Parents of teens who have suddenly decided to change their gender are discovering there's an army of cultural, social, medical, and even religious forces that are keeping them from helping their children.
A relatively new diagnosis called rapid-onset gender dysphoria is convincing mostly girls who have never before had problems with their sex to suddenly want to become boys. Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatrics says that's what happens when traditional teen angst meets a culture that celebrates sexual confusion.
"It is an adolescent who is doing his or her job of trying to figure out who they are, and they latch on to this false identity," she describes.
But parents desperate to rescue their youngsters are finding that friends and schools are encouraging the transitions; state laws are making it impossible to find counselors willing to address the underlying mental issues; and Planned Parenthood will get the children started on hormones – without, of course, even telling the parents.
"Society is actually separating these kids from their safety nets," Cretella explains. "It's literally going out after these kids, isolating them, allowing them to self-diagnose, and then putting them on this medical pathway."
And by the time the children realize that the sex change won't deliver on any of the promises society told them it would, it's often too late, says Dr. Cretella.
"Now they are stuck with a permanent 5 o'clock shadow, a male-sized Adams apple, a deep voice, and [find themselves] infertile and without breasts," she laments. "They are angry and permanently scarred."
One of the first, if not the first research paper on rapid-onset gender dysphoria appeared as a news story on the website of Brown University in August 2018. That news story was removed a few days later from the school's website over "concerns about research design and methods."