Almost 2 percent of high school students identify as transgender, and they experience violence, use substances, attempt suicide, and engage in risky sex significantly more often than other students, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week. The study used the biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a school-based polling of students in grades nine through 12.
In 2017, 10 states and nine large urban school districts asked a pilot question about transgender identity, with 1.6 percent saying they were not sure if they were transgender and 1.8 percent saying they were transgender.
Researchers then cross-referenced that data with survey questions about risky behavior. Nearly 35 percent of transgender students reported being bullied at school, and 24 percent said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon. Nearly 1 in 4 said they had been forced to have sexual intercourse.
Drug use rates among transgender students were staggering: 70 percent had used alcohol, 43 percent had used marijuana, 36 percent had misused prescription opioids, and 25 percent or more said they had tried cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, or ecstasy. Fewer than 4.3 percent of nontransgender males and 2.6 percent of nontransgender females said they had ever tried any of those last four drugs listed.
The suicide rates were just as astounding: Nearly 44 percent of transgender youth said they had considered taking their own life, 39 percent had made a suicide plan, and 35 percent had attempted suicide.
And while about the same rates of transgender and nontransgender students reported being sexually active (about 25 percent), twice as many transgender students said they had intercourse before age 13 (15 percent), had more than four sexual partners (16 percent), or drank alcohol or used drugs before last having sexual intercourse (30 percent).
The CDC concluded its report by calling for more programs to support the overall health of transgender youth. The Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBT youth, called the report groundbreaking and game-changing.
“This is the first time we’ve had a federal government report of this magnitude showing that transgender youth exist in this country and in larger numbers than researchers had previously estimated,” Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, told The Washington Post. He said the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back Obama-era gender identity anti-discrimination rules is an effort to “erase the identity of transgender youth.”
But a bipartisan alliance disagrees with Paley and the CDC on what action this country needs to take to protect the growing population of youth identifying as transgender.
On Monday, The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel discussion featuring two members of a radical feminist organization, a politically liberal lesbian, and a left-leaning former transgender academic. All four said transgender ideology dismisses the rights of women and girls. They expressed concerns about the movement’s threat to parental rights, the unwillingness of physicians and psychiatrists to acknowledge and treat the underlying mental health conditions of those who identify as transgender, and the unquestioning embrace of social transitioning and sex change procedures (medical and surgical) as safe and effective treatment for gender dysphoric youth.
The panelists told of parents who watched helplessly as school administrators, gender clinic physicians, Planned Parenthood employees, and social workers guided their daughters toward testosterone treatment and mastectomies, leaving many of them angry, suicidal, and estranged from their families.
Kara Dansky, an attorney and a board member of the Women’s Liberation Front who took part in the discussion, argued against anti-discrimination laws for transgender people. Dansky, a member of Hands Across the Aisle, a bipartisan group of women pushing back on gender ideology, called pro-transgender legislative efforts such as the Equality Act an “unmitigated disaster for women and girls.” The measure would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include gender identity as a legally protected class in places of public accommodation.
“It is impossible to both enshrine gender identity in civil rights law and protect women and girls as a distinct legal category at the same time,” said Dansky, adding that the act would put an end to female-only spaces in restrooms and locker rooms and at all-women colleges and organizations.
“Gender identity is utterly intellectually bankrupt,” she said, noting the definitions of the term are either circular—gender identity is the gender you identify as—or entrenched in stereotype—I identify as a woman because I like makeup and dresses. “We should not be basing civil rights laws on concepts that have no coherent meaning.”
Editor’s note: See Jamie Dean’s cover story, “Pressure to conform,” in the latest issue of WORLD Magazine.