My last post gave an overview of a pending Enough Light blog series about sexuality and gender issues. If you missed that post, I’d suggest you take a look as it explains the what and why of these posts. This is the first post and I will review and interact with a book:
Who cares about this book? Whether you are a parent or not (I’m not), this timely book needs to be read NOW by anyone who cares about our children and young people. It is a societal issue because children grow up to be…adults, and we should all be concerned about the future adults of society!
While the book title and subtitle is accurate, this isn’t only about our daughters but our sons too, because an entire generation is being sacrificed on the altar of a profoundly disturbing social experiment and ideology. Concerned and dissenting voices are being silenced and marginalized, rights of parents trampled upon, and common sense has gone out the window.
It is disturbing that in a so-called democratic and free society that aggressive tactics are utilized to promote this gender ideology while any other view (even based on science and research) is muzzled. The author Abigail Shrier is by no means a religious or social conservative! In fact, a point made throughout the book in various ways (direct and indirect) is that many of the concerned folks and dissenting voices (that have difficulty even being heard!) are definitely not religious conservatives (whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim) and are otherwise progressive or liberal with their views about sexuality.
The book has 227 pages divided into 11 chapters, plus a bibliography and footnotes. It is an exceptional work of investigative journalism. Shrier interviewed parents of girls with rapid onset gender dysphoria, presents case studies, explains how an ob-gyn and public health researcher stumbled upon this new gender dysphoria, interviewed therapists, considered science/medicine and standards of care, assessed public school gender curriculum, watched transgender YouTube content (that is sadly very influential), and more. Footnotes in the back of the book provide documentation.
You can not walk away from this book thinking Shrier is making much ado about nothing or has exaggerated the extent of it. While things may be worse in certain areas of the U.S. (like California) this gender ideology is nonetheless spread throughout our society.
That may sound disheartening, but the final chapter presents 8 practical ideas for how parents and other concerned adults can counteract the gender confusion that has infiltrated our culture. Earlier in the book she helpfully points out, for those of us who grew up in the mid to late 20th century, how much things have changed for children and young people today, in order to help us better understand some of the social dynamics and associated ways of thinking that can be difficult for us to grasp.
Why should a Christian read this book? While it is not written from a Christian perspective, we need to better understand what is going on in our society. Likely, you will eventually be personally effected by this in some way. When I blog about Nancy Pearcey’s book Love Thy Body you’ll see precisely how Christianity has “the answer” so to speak and provides a much more coherent view of the body. Certain views of the mind and body that underlie transgenderism, mentioned in Irreversible Damage, are addressed by Nancy Pearcey.
To make some essential distinctions… Irreversible Damage is not about transgender adults or about “gender dysphoria” – that is, a very rare disorder and diagnosis (less than .01 percent of the population) that emerged in early childhood, afflicted mostly males, and fairly often they outgrew it. Rather this is about whole groups of females in middle schools, high schools, and colleges that are coming out as transgender. This is a “sudden” thing, meaning that prior to this the girls had no signs or symptoms of the rare “gender dysphoria” diagnosis. It is like a peer contagion, craze, or fad. But unlike other fads, which can be harmless, this fad is anything but – with young women irreversibly damaged by it.
As the book documents, if a young female thinks she is transgender, according to the prevailing gender ideology, she must be immediately and totally affirmed in it. Her parents can be kept in the dark. There can be no genuine exploration or therapy! Rather her personal self-diagnosis must be accepted without question, and she can be fast-tracked into taking puberty blockers, cross sex hormones, wearing a binder (to flatten her chest), and even having a double mastectomy.
Often these young girls have communicated with “affirming” educators or watched YouTube videos by transgender “stars” who coached them in what to say in order to get what they want. Some of these things are indeed irreversible, infertility a typical result, and long term affects unknown. Drugs are given that have not been approved by the FDA for such use! This process can begin when the teen is underage, and once they begin, it can be hard to stop moving forward in it.
We are giving permanent, life and body altering treatments to…teenagers…who are still developing physically and mentally and prone to take risks. This is insanity! Mental health professionals can’t do what they usually do, that is explore and ask questions, discover possible underlying causes, and then decide on treatment. Doctors can’t make a diagnosis. Instead they must accept the patients own self-diagnosis and prescribe the treatment the patient demands! Because if they don’t, they are trans-phobic or a hateful bigot. If they aren’t totally affirming, they may lose their job. An “affirming-care” standard has been adopted by almost every medical accrediting organization.
I could go on and on sharing disconcerting things from this book. I will share more below, but in case I have lost you, and you aren’t much of a reader, the author Abigail Shrier recently gave a 30 minute talk that essentially reviews key content from her book (and some updates too):
I’ll wrap it up with a couple things for those of you interested enough to keep reading! ONE about the schools and children…that makes this book relevant for ALL our children and teens.
Children are being indoctrinated into this way of thinking younger and younger, as young as 5 years old. Such as by public school curriculum in California (or by other groups and books that try to reach children) and California curriculum is influencing schools in more and more states. Kindergartners are taught that there is not only boy and girl, but a bunch of different gender options, and actually introduced to terms such as: trans, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid, etc! (I dare say that some of my readers may not understand all these terms!) As the grade level increases, it goes deeper, moving from gender identity and more into sexuality.
The rationale behind this, in the schools at least, is anti-bullying. Of course, we are all against bullying, but this has gone off the deep end. Kids can be bullied for a variety of reasons, and we should simply be teaching kids civility and kindness, and that singling out others for a difference in their physical appearance, their religion, their sexuality (etc) is not kind and will not be tolerated. But with the issue of gender/sexuality “bullying is used an excuse for a thorough indoctrination in gender ideology and the insistence that transgender students must be affirmed or suffer steep psychological toll.” (page 72)
Shrier further states that: “Where a measure taken to fix a problem goes so far in excess of remedy, it becomes clear that simple remedy was not primarily what the fixer had in mind. This is the sense in which so much gender identity and sexual orientation education, delivered with the tireless passion of priests, is pretext for an ulterior aim. There is simply no good reason for…” (pages 72-73) After that she summarizes some things kids and teens are taught, and there is just no sensical reason for it! Again, Shrier is not a religious or social conservative, but is nonetheless troubled by the indoctrination. Kids and teens are pushed into things or given ideas that they never would have had.
And in all irony, with a rationale of anti-bullying, anyone that doesn’t hold to this gender ideology and shares concern is…bullied, intimidated, marginalized, silenced!
The second, wrap up point, is feminist concerns. Secular feminists (and Christian feminists of which I consider myself) are concerned with what they observe. Despite women gaining many opportunities in the 20th century, society is failing our girls and young women. For many of the girls and young women who identify as trans, it is not so much that they want to be a male, as that they just don’t want to be female! It is a frightening prospect to them. Internet porn is brought up in the book. (An issue that highly concerns me, but no one ever wants to talk about! Too many parents keep their head in the sand.)
“Violent porn not only terrifies young girls about men and the prospect of sex with them, it is changing the expectation and behavior of boys.” (page 154) A therapist Shrier mentioned in the book says that in some cases porn played a big role in a girl deciding to identify as trans.
And in the last decade trans rights have beat girls’ rights. “If the last decade has witnessed a rise to prominence for transgender Americans, it has also seen the demotion of women and girls. Biological boys identifying as girls are already overpowering the very best high school girl athletes across the country…All of which is to say, girls have likely noticed that they’ve lost favor in the broader culture. Their private spaces turned coed; their sports records stolen; their protestations of unfairness shouted down as bigotry.” (pages 151-152)
Well, I will stop now. Again, this is part of a series on gender and sexuality.
To follow Enough Light, see the right column for options.