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Bill Maher has, of late, become a hero of sorts—at least to parents like myself who have children who are confused about their gender and believe they are “trans kids.” I, like so many parents in my predicament, am outraged by the messages being sent by society about gender ideology. Schools and universities, medical providers and medical associations, mainstream media, governmental authorities and large corporations (and many of our well-meaning neighbors) all send these societal messages about gender ideology.  They tell us that there is such a thing as “trans kids.”  They don’t define the term, but are very clear as to what “trans kids” need.

The most basic message is that “trans kids” must be “socially transitioned.”  This means they must be told they are the opposite sex, and referred to with terminology that, up until recently, referred only to those of the opposite biological sex.  For example, if your son is a “trans kid”, he must be referred to as your daughter and you must use “she” and “her” when referring to him.  You also must provide your son with a new name of his choosing, which is usually either a name society tends to use for biological females or it can be a “gender neutral” name that is is ambiguous.  The name you gave your son when he entered this world must be erased from use and considered “dead.” On the other hand, if your child is not a “trans kid” and doesn’t like his or her name, you may continue to use the name you gave them and disregard the new name they ask you to use, because children’s feelings about their name are not that important—only the feelings of “trans kids” about their names are of huge importance and priority.

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You must provide your “trans kid” with clothing that he or she chooses that allows him or her to feel comfortable in their “gender,” which may or may not be stereotypical clothing of the opposite sex.  By contrast, a boy who wants to wear stereotypically female clothing or a girl who wants to wear stereotypically male clothing, but who does not consider themself “trans,” does not need to be catered to in their desires regarding clothing, as only “trans kids” need to be given the clothing of their choice.  Gender non-conformity is, in these societal messages, in itself not important or worthy of support, unless it is accompanied by a “trans” identity.  A girl who really hates dresses can be forced by her family to constantly wear dresses and the family will not be judged—unless that girl thinks she is a boy—making her a “trans kid,” in which case you are absolutely required to observe her choice of clothing.

The next basic message about “trans kids” is that they will likely need to medically alter their bodies as they develop, so that they can appear as the opposite sex. You, as their parents, must provide for their choice of medical intervention and let the child lead in determining what they want to do.  You must not dare question any of their choices.  If you do, they will likely try to commit suicide. (Ignore the absence of statistics showing that many thousands of young people were committing suicide before “trans kids” were discovered to be a phenomenon. They were clearly committing suicide, but we somehow missed these many thousands of suicides.)

If your child was pre-pubescent when they declared themself a “trans kid,” you must—if they want it—provide them with puberty blockers, preventing them from going through natural puberty (age 12 to 14). Natural puberty, it turns out, is only natural for non- “trans kids”. For “trans kids” it is unnatural and bad for them and will likely make them commit suicide.  You must follow through with cross-sex synthetic hormones while they are still young teens (15 or 16) so they can appear as the opposite sex.  Never mind that this combination of blockers and synthetic cross-sex hormones will surely sterilize them and likely prevent them from having fully functioning genitalia for purposes of sexual pleasure. These are “trans kids,” and the appearance of their bodies as opposite-sexed takes priority over fertility and sexual function, and overall health.

In sum, “trans kids” will never be their true, authentic selves if you don’t refer to them as the opposite sex, and allow them to medically alter their otherwise healthy bodies to appear as the opposite sex.

Society at large seems very sure about what a “trans kid” needs. However, it’s unclear how we arrived at any of these conclusions, given the fact that there is no medical basis for any of the above-stated needs and, in fact, no actual proof that “trans kids” exist.

Here’s what we do know. We do know that some adults have transitioned—as in they have socially and medically altered their appearance and refer to themselves as the opposite sex—and are happy with their decision.  We also know that some adults have made those decisions and are not happy with them.  Perhaps (this is not entirely clear, as many studies have a large loss to follow-up, but it may be borne out by studies) more adults who have transitioned are happy with their decision than are not happy with their decision.  (We don’t have any evidence that more children or teens who have transitioned are happy with that choice as adults than regret it, as this phenomenon is new and there aren’t long-term studies of this new cohort of transitioned people, and the few studies on this cohort are both not long-term and have a very large loss to follow-up.  Further, we do know that that there are thousands of detransitioners in this new cohort, many of whom realize the mistake as they mature into adulthood.)

Even assuming that more adults are happy with the decision to transition than are not, of course this is not proof that they could never have been happy without socially and medically transitioning.  In fact, many people have cosmetic surgery and are happy with it—but that doesn’t mean that we can leap to the conclusion that those people could never have been happy without those cosmetic procedures.  There are lots of things that people choose to do that they are happy about, but that is not proof that they could never be happy without making those decisions.  Many people live in tiny houses and are happy about it. Could those people never be their authentic selves without the tiny houses?  Many people wear make-up and like it. Could they never have been their true, authentic selves without the make-up? Thus, that some adults have transitioned and are happy with their choice is not proof that they could never be happy without transition, and it is not proof of the existence of “trans kids.”

Let’s also consider that the social and medical interventions we are providing these so-called “trans kids” have significant negative impacts on these children.  Many, perhaps most, of these kids will end up infertile.  Many will lose sexual function.  Many will have early hysterectomies. Many will have vaginal atrophy.  Many will lose several years of their lives because of the life-shortening effects of a life-time of synthetic hormones, including strokes, heart attacks, and more. There are also issues with bone density, and brain-fog.  The surgeries often cause infections and other complications, such as incontinence.

Thus, given that there is no proof whatsoever that anyone is really a “trans kid” who needs these interventions, we are negatively impacting the health of these children for no apparent reason.

Social transition is also a problem. Many of these so-called “trans kids” are uncomfortable in their bodies because they are either simply gender non-conforming or homosexual.  By inviting or even encouraging them to socially transition, we are then causing children who would otherwise simply be non-conforming or homosexual to set out on a path that leads to medically altering their bodies (and a belief that they were born in the “wrong body”) when acceptance of their non-conformity or their sexual orientation could have led to fulfillment and resolution of any dysphoria. In other cases, girls may feel uncomfortable as girls, because they are afraid they won’t measure up to today’s standards, or fear objectification, or boys may feel uncomfortable as boys because they are afraid of “toxic masculinity.”  Some children may have experienced abuse or trauma that lead them to feel uncomfortable in their own body, which they see as the cause of their the abuse.  Still other kids may be on the autism spectrum, or otherwise “different” and want a reason for their inability to fit in.  So many children are uncomfortable with their bodies or declare a “trans” identity for so many reasons.  They are not given the opportunity to accept their healthy bodies and simply be themselves, but are instead ushered into this new identity as a “trans kid.”

Having said all of this, I was disappointed that Bill Maher and his guests felt the need to say that some kids can be diagnosed as needing the above-described social and medical interventions.  The truth is that NO CHILD IS TRANS.  There are some adults who have happily transitioned (and some adults who regretted it).  But no child can make the complex decisions involved in transitioning, including giving up their fertility, sacrificing their health, risking serious injuries, to live as if they were the opposite sex.  How can a child, who has barely lived as his or her biological sex, know that they are more suited to life as if they were the opposite sex, and understand the risks involved in medical transition?  Few adults really know how it will be, but children certainly cannot make those life-altering decisions.

I don’t believe we can ban transition for adults, as it, along with many other cosmetic interventions, exists and is one option an adult can choose.  We don’t ban dangerous hobbies like bungie-jumping, so we can’t ban transition.  But we can and should prevent children from embarking on such dangerous endeavors.

We need to stop this train, stop the celebration of trans identity announcements, and the encouragement for children to start on this path. We need to go far beyond that and bring the entire machine that allows the transing of children to a screeching halt. We don’t have to arrest parents who have opted for these interventions, nor do we have to arrest the medical practitioners who have provided such risky interventions.  Rather, we should simply stop pretending there are “trans kids” and tell the truth.  Nobody is born “trans”, because nobody is born with an intrinsic need to chemically and surgically alter their body and live as if they were the opposite sex. There are adults who have determined that living as if they were the opposite sex makes them happy, and that transitioning is the best path for them, and adults can make these kinds of choices, if they are fit to choose for themselves.  But no child has this capacity, and no child should be permitted to make this choice. We are the adults and it’s time for us to say no more. Let’s go all the way to protect our kids.

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