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Transgenderism’s Wicked Lies

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment

By Ryan T. Anderson

Publisher: Encounter Books

Pages: 251

Price: $27.99

Review Author: Anne Barbeau Gardiner

Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the 17th century.

When Harry Became Sally is a well-researched, groundbreaking, and much-needed book. Author Ryan T. Anderson reveals that our public schools are “a major front” in the campaign to indoctrinate the next generation of youth in gender ideology. Children from kindergarten through 12th grade are being taught that sex is not a bodily fact but something “assigned at birth,” a label imposed by others that one can freely reject. At the same time, they are taught that an interior sense of “gender identity” is one’s real sex, innate and unchangeable. Thus, children are invited to choose at will a gender identity contrary to their objective bodily sex.

Anderson points out that sex reaches to the molecular level of one’s flesh. A child in the womb by the seventh week has developed testes or ovaries, and by the time of birth has fully formed genitalia. To teach children that sex is merely “assigned” at birth by doctors or parents, and that children can choose a different sexual identity for themselves, is cause for alarm. This program of indoctrination is outlined in Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools, a handbook produced in 2015 by the National Education Association, our country’s largest teachers’ union, in conjunction with the ACLU and three homosexual activist groups: the Human Rights Campaign (“a large and lavishly funded LGBT activist group”), Gender Spectrum, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Anderson notes that the professional societies involved in creating Schools in Transition exclude mainstream scientists from membership.

Parents should acquaint themselves with this program. According to Schools in Transition, if a girl is uncomfortable seeing someone with male body parts in her shower facility or locker room, she must be taught that the intruder is a “real” girl who was “assigned male at birth.” In other words, she will be required to relinquish her common sense and any fear for her safety.

In May 2016 the Obama administration sent letters to schools across the U.S., telling them that students were now “to participate in sex-segregated activities and access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity.” Students’ gender identity was now to be considered their “real” sex under Title IX, a law originally passed in 1972 to protect women from educational discrimination. The Obama administration interpreted this law to claim that it was now illegal to prevent such access.

To reach their goal, transgender activists have created “child-friendly graphics” like the “Gender Unicorn” and have published books such as I Am Jazz (2014), a picture book for little children, and Being Jazz (2016), for early teens. Since this movement focuses on children, Anderson notes, 45 pediatric gender clinics have mushroomed across the land in the past ten years. Doctors in these transgender-affirmation clinics encourage their young patients to “transition,” often after their first visit. Along with school counselors, they urge children to persist in their chosen gender identity, locking them into gender discordance with their bodies.

Without scientific evidence, “experts” claim that one’s gender identity is established by the age of two or three and is thereafter immutable, and so they advocate “bringing the body into alignment with that identity” by transitioning in three stages. The first stage is called “social transition,” in which the child is treated in school according to his or her chosen “gender.” Parents may be kept “in the dark” during this stage.

The second stage of transitioning occurs at age eight, when children may decide whether to “block” puberty with monthly injections or surgical implants. Parents are told that blocking puberty is reversible, but in reality it is “difficult or impossible to reverse,” Anderson writes. He calls this a “drastic and experimental measure” that is neither ethical nor supported by “rigorous scientific evidence.” Puberty blockers prevent the development of secondary sex characteristics like musculature and fat distribution, and they arrest bone growth, resulting in a much shorter height. They even impede maturation of the brain.

Should parents dare to oppose puberty blockers, they may be told that they are rejecting their child and making his or her suicide more likely. Yet this claim is “not supported by the data,” Anderson says. If parents continue to oppose puberty blockers and hormone therapy for their offspring, then Child Protective Services may categorize their home as “unsafe” and take their child away. Dissent is not tolerated.

Activists, school counselors, and the media don’t admit that 80 to 95 percent of children “naturally grow out of” their gender discordance at puberty, due to the “rush of sex hormones” during those years. However, “virtually none of the children” who receive puberty blockers grows out of his or her discordance. Thus, the second stage of transitioning leads to an inevitable outcome. Anderson notes that Dr. Kenneth Zucker, director of the Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, was recently fired and his clinic shut down because he “took a cautious approach to treating children” and refused to make their transition automatic. Dr. Paul Hruz rightly warns, “Any activity that encourages or perpetuates transgender persistence for those who would otherwise desist can cause significant harm, including permanent sterility, to these persons.”

The third stage of transitioning is reached at age 16, when children may begin taking cross-sex hormones. Anderson remarks that no controlled clinical trials have gauged the “safety or efficacy” of expensive hormone therapy, which a person in transition will need for the rest of his or her life. Anderson cites Cari Stella, who lives in the transgender-friendly state of Oregon and who recently de-transitioned. She laments that she is now a woman of 22 with “a scarred chest, a broken voice, and 5 o’clock shadow.” Another de-transitioner calls her childhood experience “an act of self-destruction, enabled by medical professionals,” and “a form of medical abuse.” Contrary to popular belief, hormone therapy does not reduce the rate of suicide attempts among transgenders, 41 percent of whom are likely to attempt suicide, as opposed to 4.6 percent of the general population.

At age 18 those in transition may undergo plastic surgery, during which doctors amputate their sex organs and construct new ones. Anderson describes these surgeries in shocking detail. Several rigorous studies have shown that they do a lot of harm. For example, in 2009 the University of Bern in Switzerland found that women who underwent these surgeries had a “lower satisfaction” with their lives. In 2011 the Karolinska Institutet and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found strong evidence of “poor psychological outcomes” after hormonal and surgical transitioning. Although Sweden has been a transgender-friendly nation for decades, its rate of suicide after sex-reassignment surgery was “nineteen times higher” than that of the general population!

Ironically, the Obama administration in its HHS mandate finalized on May 13, 2016, would have forced all healthcare facilities in the U.S. to cover the three stages of sex-reassignment procedures. This would have been a dream come true for activists, who would have been able to use tax money as well as “state power to favor one view of gender identity.” As it turned out, the Trump administration rolled back this policy.

Anderson observes that activists in the transgender movement have “co-opted many professional associations for their cause,” most notably the American Psychological Association. The APA used to call biological sex “birth sex” and “physical sex,” but now it calls sex “assigned at birth.” Where once it spoke of “gender identity disorder,” it now speaks only of “gender dysphoria.” Dr. Paul McHugh, when he was chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1979, put a stop to sex-change surgeries after he realized they were a way of “cooperating with mental illness.” He laments that psychiatry today is too ready to “bend to political pressure instead of adhering to objective science.” He also gives this pithy warning about the intolerance of the transgender movement: “Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.”

My only cavil about this terrific book is that Anderson never mentions “grooming” or “recruitment.” As those who transition as adults are nearly all homosexuals, and as the T at the end of LGBT stands for Transgender, it seems likely that this movement is a covert form of grooming at taxpayers’ expense with the hope of a massive recruitment of children into the citizenry of Sodom.

 

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