A fad can be healthy, like the hula hoop in the 1950s and the Harlem Shake in the 2010s. When driven by a form of self-loathing, though, a fad can be destructive. It’s clear that the transgender phenomenon is just such a trend, taking a toll on boys and girls who come to fancy themselves as the opposite sex. Standing against edgy behavioral trends like being transgender takes courage. With the well-being of America’s youth on the line, fortunately, some are stepping forward.
Alabama has boldly blocked medical treatment of the underaged for the purpose of affirming transgender identity. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed a new law in April that classifies as a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison the prescribing of hormones, puberty blockers and medical procedures for persons younger than 19. The law took effect on May 8 when a federal judge declined to issue a stay while a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban is pending.
Threatening doctors with jail for treating patients in a certain manner is extreme, but so are medical remedies that can irreversibly alter the physical and mental well-being of individuals prior to developing the capacity to make life-changing decisions.
The transgender idea exhibits all the intense enthusiasm of a fad. A 2021 Gallup poll found a generational skyrocketing of Americans claiming gender orientation unmatched by their biological sex. Among “traditionalists” born before 1946, only 0.3% self-identify as transgender. Among “Generation Z,” those born between 1997 and 2002, 1.8 % claim “trans” status. Though a narrow sliver of the U.S. population, their proportion measures six times that of their elders. As a celebrated cohort of the nearly 6% of Americans who identify as LGBTQ, their trend line is climbing sharply.
If gender-swapping is a stab at boosting self-worth by joining a trendy minority, it is failing. A study titled “Suicidality Among Transgender Youth,” published in March by the National Institutes of Health, reports, “Data indicate that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth. … Fifty-six percent of youth reported a previous suicide attempt and 86% reported suicidality.”
Despite the heartbreaking record, health professionals disturbed by the exploding social phenomenon are silenced, with at least 20 states prohibiting health care providers from offering sexual orientation change treatments to minors.
Is it probable that human nature, which has featured binary sexual identity with vanishingly few exceptions for all of recorded history, has suddenly entered an era of metamorphosis? Hardly. More likely, it is the charm of social fashion compels growing proportions of teens to reimagine their gender.
To be sure, transgender individuals deserve the same legal protections — and compassion — as any vulnerable class of Americans. It is nonetheless obvious that the trans trend is failing to rescue teens tormented by their own inner dynamics and driven to teeter on the crumbling edge of existence. Measures to limit medical treatments that simply feed youthful gender confusion are long overdue.