Transgender was the T in LGBT to which I paid little attention, in part because it represented such an extremely small percentage of the population. But that has changed recently as I see the LGBT movement affecting our children and our individual freedoms.
My awakening began when seeing a “Gender Neutral” bathroom sign at a Santa Monica restaurant. It had the standard depiction of a man wearing pants, and a depiction of a woman, stereotypically wearing a skirt. Then there was a third depiction: a person wearing half of a skirt.
I googled it back at my table and found the California law requiring the sign. It took effect on March 1. I wondered what a parent would say when their six-year-old child asks what the third depiction means? It occurred to me that parents no longer get to decide when or whether to discuss this issue with young children.
A few weeks later I stumbled upon a podcast called, “How to Be a Girl,” which tells the story of a mother’s daily life with her trans child. Her boy started wearing girls’ clothes and grew his hair long at the age of 3. The mother did not understand why her son wanted to do these things, but she went with it. After a year of her boy insisting he was, in fact, a girl, she decided to let her son go, gave him a new girl name, and told everyone that her boy was now a girl.
I wonder whether this mother is doing the right thing. Many experts now say that she is, and as a result, there are more transgender children in schools. So much so that many schools are now teaching children about transgender as early as elementary school. This is despite the fact that studies have shown that most gender dysphoria in children is temporary.
Then I came across two bills pending in the California legislature. AB 2943, which has passed the Assembly and awaits a vote in the Senate, seeks to ban the practice of “sexual orientation change efforts,” including “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions.” California (and ten other states) has already banned this practice for children under the age of 18. The new law would expand the ban to everyone.
The bill cites numerous professional associations which state that gender dysphoria is not a disorder or illness and that there is no evidence that the therapies work. The bill is premised on the notion that people are “born this way” and thus cannot be assisted by therapy. But opponents allege that LGBT activists were instrumental in steering these organizations toward their conclusions, and in the process overturned decades of academic and medical research. In fact, it is far from settled that people are born gay or transgender, as evidenced by studies of identical twins where one is gay or trans the other is more often not.
If in fact, nature plays a role, then what is wrong with counseling? It is very common for therapy to address issues from childhood. In fact, this is precisely what providers of the therapy claim: that childhood trauma is most often the cause of gender dysphoria. And even if there was no clear evidence that the therapy works, why ban it? There is no law banning psychics and hypnotherapists whose services are highly questionable.
There may, in fact, exist two viable treatments for gender dysphoria: transition to the other gender though drugs and surgery, or therapy. Should not people living in a free society be permitted to choose? And should not parents be permitted to choose for their own children?
The second bill is AB 2119 which mandates that parents of foster children must permit the child to take puberty-blocking drugs and have reassignment surgery if the child wants it. Parents typically do not permit their child to dictate where they live, go to school, eat, or go to bed. Why should the child get to decide on drugs and surgery? And why does the California legislature look differently upon foster children then adopted or biological children? Are they not in need and deserving of parental guidance as other children? Are they being used as a test case, with the ultimate plan being to have this law apply to all children?
Finding the truth behind gender dysphoria is critical to knowing how to deal with it. We cannot experiment with our children. Parents need answers, unimpeded by a political (e.g. LGBT extremists) or religious (e.g. Christian extremists) agenda. For far too long transgenders have been forced into the closet by a lack of understanding and bigotry. Now that they have gained acceptance, extremists must not be permitted to silence those with differing views, just as their community was once silenced. Unbiased science, logical thinking, and open discussion must prevail. Our children’s well-being, and individual freedoms, are at stake.
Jim Breslo is a civil rights attorney and host of the Hidden Truth Show podcast.