July 10, 2020 - Friday
Irreversible Damage: A Warning We Can't Ignore
July 10, 2020
"They are our future, these girls. If we don't safeguard them and give them a promising [life], we have no future."
One by one, they started calling. These weren't conservative parents or even particularly religious ones -- some were liberal, progressive, "open-minded" moms and dads desperate for help. Their stories, Abigail would find out, were eerily the same. Their daughters had started hanging out with friends who'd decided to come out as transgender together. Suddenly, these sweet teenage girls -- who'd never shown a hint of gender confusion -- were demanding breast reduction, hormone treatments, new names and pronouns -- and their parents were beside themselves for someone to intervene. No one, they found out quickly, would.
Abigail hadn't planned on telling their stories. That all changed when a mom tracked her down at the Wall Street Journal and said, "I can't get any journalists to take this on, but my daughter... decided with her friends out of nowhere that she was transgender. And they're all pursuing hormones and surgeries together. It doesn't seem right. I'm a progressive person, [but] this doesn't seem like it fits her at all. She had no childhood history." Abigail tried, initially, to get another investigative journalist to cover it. She couldn't. So she started looking into it herself and found out that this mother was right -- there were thousands of parents all across the country who were experiencing the same thing: girls coming out with their friends under social media's influence.
When she wrote a column about it, Abigail told "Washington Watch's" Sarah Perry, "It sort of exploded. It was the biggest article in the mainstream media about this phenomenon. And all of the sudden, parents from all over the country and actually all over the [Western world] were writing to me to tell me that this was happening to their daughters, too." At that point, Abigail decided, she couldn't turn back. Two hundred interviews later, she's published a book: Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. And if its revelations don't rattle a reader's world, I'm not sure know what will.
She talks about researchers like Dr. Lisa Littman, an OB-GYN now working at Brown University. Littman, she said, is a "progressive, [so] she doesn't have a political axe to grind here... She just noticed [as] she was scrolling through her social media feed that it didn't make sense that so many adolescent girls were coming out as transgender with their friends." She decided to investigate, since true gender dysphoria, she knew, was "a very, very rare condition of discomfort in one's biological sex. It's extremely rare -- .01 percent, so one hundredth of one percent." Turns out, her hunch was right. These girls weren't doubting their biological sex, they were "sharing and spreading their pain."
Littman's statistics, meanwhile, shocked everyone. In friend groups where one girl identified as transgender, the prevalence rate was 70 times what would be expected. "Which meant," Abigail explained, "that this was a lot more like anorexia." In the same way eating disorders spread or cutting or other peer pressures this wasn't a gender issue. This was a social contagion. What they have, she said, "is a lot of anxiety and, in some cases depression... So the transition does not alleviate their distress." Which would explain the high levels of regret from them later on in life.
It's one of the reasons, Littman, Abigail, and others deep in this world of debate, are pleading with the medical and therapy communities to stop fast-tracking these radical interventions like puberty blockers. "These girls are self-indoctrinating," Abigail insists, "[thinking] that if they just try it, all their problems will go away." And it's not just the medical community who are reinforcing that lie, she warns. It's the education system. "[The] part of the book that I'm proudest of is my investigation into the California public school system," Abigail explains, "because I was able to learn that the gender identity indoctrination is so radical and so thorough -- it begins in kindergarten." California's activists, she warns, are very clever. "They took [gender identity] out of sexual education curriculum, so your parents are not even aware it's there. It's not part of the curriculum they're allowed to opt out of. And they put it in anti-bullying curriculum. So, of course, most parents don't want to take their kids out of the anti-bullying program, and they can't."
She's talked to parents who've flat-out asked their schools, "'What's the policy if my kid were to decide she's a boy?' And at least in in California public schools -- and I've heard from New York [and] New Jersey parents -- the policy is not to inform the parents. And this applies to kids who are 12 years old. So, very often, I will talk to parents who say that their daughter went a whole year being addressed as a boy and talked about as a boy and [using] the boys' bathroom [at school], and the parent didn't even know."
Don't think it can't happen to your daughter, she says. It can. But there are things every parent can do. Pay attention to your kids' friend groups. "It becomes very trendy to come out as one of these exotic identifications and want to change your body. Then, their friends are more likely to do it as well. But the thing to really look for is the social media indoctrination. That's a big one if they're spending a lot of time online. And the last thing is: find out what gender ideology is being pushed in your child's school." Or, I would argue, reconsider if public school is even the right decision at all. With the virus forcing families to take a long hard look at learning, maybe now is the time to make a move away from these dangerous and destructive influences.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.