A Canadian toy company has created the first transgender toy — Sam, a nesting doll — to help "teach kids about gender identity" and reduce transphobia before it starts. Unfortunately, as altruistic as it sounds, creating a toy solely for this purpose only helps normalize something that's abnormal, unhealthy, and likely quite damaging to a child's wellbeing.
First it's a little absurd there's a toy for such a minor phenomenon that exists mostly in news media campaigns to drum up stories on the topic. Since it's estimated 0.3-0.6 percent of the adult American population are transgender, a generous guess would be half of that, or 0.1-0.3 percent of children identify as transgender, at most. (In case you're wondering what 0.3 percent of young people looks like, more kids (2 percent) receive an athletics scholarship for college, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, than identify as transgender.)
Second, and most importantly, the Canadian toymakers are clearly caught up in the propaganda and political correctness of the cause as evidenced by the video which accompanies the launch of the toy — and which is worth watching if you want to understand both a frustrated child and the general goal of the LGBTQ movement. The video has been viewed over 1 million times on Facebook in just two weeks. It is strongly pro-transgender, of course, but it perfectly captures the struggle of gender dysphoria some children experience. Sam is a young girl who doesn't feel comfortable, and experiences bullying and being left out, when she wants to, for example, join the boys sports team during recess.
In this regard, the video that accompanies the toy is helpful, but where it goes wrong demonstrates where all of society, including Canadians and Americans, have also gone awry. A sweet little song about acceptance and being yourself starts to play, when Sam cuts her hair, accompanied by a ghost-like boy-version of Sam standing next to her encouraging this, and then he presumably informs his parents of his "true self," they hug, and all is well. In short: If a child feels confused about his gender, all he need do is embrace his feelings and any message his brain is telling him, transition to the opposite gender and everyone will hug and be happy. Bravery and acceptance is key to a child who wants to transition — not truth accompanied with love.
There's not a large amount of data or studies on this yet, as transitioning children are still a relatively new phenomenon. The web site associated with the toy admits that we don't know how many trans kids are out there because it's relatively new, but somehow everyone is certain this tiny number, if allowed to transition, will develop into healthy adults.
This is likely false, and one doctor, Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins has been vocal and adamant that surgery is not the solution to dysphoria. It's a mental illness, not a physical problem. Imagine if Mattel created an anorexic doll to normalize a disease that, though it manifests in a starving body, is actually created via a disease of the mind.
The solution to a child's gender dysphoria isn't to make him feel better by creating a toy that normalizes something which could ultimately damage him further, but to offer medical, spiritual, and emotional help to work through the core issues that exist.
Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. [BIO] If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.