Cheryl K. Chumley
Cheryl K. Chumley

Cheryl K. Chumley is the Washingtom Times‘ resident ignoramus. That is no easy accomplishment considering the many crazies that the outlet employs and the Moonie ownership. Well done Ms. Chumley!

The information that I have regarding gender dysphoria, transgender people and gender nonconforming people comes from the peer-reviewed research published to scholarly journals. If I have questions, I email the authors and they usually reply. I also have trans readers who inform me. My focus has been on children because they are the most fragile and vulnerable. My only bias is their best interests, wherever that might fall. I am agnostic to the outcome of research.

How is Ms. Chumley informed regarding gender identity? I have no idea. Is she content to accept the blog posts of Paul R. McHugh without intellectual challenge. Can she demonstrate one colloquy with an expert in this area, particularly in pediatrics? Has she read and attempted to understand so much as one piece of original research? I do not think so.

I have given up on trying to understand the why. It is less relevant than the what. Tuesday, Chumley writes:

There’s a new camp in El Cerrito, a California town — and horrifically enough, it’s aimed at serving the transgender kid population.

It’s called Rainbow Day Camp. It ought to be called Brainwash Abuse Central and accordingly shut down.

This is what it offers: a safe space for kids up to age 12 to be the transgenders they were created to be.

Say what? Branding children as young as 4, as this camp does — as these terrible parents do — is akin to child abuse. Teaching them sex is as selective and interchangeable as the clothing they wear is setting their lives on a path of ridicule, confusion and deceit.

Sex is usually not “selective.” Nor is gender. More importantly, in this area we learn more from the children. We need to listen to them. As the Associated Press pointed out on Monday, children are not confused. Not at all. A gender dysphoric child is absolutely convinced that their gender is the opposite of their natal sex. A natal boy does not say “I wish I were a girl.” Rather, he asserts “I am a girl.”

Does Chumley think that these decisions on the part of parents are either made in a vacuum or capricious? Are these parents erratic? Does Chumley actually believe that any parent would not prefer their child to be cisgender? Getting past the religious opprobrium, the first question that a parent must answer is: “Is my kid in distress?” Is the child suffering from depression and anxiety? What are the options?

Parents usually seek the guidance of expert clinicians. At least I hope that is what they do. Crackpots like Chumley, however, are seductive because they seemingly offer an alternative to being transgender. The disconnect from medical science becomes irrelevant and the child suffers great harm.

Chumley continues her transphobic diatribe:

Once again, for the hard-of-hearing in the back of the room: Sex is determined by God. Gender is not a flavor of the day. It’s not the role of a 4-year-old to choose.

For the hard-headed religious cranks, gender is no more a choice than sex. Suggesting “flavor of the day” is not only inaccurate. It is inappropriate. There is nothing impromptu about this. A transgender child has asserted vehemently that his or her gender is the opposite of their natal sex. He or she is in distress because of it. Gender dysphoria does exist. It is well documented in the medical literature and it is nothing new. References to transgender people can be found going back to ancient times. People have been transgender for thousands of years because it mitigates the very unsettling effects of gender dysphoria.

The uninformed tirade continues:

Get this, from NBC News: “In some ways, Rainbow Day Camp is very ordinary. Kids arrive with a packed lunch, make friendship bracelets, play basketball, sing songs and get silly. But it is also extraordinarily unique … At check-in each day, campers make a nametag with their pronoun of choice. Some opt for ‘she’ or ‘he.’ Or a combination of ‘she/he.’ Or ‘they,’ or no pronoun at all. Some change their name or pronouns daily, to see what feels right.”


The most basic of self-identifiers is gender. It’s one of the earliest life lessons — a real toddler teaching moment. Take that away and what’s left?

Treating children with a condition is “horrific” because it conflicts with religious superstition? No one has taken gender away from these children. In fact it is being honored. The simple indisputable fact is that some children have gender that is incongruent with natal sex. If Chumley wants a grownup conversation it must start with this simple unbiased truth: Gender dysphoria is a very real condition experienced by a small number of people. The condition causes suffering.

Where is Chumpley’s alternative to relieve the suffering? Where?

Rather than fine young boys, or smart little girls, what comes are drone-like individuals, drifting between genders, unsure which fits — uncertain of one of the most basic of footsteps God awards at conception.

God is not part of the equation — at least it shouldn’t be. More importantly, there are fine young trans boys and smart little trans girls. In many ways their self-awareness seems to make them more mature and knowledgeable than their cisgender peers. They are not drifting and they are most definitely not uncertain. That is superstition generated babble. These kids are absolutely certain of their gender which (common sense dictates) is why they are transgender in the first place.

I am reminded of Avery Jackson, the trans girl who was on the cover of National Geographic:

Avery Jackson swipes a rainbow-streaked wisp of hair from her eyes and considers the question. “Everything about being a girl is good!”

What’s the worst thing about being a girl?

“How boys always say, ‘That stuff isn’t girl stuff—it’s boy stuff.’ Like when I first did parkour,” an obstacle-course sport.

Avery spent the first four years of her life as a boy, and was miserable; she still smarts recalling how she lost her preschool friends because “their moms did not like me.” Living since 2012 as an openly transgender girl, the Kansas City native is now at ground zero in the evolving conversation about gender roles and rights.

Four years as transgender. Does that sound like a kid who is drifting and uncertain? Has she been abused? The answer to that second question is “yes” but the abuse has been at the hands of other parents who are as ignorant as Ms. Chumley. Chumley has much more to say:

Certainly, if adults want to choose a life of transgenderism, or drifting gender, or no gender, they’re free. America, after all, is not a land of Islam.

But forcing children to adopt this lifestyle — compelling children to become tools of social engineering for a feel-good moment for the LGBT crowd? What a sad, pitiful, abysmal situation.

She doesn’t get it. She will never get it. Parents are not forcing anything. They are not compelling children. It is the other way around. Suffering children are compelling their parents to help them. I have run out of patience and my threshold for bullshit is at an end so I will skip to the end of this screed:

Call it what you want. But typically, brainwashing is a considered a form of abuse. And that means this camp, and the parents who send their kids there, are committing acts of child abuse, no matter how happy-sounding it all seems. This camp deserves one fate and one fate only: to be shuttered in shame.

Again, the thing about kids and gender is that we learn from the children. Brainwashing is what exists in Church. Teaching kids that they can alter the outcome of events by praying to an imaginary deity causes confusion and (intended) dependence. Pitcher and batter both make the sign of the cross. Does their god choose which one will prevail. Why, by the way, does Liberty Counsel lose most of its cases in spite of arduous prayer? But I digress.

More, importantly, where is Chumley’s alternative? A child is in great distress because of gender dysphoria. What the fuck does Ms. Chumley propose to do about it? Pray? What would Chumley do if she had a gender dysphoric child? Ignore the medical advice of experts in the field? Defer to a priest or pastor? Where is a sane, rational response to those questions? They are never going to be forthcoming because Chumley lacks the critical thinking skills necessary to formulate rational answers.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.