June 05, 2017
Erin Georgia had prayed for a son all her life. She says she got one, but not in the way she expected. When her sixth- grade daughter came to her and said she was struggling with her identity, Erin and her husband, Matt, said their first stop was the psychologist. Eventually, the Alabama couple decided the best decision would be to let Jane Marie start living as Jay. "We've always just loved and accepted our children for whoever they are. I'm a very outspoken, tattooed Christian, very strong in my faith. We were just encouraging Jay."
That encouragement ended in absolute heartbreak last month, when Jane took her own life at their home. Now, absolutely devastated, her parents -- both Marine veterans -- struggle to understand what went wrong. After all, Jane was part of group therapy and started taking medication to help her cope. But in the end, it wasn't enough, the Georgias believe. "Jay was not ready to come out to the world in the sixth grade. Jay wasn't really ready at the end." For her parents, who only wanted the best for their daughter, it was a blow no one saw coming. "As Jay was going through this journey, he would go to church with us. The church was welcoming, but there was no safe space."
Erin and Matt tried to create that, giving her an environment to be herself. But in the end, no amount of encouragement could heal the hurt in their daughter's heart. That's because, like so many struggling teenagers, there's a much deeper conflict at work. For years, LGBT activists have tried to persuade people that transgender teens are perfectly normal and that 100 percent of their problems are caused by discrimination and "stigma." Unfortunately for parents like the Georgias, the evidence doesn't bear that out.
Regardless of what liberal psychologists or others might suggest, there is no scientific evidence to prove that "affirming" someone in a transgender identity actually leads to better mental health outcomes. This loss is a painful reminder of that. As Peter Sprigg points out, the most tolerant, pro-LGBT societies often have the highest suicide rates. That's a powerful refutation of the popular "it gets better" approach (which researchers just panned here.)
Obviously, these parents loved their daughter and tried to help her. Maybe they even got bad advice from a trusted counselor. But as the American College of Pediatricians points out, "When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such. These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V). The psychodynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved."
What's more, the struggle is usually a phase. "According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty." At the very least, both sides should agree that the decision to adopt a transgender identity is one that only an adult is competent to make. That doesn't mean we aren't supportive of the child as a person, but it can be devastating to encourage them to embrace a gender identity in conflict with their biological sex until they're more mature. Lives like Jane's are too important and irreplaceable to risk.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.