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  • Beth Lavin

Gays Against Groomers: Facts, Fiction, and My Journey

Now, before you ask why I’m doing activism with Gays Against Groomers, let me explain why I chose to become a member of the Arizona Chapter. I’m a Jewish lesbian living in Tucson, Arizona. However, that’s not what I base my entire identity off of. I’m a retired sheriff’s deputy out of the Seattle area. I’m a baby boomer. I served honorably in the U.S. Army. But most importantly, I’m a human being that is passionate about keeping children safe and protecting their innocence. I grew up in the '70s and '80s – what a great time to be a kid! We played outside until it got dark out or until Mom would scream at the top of her lungs that dinner was ready. I knew at a very young age that something was different about me. I played baseball and street hockey with the boys. I played with my G.I. Joe and my favorite game was "cops and robbers.” I collected G.I. Joe dolls while my sister had her Barbies and her makeup. When my parents took me to the park, I would see the boys take off their shirts and throw the football around. I wanted to do that, too. But when I asked my mom if I could take off my shirt, she would rightfully say, “Absolutely NOT!”


Basically, I was a girl who was a “tomboy.” But what did that really mean to me? Did I want to be a boy? At that time in my life, it sure seemed like the boys had better games, cooler toys and had way more fun. I didn’t even have any idea about what "gay" was – I was a kid! Even at a young age, I would sometimes struggle with the feelings I was having towards girls. I didn’t truly understand it. But there were times where I would think, "Wait, this isn’t right…there’s something wrong with me!" My mom would take me to her tennis club and we’d walk into the women’s locker room together. Some of the women would yell out to my mom, “You can’t bring your son in here!” My unflappable mom would simply tell them that I was her daughter and continue on. That’s when those feelings of emptiness and confusion started making me sad. As a kid, I had no idea what to do with my feelings and now people outside my family were calling me “him,” or “he.”


At that point, I didn’t want to be a boy. I just wanted to be me.


Adolescence came and I had my first real “girlfriend” at age fifteen. We often talked about feeling confused about what we were doing. We wondered, "Do other girls do this?" There was no internet, no social media, and no trusted school counselor to reach out to. During that time, my parents sent me to Florida to visit my grandparents. I forgot that I had left a note from my girlfriend in the back pocket of my baggy jeans.


My mom did my laundry and found the note.


I had no idea that when I left, this would be the turning point in my life that would forever change me and change the direction of my life. After two weeks in Florida, I returned home, happy to be back and ready to start the school year. My dad picked me up at the airport. I thought it was strange that my mom wasn’t there. My dad was quiet and reserved, which is so unlike him. As we were driving back home, he told me that he and Mom are concerned that I have a “mental problem.” I looked at him, confused, and said “Dad, I’m fine, why are you saying that?” Dad stayed quiet during the rest of the ride. When he didn’t take the exit for our house, I asked him where we were going. Dad told me that he was taking me to see a social worker to deal with my “emotional problems.”


What?!


Then, like a ton of bricks, I remembered I left that note in my pocket of the jeans that my mom had washed. I was overcome with anxiety, and I started to cry. Dad turned into a parking lot, and I saw the dreadful sign on the door of the building, “Mental Health Services.” We went inside. We met with a female social worker and thank God, the first thing she said to me was “Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and change you like your parents want, I’m just here to help you get through this rough time.” She told me that my parents wanted to send me to live on Kibbutz in Israel for six months, hoping that will change me. This was a time when AIDS was in the news every day, and gay men were dying. There was so much confusion. Needless to say, my homelife was terrible. I ran away from home and lived with a friend and her mom. I still went to school, but at age seventeen I enlisted in the Army and left home for good. It took several years, but my parents finally realized that they loved me no matter what my sexual preference was, and they accepted me for who I was.

I am thankful that my parents didn’t try to force me to be a boy or go to a medical doctor to change my gender, like we're seeing today. When I was in the Army [1981-1991], it was a crime to be gay. If you were found out, then you got kicked out of the service with a dishonorable discharge. Times have changed since the '70s and '80s! After the Army, I became a police officer. I did that for twenty-three years, and I saw time and again how children growing up were exposed to new lifestyles and trends. Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z. What’s with that alphabet stuff? And now the gay community wants to be known as LGBTQAI+?


I did not sign up for this.


Gays Against Groomers: Facts

Now that you’ve read my story, it’s not even close to the pain and misery some kids are experiencing today. Let me make it clear that I do not hate drag queens or transgender people! A misconception that people have thrown at our organization is that we hate anyone that identifies as trans or a drag queen. It couldn’t be any farther from the truth!

Gays Against Groomers Mission Statement:


A non-profit organization of gays against the sexualization, indoctrination, and medicalization of children under the guise of LGBTQA+


According to the National Institute of Health, adolescence is a crucial time for identity and psychosexual development in young people with gender identity concerns. The outcomes of GDC have been discussed in terms of its persistence and desistance. For most children with GDC, whether GD will persist or desist will probably be determined between the ages of 10 and 13 years, although some may need more time. Evidence from the 10 available prospective follow-up studies from childhood to adolescence (reviewed in the study by Ristori and Steensma28) indicates that for ~80% of children who meet the criteria for GDC, the GD recedes with puberty. Instead, many of these adolescents will identify as non-heterosexual. (Steensma et al), interviewed adolescents with different outcomes of GDC (persistence or desistance). The adolescents mentioned social environment, the anticipated results of bodily changes and first romantic and/or sexual experiences as central factors in the desistance or persistence of GD. Unfortunately, politics has infiltrated the health and well-being of children who are questioning their identity. Some doctors will start hormone therapy and puberty blockers on children as young at eight years old, sometimes without their parent knowing. For instance, in Washington State, current law removes the rights of a parent if they do not want their child to transition. If the child runs away, there are “transitioning homes” for the kids. This is abuse and mutilation, and it’s incredible government overreach.


As an example, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, long acknowledged as a foremost authority on gender identity issues in children, (Singal, J. 2016), has also been a lifelong advocate for gay and transgender rights. However, much to the consternation of adult transgender activists, Zucker believes that gender-dysphoric pre-pubertal children are best served by helping them align their gender identity with their anatomic sex. This view ultimately cost him his 30-year directorship of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.


As you can see, our organization is crucial in order to protect the innocence of children. If you are under the age of eighteen, you should not be taking puberty blockers. If you are under eighteen, you should not be going to a drag show or a drag queen story hour! We believe in common sense and reality.


Let me ask you this:

Would you take your child to a strip club so they can watch scantily clad (or naked) performers twerk and grind on other patrons or each other? Would you take them to a “stripper story hour” so that nearly naked women (or men) can read them books while shaking their breasts or genitals in their faces? I hope the answer is NO! Children need to be left alone from strangers and protected by the good people in their lives who love them.


No doctor, health care worker, social worker, teacher or other “trusted adult” should be pushing a child to make a decision about changing their sex. Gender-confused minors should be treated with therapy and compassion, not chemicals and life altering surgeries.

During the 2023 Pride Parade in Seattle, there were naked men and women allowed in the procession. We all saw the videos on social media. The most disgusting thing I saw was an elderly male, completely naked with his full penis exposed. As a woman walked by with a ten-year-old girl, the man stared straight at the child, with his full erection on display. This is against the law! It’s called “Indecent Exposure." This is where the politics played a role in allowing this. I have several friends that are Seattle police officers. They were told by their commanders to be “hands off” if there are naked people during “Pride” celebrations. No arrests for indecent exposure. In today’s world, who in their right mind would bring a child to a pride parade? Parents! Enough!

We are taking ten steps backwards in our community. For the gay and lesbian activists that worked their asses off to get us marriage equality, protection at work, and more – Thank you. I cannot thank you enough. I’m sorry that some of you are all probably rolling in your graves, knowing that your hard work is being erased and co-opted by an agenda that goes against everything we stood for.


The backlash from within the community is in full-swing. This ends now.



Sources:

28. Ristori J, Steensma TD. Gender dysphoria in childhood. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2016;28(1):13–20. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]


Singal J. How the fight over transgender kids got a leading sex researcher fired. New York Magazine, Feb 7, 2016. Available https://acpeds.org/position-statements/gender-dysphoria-in-childrenat: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/02/fight-over-trans-kids-got-a-researcher-fired.html.

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