The number of transgender-identifying youth has nearly doubled in the last five years, with more than 300,000 children ages 13 to 17 identifying as a gender different from their biological sex. Among adults, the number has soared to 1.3 million, or 0.5 percent. Stories of these individuals have been spoon-fed to the public in cheerful, triumphant tones. From Disney Channel spinoffs to reality shows and even feature segments on Fox News, the idea of children changing their gender has been applauded, platformed, and promoted. On YouTube, videos celebrating child “gender transition” accumulate millions of views.
Yet these only tell part of the story about the phenomenon of youth flocking to trans identities in record numbers. Far from the public eye, dissenters from this movement have been relegated to websites such as Reddit, Substack, and the occasional right-leaning news outlet. Stories detailing the harms that gender ideology has inflicted on gender-confused children are essential to an honest conversation about how best to protect the long-term health and well-being of America’s youth, but rarely are they featured in Hollywood or on the nightly news.
Earlier this year, Independent Women’s Forum invested in a multi-part short documentary series featuring the stories of mothers whose daughters fell victim to gender ideology and of young women who made irreversible changes to their bodies, only to regret it a short time later. The often traumatic tales run contrary to the popular “affirmation” model being pushed by influential organizations and figures including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, and President Joe Biden. They put a face to the widespread concerns over the relentless push for “preferred” names and pronouns, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for children. Yet, with each documentary we’ve released, Big Tech has censored our stories.
When attempting to advertise our videos to reach a vast audience, Independent Women’s Forum was slapped with unwarranted roadblocks—with excuses ranging from the depiction of “sensitive events” and “health safety” to “privacy,” “hatred,” “intolerance,” and “discrimination.”
But what is “hateful,” “discriminatory,” or “intolerant” about a mother from Alaska sharing her experience of a local public school secretly “affirming” her 15-year-old daughter behind her back? What is the legitimate “health” concern about a mother from California sharing the story of gender ideology driving her 14-year-old autistic daughter into a “catastrophic” mental breakdown—aside from the health concerns she herself raised? What is the “safety” issue with a mother from Washington state sharing her fears about a male teacher asking her 11-year-old gender-confused daughter if she wanted to sleep in the boys’ cabin on an overnight field trip—aside from the safety concerns this mother raised? Independent Women’s Forum doesn’t know, because Big Tech won’t answer when we ask.
To be sure, the story of a detransitioner from Illinois who surgically removed her breasts and nearly sterilized herself, only to realize a year later that she wanted to get pregnant and carry her own child, is extremely “sensitive.” And indeed, the story of a mother from Chicago who lost custody of her 12-year-old daughter because she refused to give in to the lie that her daughter was a boy is incredibly “private,” as YouTube claimed. But it was these women’s choice to take their “confidential,” “sensitive,” and “private” stories and make them public. Not Google‘s. And not YouTube’s.
As of today, the mother from Chicago has been able to see her daughter for less than 10 hours in the last three years. She lives less than 10 minutes away, but can only communicate with her daughter by U.S. Mail. As if she hasn’t already lost enough, Big Tech wants to take away her ability to speak. According to YouTube, the public is better off without her story.
These are the true, heart-breaking accounts that the large, well-funded transgender movement doesn’t want Americans to hear. But free speech is essential to a functional democracy. Americans have the right to disagree with the conclusions drawn by parents and detransitioners who say they’ve been victimized by gender ideology. But by suppressing their voices, social media companies are warping public discussion, ensuring that only one approved perspective is heard.
As a result, both sides lose. Those with legitimate concerns about prescribing children puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries are silenced and misunderstood. Hospitals and physicians promoting and profiting from prescriptions and irreversible medical procedures for otherwise healthy children remain inside an echo chamber, ignorant of potential downsides and dissent.
For those of us who believe children should never be made to hate and mutilate their own bodies, it’s disappointing to see Big Tech tilt the scale. When the reckoning comes, tech giants won’t just be complicit in the damage that Schedule III controlled substances and invasive surgeries cause in children who don’t need them. History will show that Big Tech played an active role.