Changing one's gender is either a profound decision to live the way one truly is, or an expression of mental illness, depending on who you ask. Why then has it taken off in schools and become the Pokemon craze of our day?
Britain's schools are facing a "transgender problem," with schoolgirls at London's elite St. Paul's Girls' School identifying as trans or "non-binary" just to be cool and rebellious. That's what former principal Clarissa Farr told the Daily Mail. Discussing the "problem" with other teachers, Farr came to the conclusion that the girls were simply adhering to "anything that was a bit radical and might cause a little bit of turbulence in the school."
At another school in the UK, a whistleblowing teacher claimed last year that droves of children were identifying as transgender, influenced by older pupils and transgender YouTube stars. In this case, the teacher noticed that a majority of the children were vulnerable students with autism, rather than teenage rebels.
However, many of these students follow through. Rather than merely identifying as the opposite gender, 2,590 children were referred to Gender Identity Development Service clinics in the UK last year - a network of clinics that provide support to trans kids, right up to irreversible hormone treatments and surgery.
It's easy to dismiss the phenomenon as the rebelliousness of youth. Remember what you took seriously when you were in school but cringe at now? Twilight fan fiction. My Chemical Romance lyrics. Communism. Part of growing up is learning how to test the boundaries, to see what you can get away with as you carve out your personality before the conformity of adulthood sets in.
And a certain tiny percentage of people have always been transgender. According to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 manual, ‘gender dysphoria' affects between 0.002 and 0.014 percent of the population, with more men than women exhibiting the condition.
Why such a rare condition - not classified as a "mental disorder" since early 2019 by the World Health Organization - became so popular among kids is a question with several answers.
According to one study from Brown University professor Lisa Littman, "social contagion" explains the spread of trans ideology among kids. The study says there are children exposed to peers who recently "came out" as transgender and followed popular trans YouTubers themselves before "coming out."
As well as revealing themselves to be trans, these children also adopted wholesale the dogmas of the social justice movement. They lashed out at heterosexual people, and especially at straight white men. They played "pronoun police" at home, and parents - called "breeders" by their newly-indoctrinated children - reported that their kids' new social justice vocabulary sounded "scripted" and "wooden," as if it had been lifted "word for word" from the manifestos of trans activists.
Referring to the phenomenon as a "mass sociogenic illness," cognitive scientist Samuel Veissière urged parents, educators and clinicians to treat it with caution.
Good luck with that. Educators have seemingly listened, nodded, and thrown that advice on the trash heap. From public libraries stocking books describing oral sex between transgender six-year-olds, to "transgender day"events for four-year-old students, to transgender charities instructing teachers on the benefits of giving children hormonal puberty-blocking medication to kids, Veissière's advice is falling on deaf ears.
Even the taxpayer-funded BBC now tells preteen children that "there are over 100, if not more, gender identities now." The "fact" that there are over 100 genders has not been established by scientists, but by trans activists.
Among them is the term "genderfuck," used to describe people who "present a 'clashing' combination of gender cues that are incongruous, challenging or shocking to those who expect others to fit the gender binary. For example, combining a beard with makeup and a padded bra."
And challenging the march of transgender acceptance and encouragement in schools can be dangerous. The whistleblower mentioned above who called out the trend in her school did so anonymously. Professors who question the trans movement get fired, and public figures who dare to suggest that three year olds can't choose their gender get press-ganged into apologizing by online cry-bullies.
In our liberal society, we strive to teach our children acceptance. Yet there is a difference between accepting diversity and encouraging children who just learned how to tie their own shoelaces to swap their gender with hormone injections.
With our civilization no longer ruled by the strict morality of religion or the diktats of puritan tyrants, everything is permitted and nothing is right or wrong. But parents and teachers need to be their own moral arbiters. Speaking out against feckless transgenderism can cost you your job, but the consequences of rash gender reassignment can be a lifetime of regret and a dramatically heightened risk of suicide for the patient.
By Graham Dockery, RT
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.