The beautiful daughter of some dear friends recently mystified them with the announcement that she no longer identified as a girl. Against their patient counsel, she has proceeded to take hormonal and surgical steps to go to war with her body.
Before 2012, there was no scientific literature on girls ages eleven to twenty-one ever having developed gender dysphoria at all. Guess why? But of
course, that has changed dramatically.
Abigail Shrier enlightened us in her 2020 book, Irreversible Damage (highly recommended), with some simple, incontrovertible facts:
“Between 2016 and 2017 the number of gender surgeries for natal females in the U.S. quadrupled, with biological women suddenly accounting for…70 percent of all gender surgeries. In 2018, the UK reported a 4,400 percent rise over the previous decade in teenage girls seeking gender treatments. In Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the UK, clinicians and gender therapists began reporting a sudden and dramatic shift in the demographics of those presenting with gender dysphoria—from predominately preschool-aged boys to predominately adolescent girls.”
The politely termed, Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, now coming to a teenage girl near you, can be demystified in three easy pieces. These pieces should make sense to any parent that has raised a girl. It is not difficult.
#1 Teenage girls dislike their bodies. What adolescent girl do you know who is comfortable in her skin? This goes for girls who sense themselves becoming sexually attractive, because of unwelcome gazes and embarrassing approaches from guys, as well as for those who don’t believe that they are attractive enough, because they feel ignored. Going or coming, there is an unholy wish to be someone different than they are. If it is magnified by a hard experience, this discomfort can harden into hatred.
#2 Peers draw a visceral response from the teenage heart. The felt need to be with and to identify with peers is quite like a drug. Not only to be with friends is the teenage urge, but also to be like them and liked by them. So to the degree that social media is their world, it will shape them.
#3 The culture is on a rampage. As the media and academic treatment of the rather irenic Shrier, quoted above, has shown, there really is no questioning allowed in cultural engines’ grinding destruction of the image bearing of gender. Antipathy to God’s gift now infuses the air our youth breathe.
This is a perfect storm, a perfectly destructive tornado that is liable to suck in any teenage girl who has lost hold of something solid to hang on to, and land her in the Oz of self-hatred.
Of course, explaining it doesn’t mean that it is easy to deal with. There is a lot of patient work ahead of parents—as their hearts are breaking—who want to help such daughters. But it pays as a parent to at least not be lured by the trans-agenda into enabling treatments for which you will be eventually be severely resented.
The trip back for our youth, again, not necessarily a quick one, also comes in three parts. To summarize, the first is detox from the media massage. The Social Dilemma (2020) is a great flick, for example, to watch and discuss, to help expose the kind of manipulation we are swimming in. Second, they need a strong relationship with their parents to overcome the overwhelming call of peers (Proverbs 1:8-10, 4:1-4, 6:20-23). This is the time as parents (actually the time begins in the quiet years before this), to give up other things to concentrate on your relationship with them, to do all you can to remain a trusted voice for them. Third, these girls need to understand how our body shame comes as a direct consequence of our great Fall in turning from God’s loving gaze (Genesis 2:25, 3:7-8). That is, they need good theology to not get blown about so much.
Because there is a way to reconcile ourselves to our bodies. As I have often spoken about, it comes through the One who allowed His body to be hated for our’s to be loved: “You who once were alienated…He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by His death…in order to present you above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:21-21).