Gender Ideology, a Radical Attack on Family
Negative Impact upon Families, Children, and Society
Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.
— Pope Francis
The speed with which gender ideology has grown from the radical fringe to a movement dominating our media, legislation, education and entertainment is nothing less than staggering. Unless you are a professional LGBT activist, keeping up with the bewildering lexicon of new terms and “gender-neutral” pronouns is an exercise in futility. Even more disorienting is how quickly their use has become mandatory by the gatekeepers of culture and political correctness.
Last week, news broke that Twitter had introduced a new “hateful conduct” policy. The policy bans, among other things, “misgendering” and “deadnaming.” To “misgender” someone is to refer to them by a gender other than the one they currently claim to have. That’s relatively self-explanatory.
But I had to look up “deadnaming.” Apparently, this is when you refer to someone by the name they were given or used before they “transitioned.” If you were to refer to the Olympic athlete who now calls himself Caitlyn Jenner as “Bruce,” you would be guilty of “deadnaming” him. And for this, you are a hater, and worthy of banishment by Twitter.
But as self-evidently totalitarian as the gender movement is becoming and has become, nothing disturbs me as much as what this movement is doing to children.
Celine Dion, and Prepubescent Drag Queens
Celine Dion is making news this week for all the wrong reasons. With a new video, Dion has launched a new line of ‘gender-neutral’ babies and children’s clothing. In the video, which can only be described as bizarre, Celine breaks into a hospital maternity ward, where she finds two rows of newborn babies, boys and girls. Celine unzips a black leather bag, from which she takes out a package of black glitter which she blows over the sleeping children. Immediately the pink and blue clothes vanish and are replaced with drab, gender-neutral clothes in shades of black, white and grey.
Drab, in fact, is a generous description. Some of the clothing in Celine’s new line –CELINUNUNU – look like something out of a dystopian nightmare. Many of the shirts are emblazoned with the words “New Order” – presumably referring to Celine’s mission to eliminate traditional gender-roles. Some of the other articles of clothing bear skulls…lots of skulls. There are lots of photos of children and babies on the website for Celine’s new clothing line. None of them are smiling. In one photo a young child, who appears unhappy (other product shots show children staring blankly ahead) is covered in a “onesie” of skulls.
Anyone who has been around children knows that, given they are well-loved, they are naturally happy. Children are energetic, rambunctious; they love to laugh, they love to play. They love a good story, a good joke, a good game. Any parent or educator worth their salt wants to protect this carefreeness, to carve out space for children to develop their personality and talents without being burdened by the complicated troubles of the adult world. Instead, LGBT activists seem hell-bent on inaugurating children into a bleak word of politicized ideology and hyper-sexualization.
Earlier this month Good Morning America, one of the most-watched television shows in America, featured 11-year-old “drag queen” Desmond Napoles. The co-hosts of the show tripped over each other in their efforts to praise Desmond for his “bravery.” The audience beamed and clapped and laughed. But watching this young boy, who should be outside playing tag and catch and riding his bike, slither up the aisle, strutting like a show-girl is enough to make one weep. Who is responsible for this? Who has stolen this boy’s innocence?
Desmond and the hosts of the show furiously pretended that he was simply “expressing himself” and being “true” to himself. But this is a lie. Eleven-year-old boys do not sprawl sensually on the floor and writhe and strut and put on wigs and makeup and elaborate costumes, unless someone has coached them on how to do so.
The Real Agenda: Grooming
Drag queens, once exclusively encountered in the kind of “adult” establishments where decent folk wouldn’t dare set foot, have emerged from the brothels and strip clubs and ended up – of all places – in our children’s schools and libraries. Across the country libraries are hosting children’s storytime with drag queens. This week, one such drag queen openly admitted what he is doing. “This is going to be the grooming of the next generation. We are trying to groom the next generation,” said Dylan Pontiff.
And the next generation is indeed being groomed. One UK teacher recently stepped forward anonymously, describing how at her school there are currently seventeen children transitioning their gender. Seventeen! This teacher explained that when one student approached her about her gender dysphoria, she supported the child and referred her to a transgender clinic. She now regrets that decision, since the girl – who is autistic – is now planning on going through a double mastectomy. Other children at the school, many of whom are also autistic, are taking hormone blockers, and planning on irreversible surgical mutilations of their bodies.
The teacher says she is convinced most of the children aren’t even suffering from gender dysphoria. They’re simply vulnerable to persuasion. “They are just young people with mental health problems who have found an identity and want to be part of a group of like-minded people,” she said. She says the first student began “educating” other students on transgenderism. She described this as a form of “grooming.” The media, celebrities like Celine Dion, and many politicians are enthusiastically cooperating with this grooming by presenting gender dysphoria as normal, admirable, and a cause for celebration.
And what kind of life is it that Mr. Pontiff and his ilk are “grooming” children into? One eye-opening essay published by the New York Times this month gives us some idea. In the essay, titled “My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy,” author Andrew Long Chu (a biological male who “identifies” as female) describes how he is planning on undergoing sex change surgery, even though he knows that it likely won’t make him happy. On the contrary. When Mr. Chu started taking female hormones to “transition” this made the psychological distress caused by his gender dysphoria “demonstrably worse.” The surgery will likely only do the same; after all, the fake “vagina” that the surgeons will construct, says Mr. Chu, will be treated by his body as a “wound” (which it is) until the day he dies. But Mr. Chu thinks he should be able to get the surgery anyway. Why? Because he wants it. This is the radical “freedom” that our culture now celebrates, and into which gender ideologues are co-opting our children: the “freedom” to be miserable.
Children are vulnerable to peer pressure and fads. Adults – above all parents – are supposed to be the voices of reason in the room, standing up against irrational trends and protecting children from manipulative ideologues who want to claim them as feathers in their cap. Instead, in many cases the children’s parents are encouraging the children’s confusion, actively pushing them into a sexual subculture that, statistically, is rife with depression, drug abuse, and suicide. In many cases, one can’t help but suspect that it is the parents who planted the first seeds of gender confusion in the first place. Why would any parent want to do that?
The Diabolical Attack on Children
This week many mainstream media sources are roundly mocking a Catholic exorcist who responded to Celine Dion’s gender-neutral clothing line by speculating that the spread of gender ideology is of demonic origin. “The devil is going after children by confusing gender,” said Msgr. John Esseff, an exorcist in the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania. “When a child is born, what is the first thing we say about that child? It’s a boy, or it’s a girl. That is the most natural thing in the world to say. But to say that there is no difference is satanic.”
Many media outlets are treating this as self-evidently preposterous. And yet, who with clear vision can acknowledge the deliberate effort to co-opt even the youngest and most innocent children into this extreme ideology, with all the physical and psychological dangers involved, and not conclude that this is diabolical?
This is not to say that any one person involved is evil. On the contrary, many gender-confused people are struggling with an enormous cross and urgently need our compassion and prayers. Many others promoting gender ideology at least seem to believe that they are motivated by compassion. But even if we must resist any impulse to demonize people, we must acknowledge gender ideology as a form of mass delusion that is threatening the innocence and lives of our children. Satan is real and he is the Father of Lies. As social pressure continues to mount to either support or stay silent in the face of gender ideology, we must resist the temptation to capitulate. We must keep our eyes open, and engage productively, calmly, compassionately and rationally in this crucial cultural debate.
As Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson noted about this issue: “If you don’t stand your ground, then all that happens is people push you backwards… But if you don’t stand up and do something about it, especially when it affects your own family, then all that’s going to happen is that it’s going to continue to spread.”
This has been a bleak column to write, and I’m sure it is a bleak one to read. But as Jeeves once told Wooster, it is better to know “what tune the devil is playing.” We can’t afford to close our eyes. But neither do we need to give in to hopelessness. On the contrary, we cling to hope. We must hold close to Christ and his mother. We must invoke their protection on our families and culture. And finally, as I always urge, we must pray. I agree with Msgr. Esseff that there is a diabolical origin to the cultural confusion we are witnessing right now. That is one reason why I believe that we must resurrect the prayer to St. Michael, which I hope you will join me in praying:
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.