Not a 'Kitchen Table Issue,' Jen Psaki?
Actually, Our Kids Are All We're Thinking About
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki accused Republican lawmakers of “engaging in a disturbing, cynical trend of attacking vulnerable transgender kids,” and exploiting them. “Instead of focusing on critical kitchen table issues like the economy, COVID, or addressing the country’s mental health crisis,” she said, “Republican lawmakers are currently debating legislation that, among many things, would target transgender youth with tactics that threaten to put pediatricians in prison if they provide medically necessary, life-saving care for the kids they serve.”
Life-saving care? Surely she must mean insulin or antibiotics?
No, she means “gender affirming care” that devilish euphemism for puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and experimental surgeries whose benefits are unproven, but whose risks—permanent sexual dysfunction, infertility, cardiac event and endometrial cancer are a few—ought to nudge any doctor toward soul searching. As I’ve written many times, these treatments are often recklessly administered, of questionable benefit to children, and attended by forbidding risks.
For these reasons, in the last two years, national gender clinics in France, the UK, Sweden and Finland have all reevaluated or curtailed their use. But as Psaki made clear, any legislator who tries to follow suit will face double-barreled legal opposition from the current Administration. Psaki said:
Legislators who are contemplating these discriminatory bills have been put on notice by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that laws and policies preventing care that health care professionals recommend for transgender minors may violate the Constitution and federal law. To be clear, every major medical association agrees that gender-affirming health care for transgender kids is a best practice and potentially life-saving.
There is, in fact, no proof that “affirmative care” improves the mental health of gender dysphoric youth long-term—much less that its interventions are “life-saving.” An outstanding recent paper in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy is only the latest to expose the poor empirical basis for these treatments with minors. It’s a must-read paper for any policy maker, parent, or psychologist grappling with this fraught question.
The authors state, as if with a sigh: “The evidence underlying the practice of pediatric gender transition is widely recognized to be of very low quality.”
Activists often exaggerate the suicide risk to gender dysphoric minors—as well as the mental health efficacy of these treatments—in order to coerce parents into acceding to the interventions. But as the authors point out: “The ‘transition or suicide’ narrative falsely implies that transition will prevent suicides. [N]either hormones nor surgeries have been shown to reduce suicidality in the long-term.”
That the Biden administration would peddle an activist talking point with no solid factual basis signals how desperate it is to please the radical flank of its supporters. That is too bad. Leaders who mollycoddle the activists quietly corrupting nearly every institution of American life fool themselves that they are merely paying a tax. They don’t realize it’s a ransom, and that those who demand it will never be satisfied until they have despoiled every American institution. And much worse in this case: they encourage irreversible harm to children.
Leaders who mollycoddle the activists quietly corrupting nearly every institution of American life fool themselves that they are merely paying a tax. They don’t realize it’s a ransom.
In an address chock-a-block with fictions, perhaps Psaki’s most surprising was the notion that unlike the “economy, COVID” and the “country’s mental health crisis,” the risks gender activists now pose to our children is not a “kitchen table issue.” It is - she means - the sort of thing that excites Twitter, not normal Americans.
In Psaki’s worldview, then, Americans are not shaking their heads at their talented daughters, wondering if they ought to bother helping them train in a sport. Nor does she think Americans are desperately worried about what radical teachers are pushing on their kids at school—from racial essentialism and division to phony gender science about their bodies and identities.
But in the real world, Americans are very, very worried about these things. I’ve been privileged with a special window into their terror: an inbox full of thousands of desperate parents who write me daily of their teen daughters caught in the grips of a sudden transgender epiphany. And Ms. Psaki, I can promise you this: given the widespread availability of medical gender treatments, on demand, without therapist oversight and often without requiring parental consent - that is not merely one of that family’s concerns. It is all that family is thinking about. Every minute of every day—dear God, how can I save my little girl from doing harm to herself?
America has essentially become an unlocked medicine cabinet for gender medicine seekers as young as 15. As a result, any family with a kid who announces she is trans —whether encouraged by peers or social media or an activist educator, or accompanied by serious mental health co-morbidities—is hurled into crisis. The only thing parents know for certain is that a quick medical transition will be encouraged by virtually every adult she encounters. Far less certain is whether the family can do anything to stop it.
America has essentially become an unlocked medicine cabinet for gender-medicine seekers as young as 15. Any family with a kid who announces she is ‘trans’ is hurled into crisis.
All across this country, loving parents now find their custody threatened whenever they greet their teen daughter’s gender identity announcement with anything other than hosannas. Teachers, social workers, and therapists are quick to call social services, on the grounds that anything other than immediate “affirmation” of the new identity is child abuse. Again, I am in touch with many parents in precisely these circumstances, now fighting to retain or regain access to their daughters. Their only sin, in many cases? Dropping their daughter off to a therapist who seemed nice.
Any of these parents would gladly pay a hundred bucks a gallon for unleaded gas to get their daughters to safety. A mom whose teen daughter is suddenly clamoring for “top surgery” would take her chances with COVID in a heartbeat. Hell, she’d sign up for an unmasked tour of the Wuhan Institute for Virology—if she could only shield her children from the people who’d prefer to push gender ideology than do their actual jobs (much less respect the curtilage of a family).
Any of these parents would gladly pay a hundred bucks a gallon for unleaded gas to get their daughters to safety. Parents whose teen daughter is suddenly clamoring for “top surgery” would take their chances with COVID in a heartbeat.
Parents will hold their noses and vote for any politician that gets this right. When you threaten our children, it’s amazing how little we care about Build Back Better.
Pity the politician who doubts that.
Here is a letter I received just last week from a parent of a suddenly-identifying teen girl (posted with permission of the author). I reprint it here because parents often ask me how other moms and dads have approached their teen’s sudden announcement of a transgender identity. Here is one father’s story.
I’m a parent who owes you an immense amount of gratitude.
I found your book because my daughter (15) is going through confusion over her gender identity. About 6 months ago, I could sensed stress about the topic of trans brewing but I didn’t know what to do. I searched on google, facebook, Reddit, you name it - all I could find was content in 100% support of the kids and their self-diagnosis (“or risk suicide!!”). I assumed the search engine platforms were skewing the algorithms 100% pro trans. It freaked me out.
My wife sent me your WSJ article, which led me to your book. After reading your book. I was both alarmed and reassured. I couldn’t believe what a monolith of group-think we all have to deal with. Not to mention all the gaslighting and capitulation by the official medical community. If you’re still reading, here’s how it helped.
My daughter is 15 and thriving in school but struggling with the normal and COVID related stresses most sophomores do. For years, we’ve known she is probably gay (which we have always been supportive of). But something has been off lately… Just like in your book, she’s been so stressed since a couple girls in her circle announced they are trans. Wearing boy clothes, becoming more isolated, struggling more in school. We could tell something was stressing her out. Stereotypic stuff as your book shows.
A few weeks ago, she was stressed about school and blurted out that she was a boy. And she had the same talking points prepared, as your book outlines. If I hadn’t read your book, I would have been completely unprepared for how to handle everything. Your book gave me good data and advice, which became very useful in me talking her through everything, with less emotion and more fact.
My wife and I didn’t just give in and accept a new pronoun and start calling her a new name, like 100% of the parents we know do. I think she was expecting us to just cave. I could tell she was waiting for this big moment to be either a big fight or a big celebration of sorts. And instead, I put my foot down, albeit with love. No, she’s not a boy. She’s just confused, 15, and caught up in the latest fad. We love her and support her and we’ll be here to help her sort it out. But she’s a beautiful young woman with the name we gave her. Now let’s go out to lunch. That’s it.
Funny enough, she seemed instantly relieved! In fact, she’s so much happier to have different perspectives on things, and in a big way, I think she just needed her dad to tell her I loved here, but also to tell her how this was gonna go. She seems much happier ever since. Last week her teachers sent us notes in the past month saying how happy she seems. And this is far and away one of the most proud parenthood moments for me. Fingers crossed… crisis averted.
As a parent of 2 teenage girls, it’s really wild how pervasive it is among parents our age. It’s really sad what this movement is doing to young girls, not to mention women’s sports and women in general.
P.s. I drove my daughter to school the other day and the car started up and started playing your audio book. I tried to mute but it was too late. She was very interested in it. I explained that I love her and am trying to understand all facets of the trans movement so I can help her best. As a result we were able to talk a lot about the things in your book. It gave me substance and context all parents need, in my view. I think more parents (and maybe even kids) should read your book. Perhaps form support groups of some sort. If you have any pointers of how I might help, I’m all in. For the sake of our girls, parents need help!
Feel free to share without using my name if you would like to.