October 11 was National Coming Out Day in the United States. President Joe Biden issued a statement expressing his support for all LGBT people: “I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are.”
The President’s words of acceptance and affirmation for transgender people are backed up by more and more state and Federal governments, companies and medical organisations. It’s becoming heretical to point out that young people can be harmed by transitioning.
So it’s refreshing to read dissenting voices from mums and dads across the world who believe that their children should not adopt a transgender identity in their teen years. Scores of them have been published on a new Substack group, PITT, or Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans.
MercatorNet spoke with one of PITT’s organisers, Josie Armstrong, about “coming out” as a heretic. “Josie” is a pseudonym for a mother on the West Coast who is concerned about her son’s orientation. All of her contributors use pseudonyms, because publicity could harm their jobs, their relationship with their children, or even their marriages.
Most of them are American mothers, but the site is posting more and more narratives from other countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and France. “We are of all faiths and political stances but these things don’t come up or matter since we only have one goal, and that’s saving children,” says another organiser.
Are they transphobic?
Ms Armstrong bristles at the word. “Every single one of us has been called ‘transphobic’, but that’s a ridiculous term used to silence us from asking legitimate questions about actions and beliefs that directly threaten the health and safety of our children.”
She insists that her members support the right of adults over the age of 25 to modify their bodies if they wish. But children are different. “We are not scared of people living their lives. We are scared of our kids doing irreversible damage to their bodies and their minds based on a self-harm oriented belief system that has been whole-heartedly adopted, in a cult-like, unquestioning way, by our cultures and societies.
“That’s terrifying. And it’s not transphobic to be scared of it.”
In fact, it hasn’t been smooth sailing lately for trans activists and supporters of trans-affirmative medical treatment for children. Sceptical voices are beginning to break through the “affirmative” chatter in the media.
Keira Bell, a detransitioned British woman, is fighting a legal battle which has had world-wide publicity to restrict transitioning for children and teenagers. In Finland and Sweden, health authorities are backing a far more cautious approach to gender dysphoria. Recently the transwoman doctor who treated celebrity trans teen Jazz Jennings, Marci Bowers, said that alternative voices are being shut out.
“There are definitely people who are trying to keep out anyone who doesn’t absolutely buy the party line that everything should be affirming, and that there’s no room for dissent,” Dr Bowers told Abigail Shrier on Bari Weiss’s Substack blog. “I think that’s a mistake.”
What people need, says Ms Armstrong, is the testimony of parents who are grappling with gender-dysphoric kids.
“The narrative in the mainstream media is that it’s right-wing religious fanatics that are cruelly trying to stop kids from being happy, and that parents that don’t affirm their kids are responsible for their eventual suicide. The ‘would you rather have a dead son or a living daughter’ terrorist threat has been completely debunked but is still regularly used by the mainstream media”.
But when family and friends discover the truth, they are astounded, says Ms Armstrong. “They have never contemplated what trans really means, beyond just thinking it’s important to ‘be kind’. When they hear our side, they are horrified; their eyes are opened; and they are shocked that we are going through this.”
Ms Armstrong believes that the transgender movement is a bit like the hysteria of the dot.com boom. Eventually it will collapse under the weight of its own hype.
But that’s not much consolation for families wrestling with trans issues at the moment.
“I’m afraid it will leave a lot of people harmed and families damaged. I’m still hoping that my family will not be one of the casualties,” she says. “The damage to our kids’ generation will live on in their psyches for their whole lives, just like victims of the 2008 recession or war survivors with PTSD.”
Genspect, an international alliance of parent and professional groups which advocates for parents of gender-questioning young people, provides some technical support to PITT.
“What we want is to change the narrative and to help people lucky enough to not be embroiled in this trans ideology disaster to see what we and our kids are going through,” says Ms Armstrong. MercatorNet will cooperate by republishing some of the parents’ essays over the next few months.