We’re in the midst of what you could call an LGBTQ+ craze. According to Gallup, 16% of Gen Z identify as LGBT, while 9.1% of Millennials do so. Both groups identify at a substantially higher percentage than older generations, with Gen X being just under 4%, Baby Boomers at 2%, and Traditionalists at 1.3%.
When it comes to transgender statistics, the difference among the generations is even more staggering: 1.8% of Gen Z identify as transgender, which is more than double the combined percentage of Gen X, Boomers, and Traditionalists that identify as trans. The size of the transgender population according to a 2017 study published to the National Library of Medicine was a mere 0.06%.
It’s clear that there’s an extreme spike in the number of people identifying as trans, and the spike is in large part comprised of the younger generations. If we imagine that the massive spike is truly reflective of reality, we need to ask ourselves, is the current standard of gender-affirming care beneficial for self-proclaimed transgender children? And is it right for gender clinics to encourage them to seek medical and surgical treatment?
What Exactly Is Gender Dysphoria?
It’s impossible to divorce transgenderism from gender dysphoria (unless you ascribe to more “progressive” beliefs that affirm that you can just be trans because you say so).
Gender dysphoria is different from body dysmorphia, although the latter can be observed alongside the former. Gender dysphoria refers to an internal conflict within an individual, between the gender they identify as and what their birth sex is.
Gender dysphoria is an internal conflict between the gender you identify as and what your birth sex is.
Body dysmorphia defines a sense of anxiety around your body or a particular body part, wherein the person with the condition may believe that some part, or all, of their body is “defective” or “wrong.” It stems from a disconnect between reality and the way you perceive yourself. Someone with body dysmorphia may be driven to get surgery, develop an eating disorder, overexercise, or otherwise engage in certain behaviors that they believe will remedy their appearance or fix the part of them they believe to be wrong or defective.
Similarly, someone with gender dysphoria may take hormones or get feminization/masculinization surgeries or treatments so their external appearance reflects what they feel on the inside.
Based on online discourse, it seems as though body dysmorphia often gets conflated with gender dysphoria. While people may believe that they’re helping when they flood Gen Z children with suspicions that they’re trans when they say they don’t like their bodies or don’t feel comfortable in them, it’s actually nothing but a grave disservice.
Salt to the Wound We Call “Puberty”
As adults it may be difficult to empathize with what children go through when they hit puberty. We’re far removed from it and so engrossed with the responsibilities and burdens of adult life, and puberty is just something we don’t think about. Thankfully, it’s a one-and-done thing.
But puberty now, in the year 2022, is far different from what it was 20 years ago. Even 10 years ago, it was a different beast.
Personally, I hated my developing body, my new bodily functions, the fact that my clothes wouldn’t fit me anymore, and how my classmates treated me differently because I went through puberty far earlier than they did. I felt like a pariah, and I felt lonely. Later, as I grew older and went to junior high and high school, I became entrenched in Tumblr culture, feeling ugly in comparison to the girls whose pictures were always reblogged, and buying into the lies that boys and men truly have it easy, and that it’s only girls who suffer unattainable expectations and unrealistic standards.
If, back then, someone promised me I could just become a boy, I likely would have asked them to sign me up. And it would have irreversibly damaged me now, as an adult woman who’s comfortable and happy in her femininity and who plans to be a mother one day. There’s a substantial number of young girls who went through medical transition procedures to present as male, and then regretted the decision and detransitioned. Instead of being entrenched in Tumblr culture and aspiring for generic, cookie-cutter beauty standards, they went through procedures that cause a number of medical issues, such as drastically deeper voices, excessive body hair growth, weight gain, increased risk of cardiac problems, recession of the hairline, and even sterilization.
We’ve severely regressed if we’re allowing activists to tell children their gender is dictated by their interests.
Some things never change: children going through puberty today still go through the same physical changes, and like their younger Millennial counterparts, engage in a culture of being constantly online, where they’re influenced to strive for standards of beauty which, at best, are difficult to attain until you’re an adult woman who can go to the gym on her own time and manage her own diet and clothing choices, or, at worst, are impossible.
The things that have changed are the emergence of novel apps we never saw in our youth. On quick-to-consume platforms like TikTok, children are being bombarded with pro-LGBTQ/anti-woman messaging at an incredible rate (such as in this TikTok, wherein the user claims that to define gender is oppression, and therefore making it easy to define what a woman is, is making it easier to maintain oppressive systems), and they may even be getting that same messaging from their school teachers.
There’s the re-emergence of the enforcement of gender stereotypes, such as if you like stereotypically masculine things, that means you’re a boy, and if you like stereotypically feminine things, it means you’re a girl. Younger Gen Z members are easily exposed to this messaging and it completely reframes how they view the world and what they expect from it.
With all of this messaging, is it any surprise that children are quicker to say they’re LGBTQ, and trans specifically?
The Best Way To Help
Vocal trans/LGBTQ-activists claim that when we don’t educate children on transitioning and guide them through the process, we’re actively contributing to the rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide in trans kids.
But in allowing children to transition just because one day, out of the blue, they say, “I feel like a boy in a girl’s body” or vice-versa, we’re potentially just treating a symptom of a much larger issue, and adding one more colossal problem for these children to deal with in the future.
Dr. Hilary Cass, a distinguished pediatrician and former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health of England, published an independent review that revealed that the way children with gender identity issues are being treated in the UK is massively hurting them, and shutting down criticism of said treatment is doing no one any favors. The lack of criticism is what allowed youths like Keira Bell to undergo unnecessary treatment (she’s now suing an NHS gender clinic).
80-95% of gender-dysphoric children accepted their biological sex by working with a therapist.
The standard of treatment prior to the gender-affirming standard of care, according to the American College of Pediatricians, was watchful waiting and the pursuit of family or individual therapy. This would allow a therapist to help the child or family address possible familial pathology, treat any underlying psychological issues, and help the child in aligning their gender identity with their biological sex. With this standard of treatment, it was observed that 80% to 95% of gender-dysphoric children accepted their biological sex by the time they hit late adolescence.
Meanwhile, there’s nowhere near enough data to determine if gender-affirming care is remotely helpful, let alone with a success rate of 80% to 95%. And yet, vocal activists continue to shut down any discussion about the way we’re treating children, calling any questioning or criticism “transphobic” and “hate speech.”
Growing up is hard enough without being pressured to transition if you’re a girl who likes football, welding, cars, or the idea of being a mechanic; or if you’re a boy who likes makeup, fashion, or dancing.
We’ve severely regressed if we’re allowing trans and LGBT activists to tell children that their gender is dictated by their interests and likes, and that if they don’t adhere to stereotypes that they need to go through medical and surgical transitions. Sometimes, it seems that, more than anything else, gender-affirming care is meant to increase the percentage of the transgender individuals in the population, more than to alleviate gender dysphoria in children.
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