Gender Ideology is Toxic Nonsense
It has a pernicious impact upon society more broadly and the lives of women and kids in particular.
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In a span of less than a decade, gender ideology has gone from a fringe, bizarre concept of postmodern philosophy that existed primarily within obscure branches of academic “queer theory” to a powerful political movement driving significant social change. Much of it is redolent of theology. Transgender activists evince an evangelical-like zeal and essentially treat a trans person’s “gender identity” as a kind of inviolable secular soul. All that’s needed is for an individual to have an epiphany that they’re the opposite sex, and they magically become the opposite sex simply through a leap of faith. Thus, the rhetoric of the movement is teeming with ontological assertions: People are the gender they prefer to be. That’s the claim.
This has led to the formation of a distinct identity group that runs on grievance and victimhood and which depends upon continual validation and confirmation from an external audience. All debate and critical discussion is treated as a threat to this public affirmation and is often curtailed or censored outright on the grounds that it “questions the right of trans people to exist.” Ironically, while trans rights are promoted in the name of tolerance, their enforcement is often extremely intolerant not just of criticism but of any degree of discussion. This pervasive insecurity underscores trans activists’ increasingly authoritarian behavior.
“Transgenderism” has proven to be far more influential than a numerical count of trans individuals might suggest. As Joanna Williams of Civitas notes, the fact that transgenderism has moved from niche to mainstream tells us more about the rest of society than it does about trans individuals. The movement, which is helmed by a tiny community of radical spaz activists who often aren’t even trans themselves, is being accepted and promoted by people in positions of power within the realms of media, education, academia, social work, medicine, law, and local and national government. The crisis of authority ushered in by the cataclysmic inception of the internet has resulted in previously authoritative institutions now lacking confidence in their own ability to lead, and they’ve decided that the trans community is a victimized group that can act as a source of moral authority, even as it erases sex-based rights and undermines the welfare of kids.
As Williams tells it, it’s not a coincidence that the expansion of trans rights has coincided with expanding state and institutional regulation of speech and behavior. This development underscores the significant difference between transgenderism and the gay rights movement. Whereas the latter was about campaigning for more freedom from the state and people’s right to determine their sex lives unconstrained by the law, the trans movement demands recognition and protection from the state in the form of forcing everyone outside the identity group to go along with fiction. In a previous era, being radical meant “sticking it to the man” and demanding more freedom from the state and institutional authority; today, however, to be radical means you’re a pious little sheep that bleats for more restrictions on free expression in the name of preventing offense.
Kids are being negatively impacted by the normalization of gender ideology.
Psychotherapist James Caspian points out that two decades ago the typical person seeking to transition was a male in his early forties. Today, however, the typical trans profile has changed dramatically. Kids are increasingly identifying as trans, with 43% of the trans population under the age of 25.1 According to Reuters, 15,000 kids aged 6 to 17 were diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2017. That number jumped to 42,000 in 2021. But more than any other demographic, it’s teenage girls who are seeking help with their gender identity: in recent years there’s been a 4,400% increase in the number of girls being referred for treatment.
There’s much debate about why this is the case.
What we do know for sure is that the past decade or so has witnessed an explosion in the number of young girls suffering from anxiety and depression. And Abigail Shrier has documented extensive evidence that young girls are being incentivized to attribute their angst to a fashionable cause. Before transgenderism became a movement, an infinitesimal sliver of the population struggled with their gender identity for years or even decades before gradually transitioning to live as a member of the opposite sex. In fact, before 2012, there was no scientific literature on girls ages eleven to twenty-one ever having developed gender dysphoria at all. But today, girls are reaching the decision to enlist in a lifetime of hormone dependency and undergo disfiguring surgeries far more suddenly, a condition known as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD).
One particular feature of ROGD is contagion, often with clusters of girls in a single grade, school, or town discovering their trans identities simultaneously and then embarking on the “transition journey” together. It’s as if they’re caught in a “craze”—a cultural enthusiasm that spreads like a virus. Interestingly, Shrier notes that the Salem witch trials of the 17th century, the nervous disorders of the 18th century, the neurasthenia epidemic of the 19th century, and anorexia nervosa, repressed memory, bulimia, and the cutting contagion of the 20th century all share the same protagonist, magnifying and spreading her own pain: the adolescent girl.
Dr. Lisa Littman, an ob-gyn turned public health researcher, conducted a study that assembled 256 detailed parent reports analyzing the high incidence of gender dysphoria in adolescent girl friend clusters. Among her findings:
The adolescents had a mean age of 16.4 years.
The vast majority had zero indicators of childhood gender dysphoria.
A majority also had one or more psychiatric diagnosis and almost half were engaging in self-harm prior to the onset of the gender dysphoria.
Nearly 70% of the teenagers belonged to a peer group in which at least one friend had also come out as transgender. In some groups, the majority of the friends had done so. The prevalence of transgender identification within some of the girls’ friend groups was more than seventy times the expected rate.
Among parents who knew their children’s social status, over 60% said the announcement brought a popularity boost.
Over 65% of teens had discovered their transgender identity after a period of prolonged social media immersion.
It would be different if this were a harmless phenomenon that these girls grow out of, but many are irreversibly damaging their bodies. A Komodo analysis of insurance claims found that 14,726 minors started hormone treatment between 2017 and 2021, while there were at least 776 mastectomies performed in the United States on patients ages 13 to 17 with a gender dysphoria diagnosis. Anyone who says this sort of thing isn’t happening — a common refrain by progressive #allies — is lying. And these figures don’t include procedures that were paid for out of pocket.
American culture is not only condoning what amounts to the sterilization2 of children, it’s promoting sexual lobotomy in the name of gender Scientology. The internet, in particular social media and YouTube, is considered to be an effective means of spreading ROGD to a generation of girls with smartphones. Online, videos circulate that present changing gender as a straightforward and attractive proposition. Meanwhile, popular music, children’s fiction, movies, and TV shows all offer positive representations of both trans youth and the process of transitioning.
To say nothing of school curricula. Trans ideology is now formally taught and sanctioned in the context of K-12 education, and Libs of TikTok has thoroughly highlighted that progressive teachers are taking it upon themselves to spread it informally as well. Kids as young as kindergarteners are introduced to the “Genderbread Person” and “Gender Unicorn.” Teachers read from I Am Jazz, and the little ones are taught that they might have a “girl brain in a boy body” or vice versa.
It should be obvious why this is a problem. Progressives are intentionally sowing gender confusion in an effort to indoctrinate young people. These are adult thoughts being put into kids’ heads; they don’t come up with this stuff on their own. As kids unconsciously strive for recognition and legitimization of internal distress, they’re learning that changing one’s gender is a route to the seductive lilt of social acceptance, popularity, and group membership under the avant-garde LGBTQ umbrella—the obvious result of treating gender dysphoria as an identity to celebrate rather than a psychopathology.3
Trans individuals are valorized as struggling victims of a cruel world and forward-thinkers bravely pushing to expand society’s boundaries, and the process of transitioning is both glamorized and romanticized. A feedback loop is being created: the more trans kids are held aloft and “affirmed,” the more kids come to see being trans as not just socially acceptable but as a solution to personal struggles with identity; the more kids who take up the mantle of gender ideology, the more discussion there is about trans kids.
But there’s a darker side to the phenomenon of trans kids. Activists are exploiting this vulnerable group to promote their own interests. By focusing on “youth,” they’re hiding an adult agenda behind concern for the plight of children, which gives them a certain moral authority. The existence and increasing visibility of trans kids provides evidence for their claim that trans individuals are born that way, and that “gender is a spectrum” irrespective of anatomical sex. This allows them to dress up metaphysical bullshit as scientific fact. Moreover, having kids as the face of transgenderism helps activists deflect criticism and questions, and it legitimizes the demands they’re making of the rest of society. (“Think of the children!”)
Current orthodoxy as promoted by trans activists is that the best practice for kids identifying as transgender is “gender-affirming care”—that is, complete and uncritical acceptance that the kid really is the gender they claim to be, treating a kid’s feelings as an infallible indicator and immediately beginning a regimen of hormones and puberty blockers. It hardly needs saying that this isn’t in their best interest. One needn’t be a bona fide psychologist to understand that a young person who comes to see him or herself as transgender might be experiencing social or emotional problems that precede concerns about their gender identity, or is simply under the influence of a peer contagion. What gender-affirming care really means is sacrificing a kid’s psychological and emotional needs for the sake of a political and ideological stance. It’s the abdication of adult responsibility toward kids.
This isn’t rocket science: we need to protect young people from being encouraged to transition before they’re emotionally mature enough to fully understand the consequences.
Media coverage of trans issues remains out of all proportion to the actual number of trans people. This is due in large part because transgenderism isn’t just a movement driven by individuals with gender dysphoria, but a distinct political and social community of activists who preach gender ideology. Advocacy is now required by all those who subscribe to the progressive faith and worship at the Church of Woke. And these people are all too happy to oblige. Now that the major civil rights victories of the late twentieth century are pretty much secured, agitators must look to new areas to initiate change because Progressivism is all about the blind desire to uproot whatever currently exists.
Activists within the movement have gone to great lengths to present their success in forcing society’s acquiescence to gender ideology as stemming from a wholesale shift in public opinion, but in reality this is just another instance of a tyrannical minority coercing others into abiding by lunacy. There’s a reason these messianic morons prefer to have social changes enforced from the top down, rather than having to go through the effort of winning people over to their ideas: those ideas can’t stand on their own and collapse under minimal scrutiny.
And the new norms and mores that the movement insists the rest of society follows have long since passed the absurd. We’ve reached the point where neither surgery nor a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is required for someone to be trans. The entire sex category has been opened to any male who says he’s female.
If any man can claim to be a woman and just like that we must treat him as one, “woman” becomes a meaningless word and women’s rights cease to exist. You have to be willfully obtuse not to understand that treating gender as simply a matter of self-identification sets up a direct conflict between sex-based protections for females and rights based upon gender identity. It’s absolutely amazing to me that so many women continue to vote Democrat when the official party line is that the latter trumps the former.
This is stuff that needs to be talked about. But all discussion of trans issues is condemned as a “threat” by activists. They’ve even gone as far as to claim that it constitutes “genocide.” Indeed, they’re so convinced of this that they act like curtailing debate and free expression is part of a broader crusade for justice. When the definition of harm is stretched to encompass not just the physical but the psychological, including emotional distress, it becomes a matter of “safety” to silence harmful words and coerce people into playing along with fiction. Hence the policing of language — including forcing people to use pronouns that conflict with reality — and the censorious tactics of trans activists.
This goes so much further than demanding that people refrain from harming or legally discriminating against trans individuals; the demand is for people to participate in an alternative reality that is wholly dependent on the public maintaining positive regard for gender ideology and the trans movement.
Decline to participate in this nonsense. Do not allow your language and behavior to be policed. Do not play a role in affirming gender ideology and uprooting age-old verities. Do not allow trans ideologues to reshape the world through identity-driven challenges to convention and common sense. Stand up for empirical reality.
The new guidelines for trans healthcare, issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, remove any clear lower-age limits for puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and removal of healthy organs—allowing any individual treatment at any age. Which is as insane as it sounds.
And when kids are taught that sex is grounded in identity instead of biology, sex categories can easily become conflated with regressive stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. This leads effeminate boys and masculine girls to believe that there’s something wrong with them that must be fixed by transitioning into the opposite sex.