Gender Identity and Children

James Gottry

As a parent, I can imagine nothing worse than being forced to watch my children be harmed. To see them in pain and yet be helpless to save them. No nightmare could induce so much terror. I shudder even at the thought.

Each day, parents across the country are waking up to their own nightmare. The transgender movement is advancing an agenda that is putting children in harm's way, and parents are often helpless to stop it. More specifically, parental rights are being sacrificed on the altar of the new orthodoxy regarding human sexuality and gender.

As just one example, consider what happened last year in Ohio, where a court removed a 17-year-old girl from her parents' care because they did not support her desire to undergo hormone treatments1, and were unwilling to use the male name she had chosen.

An even more alarming situation is unfolding in Texas, where two parents are at war over the future of their 7-year-old child, James Younger. Walt Heyer, a former transgender, summarizes the tragic scenario in the Federalist2:

"James is caught in a gender identity nightmare. Under his mom's care in Dallas, Texas, James obediently lives as a trans girl named 'Luna.' But given the choice when he's with dad, he's all boy—his sex at birth."

Heyer explains that James' mother has enrolled him in school as a girl, calls him by the name "Luna," and has taken him to a "gender transition therapist who diagnosed him with gender dysphoria, a mental conflict between physical sex and perceived gender." James' father, meanwhile, vehemently disputes the diagnosis and maintains that James "consistently rejects" a female identity when he is not with his mother. Others corroborate this account.

Such conflicting behavior is unsurprising3, says Heyer, whose grandmother dressed him as a girl when he was a young boy.

"I was cross-dressed for two-and-a-half years by my grandmother, who made a purple chiffon dress for me. Somewhat like James, my cross-dressing occurred under one adult's care, but away from grandma's I was all boy with my mom and dad. Also, just like James, I found my way into the office of a gender therapist, who quickly started me toward transition."

Notably, James' mother, a pediatrician, has stated4 that she does not want her son to be transgender, but believes based on research and the recommendations of experts that the proper response to gender dysphoria is "gender affirmation."

But is it?

Aside from the issue of whether the diagnosis of gender dysphoria is correct in this case—and Heyer opines that James' behavior is much too inconsistent for such a diagnosis—the experts James' mother is relying on may be ignoring critical science regarding the appropriate treatment for an individual with gender dysphoria. In October 2018, Dr. James M. Cantor, a clinical psychologist and sexual behavior scientist, criticized the American Academy of Pediatrics for its endorsement of "only gender affirmation" in cases of "gender-diverse children and adolescents." Cantor notes that a "watchful waiting approach" is standard in "almost all clinics and professional associations in the world," and adds that the evidence cited by the AAP for its conclusion actually supports a watchful waiting approach. Among other things, research shows that "[g]ender dysphoria in childhood before puberty desists in the majority of cases." In other words, most kids like James will naturally return to affirming their biological sex.

Why then is the AAP pushing for affirmation and—in some circumstances—medical intervention in cases like James'? It's simple, says author Andrew Sullivan: "Like any religion, wokeness understands the need to convert children."5 Sullivan, who is gay, expresses concern that "some gender non-conforming kids [may be] falling prey to adult suggestions, or caused by social contagion." He points to the skyrocketing number of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria and expresses concern over the often permanent consequences of treatment on "merely confused or less informed kids." He draws attention to the use of puberty blockers on children—drugs that "were originally designed for prostate cancer and premature puberty"—and notes that no trials have been conducted to sufficiently test the safety of such off-label and unapproved usage. Sullivan argues that administering puberty blockers to young kids "is a huge leap in the dark," and adds that [i]t cannot be transphobic to believe that no child's body should be irreparably altered until they are of an age and a certainty to make that decision themselves." He concludes: "Indoctrinate yourselves as much as you want to, guys. It's a free country. But hey, teacher—leave those kids alone."

Sullivan is right. We should not empower our teachers, social workers, judges and elected officials to use our children in furtherance of a dangerous ideology. We should not allow proponents of that ideology to indoctrinate the most vulnerable among us. Children are not pawns to be used; they are precious lives to be protected.

Kids should be encouraged to dream and to pursue their goals. They should be taught to recognize the lie of harmful gender stereotypes—girls can be athletes, CEOs, firefighters; boys can be artists, teachers, or dancers. But they should also be taught to understand the truth of biological reality.

Consider this final warning from Walt Heyer: "This case is not only about one … boy, but about all children who will get locked into a trans life by a gender dysphoria diagnosis and a parent's endorsement of social transition and hormone blockers."

God help us if we don't take a stand for children and stop this nightmare before it engulfs a generation.

What can you do?

The Texas court has tremendous power over James' future, and its ruling could influence other courts throughout the country. We need to remind our elected officials and our judges that there is such a thing as biological reality. There is such a thing as boys and girls.

Here is how you can help:

1) Pray for James Younger, for his father, his brother, and his mother. Ask God to work mightily in this situation and to make the truth inescapably clear.

2) Contact your representatives and ask them to act, and to protect children like James. This is not the only family facing a tragic ordeal.

3) Share this story and speak out on behalf of James and other children facing this nightmare.

1. The Federalist

2. The Federalist

3. The Federalist


5. New York Intelligencer

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