Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician with 30 years of experience in pediatric and adolescent medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics discusses transgenderism, transgender bathroom policy, and how the growing acceptance of this form of identity among some is putting the rights, development and wellbeing of some of our children and families at risk.
JOHN RUSTIN: We’re please to bring you part two of an engaging discussion about a growing trend toward the identification and acceptance of “transgenderism” with Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician with 30 years of experience in pediatric and adolescent medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is a popular speaker on key issues confronting American families, and the best-selling author of six books, including her newest, Hero: Being the Strong Dad Your Children Need. Dr. Meeker, welcome to Family Policy Matters. It’s great to have you back on the show.
MEG MEEKER: Thanks so much for having me.
JOHN RUSTIN: Dr. Meeker, what have we seen as the byproducts or results of introducing children to gender dysphoria and these kinds of confusing questions about sexuality at such a young age?
MEG MEEKER: First of all, I think what we’re seeing is tremendous—and this isn’t a strong enough word—“confusion” in kids. But here’s where I think the real danger is for the child who’s not struggling with gender dysphoria, and that is—and this 99.9 percent of kids in America: Let’s just say Sally is in the third grade and Sally has her little friend Betty, who is introduced in her class. Sally and all of her friends see Betty—They see a girl. She looks like girl. But the teacher says she’s not a girl. Call her Bill today because Betty doesn’t feel like Betty. So the child, being a child, goes, “Well, the teacher must be right because the teacher’s bigger and smarter than I am. So clearly Betty that I see in front of me, I must be wrong in what I’m assessing. If I see a girl and my mind assesses a girl but my teacher says it’s a boy, I’m wrong. So now, you have a third grade child who doesn’t believe he or she can adequately assess their surroundings. And they realize, “If I can’t even tell if a girl is a girl and a boy is a boy and believe what I’m seeing, what else can I not get right? Is the grass green? Is my mother my mother? Is the sun the sun?” They call into question every judgment they make.
JOHN RUSTIN: How can we accomplish these goals of treating children and families who may be promoting these issues with appropriate levels of acceptance and respect? But also, understanding that we’re operating in a culture these days where parents, who stand up for privacy and safety of children and what they believe to be right and true, are really often vilified by others who are pushing such an aggressive and controversial agenda?
MEG MEEKER: It’s really a ruse because I think one of the cruelest things you can do to a child—a transgender child, who already feels confused, who already has a poor self-esteem, who is already struggling on so many different levels— the cruelest thing you can do to that child is shine a spotlight on them and say, “Go now to the bathroom you want.” I think the most compassionate thing any of us can do is to protect all children. We protect not only non-transgender children, or child who don’t struggle with gender dysphoria, but we really protect those who do. This is what bothers me. If Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner wants to talk about transgender as an adult, have at it. Do whatever you want. But don’t manipulate children to accomplish your goal. What we should be advocating for—if you really want to help a transgender child—have them have a bathroom that is separate that is like we have in airports, that says, “Family” bathroom. Anybody can use it. Do not force a child who feels like a girl but really is a boy to use a girls’ bathroom, and vice versa. That makes a mockery out of that child. It puts a spotlight and it’s cruel.
JOHN RUSTIN: We’ve seen that in situations where a school system, for example, or an individual school will make a reasonable accommodation for a child who is struggling with these types of issues and provide them with access to a single occupancy bathroom. But, as we see in some of these cases, they have actually gone to federal courts, where the individuals— whether it’s the parents of the children or the groups that are sort of using them as a front to push an agenda—have said, ‘No. That accommodation is not appropriate. We want this child as they identify to be treated exactly the same way as you treat every other child that identifies that particular gender.’ And it becomes very evident that they are not interested in a reasonable accommodation for that child but they are truly pushing a very aggressive agenda.
MEG MEEKER: Here’s the real problem. There’s many like-minded people that are thinking the way I’m thinking because this is so intuitive. It’s so instinctual that it’s cruel to put a child who looks like a boy but believes he’s a girl, to push that child into the girls’ bathroom. That child will be humiliated, because kids are kids, unless you’re going to put a guard inside the bathroom to control how other children speak to that child. Because, we’re talking about private places here. It is nothing short of child abuse to force that child in there. And those people who are advocating for this need to be called out on it. But here’s why they are winning this battle. Because, those who believe in what’s rational and what’s reasonable, like you or I, are surrendering and going, “Well, maybe they’re right.” Maybe they’re right? You know they’re not right but you don’t want to act on your instincts because you’re drinking the Kool-Aid, if you will. And I see this all the time, even in regular parenting. I can’t tell you how we adults, our thinking is being so manipulated, that common sense is being driven out of us because we kowtow out of fear going, ‘Maybe they’re right. Maybe they’re right. I don’t want to do harm.” I have seen smart, intelligent parents, physicians, professionals, make really outrageous decisions because they’re afraid not to go along with what they see, because they doubt their instincts. We’ve got to stop this. We have common sense for a reason. We’re in this situation because 20 years ago, we decided to do away with morality and we said moral relativism is good. Well now what we have is, we don’t even know if there’s truth or not. So, anything goes. And we’re on a fast track to a spiraling craziness, if you will, because nobody wants to even say, “This is reality and this is not reality.”
JOHN RUSTIN: It really is, and I think we see this on the highest levels of government—of course in the previous presidential administration. President Obama’s Administration sent out letters to all public schools, colleges, and universities around the country that basically said that we are directing you to redefine the definition of the word “sex.” No longer is it going to be male or female, but it is going to be determined based on whatever those individuals want to be identified as. And so, if you have a boy who wants to go into the girls’ locker room, shower, or changing room, or play on a girls’ sports team—which we’re seeing more and more—or if you’ve got individuals—college students, for example, who are travelling for events or what not—and there is a boy who identifies as a girl, then that person has to be housed in a girls’ dormitory or with a girl in a hotel room, those types of things. The implications of these are so far-reaching. And if we just kowtow, as you say, to peer pressure and this radical agenda that in some cases is being forced, or attempted to be forced, down people’s throats, then we are just going to continue to see the repercussions grow more and more and more. So, as you say, it’s really imperative that we take a stand for what is right and true and what we intrinsically know is the truth.
MEG MEEKER: Exactly. And we have to have the backbone to protect children—all children. We need to protect the kids. We need to protect the freshman girls who say, “I’m a girl, I really don’t want a guy who says he’s a girl sleeping in my room. And, oh by the way, state and college, you can’t make me have her [him] sleep in my room.” When we, as adults, give up on that fight, then we throw the fight and the consequences of that fight, right onto the backs of our children. Our children should never be expected to fight. We should never [require] our third graders or fifth graders in a bathroom traumatized by another child who’s not, who’s very psychologically ill and confused. We need to protect those kids too. It is not the fault of the transgender children. This is not their fault. The fault lies on the shoulders of the adults who are unwilling to fight for the protection of all kids.
JOHN RUSTIN: True. Dr. Meeker, as we wrap up our discussion, I’m sure that many of our listeners who are parents, or children themselves, may feel at a loss as to how to have conversations about gender and sexuality with each other. How do you recommend that parents approach conversations about these issues with their children, and at what age would you recommend they begin to engage in those conversations?
MEG MEEKER: Unfortunately it has to start early. You talk about gender identity in the early elementary school years, as well as sexual activity. And this is what I recommend to parents: Just listen to your children. When your children start coming home with questions that they don’t let up on, then you need to have a conversation. The conversation about sexual activity for kids usually starts around the second grade, because even if you have the youngest child in your home, he or she is in a classroom of kids with older siblings, and those older siblings have given their younger sibling an earful. And that’s going to land in your younger child’s lap. Incidentally on my website, I have a whole series on how to have the talk with your kids, on what you say and how you do it. It’s megmeekermd.com. When you’re coming to gender identity issues, it is more complicated. It’s trickier because you’re not only dealing with a child who comes in and says, “I look like a boy but I’m really a girl.” You have a teacher who’s affirming that. […] I would say to parents what I believe my good friend Leonard Sax who’s brilliant on this kind of thing, gender identity issues, who’s an MD Ph.D. Psychologist, said, “Maybe you need to switch schools. Maybe you need to get your kids in private schools.” We may be at that day where we just need to stand up to schools and say, “Not for my kids.” Gender identity issues are a little bit trickier but fundamentally, listen to your kids and answer their questions. Don’t let them go unanswered ’cause they will find answers somewhere. And let them know, “You know honey, Mrs. so and so may believe this and think this. Mommy and Daddy, we think a little bit differently. We don’t want it to be a big deal for you. You’re in school to learn your writing and your math and that kind of a thing. But when everything’s confusing for you around things that your teacher’s saying, always come home and talk to Mom and Dad and we’ll help you with that.” So, make yourself the “go to” person for all questions about serious matters like gender issues and sexuality and sexual activity that your child will have. Establish yourself, Mom or Dad, as the “go to” person for your child and I guarantee that they’ll come to you with questions.
JOHN RUSTIN: That’s great advice. Dr. Meeker, this has been a fascinating discussion. I want to give you the opportunity to repeat that website where our listeners can go to learn more about this topic and avail themselves of your very helpful and important research and writings on this and a number of other family, parenting and child issues.
MEG MEEKER: Sure, it’s megmeekermd.com, I do my best to answer reader’s questions. I have a lot of help. Some resources on there like a video on how to have a talk with your kids. So, I really encourage you to go there and I really encourage our listeners, please, please, please use your common sense! Our world is going crazy around us and we’ve got to band together and stand up for the good fight, which is the fight for the protection of our children.
JOHN RUSTIN: Great. Dr. Meg Meeker, thanks so much for being with us on Family Policy Matters and for your great work on behalf of children and families across our nation.
MEG MEEKER: Thank you so much.
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