of suicide.
Educators are doing the same thing, manipulating students into changing their gender identities, and hiding gender transitions of children as young as kindergarteners from their parents. These are not just a few, isolated incidents, but are happening in Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, California, and elsewhere. The proliferation of drag queen story hours across our nation’s elementary schools sexualizes prepubescent children. Librarians who push this sexual and gender-identity content, often covertly, are doing the same. “Sneakily fit [pro-LGBT ] stuff into current programs. … Chances are kids and families won’t even notice,” read an American Library Association official guidance to librarians of local school districts.
Not Love, Not Acceptance
What makes this betrayal of parents’ trust particularly perverse is how these professionals couch their language in “love and acceptance.” Parenting coach Leahy urged parents to repeat this mantra: “By loving and fully accepting my child, I am helping them to love and fully accept themself.” She added that it is parents’ jobs to “completely love and accept them [kids] for exactly who they are.”
But it’s not “love and acceptance” to treat children in ways that compound their confusion and cause them potentially lifelong physical, mental, and emotional harm. And as much as pro-trans ideologues cite the poor mental health and higher risks of self-harm of children with alternative sexual identities, they never seem to consider the possibility that they’ve got it backward. An increasing amount of data suggests that those experiencing gender dysphoria are more likely to already be struggling with mental health issues, meaning that encouraging them to pursue new gender identities only aggravates the problem. John S. Grabowski in his book “Unraveling Gender” notes that there is significant evidence that suggests gender dysphoria is “akin to other psychological conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder or anorexia.”
Wake Up and Smell the Double Standards
Leahy had the audacity to tell the concerned parents that “this is also a good time to affirm your core family values.” But, of course, only if those core family values unequivocally endorse the fickle, ever-fluctuating doctrines of gender ideology. If your family values include, for example, a belief that people can’t simply change their biologically permanent, God-given identities via gender word games, then Leahy and her cohort of experts would call you bigoted. They might even accuse you of child abuse and persecuting your children (oh, the irony).
Parents, regardless of their political or religious affiliation, need to wake up. The experts we have trusted are betraying us, as demonstrated by Kelsey Bolar’s recent Federalist article on an 11-year-old “transgender” daughter who was asked by a teacher to sleep in a boys’ cabin. It’s possible some experts have truly embraced the craziness of gender ideology; others are perhaps too cowardly to do the right thing for our children and risk their own professional skin; and still others, more cynically, are profiting and benefiting from their complicity in this crisis .
Whatever the motivation, it’s less important than this immediate lesson for parents: Be wary of those who wax eloquently of “love and acceptance” when it comes to gender ideology. Because if you express any hesitation or resistance, there won’t be any love or acceptance for you.