I hear you Brad Dirks. You’ve been a prominent voice on SOGI issues, and for good reason.
I’ve noticed your regular presence and comments in media and I commend you for championing for your son. I appreciate you giving your parent’s perspective and how your letter also alluded to the blurred line between public acceptance of transgenders and public acceptance of the SOGI 123 teaching resources.
It’s true that many people have religious and adamant reasons behind their opposition to SOGI 123. You mention this in your letter and rightly point out that an attitude without kindness is unacceptable. Since ‘spectrum’ is a word widely used these days, I think it’s worth saying there is a broad spectrum of people approaching from this perspective. You’ve probably seen a wide spectrum in the pro-SOGI camp as well, since not everyone would fall in the ‘activist’ category and some may not be familiar with the teaching resources, but are wanting to support trans students just the same.
But the spectrum goes beyond religious and moral arguments. Some are opposed to SOGI 123 (the teaching resource, not the people – I emphasize) from a clinical and scientific perspective. There are compassionate experts in every field who have strong, valid concerns. I don’t suggest to be an expert, but I have perspective as a student in a graduate counseling program. This means two things: 1) my studies have given me interest and know-how to explore the research on gender dysphoria and 2) I’m not jeopardizing my job by speaking up.
You make several assertions in your letter that need to be challenged. As with most issues, facts depend on who you listen to. You state that to oppose SOGI is to keep transgenders hidden, shamed, and bullied by other students. That is not what most opposition is about.
Opponents agree for anti-bullying and acceptance to be put in place, but to leave out the excessive and age-inappropriate exposure to materials that go far beyond the concerns you raise. From the scientific perspective, this is why: all research spanning several decades and countries has come to the same conclusion: that 80-90 per cent of children who persist in gender dysphoria cease to feel dysphoric by the time they hit adolescence (www.sexologytoday.org/ 2017/12/faulty-statistics-on-how-many-trans.html). THIS is why the silent majority are against the controversial exposure of SOGI 123 material on our children. It’s irresponsible and it jeopardizes the stability and well-being of those who aren’t and/or won’t continue to be dysphoric. It isn’t psychologically sound and it causes us to lose confidence in those who lead the Ministry of Education in B.C.
As to there being no “trend” of kids choosing to be transgender, I wish that were true. Indisputable developmental psychology teaches us the adolescent years are a season of experimentation, exploration, identity formation, and a search for belonging. Transgenderism has joined anorexia (another form of dysphoria) in the world of social contagions where teens are finding belonging in internet groups that encourage a common experience no matter what the consequences (www.myproana.com). Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) is an evidenced trend among groups of teenage girls in particular, showing not a single sign of gender dysphoria until some point in their teenage years when suddenly they come out with groups of friends, often met online, and often sharing pre-existing mental health issues. “Suzanna” created www.parentsofrogdkids.com for abruptly transgendered children and in just two months had 300 parents join with alarming testimonies from their families. Registered psychologist Dr. Oren Amitay recorded a series about ROGD as well as numerous interviews with health experts with concerns about reckless affirmation of gender dysphoria. You can’t accuse him or any of his guests (many LBTG themselves) of being hateful or bigoted. On the contrary, most treat transgenders with strong support in a case-by-case format but refuse to promote “ideology that trumps science, research and the best interest of children and adolescents.”
So, Brad Dirks, champion for your transgender child and I agree he should be protected with support and compassion. I also champion for my children so they too are protected from inaccurate, incomplete and detrimental resources. Can you agree they also need protection? If so, we could probably find a solution other than SOGI 123 that would benefit all kids in the classroom.