Hurting parents amid widespread deception
Having been on both sides of the issue, Smith now tries to help others understand that when people criticize transgender ideology they are not helping when they portray these parents as horrible, unloving people, when in fact most have been misled.
"Perhaps some parents in the media are doing this for narcissistic reasons and I do think they should be criticized for putting children out there and using them," she explained.
"But so many of them are suffering silently themselves and they need to be talked about with some compassion because they've been lied to just as I was lied to."
Michelle will turn 18 in August at which point she will be able to make all medical decisions for herself, even if she is on her parents' insurance. The insurance company is not legally required to notify them of her choices. If they were to cut her off financially she could easily obtain relatively inexpensive testosterone at some Planned Parenthood offices in one or two visits, Smith lamented. And if she were to go on Medicaid the government would pay for transition services.
Should she enroll in a four-year college, most schools require students to have a health plan if they're not on their parents' policy, and transition services are often covered in those school health plans.
"And I firmly believe that if she would go to a four-year college right now she would not only be widely affirmed in her transgender identity but that there would be many clubs that would welcome her with open arms. And she would very quickly be on testosterone and it would not cost her a penny," Smith said.
"There's no gatekeeping going on with this, none," she asserted, speaking of the entire industry of transgender medicine and therapy.
Meanwhile, the government continues to caution the public about the side effects of taking testosterone.
A March 2015 safety announcement from the FDA warns on its website that "prescription testosterone products are approved only for men who have low testosterone levels caused by certain medical conditions. The benefit and safety of these medications have not been established for the treatment of low testosterone levels due to aging, even if a man’s symptoms seem related to low testosterone."
"FDA has concluded that there is a possible increased cardiovascular risk associated with testosterone use. ... Some studies reported an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or death associated with testosterone treatment, while others did not."
The federal agency requires manufacturers of approved testosterone products to conduct clinical trials to address whether or not an increased risk of heart attack or stroke exists among users of these products.
A giant medical scandal
Parents who have gone through this regard what is going on now as a serious medical scandal, especially given that so many doctors are afraid to speak up against medicalizing and performing surgeries on youth based on a scientifically unproven identity and feelings.
"Think about it. A doctor who sees that children who are being given dangerous puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, irreversible surgeries, is scared to say anything because it will harm them [professionally]. I challenge anyone to think about any other practice in medicine that is quite like this," she said, aghast.
In addition to the lack of oversight, proponents of gender-transitioning youth as essential health care, have framed those who oppose them as rank bigots. Most egregious, Smith said, is the American Academy of Pediatrics, which, along with the Endocrine Society, now endorses these pro-transition procedures and hormone treatments on minors.
Unless people can somehow see through the fog that radical activists have overhauled the professional guidelines and engineered a takeover of the medical field and its public relations apparatus, the general public and parents in doctors' offices will believe in what the expert associations stipulate with great confidence.
"Most condemningly, that's what parents like me are told. When we go to a pediatrician and everything we are told from vaccinations to all kinds of recommendations is always accompanied by 'The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends' blah blah blah," Smith explained.
"We have been raised as parents to trust them as an authoritative source. We are to assume that their recommendations are based on science and reflect consensus in the medical community and that they are a deliberative body of pediatricians. Never in a million years did I realize that they have committees run by self-interested ideologues that put the stamp of approval on the executive committee and are then disseminated to the masses."
The thousands of doctors who are members likely have no idea about what is going on, yet still refer troubled parents to their local gender clinic or an endocrinologist for hormones, she said.
Some endocrinologists who are resisting the transgender push within medicine, doctors with whom CP has spoken, have expressed similar things.
In December, a CP report unpacked the risks and harms of Lupron, a hormone blocker used to treat prostate cancer patients and sex offenders, which is now being given to youth with gender dysphoria. Despite lack of FDA approval for that purpose, three physicians explained that doctors are usually so preoccupied with their own practices or are unaware of what is going on, they ultimately defer to the guidelines and send patients to a transgender specialist. This is a standard situation and a weakness in the endocrine community, they said.
"That, to me, is not just scandalous that it's happening but is directly compounding the harm to our kids," Smith said.
"That is lying to parents. And then to now have the only association that speaks truthfully, the American College of Pediatricians, be publicly labeled as a 'hate group'? That makes me so, so angry," she emphasized.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, is an outspoken critic of transgender medicalization. She has frequently called it institutionalized child abuse. The president of ACP, Dr. Quentin Van Meter, is also a vocal critic of transgender medicine and has called it a "terrible fraud."
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the group that much of the mainstream media references frequently and uses as their go-to resource for their reporting on extremist organizations, has labeled the ACP a "hate group."
Yet before her awakening, when Smith was Googling for information as a concerned parent, there was no question as to whom she should and should not trust. Today, Smith speaks with anyone who will listen, regardless of their political or religious affiliation. The harms to children are simply too great not to, she said, and the dangers are ubiquitous.
"This nightmare could be the life of any parent. And even if this isn't being taught at your child's school, it's certainly online," she said.
"And just like with a lot of tragedies that happen to people, sometimes we like to say 'Oh, that could never happen to me.' Never in a million years could I have imagined that this could happen to me. And it did. I think all of our young people are vulnerable to this happening to them."