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Fox’s O’Reilly: Are Parents Who Support Transgender Children Guilty Of “Child Abuse?”

May 24, 2012 4:24 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Medical experts have widely documented the harms experienced by transgender children whose families aren’t accepting of their gender identity. Gender variant children who face unsupportive parents are at a heightened risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide. According to Stuart Chen-Hayes, Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Lehman College:

In schools and families where rigid gender expectations are the norm, gender-variant children and youth are the targets of multiple victimizations or oppression. Internalized oppressions can include hypervigilance, poor self-esteem, self-hatred, alcohol and other drug abuse or dependence, overachieving, self-mutilation, or suicide attempts. Suicide attempts of transgendered youth are estimated as high as or higher than they are for lesbian, bisexual, and gay youth. [emphasis added]

According to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, however, parents who support their transgender children are “crazy” and might even be guilty of “child abuse.”

During the May 23 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly invited Fox News contributor Juliet Huddy criticized two Maryland parents who have allowed their 5-year-old transgender son to begin living openly as a male. Huddy warned that the parents were “collaborating with madness”:

O’REILLY: This is disturbing, I think. Does it rise to child abuse?

HUDDY: I think when you hear the whole story you might have a sympathy for these people. You know, they obviously care about their child. They’re not trying to torture this kid. They feel worried for him. But when I spoke with one expert, one psychiatrist, he said it’s like collaborating with madness. It’s not child abuse in his mind, but he said it’s collaborating with madness.

Essentially, these parents are going to all these shrinks and psychiatrists and psychologists and all this business, and they’re hearing all sorts of things but the one message they clung on to was the one message from a realm of psychiatry that said, “you know what, yes, let him become the boy, let Kathryn become the boy, let him grow as a boy and, you know, he can work himself out.”

The problem is that these parents will eventually start probably giving this child hormones, which will change his features. Go ahead.

O’REILLY: There’s another problem. And that’s nature. I mean, you know, you get a baby girl and then the girl is two and three saying “well I want to be a boy.” Kids say a lot of crazy things. Alright?

HUDDY: Yeah, yeah.

O’REILLY: Kids do a lot of crazy things. You don’t have to give into this. You can make Kathryn Kathryn. If Kathryn wants to play Cowboys and Indians or climb a tree, Kathryn should be allowed to do that. But to just play into the whole gender alteration at that age seems to be, to me, crazy.

That “collaborating with madness” line was coined by Dr. Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University with an extensive history of peddling anti-trans misinformation, including the myth that transgender women are secretly just gay men.

In reality, the American Psychiatric Association strongly endorses efforts to create welcoming and supportive environments for transgender youth, as do organizations specializing in the treatment of gender variant children.

This isn’t the first time O’Reilly has criticized efforts to accommodate transgender individuals. Last month, he criticized Glee for a storyline about a transgender character, warning that “dopey kids” watching the show would begin experimenting with their gender identity. Last year, he referred to a transgender girl who had joined the Girl Scouts as a “transvestite boy.”


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