Transgender Teen Nicole Maines

USA Network

Tuesday evening Witherspoon Institute’s blog published: In Their Own Words: Parents of Kids Who Think They Are Trans Speak Out. Those parents are anonymous.

Witherspoon Institute is an ultra-conservative Catholic organization headed by an Opus Dei numerary, Luis Tellez. Witherspoon was co-founded by Tellez and Princeton professor Robert P. George. They were co-founders of National Organization for Marriage and the American Principles Project (and possibly other groups). Tellez is also president of Austin Institute founded in part by sociologist Mark Regnerus. Witherspoon was the primary source of funds for for Regnerus’ gay parenting study (which did not seem to study gay parents). Witherspoon’s blog is edited by religious extremist, Ryan T. Anderson.

The teachings of the Catholic Church presuppose that transgender people are “gender confused.” According to the Church, transgender people make poor choices by becoming transgender. These individuals, again according to the Church, should have procured talk therapy to align their sense of gender with their chromosomes. The Vatican is neither dissuaded nor persuaded by the fact that such talk therapy does not exist.

In my opinion, the purpose for the subject post at Witherspoon’s blog is to support the teachings of the Catholic Church. According to the article’s subtitle:

Parents like us must remain anonymous to maintain our children’s privacy, and because we face legal repercussions if our names are revealed. Parents who do not support their child’s gender identity risk being reported to Child Protective Services and losing custody of their children.

That is followed by this graphic:

Witherspoon Institute uses this image to merge disparagement of transgender people with their favorite bogeyman, Planned Parenthood.

We are not informed who wrote the introduction to this piece. I would speculate that Ryan T. Anderson is responsible because he has been an outspoken anti-transgender warrior on behalf of the faith. The language of denigration has a familiar ring to it:

When a child says he is transgender, we are expected nowadays to accept and celebrate this announcement.

That statement is demonstrably false. “Celebrate?” No parent wants a transgender child. Moreover, what is expected of any parent is that they provide their children with suitable medical treatment because gender dysphoria is a medical condition. This is not about self-absorbed parents. This is about the health of a child.

As for the language, when people refuse service to gay couples, they invariably utter something to the effect that said gay couple wanted the proprietor to “celebrate” their nuptials. No, we are not interested in approval, much less celebration. We want service in accordance with applicable law.

Anderson, if that is who it is, continues with the introduction:

But there are many parents who are not celebrating. They are suffering in silence. They know their children were not born in the wrong bodies and that hormones and surgeries are not the answers to their discomfort and confusion.

Their stories are heartbreaking. Here they are, in their own words.

“Suffering in silence?” Poor them. Meanwhile their kid is really suffering. “Born in the wrong body” is religious-speak, an effort to degrade gender dysphoria. Furthermore, I would think that most parents become aware of their child’s gender incongruity long before that child claims to be transgender.

These parents, according to Anderson, seem to “know” things that do not align with medical science. Furthermore, with few exceptions, children will be living in accordance with their gender for some time prior to receiving hormones and certainly before any surgical intervention is considered in early adulthood. There is nothing new about gender dysphoria. It has been part of the medical literature for the better part of a century.

I was shocked when my thirteen-year-old daughter told me she was really my transgender son. She had no masculine interests and hated all sports. But as a smart, quirky teen on the autism spectrum, she had a long history of not fitting in with girls.

A connection to autism is part of the mythology. I have written about this before. According to the published research of Dr. Jack L. Turban, a leading expert at Harvard (emphasis added):

The topic of gender identity in children and adolescents has gained widespread attention in Western society during the past decade … More recently, growing attention has been paid to a putative relation between gender dysphoria (GD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This concept has become particularly popular in the lay press. Some individuals have gone so far as to suggest that transgender identity is a result of underlying psychopathology, with ASD being one example. These conclusions are not supported by extant research, and practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists should be aware of the literature on this topic and its limitations.

Where did she get the idea she was transgender? From a school presentation—at a school where over 5 percent of the student body called themselves trans or nonbinary, and where several students were already on hormones, and one had a mastectomy at the age of sixteen. In my daughter’s world—in real life and online—transgender identities are common, and hormones and surgeries are no big deal.

We have no way of fact checking any of this. 5%? Please. How would she even know? Moreover, no trans boy would require a mastectomy at sixteen if he was in treatment when the condition first presented and then placed on puberty blockers.

I took her to a gender clinician seeking expert guidance. Instead, he accepted her new identity and told me I must refer to my daughter with masculine pronouns, call her by a masculine name, and buy her a binder to flatten her breasts. He recommended no therapy, and there was no consideration of the social factors that obviously affected her thinking. I was directed to put her on puberty blocking drugs. I was falsely assured that these drugs were well-studied, and that they were a perfectly safe way for her to “explore gender.” I was told that if I did not comply, she would be at higher risk of suicide.

The above is the universal set of talking points. The first step is usually to seek the advice of a well regarded psychiatrist, often recommended by one’s pediatrician. “Gender clinics” and “gender clinicians” are often used to degrade medical advice.

To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a person has to have symptoms that last for at least 6 months. A diagnosis is complex and requires the evaluation of symptoms.

In teens and adults, symptoms may include (but not be limited to):

  • Having extreme distress about the body changes that happen during puberty
  • Certainty that their true gender is not in accord with their body.
  • Disgust with their genitals. They may avoid showering or changing clothes to avoid seeing or touching their genitals.
  • A strong desire to be rid of their genitals and other sex traits.

The point I am trying to make is that a teen girl does not consult with a doctor, claim that they are a boy and then have the practitioner acquiesce to some fantasy. It is a very involved process and one that must be performed over a period of time. A trained clinician is not going to ask a
girl “Are you certain that you are a boy?” In contrast they are going to ask a series of questions concerning how the teen feels about certain things.

If a teen is diagnosed with gender dysphoria there is a second step. The doctor has to determine the severity of the condition. Most children with gender dysphoria are not going to transition due to the fact that the severity of the condition does not compel them to do so.

Again. this is not about mommy! A child with gender dysphoria is likely to be in distress. If, in fact, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is rendered most parents (I think) are going to obtain a responsible second opinion.

A kid doesn’t come home from school, claim to be transgender and go on hormones the following week. If in fact, a teen has severe gender incongruity then there is no known therapy to alter that condition. (The parent acts like the doctor was withholding something). The diatribe continues:

I have nowhere to go for proper help. Therapists are actively trained and socially pressured not to question these increasingly common identities. In Washington, DC, and many states with so-called conversion therapy bans, questioning a child’s belief that she is of the opposite sex is against the law.

Bullshit. A trained therapist will question that belief. What is prohibited is an effort to change gender identity because it is a) impossible and; b) potentially harmful and; c) could lead to self-harm. Notice how this is internalized. “I have nowhere to go. They are all against me including my own child. “Proper help” seems to mean a diagnosis other than the one that she doesn’t like.

I, I, I:

I have been living this nightmare for over four years. And despite my best efforts, my daughter plans to medically transition when she turns eighteen later this year.

And she thinks that this is going to happen because her daughter (son) has conspired to fool her? Or why exactly? And then (reminding me of marriage equality opposition again):

Meanwhile, the media glamorize and celebrate trans-identified children while ignoring stories like mine. I have written to well over 100 journalists, begging them to write about what is happening to kids. I wrote to my representative and senators, but have been ignored by their staff. My online posts about my daughter’s story have been deleted and I have been permanently banned in an online forum. As a lifelong Democrat, I am outraged by my former party and find it ironic that only conservative news outlets have reported my story without bias or censorship.

There’s that “celebrate” BS again. Why is this woman so certain that her daughter has been misdiagnosed? She clearly does not like the diagnosis that she was given but that does not mean that it was wrong.

We parents are ignored and vilified, while our children are suffering in the name of inclusivity and acceptance. I hope that some open-minded Democratic lawmakers will wake up to the fact that they are complicit in harming vulnerable kids. I hope that they ask themselves this question: Why are physicians medicalizing children in the name of an unproven, malleable gender identity? And why are lawmakers enshrining “gender identity” into state and federal laws?

It sounds to me like a child might be suffering at the hands of a deranged parent who is convinced that the medical profession has conspired against her. Mommy has been victimized!

For all I know, Ryan T. Anderson wrote all of this. I am not going to spend more time on more accounts from anonymous people who may, or may not, actually exist. There are four more of these. They are all extremely self-centered. I’ll just offer one more quote from the last of these:

As a federal employee, I could not find health insurance that does not cover hormones for self-declared gender dysphoria.

Right. Because a teen, without a competent referral, can just walk into an endocrinologist and demand cross-sex hormones. No diagnosis — “I have gender dysphoria” will suffice. Sure.

Over the past few years I have conversed with a few parents of transgender kids, mostly by email. Their primary, universal concern is for the safety of their children in school. Not one of these supposedly concerned parents even mentions the subject.

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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.