Culture challenge of the week: Child abuse and "transgendered" tykes
When is a boy a "girl"? Or vice-versa.
Several new articles in a recent issue of the journal Pediatrics advance the idea that young children can self-identify as "transgendered" and should be treated as such, with hormone therapy to suppress puberty until sex-change surgery becomes possible.
And an increasing number of doctors, both here and abroad, display a willingness to experiment with puberty-suppressing drugs for children — treating them like guinea pigs, altering their bodies and treating their God-given sexuality as a pathology to be fixed. It is nothing short of child abuse.
It's the latest madness in a world that has lost not only its moral bearings, but also its common sense.
No one seems to be standing up to protect the child whose parents, hearing the child's expressed wish to "be" a different sex, whisks the child off to the doctor for "treatment."
Children wish for all sorts of things that aren't grounded in reality. How many parents have had the experience of a child who declares he or she "is" a superhero, or an animal or some other creature with wished-for attributes?
Good parents know how to affirm both the imagination at work and the reality of the physical world. ("It would be amazing to be like Spider-Man, to leap from building to building — but our bodies are not built that way. So no, you can't jump out the window.")
They know how to affirm a variety of interests (telling a daughter, for example, "Sure, go out and play street hockey with the boys,") without denying the God-given gifts of our male and female sexuality.
For today's sexual experts, however, gender norms mean nothing more than societal stereotypes. Reality doesn't count. Only feelings do.
Parents who call the child back to the physical reality of his or her body risk being labeled as unsupportive or even abusive. Indeed, one of the studies in Pediatrics ("Childhood Gender Nonconformity: A Risk Indicator for Childhood Abuse and Posttraumatic Stress in Youth") notes the high correlation between gender "nonconformity" and the presence of abusive situations in the child's life. While the media spin suggests that such abuse is the result of meanies who won't accept the child's gender-nonconforming identity, the Pediatrics article noted that the gender-nonconforming behavior may also be a "response to negative parenting."
The more the transgender "identity" becomes normalized in society, the more confused some foolish parents will become. If parents — suspending common sense — accept the idea that sexuality is malleable, fluid and unconnected to how our physical bodies work, how can they teach children to understand themselves?
Is sexual reality determined by temporary, or even long-lasting, feelings? Or does it have something to do with the dual sexual reality of our bodies — our bodies are meant to communicate love and to create new human beings. We come "equipped" to do those two things.
But the LGBT movement — and doctors who play God — increasingly treat God-given sexual reality as irrelevant, especially when sexual feelings or one's internal sense of "gender identity" tends in an abnormal direction.
And who suffers? Children. Children who depend on the adults in their lives to know better, and to act for their welfare.
How to save your family: Teach the truth of sexual reality
More than ever, it's vital that parents teach their children the truth about sexuality — about God's design for sex, the gifts of our masculinity and femininity, and the blessings of self-control and purity.
James Dobson, noted psychologist and host of the popular radio show "Family Talk" (on whose board of directors I serve) has much wisdom to share about these issues at www.MyFamilyTalk.com. The website www.FamilyLife.com, featuring marriage and family expert Dennis Rainey, also offers terrific resources for parents.
Parents, stick close to your children. Love them unconditionally. But love them enough to give them the truth about themselves — and about God's plan for healthy sexuality.
• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at email@example.com.