Not so 'harmless' after all

Friday, April 13, 2018
Denise Shick - Guest Columnist

Forty-five states have laws regulating tattoos on minors ... but doctors are allowed to perform double mastectomies on girls as young as 16, without parental permission, if they've been on puberty blockers for a full year.

Have you heard this seemingly inexplicable idiom? He cut off his nose to spite his face. At first blush it seems almost incomprehensible. Why would someone cut off his nose?

The idea behind the bizarre phrase is that one should not carry one's anger or revenge so far that he harms himself through his spiteful actions. For example, it is unwise of a child who is angry at his parents' discipline of him to try to get back at them by breaking his bedroom furniture. Such an action harms the angry child more than his parents. He has metaphorically cut off his nose to spite his face.

In California we are seeing a sadistic twist on this weird idiom. Some state legislators and physicians are pushing legislation that could lead to children's body parts being removed to spite traditional values. I'm sure that sounds too grotesque to be believed, so let me explain.

Forty-five states have laws regulating tattoos on minors ... but doctors are allowed to perform double mastectomies on girls as young as 16, without parental permission, if they've been on puberty blockers for a full year.

But that's not all. One of the two pending California Assembly bills (AB 2934), according to the California Family Council, would "prevent a counselor from helping an adult client explore all options to address questions over sexual orientation, an author from selling a book challenging gender identity ideology, and even a church from hosting a ticketed conference addressing issues of sexuality and identity." As for the other bill (AB 2119), the CFC explains it would mandate that "foster care kids struggling with transgender feelings [must] have access to 'gender affirming' counseling, puberty blocking drugs, and sex-change operations."

So, here's a legitimately possible scenario: Four-year-old Tiffany, a rather rebellious little girl living in foster care with a loving Christian couple, tells her friends she thinks she's really a boy. Word of Tiffany's statements makes its way to someone in authority. Now Tiffany's foster parents are required to take her to gender-affirming counseling, where Tiffany is told her feelings are wonderful and she should follow them. And Tiffany's foster parents are told they must not interfere.

With encouragement from the "professionals," Tiffany becomes more vocal about being a boy – so a few years later, doctors administer puberty-blocking drugs. Then, while Tiffany's female peers are beginning to develop as adolescent girls, Tiffany – who has begun calling herself "Timothy" – appears rather androgynous. So, next, the doctors place Timothy on hormone-replacement therapy.

"Timothy" begins to look and sound more like a boy, but the transformation is far from complete. Timothy is now 16 and has been on puberty blockers and hormone therapy for more than a year. But she is not yet satisfied. So she declares she wants her (small because of the hormone treatments) breasts removed. Despite her foster parents' objections, the surgery takes place. The next step will be for doctors to fashion a penis to attach to her body. By age 17, the transformation is complete; Tiffany has become Timothy – at least on the outside.

But then, by age 18, Timothy – who biologically remains a female – is finding life as a male is not as fulfilling as anticipated. Despite all the hormones and the surgery, Timothy still doesn't feel fully male. But "he" certainly doesn't feel female either. Instead, Timothy just feels isolated, as if she is living in her own universe with bystanders nearby but unable to enter.

Timothy tries to remember what life was like as Tiffany, but that was so long ago. But it's more than just time that is inhibiting her memory. She doesn't realize it yet, but the Lupron that blocked her entrance into normal puberty is starting to dull her memory. She also doesn't realize yet that all those puberty blockers and hormone treatments have rendered her infertile and made her more susceptible to cardiac arrest, stroke, diabetes, and various cancers.

Timothy then gazes in the mirror at the scars on her chest and ponders: Perhaps she made a mistake all those years ago. Perhaps she didn't know enough back then. Perhaps she really is Tiffany. Perhaps she shouldn't have rebelled. Perhaps she should go back.

Timothy also didn't know that a "University of Birmingham Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility found 'no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective .... Research from the U.S. and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex.'"

All those things Tiffany/Timothy didn't realize. But now it's too late. With the help of deluded legislators and physicians, she has cut off her (metaphorical) nose (and other literal parts) to spite her face. And that's much more than a harmless idiom.

Denise Shick is the founder and executive director of Help 4 Families, a Christian ministry that compassionately reaches out to family members and brings understanding of the emotional and spiritual issues that families face when a loved one is gender-confused.  She is the author of several books, including "My Daddy's Secret," "When Hope Seems Lost," and "Understanding Gender Confusion – A Faith Based Perspective."

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