A fad can be healthy, like the hula hoop in the 1950s and the Harlem Shake in the 2010s. However, when driven by some form of self-loathing, a fad can be destructive. Clearly, the transgender phenomenon is such a trend, taking its toll on boys and girls who come to imagine themselves as the opposite sex. Standing up to edgy behavioral tendencies like being transgender takes courage. With the well-being of America’s youth at stake, fortunately, some are stepping forward.
Alabama has boldly blocked medical treatment for minors in an effort to affirm transgender identity. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed a new law in April that makes it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison to prescribe hormones, puberty blockers and medical procedures for people under 19. The law went into effect May 8 when a federal judge declined to issue a stay while a lawsuit to overturn the ban is pending.
Threatening doctors with jail for treating patients in a certain way is extreme, but so are medical remedies that can irreversibly alter the physical and mental well-being of individuals before they develop the ability to take life-changing decisions.
The transgender idea shows all the intense enthusiasm of a fashion. A 2021 Gallup poll found a surge in generations of Americans claiming a sexual orientation unmatched by their biological sex. Among “traditionalists” born before 1946, only 0.3% identify as transgender. Among “Generation Z”, those born between 1997 and 2002, 1.8% claim “trans” status. Although they represent only a small part of the American population, their proportion measures six times that of their elders. As a famous cohort of nearly 6% of Americans who identify as LGBTQ, their trend line is rising sharply.
If gender swapping is a way to boost self-esteem by joining a fashionable minority, it’s failing. A study titled “Suicidality Among Transgender Youth,” published in March by the National Institutes of Health, reports: “Data indicates that 82% of transgender people have considered suicide and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality being the higher among transgender youth. … Fifty-six percent of young people said they had already attempted suicide and 86% said they were suicidal.
Despite the heartbreaking toll, medical professionals unsettled by the explosion of social phenomena are being silenced, with at least 20 states banning health care providers from offering sexual orientation reassignment treatment to minors.
Is it likely that human nature, which has been characterized by binary gender identity with rare exceptions for all of recorded history, has suddenly entered an era of metamorphosis? Barely. More likely, it’s the allure of social fashion that’s forcing a growing proportion of teens to reinvent their gender.
Certainly, transgender people deserve the same legal protections – and the same compassion – as any vulnerable class of Americans. It is nevertheless evident that the trans trend fails to save teenagers who are tormented by their own inner dynamics and pushed to the brink of the collapse of existence. Measures to limit medical treatments that only fuel gender confusion among young people are long overdue.