Norway, hardly the model of extreme, right-wing Christian fundamentalism, joined a growing number of European countries earlier this year in a move to restrict “gender-affirming care” for minors. The Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board ruled that guidance encouraging puberty blockers and sex-change procedures for gender-confused youths lacked medical evidence and should be restricted to research settings only.

“The knowledge base, especially research-based knowledge for gender-affirming treatment (hormonal and surgical), is deficient and the long-term effects are little known,” the UKOM, an independent government watchdog over Norway’s healthcare system, said in its report. “This is particularly true for the teenage population where the stability of their gender incongruence is also not known.”

Scientists in Sweden, Finland, France, and the United Kingdom have raised similar concerns, with the U.K.’s National Health Service going so far as to shut down its Tavistock Gender Clinic, the largest pediatric center of its kind, last year due to concerns that its treatments were putting gender-confused patients “at considerable risk.” Keep in mind: These are the countries in which the affirmative approach to transgender issues, known as the Dutch model, began. And it has exploded in their faces as an irreversible, devastating mistake.

In Norway, the number of gender-confused teenagers who were recommended for medical treatment surpassed 500 referrals per year from 2018 to 2021. Just 10 years prior, from 2007 to 2010, the number of consultations ranged from 50 to 70. From 1975 to 1990, that number was four, the UKOM’s report found.

Alarmingly, as the number of “gender-affirming care” consultations has increased, so too have the rates of autism, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, and other mental conditions among gender-confused patients. “The National Treatment Service has previously reported that 75% of those who are referred have a mental illness, with depression and anxiety as the most common diagnoses,” UKOM said. “A significant accumulation of various conditions was also found. About one in five of the referred individuals with gender incongruence had autism spectrum conditions, ADHD/ADD or Tourette’s. This corresponds to Swedish figures.”

In other words, transgender identity has spread like wildfire among young adults, especially those with preexisting mental conditions and those who do not fit the criteria for actual gender dysphoria. The UKOM doesn’t come right out and say it, but I will: Transgender ideology is a social contagion, and to treat it medically with irreversible, experimental drugs and surgeries is an affront to both science and common sense.

Unfortunately, as much of Europe begins to wake up to this reality, the United States is racing at full speed toward the cliff. Our medical and educational institutions unapologetically push gender ideology as fact and dismiss any concerns about their methods or research as bigotry and “transphobia.” They are exposing thousands of gender-confused children to permanent damage and fighting legislative efforts by conservative states to force them to stop.

The Left is so beholden to this ideology — this religion — that it is incapable of the kind of introspection that Norway’s public health officials have demonstrated, which means that when our own reckoning comes, the damage is going to be much more severe.