Note: This is Part One of a two-part series highlighting the “Trans America” panel at the third annual National Conservativism Conference. You can read Part Two here.

Scores of attendees to the National Conservativism Conference in Miami, Florida, gathered recently to hear four experts speak on a panel titled “Trans America.”

What followed served as a wakeup call to Americans of all stripes, from both political parties, on how “gender ideology” has already irreversibly harmed thousands of children nationwide and will harm hundreds of thousands more if it isn’t stopped. If we don’t stop it.

First to speak was Jay W. Richards, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family and William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“Gender ideology is so extreme, so anti-human and anti-body and anti-biology that people tend to think that they must be misunderstanding this,” Richards said. “But this is a major and civilization-determining reality because of its effects on children” (emphasis added).

Richards explained that gender dysphoria, the clinical term for the condition where an individual who has a psychological feeling that they are in the wrong body, has been around for a long time. However, he said that historically, it has been limited to pre-pubescent boys and 40-year-old (or older) men.

Recently however, there has been a rise in what has been termed “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD). This term is used to describe adolescent and teenage boys and girls who for all their childhood, never displayed symptoms of gender dysphoria. But suddenly, paraphrasing Richards, these teenagers come home from school and declare to their parents that they think that they are the opposite sex.

How common has ROGD become?

Richards explained:

  • In 2007, there was one pediatric gender clinic in the United States. There are now over 100, plus an additional 300 Planned Parenthood clinics which distribute cross-sex hormones.
  • Tavistock Clinic, which until recently was the United Kingdom’s only dedicated gender identity clinic (it has since closed down) saw a 4,400% increase in youth with ROGD from 2009 to 2019.

“We’re clearly dealing with some kind of profound social contagion and it’s affecting children and it’s coming at them from two directions,” Richards said. “It’s coming at them from schools, teachers and school counselors, and from social media.”

Richards said that for kids, rough estimates are that 65% are first introduced to this sexual identity confusion by influencers on social media.

“We have moved from a very rare psychological symptom that we’ve called gender dysphoria to a social phenomenon that is fed by a particular ideology and is fed by educational institutions and enabled by a technology that we’ve not had before,” Richards said.

“And those things together create the tipping point in which we have this social contagion.”

Richards noted that the terms “sex” and “gender,” over the last several decades, were used interchangeably and connotated the same thing. But recently, there has been a subtle shift in our language where the term “gender” has been replaced with “gender identity.”

“Sex … has been replaced with something that is entirely infertile, and psychological, and immaterial and subjective,” Richards said. “Does that mean that gender ideology denies the sexual binary? That is exactly what I am saying.”

He concluded: “If you think that gender ideology is the claim that biological reality is trumped by entirely immaterial and subjective ideas we have about ourselves inside our head, you have got it exactly right.

“It is a fundamentally anti-life, anti-human ideology. It’s coming for our kids. And we have to do something about it” (emphasis added).

Dr. Miriam Grossman is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. She has also been fighting the lies of gender ideology for over a decade.

Her remarks to the National Conservatism Conference were particularly poignant.

“Not too long ago, the parents that I saw in my office were concerned about the hookup culture and ‘friends with benefits.’ They worried their teen daughters might get pregnant or infected with herpes,” Dr. Grossman began. “Those were the good old days.”

“Now the parents that I see are asking me for Xanax for their panic attacks and insomnia. Their daughters want to grow beards and have their breasts removed.

“I am reporting to you from the front lines of a war on gender ideology. I am not a journalist. I am not an academic. I am not part of a think tank. I am a medical doctor who is in the trenches helping families with children who believe their bodies are terrible mistakes.”

Dr. Grossman then laid out various extreme and graphic measures that some of her patients take to make them appear more like the opposite sex.

She went on to blast so-called “gender affirming care,” which the American Psychiatric Association (APA) insists psychiatrists like Dr. Grossman provide, as an “experiment” on children.

Gender affirming care includes both “social transition” which includes the changing of one’s name and pronouns, as well as “medical transition,” including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and “sex-change” surgeries.

“Instead of psychotherapy that slowly and gently explores a child’s difficulties, and provides emotional healing, it calls for interference with normal development followed by permanent and drastic alteration of her healthy body,” Dr. Grossman said.

“There is no high-quality evidence that gender affirming care leads to long-term positive outcomes or decreased suicides. While there is conclusive evidence of serious harm and lifelong suffering.”

The doctor said that gender affirming care places young children in the driver’s seat, no matter how young or troubled he may be.

“Allowing him to pick his name, his pronouns, his clothing, and his bathroom – this is all called social transition. Likewise, decisions to block puberty, to take cross-sex hormones and undergo surgery are based on the child’s or teenager’s wishes,” Dr. Grossman said.

“That is not practicing medicine. That is rubberstamping a child’s self-diagnosis.”

Dr. Grossman then added that gender affirming care is based on the following two assumptions:

  1. Regarding gender, children and adolescents know best who they are and what they need.
  2. That it is possible to be born in the wrong body.

“These beliefs have not been proven. There is no evidence that they are legitimate,” Dr. Grossman said.

“Nevertheless, for the past 10 years, affirming care has been widely accepted in the U.S. as the first line treatment for gender dysphoria. This would not be accepted in any other area of medicine.”

Dr. Grossman then listed just some of the medical problems that can develop because of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which include but aren’t limited to:

  • Bone density problems
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Blood clots
  • Early menopause
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Effects on brain development

Dr. Grossman then highlighted the testimony of one woman who transitioned, and then detransitioned. This woman had undergone a bilateral mastectomy and the removal of her uterus and ovaries.

In her testimony, this woman says: “How do I love myself again? … I don’t know what happened to me and I’m just so angry. I’m so sad and I don’t know how this happened … If I just would have waited and let myself heal. I can’t have kids. I’m left to accept the scraps of the life I could have had.

“There’s no fixing it. As a woman who thought she was trans, I went all the way, as far as one can go. And then I woke up and realized that I made the biggest f****** mistake of my life. I’m constantly asking, ‘How did this happen to me?’”

Dr. Grossman concluded with her own words: “This woman is a victim of the medical experiment called gender affirming care. Her suffering was 100% avoidable.

“Silencing and intimidating doctors like me, who believe our patients will improve through waiting and healing. That approach is now deemed unethical. I cannot accept it. And neither should you.”

It’s increasingly important for parents to be intensely involved in their children’s education. Parents must be aware of what their children are learning in school.

If you’re worried about what your child is being taught in school, check out the following new resource from Focus on the Family: Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.

Related articles and resources:

Back to School for Parents

Transgender Resources

Photo from Shutterstock.