- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2017

Last year, NBC News did a two-part series dubbed “transgender kids,” that featured “the stories of 5-year-old Jacob Lemay and 8-year-old Malisa Phillips, two children transitioning to live as their authentic selves.”

In December, Good Housekeeping wrote an essay detailing a family with two transgender children, both a son and a daughter, who swapped roles. And while the parents “didn’t totally understand it, they knew their love was unconditional.”

In January, National Geographic put a photo of a nine-year-old transgender girl on its cover, simply labeled “The Gender Revolution,” and The New York Times did a report on “Raising a Transgender Child.”

Then in February, Katie Couric profiled families with transgender children for a documentary, and the Huffington Post wrote a column on how “Transgender kids are changing the world.”

The Washington Post followed it up, with a personal essay: “My 7-year-old daughter Henry is transgender. She’d change Trump’s mind,” lamenting President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Barack Obama’s bathroom executive order.

And then this month, HBO is ran a special called “Trans Youth” which provided “an inside look at the families of transgender youth and how they are coming to terms with the gender identity of their children,” weeks before the Supreme Court’s decision to send the bathroom case back to the Appeals court.

If you think you’re being indoctrinated — or even manipulated — by the mainstream media and Hollywood telling you how you should feel about transgender kids, it’s because you are.

Rarely, if ever, do any of these news stories highlight the dangers of chemically transitioning a child, or depict the parents as using their kid as a political prop. As a grown adult, I would be horrified if my parents allowed NBC to film my 5-year-old self-grappling with such a question as gender for the nation to see.

And yet, we’re not supposed to think this way. We’re supposed to feel for these families, and then change our way of thinking about the centuries-old paradigms of male and female.

Sorry, as a mother of three boys five and under, I view these child transgender exposes as exploitative, and yes, down-right abusive.

First, there is no way a five-year-old knows if they are indeed transgender. Although most brain development occurs during the first three years of life, throughout a kid’s youth, neurons are being made and synapses developed.

Five-year-olds are still learning things like how to set the table, directions to and from their school, the alphabet, how to play sports, skip, and what goes where in the toy room.

The impulse control and judgment parts of their brains haven’t even been developed yet, and aren’t completely activated until after adolescence.

That’s why a parent’s role is so important.

All of my boys at one time have asked why they can’t wear a dress, high-heel shoes, or paint their nails. I simply reply: Because you’re a boy. Everyone seems satisfied, and we move on to the next activity.

In the Post’s essay, written by Jen Aulwes (which the paper conveniently leaves out is a communications director at Planned Parenthood), she pens: “The first time we knew that Henry was different, she was 2. When she found her cousin’s Barbie doll, she lit up like a Christmas tree. “The hair, Mama,” she cooed. “Look at her looong hair!” Henry continued to show us, in every way she could, that she wanted to live as a girl. This was new territory. What do you say when your 3-year-old boy asks to be Rapunzel for Halloween? In our house, you say yes.”

In my house, we say “no,” and instead direct him to the boys section of the store where he can dress up like Thor if he likes long hair.

Because that’s what adults do.

They set parameters for their children, they teach them about their God-given sex and social norms. They don’t let the child dictate to them, or indulge the kid’s every whim. Being a parent means being responsible.

Which brings me to my second point: How is it responsible — or even sane — to chemically alter your child before puberty?

Last year, the American College of Pediatrics reached a politically incorrect decision which concluded that transgenderism of a child amounts to child abuse. It argued facts, not ideology, determine reality.

In its policy statement, written by Johns Hopkins Medical School Psychology Professor Paul McHugh, it laid out eight arguments why transgendering a child was harmful, including the basic fact that everyone is born with a biological sex, so if a child is born a boy but thinks he’s a girl, the problem’s with the mind not the body, and should be treated as such.

Moreover, transitioning children with hormones is hazardous to their health.

“Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty-blocking hormones induce a state of disease — the absence of puberty — and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child,” Dr. McHugh wrote.

Perhaps the most devastating argument is as many as 98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.

In other words — it may just be a phase. It’s important for parents, before chemically altering their children, know whether it is or not. These kids, after-all, are too young to sign off on the medical procedures themselves.

And there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason why you have to be 18 to volunteer for the military, or even enter a contract that’s enforceable — because minors are notorious for making bad, uniformed, and/or impulsive decisions. They’re simply immature.

And that’s not a bad thing. Trial and error is all a part of growing up.

But imagine making a decision as a five-year-old that would alter the course of your life — all in part, because your parents thought it was cool to have a transgender kid or wanted to be a social justice warrior.

To me, that’s sickening. That’s the definition of abuse.

• Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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