Abigail Shrier is an independent journalist who has been doing yeoman’s labor in exposing the dangers and extremism of transgender ideology. In 2020 she published the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, which is one of the most important works discussing the transgender phenomenon.
In recent months, she has been warning about the rapid incursions of transgender ideology on parental rights, presenting evidence that activist teachers, doctors, judges, lawyers, and politicians are increasingly seeking ways to gain greater access to vulnerable children, while sidelining their parents.
Some of the stories that Shrier has reported on are truly horrifying. Take her recent investigative article about a father’s efforts to protect his teenage son, Drew, from irreversible medical interventions, which are supported by his ex-wife.
A Painful Journey
As Shrier tells it, the father, Ted Hudacko, is hardly some hardline opponent of transgenderism. Quite the contrary. He says he is perfectly willing to consider the possibility that his 16-year-old son might be “transgender.” When asked early on in the proceedings by the judge overseeing the case whether he thought being transgender was a “sin,” he said no. Instead, he said, he simply doesn’t want to rush things, for the sake of his son.
As Shrier writes:
In the 312 days since he had last seen his boy, Ted had done a lot of research on medical transition and gender dysphoria. He begged the court to consider research that suggested puberty blockers could impair cognition and diminish bone density. He knew that Drew, if administered puberty blockers along with estrogen, would be at high risk of permanent infertility. He wasn’t even sure that his son had gender dysphoria. He wanted to see his son—and he wanted this bullet train to slow down.
That, however, has not happened. Instead, Ted has lost custody of his son, spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and gone through a psychological hell, while his son has gone further and further down the transgender rabbit hole.
It all began in August 2019, when Ted’s wife, who had been dealing with the horrific attempted murder of her sister a year earlier, unexpectedly walked into his office and declared that she wanted a divorce. She also announced that their son Drew was transgender.
Thus began the court proceedings that eventually led to Ted being stripped of his parental rights, and the court appointment of a minor’s counsel to represent his son. That minor’s counsel turned out to be a lawyer – Daniel Harkins – who is a strong advocate of the “affirmation” response to an adolescent’s claims of being transgender: that is, he believes that the only proper response to a child’s declaration of being transgender is unquestioning support.
Ted, for his part, had come to believe in the “watchful waiting” approach advocated by famed psychologist Ken Zucker, one of the world’s top experts on gender dysphoria. Zucker, who was responsible for overseeing the entry on gender dysphoria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the official diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, emphasizes research showing that the overwhelming majority of children and adolescents who experience gender confusion will eventually grow out of it. As such, he argues that psychologists should first try to help those with gender dysphoria to learn to be comfortable in their bodies. Only when that fails should they consider administering drugs and surgeries.
Harkins, however, opposed Ted’s more careful approach every step of the way. After one meeting in which the distraught father expressed his fears that his son would regret having “mutilated” himself in a few years, Harkins wrote disparagingly: “Father has not been accepting of [Drew’s] status as transgender. He has been quite clear that he does not accept that [Drew] is in fact transgender.” He added that Drew’s mother, Christine, “has given him unconditional love” – by which Harkins clearly meant that Christine affirmed him in his transgender identity.
Troublingly, Shrier uncovered information that the judge in the case – Joni Hiramoto – herself has a transgender child. Her social media feeds include numerous posts celebrating her son’s transgender identity as well as general support for the transgender cause, including posts marking the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Unsurprisingly, Hiramoto granted custody to Drew’s pro-transgender mother. At which point things went from bad to worse for Ted. In October 2021, writes Shrier,
Ted was stunned by a $209,820.34 charge on his insurance statement. When he wrote to Christine, she confirmed that a puberty-blocking implant had been inserted in Drew’s arm months earlier and that Drew had begun a course of cross-sex hormones. The combination—if not soon stopped—would likely sterilize Drew. No one had asked Ted’s permission for the procedure or even informed Ted of what had been done.
And that is where things currently stand: with Ted removed from his son’s life, while hoping against hope that he can keep the brakes on somewhat, so that his son will not seek irreversible surgical interventions before all other avenues have been exhausted.
Radical Activists Must Be Stopped
“In the three years I’ve spent writing about families with transgender-identifying minors, the story of Ted Hudacko stood out as a case study of how gender ideology has infiltrated family law,” wrote Shrier in her article about the case. She notes as that as she looked further into Ted’s case, she uncovered evidence that transgender activists were deliberately targeting family law courts, providing “education sessions” to teach judges about gender ideology. During court proceedings, Judge Hiramoto several times referenced what she had learned from such classes.
Unfortunately, this is just further confirmation that wily transgender activists are conscientiously seeking to normalize transgenderism by infiltrating the institutions that oversee children, including (perhaps especially) schools. As part of this effort, they are conditioning those in authority to view support for powerful, little-researched, and life-altering drug regimens and surgical interventions as the only acceptable or “loving” response to gender dysphoria.
The same children who cannot consent to receiving a Tylenol in school without their parents’ consent, are being coached by these same activists to go to bizarre and dangerous lengths to begin gender “transitioning,” and often to keep their parents in the dark. Any opposition, no matter how careful and scientifically based, is dismissed as hateful and “transphobic.” No debate is possible. And as Ted’s case shows, if the activists can find even one parent who is supportive, they will put a wedge between the parents, giving all the decision-making power to the “affirming” parent while sidelining the one who is opposed.
In a document on transgenderism published in 2019, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education warned that it “is becoming increasingly clear that we are now facing with what might accurately be called an educational crisis, especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality.” The document warned that the theory that gender is fluid is “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence.”
In the face of the determination of gender ideologues, it’s simply not enough to hope that they will not influence or affect your child. It is important for all parents and concerned citizens to educate themselves about this growing crisis, and to do what is in their power to keep extremists out of our schools and other institutions. It is clear that they have no respect for parental rights, and do not have the health or well-being of our children in mind. They are committed first and foremost to their “cause”: i.e., to completely transform our understanding of gender and sexuality in an effort to undermine the family and traditional sexual ethics.
Although Shrier is not a Catholic, and thus does not necessarily agree with Catholic teaching on everything, her recent articles and her book are good places to start to learn more. Ryan Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally is another excellent exploration of the transgender phenomenon.