Basic biology and psychology — whose accuracy is supported by a litany of scientific facts — are currently lost on the transgender movement, with the Left now deeming such analytical realities as prejudiced and antiquated, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable in our society — children. We must vehemently fight against the radical advocates of transgenderism who have begun preying upon children under a false guise of compassion.
Irreversible surgeries, puberty blockers, hormone dependency, and other untold consequences await children allowed to transition before adulthood. Defending such procedures and decisions is equivalent to treating children like guinea pigs. By all scientific metrics, their bodies and, most importantly, their minds are not, at all, sufficiently developed to handle or make such monumental decisions. Yet, here we are, forced to witness children undergo dire procedures while not even being able to vote, drink, or serve their country.
The developing brain in childhood and adolescence is incapable of such life-changing decisions
It’s imperative to recognize that a child’s brain is in a constant state of development and incapable of fully grasping the mental and physical significance of changing one’s gender. Though transgender activists and parents report all sorts of anecdotal evidence — even regarding toddlers supposedly exhibiting gender dysphoria — there is no scientific basis outside of sentimental hubris to support these claims.
Increasingly, the legacy media completely foregoes the crucial aspect of the developing brain in childhood and adolescence in favor of a dogmatic yielding to transgender activism. The Guardian audaciously framed the debate as “people who think…gender dysphoria will fade by adulthood” versus “the vast majority of mental health professionals who study gender dysphoria insisting that affirming a child in whatever way they express their gender is beneficial to their mental health.”
In 2017, Kimberly Shappley told Good Housekeeping that she struggled with her “beliefs and convictions” because her 18-month-old son “began exhibiting very strong female characteristics.”
In a bizarre and unethical twist, a child psychologist encouraged Shappley to question her 4-year-old son’s gender identity.
“While family was questioning whether Kai was gay,” Shappley continued, “a Christian friend of mine, who is also a child psychologist, asked me: ‘Have you noticed Kai’s feminine behavior?’ It was such a gentle question, as opposed to the harsh accusations of others. I said, ‘I’ve noticed, but I figure she’ll just grow out of it.’ I can laugh at that now. It’s so clear, in retrospect, that this was not a passing phase. But when my friend asked me that, I still wasn’t ready to accept it. As I continued to watch my child developing, my friend started pointing out red flags that there was something very real going on. She told me that Kai being transgender may be something I needed to consider.”
The reality is that a child’s brain is in a constant state of development and incapable of making such a drastic decision, especially at such a tender age. The University of Rochester Medical Center reports that even teenagers are not fully capable of making rational decisions, much less a 4-year-old. The human brain is only fully developed at around the age of 25. This helps explain why rash decision-making and high emotions beleaguer adolescents.
“In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently,” The University of Rochester reports. “Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part…In teen’s brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing — and not always at the same rate. That’s why when teens have overwhelming emotional input, they can’t explain later what they were thinking. They weren’t thinking as much as they were feeling.”
Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt echoes this fundamental fact on the developing brain. She told NPR in 2011 that “brain scans show clearly that the brain is not fully finished developing until about age 25.” She added “that the part of the brain that helps you to inhibit impulses” is not fully developed as a teenager, let alone as a toddler or a 4 year-old.
How, then, can parents like Kimberly Shappley even consider burdening their children with the consequences of such an enormous decision? It’s not only unethical beyond measure, it’s unjust and unfair regardless of the desires or behaviors a child or teenager may or may not be exhibiting.
What seems most at play in parents who compel their children to transition is a desire to appear “noble and brave” in their respective progressive communities, often to the detriment of their children’s wellbeing. Shappley goes on to explain that her family is now surrounded by “transgender men and women who are leaders in the community” who “encourage Kai to be proud of who she is and where she comes from” while “building a stronger community together.”
The untold consequences of puberty blockers on children
Increasingly, the medical community now recommends puberty blockers and a lifetime of hormone therapy when allowing children to transition. In fact, many medical professionals are demanding that the age for transitioning procedures be lowered from the current age of 16.
In 2017, NBC Bay Area reported that “[a] team of international doctors is working to rewrite the clinical guidelines for how and when to medically treat transgender children,” and “are now considering allowing children to undergo hormone therapy at earlier ages in order to change their bodies.”
What many of these doctors fail to report are the multiple long-term and drastic side effects these so-called therapies have on children. In fact, due to the overwhelmingly politicized nature of gender dysphoria in children, the dire consequences of such therapies are, essentially, hidden or ignored.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital reports that puberty blockers can “lower bone density,” have an adverse effect on growth, and stunt the development of genitalia. Worse, the novel use of puberty blockers in children at such an increasingly higher rate makes “other possible long-term side effects” a complete mystery.
Dr. Eric Vilain — a UCLA pediatrician and geneticist of some controversy — spells out the immense challenges a gender dysphoric boy faces over a lifetime if allowed to transition: “In late childhood she will need hormones to block puberty; she will then take estrogen for the rest of her life. Eventually, she may want genital surgery. Although this surgery is usually satisfactory, side effects requiring additional surgery are not uncommon.”
Gender dysphoria in children is more of a phase than a permanent state
It’s increasingly difficult to comprehend whether a child may legitimately be suffering from gender dysphoria or if the child’s parents are actively encouraging confusion, motivated by misguided moral grounds rooted in progressivism and — in some instances — the errant pageantry associated with such choices.
Regardless, quite a few studies suggest that gender dysphoria in children is unlikely to persist in children. Only “10%-25%” of children “will continue to have gender dysphoria after the onset of puberty,” according to MDedge Pediatrics.
Dr. Eric Vilain also argues against the overarching narrative “that gender dysphoric children have the minds and brains of the other sex, adult transgenderism is inevitable, and early transition to the other sex is the only humane option.”
“Gender dysphoric children have not usually become transgender adults,” Vilain continues. “For example, the large majority of gender dysphoric boys studied so far have become young men content to remain male. More than 80 percent adjusted by adolescence.”
Vilain adds one crucial caveat to his findings, stating that “the available research was conducted at a time when parents almost always encouraged their gender dysphoric children to accept their birth sex.” However, when coupled with what we know regarding the developing brain in children and adolescence, the active encouragement of gender dysphoria on the part of parents — particularly with the aid of medical treatments like puberty blockers — becomes more a form of abuse rooted in neglect and manipulation than some adamant stance advocating for the wellbeing of one’s child.
The steadfast work of Abigail Shrier to save our children from the “social contagion” of transgenderism
Though the Left and the legacy media have excoriated her book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” investigate journalist Abigail Shrier continues to ring the alarm bells on the “sudden, severe spike in transgender identification among adolescent girls” in her recent piece for Quillette.
“Between 2016 and 2017,” Shrier writes, “the number of females seeking gender surgery quadrupled in the United States. Thousands of teen girls across the Western world are not only self-diagnosing with a real dysphoric condition they likely do not have; in many cases, they are obtaining hormones and surgeries following the most cursory diagnostic processes. Schoolteachers, therapists, doctors, surgeons, and medical-accreditation organizations are all rubber-stamping these transitions, often out of fear that doing otherwise will be reported as a sign of ‘transphobia’ — despite growing evidence that most young people who present as trans will eventually desist, and so these interventions will do more harm than good.”
Shrier also emphasizes the fact that “most teenagers are not in a good position to approve irreversible alterations to their bodies” due to their developing minds and bodies. She also adds that “suffering from trauma, OCD, depression, or any of the other mental-health problems…are comorbid with expressions of dysphoria.”
To be sure, gender dysphoria was “vanishingly rare” in girls up until recently. Shrier refers to the current trend as a “social contagion” that targets “high-anxiety, depressive (mostly white) girls who, in previous decades, fell prey to anorexia and bulimia or multiple personality disorder.”
Ironically enough, given how the Left castigates her, Shrier “fully support[s] medical transition for mature adults.”
Given the exponential rise in gender dysphoria in children, it’s imperative that we examine the root causes of such a phenomenon. Mounting evidence suggests that it’s more of a trend, a “social contagion” in children often unwittingly encouraged by peers and their very own parents.
Regardless, we must stand opposed to any medical procedures that risk irreversible damage to their developing minds and bodies on the basis of science and morality. It seems increasingly evident that to do otherwise is tantamount to abuse.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.