Published July 1, 2021
Transgenderism escalated quickly. As it burst into the nation’s consciousness just more than half a decade ago, we were told the trans movement was about being kind to Bruce as he became Caitlyn. Now we are told that it is about supporting the sterilization and castration of children. Instead of a male former Olympian trying to live as a woman, we now have males competing as women in the Olympics.
The mutilation of children is not the only concerning part of the trans agenda, but it is the most extreme demand. We are instructed by the powers that be, from the Biden administration to Big Tech to corporate media, that “trans kids” know who they are and we must therefore support chemically and surgically remaking their bodies. Not to do so, we are warned, is to drive these children to suicide.
Yet this narrative struggles to answer many reasonable questions. Why has there been a surge of minors identifying as transgender — including many cases in which gender dysphoria appears to be sudden and socially induced, rather than innate and persistent? What about the people who regret “transitioning” and seek to “de-transition”? Are children capable of informed consent for genital mutilation?
These queries are at the heart of “Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender?” This new documentary is available on YouTube (for now, at least) and was produced by Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. The film’s creators understood the audience wants answers to these questions, and let their subjects answer them.
“Trans Mission” therefore opens with the stories of people who have “de-transitioned,” which are rarely acknowledged by corporate media. These regrets pose a significant problem for the transgender movement, which has opposed any barriers to transgender procedures, even for children. But many of the physical and psychological consequences of surgeries like castration and mastectomies are permanent.
The film features doctors and parents who share these concerns. The doctors’ concerns are clinical, noting the health risks of chemically delayed puberty, cross-sex hormones, and so-called “gender-affirming” surgeries. The parents are deeply concerned for their children and angered that the transgender movement, including therapists and teachers, validates threats of suicide as demands for “transition.”
It is far from clear that sterilizing surgeries and hormone treatments reduce suicide among those with gender dysphoria, let alone among such children. On the contrary, they include a host of health risks and irreversible changes. Giving females large doses of testosterone is not good for them, and giving children puberty blockers followed by cross-sex hormones can sterilize them, even before surgery.
These are weighty matters. The transgender agenda makes extraordinary claims and issues extraordinary demands. It declares a boy may actually be a girl, or vice versa. It proclaims children have an innate, immutable gender identity (which they may know even as toddlers) that supersedes anatomy. And it insists any claims to transgender identity (or in the case of young children, perceived expressions of such an identity) be uncritically affirmed and supported.
It’s not news that some people are, at different points in life, distressed by their bodies and specifically their sex. Such individuals should be treated with compassion and respect. But the reasonable response in such cases is not to fabricate a persona of the opposite sex, with the likely result of surgery and sterilization. It’s especially unreasonable for very young children.
It’s also not just social conservatives who are targeted. As “Trans Mission” shows, feminists and homosexual activists also have reason to resist the trans movement, which erases the distinction between the biological sexes. Many feminists, for example, are appalled by the male invasion of female spaces, from homeless shelters to sports. However, such reasonable concerns are often brushed aside or tarred as bigotry.
That’s why films like “Trans Mission” are important. This film is not the final word, but it is an important contribution to a conversation we must have, even if some would prefer suppression to discussion. In this, the tone of the documentary is an important asset. Although its subjects are sometimes emotional, this film is not shrill. It aims to inform, not to alienate.
There will, of course, be critics of this film. But trans advocates who seek to persuade, rather than intimidate, must address the questions the film raises. In particular, they must confront the problems of pushing trans ideology on children.
Even if we accepted the claim that some adults should surgically alter their bodies to impersonate the opposite sex, could we ever justify putting young children on a course of social and medical interventions that will leave them sterile and consigned to a life of potentially hazardous hormone treatments?
Compassion and kindness demand we answer these questions honestly and accurately. This is not about being nice to Caitlyn. It’s about ruinous mutilations of children’s bodies.
Nathanael Blake is a senior contributor to The Federalist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.