Casualties of the Sex Wars

Does Normalizing Queer and Trans Ideology Hurt Kids?

Not long ago many people said, “Who cares what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms?” The implication was that aberrant sexual behavior affected no one but the participants.

Now we know otherwise. Aberrant sexual behavior has gone public, and while adults are affected, it’s children who are suffering most.

In separate articles, Rod Dreher and Jay Richards describe the harm done to children in the name of aberrant sexual ideologies—and Dreher and Richards are talking about physical harm, in addition to spiritual and emotional harm.

In “Can You Normalize Queerness Without Pedophilia?,” Dreher traces the normalization of sexual practices that would have been called perversions just a few decades ago. He quotes extensively from a 1984 article by Gayle S. Rubin, in which Rubin promotes anything-goes sex and criticizes the “sex negativity of western culture” that frowns on promiscuity, homosexuality, sadomasochism, transvestitism, pornography, prostitution, transsexualism, fetishism, and “those whose eroticism transgresses generational boundaries.”

Read that last bit again, and don’t be fooled by the classy-sounding syntax. She’s talking about adults having sex with children. Elsewhere in the article Rubin gets more explicit, calling “boy-lovers” victims of a “savage and underserved witch-hunt.”

“She demands that all sexual nonconformists be affirmed,” Dreher says.

Why should we care what Gayle Rubin said nearly four decades ago? Because her article, “Thinking Sex: Note for a Radical Theory for the Politics of Sexuality,” is a “founding text” of Queer Theory—a sort of blueprint for the movement. And, as Dreher says,

Gayle Rubin and her vision have prevailed. The only thing this founding mother of Queer Theory has not won is legitimation for pedophilia.

It could well be next.

Queer Theory is rampant in schools, Dreher explains, and pedophilia the logical result. He writes:

Defenders of the groomer status quo—that is, grooming children to embrace genderfluidity and non-standard sexual identities—may protest that they’re not teaching Queer Theory, but this is a dodge. Whenever you teach about, say, the Genderbread Person, you are teaching Queer Theory. This insanity has been quite popular in schools for years, to break down little children.

....The treatment of small children as sexual beings by schools is part of the process of breaking them down.

He explains, step by step, exactly how our schools are sexualizing children, isolating them from their parents, and using secrecy and blame to control them.

These steps are precisely the ones psychiatrists say are used by sexual predators during the grooming process—that is, the process that teaches children to not object when they’re sexually exploited by adults.

Dreher says he’s not arguing that teachers themselves necessarily want to sexually exploit their students. They’re groomers in the sense that they’re fostering the mindset that enables children to be sexually exploited.

“Did we have to end up here?” Dreher asks.

Does Queer Theory mandate the sexualization of children? I have no doubt at all that most gays and lesbians strongly reject pederasty. I would even suppose that many of them are concerned about the rapid spread of gender ideology in schools, especially in the lower grades (though I suspect they are afraid to say it out loud, for fear of professional and personal consequences).

Reading Gayle Rubin’s seminal essay, though, and seeing that most of what she advocated for came to pass in the four decades since she published it, and that there is currently a massive push by activist educators, media allies, and the Democratic Party to sexualize children by introducing this aspect of Queer Theory into schools—I’m wondering exactly how we are supposed to stop the final barrier (that is, the stigmatization of adult-child sex) from falling.

And it only gets worse, Jay Richards argues in “Biden Doubles Down on Radical 'Gender-Affirming Care' for Kids.”

Worse than pedophilia? Yes.

The White House recently sent a letter to all state attorneys general saying the federal government will, as Richards puts it, “make trouble for states that protect kids from ghoulish interventions based on the myth that they are ‘born in the wrong body.’” Further, Richards says,

Biden released a video message reinforcing the point. “To parents of transgender children,” he insisted, “affirming your child’s identity is one of the most powerful things you can do to keep them safe and healthy.”

That’s a fog of cliches and euphemisms. After all, what is “gender-affirming care”? Wesley Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, points to a guide just issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs. It explains what the Biden Administration means.

What does the Biden Administration mean? According to the HHS guide, minors with gender dysphoria should be given not only social affirmation and puberty blockers (both of which are reversible), but also hormone therapy (which is only partially reversible) and “top” and “bottom” surgeries (which are irreversible).

“An acquaintance describes this as the “school-to-sterilization pathway,” Richards says. He writes:

If they’re not put on this pathway, most kids who suffer gender dysphoria will grow out of it. Some 61% to 98% of these kids will naturally reconcile with their sex after going through puberty. In many cases, puberty itself may be the cure for gender dysphoria.

But that healing can be thwarted if a child is socially transitioned at home and school, and put on puberty blockers and then cross-sex drugs. The further kids go down this pathway, the less likely they are to turn back. And the greater is the cost for those who detransition.

That’s why some states have started to take notice. The best response to date is Arkansas’ SAFE Act. It prevents doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones, or performing surgeries on minors to “affirm gender identity.” That is, it stops doctors from sterilizing children before the age of consent.

Biden opposes this. You read that right. The White House thinks that minors can consent to their own sterilization.

I know a woman who had her tubes tied at age twenty-one and then came to deeply regret it. She takes responsibility, but also questions why the doctor agreed to perform a sterilization on someone so young. Should someone far younger be encouraged to make decisions far more drastic and permanent?

On the one hand, we have psychiatrists saying that our brains aren’t fully developed until age twenty-five. On the other hand, we have a seven-year-old on track for chemical castration because he feels like a girl. These are not logically compatible states.

The question of whether normalizing queer and trans ideology hurts kids has a clear answer: sexual exploitation, mutilation, sterilization. By any sane definition, that’s hurting kids.

PhD, is an editor for the Discovery Institute and the author of four dystopian novels and many shorter works, both fiction and non-fiction. Before turning to editing, she taught as an adjunct English and humanities professor. She and her husband homeschooled their three children.

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