The number of minors ages 6-17 diagnosed with gender dysphoria nearly tripled in the four-year span from 2017-2021, when the response was often to affirm the confusion in hopes that it would improve the patients' mental health or perhaps dissuade them from thoughts of suicide.
But Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, director of the Center for Family Studies at the Family Research Council (FRC), says research does not support that.
"As we kind of … scratch the veneer of the research that's presented to us that says, 'Oh, this is going to help you. You're not going to commit suicide. You're going to feel better about yourself,' it doesn't fit any of the research methods that we're used to that we would say is indeed having a causal effect on someone's mental health," Bauwens told "Washington Watch" on Monday.
She does not think counselors are doing enough to help the young people who are experiencing gender dysphoria.
The American Psychiatric Association requires at least two items from a long list of criteria to be present for at least six months before diagnosing a patient with gender dysphoria, but according to Dr. Bauwens, it is not uncommon for cross-sex hormone treatments to be made available after only one counseling session.
That is among the reasons many states have passed laws or begun discussions to curtail or ban "gender-affirming" treatment options, including mutilation surgeries for minors.
"What we're seeing right now is a great exposure," Bauwens declared. "The curtain is being pulled back, and we're seeing what's actually been going on in the psychology offices, the medical offices, and most recently what's been going on in the research field. That's really important for us to understand this sort of trifecta of evil that's gone on in our country and the money that's gone on to fund these particular projects."
Program host Tony Perkins said the revelation is, among other things, equipping lawmakers with "real information and the ability to dissect these false narratives" and emboldening them to "stand up and do intuitively what they know is right."
Two bills introduced in U.S. House
Earlier this week, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-California) introduced two bills, the Protecting Children from Experimentation Act and the End Taxpayer Funding of Gender Experimentation Act, in Congress to make oversight of gender treatment a national priority.
"If you're not angered by this, you're sitting it out," LaMalfa told "Washington Watch." "We introduced this the last legislative session, but under the Pelosi regime, it wasn't going to go anywhere. My issue is that this is something that's absolutely necessary to protect our kids and protect them from the ghouls that would do this – giving these kids hormone treatments or surgery, or just in general encouraging them to jump across to a place where they're not going to be successful in life."
One bill would cut funding for hormone treatments and mutilation surgeries for minors. The other would be an all-out prohibition on those practices, with criminal charges for doctors who provide the drugs or perform the surgeries.
"It's high time people really get fired up on this," LaMalfa stated.
The issue of leading kids to certain decisions has played out in LaMalfa's district, where a fifth-grade student recently told a school counselor she was transgender. The counselor and teachers immediately began referring to her by a male name and male pronouns – without notifying her parents about the child's discussion with the counselor.
Now a lawsuit has been filed against the Chico Unified School District.
"A child went in for counseling, and an hour later, she's being introduced as a boy with a boy name to her teacher and her classroom. How's that privacy," LaMalfa posed. "They outed that girl after a short amount of time of contemplating the situation."
The congressman told Perkins, "We need to take people aside and show them that we care about them. Lead them down the right path and show them that the physics aren't going to change who you are or how you were born."
Professionals need to consider root issues of gender dysphoria
In Dr. Bauwens' view, professionals are responding to symptoms but not talking about root issues.
"They're just saying that gender dysphoria is a real phenomenon," she observes. "But if we look at, let's say, trauma, for example – we often say it's abnormal. We don't say the experience identifies the person; we say, 'You had an abnormal experience. You are not that experience, but you had something happen to you.' The same holds true with gender dysphoria."
The root problems with gender dysphoria could include trauma, autism, or other psychiatric conditions, Bauwens said, noting that she can see two reasons why transgenderism is so visible in society today.
The first is evil intent; the second is a public confused by talking points that too quickly tout the conclusions of a given study as the end of the discussion.
"You have some people who are just ideologically bent on it, which I would associate with pure evil," she said. "I believe that there are others who just look at the science and they say, 'Oh, well, if this is helping someone, then we want to be helpful.' This is a generation that loves the likes. We want to be liked."
The social media impact on the rise in professing transgenders – also known as "social contagion" – is being overlooked, Dr. Bauwens added.
"It hasn't been studied. We're not even looking at it," she laments.
But she encouraged people to remember that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
"When we really love someone, we're willing to have hard conversations with them," she stated.
The root condition for a patient's gender dysphoria, she reiterated, should not be ignored, because that leaves the real problems unresolved.