Denise Shick

At The Federalist Denise Shick writes: “The Trans Brigade Is Heartlessly Weaponizing Children And Ignoring The Consequences.”

Innocent, impressionable children are malleable. They can be molded into persons of deep character, guided by transcendent principles. Or they can be turned into weapons, as Kony and many other evil men have done.

Apart from movies, we’re unlikely to find anyone in America turning young boys into bullet-firing, lethal fighters. But we don’t have to look too far to find adults using children as pawns—as weapons—in the culture war.

Shick seems to be wed to the belief that she is fighting an evil conspiracy — a “brigade.” I have no clue who she thinks the conspirators are. Is that the medical establishment or transgender people or the parents of trans kids or all three? I am also unable to discern why such a conspiracy would exist in the first place. The sinister conspiracy, according to Shick, uses children to accomplish the goals of the conspirators. Those goals are never identified by Shick. What does she think “they” are trying to accomplish?

She writes that children are “malleable?” That would put the blame for transgender children on their parents. That makes no sense whatsoever. No parent wants to have a transgender child. If a parent has a boy who persistently insists that he is a girl, that condition is divorced from parenting. That child is likely to be pretty miserable which means that there are no volunteers.

Being transgender is not a condition. The underlying condition is gender dysphoria and it can be objectively diagnosed. Being transgender (gender affirmation) is a means of relieving the the discomfort which is often a combination of anxiety and depression. Why would any of that evoke a conspiracy? It just doesn’t make sense.

Denise Shick has a transgender father. That was probably traumatic (at the age of nine) and probably necessitated some therapy which I suspect she did not receive. The care and treatment of people with gender dysphoria cannot be formed through Shick’s experience as the child of a trans parent. Nor does that experience make Shick an expert on transgender people. Perhaps she is looking for someone to blame for her childhood.

The trans people that I know are more together than I am. They share self-awareness in considerable depth while not being self-absorbed. Minority stress takes a toll on these folks but they are not defined by the bigotry that they are required to endure. In contrast, Shick is defined by the bigotry experienced by her father, some at the hands of Shick herself. It gets even crazier:

Manipulated for Propaganda Tools

At first, the LGBTQ craze focused on adults, but adherents have increasingly sought not only to include and recruit kids in their movement, but now to use them as their frontline combatants. For example, eight-year-old Nemis Golden, born a boy, routinely performs on stage before packed, cheering audiences as the mini drag queen Lactatia. Nemis’s mother not only encourages his performances, she even helps him dress and apply his wig and makeup. The crowds not only cheer at his performances, they also laud him as a brave young role model.

Recruit? Shick is recycling decades-old anti-gay rhetoric. I do not think that Nemis Golden is trans (I honestly do not know). I do think that he (if that is the correct pronoun) feels a sincere need to be an entertainer as a drag queen. In that regard he is a prodigy and brave as hell. As long as Nemis is doing what he wants to do then he is not being exploited. Nor is he being damaged in any way. Nemis benefits by being able to be who and what he wants to be. Personally, were I his parent I would be proud as hell. The kid is a superstar with incredible poise. But I digress.

Being transgender is not a fad, or a movement and it sure as hell doesn’t recruit anyone. The very idea of inflicting gender dysphoria on someone is preposterous. How would someone even do that? It doesn’t make a whit of sense.

After citing some positive stories in the media:

Those stories generally paint a rosy view of happy, well-adjusted
transgender children. But those pictures are typically snapshots, not
full-length movies. “Yes, I’m happy,” the little one answers as he or
she is aided in and rewarded for indulging in transgender fantasies.
Those rosy answers are pretty common in act one of the movie, but I
usually hear from transgenders in act two, when they’re no longer so
happy, but often at their wit’s end. The fantasy that appeared so
appealing early on has trapped them in a very real cycle of emotional
despair and poor physical health.

What transgender person is going to communicate with Shick and why would they do so? She has a minuscule nonprofit (Help 4 Families) which files its IRS return by postcard. It is not even properly registered in KY. Its address is a UPS mailbox and Shick’s education consists of a supposed  BA from an unidentified college (after attending an unidentified junior college).

Denise Shick is a conservative Christian affiliated with the Pray-Away-The-Gay movement (Restored Hope Network) and that is a movement. It is a real conspiracy which exists to persuade people that sanctimonious Christians know more than the medical and counseling professionals in order to conform their world to scripture. Their movement benefits them while being the source of anti-LGBT bigotry.

One study
found the following: “Persons with transsexualism, after sex
reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal
behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.”

First of all, let us read the complete quote. The part that Shick omitted is this:

Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.

In other words, gender affirmation alone was insufficient as therapy. They did not suggest, in any way, that people should not be transgender (which is what Shick is saying) or that they should pray in the alternative. Nor are they suggesting, in any way whatsoever, that gender affirming surgery is inappropriate — quite the opposite. Shick also omitted the fact that the participants were individuals who had sex affirming surgery over the 30 years ended 2003 (the study was published in 2011). Minority stress played a considerable role in the study results.

Furthermore, had Shick more intellectual curiosity — enough to have actually read the full study — she would know that what the investigators called the “hazard ratio” for suicide fell from 7.9 for participants who had surgery prior to 1989 to 2.0 for participants who had surgery between 1989 and 2003. That represents a decrease in suicidality of 75%.

Another study, cited in The Lancet,
said, “Cancer care for transgender people is a growing concern and
health-care services that are both respectful of this population’s differences, and also relevant to and inclusive of them are needed.”

That wasn’t a study. It is an editorial opining that trans people are more likely to smoke and drink. The piece also correctly points out the overuse of hormones in the UK without medical guidance. Trans people do not always get the health care that they need because of economics. The piece, in no way whatsoever, is even vaguely suggesting that people should not be trans. And it sure as hell doesn’t offer prayer as an alternative to being trans. Is every medical professional a participant in the conspiracy?

Shick goes on to cite a study asserting that adults make more considered choices than children. That is true. Where on earth does this spectacularly stupid woman get the idea that gender dysphoria is a choice? It represents more recycled anti-gay rhetoric that has no basis in fact.

Eventually Denise Shick comes to a conclusion:

…adults like my father are often willing to use children to further their agendas—their fantasies. It isn’t enough that they play out their fantasies, they also want others to approve of those fantasies, and even to join them. So they’re willing to use children as pawns—as weapons—to get their way. And this is not Joseph Kony’s empire, nor is it a movie; it’s a very real culture war, right here in America.

And there you have it. Throughout this piece Shick has claimed that adults are somehow exploiting children by inducing them to become transgender — an absurd notion. Now she has shifted to her victimization as the child of a transgender father. She was the “pawn.” She was “weaponized.” This is all about her.

It is not easy to have a transgender parent at the age of nine. It was even harder more than 20 years ago. Shick needs to accept the fact that her father was in serious pain. He was transgender because that was the only thing that addressed the agony. He did not direct any of this at Denise. She should be able to use her distress as some measure of the distress that a parent experiences when they have a transgender child. If she did so — that small measure of empathy — would stop her from writing such hateful pieces.

Shick obviously hates her father and she is only becoming more distant from mitigating that animus. It is a stunning lack of self-awareness which, ironically, seems to be an asset of trans people, at least the ones that I know.

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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.