Queer camp, gender odyssey, & bigot bait: This week in trans kid news

Below is a smattering of links covering just a few of the latest happenings in the world of youth transition. Consider this a semi-open thread (comments moderated); weigh in on any of these stories in the comments section below this post.

Yesterday, Jesse Singal (who, in February, penned a controversial story about the firing of Kenneth Zucker) published a balanced piece in New York Magazine, daring to discuss the decades of research showing that a large majority of gender dysphoric kids will ultimately desist.

Singal’s article got linked on the WPATH Facebook page, engendering the usual dismissals from the usual late transitioning MtF activists, among others.  The below comment is emblematic.

WPATH commenter

The gist:

  1. Persistence/desistence rates are ultimately not that important.
  2. We should just trust the gender specialists and trans activists who take such a strong interest in the medical transition of other people’s children.
  3.  If the adult “trans community” trusts a particular pediatric clinician, that’s all we need to know.
  4. The concerns raised in Singal’s piece about medical transition of children are nothing but bigot-bait.

A couple of days ago, TransActive Gender Center in Portland OR posted a survey asking trans tweens and teens about their experience with bathrooms, locker rooms, and overnight accommodations.  The intro says that TransActive plans to “guide K-12 schools nationwide in becoming compliant with Title IX civil rights protections and beyond that, provide safe, inclusive environments for transgender and gender diverse students.”

Transactive survey

Among other things, the 6-page survey asks about locker rooms accommodations.

TA survey 2

Next week, the annual Gender Odyssey convention will be held in Seattle, WA. All the leading lights of youth transition will attend, with both professional and family sessions taking place. Gender Odyssey’s website is right in line with the increasing trend of subsuming “gender nonconforming” children under the trans umbrella. Given that very few of us rigidly adhere to Barbie-or-Ken sex stereotypes (after all, we all have different personalities are gender fluid), soon pretty much everyone will fit under the GNC-trans Big Tent. Whatever. As the ad at the top of the page says, “equality is good business!”

Gender odyssey family.jpg

There are events for kids and teens of all ages, with a teen program designed by and for gender nonconforming and trans teens.  Topics include “Chest Surgery Show & Tell,” “Testosterone 101,” and “Trans-er than thou.” Lest any younger kids feel left out, the site organizers assure families that “tweens are welcome to attend any teen workshop they are interested in.”

Gender Odyssey teen program

Workshops for parents are led by some of the top names in peds transition and trans activism—including Johanna and Aydin Olson-Kennedy and Asaf Orr (of the now-misnamed National Center for Lesbian Rights). Workshops cover everything from medical care, document changes, puberty blocking, and even “outside the binary” youth–who may still need “medical care protocols.”).

Gender odyssey workshops

There’s still time after Gender Odyssey for your teen to zip over to the East Coast to attend the Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer camp in North Carolina.

Qords camp.jpg

The six-day gathering takes place to “promote the creativity, confidence, leadership, and prosperity of southern youth queers.” The QORDS umbrella covers “queer and gender non-conforming  youth or youth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQQIA) families.”

Youth are “sorted” into cabins

by age not gender because many of our campers are non-binary or genderfluid. There are 6-8 campers in one cabin with a staff cabin in between.

Happy Summer!

34 thoughts on “Queer camp, gender odyssey, & bigot bait: This week in trans kid news

  1. So creepy. The appropriation of what we used to call intelligent kids, is gnc is a masterstroke. It exams the range of recruits and offers parents a hole that their kids won’t go for surgery and drugs.

    It’s like a sci-fi plot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I actually like the idea of workshops and camps, if they were done differently from what is presented here. If I were the parent of a gender nonconforming kid, I would want my kid to meet other kids like him/her. I mean, it would be great if the little “princess boys” could dress up or play Barbies together– as boys– because this it shows them that, yes, there are other boys like you. You aren’t alone. The same goes for little GNC girls who want to go out in the mud and play with toy dump trucks. The world of a child is usually very small; their peer group is limited to the kids they meet in school, around the neighborhood, and via extracurricular activities. But extracurricular activities might be awkward if your kid is the only boy taking figure skating lessons or the only girl on the hockey team. So no, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with getting these kids together when the objective is to let them socialize and have fun in a nonjudgmental space where they can just be kids.

    But if the focus is on medical interventions, no. If the environment is one where parents of GNC kids– and the kids themselves– are pressured to transition, then no. (“But Mom, I’m the only ten-year-old in the whole camp who isn’t on blockers yet!”)

    As for the teen sleeping arrangements, I don’t know what would be the best way to make that work. At a camp filled with gendertypical, (presumably) straight teens, nobody puts 15-year-old boys in the same dorm room with 15-year-old girls– the adults *know* what’s gonna happen. Adults need to set those same kinds of boundaries for LGBT teens while at the same time setting up a sleeping space where they feel safe and comfortable. In other words, it’s probably not a good idea to throw two 15-year-old gay boys into a room with a 15-year-old MTF transkid who is attracted to boys, along with a FTM kid who feels weird getting undressed in front of all of them.

    Liked by 9 people

  3. The sleeping arrangements are ridiculous. Do we remember the late 80’s early 90’s when there were support groups for addictions to everything and the psycho language used? I had an eating disorder, went into treatment and came out believing my Mom was to blame and I was codependent, would ALWAYS have an eating disorder, OCD, personality disorder and was on 8 Prozac 20mg daily. It took 2 years for me to realize I wasn’t a broken person that would spend my life white knuckling thru every day to survive. My head cleared after discontinuing the Prozac and 10 years later my Mom is my best friend and I remember good and bad things about growing up in my family. I thought we had learned that the only ones who came out unscathed and better off (wealthier) were the therapists, hospitals and “experts.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. This is frightening. So now children are going to be expected to be “gender conforming,” or they need a prescription for drugs and surgery? Could this possibly be any more
    A) anti-feminist, and
    B) Big Brother?

    That conference schedule reads like a little house of horrors. Both the conference and camp look like indoctrination programs. I wonder how many kids at each will be uncomfortable, but be afraid or not have the words to say something. How many will think, “I don’t want my breasts cut off, no matter how great these people say it is,” and decide right then to be as “gender” conforming as possible?

    And with all this, consider that transactivists have the gall to call any legal requirement for a child or adult, pre-transition, to see a licensed counselor – who isn’t a trans-approved gender identity specialist – “conversion therapy”?

    Liked by 4 people

  5. This is just pure indoctrination! I worked as a counselor at an Orthodox day camp for three summers, and campers were separated into bunks by sex, except for the nursery campers. My last summer, they mixed boys and girls in the lower elementary bunk, but I don’t know if that’s continued. We always took extra precautions when changing for swimming, since none of the girls wanted any boys or men to walk in on them. They even put their clothes back over their swimsuits if it’d be awhile before going to the pool, since it’s forbidden to appear in a state of immodest dress before members of the opposite sex. If anyone tried to put a boy in with the girls, or vice versa, there’d be a huge uproar among parents.

    I do like the idea of a camp for kids who don’t follow rigid stereotypes, but it’s apparently impossible for kids to behave like that without being classed as trans and shoved onto hormones and blockers these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • How many children actually follow rigid stereotypes? Especially when it comes to summer camp, how many girls are insisting on wearing pink dresses and hair bows and refusing to get dirty and have fun doing outdoor activities? Maybe we need “cis” summer camps for those kids.

      Liked by 6 people

  6. I’ve worked in youth leadership (camp, church and Scouts) for a long, long time, and I’m here to tell you, these folks are playing with fire. First of all, the focus of the camp appears to have a great deal to do with sexuality (not just gender). It would have to. Sexual preference, sexual practice, sexual acting-out. Sex is going to be on people’s brains, big-time (in sharp contrast to the usual adolescent brain, right? Nope, this is teenage lust, literally, on steroids). This is one reason why I felt very leery about sending my lesbian daughter to a “teenage LGBT camp;” from the materials I saw, it looked like there was way too much emphasis on things that there didn’t need to be. For anybody, but especially teenagers, the focus should not be on how they look or who they want to sleep with or how. There are so many other important developmental tasks that should take priority. Kids don’t need any more encouragement for their minds to go to those “other” places.

    Second, as another person noted, the sleeping arrangements are, in a word, crazy. It’s just never going to work. With so many teenagers identifying as “pan-sexual” or bi-sexual or some other kind of omni-sexual, you’d literally have to give each kid his or her own private room… and then you’d have to police things 24/7 anyway.

    Third, you know who staffs these camps? College students, that’s who. Paragons of adult maturity and judgment (okay maybe that’s a little mean, but let’s be realistic). They’re putting people who couldn’t possibly have been either trained, or had enough life experience, into a situation that, to put it mildly, is going to present behavior and other challenges. I’ve seen it happen, way too often, that when an inexperienced 19 year old counselor is put on the spot – the wrong decision gets made. Especially when you’re dealing with kids who probably bring lots of issues to the table, it’s going to be a very challenging and stressful environment.

    There is a reason LGB “elders” typically refused to get involved with youth groups – and except in the trans population, still do. While being LGBT isn’t only “about sex,” it’s naive to think that sex isn’t a big part of it, and most adult LGB folks wanted to steer way, way clear of anything that dealt with that topic. For very good reason, I might add!

    Liked by 9 people

    • The parents of transkids seem to believe everything they’re told. Do they even look for evidence that camp counsellors have been vertted?
      >Cherno Biko, an admitted rapist, gets to be co-chair of the NYC Young Women’s Advisory Committee.
      >Allison Woolbert, convicted of the rape of his 14 year old stepdaughter, was executive director of the Transgender Human Rights Institute.
      >Julanna Fialkowski, transgender youth leader, is facing child pornography charges (involving the children he was responsible for).

      Liked by 5 people

    • Yes you are so right on the college councilors. I wish j had known this as we just had an experience with the last councilor who started to encourage our daughter to transition at the second meeting. All against our wishes. Children counciling children. What is our world coming to

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for writing this.

      I thought both the Gender Odyssey workshop and the Queer Camp seemed waaay too focused on sex and youth, either the sex that people are, or the sex people do, in a similarly uncomfortable, if not creepy, way that the Duggars of the TV show, “19 Kids and Counting,” do. Why are these people so obsessed with children’s sex and sex lives? Is it just that the child is sex dysphoric, and if so, could all this public, entire-family sexual attention exacerbate the child’s body/sex dysphoria? Or perhaps because the christian bible is obsessed with sex? I’m all for sex education being handled well, rooted in science and as much sensitivity as possible, both at home and in school, to ensure kids get balanced, accurate information. But these seem obsessively focused, and in a public and insensitive manner for the kids.

      Does anyone recall how uncomfortable they and the other kids were with sex ED in school? Or at home? How uncomfortable might this workshop and camp be for kids? Especially for girls who are so uncomfortable with their pubescent body parts being objectified that they wish they could have their breasts removed and have the physique and protective “cover” of being a boy within patriarchy, instead? How uncomfortable it might be to be dragged by your over-involved parents, with your whole family, to a workshop about your, or your sibling’s, sexual body parts and development? Would that not be cringe-worthy? Even worse if the child is being sexually abused by a family member. Where’s the concern and respect for the child’s sexual safety and privacy? Where’s the workshop on child sexual safety, for parents and kids, followed by the child’s opportunity to speak alone with a licensed therapist who specializes is childhood sexual abuse, in case the child needs to tell someone something? Are these organizations and the parents too much like the Duggars?

      Liked by 3 people

    • I missed this post when it was new. Or only read part of it because it was in enraging. 🤔

      WorriedMom, well put. Also I keep imagining the university students being argued with by trans teenagers who are used to getting what they want by invoking all kinds of esoteric pseudo-political concepts.

      And that North Carolina thing with the little kids? That just sounds crazy. Who would send their kids to something like that? 😣 On top of everything else they’re making this up as they go along. It’s not like normal camp activities for kids who have cancer, for instance.

      More of the trans project of trying to turn every single public space into therapy for them. 🙄


  7. Gender non-conforming. I thought about that label a lot last weekend when I was at a large swim facility in a nearby town. There was a massive diversity of body types, and not one person looked like Barbie – or Ken.
    Why can’t we (society) just let people be (look, behave, think, feel..) any way they want without changing “gender?” Who is buying into the idea of a “wrong”‘way to be a girl or boy (woman or man), and why??

    I’ve been thinking a lot about these issues and your blog has been a real eye opener. I have a minor family member exploring this topic, that’s how it got on my radar. Thank you!

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Where is Louis Therox when you need him? Young people have often defied societal norms but the involvement and endorsement of adults is what makes this sinister. What should just be a rite of passage for some, expressed in fashion and dramatic speeches before slamming the door on their way to their bedroom, has become medicalised. This endorsement leaves these kids no way out, no the ‘expert’ adults are indulging their own dissonance with society and need to grow up. Maybe we all need to claim a bit of ‘gender fluidity’ the appeal of difference would soon disappear. I wonder if their parents appeared to collect them having swapped clothes on route would they still feel as invested in their cause.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Very good point. Where is the ‘quit clause’ for the people, who we know are the majority, who are going to outgrow this?

      These pseudomedical outfits like Trans Active should be required to have ANOTHER set of therapists that kids can go talk to when they want to stop. Therapists that don’t work for Trans Active that kids/young adults can be referred to.


  9. As a parent who has a “trans” child I follow your site closely. I appreciate all the thoughtfulness that goes into many of the discussions. I have also scrutinized both of these events and I feel you’re mixing the conference and the camp is unfair. The camp is a place for kids to feel safe and be together; the focus is in on music, not sex. Why shouldn’t they be able to do that? Sounds like there is a lot of fear of sexuality underlying some of these comments. Do you really think that if kids want sex that separating them at night will prevent it? I think it’s about teaching our children to accept their bodies AND their sexuality, then put the reasonable limits on them. Qords seems to be attempting to create a safe space for queer kids to be has a policy against sexual activity and that seems healthy to me.


    • It is inappropriate for adults to encourage sexual activity between minors. In the context of a camp, you’re talking about children who may or may not be certain of their sexuality engaging in behavior that they may end up regretting afterwards. There is a difference between taking reasonable precautions to protect children from that possibility, and punishing them for engaging in it anyway… and no one was talking about punishing children for sexual behavior with each other. Adults do not need to teach children about their sexuality. The language you’re using is disturbing and I’m not entirely certain what you’re trying to say there. Regardless, it is never appropriate for adults to be teaching other people’s children about sexuality.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was talking about my opinion of what we need to provide for own kids, not what the camp is doing. They are NOT claiming to be teaching sexuality. Not sure what else about my language you may find disturbing. I don’t know how you came to the conclusion anyone was advocating sexual activity between minors? Big jump.


      • “Sounds like there is a lot of fear of sexuality underlying some of these comments. Do you really think that if kids want sex that separating them at night will prevent it? I think it’s about teaching our children to accept their bodies AND their sexuality, then put the reasonable limits on them. ”

        You said reasonable limits, and that’s good, but you also said everything I quoted prior to it, and I don’t know what you were intending with it. I reread all the comments before I replied to you, and the only thing I saw were parents concerned about how the sleeping arrangements would work. That’s a legitimate concern that never needed to be raised until this notion that people can literally change sex, and that you’re putting together kids that may be sexually attracted to each other(gay/lesbian or straight). What fear of sexuality do you see in that? Why are you assuming the kids will definitely have sex with each other, or that that’s what the commentators are ultimately worried about?

        Still don’t understand what you’re meaning about teaching ‘our children’ to accept their bodies and their sexuality. In the context of a camp or the conference, these would be other people’s children. No one needs to teach other people’s children to accept their bodies or their sexuality. I’m all in favor of sex ed in schools, but I do believe there’s a point where it can go too far, and that it’s preferable for children and young adults to figure out some things on their own, privately, so long as they know how to be safe.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. In my years as a PFLAG leader, I certainly saw that different families have different approaches towards dealing with their child’s sexuality/sex life. I knew of parents who permitted “romantic partner” sleepovers when the child was 14. I knew of parents who allowed greatly under-age children to go places like Provincetown, unsupervised. Sometimes, I did come to feel that the parents probably wouldn’t have allowed this behavior had the child not been gay or lesbian. My feeling always was, would you permit your child to do these same things if they were straight? But, it is certainly true that many families do have a much more liberal attitude towards teenage sexuality than we did/do.

    I wouldn’t permit my straight kids to go to a camp that had mixed-sex sleeping arrangements, regardless of whether it’s focused on music or anything else. In my opinion, and I suspect in that of most parents, that would be asking for trouble, policy or no policy. I guess if that makes me afraid of teenage sexuality it does.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. We disagree on that. I am not afraid of mixed sleeping arrangements. We are talking about cabins, bunks with counselors in the room.


    • Few people are “afraid” of mixed sleeping arrangements, but many people recognize that both males and females usually wish privacy from one another when dressing or sleeping. I would assume you wouldn’t force mixed sleeping arrangements if they weren’t desired, so surely it’s a least worth asking how to accommodate everyone without accusing those who do so of being fearful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is no way in hell I would approve of mixed-sex sleeping arrangements for tweens or teens, whether a counselor shares the cabin or not, and even if the kids/teens profess to have zero attraction to one another. Even if the kids weren’t worried about privacy from the opposite sex, I would not approve.

      There is just no way I would approve of mixed-sex sleeping arrangements for minors. To do so would simply be idiotic parenting. While it is true that kids who want to have sex are going to find a way to have sex, why in the world would adults (supposedly health professionals!) set it up so that it is completely convenient, or perhaps it appears to the kids as if it is allowed or encouraged? It is completely unnecessary, inappropriate and just plain stupid to allow tweens and teens of the opposite sex to share sleeping arrangements. It is just asking for experimentation, titillation, unwanted advances, confusion, and perhaps even assault or pregnancy.

      It blows my mind that any professional organization or parent would allow kids of different sexes to sleep in the same camp cabin, bedroom, hotel room, etc. Any business or organization that allows it should prepare themselves for a lawsuit, and any parents that allow it should start planning for the arrival of their grandbaby.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. This came in over the transom today… https://nccj.org/blog/we-need-your-help-august%E2%80%99s-nccj-anytown

    It comes from an outfit that I had actually not heard of before, although it’s Connecticut-based – called the National Conference for Community and Justice (the reboot of an organization that used to be called the National Conference of Christians and Jews). They do a lot of social-justice oriented work especially involving youth. Like so many other liberal organizations, and I say this as a bleeding-heart liberal, they appear to be 110% bought in to the trans agenda.

    Once again, I just have to say – I do not find this to be a wise or sensible course of action. This cabin is explicitly for kids ages 14-18 and it is obvious that young people of all shades of sexual or gender orientation will be housed together. Adults seem to think they will be able to keep a lid on these teenagers and their hormones, which in my view is entirely naive.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The previous comment demonstrates the fear I read between the lines in some of these responses. “Adults seem to think they will be able keep a lid on these teenagers and their hormones, which in my view is entirely naive.”

    As for your comment that adults should not be teaching other people’s kids about sexuality, I am wondering if that means you don’t believe in sexual education? Or am I missing some nuance of language here? I stand with France on this one. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/aug/15/french-schools-3d-model-clitoris-sex-education?CMP=fb_gu

    Liked by 1 person

    • I clearly stated that I am in favor of sexual education. Your link is entirely beside the point, either of the article or of anything anyone has said. Stop attempting to force the commentary to say what you want it to say and listen to people’s actual words. The comment you quoted demonstrates a realistic view of how teenagers are likely to behave unsupervised. If you don’t have a problem with your children having sex with virtual strangers at camps you send them to, that’s your business. Other parents are completely reasonable to disagree.

      But really, I think you’re well aware that this isn’t about “fear of sexuality”, and you simply prefer trolling people and making false implications than considering the actual issues. It’s rather obnoxious.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. As I had mentioned above, I have spent many years in youth leadership. For instance, I “retired” this spring from 15 years as a Girl Scout leader. I love working with teenagers and really enjoy their crazy energy and brand-new “take” on the world. Some of the best times of my life have been spent traveling with kids, whether that’s been to New York City, Cape Cod, or backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. Not only does this keep ME young in a way, but I feel it also has helped keep me in better touch with what kids are thinking and feeling.

    With all that said, I have also taken as my paramount responsibility, keeping kids safe – whether that is physically or emotionally. People trust me with their kids because I have proven, over the course of many years, that it’s “safety before all else.” Not that we don’t ever step out of our comfort zone, we do – but I also have a very acute sense of appropriate parental boundaries. It is NOT my job, nor should it be, to teach the kids anything about sexuality. That is for the family. That is NONE of my business.

    So I have been very surprised about this very liberal approach to mixed-group arrangements for teenagers. I just never heard of this in any other context. Youth leaders tend to understand that teens will try and push the envelope, boundary-wise, and that it is our job to make sure that, notwithstanding that tendency, the kids stay as safe as possible. On a very crass level, adults should be worried about potential legal liability for negligent supervision. I’ve certainly seen people get in trouble for far less.

    And on a more expansive level, I would also have many worries about exposing a young person to something he/she might not be ready to handle. Group pressure is a huge factor for teens, and many young people do things they’re not ready for, just because it appears to be the group norm. Kids need to be protected from themselves, and in most other areas (whether this is drinking alcohol or smoking, driving, school attendance, etc.) most people agree that supervision is necessary and appropriate. I am just mystified, really, why in the “trans” context, adults are defaulting on this responsibility.

    Time will tell!

    Liked by 3 people

    • What’s wrong with them? A very apt question.

      They’re emulating other things. That’s the “trans” way. Men emulating women. And of course getting it all wrong. As well as demanding that everyone pretend to be convinced by their fakery.

      With these camps it sure sounds like they’re emulating cancer camps for kids and camps for kids with disabilities. Where they “get to be themselves”. Which even in the disability context is an exaggeration. After all for us disabled people our disability is not “our self”. The purpose of those camps is to give the camp experience to people for whom it’s physically difficult to do camp stuff. But the purpose of the trans camps, as is the perpetual theme of the transgender movement, is to affirm their identity. All identity all the time. Jeepers, that constant hyper self-scrutiny alone would be enough to throw many teens into a mild depression. 😞


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