You may remember the tragic case of James Younger from last year. James is a now-eight-year-old boy who lives in Texas. His mother, Anne Georgulas, who is a pediatrician, believes that James is “transgender.” That is, she believes that James “identifies” as a girl named Luna. According to Georgulas, James began to identify as Luna at the age of three, when he allegedly began to show a preference for Disney princesses and girls’ clothes.
James’ father, Jeff Younger, on the other hand, argues that James is clearly a boy, and that when James lives with him at his house (unsurprisingly, the parents are separated) he wears boys’ clothes and goes by the name James.
The struggle between the two parents made international headlines last year, with both parents arguing that they should have sole custody over the child. Despite initial appearances that the judge in the case might support the mother’s request for custody, the case came to an uneasy resolution when a judge ordered 50/50 custody.
On the one hand, this prevented Georgulas from moving forward with any plans to medically “transition” her child, using either hormones or surgery. On the other hand, it meant that James continued to be under the influence of his mother, who is clearly (for whatever reason) hellbent on “affirming” her son in a transgender identity that his father argues she was responsible for foisting on him in the first place.
This bizarre case, which could only exist in this unprecedentedly confused period of history, took a turn for the worse a few days ago. In a new decision, a different judge ruled that Georgulas would receive full custody of James. The judge’s order gives sweeping control over James’ life to Georgulas, allowing her to withhold information from his father, “regarding the children’s extracurricular activities, school functions, school enrollment, counseling, and medical care.”
However, thankfully there is one significant caveat. The judge ruled that Georgulas cannot make any medical decisions pertaining to “transitioning” James without his father’s permission. So, for the time being, James is safe from life-altering medical procedures. However, presumably his mother will continue to treat him as if he is a girl, which is something that in any sane period of history would be recognized as child abuse.
A Growing Pushback
And indeed, despite the huge inroads that the transgender ideologues have made into our culture and public institutions, there are some signs that sanity is reasserting itself in some places.
In Texas (the same state where James Younger lives), the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) recently declared that surgeries that mutilate the genitals of children as part of a so-called “sex change” operation is child abuse.
“Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse,” DFPS commissioner Jaime Masters wrote in a letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
“As you have described, this surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies,” he added. “Generally, children in the care and custody of a parent lack the legal capacity to consent to surgical treatments, making them more vulnerable.”
This is common sense. Everything we know about the sexual development of children indicates that periods of confusion are to be expected during the pre-pubescent and pubescent periods, when secondary sexual traits manifest themselves and hormones go wild. However, with proper parenting and (if necessary) psychological counseling, in the huge majority of cases gender dysphoria will resolve itself.
The idea of subjecting a child who is confused about his or her sex to permanent, life-altering surgeries is one that should appall any right-minded person. Indeed, it is profoundly ironic that at a time when Americans are fixated on the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, who are known for promoting the genital mutilation of girls in the name of religious fundamentalism, there are so-called “woke” progressives in the West who are also advocating for genital mutilation, but in the name of a twisted notion of “freedom.”
Texas is showing how to proactively protect children from the tiny, but powerful, subset of extremists who have hijacked the public debate about sex and gender, and are browbeating us all into silence with accusations that opposing genital mutilation of children is somehow “hateful.”
Indeed, there is growing evidence that these gender extremists are going too far even for many who are otherwise allied with their worldview.
It isn’t particularly surprising that a state like Texas, with a strong socially conservative population base and a Republican government, would be pushing back against the transgender movement. What is perhaps more surprising (and encouraging!) is that this pushback is also happening in places that are known for being very “progressive.” For instance, take the new guidelines in Finland (hardly a bastion of conservatism), which strongly opposes most instances of the use of hormone blockers or surgical interventions for children.
“Cross-sex identification in childhood, even in extreme cases, generally disappears during puberty,” the guidelines note. They add, “The first-line treatment for gender dysphoria is psychosocial support and, as necessary, psychotherapy and treatment of possible comorbid psychiatric disorders.”
Hormone blockers, note the health authorities, come with significant physical risks, and side effects. “Potential risks of [hormone] therapy include disruption in bone mineralization and the as yet unknown effects on the central nervous system. …. The effect of pubertal suppression and cross-sex hormones on fertility is not yet known.”
Similar pushback against the transgender ideologues has happened recently in both the UK and Sweden. Again, both of these countries are renowned for their “progressive” values. Yet, it seems that some authorities in those countries are actually putting scientific evidence over the ideological pressures of the moment. They are raising the alarm over the rapidity with which extremists have hijacked the medical system, advocating for various procedures long before there is any scientific evidence that they help, rather than harm.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
The frustrating thing is that even as extremely left-wing jurisdictions in Europe are putting the brakes on the transgender insanity, here in America the pro-transgender movement is going into overdrive, painting any opposition to their movement as certain to cause vast harms to children with gender dysphoria.
Take this surreal piece in The Daily Beast. In it, a family with a “transgender” child comes out swinging against a variety of measures being put forward in Texas to protect children from the transgender ideologues. In it, the eight-year-old child Leon (a girl who is now living as a boy), responds to these proposed laws by suggesting that they might cause children like her to commit suicide.
“If these laws were passed before I came out as transgender, I probably would not love myself and might not be alive,” Leon told The Daily Beast. “Sometimes, when people don’t love themselves, they kill themselves.”
What I would like to know, is who put such horrific thoughts into Leon’s head in the first place? Most eight-year-old girls do not cavalierly speak about committing suicide, unless someone has introduced the idea to them. My fear is that someone is using this poor girl (and others like her) as a pawn, coaching her in one of the most callous and cynical propaganda tools of the pro-transgender left: i.e., the claim that any resistance whatsoever to any of their demands is going to cause transgender individuals to kill themselves.
This strategy is emotional blackmail designed to preclude the possibility of a calm and rational debate. And the fact that a child is being used in this way is reprehensible beyond words.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration – which has already mandated pro-transgender practices in public schools – has vowed to fight against bills designed to protect children from gender extremists. Many of these bills simply ensure that the integrity of sports will be protected, so that girls can be confident that they will not be forced to compete against boys with huge physical advantages. Others protect the privacy rights of both boys and girls, maintaining sex-segregated bathroom and changeroom facilities. Others, like Texas, ban genital mutilation or the use of hormone drugs on minors.
All of these measures are nothing more than basic common sense. Frankly, I believe that most people actually recognize this. My impression is even many social liberals are deeply uncomfortable with the direction the transgender movement has taken, but are afraid to speak up, knowing that the “woke” warriors have perfected the art of publicly pillorying naysayers.
However, we cannot be afraid to speak up, especially when the well-being of children depends upon it. The more people who confidently, unapologetically, and calmly draw attention to the emperor’s nakedness, the more others will gain the courage to also speak up.
Given the pushback happening in places like Sweden, Finland, and the UK, it is clear that the transgender movement is skating on thin ice. Much of their progress has only been made possible due to their knack for creating the impression of a consensus. But this façade is beginning to show cracks. Now is the time to keep up the pressure, letting the gender extremists know that we’ve caught them in their game, and we know what they’re about.