Abigail Shrier Is Wrong
Disingenuous use of statistics is an everybody problem.
Recently, I read this article ‘When the State Comes for Your Kids’, authored by Abigail Shrier, writer of the book Irreversible Damage (which I have not read), which paints a picture of government officials foisting gender ideology onto young people with no consent from their parents, teenagers seemingly deciding that they can live in youth shelters and the parents can’t get them back, and LGBTQIA+ ‘youth centers’ indoctrinating young people.
These are things I believe happen - indeed, leading ‘gender clinicians’ such as Diane Ehrensaft have called for parents who dispute that their child is transgender to be reported to Child Protective Services, and you cannot enter an ‘LGBTQIA’ drop in center these days without being asked your pronouns. Why, then, do I think Abigail Shrier is wrong?
Lets start with this paragraph:
In 2012, agencies responding to a Williams Institute at UCLA Law survey reported that about 40 percent of the homeless young people they served identified as LGBTQ.
Why is this wrong?
Well, if Shrier had read the study, she would have seen this:
LGBT youth comprise approximately 40%of the clientele served by agencies represented in the sample:
Among both homeless and non-homeless clients, 30% identified as gay or lesbian and 9% identified as bisexual
Now, Shrier isn’t the first person to do this with this particular study - transgender organizations have been misusing this statistic for years, saying that ‘40% of homeless youth are LGBTQIA’, ignoring that that the study says that a) it’s a whole sample includes youth using drop-in center support, not just homeless shelters and, most importantly, b) 39% of of that sample are LGB, and 1% are TQIA.
It’s an incredible demonstration of why aggregating the ‘LGBT’ together for statistical purposes is a really bad idea.
From this bare statistic, many infer that LGBTQ teens are being frequently kicked out of their homes by bigoted parents. Far from it.
Again, if she had read the study, she would know that it’s not LGBTQ teens it’s LGB teens. As a ‘bare statistic’ of course it’s totally useless presented with zero context, which is what Shrier has done.
The study shows that the vast majority of ‘homeless LGBTQIA+ teens’ are in fact LGB.
On average, 30% of clients utilizing housing programs identify as LGBT (26% as LGB and 4% as transgender)
Host Home Programs –42% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 37%; transgender = 5%)
Permanent Housing Programs -39% of clients identified as LGBT(LGB = 36%; transgender = 3%)
Transitional Living Programs -22% of clients identified as LGBT(LGB = 19%; transgender = 3%)
Independent Living Programs –22% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 19%; transgender = 3%)
Emergency Shelters –21% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 17%; transgender = 4%
The William’s Institute survey reports that 46% of these young people “Ran away because of family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity”, and that 43% were “Forced out by parents because of sexual orientation or gender identity”.
Sounds like there is a problem of LGB young people being kicked out of their homes! What a shocker. How could Shrier make this mistake?
I mean, anecdotally, you cannot throw a stone in a gay bar without hitting someone who was kicked out of home or has a bad relationship with their parents based on their sexual orientation. More popular these days, among the middle class gays, is to stay closeted until they’ve left home, move far across the country for college, and never come back. Many conversion therapy providers have rebranded themselves as ‘troubled teen camps’, which makes Shrier’s repeated use of the term ‘troubled teen’ worrying.
Again, anecdotally, many young transgender people, and detransitioners, talk extensively about parental rejection for being LGB - that reverses to unquestioning support when that child states a transgender identity. Many parents of ‘trans kids’ talk about worrying their child was gay, and the majority of ‘trans kids’ will desist if left alone and grow up into normal homosexuals. But with affirmation of a transgender identity, that child is now ‘straight’. Doesn’t that sound like conversion therapy?
I know personally, of multiple cases of young gay and lesbian people using these services and having their gender questioned almost immediately if they were gender non-conforming, and consistently hassled about it or groomed into it. Particularly targeted are butch lesbians, who don’t seem to be able to breathe these days without being asked if they’re trans men.
That’s why this statistic matters. When you don’t disaggregate the data, it’s for a reason - in the case of transgender organizations, it’s to appropriate the statistics of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (like everything else under the sun that they’ve appropriated), and use it as a buttress to support trans activism - even though with the way they’ve used the statistic, it is now effectively a lie.
In the case of Shrier, it’s to buttress her own arguments for the opposite, but it essentially undermines the whole story. She uses the example of Lambert House - ignoring that it’s a primarily a drop-in center.
“Take Lambert House, a “safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 11-22,” according to its website. Activities include “Minecraft,” “Poetry Slam / Art Share,” “Saturday Night Lambert Live!” and “Boys Who Like Boys Group.” That might seem like a fun set of social activities for college students. It’s a little more troubling to consider that, based on a perusal of the activities calendar, many of the events seem to facilitate socializing between 22-year-olds and adolescents as young as 11”.
I too would be worried about this if Lambert House wasn’t practicing proper child safeguarding. I have no idea if they are - I hope they are. Also, ‘Minecraft’ is more a thing for ten year olds, rather than college students.
But what is wrong with providing a safe space for LGB young people, or a support group for gay youth trying to figure themselves out and connect with other people like them? Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth also need role models in their life - including people who look and act the way they do. In a world that can be incredibly harsh to the homosexual, seeing someone older who’s been there, done that, and has relevant advice as a result, may actually be a good thing! In fact, would gender ideology have the power it does if gay and lesbian young people had more role models? I doubt it.
But writing things like this is just a dogwhistle to Shrier’s predominantly conservative audience for the old trope about homosexuals being pedophiles (which is false). It reads as an updated version of Anita Bryant screaming about saving the children.
There’s also this worrying paragraph:
In a state that grants minors aged 13 and up control over their mental health treatment—in a society that increasingly defines “abuse” as any of a variety of limits a parent might place on the gender or sexual exploration of a minor—it is easy enough for a troubled teen to decide that parents are “bad for my mental health.”
How is expressing your natural, in born sexual orientation, ‘sexual exploration’? Would Shrier have an opinion on straight teenagers doing that? I don’t know: because Shirer either uses dogwhistles in this article or doesn’t mention young LGB people at all.
And of course, by choosing to do this, and not looking at the statistics properly, Shrier misses the real story, and it undermines the whole thing: how can you talk about this issue without talking about the disproportionate number of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who are victims?
Because, if 39% of the young people using these services are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, then lesbian, gay and bisexual teens are disproportionately at risk from gender affirmation being pushed on them.
That should be front and center of the story. The primary victims of gender ideology’s medical arm are lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Are these places forcing a transgender identity onto lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens? Are young lesbian, gay and bisexual people at risk in places they should be safe? Are they being put on to a medical pathway all-too-soon? Is there parental pressure involved in identifying as transgender? Shrier doesn’t seem to care about that part of the story.
We know for a fact that the parents of ‘transgender kids’ definitely are pressuring their homosexual children into transgender identities or that whole countries, such as Iran, pressure LGB people into transgender identities, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Clinicians at the Tavistock in Britain raised repeated concerns about the number of young LGB people going through their gender clinic, joking ‘there will be no homosexuals left’.
That LGB young people are at risk of conversion therapy seems not worthy of a mention for Shrier, nor that the majority of young people at risk from ‘gender affirmation in the ER’ are probably lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Because when the cross-gender identity is affirmed without question, the ‘transgender teen’ is now ‘straight’. And because they can only be affirmed - it’s a thoughtcrime in many ‘LGBTQIA+’ organizations to question why transgender young people, particularly girls, are disproportionately same-sex attracted, and whether this may have something to do with the cross-gender identity. As a result, young lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are put through medical regimens that ultimately end in castration. When these young people detransition, they are ostracized and denied any sort of support from the very places that should have protected them in the first place.
That’s a huge problem. But it isn’t mentioned.
I mean, if we look at this, for example:
I did, however, speak with Vernadette Broyles, president and founder of Child and Parental Rights Campaign. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Broyles represents parents in child custody, child protective services, and school cases.
I asked Broyles point-blank: Was she seeing the same the pattern I had noticed—namely, loving parents bringing a suicidal, trans-identified teen to the E.R., which ensnares her in a child services network that will not relinquish her? “Yes, that is one of the patterns,” she said. “We’re seeing national patterns. . . . One is the very deliberate and systemic erosion of parental rights.” Broyles believes that this erosion leaves girls, especially, “disproportionately vulnerable.”
Broyle’s organization, the Child and Parental Rights Campaign, is a conservative group that campaigns against gender ideology in schools. It also has an enormous blind spot - a quick perusal of their website , and you’d think LGB people didn’t exist. In fact, if you went by their website, you’d have no idea LGB people were disproportionately affected by gender ideology.
How can you campaign against gender ideology effectively when you won’t talk about LGB people? Which girls are disproportionately vulnerable? Is there something that unites them together as a class, or a sexual orientation that many of them share? Who knows?!
Having a total blind spot about this when talking about the issue is wholly counterproductive at best, and utterly homophobic at worst.
It means the side of the story where government services, through an unquestioning policy of gender affirmation for children, are effectively promoting conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people doesn’t get talked about.
But Shrier didn’t see fit to tell that one, probably because it doesn’t fit her narrative - which is the case for many conservative organizations that have sprouted up to argue against ‘gender affirmation’ and ‘gender ideology’. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the lesbian, gay and bisexual young people being victimized by it. You cannot discuss this issue and ignore us. You’re missing a huge chunk of the problem, and it has to be done willfully at this point. You cannot look at the science or the messaging without seeing the blatant homophobia of gender ideology.
Ignoring that is homophobia.
And that’s why Abigail Shrier is wrong.
Correction: Shrier’s last name was spelled wrong due to an overly zealous spellcheck. This has been fixed.