When Kids Claim To Be Transgender, Society Must Proceed With Caution

With children increasingly being exposed to the “normality” of transgenderism, there’s growing interest among children to pursue a gender change when they are not intellectually mature enough to be capable of such decisions. A few moments of thought show how worrisome this is and the unfair effects that emanate from these allowances.

As we all know, all human beings are different in appearance, abilities, and personality. Part of growing up is becoming comfortable with who you are. In middle school and/or high school that’s a slow process but it picks up as we get older.

When it comes to biological gender, most people recognize that feminine and masculine traits exist on a continuum and are not fixed points. However, letting children decide their sex and, especially, whether to “transition,” is obviously wrong-headed. It is well covered in the medical research that the "rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so." Being “smart” in school has nothing to do with this, good judgment is not something they can be proficient in. And obviously, children are even less capable of this.

Here’s a real-life example: A close friend of mine back when he was in 7th - 9th grade, having had an early growth spurt, thought he was too tall and constantly complained that his growth must be stopped. His parents did their best to mollify him including bringing him to the family doctor for support. He understandably never got his way but was proud, later, to be tall in high school.

But there are some, sadly, including physicians, who think children should be allowed to "transition" and "de-transition." One physician writing at Vox thinks doing so is “just part of a person’s healthy psychological development.” Those who support letting children call the shots often describe the emotional pain and depression that these kids feel.

The unfortunate fact is, though, that all types of major depression have increased significantly in recent years. For those aged 12-17, major depression increased by 63% from 2013-2016, with marked increases for other age groups as well. Gender issues are just one part of that. Many young people have a difficult adolescence; it’s probably always been that way.

Gender “transitioning” among children should be undertaken with extreme caution since 90% of all children if left alone will revert to identifying as their biological gender. In fact, the Vox doctor points out that "de-transitioning," although not common, does occur.

Was this amount of gender dysphoria and depression always there but hidden? Or has it been generated by today’s culture? The point is that everyone goes through difficult times and that medical treatment is not always the answer. Sometimes you just have to get through to the other side. Waiting for children to mature while supporting them is probably the best approach.

But what about teen boys who feel they are girls, presumably go through some level of transitioning, and are currently being allowed to participate in girls’ sports? Four girls who did not want to compete against biological boys in track recently sued the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). Their complaint was based on the reality that “transgender girls” still had outsized male bodies and abilities that allowed them to dominate the girls’ races. In April 2021, U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed the case as moot because the two transitioned boys had graduated, thereby letting the CIAC policy stand.

On a national level, Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona, from Meriden, Connecticut, at his February 3, 2021, congressional confirmation hearing performed a political two-step to avoid the issue. When asked directly about allowing so-called “transgender girls” to run in girls’ sports, he constantly reverted to feel-good declarations about “respecting all student’s rights to participate” without ever answering. Naturally, he was confirmed anyway.

Although some people cling to a belief in gender physical equality, they are clearly wrong. The Boys vs. Women website shows the top eight national high school boys’ performance against that of the top eight female Olympic performers in track and field and swimming in 2016. A tally of results has the boys winning 28 gold, 27 silver, 26 bronze versus the Olympic women winning 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze. The people who continue to argue against the facts don’t care about such silly things as reality; they care about ideology.

In 2017, we learned that there are lots of people rejecting reality. The trigger was John McEnroe calling Serena Williams the greatest female tennis player ever but adding that, if she played against men, she would be ranked 700th overall. Commence media outrage. When McEnroe later appeared on CBS This Morning, the hosts had their shock on full display and asked if he wanted to apologize.

Children and teens who suffer from gender dysphoria should be treated with the respect all people deserve. But if anyone is born with say a club foot, being too tall, or a gender issue, it is important to remember that it is no one’s fault. Why should girls have to assume the burden of biological boys with stronger bodies?

Those who get surgery and take hormones have the privilege of having access to medical support. Others, though, do not or cannot go that medical route. Given their male bodies, maybe they should accept that the girls shouldn’t have to pay the price for their condition because competing in female sports would be unfair. Maybe biological boys/men with gender dysphoria, regardless of the level of their transitioning, should be expected to recognize their likely physical advantages and show respect for girls/women by sitting out rather than dominating the females who have tirelessly trained and sacrificed to compete in their sports. Isn’t that sensible and fair?

Nowadays, that’s what about half of high school girls do anyway—sit out. Half of the girls’ families uninvolved in sports are subsidizing the other half. There is not one of us that does not have some disadvantage that we struggle with or that holds us back in some way. Maybe it’s not all about you?

Many states have passed laws banning so-called “transgender girls” from competing in girls’ events. But states like Connecticut are so deep blue that people will not stop and think about what is just common sense and end up either being silent or repeating the “its discrimination” argument.

The ideology is so powerful that you can find people like Dr. Eric Vilain, who advised both the NCAA and the U.S. Olympic Committee, minimize male physical dominance in order to “celebrate diversity.” To the extent males perform better, Vilain attributes that to testosterone alone and asserts it makes a difference only in a “very small number of athletic disciplines.” Vilain claims that the whole perception of trans athletes outperforming other women “is simple--that’s not the case.” The NPR article in which he’s quoted does not offer any data to support this assertion. Maybe a quick look at the Boys vs. Women website might help Vilain become more expert. Memo to Dr. Vilain: this is physical sports, not chess.

In this whole debate, feminists in positions of power are missing, when they should be defending women and girls being subordinated. It was they who forced the passage of Title IX in 1972 specifically to guaranty equal numbers and spending for male and female sports in education. For too many, mostly on the Left, feelings matter over truth. Feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, insists that gender research is “anti-American, crazy thinking to [even] do this kind of research.” The inexplicable belief that males and females have equal physical capability is sadly a sentiment I’ve encountered among some young adults.

Steinem also said, “I think transwomen, and transpeople in general, show everyone that you can define what it means to be a man or woman on your own terms.” More feelings again. A better way to think about it is what Donna Lopiano, a sports consultant, said in 2019: “I don’t know of a woman athlete who doesn’t want trans girls to be treated fairly. But the cost of treating her fairly should not come at the cost of discriminating against a biologically female-at-birth woman.”

Alan Calandro is a lifelong objective Independent with a 95% accuracy record. He’s on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Image: Boys win girls track race. YouTube screen grab.

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