President Biden: Please Listen to Parents
I want to believe you are a kind and decent man that truly cares about American families. I want to believe you genuinely care about uniting America again and hearing all viewpoints, as you said during your election campaign.
But your Administration’s actions, when it comes to transgender in America, call all this into question.
Contrary to your actions and words, there is NOT only one side to this story. The science is NOT settled. As a lifelong public servant, I can’t imagine you have encountered many examples of complex issues with only one side. Transgender is no exception to this.
The prevailing view you and your advisors have been promoting is this: There are trans kids and teens that just want to live their authentic lives. A person is born this way and they might be lucky and get parents that support them being themselves, or they may be unlucky, and wind up with evil transphobic parents that want to hold them back. We need to protect those kids from those horrible people, including their parents, that want to block them from getting the lifesaving treatment they need.
Well, that is just all wrong.
There is something new going on here and it’s time for our country to stand up and take notice before we continue to sterilize children and demonize caring parents, while telling ourselves we’re doing the right thing.
As you may have guessed, I have a horse in this race. My child is a teen who decided, suddenly, with no prior dysphoria, no gender non-conformance, no thoughts of “being born in the wrong body”, that he was “trans” after binging on internet porn and transgender subreddits and discord servers over a one month period during quarantine. This is not a guess—it's what he told me. I know many other parents in nearly identical situations through the parent support group I participate in, one of many that have sprung up all around the world to help parents like me.
Right now there are two options for parents of trans-identified kids:
“Affirm” - don’t ask questions, just agree with the kid and push them through to “transition” medically. This means hormone blockers, wrong-sex hormones and potentially even castration or other plastic surgeries that attempt to replicate secondary sex characteristics of the opposite sex.
Don’t Affirm – take a watchful waiting approach, encourage thoughtful exploration, body positivity and reinforce the idea that gender non-conformity is fine and normal, keep the focus on a healthy body and mind.
Now, if we choose Path A, we are celebrated – the community cheers, you are love-bombed, heck - the President even gives you a shoutout at the State of the Union address. Everyone praises parents for being “supportive” and the child for being so brave.
If we choose Path B though, we are “transphobes”, evil, “right wing”, just plain mean, and probably our children should be taken away from us. Psychotherapy that attempts to get to the root cause of trauma or distress and to help the child grow into their identity as a whole person often isn’t allowed (it’s even called “conversion therapy” in many US states), or is not available because therapists are too scared of activists to work with minor patients once the word “gender’ comes up.
Parents like me are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many of our kids suffer from trauma, anxiety disorders or depression, many have ASD, all are quirky social misfits that spend a lot of time living in an online video game world as a coping mechanism for loneliness. Not a one of them has “always known” that they were trans.
Many of us parents are choosing Path B and choosing to support our kids through mental health support and watchful waiting instead of “affirmation”. Why is this? It’s simple—Path A is not safe. It also doesn’t work. And, it is know that 80% of kids are likely to grow out of their gender dysphoria if they are left alone, not “affirmed”, and not medicalized in this trans identity.
Path B, despite conventional wisdom and the vocal minority, is the path supported by research and science. It's also the path that had been used for decades until the rush to affirm and quickly medicalize (without any evidence supporting it) became a trend. Countries other than the US are already questioning the affirmative model and reverting back to this more cautious approach. Recently Sweden and Finland have tossed out medical trans “treatments” for kids because the science isn’t there and kids are getting seriously, permanently hurt. Even gender doctors are now pointing out that the current methods employed in gender health care do not help the new cohort of teens and young adults seeking their services.
Medical treatments for gender confusion are ineffective at best. They are also known to cause terrifying side-effects, including sterilization, bone weakening, degraded IQ and lowered executive brain function. Despite these known issues, kids are being taught in school, through the media, through activist community organizations, and even by politicians that, if they don’t like their bodies, or don’t fit in with the crowd, gender transition is an easy, painless, and permanent solution to their pain and emotional discomfort.
We can all get behind freedom from discrimination. But teaching our kids that disrupted maturation, induced endocrine disorders and unnecessary surgeries on healthy bodies are no big deal and even cool and brave cannot be what America stands for. Our kids need help, but not in the form of a lifetime dependence on experimental destructive drugs with irreversible consequences.
Gender identity is an adult issue, not something for kids. However, in our currently political climate, clinics, doctors, teachers, and school guidance counselors—all authority figures to children and young adults—conspire with our kids to subvert our parental oversight and safeguarding. Puberty is medicalized. Groomers roam the internet with impunity, telling our kids they will pick them up and spirit them away from their evil parents. Parents are bullied incessantly. If they push back they are told that kids will surely commit suicide. None of this is fact.
I believed you when you said you would follow the science. I believed you when you said the First Lady would champion education. I am dismayed that, in this immensely important topic (4% of college students now identify as transgender, and a huge percentage of adults now identify as LGBTQ in what seems to be a fad or trend), science is being ignored by your administration. This is no longer an issue at the margins. It’s impacting many thousands of Americans and tearing apart our families and, thereby, the fabric of our culture and society.
Mr. President, please take another look.