The point isn’t just to break down the ‘gender binary.’ It’s to break down the family in order to reshape society.
Evidence continues to mount that a concerted effort is underway between major hospitals and public school systems to indoctrinate children with transgender ideology and push harmful, sometimes irreversible, medical procedures on minors — sometimes without the knowledge or consent of parents.
The point of the indoctrination, though, isn’t only to create more “gender-nonconforming” students. It’s to break down family structures and parental authority. The goal isn’t simply to teach and encourage transgenderism in our schools. It’s to lay claim to the students themselves, over and against their parents and families, for purposes that go far beyond the promotion of gender identity. After all, you can’t very well reshape society according to your utopian vision if something as solid as a family is standing in the way.
The solution is to break down the family. Most recently, Christopher Rufo reported this week that the largest children’s hospital in Chicago has partnered with local school districts to promote a radical transgender agenda, including sexually explicit materials that push “kink,” “BDSM,” and “trans-friendly” sex toys for children.
In his customary muckraking fashion, Rufo has obtained insider documents from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago detailing a collaboration between transgender activists at the hospital and public school administrators throughout greater Chicago. The primary training document, a presentation titled “Beyond Binary: Gender in Schools,” encourages teachers and school administrators to promote “gender diversity” in their districts by affirming students who mistakenly believe they are members of the opposite sex, teaching a “non-binary understanding of gender” in classrooms, and aiming to disrupt “entrenched [gender] norms in western society” in hopes of creating a more “gender creative” world.
Don’t laugh, though. As outlandish as this might sound to most people, the targets of all this are impressionable students, many of whom are susceptible to such messages for the simple fact that they are dealing with the turbulent — albeit altogether normal — emotions and angst that accompany adolescence.
It’s worth quoting Rufo at length to get a sense of how lurid this program is. At the end of the “Beyond Binary” presentation, which was circulated to teachers in at least two Chicago school districts…
the hospital recommended a “Binder Exchange Program” to assist teenage girls in binding their breasts, a “kid friendly website for gender affirming gear,” which sells items such as artificial penis “packers” and female-to-male “trans masc pump[s],” and an “LGBTQ friendly sex shop for teens” that sells a range of “dildos,” “vibrators,” “harnesses,” “anal toys,” “trans-friendly toys,” and “kink & BDSM” equipment. The links include graphic descriptions of sadomasochism, bondage, pornography, and transgressive sex.
In addition to these materials on gender theory, Lurie Children’s Hospital has also publicly released a policy guide for school administrators, encouraging districts to adopt a “gender-affirming approach” to the curriculum; provide “gender-affirming children’s books” in school libraries; and allow students to compete in athletic events, use restrooms and locker rooms, and sleep in bunks during overnight school trips in accordance with their “gender identity,” rather than their biological sex. The hospital also encourages school districts to designate special “Gender Support Coordinators” to help facilitate children’s sexual and gender transitions, which, under the recommended “confidentiality” policy, can be kept secret from parents and families.
Rufo rightly identifies part of the dynamic here is the creation of a “school-to-clinic” pipeline. A cynic might say the motive is simply profit, since every transgender patient represents a lifetime of medical interventions and surgeries. But there is another motive, says Rufo. Transgender activists, he writes, “believe that they are in a struggle for liberation from the system of ‘cisheteropatriarchy’ — and each ‘gender non-conforming’ child is another tool in that fight.”
He’s right, but it’s even worse than that. Put bluntly, these activists are in a struggle against parents and families, many of whom oppose radical redefinitions of sex and the multiplicity of genders being pushed on their children in school.
As my colleague Joy Pullmann reported recently, parents in Illinois and Montana quickly organized community pushback to planned “drag queen storytime” events in their small towns, in one case gathering enough signatures to put taxpayer-funded drag shows for kids on this November’s ballot as a referendum item.
Another recent Pullmann piece chronicled how librarians in several Republican-leaning suburbs of Saint Louis used their taxpayer-funded positions to organize a series of “drag queen storytime” events this past June to coincide with “Pride Month,” even though they knew many local parents and residents were opposed. One of the drag performers hired by a library in Glen Carbon, Illinois, posts pornographic material online that’s available to anyone who searches his stage name, Maxi Glamour. In preparation for the events, and for the expected protests, the executive director of one of the libraries sent trustees talking points for how to deal with “community backlash.”
These might just be local events in flyover country, but they illustrate the problem in microcosm. For transgender activists, parents’ justified concerns over exposing children to sexually explicit content and transgender ideology are nothing but “backlash,” and the parents themselves are nothing but a problem to be overcome. The solution isn’t to engage parents but to dissimulate and deceive — hide the “gender transition” of children from parents, as the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago program recommends for Chicago schools, or intimidate parents with dire warnings of suicide if they don’t affirm their child’s new “gender identity” and support medical interventions.
That was the case with one courageous young woman in California named Chloe Cole, who testified this week before the California Senate Judiciary Committee. She spoke against a bill that would make the state a “refuge” for minors from other states seeking “gender-affirming care” — a euphemism for the mutilation and sterilization of children.
Cole’s story is gut-wrenching but increasingly common. In her testimony, she said she was awkward in school, had trouble making friends, and suffered from gender dysphoria and other mental health conditions. She easily fell prey, she said, “to the narrative that if I felt different, and did not want to be a highly sexualized girl, I must be a boy. I obsessed over becoming a boy. I believed that all my insecurities and anxiety would magically disappear once I transitioned. The mental health professionals did not try to dissuade me of this delusional belief.”
Cole was “fast-tracked into medical transition” after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria. In her testimony, she noted that in California a child can pick their gender identify, and if a medical provider questions that, it’s considered conversion therapy, which is illegal in the state.
“My parents were told the options were transition or suicide,” she said. “They complied because they were not offered any other treatment solution for my distress. My distraught parents wanted me alive, so they listened to my doctors.”
Cole was placed on puberty blockers and testosterone by her therapist and was approved for a double mastectomy at the age of 15.
“No one explored why I did not want to be a girl,” she said. “Who here really believes that as a 15-year-old, I should have had my healthy breasts removed, or that it should have been an option?”
Cole and her parents were lied to by the medical professionals they should have been able to trust. Instead of treating Cole, they maimed her. To her immense credit, she realized the harm that had been done to her and now has the courage to speak out. She closed her testimony to California lawmakers with a defiant challenge: “How many more children’s bodies will be destroyed before you actually listen? What is the sweet spot? A hundred? Two hundred? A thousand? SB107 will open the floodgates for confused children like me to get the gender interventions that many so regret. I am the canary in the coal mine.”
And of course it is happening online all the time, on messaging apps and social media, where major brands, Hollywood, Big Tech, and corporate media are all promoting transgender ideology. Their aim is to get between young people and their parents in order to destroy the last, sturdiest bulwark standing between them and their utopian project to reshape society: the family.
John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.@johnddavidson.