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Gender Forums

Teen Noah Rembert
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Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

Do you ever search online for a minor ailment only to find so much information you begin to worry you’ve got a serious disease? The best thing to do in those cases is to check in with a real MD.

The same wisdom applies to teens searching websites on gender identity.

Crystal Cole, medical director of the Center for Gender Affirming Medicine at Akron, Ohio’s Children’s Hospital told The Wall Street Journal, “Gender-diverse people have always existed but they didn’t necessarily have a community or a way to find that community.”

She continued, “What we’re seeing now is young people comfortable in exploring their gender identity and finding communities of people who will accept them and not judge them. That’s one of the wonderful things about social media!”

It’s not wonderful. The Journal’s Family and Tech writer, Julie Jargon, says the academic and medical communities are debating “the role that social media has played in the apparent increase in teenage discussion and exploration of sexual identity.”

Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, warns parents of the dangers of this online encouragement. She speaks of “an endless supply of mentors, who cheerfully document their own physical transitions, omitting mention of dangerous side effects and offering tips on how to pass as a man and how to break away from unsupportive parents.”

In her article, “How Gender Forums Online Can Pose Risks,” Ms. Jargon tells the story of 17-year-old Noah who prefers fashion and art to sports. He accessed a site called Discord. In a chatroom for artists, members suggested he might be “pansexual” or “gender fluid” and gave him lots of positive encouragement when he began identifying that way. Childhood friends were puzzled at this development and his parents encouraged him to take a break from Discord and found him a registered family therapist.

Noah rejected those disordered identities. Without alert friends and parents, he may have taken a different path. penna's vp small

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