Matteo: Be careful what you tell children

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Recently, I saw a video of someone who urged parents to ask their children a “simple” question in the discussion about their gender.  The question was, “Do you sometimes feel like a girl or a boy, both or neither.”  First, of all, I’m not sure how you can feel like both or neither, or like white paint drying on a white wall.  Second, if one were to subscribe to this “simple” question, there is a major problem, which is those who advocate gender being fluid have yet to define what a woman (or girl) is, so how could you feel like something that you can’t define or define as “anything you want it to be?’  

The standard dictionary definition of the word “woman” is an adult female human being.  It seems quite simple, but in this age of fluidity, the simple is made complex.  You are anything you want to be, which sounds great in a children’s story, but in reality, you are what you are.  If you are white, and you say you identify as black, people look at your strangely because their eyes don’t lie.  If you are 90, but say you identify as 20, you will also get strange looks because eyes don’t lie.  However, if you say you’re a woman, but look like a man in a dress, no one is allowed to challenge your assertion. 

Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion about male athletes competing against women and dominating women’s sports.  USA Today named Admiral Rachel Levine (a biological male who is transgender) as one of their Women of the Year.  So where did all of this come from?  The answer is activists who took over universities and realized that if they squawked loud enough they could turn fantasies into reality.  This occurred in the field of psychology.   

Psychology is the study of behavior, and theorists have postulated theories about why people do what they do for over 100 years.  Unlike biology or chemistry, psychology is not a natural science; it is a social science.  Its data comes from experiments, case studies and attempts to correlate cause and effect in the way people behave.  Since 1952, psychologists have published their “bible” for psychological conditions, which is known as the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).  It is a guide that is used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose mental disorders.  It has been updated 7 times since the first DSM was published.  In 2013, the DSM-5 was published.  In 2022, a new version of the DSM is expected to be published. 

Some psychological theories from the past, such as Freud’s ideas about sex and the unconscious have been invalidated by other psychologist over the process of time.  There are many different ideas about behavior and many schools of thought on it.  There are the schools of psychodynamics (a new term for psychoanalysis), humanists, behaviorists, trait theorists, and the newly created biopsychosocial model for studying behavior. Each group has certain ideas, but unlike geology, biology, chemistry, the scientific method fails to answer questions about psychological theories with the same kind of accuracy as the natural sciences.  The best that be achieved when we are dealing with psychology and sociology, social sciences based on hard to prove notions, is the possibility of being right when it comes to theoretical knowledge.

In 1952, in DSM I, homosexuality was viewed as a mental illness.  It wasn’t until 1973, when it was removed from the list of it being a mental illness.  At the time there was a lot of discussion among noted psychologists about this change and the idea was hotly contested.  Gender Dysphoria, a condition that involved a disparity between a person’s physiological biology and how they felt emotionally, was first introduced in 1980 as a disorder.  At the time, it was called Gender Identity Disorder.  The DSM-III-R categorized gender identity disorder into 3 types: non-transsexualism, transsexualism and not otherwise specified.  In the DSM-IV, transsexualism and non-transsexualism were combined.  The DSM-V changed the name to gender dysphoria, and it refers to “assigned sex” instead of “sex.”  The softening of the language has been viewed by many as a turning point because it is a way of classifying those who have suffered due to their gender disparities and how they are treated in society.  In other words, it’s become normalized to fit the victim mentality that permeates woke thinking.  If someone doesn’t buy into a person’s fantasy and people refer to use their preferred pronouns, accept that a person can be a man today, a woman tomorrow and God knows what the next day, these people are oppressors.  

In 2013 a twin study (probably the best way to determine if something is caused by nature or nurture) was done by Dr. Milton Diamond to determine the percentage of twins who identified as transgender.  Only 28% of the twins studied involved both identifying as transgender, meaning that 72% of the twins studied differed, which indicates that gender dysphoria is most likely not rooted in genetics.  Once again, psychology is not an exact science, so the best we can do is look at correlations.

The impact of changing psychological perspectives that conveniently allows people to claim victim status (since that is all the rage in western culture today) may be the reason why the number of people who claim to be transgender has doubled in the last decade.  What is alarming is that this mindset is particularly prevalent among young people.  According to the Swedish National Board of Health the number of cases among teen girls (ages 13-17) has increased 1500% since 2008, and a Swedish hospital has admitted to performing breast removal surgeries on girls as young as 14.  In the United Kingdom young people referred to for “gender treatment” has increased 4000% in the last decade.  

So what is responsible for such huge jumps?  FACT: In the last decade the increase in discussions about gender has increased significantly, and the more likely you are to talk about something, the more likely it plants itself in the minds of individuals, especially young minds.  FACT: Most psychologists would agree that one of the most challenging times for people are the teen years because it is a time where a person must transition from childhood to adulthood.  Bodies change, mindsets and relationships change, stress increases and peer pressure is a major aspect of being a teenager. If a child, has been bombarded with gender issues from an early age, when that child reaches the difficult time of puberty, perhaps that child might opt to think, “Hey, the source of my confusion or problems, has to do with me being born with these biological parts, but maybe it doesn’t line up with what is in my mind.”  The power of suggestion could be a significant reason why there has been such an explosion of cases over the last decade.  

As the debate rages on, we must be very careful and realize that the environment we create, especially for young children, impacts their ideas about who they are, who others are, and about the world in general.  When we influence children that the root of their problems is gender dysphoria, and it leads them to surgical procedures or hormonal treatments the consequences could be devastating, which is why the suicide rate is far higher among transgendered individuals (though those on the left claim it’s due to discrimination).  Responsible adults must take the lead and realize that the human mind is a very delicate and malleable entity, and we must be very carefully, especially in the instruction of what we tell our children so they are not harmed by misinformation.

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