Doctors in the United States observed a four-fold increase in adolescent girls receiving gender transition surgeries from the year 2016 to 2017. In Great Britain, the increase for the last decade was an astounding 4,400%. In her book released in August, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” Wall Street Journal reporter Abigail Shrier investigates why.
Psychologists and researchers have failed on a mass scale to study the causes behind such a surge, Shrier said. While many have ignored the trend, however, Shrier has been writing on the topic for two years, talking with the real people who represent those numbers and the systems leading to the spike in gender dysphoria.
Every generation of teenage girls falls prey to societal pressures, Schrier argues. While female desires to be beautiful, loved, and popular are consistent throughout history, the subsequent trends that result in an attempt to fulfill these needs are ever-changing. In the ’80s, an eating disorder known as bulimia took hold, spurring an influx of girls heaving until their calories disappeared from their bodies. This unfortunate physical and psychological phenomenon was popularized not by the sudden natural realization within so many the tactic of throwing up to lose weight, but rather it grew out of a misguided search for happiness, perpetuated by people and institutions promising weight loss as an answer to growing depression and anxiety.
Transgenderism has exploded among young girls in a similar manner in the last few years, and — much like the esophageal burning caused by the treacherous eating disorder — the effects are often irreversible.
Shrier’s respectful handling of the sensitive subject establishes credibility for her claims. She never denies the existence of true gender dysphoria. Rather, her work in identifying the institutions behind the increase in diagnoses seeks to clarify how the craze is separate from the genuine condition. The distinctions between trensgender adults and so-called transgender children embodies her acceptance of the condition as something legitimate apart from its recent distortion for use as a tool for troubled teens.
In assembling stories of those who have seen a loved one succumb or have personally succumbed to the transgender craze, Shrier showcases the real consequences behind the movement and recognized trends in young girls’ development of gender dysphoria, detailing their experiences with their transgender lifestyle.
Intense encouragement from sources outside of the family served as an influential force throughout every heartbreaking testimony in Shrier’s book. She argued that the most powerful institutions, like social media and education, go beyond imposing the idea that transgenderism is an inherently good thing. Rather they consider cisgenderism, or the state of one’s gender corresponding to their biological sex, is a bad thing. Shrier provided the example of Benji, who was formerly woman-to-man transgender. After her first-hand experience with these instutions, she emphasized the decision to transition is never made solely by the child in question.
“Your guidance counselor, social worker, doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, parent, school teacher, told you that this is a good idea…This is not something that you came to the decision on your own.”
With all these institutions working together, Shrier intelligently analyzes the factors that have led to an intense reaction by today’s youth, revealing the heavy hand progressivism holds on young people.
Public education serves as one of the biggest proponents of transgenderism among adolescents. Classrooms across the country have become centers for gender education, which Shrier points out is far more radical than many parents know. Teachers, school administrators, and various speakers set students on a quest to determine their gender. From a young age students are instructed their gender is separate from their biological sex assigned at birth.
Far from the lessons of tolerance, love, and acceptance that used to be taught, teachers now actively encourage alienation from families. In line with the left’s push to make the state the student’s family, teachers demonize students’ parents and home life, encouraging students to place their trust in schools instead. Shrier writes that teachers see schools as an anti-bullying environment where students can act differently than they do at home.
This often includes changing one’s name and pronouns, taking drugs, and even receiving surgery. If a parent questions a child’s gender-identity mission on religious grounds, Shrier said many educators consider it as spiritual abuse.
Parents are often completely unaware of their child’s transgender identity until it’s too late. Back in my own high school days — a mere four years ago — the school nurse required written parental permission to provide ibuprofen for my headache. Now, students in some states can undergo transgender surgeries during school hours before their parents ever suspect a thing.
Deception looms in areas beyond education, too. Shrier’s reporting reveals the appalling willingness of so many in the medical field to avoid the conversation regarding corruption within the realm of gender identity. The coalition between government, media, science, and education has capitalized on a free pass to indoctrinate as few outside of these closed-off institutions are aware of the rising rates of transgenderism.
Transgender influencers on social media use posts, videos, and blogs to explain to children how to hide their gender change from family members. Many transgender children report first hearing about trasngenderism online. Activists often lure children in with the promise of happiness, something most teenagers are in desperate search of. Influencers on every platform — most distinctly Tumblr and Youtube — promise the elimination of anxiety and depression if they start binding their breasts and taking life-altering drugs.
And it can work for a little while, too. Many young girls find when they initially “come out” as trans, they feel overwhelmed with support and celebration. Children once viewed as painfully forgettable finally become accepted, even if having to pretend to be someone they’re not in the process.
“We cheer as teenage girls with no history of dysphoria steep themselves in a radical gender ideology taught in school or found on the internet. Peers and therapists and teachers and internet heroes egg these girls on,” Shrier wrote.
For lonely and isolated teenagers, the online transgender community often becomes their primary source of love and comfort. And this tends to wear off on other students, Shrier said. The amount of children who now identify as transgender because of the potential influence of peer pressure has risen significantly, highlighted by jarring statistics.
“Nearly 70% of the teenagers belonged to a peer group in which at least one friend had also come out as trangender. In some groups, the majority of the friends had done so,” Shrier wrote.
The ageless proclivity to conform is only compounded by virtue signaling. Many activists pressure those undergoing transition to avoid speaking to cisgender people, including their own parents. Sex change for these people becomes associated with goodness, such as thinness is seen as the ultimate good for those suffering from anorexia. The result of such pressure has been an explosion of young girls identifying as transgender despite not experiencing any feelings of gender dysphoria earlier in their childhood.
All these girls faced problems akin to so many teenagers and, after seeing their friends’ sudden burst of happiness, thought they could chase the same feeling. After a little while of living in a body completely unrecognizable, children typically find themselves just as depressed, but now they have committed irreparable damage to their physical selves and, more often than not, to their mental health and relationships.
Every generation of teenagers feels awkward, rejected, lonely, depressed, and anxious. Yet no other generation has experienced such a rise in gender dysphoria. According to Shrier, this is largely because therapists rush right to sex-change hormones and operations rather than addressing the perennial problems behind so many gender conversions. Would a social worker simply agree with anorexic patients when they call themselves fat? Of course not. The social worker would help the patient understand his unachievable, misplaced idea of happiness in his weight. If therapists would do their jobs correctly, they could help patients discover their current path to happiness is distorted.
Shrier writes that the transgender adults she spoke with were among the most thoughtful and kind people she had ever met, but their experience is vastly different than that of children today. Their childhoods were paved with gender dysphoria despite not having the resources available to today’s youth. The majority of today’s transgender children rarely feel the same natural dysphoria until outside influences get involved.
A nation of happy and healthy children begins at home, and Shrier thoroughly pealed back the layers behind the transgender craze to reveal those civil and social institutions actively preventing such a state. As far gone as some may be, Shrier offers a message of hope for those who have gotten caught in the transgender craze’s mighty grip. Her call-to-action demands parents act now. The earlier they can stop their children from exploring a world they’re utterly unequipped to understand, the better they can address the issues leading them down that path.
If parents don’t open their eyes and push back against the institutional deception present before them, the fundamental alteration of the minds of children — and specifically young girls — will continue to thrive. And such damage could be, as Shrier has demonstrated, irreversible.