When I was a young teen, I dressed in all black.
Seriously, I mean all black. My friends were mostly punks and goths, albeit probably not very legit ones. We thought we were super “real,” tragically in-your-face authentic with our baggy Hot Topic pants and our heavy eyeliner and those horribly uncomfortable dog collars with the chains that pinch your skin something awful but you’re way too cool to feel pain. You might even claim that you like pain. In fact, I once had a friend who told everyone she liked to cut herself to release her inner turmoil, when in reality she’d just scratch her arm with the tip of a safety pin and call it masochism. How very hardcore.
I don't expect you to get it. Today, at 29, I don't even get it.
By my senior year, the novelty of my monotone wardrobe and the thudding rock music that I honestly didn’t even like had worn off. I made a few new friends in a whole new circle, met a cute guy who didn’t look like he’d just landed a guest spot in a My Chemical Romance music video, and traded my absolutely atrocious black-and-red plaid pants with the useless straps for a pair of fitted blue jeans and a belt with a rhinestone buckle. Lightened up on the eye shadow and let the black dye fade from my hair. My mother breathed a well-deserved sigh of relief.
My point is simple, and one that most humans on the Earth Planet can understand: as a teen, I didn't have a clue who I was. I was a preacher’s kid, an oldest child, a public school brat, an insecure extrovert. I was a musician and a writer who thought I was bad at math. I’d have told you that Green Day spoke to my soul and that I hated the color pink. All those adolescent years of growth spurts and new friends and boy crushes converged into one giant, revolving game of Who Am I?
And I had no idea.
So when I woke up this morning and read this headline, "Not Just Boy and Girl; More Teens Identify as Transgender," my first thought was: no, I promise you, they don't.
Here’s the claim. According to ABC News, “Far more U.S. teens than previously thought are transgender or identify themselves using other nontraditional gender terms, with many rejecting the idea that girl and boy are the only options, new research suggests.”
“The study looked at students in ninth and 11th grade and estimated that nearly 3 percent are transgender or gender nonconforming, meaning they don't always self-identify as the sex they were assigned at birth. That includes kids who refer to themselves using neutral pronouns like ‘them’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she,’” the study reportedly found.
This new trend in teen genderless self-identification is at the same time unsurprising and deeply disturbing, and for the same reasons.
When I was in high school, less than a decade and a half ago, the “in” thing was to be bisexual. Few committed to being outright gay, largely because they knew they weren’t. But if you claimed you were “bisexual,” that you were open to all love, all people, all the time, well, that made you cool. You were “inclusive” and “open-minded.” You were on the cutting edge of modernity. Spangly gold star for you.
Of course, the vast majority of those claiming to be “bisexual” had no real or lasting attraction to the same gender. My Facebook newsfeed today is flooded with the traditional family photos of formerly “bi” classmates who never once had a public relationship with someone of their own sex. It was just cool to say you were.
I’d wager the same is true of today's supposed high prevalence of "trans" teens.
The true test will come later. While claiming you “don’t identify as any gender” and going by the pronoun “they” might sound super enlightened in the halls of Big City High, we’ll see how that works out when marriage or children or medical decisions are a factor. And there's a huge difference between anonymously telling some survey-taker that you feel trapped in the wrong body at 16, and spending hundreds of thousands to permanently alter yourself with hormones and non-reversible invasive surgery at 32. Some will. Most won't.
Because here’s the dark and dirty truth of the progressive gender-bending trend: it isn’t raising a generation of transgender or “genderless” people confident in who they are. It isn’t fostering a group of young adults who can finally be on the outside what they’ve always known on the inside. It's intentionally creating and perpetuating confusion.
The left is preying on adolescent brain mush and legitimizing it as “proof” of an unstable worldview they’ve already decided on. They’re deliberately convincing young children, some at the ripe old age of 6, that the genitalia they’re barely aware they have might not be the right stuff for them, raising them in the public ed system for the next 13 years to believe they’re “other,” slapping a pseudo-scientific label on all that mental chaos and calling it “progress.” After all, convincing a kindergartner that he might be a she is a lot easier than persuading a 45-year-old construction worker, and it's so much more sympathetic.
Now, this isn’t to say there aren't a relatively few teens who legitimately struggle with gender dysphoria. Nor does it mean this new genderless mantra is a passing fad to be taken lightly. On the contrary: it's a false narrative based on faulty “data” that will be used to push all manner of very real far-left social doctrine, spur legislation, spawn court cases and launch attacks on the First Amendment. And even as many of these teens transition into adulthood and abandon their own "gender-nonconformity," most will likely still defend it as "normal" for the few who don't. All manner of very real damage will be done to both society and the individual, starting with the mentally ill.
But that doesn’t make it true. It doesn't make it progress. Because when your “progress” depends on brainwashing toddlers and banking on the self-identification of barely-pubescent 15-year-olds, then it’s about as genuine as the lyrics in my old Avril Lavigne CDs.