I spent the weekend driving from Tennessee to Maryland and then back again. Though it was a drive almost long enough to make me wish I took a plane instead, the good thing is that it gave me a chance to listen to Abigail Shrier’s recent book on how gender ideology is destroying a generation of children. I had put off reading “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” after it came out last summer, mainly because I consider myself well-informed on the issue and wasn’t sure if it had any new information to tell me. As it turns out, it did. And a lot of it.
The crisis is much worse than I even thought, and I already thought it was catastrophically bad. I found myself having to pause the book frequently in order to collect myself and, at various points, stave off sudden bouts of nausea. The chapter describing phalloplasty (or “bottom surgery,” as it’s called in the sanitized vernacular) had an especially sickening effect. I won’t go into the details here. Suffice it to say that part of the process can involve “de-sleeving” the forearm. The skin is pulled off of woman’s arm and used in the construction of the fake male reproductive organ. But the problem is that it is not a reproductive organ, at all, of course. You cannot actually make a female body into a male body or vice versa.
The main point of the book is not to describe these sex change surgeries (excuse me, “gender-affirming medical procedures”). The main point is to show how children are indoctrinated into gender ideology through the school system, the medical industry, internet influencers, and their peers. Kids, especially girls, are particularly susceptible to this influence because puberty already tends to make them feel uncomfortable and not entirely at home in their own bodies. Now they have been given a handy framework for understanding those perfectly natural feelings, and a solution. If you don’t like your body, just change it. Don’t want to be yourself? No problem! Simply take these pills, change your name, cut your hair, and you can be someone else. The standards of so-called “affirmative care” require this response from counselors and doctors. Any genuine attempt to get to the root of a child’s discomfort, any suggestion that they might be wrong about their perception of themselves, would not affirm and would therefore be transphobic and bigoted.
Coincidentally, after my weekend spent listening to these horror stories, 60 Minutes aired its own investigation into the problem. In what Rush Limbaugh would have called a random act of journalism, the newsmagazine profiled a number of formerly trans-identifying people who have come to regret their transition. Perhaps most harrowing was the story of Grace, a young woman who was placed on hormones shortly after seeking help for her dysphoric feelings. The doctors approved a double mastectomy (“top surgery”) just four months after she started testosterone. Rather than help the girl accept and love her body, doctors were happy to chop pieces off and send her on her way.
If you’re wondering what sort of doctors could be involved in this kind of thing and how they can possibly justify it, consider this clip of Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy. As the medical director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, she is one of the most prominent Texas Chainsaw physicians in the country, sending countless young people off to get mutilated. As mentioned in Shrier’s book, Dr. Olson-Kennedy was secretly recorded at a conference in 2018 as she explained why it’s okay to amputate a teen girl’s breasts. Here is how she makes her case:
I’m just going to say this, that actually people get married when they’re under twenty. Actually people choose colleges to go to. Actually people make life-altering decisions in adolescence… And honestly most of them are good. It’s just the bad ones that we talk about… But we don’t put on YouTube the really good decisions. “Oh my gosh my kid took the SATs.” Not a very exciting after school decision. So what we do know is that adolescents actually have the capacity to make a reasonable and logical decision. And here’s the other thing about chest surgery: if you want breasts at a later point in your life, you can go and get them.
Ironically, the one example she gives of an adolescent making a good decision is taking the SATs, which is actually a decision that adults make and children cooperate with (or not). Almost any good long-term decision made by a child is the result of parental suggestion or compulsion. Adolescents do not have the neurological hardware in place to properly evaluate the long-term consequences of a particular course of action. We use our prefrontal cortex for that sort of reasoning, and it is not fully online until the age of 25. Then again, we’re dealing with a woman who has said elsewhere that babies at 18 months can start expressing their “gender identity.” She has no understanding of basic child psychology. Or pretends to have no understanding of it, anyway.
It’s worth noting that a child’s inability to make competent and reasoned choices is the whole basis of our consent laws. The prohibition of pedophilia is centered entirely around the conviction that young children cannot make sexual decisions for themselves. Many “experts” seek to undermine the legal, scientific, and philosophical case against child rape — which, I suggest, may not be entirely incidental.
The doctor also says, flippantly, that you can chop off a young girl’s breasts and simply give her new ones later if she changes her mind. Olson-Kennedy apparently thinks of the female body as an organic Lego set or Potato Head doll. Take parts away, attach, reattach, mix and match. A body is nothing but a pile of parts, in Olson-Kennedy’s mind. Cut a few pieces off, swap them out, build a new one, it doesn’t matter. Nothing significant or permanent will be lost. But this is not a sane view of the human body, let alone a scientific one.
Your body is a whole, coherent, complete thing. It is your body and you should appreciate it because it is the only one you will ever have. A woman cannot have her breasts removed and then go and get new ones. She can, rather, replace her natural and biologically functional breasts with non-functional mounds of flesh that, from a distance, might sort of look like breasts. It is not an even trade. Something was lost and it will never be regained. That is the case with any medical transition. It is not really a transition at all but a forfeiture. A man gives up his manhood, or a woman her womanhood, and in exchange they receive only the promise of something that can never fully be obtained.
That is the road that many children are traveling down, and the fate they are hurtling towards, thanks in large part to people like Dr. Olson-Kennedy. In a different society — namely, a sane and just one — she and her cohorts would all be in prison.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.