A trans-activist author recently gave a talk in California advising parents on how to “love and accept their gender-diverse children and teens” which included advice such as cutting non-supportive extended family members out of a child's life, and perpetuating the transition-or-suicide myth that coerces reluctant parents into consenting to their child’s medical transition.
Rachel Pepper, author of the 2008 book The Transgender Child, was invited by the Davis Parent University to speak at the event held at Davis Senior High School on Jan 11. During her speech, Pepper told the assembled audience that withholding sex change treatments from children is never a “suitable option” and implied that doing so could result in suicide.
“Do not ever think that withholding care, or telling a teen to wait until they are 18 and of age to move forward, are suitable options,” said the gender activist. “If you find that you are resistant to providing congruence options for your teen, and the clock is ticking, keep coming back to love and ask yourself, if you would prefer a suffering child or even a dead one to a child who could receive gender affirming care.”
The event page advertised Pepper as being "expert on gender identity development in children and teens" and a "sought-after public speaker and educator." But plenty of experts disagree with her stance on suicide. There is no good quality evidence to support the transition or suicide myth, with many experts suggesting that the claim is driven by activism, not rigorous scientific assessment.
Furthermore, several nations have halted the practice of experimental child sex changes after systematic reviews of the evidence for affirmation, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones for minors showed there is no evidence to support such invasive treatments.
Both Sweden and Finland now treat these vulnerable young people with psychotherapy and England is expected to follow suit in the coming months on completion of an independent review of its youth gender service.
The National Academy of Medicine in France warns clinicians that it is not possible to distinguish a durable trans identity from a passing phase of an adolescent’s development, meaning irreversible interventions come with a high risk of regret.
During the Q & A session of the event, Pepper was asked how to help “skeptical teachers and extended family members support a very young trans kiddo?”
Pepper warned that “toxic” extended family members were a danger to the child.
“So sometimes families have to write a letter sort of explaining if you're not on board, and you don't have to approve but if you're not on board with being polite or being caring when we see you, we will not be able to have you in our life,” was the gender expert’s solution. “And those are hard decisions for, for people to make but it is about the safety of their child.”
Writer Wesley Yang took to Twitter to compare this to the cult of Scientology.
“This is a cult. They are telling us what they are every day. It is like having the president and the head of the AMA and the AAP and the AFT being members of Scientology and lecturing us about past lives and mandating kids start auditing in second grade,” tweeted Yang.
When asked about what percentage of people identify as transgender, Pepper gave some shocking statistics. The expert cited studies that show transgender people make up approximately 1.9-3 percent of the population but that for children and adolescents, that range can be as high as 15-19 percent. The reason Pepper gives for this astonishing disparity is that “kids just have different language and the different ability to expand the binary,” and “live life in much more color.”Neither Pepper nor the host raised the possibility that the huge difference between age groups very likely is down to social contagion as it has long been known that adolescents, particularly teenage girls, are the very demographic known to be most susceptible to such contagions.
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