Father recounts how school ignored him, undermined his ability to help trans-identifying daughter

LGBT activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018 in New York City. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A father of a transgender-identifying daughter who has autism is speaking out about how the public school system undermined him in his attempt to help her.

In a Monday USA Today op-ed, Jay Keck, who is the leader of the Chicago chapter of Parents of ROGD Kids explained how the school his daughter attended refused to listen to his concerns and misled him about the legal status of how school personnel are to treat students who self-identify as transgender.

In 2016, Keck's then 14-year-old daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, announced she was really his son.

"She first came out as transgender to her school, and when she announced that she was a boy, the faculty and staff — who had full knowledge of her mental health challenges — affirmed her. Without telling me or my wife, they referred to her by her new name. They treated my daughter as if she were a boy, using male pronouns and giving her access to a gender neutral restroom," he explained.

"When her mother and I first found out, our feelings of helplessness and astonishment made it difficult to get through each day. But I feel my daughter is a victim more than anything else."

When Keck made it known to the school during a meeting that he and his wife wished that the school refer to their daughter's legal name at all times, a social worker who was there said that they had the right to make that request. He later learned, however, that his request was ignored and that school staff kept calling his daughter by a male name.

He was subsequently told that the school could not honor his request because "the hands of school personnel are tied and that they had to follow the law."

"But there was no law, only the Obama administration’s 'Dear Colleagues' letter of May 2016 that said schools need to officially affirm transgender students. Just three months later, in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas blocked the guidelines from being enforced. And in February 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidelines, leaving it to the states to set their own policies."

In large part because of his daughter's school, Keck's daughter, who is now 18, is thoroughly convinced she is actually male, and believes that taking testosterone might be what she needs in order to be her "authentic" self, the Chicago-area father continued.

"She turned 18 in late June and life-altering, dangerous testosterone injections are just one “informed consent form” away. She can turn to any one of Illinois’s 17 Planned Parenthood clinics for cheap and easy access. No extensive mental health assessment will be required, and there will be nothing I can do to stop her," he said.

Keck is also a part of the Kelsey Coalition, a nonpartisan organization comprised of parents whose children have been harmed by trans-affirming policies, protocols, and laws and are now advocating for reforms to protect young people from medical and psychological dangers of gender identity medicine.

The group recently petitioned U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to raise awareness about the harms of hormonal treatments and gender reassignment surgeries being performed on gender-nonconforming youth. The Kelsey Coalition is continuing to ask the federal government for an investigation into a $5.7 million National Institutes of Health research grant that was awarded to four pediatric gender clinics in 2015 for a five-year study, where children are being given these treatments with no control group.

Resistance to the medical and surgical interventions on gender atypical youth, however, is presently growing around the world.

Last month in England, Kirsty Entwistle, who until last October was a psychologist at the Gender Identity Development Service in Leeds, accused clinicians at the Tavistock clinic — the lone gender clinic in the U.K. — of misleading young patients, saying they are “making decisions that will have a major impact on children and young people’s bodies and lives ... without a robust evidence base.”

Entwistle penned an open letter that was published online to Polly Carmichael, who runs the Tavistock clinic, explaining that children at the clinic who had traumatic events in their early years were being set on a course of gender transitioning and medicalization “without having explored or addressed their early adverse experiences.”

In a Monday column titled "Gender confirmation? They're castrating children," political scientist Jennifer Oriel urged medical practitioners to stop endorsing the notion transgender activists routinely further, that kids can be born in the wrong body.

"Instead of affirming the belief of a child who thinks they are in the wrong body because their gender isn’t a perfect match for their birth sex, the medical profession should exercise its duty of care and dispel the delusion," she said.

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