As of January 1, students in California public schools have been able to choose whether to use the boys’ rest room or girls’ rest room, as well as the girls’ locker room or boys’ locker room, based on whether they feel female or male, not whether they are anatomically female or male.
That’s right: Governor Jerry Brown, of California, signed a bill that took effect January 1 that tells kids from kindergarten on that they should decide what they believe their gender identity is and act, accordingly.
The legislation also allows students to choose their sports teams based on whether they sense they are boys or girls, not whether they were born male or born female.
I know that other psychiatrists may well disagree, and I know that LGBT activists will criticize me, but I believe that allowing this “choice” is profoundly destructive, psychologically, to all students, including the ones who identify themselves as transgender.
The mere fact that teachers and administrators will have to explain to kindergarten and first-grade students that they might see girls in the boys’ restroom, or boys in the girls’ locker room, but that those really aren’t kids of the gender they appear to be, could (and, here, data is sorely lacking) do harm to their own developing sense of self by suggesting to them that their gender is fluid, that it well might change for them, too, and that they should be on the lookout for signs that they want to switch.
That’s correct, and I expect to continue getting death threats and calls for me to be fired from my academic teaching position for saying so (because I have endured both): I believe that children have enough to deal with as they struggle to feel comfortable with their bodies, with the notion of privacy and with later changes involving puberty without urging them to grapple with the notion that their souls may have been born into the wrong bodies.
What’s more, I don’t believe we have definitive data (although many psychiatrists with very impressive credentials, who seem to mean well, assert that we do) that any male or female soul has ever in the history of the world been born into the wrong anatomic gender.
Let me put that more clearly: I am not convinced by any science I can find that people with definitively male DNA and definitively male anatomy can actually be locked in a cruel joke of nature because they are actually female.
And I believe that telling third-grade or seventh-grade or tenth-grade children, adolescents or teenagers that this issue is settled to such an extent that they should feel comfortable with females walking in and seeing them urinating or pulling their pants down to change into football gear is a lie that can steal their ability to trust adults, shake their faith in any form of reality, traumatize them by shaming them and kindle waves of completely unnecessary anxiety related to whether they should be doing some sort of emotional inventory to determine whether they’re really going to turn into men, once and for all, or find out they’ve been suppressing the truth that they’re actually women.
I don’t see anything but toxicity from the notion of a person with female anatomy feeling free to use the urinal in the boys’ rest room while a boy stands next to her and uses one, too.
Governor Brown is one of the liberal politicians in the world who wants to sell people on the idea that he loves freedom when he is actually addicted to disempowering people.
And shaking the certain knowledge in boys and girls of whether they can count on not being seen naked by the opposite gender, not to mention whether they are themselves actually the gender they thought they were, is a powerful, devious and pathological way to weaken them by making them question their sense of safety, security and certainty about anything and everything.
That way they’re less likely to be in a position to want to be autonomous.
That way they’ll keep on thinking they need people like him to build them a government that suffocates them and deprives them of liberty.
A campaign in California called Privacy for All Students is now seeking to put the “choose your bathroom” law to a public vote on the November ballot.
I hope they succeed. And I hope it is repealed.
They should add another recall vote on Governor Brown, at the same time. He survived one in the past and should not have.
I know exactly what I believe, partly because I grew up at a time when liberal politicians weren’t as brazen about trying to erode my sense of self. And I believe, to the core, unshakably, that Governor Jerry Brown is a threat to children in California and a threat to children everywhere.
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.