No, Sophia Bush, youngsters don't inform their dad and mom who they’re
(Photo: Unsplash / Aaron Burden)
I firmly believe that actress and activist Sophia Bush cares seriously about children. I firmly believe that she believes in her heart that the best thing for a child who identifies as transgender is to confirm the child's perceived identity. But is she right? Do children know what is best for them?
Bush wrote to her 3.7 million Instagram followers: "#transkids are under attack across the country. AR has only banned them from access to health care. This equates to murder. Children will tell us who they are. It's our job to support them. not demonize or harm them. "
She responded to the message: "Arkansas was the first state to pass a law after a Senate vote on Monday banning doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth."
"HB 1570, the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) bill, bans trans adolescents from accessing health care and gender-affirming care insurance. The bill was passed in the Senate between 28 and 7. The State House passed the bill earlier this month."
For Bush and other transgender activists and allies, this bill will only give these children one choice, and that is suicide. Hence the bill is "synonymous with murder".
To reiterate, "Children will tell us who they are. It is our job to support them, not demonize or harm them."
But do children really know who they are? Is that the reality of human life?
All good parents want to support their children instead of demonizing or hurting them. Obviously.
All good parents want to be sensitive to their children and take their pain or discomfort seriously (as in "Mom, I am not feeling well."). And good parents will quickly recognize their children's unique personalities, talents, and weaknesses. Good parents do that.
And certainly no caring parent would dream of being cruel to a child suffering from internal agony and confusion. Lose the thought. This is why so many parents have worried about what to do with one of their children who identified themselves as transgender at a young age.
When I appeared on an episode of Tyra Banks over 10 years ago that focused on young children identifying as transgender, I heard powerful, nerve-wracking stories from parents and children.
In fact, the show was groundbreaking as these young children first came on stage at the age of 7 or 8 to tell their stories, which were introduced by their new names and genders. ("This is Joey, who used to be a girl named Jane and is now a boy.")
I read the stories and watched the documentaries about the shame these children felt about their sexual organs and even wanted to mutilate myself. I saw parents shed tears of relief upon learning that there was such a thing as gender dysphoria and realized that this was the condition their child was suffering from. I've heard the testimonies of those who say, "It was either sex reassignment or suicide."
And that's why I'm not questioning Sophia Bush's sincerity. You and others really care about the well-being of these children.
Unfortunately, they got it all wrong.
First, that's not how life works. The children do not tell the parents what is real and what is not. (Again, I'm not talking about a child suffering from physical pain or illness.)
When a three year old girl tells her mother that she is a princess or a horse or a butterfly or a flower, the mother plays along and tells her that she is a very pretty princess (or a horse or a butterfly or a flower). . Therefore, if a four-year-old boy thinks he is a powerful soldier, he really believes that it is him. It's part of childhood, especially younger childhood.
This is also why the vast majority of children who identify as transgender at a young age stop doing so after puberty. Even Wikipedia, barely known as a bastion of conservative ideas, summed up the evidence by saying, "According to prospective studies, the majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria no longer stop being the opposite sex during puberty, with most adults identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, with or without therapeutic intervention. "
And what could happen if they received positive, therapeutic intervention, that is, professional advice that helps them confirm their biological gender? Could the results be any more successful?
The reality is that the children actually cannot tell us who they are so that we can support them. If that were the case, they would be the parents and we would be under their supervision. They would drive the cars and we would sit in the back of car seats. They would teach and we would do the homework. They would be the doctors and we would be their patients.
Unfortunately, if children are allowed to tell their parents who they are, as in "I really am a boy, not a girl," and if the parents support those feelings, it only increases the gender confusion of the child. As a leading psychologist explained in a lecture I attended, if you dress a boy in girls' clothes at a young age and validate him as female, it will be much more difficult to get him out of these misunderstandings when he is older.
If the parents try to help, they will only make matters worse. And should we ignore the high suicide rates among those who have undergone sex reassignment surgery? Are your problems suddenly disappearing?
And that's why doctors in the UK are calling for a new approach to transidentified children, which is to give time to things instead of engaging in hormone therapy and the like. (See here for some of the global debates.)
Second, as voices across the spectrum have said – really screaming – children do not have the ability to make such massive, life-affecting decisions. You are unable to think about the effects of hormones that block puberty by the age of 10 (nor can medical science tell us with certainty how these drugs will work in the long term). You are unable to understand the implications of a full mastectomy by the age of 18. You can't understand the effects of full sex change surgery at the age of 19.
So my suggestion to Sophia Bush and her like-minded colleagues is: instead of demonizing those who oppose medical intervention for transidentified children, go a little deeper. Listen to those who can speak from personal experience. Don't fire those who say there is a better way. Instead, stop, listen, and learn.
If you really care about these children, which I believe you do, love compels you to learn. There really is a better way.