Are they old enough to know

The last sentence of the first chapter of Dear Mom and Dad and the last sentence of the book end with a quote from a Hank Ketchum’s classic comic strip character Dennis the Menace. “I wish I was three again knowing what I know now”. The idea being that I would have made different decisions about my life’s direction. I don’t think there are many of us in this world who wouldn’t agree with that statement. We all wish from time to time that life had a rewind button. I bring this up because of an article I read recently in Hillsdale College’s publication Imprimis.

The article was written by journalist and author Abigail Shrier and titled Gender Ideology Run Amok. Naturally, when I saw the title, I felt compelled to read the article in its entirety, something I don’t often do with any article in any publication. But this one I did read all the way through and I’m glad I did because it raised some serious questions about the way decisions are being made on how gender identity is being addressed in our country’s mental health community today.

Shrier points out that in 2007 there was only one pediatric gender clinic in our country. Today there are hundreds. Her question is: How did we get to this point? It’s an important question. The fact that she says gender issues have become a big issue in our schools doesn’t really address how and why it has become a big issue, just that it has become a big and destructive issue which it is. I have my own theory and ideas about it which you can, no doubt, imagine.

Let’s get to the root of the problem, which in my opinion is our educational system and the group that has the biggest influence in in it … the teacher’s unions in general and the National Education Association in particular. The last year and a half of the Corona Virus epidemic has brought that groups true colors into focus. It’s my belief that while a large number of teachers really did want to be teachers with the best interest of the children they teach at heart, there are just as many, if not more who have become teachers with ulterior motives at heart.

A teacher who is not mentally or emotionally capable of addressing the mental or emotional issues they are confronted with in the classroom will inevitably look for a scapegoat to deflect attention away from themselves. Enter into the classroom a child that is struggling with their personal identity. Instead of taking the time to really help the child and the family it is far easier to pin the problem on the current hot button issue … gender identity. That way the problem for the child becomes a way for the teacher to avoid looking incompetent and instead look like a pioneer in childhood gender identity  solutions, which of course the teacher is not.

The fact that I refer to wishing I was three again does not imply that I wish I could have lived my entire life as Georgia. It does imply that I wish could have understood why I didn’t feel “normal” much earlier than I did. The fact that I struggled with feelings of unease in being who I was does mean that in many was I going through what most adolescents go through. I feel for the children today because they are not being allowed to be children. They are not being allowed to develop their own self-image. At the first sign of an identity issue, it’s not being treated as part of the normal growing up process. No, it’s immediately identified as a gender issue that must be treated with the current fad treatment. They and their parents are instantly steered into mostly irreversible decisions.

When I made that decision to transition it was with an adult mind and after more than a few years of self-examination. I could never have made that decision intelligently or with a clear understanding of self as a teenager and I sincerely belief that scant few, if any at all, teenagers today are any different.

In my presentations to college classes about gender identity I try to make a point of saying that gender identity is a matter of learning to know who you are at your core and that transitioning isn’t going to solve any problem that isn’t solved beforehand. I liken it to something I heard repeatedly in AA. Alcoholics have a phrase for people who think that if they just change their location, move from New York to Los Angeles, it will solve the problem that caused them to drink. It’s called “a geographical”. It never works and it doesn’t work because the problem is not external… it’s internal. All you do is drag the issue along with you to a different location. Fix it where you are before moving on.

I think the same principle applies to gender identity. Adolescents are historically known for emotional issues. Encouraging them to believe that it’s because they were born in the wrong body is like a geographical. Psychologists and educators need to understand that they must quit looking to gender identity as the root of the problem. That solution will ultimately create even worse problems in the years ahead. All the gender identity solution is, is today’s way to deflect from a problem as old as mankind … adolescence.

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