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The gaslighting has begun

Someday the media will pretend they never said boys can be girls


National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, D.C. Associated Press/Photo by Charles Dharapak

The gaslighting has begun
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In May, NPR’s On Point host Meghna Chakrabarti interviewed Dr. Hilary Cass, pediatrician and author of the Cass Review, the most comprehensive study of the existing “research” on so-called “gender medicine” for children to date. To sum up the report, in Dr. Cass’s words, “the quality [of the studies promoting so-called ‘gender-affirming’ care] was disappointingly poor.”

It’s surprising NPR would interview Dr. Cass, especially because its coverage has, until now, taken for granted that “transgender” is a real anthropological category, that children can be described as such, and that “gender-affirming care” is a phrase that makes sense.

Nevertheless, something seemed … off about this interview.

Eventually I realized that it wasn’t something I was hearing, it was something I wasn’t hearing. Chakrabarti reads directly, three times, from statements by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and by the World Professional Association for “Transgender” Health (WPATH). Aside from these three references, throughout the rest of the 40-minute interview, Chakrabarti never once uses the word “transgender.”

Instead, she described the children in Dr. Cass’s review as “gender-confused youth.” This is not insignificant.

As more medical doctors, respected researchers, and credible whistleblowers are willing to publicly question the “transgender” dogma, the mainstream press are in a difficult position. They have two options: they can admit they were wrong. Or they could pretend they never said what they said.

They’re going to pretend they never said what they said.

During the interview with Dr. Cass, Chakrabarti admits there’s been a huge spike in the number of kids reporting “gender dysphoria” over the past 10 years. That acknowledgment is shocking enough. But she presses on. “As you talked about, it’s now many adolescent girls,” she says to Dr. Cass. This is another shock. Are they girls? Are we allowed to say that? Aren’t “trans boys” boys? Aren’t you doing a literal violence if you say otherwise?

However irrational it would be, it’s possible Chakrabarti is differentiating, in her mind, between “gender confused” kids and truly “transgender” kids. In other words, the “gender confused” are the poor ones who were rushed and manipulated into irrational, mutilating medical interventions and ended up a statistic in Dr. Cass’s study, and all the “trans kids” are somewhere else, having been treated with adequate care and caution before they walked into a “gender clinic” a girl and walked out an actual boy.

What’s more likely is that NPR is going to pretend they’ve been reasonably, innocently, justifiably listening to the “experts.”

What’s more likely is that NPR is going to pretend they’ve been reasonably, innocently, justifiably listening to the “experts”—the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, WPATH—all along this ride, and that they were simply duped.

This is the beginning of the gaslighting.

Here’s NPR’s Morning Edition, not that long ago indeed (this was April 29): “The Supreme Court's recent actions on transgender issues are mixed. Earlier this month, the justices allowed Idaho's ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect. But it has declined to hear other cases about to transgender students' access to bathrooms and participation in school sports.”

(Note: these are “transgender students” again!)

Or how about this NPR News story from March 30, in honor of International Transgender Visibility Day: “This weekend's celebrations come as trans people’s rights have become increasingly restricted across the U.S. in recent years. Several states have passed bills restricting or banning gender-affirming care for trans youth.”

(The “trans youth” are back!)

In January, NPR’s All Things Considered aired a patently absurd story claiming “families with transgender kids” were fleeing states with bans on “gender-affirming care for minors.” The evidence consisted of precisely one young boy who said he was a girl and had moved from Oklahoma to Colorado, and of some doctors who said their gender clinics’ wait lists were growing. (No social contagion here; it’s the bans!)

“Major medical groups, including the American Psychological Association, say gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition, and medications like hormone therapy and puberty blockers are safe and necessary for many trans kids,” NPR reported. “But Oklahoma’s Republican-led legislature is one of almost two dozen that have passed restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors over the past two years. Supporters argue the laws protect kids. Hadley’s mom, Liz, doesn’t buy that.”

Notice the fraction of a second devoted to the other side of the issue—“supporters argue it protects kids”—and the immediate dismissal. The young boy’s mom disagrees. Check and mate.

Unless of course you’re the host of On Point, and you’re interviewing a researcher so respected and with data so thorough that it can’t be ignored. Then we’ll ask the questions that others—Abigail Shrier, Jessie Singal, everyone at WORLD, and countless others have been asking for years. Then we’ll pretend these questions only just occurred to us; and that it wasn’t a dereliction of our most fundamental duty as journalists to neglect to ask them before the billion-dollar explosion of “gender medicine.” We must recognize gaslighting when we see it, and this kind of gaslighting has just begun.


Maria Baer

Maria Baer is a freelance reporter who lives in Columbus, Ohio. She contributes regularly to Christianity Today and other outlets and co-hosts the Breakpoint podcast with The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.


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