"Maybe She’s Just Kinda Gay."
Growing up in a Baptist home near Dallas Texas, there were few things I dreaded more than a Sunday morning. Sunday morning meant brushing a week’s worth of knots out of my hair and being forced into a frilly dress for the entire day. I never felt like I fit in with the other girls at church. They liked lip gloss, perfume, nail polish and talking about boys. I liked riding my bike, playing video games, Dragon Ball Z and rolling down the big dirt pile in my grandma’s front yard. I wore baggy shirts, basketball shorts and hated anything pink. When I’d play make believe with my brothers, I always wanted to be a boy character because girls aren’t supposed to fight. When I would say my prayers, I would secretly ask God to make me a boy instead. If anyone had told me that I could actually turn into a boy back then, I would have traded anything for it. The teasing from the other girls was awful and most boys didn’t want to be friends with a girl. Going into puberty was hell and I felt ugly every single day as a preteen. I wanted to crawl out of my skin and into a body that could enjoy traditionally masculine activities and still fit in. I was depressed and didn’t understand why I was so different.
Lately, we’ve all noticed the massive rise in transgender youth. You can’t scroll on your phone, watch the news or simply walk around any major city without hearing something about it. According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute in 2022, “Approximately 1.6 million people ages 13 and older—0.6% of the population—identify as transgender in the United States….This includes 1.4% of youth ages 13-17 (about 300,000 youth).” This is a huge leap compared to the 0.7% of 13-17 year olds that the Williams Institute had found in their 2017 study. Why is this happening and what should be done about this? Those are the big questions. As of now, there is a huge push towards fast tracking these children into gender transition in order to keep them from becoming suicidal. When you frame it as the only two options are transition or die, the choice seems obvious. Is this really the best method for protecting them though? Is there any data to back up the claim that transitioning children is the best way to improve their mental health in the long run? There is no substantial evidence linking gender affirming care for minors to a decreased rate in suicide. All of the current studies used to argue on behalf of medically transitioning our youth are small, short term, lacking a control group and/or frequently have other major flaws. Youth suicide rates have only been going up alongside the rate of trans identifying youth and the acceptance of transgender people all together.
Personally, I do believe that there is a small percentage of folks out there struggling with gender dysphoria. I was one of them. I’m not trans though, I’m gay. A 2018 study posted in the National Library of Medicine states that “80% of children who meet the criteria for GDC, the GD recedes with puberty. Instead, many of these adolescents will identify as non-heterosexual.” This is just one of many studies showing evidence that the vast majority of adolescents who experience childhood gender dysphoria will simply grow out of it while going through puberty and/or come to the realization that they are homosexual or bisexual.
I am a woman. I’m a somewhat masculine woman, but a woman none the less. I shop for my clothes in the men’s section, have thick calluses on my hands, go shooting, play drums and sometimes forget to put on deodorant. I spend my mornings in a warehouse and the rest of the day delivering heavy boxes for a living. I’m in love with a woman and I have learned to love myself exactly how I am. I’m alive and healthy as an adult because rather than being chopped up and pumped full of hormones or puberty blockers, I was given the chance to realize that being a woman doesn’t mean living in a pink and feminine box.
I was a tomboy who grew up into a gay chick and there are so many others out there just like me that are being told they are trapped in the wrong body. They are being told that medically reconstructing their bodies with drugs and a surgical blade is the only way to end their hurt and confusion. They don’t need any permanent and life altering procedures to live a long healthy life. They need to be told that they are perfect and loved exactly as they are. It takes time to figure it out, but it will get better. Tell the feminine boys that they can play with a barbie and still be a boy. Let the tomboys know that they are awesome and being a girl doesn’t mean you can’t roll around in the dirt. Let the extremely small percentage of those who continue to experience gender dysphoria into adulthood make their own decisions when they are old enough to fully consent to permanent and life altering procedures. Don’t butcher the gay kids before they have a chance to grow up.
“New Estimates Show 300,000 Youth Ages 13-17 Identify as Transgender in the US.” Williams Institute, 21 June 2022, williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/transgender-estimate-press-release/
Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu, et al. “Gender Dysphoria in Adolescence: Current Perspectives.” Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Mar. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5841333/