“Do you want a dead daughter or a live son?” This question, which is really a threat, is the central tenet of the campaign forcing gender theology on parents. With activists crafting policiesstudies, and legislation based on the lie that affirming a person’s biological sex is negligent and emotionally abusive, many parents are struggling to protect their emotionally vulnerable children from suicidal ideation encouraged by gender ideologues and physical harm caused by medical providers.

Far too many educators are eager to push gender myths and suicide-focused slogans on children. Over half of Democratic teachers (but only 5 percent of Republican teachers) and 45 percent of high school teachers want students to be taught that whether someone is a boy or a girl is not determined by biological sex, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 2,531 public K-12 teachers. One-third of public school teachers support banning parents from opting out of gender ideology lessons.

The same people who teach children that they can be a “boy, girl, both, or neither” have ushered in a new era that cuts parents out of critical decision-making regarding their children, justifying their actions as the only option to keep the gender-confused child “safe” from parents who may not immediately and enthusiastically “affirm” a new gender identity. They’re wrong. It is well documented that close and positive relationships between children and parents promote mental well-being and protect against suicide. Educators and activists are actually increasing the mental distress and suicidality of at-risk youth by driving a painful wedge between parents and children. They are guilty of the very thing they accuse “non-affirming” parents of doing.

School district policies drafted by activist organizations such as GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and PFLAG cruelly cut out parents by requiring secretive Gender Support Plans to be developed as soon as a child chooses a new gender identity. The school codifies the child’s new name and pronouns, and determines the bathrooms, locker rooms, and sleeping arrangements for overnight trips the child will use. If the student indicates that her parents don’t believe her when she says that she is now a boy—or gender fluid or non-binary—then the plan instructs school staff to actively hide the new name and identity from the parents. The other students at the school are required to comply with the Gender Support Plan, and the entire school community is united against the parents as the school staff secretly push the child down a path of social and likely medical transition.

Parents are shoved aside by arrogant school staff with “I’m your mom now” posters hanging on their classroom doors and the full power of the education bureaucracy behind them. Will any of the staff who have huddled with students to craft Gender Support Plans be involved in that child’s life beyond that school year? Do the school staff members know the child’s likely complex emotional, behavioral, and developmental history? Will they be a loving, consistent, and active presence in her life forever?

The answers to those questions are, of course, no. 

Parents who are not caught up in the gender ideology social contagion know that children who threaten suicide are not born in the wrong body, and that a risky regimen of puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries won’t bring children the peace and joy they desperately crave. A child who threatens suicide requires love, kindness, and therapy to address underlying struggles, not sterilization.

The children caught up in the social contagion of gender ideology often have underlying conditions, including ADHD or autism spectrum, which are associated with lagging social skills, obsessive rumination, depression, and anxiety. Both studies and the stories shared by a growing number of detransitioners reveal a tendency to self-harm and suffer from eating disorders. Life has been hard for these highly sensitive and intense young people, and they’re understandably seeking relief.

Rather than assuring emotionally vulnerable children that no one is born in the “wrong” body, schools and many therapists choose to parrot activist slogans instead. Children are told that anyone who doesn’t immediately and fully embrace their new identity hates them. Most perniciously, children receive a steady drumbeat of messages focused on suicide and death. These slogans are repeated in GSA (gender sexuality clubs) meetings and materials created by organizations like Queer Kids, Advocates for Youth, and, of course, Planned Parenthood, an organization that profits from this ideology by doling out cross-sex hormones at clinics across the country.

These suicide slogans are used like a giant switch that turns off critical thinking and forbids even gentle questioning.

Activists and misguided school staff who have carelessly embraced the gender gospel must stop making these vulnerable students’ lives harder. It’s time to stop cruelly manipulating children with cult-like slogans. It’s time to stop driving a wedge between parents and their vulnerable children. Our society must support parents, protect children, and keep families intact by ending destructive Gender Support Plans and turning away from propaganda centered around suicide threats.