Jesse Thorn:

My daughter is nine. When she was born, we assumed she was a boy, gave her a boy name, called her “he.” We gave her all kinds of toys, she generally preferred the ones our culture associates with boys (like building toys, trucks and robots.)

When she started kindergarten, my wife was bathing her. An adult friend of ours had just come out as trans, and my wife mentioned that not all girls have vaginas and not all boys have penises.

Our daughter asked, “some girls have penises?” My wife said yes. Whether you were a boy or a girl wasn’t about your private parts.

I try to stay away from controversial topics on this blog. After all, this is my personal blog, which means there’s no degree of anonymity. 10 years ago, I don’t think public discussion about controversial topics was nearly as dangerous as it is now. In 2021, cancel culture seems to be the default strategy for approaching controversial topics, so let’s see what happens.

First off, I’m not morally opposed to transgenderism. I think it’s okay for a male to feel like a female, and a female to feel like a male. However, I don’t believe a male can be a female, and vice versa. Scientifically speaking, for 99.99% of people on this planet, the question of male or female is determined at birth (via inspection of genitalia), and this determination is not subjective – it’s 100% objective. In short, I have no opinion on how a person feels regarding their gender as long as they don’t forcibly compel me to use a pronoun that conflicts with science. I’ve followed this protocol when engaging with transgender friends of mine and it’s never been a problem.

Okay, now that we’ve established that I do not hate all transgender people, let’s dive into this Twitter thread from Jesse Thorn. To be transparent, I have no idea who this guy is. I don’t follow him, but his tweet showed up on my feed this morning. The thread talks about how Jesse’s son, whom he refers to as his “daughter”, began his transgender transition in kindergarten.

I’m a father of a two year old boy. I know firsthand that kids say things and do things they don’t mean. At the same time, kids are also extremely malleable, which means their knowledge and perspective on the world can be directly shaped by their parents with little to no friction. In other words, if someone tries to convince an educated fully-developed adult that the Earth is flat, they’d likely be met with some degree of pushback. If I went and told my two year old son that the Earth is flat, he would wholeheartedly believe me. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how a parent suggesting that “girls have penises” is manipulative at best, and abusive at worst.

I’m not going to lecture parents on how to raise their children, but I believe it’s irresponsible to lie to a child about objective biological truths. Girls don’t have penises, and boys don’t have vaginas – this is a scientific fact. To suggest otherwise is doing a disservice to thousands of years of scientific progress. I think it’s reasonable for a person who’s planning on transitioning to the opposite gender to have a concrete understanding of human biology. For most students, this usually happens between middle school and high school. So, if a high school kid who is 100% aware of the history of biology wants to go ahead with a gender transition, that’s fine – I support that 100%. With that said, I can assure you that kindergarteners do not have a concrete understanding of human biology, and that’s really my whole point here.

Kids are not equipped with the knowledge and mental capacity to understand the potential effects of transgenderism. What they are is infinitely malleable creatures who are programmed to listen to their parents by nature. In the case of Jesse Thorn (again, I’m not going to reach out and lecture him or engage with him on Twitter), I have a sneaking suspicion that his son’s transition was a result of parental influence. Again, a kindergartener does not have the mental capacity to decide to be transgender. However, a kindergarten does have the mental capacity to go along with parental influence, whether right or wrong. In this case, a child who may or may not have asked a question about human biology was fed a lie (some girls have penises), which then led to a feedback loop resulting in a gradual gender transition process.

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