A leading social conservative Christian organization says NBC News should be "ashamed" of publishing an article that suggests parents should teach their children to reject sexual norms and accept trans-ideology.
On new year’s eve, NBC News posted an article titled “How to talk to transgender youth, according to experts and their parents.”
The article relies on advice from a trans-activist psychologist, a Rutgers professor who's also an LGBT advocate — both of whom have children who identify as either transgender or gender non-conforming — and three other parents of trans-identified children. Among other things, the article offers what it claims are misconceptions about trans-identified children and things to “avoid when speaking to trans youth and their families.”
According to the article, one thing to avoid when speaking with trans-identified youth and their families is daring to offer “unsolicited opinions and advice.”
“It’s a double whammy,” Dr. Diane Ehrensaft, the director of mental health at a gender clinic in San Francisco, California, and author of The Gender Creative Child, was quoted as saying. “Because you’re also criticizing the parents at the same time who have supported their child in being that person.”
Additionally, Ehrensaft says, people should avoid “asking questions or making statements that objectify the teen.” Specifically, the article warns about asking questions related to the child’s genitals, medical treatments, and surgeries.
Melinda Mangin, an associate professor in education at Rutgers University, claims that asking questions could objectify the child.
The third no-no, according to the article, is “misgendering” the children — referring to a child by the pronoun associated with his or her biological sex and not their "gender identity."
The article goes on to detail how a New Jersey mother lets her child identify by the pronouns “they” and “them.”
It also instructs people on using new transgender-inclusive pronouns, and encourages asking people which pronoun they use.
The piece also advises parents to train their children to get accustomed to the idea of having trans-identified classmates by teaching them to disregard societal norms. Mangin suggests asking children questions like: “If it’s OK for girls to wear pants, is it OK for boys to wear a dress?”
Michelle Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians, voiced her concerns with the NBC News article in an email to The Christian Post.
“Unfortunately, NBC has relied on Dr. Diane Erhensaft, a psychologist who is a leading American transgender ideologue who exhorts parents to teach their 3-year-olds that some girls have penises and some boys have vaginas,” Cretella wrote.
So-called misconceptions the article claims people believe are that “sex and gender are the same," that "gender dysphoria is a mental illness," and "gender identity is either male or female.”
“Some kids also will say ‘I’m agender,’ meaning, ‘I don’t have a gender. I think of myself as a human being, I don’t use those categories at all,’” Ehrensaft said.
Peter Sprigg, the senior fellow for policy studies at the social conservative advocacy group Family Research Council, told CP that NBC News should be ashamed for “publishing such a thinly-sourced and one-sided report on transgender youth.”
“Although citing ‘experts’ and ‘parents,’ this entire article of over 2,000 words cites only three parents and two ‘experts,’ ” he wrote in an email to CP. “What it fails to disclose, however, is that both Ehrensaft and Mangin are also parents of transgender or gender non-conforming children.”
Sprigg added that the article contained the views of five mothers and no fathers. And that only one of the sources in the article is a psychologist.
He stressed that the article is “hardly enough to make a scientific case for affirming this radical agenda.”
“Why did the reporter not reach out to Kenneth Zucker, Ph.D., and Susan Bradley, M.D., authors of the 440-page definitive textbook on Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents?’” Sprigg asked. “Why did she not contact Dr. Lisa Littman of Brown University, who for an August 2018 scholarly article interviewed not five parents but 256 who expressed grave concerns about the recent phenomenon of ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’ that is strongly influenced by social pressures?”
Sprigg concluded by stating that some of the advice laid out in the NBC News article illustrates the “logical inconsistencies of the transgender movement.”
“For example, it cites the pro-transgender Ehrensaft explaining that ‘sex refers to a person’s reproductive system,’” Sprigg wrote. “Why, then, were transgender activists so outraged at a news report that the Trump administration plans to define the word ‘sex’ in non-discrimination laws precisely that way?”
Sprigg points out another inconsistency in one of Ehrensaft’s arguments. At one point in the article, she states: “Your gender lies not between your legs but between your ears.”
“However, the very next sentence uses the absurd term ‘gender assigned at birth,’” Sprigg notes. “Since doctors look between a baby’s legs at birth, rather than trying to read their minds, it seems clear it's ‘sex’ they are looking for, not ‘gender,’ and that it's ‘identified” at birth, not ‘assigned.’”
Cretella, who is one of the more prominent critics of the push to label children as transgender, told CP that the NBC News article contained a single fact: “the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not synonyms.”
“The definition of ‘gender’ was expanded in the 1950s and 1960s by doctors (called sexologists) who wanted to justify performing and profiting from so-called sex reassignment surgery,” Cretella wrote. “The sexologists knew that it was impossible to change a person's sex so they needed to invent something else that they could claim to be treating. They decided to claim that they were aligning the body with ‘the social expression of an internal sexed identity.’"
Cretella says there is “one problem” with that argument.
“[T]here is no evidence of anyone being born with an ‘internal sexed identity,’” she wrote. “[G]enetics, of course, proves that we are all born with an innate immutable sex.”
Cretella contends that since sex and gender are no longer synonyms, people should stop using the word gender when referring to people.
“People are conceived with a sex; sex declares itself anatomically in the womb; sex is recognized at birth. People do not have an additional ‘thing’ in addition to sex called a ‘gender,’” Cretella said. FRC’s guide on how parents should react to the transgender movement can be found here.
The American College of Pediatricians policy statement on gender dysphoria in children can be found here.