Abigail Shrier

Praxis Circle Contributor Abigail Shrier is an independent journalist and author of best-selling book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (2020) and Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up (2024).  Praxis Circle interviewed Abigail because of her perceptive ability to pinpoint cultural issues, her legal and journalistic expertise, and bold articulation of the truth, particularly pertaining to LGBTQ issues in the West.

Abigail Shrier – Introduction to Irreversible Damage

Doug Monroe:

Okay. Well, thank you for being here-

Abigail Shrier:

Thanks for having me.

Doug Monroe:

… Abigail. It’s been great visiting with you up until now, this morning.

Abigail Shrier:

Likewise.

Doug Monroe:

I’m going to talk a little bit upfront and then we’ll just get into a couple of these worldview questions. We already talked about that a little bit on the ride over, but I just through your book was absolutely fascinating.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, thank you.

Doug Monroe:

I thought it was essentially a very targeted case study about an area of LBGTQ+ and I loved the way you focused in on, with a laser focus on one aspect of it. I think it was beautifully written. You’re obviously a gifted writer.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, thank you.

Doug Monroe:

I think it has broader implications into families and even the trans human movement. You could even take it as relating to that. I have done a fair amount of reading in this area. The book I will cite to you is Charles Murray’s Human Diversity about race gender in class, where he does his typical survey of the literature in that area. I thought your book was just totally on point with what he said.

I would say, and this is getting into being too flattering, but of the many books I’ve read in relating to Praxis Circle, I would put it up there with Jonathan Haidt’s A Righteous Mind as I think a book people need to read to consider themselves educated.

Abigail Shrier:

Wow. Thank you.

Doug Monroe:

I really don’t think you can even think about what’s happening, let’s say, the last three to five years, particularly if you’re a parent without reading that book. I just want to congratulate you on all that.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, thank you. It’s funny to hear you say that because when I started out with the topic, people looked at me like I was crazy. The typical reaction was that’s such a niche issue, why would you write a book about that? It varied between that’s such a marginal phenomenon, why don’t you leave those people alone? Which is the reaction I got on the left.

And on the right, it was much more of an, “Ick, why is that something you write a book about? What’s wrong with you?” The reason I did was because first of all, I had planned to write a book about how young women were fairing. I came across this woman, wrote to me. A mom to tell me that her daughter had suddenly declared a transgender identity out of nowhere. She was already starting testosterone. In fact, this was happening all across the country.

I thought, “Well, why are so many young women trying to escape womanhood?” It fit into what I was already interested in. It didn’t seem like something I could avoid. I first wrote a piece about it for the Wall Street Journal. I got permission to do that because they also were concerned about whether this was a real phenomenon or just a very marginal one. They allowed me to do it and they were very supportive.

But I wrote a piece about it and we got a thousand responses. It was people from all over the country, telling me not only was this a phenomenon, they knew it was affecting their daughters and they wanted to tell me about it.

Then the New York Times wrote a response. Their transgender columnist, Jenny Boylan wrote a response to it and she got nearly a thousand comments. They were mostly agreeing with me. So at that point I realized, “Wow, this is a genuinely big phenomenon.” Originally I had thought it would just be the one article, and that’s what I had planned. And at that point I realized this is something much bigger that’s affecting the country.

Abigail Shrier – The Wall Street Journal Article that Led to the Book

Doug Monroe:

Let me ask you a one-sided question on that part of it, because we get into that a little bit later. We can take it on now, was that I have not read that original article that you wrote in 2019. My impression was it was more on pronouns and not so much on the science.

Abigail Shrier:

Right. First I wrote a piece on the pronouns. It was called the “Transgender Language War.” And that actually had nothing to do with transgender people whatsoever. It was about whether states like California and New York, which had statutes that proposed civil and criminal penalties for people who mis-gendered. I made the argument that that straightforwardly violated our first amendment.

I actually don’t think that was, I mean, although it was somewhat controversial at the time, it was so obviously correct. In fact, other courts have since said the same thing, which is in America, the government can’t make you say things. So no matter how much you think people should use other people’s pronouns, the state can’t pass a law mandating it.

I’m a lawyer and it was a simple argument I made from the First Amendment perspective. That was all. Then that’s when a reader first wrote to me and she said, “Listen, I’ve written to every journalist I can think of. I don’t know if you’ll take this on, but my daughter suddenly identified as transgender out of nowhere. She had a lot of mental health issues as a kid. A lot of terrible anxiety and depression. But she was never anything but a girly-girl. We never saw any gender dysphoria. When she went off to college, with a group of her girlfriends all of a sudden she decided she was trans.”

“In quick order she started a course of testosterone. There are parents like me all across this country and we’re all saying the same thing. This is out of nowhere. It doesn’t seem organic to these kids. I know my daughter.”

And the first thing I did was get in touch with an editor and send all these contacts to an investigative reporter with a lot more experience than I had. Then I waited for the piece to come out and I waited and I waited. I waited four months and nothing came. So at that point I thought, you know what? This isn’t rocket science. Let me find out what I can do here.

I wrote an initial piece for the Wall Street Journal, and that was the piece that had got a thousand comments from people across the country, desperate to tell me their stories. So at that point, I think that came out in January maybe 2019, I think. At that point I realized there’s more than an article here. So that’s when I wrote my book proposal.

Doug Monroe:

So the crack opened up and you went down it and it turned out to be a big cave down there, right?

Abigail Shrier:

Yes.

Abigail Shrier – What is your worldview? 

Abigail Shrier:

So I think about it a lot, but I think about it from a slightly different perspective. And it’s this, as an investigative journalist, when I’m doing investigative work, I do my best not to have a worldview. That is not to stick to one, not to be too influenced by one. The reason is because as an investigative journalist, I’m a little bit old school. I take it as my responsibility to bring the truth to the public.

I’m bringing the truth to the public that may have very different views from mine on a whole host of issues. They might have different religious commitments. They might have different political views. That’s fine. I don’t really believe it’s my role to influence them in those. What I try to do is just bring the truth and trust that American people, people who are active in the political process will know what to do with it and will help.

What I mean by help is, I tend to trust the American people that if I didn’t bring the truth of what’s really going on, they know what’s right and they will come to a good solution. That even goes so far as that I’ve never, for instance, come out. I’ve been asked many, many times to testify on behalf of bans on puberty blockers.

Now, I write about the very grizzly and serious risks of puberty blockers. I was one of the first to do it in America. But I’ve never testified on behalf of bans. The reason I haven’t is my role, as I see it, stops at the door. I bring everybody the truth as I find it and then I leave political actors to decide what to do with it, and the American people to decide what’s the best way of handling it.

Now, that said, I do have one big prejudice, and that is I really, really don’t like being lied to and I don’t like being manipulated. It’s completely constitutional for me. I don’t like being asked to participate in a lie and I have an extremely strong discomfort with lies. I think people throw around the word “dangerous” a lot. Things that cause harm that really don’t cause harm.

But I actually believe that lies are harmful, because if we don’t know what’s true, we can’t protect ourselves. I guess that’s one strong prejudice I have that I’ll just be up front about. But the rest I do try to divest myself of. At least for the course of an investigation.

Doug Monroe:

Gotcha. You use the word, “truth” a lot. If you’re a believer in truth, that means that I can eliminate about half of the worldviews out there that you don’t have.

Abigail Shrier – Growing Up Lessons: Tell the Truth and Learn About Your Adversaries 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I grew up in Maryland. I grew up in suburban Maryland, Prince George’s County. It’s a very integrated county. My neighbors, I didn’t grow up around Jews. I grew up around African Americans. Although I eventually attended parochial school. I went to a Jewish pluralistic day school for middle school and high school.

The person who undoubtedly had the biggest influence on me was my father. My father is an interesting man. In so many ways he influenced the way that I thought and the things I wanted to do and how I saw myself in the world.

One of the things that really had a big impact on me was that he was always proud of me when I spoke up about something that I felt was wrong or right or when I thought there was some untruth being told. He always made me feel that was a very attractive and good quality for a woman to have. The reason that mattered so much is because the first thing boys in high school and middle school let you know is, that’s the least attractive thing you can do.

They shame you. They make you feel ugly for it. My father never let that happen. That was one way he had a big influence on me. The other way is that my father was just a lover of ideas and he always gave me lots to read. I remember when I was a kid, I used to go with him to his law practice because he ran his own law practice. I remember when I was in high school, we would stop at this light in Landover Maryland where he ran his law practice and there would always be Nation of Islam guys hanging out there. He would always get their paper, The Final Call.

They gave it out for free and he would roll down the window and get The Final Call. This drove me crazy when I was in high school because obviously the paper’s very antisemitic and anti-white and what not. I realized at some point that he was doing this every time he would pass the light. He would pick up one of their papers. I got very upset. I said, “Why are you doing this?” Because in high school, everything embarrasses you. Everything that’s a little different.

He said, “Well, they’re our adversaries. We have to know what they have to say.” He read their paper. It made a big impact on me. It made me realize that closing yourself off from the world is not the way to confront it. It’s not the way to fight for your own view of what’s right or what’s actually going on. It’s just making you weaker.

Abigail Shrier – Columbia, Oxford (and Antisemitism), and Yale Law School 

Abigail Shrier:

Sure. At Columbia, first of all, we had the core curriculum, so I got the Western canon. That’s why I had gone to Columbia. It was wonderful. It was really wonderful. We had obviously western art, western civilization, three courses in western philosophy. There, I studied philosophy. I wasn’t intending to do that, but I did. I really liked it. I really gravitated towards it. It was really good for writing. It forced you to be very precise and I suppose a little more rigorous. It was a wonderful experience.

Then I went to Oxford to do a graduate degree in philosophy. They had a program at Columbia, there was a Kellett Fellowship, so I was one of the Kellett fellows for 2000. There were two of us. I was sent to Oxford and-

Doug Monroe:

What philosophy? Not to interrupt. Did you concentrate?

Abigail Shrier:

Yeah. On Wittgenstein. So I studied logic and language. Philosophical logic and philosophy of language and then I focused and my historical philosopher was Wittgenstein. It was interesting. I wrote my thesis about vagueness actually. Anyways, a little technical, but semantic vagueness. Vagueness in language.

But the biggest impact Oxford had on me, although it was a wonderful program and I learned a lot, was really that it occurred during the second intifada in Israel. I saw a level of hatred toward Jews that I was totally unprepared for. I was in a small program. I did the BPhil at Oxford. It was all male except for me.

Other people in my course were suddenly marching in the streets of Oxford under swastikas. Not only swastikas covering Israeli flags, but that was something I hadn’t seen. These were friends of mine from my course. Of course, we got the Guardian at Oxford, which at that time was publishing cartoons of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in which he’s pulling a head off a baby. It really, it looked like something out of Der Sturmer. That was really eye-opening for me. I had been so cosseted in America in a certain sense. But I wasn’t prepared for that level of hatred, frankly at all Jews, but especially Israel.

Then I returned to America and went to Yale Law School, which at that time, was a true paradise. I have very close friends from truly across the political spectrum because it wasn’t actually relevant when we were in school.

Doug Monroe:

It wasn’t? It wasn’t CRT back at that time?

Abigail Shrier:

No, no, no. Not yet, but very, very left wing friends. It wasn’t an issue at all. This was the early 2000s, and today obviously, it’s a very, very different story. If you are part of the Federal Society on campus, you’re targeted. Most people don’t know this, but the Federal Society actually started at Yale Law School. It was that open an environment for people of all political persuasions. It’s definitely a little bit disappointing to see that change.

Abigail Shrier – Judeo-Christian Values Create Herd Immunity 

Abigail Shrier:

Of course. Well, I’ll say this about Judeo-Christian values. Especially of late. I have met really wonderful people and interacted with wonderful people who are atheist. Of course, I’ve known many wonderful people who are religious of some … Christian or Jewish or whatever. Or Muslim. I will say this, that I don’t think religious people have a monopoly on goodness. I certainly don’t believe that.

But I think for a society, Judeo-Christian values seem to herd immunity against a certain kind of nonsense and foolishness. I think what we’re seeing in America is as America becomes less religious, we have a lot less of that immunity. We have things like the rise of gender ideology. We have things, ideologies that are very dangerous that actually don’t make very much sense, but people don’t have conviction to shut them down or turn away from them.

They feel that they must engage them. They must blow oxygen on the fire. Unfortunately, with gender ideology, if you let it into your family it does a lot of damage.

Abigail Shrier – The Source of Courage in Her Work: Dangerous Lies Outweigh Fear 

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, well, it’s funny. I don’t think of myself as a brave person. Although I do get that a lot. We’re all afraid of different things. I certainly am afraid every time my kids leave the house. But I really don’t like lies and I suppose my anger at the thought of a world in which most Americans are manipulated by a lie makes me angry enough that the fear disappears.

I really don’t like the way families have been ripped apart by this. I don’t like the way that parents have been so manipulated. Parents have been told, “If you don’t transition your children, your child, she will likely kill herself.” That’s about as coercive and manipulative and frankly immoral a lie as you can put to a parent. It’s not true in the vast majority of instances. There’s no basis to it. It’s an awful thing for a medical provider to say to a parent who’s desperate and very worried for her child or his child.

That makes me sufficiently angry. Look, this is an ideology that has harmed. I was talking to an editor at one of the big mainstream media outlets and they reached out to me because now, of course, they’re all jumping on the bandwagon or whatever. I said to them, and this is true, “In the three years since my book was published, that it took for your paper to finally admit the harms of these drugs and procedures, tens of thousands of American children have been harmed.”

Doug Monroe:

Yeah. It’s clear you’re not thinking about your courage. You’re thinking about the people you’re helping. You’re very drawn to helping children, adolescent children and parents. There are other issues that are similar that draw your type people in and I’ll just leave it at that. I thank you personally for that, because without people like you, we’d be toast. As a society, we would be.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, well that’s very kind of you to say. The thing is, it was interesting because when I first came out, when I first wrote the book, conservatives did not want to deal with the issue. The liberals were nervous about it because of the left. They were afraid of the left. They’re still afraid of the left, and conservatives didn’t want to touch it. They thought, that has nothing to do with me. “Yuck” was their reaction to the various … And these are grizzly surgeries. They’re not easy to read. It’s not easy to look at the pictures.

So they wanted to turtle a little bit. At some point, I just realized, people are getting really hurt. Parents are getting misled. Children are being taken apart and families are being ripped apart. At some point, I realized if people don’t get their big boy pants on and deal with this issue, it’s just going to keep marching on and it has. This gender ideology has done a great deal of damage and continues to.

 

Abigail Shrier – The Biological Truth: Sex is Binary 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, of course sex is binary. I don’t think anyone sincerely believes otherwise. I don’t know. Some people make noise about this, but outside of academic circles, I’m not sure that anyone believes that anything other than every cell of our bodies is sexed in some way. So either contained XY chromosomes, XX chromosomes, or of course the [inaudible 00:28:13]. So the idea that anyone, that in the animal kingdom sex is anything other than binary is ridiculous. But there’s two things that sort of happen. When we are quiet about the truth or when we feel shame, so we don’t speak up, a lot of nonsense can march in the door.

And unfortunately, this is a particular, gender ideology is a particularly vicious sort of nonsense, not only because it’s so highly coercive and insists that you speak, you have to recite my pronouns, you must recite after me, or you can lose your livelihood or you can go to jail as some of these laws have proposed. But it separates children from their families. It tells young women they can’t trust their parents. It tells them they need to do these irreversible damages to their bodies. And we are now seeing the testimonies of thousands of de-transitioners.

These are young women who regret having made these hasty alterations, hasty alterations that were really pushed and facilitated by medical providers who had no business doing that, and therapists who really had no business greasing the wheels and pushing a troubled adolescent toward medical transition as if it were the only way to cure their unhappiness. Now, in fact, there’s no proof that gender affirmation improves mental health at all. So whatever was troubling, these girls, we have very good indication that the vast majority of them were troubled by something other than gender dysphoria.

Abigail Shrier – The Recent Social Contagion of Gender Dysphoria

Abigail Shrier:

So for over a hundred years, we have a hundred year diagnostic history of gender dysphoria, and we know what this condition is. It’s the severe discomfort in one’s biological sex, and it always overwhelmingly afflicted males. And it began in early childhood, ages two to four. But in the last decade for the first time, we were seeing large numbers of young women with no childhood history of gender dysphoria, deciding they had discomfort in their bodies and wanting to change their physical appearance through hormones and surgeries.

This didn’t look like gender dysphoria at all. It didn’t begin in early childhood and was predominating among young women. And the strangest thing of all, it was exploding in friend groups. Lisa Littman, the public health researcher who did the original scientific research on this, found that there was a 70 times greater prevalence rate among friend groups, meaning you were 70 times more likely to announce a transgender identity if you were a part of a friend group in which other kids had done that as well.

So these were numbers that all pointed to the idea of social contagion. These were indicators that all pointed to the idea that this wasn’t so much organic gender dysphoria as we had always known it, but a kind of social contagion, which means young people encouraging each other in an idea that there was something wrong with them. And this particular idea wasn’t that they were so fat because we know that anorexia spreads this way as well, or bulimia, which also does, but in fact, this idea was, “I’m in the wrong body and I need to change.”

Doug Monroe:

Isn’t it true that if women who have this dysphoria just don’t do anything, that some large percentage of them become comfortable being female eventually?

Abigail Shrier:

Yes. So there’ve been several studies on this, many studies on this now, and they range, the number of those who have gender dysphoria in their youth who then outgrow it if left alone range somewhere between 68% and much, much higher. 85%, 90% outgrow it on their own. Now that’s when we were leaving these kids alone. We’re not doing that today.

Today, the second a girl feels that she’s not feminine or she’s not perfectly female, whatever that means, she is she to have a teacher, a counselor, somebody tell her, a therapist tell her, “Maybe your problem is gender, maybe you’re really supposed to be a boy.” Now with girls who identify as transgender, we’re seeing very high rates of going on to hormones and surgeries and whatnot. But if left alone, most of these kids were out just outgrowing it.

Abigail Shrier – One Cause of Gender Dysphoria Increase: Social Media 

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, I think all young women, it’s very natural to feel uncomfortable in your body as it’s changing. I mean, I hardly know a woman alive who didn’t. The difference is that girls don’t spend as much time with each other anymore. They spend a lot more time online. So the moment it occurs to them to dislike their body, they go to the internet to find out what it means or what they should do about it.

And there they find a lot of influencers and at this point, a great deal of media encouraging them the idea that actually they’re likely transgender. Now, the idea that a girl actually what she has is gender dysphoria and that she’s supposed to be on this transgender path was always historically profoundly unlikely. You’re talking about one in 30,000 women, so very, very small numbers. But today, we’re seeing 20% of seventh graders, girls in the seventh grade class deciding they’re really transgender. So these numbers don’t make any sense outside of social contagion.

Abigail Shrier – Trans Community as a Social Identity 

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, well, trans is really a social identity. If we’re talking about gender dysphoria, if we’re really talking about very small numbers. For men, it was one in 10,000. So basically no one you went to high school with. So think back a generation, so today we’re seeing something like 20% of youth or very, very high numbers, they vary, but identify as LGBTQ. We’ve never seen this and we have a long history of homosexuality.

I mean, that’s never been a secret in any society, even where it was actively suppressed and even in places where even in repressive regimes, we’ve known about homosexuality. That’s always existed and gendered dysphoria has existed, and we’ve always had what we used to call transsexuals. But today, it seems to have captivated such a large percentages of our youth. At some college campuses, you have 40% of the kids identifying as LGBTQ. This is so highly improbable that we know something else is going on and that this has become a social identity that young people take on for various reasons.

Abigail Shrier – The Real Concern: Transitioning Adolescents vs. Adults 

Abigail Shrier:

So one of the things I was tried to be really clear about in the book was that my only interest when it came to the book was in adolescent girls. And because they were making these changes at a time in their life, that was so confusing. And because they seem to have a lot of other mental health issues and because teenagers don’t know themselves all that well, and that’s the reason we don’t let them get tattoos and do all kinds of other things that might permanently alter them.

But when it came to adults, I felt very differently. I felt that any free society had to allow adults to make decisions about themselves that other people might agree with, not, might disagree with. We certainly allow men to and women to take on ultra-hazardous professions. We let them become loggers and roofers, even though to some of us, that seems like a highly risky thing to do. And by the same token, I thought whether someone wanted to medically transition that was generally up to them if they were an adult.

Now I have come to know a lot of people in the course of writing a book who are transgender or adults, and I interviewed them for the book. And I personally became convinced that many of them were leading good lives and they were very comfortable with presenting to the world in this way. So I didn’t do a study on it.

But having interviewed and gotten to know many transgender adults, many of them decided to do this transition after a period of a lot of reflection, a good amount of life under their belts, and very often with a mental health professional to having talked it through, they really came to the idea that this was right for them. So they underwent these profound surgeries that are extremely risky. But I think many of them came out the other end with a level of comfort that they said that they didn’t experience before.

Now of course, I’ve also talked to people who, for whom the surgeries didn’t go that well. These are very risky surgeries. So there are surgeons who do, from what I understand, an superb job with them. But there are others who are willing to take on these highly lucrative surgeries and are not as skilled as they should be. So I knew that it was a very risky thing to especially put a teenager through or a child, especially because they were so highly likely to regret.

Abigail Shrier – What does transitioning look like for adolescent females? 

Abigail Shrier:

So they’re puberty blockers that girls start with sometimes and boys at very young ages. They can start as young as eight. Usually eight to 11 is where they start on these. And although sometimes they do it a little bit later and they’re just beginning to understand the risks, but they are significant and they’re already coming out.

So we know now that certainly there’s a huge problem with bone density. There’s a very high risk of everything that goes along with bone density from splitting teeth to insufficient bone development. And there’s a concern also about not reaching peak IQ because hormones shower the brain. They don’t just operate on those areas of the body that will sexually mature.

So there’s a concern that the mental development won’t be the same with these kids. But again, we don’t entirely know all the risks. If they go onto puberty blockers, not only is there a risk of infertility with puberty blockers, but if they go onto cross-sex hormones rather, infertility is all but guaranteed. So with testosterone, which is across sex hormone, the-

Doug Monroe:

That’s stage two, right?

Abigail Shrier:

Yeah.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

That’s typically stage two. These women are getting shots 10 to 40 times what their bodies would normally handle. Again, we don’t exactly know what will happen to them long-term because we haven’t, I hate to use this phrase, but it’s accurate, we haven’t been experimenting on them for long enough. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re experimenting on these kids.

So but right away we see within the first three months, their voices tend to deepen, they tend to get more masculine feature, facial features, their shoulders broaden, they tend to redistribute fat. They’re at much higher risk of cardiac event. And they tend to, oh, and they get facial hair. And there’s also alterations to their private anatomy, female anatomy. A lot of those don’t seem to go away. The facial hair doesn’t seem to go away, the changes to private anatomy don’t seem to go away. But then-

Doug Monroe:

The voice doesn’t change either, right?

Abigail Shrier:

The voice changes, and that often doesn’t go away. They’re stuck with a masculine voice forever, or at least it seems like forever. Again, we haven’t been doing this long enough to really know. But then there are the other things, the psychic benefits, and that’s part of why so many girls were attracted to this.

They get a certain euphoria from going on testosterone, and it suppresses anxiety, which is these girls’ chief problem, so in many instances. So they tend to feel really good when they go on testosterone. Now, there are other ways to suppress anxiety, but they feel good and the first thing they want to do is tell their friends.

Doug Monroe:

Men are good at being angry at everything, and it works. You forget about the other person and you’re happy with yourself. But anyway, go ahead.

Abigail Shrier:

Yeah, so they do. They feel good about themselves when they start testosterone. And it feels tough, and it feels good not to feel weak and vulnerable. And one of the things that you go through as a young woman when your body changes is the first thing you feel is a new vulnerability that you’re not used to.

And it’s scary. It’s absolutely frightening when your body changes as a woman and a little alarming. And those are the kinds of things that your girlfriends and your mom sometimes, depending on how well you got along with her, but definitely your girlfriends helped you feel better about. And today, we’re not seeing that as much.

Abigail Shrier – Affirmative Care Is Not Medical Care 

Abigail Shrier:

Affirmative care isn’t medical care. It really isn’t. It’s saying that the patient’s self-diagnosis will prevail in a medical setting because the doctor will not exercise his or her own professional judgment. It’s an abdication of medical responsibility. And it’s saying that whatever the patient self-diagnosis with, specifically with regard to the transgender or gender dysphoria self-diagnosis, we’re going to just rubber stamp.

So there’s no other area of medicine where you take a patient’s self-diagnosis at face value. So I think it’s obviously inconsistent with all other medical protocols, but it’s also just sort of offensive to the idea of a professionalism. Doctors get medical degrees for a reason. We expect them to exercise their judgment. And here’s a place where they’ve abdicated all responsibility and just say, “Just sign on the dotted line with whatever the patient comes up with. Yes, you’re gender dysphoric. Sure. When do you want your breasts removed?”

And that sounds like a caricature, but it’s not much of one. And this is of course, something that’s happened all across the West. And there was a young woman, Jay Langadinos, I hope I’m pronouncing her name correctly, who in Australia, who on her first visit with a psychiatrist. And I know this because she sued her psychiatrist afterwards. But her first visit, he okayed cross-sex hormones, testosterone.

On I think a second visit, he okayed her double mastectomy, and by the third, he was taking out, writing a script to a surgeon, a recommendation to eliminate her uterus, so for a hysterectomy. So you see how quickly these things are moving. And in her own complaint, she said, “I came to this psychiatrist for his medical judgment, not for him to use mine,” but that’s what he had done.

He had substituted her judgment for his, at least in the complaint. And I agree with that. When you go to a doctor in every other area, a doctor will say, “I know you think you’re having a heart attack. Trust me, you’re not. It’s a panic attack” or whatever else it is. “So I’m not going to prescribe the cardiac medication you’d like” or whatever it is. And here, they aren’t doing that.

Abigail Shrier – Gender Dysphoria Treatment: Watchful Waiting and Underlying Diagnoses 

Abigail Shrier:

For gender dysphoria? So yes, Ken Zucker sort of pioneered this in Canada, watchful waiting, although it had been used for years. And this was a treatment for kids who are profoundly uncomfortable in their biological sex. Again, it was overwhelmingly boys. And what they would do was in therapy settings, those trained in gender dysphoria who would probe to see what else might be going on in a child’s life, why they were so uncomfortable in their biological sex.

And sometimes there would be a story, sometimes it was, “My mom travels a lot for work, she only pays attention to me when I dress up in fancy dresses,” or things of that nature. And the idea was to really see what was going on, but not go in with any predisposition about what the solution must be. Now, I interviewed Ken Zucker extensively.

He does and has prescribed puberty blockers when he deemed them appropriate, or he recommended, I should say, because he’s not a physician, but he recommended puberty blockers when he felt it was appropriate. But certainly in a minority of cases. In many cases, what these kids needed was general therapy for all the things they were unhappy about and the solution was not altering their bodies.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah, that’s what I was kind of trying to get at early on, that a lot of times they’re underlying issues that if you get more granular in your diagnosis, you can pull these ideas out and help people along rather than focus on the fad that it may be or turn it into a psychosis.

Abigail Shrier:

I mean, if-

Doug Monroe:

Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

I would just say that the mind is incredibly complex. I mean, the brain is an overwhelmingly complex organism, right? And when a kid presents for therapy or an adolescent presents for therapy, there are truly, and I don’t want to say limitless, but a uncountable number of things that might be going on and might be impacting the child.

And when a therapist quickly pushes one option, which therapists have been doing this country, which is, “You’re trans,” the mind also has the ability to grasp for a solution and not want to let go. We all sort of have that bias. We want a quick solution. And it’s very easy to persuade an adolescent that this is the cure to all their problems.

Abigail Shrier – Social Media and Smartphones: Gateway to Children and Profoundly Harmful 

Abigail Shrier:

I don’t think any young teen should be on social media. I don’t even think they should have a smartphone. They don’t need them, and it’s a terrible, terrible distraction. And most disturbingly, it lets all kinds of influences in saturate your child or young teen that are profoundly unhealthy and manipulative.

So I wrote a piece for the City Journal about human trafficking, all the human trafficking that was going on in California, that is going on in California. And one of the things I learned as I interviewed four different women who run human trafficking organizations across the state was that very often human trafficking actually begins on the internet. An adult posing as a child will reach out to another teen and he’ll be posing as a girl who’s interested in him or her, or a boy who’s interested in her and persuade her by degrees to do something embarrassing online. So maybe take a picture of herself or himself and then that quickly becomes grounds for blackmail if they don’t go along with other things that adult wants. So I think that the internet allows kids access with adults we would never let into our homes. Now you can’t block off all internet, but the amount that’s pouring in the deluge is too much. It’s obviously too much. Talk to any parent. Do you know how much happier their kids are when you take away their phones for a period of time? They detox. You can observe this. So just any parent will tell you that their kids get a little crazy around these devices and when they’ve been off them for any period of time, they go back to a normal healthy self. We know these things are unhealthy.

Doug Monroe:

It’s amazing if you put a phone, and this is not news to anyone, in front of a two-year-old child or a one-year-old baby, it draws them in like magic. And it’s really not a good power at all.

Abigail Shrier:

And our schools haven’t done any help because they’ve convinced, all sorts of people have convinced us that no, this is an educational program and it never is, or very rarely has any value other than pushing the kid into the passive observer.

Abigail Shrier – States & schools implementing “affirmative care” over most parents’ will? 

Abigail Shrier:

So California certainly has some of the most radical laws. We just have a new bill, I think it’s AB 665 that allows a school counselor and a 12-year-old to decide that the 12-year-old should be taken from the parent’s home even where no abuse has been alleged and placed in a residential care facility, including one of these LGBTQ youth centers, even if a parent doesn’t affirm, that can be the basis for the, if it’s good for the child’s mental health. So basically if the parents don’t want to affirm the child’s gender identity, that can be enough. The thing that I learned after the book came out was just how pervasive all of this was. I expected to see some differences across states, but the more I wrote about Child Protective Services, the more I realized that in every state Child Protective Services, at least every state I had talked to, and this includes some of the redder states in the country, Child Protective Services was staffed by many people who were eager to take children away from loving parents if they did not want to affirm a child’s purported gender identity.

Doug Monroe:

So they get between the parents and the child, both the influencers and the schools?

Abigail Shrier:

The influencers do it, the schools do it. The school counselors do it. When I talk to parents, this is what they’ll tell me. “Everything changed When she went to the school counselor, everything changed when I signed her up for therapy, everything changed when…” And, of course, these were girls with problems in some sense. They had anxiety, they had depression. It wasn’t that all of life was perfect for them before, but suddenly things were getting much, much worse. And the young woman had fixated on gender identity as the cure and gender ideology as the only thing she wanted to do. The only thing she wanted to get involved in was transition and the only way that she would ever feel better.

Abigail Shrier – Protecting Our Children & the Value Vacuum

Abigail Shrier:

So I talk about obviously smartphones and look, I don’t like smartphones just to be honest. Not for teenagers. I really don’t, but especially for young teens, for all kinds of reasons. The porn and also these kids are much more sophisticated at using them than we are. The idea that you’ve blocked your phone, I don’t know. I have kids and their level of sophistication with these devices and getting around and there isn’t a device they haven’t hacked, including the school devices that are supposedly come with all these blockers and whatnot. So kids are very sophisticated getting around those things. But also look, violent porn is not something you want your eight-year-old seeing, your 11-year-old seeing. You don’t really want your young daughter seeing a woman choked within an inch of her life and thinking that’s what sex involves.

That’s not a healthy thing to grow up with. But more than that, and I think that in some sense the root of this problem is that American parents allowed a vacuum to occur. We allowed a vacuum because we didn’t exercise our own authority with our kids. We didn’t make sure that they knew our values. And in that space, we let other adults come in and basically said, well, if you’re not going to pass on your values, I’m going to pass on mine. And they did it successfully. We had so many adults come in and indoctrinate our children. And American parents who are affable, amiable, they want to get along, they tend to be moderate in all kinds of ways. They weren’t prepared for this assault on their families, but in it came through every avenue from public school to social media and the internet, through even television programs or movies made for kids.

And these activists were ready to supply their values and they did successfully. They taught kids that they might be boys trapped in girls’ bodies or girls trapped in boys’ bodies. And I think what surprised parents was the degree they were willing to go and the lengths they were willing to go to indoctrinate other people’s children. If you’re a good person, it’s very hard to envision that someone would actually do that with your children. There are so few things that I feel comfortable preaching about to another person’s child. I wouldn’t imagine doing that. Even when it comes to what’s appropriate clothing, I wouldn’t do it because it’s someone else’s child and it’s not my business. But that wasn’t the feeling of a whole generation of teachers, unfortunately, counselors in schools, therapists, they thought just the opposite. And we’re seeing the results of that.

Abigail Shrier –The Value Vacuum Explained 

Abigail Shrier:

So I said that parents left a vacuum when we didn’t supply our own values. Here’s what I mean. It’s really important that your kids know in this house, we believe the following. Whatever you’re going to hear at school, you’re a girl, you’re my daughter. And believe it or not, that was enough to arrest this in most young girls. That’s why it hit liberal families so hard because they tended to approach this with greater open-mindedness when their kids came home. That’s one of the things I learned. People who said to their… And by the way, why it hit the affluent, the upper middle class so hard, the hyper educated, they tended to be much more ambivalent about what they thought about those things and nuanced as they thought of it. But actually very often the kid was just testing. And if the parent just said, no, honey, I’m not going to call you that. You’re my daughter, you’re always going to be my daughter. Every cell of your body is marked with XX chromosomes and whatnot. That was often enough to convince a 12-year-old.

Now in cases where a young teen had already proceeded down this route for some time, I have seen success stories in which parents completely removed that child from her social world. But it’s hard to do in today when the internet follows you, you have to get involved and shut down those identities online. You have to shut down the social media accounts in which the kid is saturating in this new name and new identity and hearing it over and over, they’re reifying it. And the parents who go along with it, they often think, Oh well, but she promised me no medicalization. I hear that a lot, but don’t worry. She promised me. The girl always does it, almost always, is the moment they get a chance. And I’ve seen parents who had their daughter sign contracts and promise they wouldn’t do it when they went off to university. And of course they did it within the first year.

And look, I don’t want to sound all knowing, I didn’t know this either until I interviewed them. It’s not like it was obvious to me from the get-go. It wasn’t. But this is what I learned from parents who’ve had their lives ripped apart by this.

Abigail Shrier – The Gender Agenda and Educational Institutions 

Doug Monroe:

When I was in college and you went off to college, parents would say, “well, they’re having a good time in learning something”, now they’re saying, “they’re changing.” After my freshman year in college, my young adult is somehow changed. And it’s never a good statement. I’ve never heard of once say, “Oh, well I’ve loved how they’ve changed.” It’s just not, they don’t say that. And this is me commenting a little bit, but I think a lot of this alumni Free Speech Alliance stuff is people that are my age, were middle Boomers, not Clintonian age or the decade, 10 years where we trusted them. We supported them and trusted the educators for 30 years, 40 years. And we shouldn’t have.

Abigail Shrier:

That’s right.

Doug Monroe:

We made a big mistake and now we’re trying to fix it. It’s too late maybe, but.

Abigail Shrier:

It’s hard. But step one is not trusting these institutions. These institutions, I have talked to parents who have had security called on them because they wanted to see what on earth was going on with their daughter who seemed to have mentally deteriorated in her first year of college and was now insisting she was a boy and wanted to start hormones. And they just showed up on campus to find out what was going on. Her texts seemed erratic, her phone calls stopped, they were worried. And what does the dean do? They called campus security on the parents. These are institutions-

Doug Monroe:

In our day, the campus security would put you in your bed and make sure you would wake up the next morning. That’s crazy.

Abigail Shrier:

These institutions will lie to you. They will, just because the board of directors says to you, don’t worry, we don’t push that gender ideology here. I would say in most cases, don’t trust it. It’s not true. I’ve had people call me up and say, “I am thinking of giving to this or that school, don’t worry I’ve made sure they’ve assured me they’re not woke.” And I said, “Well, give me a moment to look into this.” And then I call them back and I say, “Well, if it’s a parochial school or a elementary school,” I say, “well, they’ve got their librarians online promoting, reading the newest transgender book to middle schoolers. So this is the same school. So somebody’s not telling you the truth.” And I think that’s right. Our institutions, we say capture, but sometimes capture really isn’t enough. It’s corruption, it’s rot. You don’t go around introducing gender confusion in a young middle school population. It’s an unforgivably cruel thing to do.

Abigail Shrier – The Youth Transgender Movement: How Does it End? 

Abigail Shrier:

Sure. How’s this going to end? So first of all, I’ll say some good things. Okay. Number one, parents know the truth for the first time in a decade. My book came out in 2020, a number of other books have come out since. That is a big victory that parents now know that puberty blockers come with serious risk. Affirmation comes with serious risk. If they want to read about further, they can. If they want a support group, they can find one. This is all good news. In Europe, we see even better news, Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, the UK are all either curtailing these puberty blockers for adolescents, they’re ending them entirely or they’re warning about the risks. So they are far ahead of the United States in that. They have actually done, many of these countries have now done extensive follow-up reviews and found that there was no mental health benefit and they’ve stopped them or severely curtailed them to research settings, the availability of protocols like puberty blockers. So those are good things.

I used to think, the one thing that I think I may have gotten wrong in the book is I thought that the medical malpractice lawsuits would end this. I’m less sure today, and here’s why. When we look at prior medical scandals, and I do believe this is maybe the biggest medical scandal in the last decade, when we look at prior medical scandals like multiple personality disorder and repressed memory. They ended in the courts because we had a good number of doctors willing to stand up and say in court and testify. And they went all over the country testifying. People like Paul McCue went all over the country testifying and saying, this is quackery and we are hurting people. This is psychiatrists introducing harm into these troubled, often young women. But these troubled patients, okay. Today, we live in unfortunately, a much more repressive America or a much more fearful America, and we have too few doctors speaking up.

When I speak, people invariably come up to me, doctors invariably come up to me and they ask me if medical malpractice lawsuits are taking care of this. And what they’re saying is, is somebody else taking care of this? Because I don’t want to have to say anything. These are people who come to my talks because they don’t agree with what’s going on in their own profession, but they’re afraid to say so. That’s different. And there are lawsuits that are fortunately coming in the United States, but we need people to speak up. We need professionals. We need medical experts because there are truly legions of experts of so-called experts, really activist doctors on the other side with newly-

Doug Monroe:

But they’re also victims that have been harmed that want to sue, I would think. But they need the experts to speak up for them. You need both.

Abigail Shrier:

They need both.

Doug Monroe:

But you’re saying you’re more pessimistic that that’s going to happen.

Abigail Shrier:

We have so many wonderful G-transitioners who are so brave and willing to speak up, and I think they’re having a big impact. But we need doctors in the courtroom. We need doctors to say what’s true because courts rely on them. And right now, courts are inundated with activist experts. That’s who’s signing up to testify in trials. We need more doctors speaking out.

Abigail Shrier – What do boy and girl relationships between adolescents look like today? 

Abigail Shrier:

They’ve changed a lot.

Doug Monroe:

… and don’t think for the positive. That’s my opinion.

Abigail Shrier:

That’s right. They’ve changed a lot. First of all, there’s so much more fear today. Young adults, adolescents are much more fearful of each other. They have much less camaraderie. Remember that they walk around with a device that allows them to take each other’s picture, humiliate each other potentially. What they’re most afraid of is social humiliation. And they walk around with a device that in some sense might as well be a gun for all the damage they can do to each other. And they’re much more wary of each other.

When I meet young women, I interviewed, I have a new book coming out in February called Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up. And one of the things I learned from the many young men and women in college I interviewed is if they find a boyfriend, they don’t let go, or a girlfriend, they don’t let go for four years. They’re afraid of what’s out there. The ones who are dating tend to find one person and stick with them, because they really are much more fearful of things like dating around. They have a lot less comfort with each other. Remember, they also spent a lot less time together than the previous generations did.

Doug Monroe:

Do they have more trouble interacting and talking to each other-

Abigail Shrier:

Yes.

Doug Monroe:

… and socializing, things like that?

Abigail Shrier:

They’re far more socially awkward. Jean Twenge has written about this, the psychologist, has written about this. She’s an expert on this generation, and she has said that they spend up to an hour less per day in person than prior generations. So they are much more awkward with each other. They’re much more on their devices, which of course encourages awkwardness. Being outside, getting to know each other, being left alone, it makes you more comfortable. But they’ve also had hovering parents who’ve arranged every social interaction they’ve ever had. Well, that doesn’t help them build real friendships. It helps them build staged friendships that mom approves of. For the first time, you had parents choosing their kids’ friends, whereas our parents never chose our friends and probably weren’t crazy about some of our friends, but they didn’t get to choose. But now parents are completely directing it. And what they’re raising is a generation with friendships that are far, far more shallow.

Abigail Shrier – Parents: It’s Time to Look Out for Your Kids

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I think that parents were too trusting, and I don’t fault them. I didn’t know either. But I guess one of the things that I’ve tried to do in my work is make sure parents are aware of exactly what’s going on. And I’ve been really stunned by the number of people who are determined to undermine a child’s relationship with her parents in this society. Leonard Sacks, who’s a physician and has written on wonderful parenting books, he has said, and I absolutely have seen this, that immigrants who don’t share our culture, their kids do much better in terms of anxiety, depression, but also in terms of a sense of wellbeing. And they tend to do better because our American culture has become toxic for families.

And I don’t say that with any joy or pleasure, obviously it’s heartbreaking to say, but I do think it’s true that the prevailing culture is constantly undermining of the American family, constantly paints the parents as complete buffoons, constantly encourages disrespect towards the parent, and ultimately, parents are the best guardrail a child has. So if you undermine them, it’s open season on the kids. And that’s what we’re seeing.

Doug Monroe:

That’s true. I think what I would, along that particular theme, what is totally reversed is when I was a kid between 1960 and 65 or 70, the parents and the teachers were totally in sync. What the teacher said goes, the parents supported that a hundred percent and vice versa. The thought of a teacher being against a parent was, that was so bizarre. No one could have thought of it. It didn’t mean you always got along with them. It didn’t mean that they always agreed on the judgment that was made about your child in school or whatever. But the thought that teachers as a group would turn against the parents was not contemplated in any way, shape, or form.

Abigail Shrier:

Well, it’s worth pointing out that teachers unions, psychological associations, were comfortable with this. They shut down schools for what, two years in some places?

Doug Monroe:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No.

Abigail Shrier:

It is absolutely unconscionable.

Doug Monroe:

Oh, you’re talking about the pandemic and that. Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

I’m talking about the pandemic. So that ought to give everyone an indication of who’s actually looking out for the kids. There is not a parent, I don’t know a parent who wasn’t desperate to get their kids back to learning, back to routine, knowing that they were at least risk from the virus. They were at lowest risk. And our society really turned its back on our kids and parents were outraged, but parents were howling into the wind. And I hope, and I think it was a wake-up call for parents that nobody really had their back.

Abigail Shrier – What has censorship looked like for you after publishing your book? 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, this is everyone’s favorite question, is what have they done to you? We want to hear all the, I think it’s rubbernecking on the highway. We want to see the mangled body.

Doug Monroe:

You look good to me.

Abigail Shrier:

Thank you.

Doug Monroe:

Okay. You survived it well. Yeah. Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

Thank you. I have to say it’s an important question. It’s also my least favorite, and I’ll tell you why. I don’t want to ever give the impression that they can stop me. I don’t want anyone to get the incorrect idea that they can shut me out. So I don’t like to dwell. I don’t even really like to think about…

I don’t like to dwell. I don’t even really like to think about the things that they have tried. But I think it’s an important subject and it’s important to note because when Target took my book off, it removed it, then it put it back on and response to outcry, then it quietly deleted it again. It was completely deleted from target.com, never available again. It’s important because people need to know that the activists are willing to stop what adults are able to read. They want to censor what adults are able to read. This is target.com. Unfortunately, we’re sort of living in a fairly obtuse time and sometimes they lump that together with parents objecting to various pornography in schools. Those are entirely different. They’re obviously different.

There’s a well-known book that was in all kinds of libraries. It’s still in all kinds of libraries in America and school libraries, and that’s the book Gender Queer, which is a graphic novel that shows young boys felating each other. When they talk about conservatives censoring books, they’re talking about not conservatives, talking about parents objecting to that. Parents. Not conservatives.

See, one of the things that the gender ideologues have been really successful in is they’ve convinced America or maybe the world, that anyone who objects to these things is a right-winger and that their actual target is right-wingers. Their target was never right-wingers. It was always the family. It was always children, it was always women. If you look at what they’ve done, all the measures to secretly change a child’s name and gender behind their parents’ back, the efforts to take a parent’s custody away if she doesn’t affirm. The efforts to put biological men in women’s sports. The efforts to put biological men in women’s prisons. Those aren’t right-wingers who object to that. Martina Navratilova is not a right-winger. JK Rowling is not a right-winger. It’s women and children and families they’re after, the activists. And the target-

Doug Monroe:

You’re not technically a right-winger, right? Am I right about that? Jim Bacon said you’re a classic liberal in a sense, or I don’t know what… I don’t mean to get off on that, but my point is you’re not a right-winger. Anyway. So am I wrong or?

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I would say that-

Doug Monroe:

Is that a loaded question?

Abigail Shrier:

Well, when I do these investigations, I do try to keep politics out of them.

Doug Monroe:

You go on truth and not truth.

Abigail Shrier:

I do. I do. I try to keep politics out of them because it’s unhelpful.

Doug Monroe:

Okay, so you can continue. Continue.

Abigail Shrier:

Sure. But they tried to-

Doug Monroe:

I admire that totally, by the way. We can talk about that also. But go ahead.

Abigail Shrier:

The target was never right-wingers. It was always women and families. That’s why they actually were never, none of their measures have attacked right-wingers, a fairly marginalized group and not particularly effective in the culture wars. But they then smear anyone who challenges them as a right-winger. Unfortunately, this cowed a lot of good people for a long time and it needs to stop so that we stop losing really, really important things in this country.

Abigail Shrier – Challenging Gender Ideology: It’s Not About Politics 

Abigail Shrier:

It’s not about politics. Conservatives walked into defending, I think they walked into this particular issue fairly early. And I think partly because they had less to lose than liberals did because they were already low status, so they kind of were more comfortable fighting for what they believed. Liberals had a lot more to lose and they genuinely did. Look at any liberal station or mainstream media, their advertisements versus the advertisements on Fox. We know that they had more to lose. Martina Navratilova lost an endorsement deal for standing up for women on these issues. So I think it became, in America, thought of as a conservative issue. In England it’s not, which is why my book was widely reviewed across the press in England. Because it’s not a conservative issue, it’s not a political issue. And honestly, what’s happening to young girls and their bodies and whether these medical protocols are safe should never really have been a political issue.

Abigail Shrier – Gender Ideology and Critical Race Theory 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I think that gender ideology is the perfect analog to critical race theory. Both have the idea that there’s this person who was marginalized and there is a person that is on top, either the white person or the cisgender heterosexual, and now we want them to feel what it’s like to be on the bottom. They’re hierarchical. They believe in gender essentialism or racial essentialism, and for that reason they’re fairly hateful, but they have captivated obviously our universities. And it’s led to an incredible intolerance.

The fact that I’m so heavily guarded when I go to universities, that I need to be, is preposterous. It’s absolutely preposterous. There are people who are actually fighting wars and in danger right now, and the idea that I need to be protected from university students who might throw things at me because I say something that upsets them. I mean, imagine the level of insecurity and fearfulness in American young people if they become that enraged by someone who says something that upsets them. It really dishonors the men and women of this country who fought for America, who created America, who showed tremendous bravery, that today’s young Americans are so terrified of someone saying something that upsets them that they need safe spaces.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah, it’s hard to believe. It’s a psychosis and I think that’s a word you use some, but it’s a much broader psychosis than just trans issues and sexual issues.

Abigail Shrier:

But catering to it doesn’t help.

Doug Monroe:

No.

Abigail Shrier:

For sure, that I can tell you. And I would just say for parents, the best place to start telling truth is with your own kids.

Abigail Shrier – Gender and Sexuality: Nature vs. Nurture 

Abigail Shrier:

I think it surprised all of us, the extent to which things we thought were absolutely baked in and things we could take for granted when it came to sexuality, gender. Turned out to be a lot more malleable than we realized. It certainly surprised me. When you have social groups pushing various gender identities and sexualities and suddenly so many young people signing up for them, you realize that there’s a social element that many of us weren’t even aware of. We took these things as fixed and I think that they’re much more in play than we realize.

Doug Monroe:

So you would weight it fairly strongly on nurture, right? As what determines how Abigail behaves or… You see where I’m going with that?

Abigail Shrier:

I think nurture plays a bigger role than we realize. Male and female sexuality is a little different here, from what I understand, having interviewed sexologists and other people who are expert in these matters. There’s no question that homosexuality has always existed in the population going back as far as you’d like to. So it’s not something that is in any sense, just a fad or anything like that. I would never suggest that. But I do think that the proliferation of neo sexualities and gender identities has no doubt has a social component and a nurture component that I don’t think was fully appreciated.

Abigail Shrier –  Gender Ideology Religion: Using Contradictions to Enhance Power 

Doug Monroe:

What about the problem you allude to a little bit, and I don’t think you necessarily have a section on it. You do talk about language where there’s the argument that you hear this a lot from LGBTQ, it’s, “You’re born the way you are. You’re a hundred percent born the way you are, I can’t help it.” And yet when it shifts on them, they then say, “No, it’s a hundred percent the opposite. That it’s all Marxist social construction. We’re all human beings and we can construct whatever kind of person we want.” What’s a guy to do with that argument where it’s basically the exact opposite argument and none of them, they can’t coexist at once?

Abigail Shrier:

So what the activists do is they sow a certain amount of chaos. And so I really focused in my work on what all this was doing to young women and families because if you get into the ideology, all they do is shift on you. So I’ll give you an example.

The classic one is gender fluidity. They say that some kids, every kid knows who they are and they’re born that way, except some are gender-fluid and they change their mind. Well, what does that mean? Why would we put a child who might turn out to be gender-fluid on hormones and surgeries? Because you always have to do what they say, right? Well, what about a parent who says they don’t want to go along with it? No, the parent’s always wrong. The child knows best.

The way to understand all this is it is a form of religion. It really is. It starts with an initial baptism, a new name they give themselves. It is policed by blasphemy laws they introduce to try to force other people to use their pronouns. It has apostates whom it treats fairly cruelly. Detransitioners, people who thought they were trans and changed their mind are treated horribly. And it’s full of holidays. So this really is, it’s treated with the sort of severity and religious fervor of a religion, and I think that is the way to understand it. It’s a kind of religion.

Abigail Shrier – What’s the ultimate aim of gender ideology activists?  

Abigail Shrier:

It’s a good question. People always ask me, “What are they after?” I think that there is a real asymmetry here. People who want to build families, build things, they can answer that question clearly. But there are also vandals in the world. People who just want to create chaos and tear things down. And I think that there are people who have given sophisticated answers to this question and study the ideological roots.

But for my own purposes, I tend to think that for most of us, unless that’s a particular interest of yours, I think for most of us it is not, I don’t want to say a waste of time, but not a good use of our energies to sit and try to unpack all of their views because they’re always changing and what they’re after, because that’s always changing too. But it’s a profoundly destructive impulse. We could sit around trying to figure out why someone would possibly spray paint the front of a store, a beautiful new store that’s owned by, a shop that’s owned by a couple. Why would you do that? And we can spend a whole lot of time worrying about why you would ever do something that cruel. Or we can just guard against it and push back on it and make sure that stops happening and doesn’t happen to our stores and our families. And I prefer to focus on that, but it’s-

Doug Monroe:

I hundred percent agree. I call it reasoning with the crazy man. If they’re nuts or they’re nihilists, then there’s no point in reasoning with them. You just have to control it.

Abigail Shrier:

It is. Remember that the gender ideologues always had a lousy hand to begin with. It made no sense. Their hand made no sense. A boy trapped in a girl’s body makes no sense. There is no empirical proof of it. And all it is some sort of metaphor except that it has to be taken deadly seriously. And of course the protocols aren’t metaphoric. They’re real surgeries and hormones. So they’d never had a good hand, but what they had was coercion. When good people fell silent and felt some shame in opposing them, they felt embarrassed for various reasons. They felt like anything cloaked in civil rights, they couldn’t impose if they wanted to be good people. Into that open field marched an army and they advanced and unfortunately they pushed this really half-baked ideology all the way through our institutions. It’s in courts, it’s in schools, it’s in universities, it’s in medical accrediting organizations. So we certainly have our work cut out for us in bringing truth to light and really clearing out the lies.

Abigail Shrier – How We’ve Failed the Rising Generation 

Abigail Shrier:

I think we have a problem with the rising generation, poses a problem. And I say that as someone who’s met, not only am I raising members of the rising generation, but I have met through my interviewing for my new book, Bad Therapy. I’ve interviewed a number of dozens of young people, some of whom are incredibly impressive. Many of whom are incredibly impressive.

Doug Monroe:

They’re incredibly articulate.

Abigail Shrier:

They’re incredibly articulate. But I think as a generation, the problem with how they’ve been brought up is they’ve been given too little freedom and too little responsibility around physical dangers and things that involve their own judgment. And too much freedom around things like, “What should my name be? What should my gender be? What should my religion be?” Sort of foundational things for a kid. And parents sort of left that up to them. And the problem is they left a space for activists to come in and supply a religion called Gender Ideology or supply a view of things like the First Amendment, which is that it was suspicious or a suspect.

So I think we really failed to teach the rising generation, the American religion. We failed to teach them why the First Amendment is an absolutely miraculous part of law, why equal protection is so important, why due process is essential. And unfortunately, we let those erode and people were only too happy to warp the next generations’ understanding of those things. So I think the one thing that young parents can do right away is teach their own kids what they believe.

Abigail Shrier – Parents Over “Experts” 

Abigail Shrier:

I think one thing I always try to do is to give encouragement to parents to trust themselves and not these so-called experts. I go into this more in my new book, but I think that very often experts are doing more harm than good and parents know what’s right for their own kids more than they realize. So encouraging parents to trust the thousands of hours, tens of thousands of hours they have spent with their children, that they know what’s best for their children. Trust that more than the teacher, the psychologist, the counselor who’s filling them with advice. I would start there, and I think if you start with your own kids, we can take a lot of these things back and restore a certain amount of sanity to the culture.

Abigail Shrier – Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America? 

Doug Monroe:

To me, people my age are saying, “This feels kind of like the sixties, except we haven’t had assassinations yet and we don’t have people… People are so angry and protesting, but nobody’s dying in a war over in the jungle. So it’s just different. I don’t know whether to be optimistic or pessimistic.” What do you think? Where are we? What’s going to happen here?

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I think there are a lot of wonderful people speaking out, and they are mostly outside of our institutions at this point. But I think there are a number of people speaking out. A lot of great journalists out there, a lot of great thinkers out there who are speaking out. And I think that bringing the truth of what’s actually going on in this country to the public is the best shot at pushing back against some of the progressive maximalism that we’re seeing, the most extreme leftist ideology.

Abigail Shrier – Sneak Peek at New Book: Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up

Abigail Shrier:

My publisher, I am not allowed to talk too much about my next book because it’s a little too early. But I’ll tell you, I’ll give you this. So it’s called Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up. And it’s a hard look at the mental health industry that is through the schools, through therapists, through the parenting experts have flooded us with all kinds of really bad mental health advice that has actually made the mental health of kids, adolescents and young adults much worse.

Doug Monroe:

That’ll be a great read. I look forward to that.

Abigail Shrier:

Thank you.

Doug Monroe:

Thank you so much for doing this interview.

Abigail Shrier:

Thanks for having me.

 

Overview

Abigail Shrier

Praxis Circle Contributor Abigail Shrier is an independent journalist and author of best-selling book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (2020) and Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up (2024).  Praxis Circle interviewed Abigail because of her perceptive ability to pinpoint cultural issues, her legal and journalistic expertise, and bold articulation of the truth, particularly pertaining to LGBTQ issues in the West.
Transcript

Abigail Shrier – Introduction to Irreversible Damage

Doug Monroe:

Okay. Well, thank you for being here-

Abigail Shrier:

Thanks for having me.

Doug Monroe:

… Abigail. It’s been great visiting with you up until now, this morning.

Abigail Shrier:

Likewise.

Doug Monroe:

I’m going to talk a little bit upfront and then we’ll just get into a couple of these worldview questions. We already talked about that a little bit on the ride over, but I just through your book was absolutely fascinating.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, thank you.

Doug Monroe:

I thought it was essentially a very targeted case study about an area of LBGTQ+ and I loved the way you focused in on, with a laser focus on one aspect of it. I think it was beautifully written. You’re obviously a gifted writer.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, thank you.

Doug Monroe:

I think it has broader implications into families and even the trans human movement. You could even take it as relating to that. I have done a fair amount of reading in this area. The book I will cite to you is Charles Murray’s Human Diversity about race gender in class, where he does his typical survey of the literature in that area. I thought your book was just totally on point with what he said.

I would say, and this is getting into being too flattering, but of the many books I’ve read in relating to Praxis Circle, I would put it up there with Jonathan Haidt’s A Righteous Mind as I think a book people need to read to consider themselves educated.

Abigail Shrier:

Wow. Thank you.

Doug Monroe:

I really don’t think you can even think about what’s happening, let’s say, the last three to five years, particularly if you’re a parent without reading that book. I just want to congratulate you on all that.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, thank you. It’s funny to hear you say that because when I started out with the topic, people looked at me like I was crazy. The typical reaction was that’s such a niche issue, why would you write a book about that? It varied between that’s such a marginal phenomenon, why don’t you leave those people alone? Which is the reaction I got on the left.

And on the right, it was much more of an, “Ick, why is that something you write a book about? What’s wrong with you?” The reason I did was because first of all, I had planned to write a book about how young women were fairing. I came across this woman, wrote to me. A mom to tell me that her daughter had suddenly declared a transgender identity out of nowhere. She was already starting testosterone. In fact, this was happening all across the country.

I thought, “Well, why are so many young women trying to escape womanhood?” It fit into what I was already interested in. It didn’t seem like something I could avoid. I first wrote a piece about it for the Wall Street Journal. I got permission to do that because they also were concerned about whether this was a real phenomenon or just a very marginal one. They allowed me to do it and they were very supportive.

But I wrote a piece about it and we got a thousand responses. It was people from all over the country, telling me not only was this a phenomenon, they knew it was affecting their daughters and they wanted to tell me about it.

Then the New York Times wrote a response. Their transgender columnist, Jenny Boylan wrote a response to it and she got nearly a thousand comments. They were mostly agreeing with me. So at that point I realized, “Wow, this is a genuinely big phenomenon.” Originally I had thought it would just be the one article, and that’s what I had planned. And at that point I realized this is something much bigger that’s affecting the country.

Abigail Shrier – The Wall Street Journal Article that Led to the Book

Doug Monroe:

Let me ask you a one-sided question on that part of it, because we get into that a little bit later. We can take it on now, was that I have not read that original article that you wrote in 2019. My impression was it was more on pronouns and not so much on the science.

Abigail Shrier:

Right. First I wrote a piece on the pronouns. It was called the “Transgender Language War.” And that actually had nothing to do with transgender people whatsoever. It was about whether states like California and New York, which had statutes that proposed civil and criminal penalties for people who mis-gendered. I made the argument that that straightforwardly violated our first amendment.

I actually don’t think that was, I mean, although it was somewhat controversial at the time, it was so obviously correct. In fact, other courts have since said the same thing, which is in America, the government can’t make you say things. So no matter how much you think people should use other people’s pronouns, the state can’t pass a law mandating it.

I’m a lawyer and it was a simple argument I made from the First Amendment perspective. That was all. Then that’s when a reader first wrote to me and she said, “Listen, I’ve written to every journalist I can think of. I don’t know if you’ll take this on, but my daughter suddenly identified as transgender out of nowhere. She had a lot of mental health issues as a kid. A lot of terrible anxiety and depression. But she was never anything but a girly-girl. We never saw any gender dysphoria. When she went off to college, with a group of her girlfriends all of a sudden she decided she was trans.”

“In quick order she started a course of testosterone. There are parents like me all across this country and we’re all saying the same thing. This is out of nowhere. It doesn’t seem organic to these kids. I know my daughter.”

And the first thing I did was get in touch with an editor and send all these contacts to an investigative reporter with a lot more experience than I had. Then I waited for the piece to come out and I waited and I waited. I waited four months and nothing came. So at that point I thought, you know what? This isn’t rocket science. Let me find out what I can do here.

I wrote an initial piece for the Wall Street Journal, and that was the piece that had got a thousand comments from people across the country, desperate to tell me their stories. So at that point, I think that came out in January maybe 2019, I think. At that point I realized there’s more than an article here. So that’s when I wrote my book proposal.

Doug Monroe:

So the crack opened up and you went down it and it turned out to be a big cave down there, right?

Abigail Shrier:

Yes.

Abigail Shrier – What is your worldview? 

Abigail Shrier:

So I think about it a lot, but I think about it from a slightly different perspective. And it’s this, as an investigative journalist, when I’m doing investigative work, I do my best not to have a worldview. That is not to stick to one, not to be too influenced by one. The reason is because as an investigative journalist, I’m a little bit old school. I take it as my responsibility to bring the truth to the public.

I’m bringing the truth to the public that may have very different views from mine on a whole host of issues. They might have different religious commitments. They might have different political views. That’s fine. I don’t really believe it’s my role to influence them in those. What I try to do is just bring the truth and trust that American people, people who are active in the political process will know what to do with it and will help.

What I mean by help is, I tend to trust the American people that if I didn’t bring the truth of what’s really going on, they know what’s right and they will come to a good solution. That even goes so far as that I’ve never, for instance, come out. I’ve been asked many, many times to testify on behalf of bans on puberty blockers.

Now, I write about the very grizzly and serious risks of puberty blockers. I was one of the first to do it in America. But I’ve never testified on behalf of bans. The reason I haven’t is my role, as I see it, stops at the door. I bring everybody the truth as I find it and then I leave political actors to decide what to do with it, and the American people to decide what’s the best way of handling it.

Now, that said, I do have one big prejudice, and that is I really, really don’t like being lied to and I don’t like being manipulated. It’s completely constitutional for me. I don’t like being asked to participate in a lie and I have an extremely strong discomfort with lies. I think people throw around the word “dangerous” a lot. Things that cause harm that really don’t cause harm.

But I actually believe that lies are harmful, because if we don’t know what’s true, we can’t protect ourselves. I guess that’s one strong prejudice I have that I’ll just be up front about. But the rest I do try to divest myself of. At least for the course of an investigation.

Doug Monroe:

Gotcha. You use the word, “truth” a lot. If you’re a believer in truth, that means that I can eliminate about half of the worldviews out there that you don’t have.

Abigail Shrier – Growing Up Lessons: Tell the Truth and Learn About Your Adversaries 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I grew up in Maryland. I grew up in suburban Maryland, Prince George’s County. It’s a very integrated county. My neighbors, I didn’t grow up around Jews. I grew up around African Americans. Although I eventually attended parochial school. I went to a Jewish pluralistic day school for middle school and high school.

The person who undoubtedly had the biggest influence on me was my father. My father is an interesting man. In so many ways he influenced the way that I thought and the things I wanted to do and how I saw myself in the world.

One of the things that really had a big impact on me was that he was always proud of me when I spoke up about something that I felt was wrong or right or when I thought there was some untruth being told. He always made me feel that was a very attractive and good quality for a woman to have. The reason that mattered so much is because the first thing boys in high school and middle school let you know is, that’s the least attractive thing you can do.

They shame you. They make you feel ugly for it. My father never let that happen. That was one way he had a big influence on me. The other way is that my father was just a lover of ideas and he always gave me lots to read. I remember when I was a kid, I used to go with him to his law practice because he ran his own law practice. I remember when I was in high school, we would stop at this light in Landover Maryland where he ran his law practice and there would always be Nation of Islam guys hanging out there. He would always get their paper, The Final Call.

They gave it out for free and he would roll down the window and get The Final Call. This drove me crazy when I was in high school because obviously the paper’s very antisemitic and anti-white and what not. I realized at some point that he was doing this every time he would pass the light. He would pick up one of their papers. I got very upset. I said, “Why are you doing this?” Because in high school, everything embarrasses you. Everything that’s a little different.

He said, “Well, they’re our adversaries. We have to know what they have to say.” He read their paper. It made a big impact on me. It made me realize that closing yourself off from the world is not the way to confront it. It’s not the way to fight for your own view of what’s right or what’s actually going on. It’s just making you weaker.

Abigail Shrier – Columbia, Oxford (and Antisemitism), and Yale Law School 

Abigail Shrier:

Sure. At Columbia, first of all, we had the core curriculum, so I got the Western canon. That’s why I had gone to Columbia. It was wonderful. It was really wonderful. We had obviously western art, western civilization, three courses in western philosophy. There, I studied philosophy. I wasn’t intending to do that, but I did. I really liked it. I really gravitated towards it. It was really good for writing. It forced you to be very precise and I suppose a little more rigorous. It was a wonderful experience.

Then I went to Oxford to do a graduate degree in philosophy. They had a program at Columbia, there was a Kellett Fellowship, so I was one of the Kellett fellows for 2000. There were two of us. I was sent to Oxford and-

Doug Monroe:

What philosophy? Not to interrupt. Did you concentrate?

Abigail Shrier:

Yeah. On Wittgenstein. So I studied logic and language. Philosophical logic and philosophy of language and then I focused and my historical philosopher was Wittgenstein. It was interesting. I wrote my thesis about vagueness actually. Anyways, a little technical, but semantic vagueness. Vagueness in language.

But the biggest impact Oxford had on me, although it was a wonderful program and I learned a lot, was really that it occurred during the second intifada in Israel. I saw a level of hatred toward Jews that I was totally unprepared for. I was in a small program. I did the BPhil at Oxford. It was all male except for me.

Other people in my course were suddenly marching in the streets of Oxford under swastikas. Not only swastikas covering Israeli flags, but that was something I hadn’t seen. These were friends of mine from my course. Of course, we got the Guardian at Oxford, which at that time was publishing cartoons of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in which he’s pulling a head off a baby. It really, it looked like something out of Der Sturmer. That was really eye-opening for me. I had been so cosseted in America in a certain sense. But I wasn’t prepared for that level of hatred, frankly at all Jews, but especially Israel.

Then I returned to America and went to Yale Law School, which at that time, was a true paradise. I have very close friends from truly across the political spectrum because it wasn’t actually relevant when we were in school.

Doug Monroe:

It wasn’t? It wasn’t CRT back at that time?

Abigail Shrier:

No, no, no. Not yet, but very, very left wing friends. It wasn’t an issue at all. This was the early 2000s, and today obviously, it’s a very, very different story. If you are part of the Federal Society on campus, you’re targeted. Most people don’t know this, but the Federal Society actually started at Yale Law School. It was that open an environment for people of all political persuasions. It’s definitely a little bit disappointing to see that change.

Abigail Shrier – Judeo-Christian Values Create Herd Immunity 

Abigail Shrier:

Of course. Well, I’ll say this about Judeo-Christian values. Especially of late. I have met really wonderful people and interacted with wonderful people who are atheist. Of course, I’ve known many wonderful people who are religious of some … Christian or Jewish or whatever. Or Muslim. I will say this, that I don’t think religious people have a monopoly on goodness. I certainly don’t believe that.

But I think for a society, Judeo-Christian values seem to herd immunity against a certain kind of nonsense and foolishness. I think what we’re seeing in America is as America becomes less religious, we have a lot less of that immunity. We have things like the rise of gender ideology. We have things, ideologies that are very dangerous that actually don’t make very much sense, but people don’t have conviction to shut them down or turn away from them.

They feel that they must engage them. They must blow oxygen on the fire. Unfortunately, with gender ideology, if you let it into your family it does a lot of damage.

Abigail Shrier – The Source of Courage in Her Work: Dangerous Lies Outweigh Fear 

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, well, it’s funny. I don’t think of myself as a brave person. Although I do get that a lot. We’re all afraid of different things. I certainly am afraid every time my kids leave the house. But I really don’t like lies and I suppose my anger at the thought of a world in which most Americans are manipulated by a lie makes me angry enough that the fear disappears.

I really don’t like the way families have been ripped apart by this. I don’t like the way that parents have been so manipulated. Parents have been told, “If you don’t transition your children, your child, she will likely kill herself.” That’s about as coercive and manipulative and frankly immoral a lie as you can put to a parent. It’s not true in the vast majority of instances. There’s no basis to it. It’s an awful thing for a medical provider to say to a parent who’s desperate and very worried for her child or his child.

That makes me sufficiently angry. Look, this is an ideology that has harmed. I was talking to an editor at one of the big mainstream media outlets and they reached out to me because now, of course, they’re all jumping on the bandwagon or whatever. I said to them, and this is true, “In the three years since my book was published, that it took for your paper to finally admit the harms of these drugs and procedures, tens of thousands of American children have been harmed.”

Doug Monroe:

Yeah. It’s clear you’re not thinking about your courage. You’re thinking about the people you’re helping. You’re very drawn to helping children, adolescent children and parents. There are other issues that are similar that draw your type people in and I’ll just leave it at that. I thank you personally for that, because without people like you, we’d be toast. As a society, we would be.

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, well that’s very kind of you to say. The thing is, it was interesting because when I first came out, when I first wrote the book, conservatives did not want to deal with the issue. The liberals were nervous about it because of the left. They were afraid of the left. They’re still afraid of the left, and conservatives didn’t want to touch it. They thought, that has nothing to do with me. “Yuck” was their reaction to the various … And these are grizzly surgeries. They’re not easy to read. It’s not easy to look at the pictures.

So they wanted to turtle a little bit. At some point, I just realized, people are getting really hurt. Parents are getting misled. Children are being taken apart and families are being ripped apart. At some point, I realized if people don’t get their big boy pants on and deal with this issue, it’s just going to keep marching on and it has. This gender ideology has done a great deal of damage and continues to.

 

Abigail Shrier – The Biological Truth: Sex is Binary 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, of course sex is binary. I don’t think anyone sincerely believes otherwise. I don’t know. Some people make noise about this, but outside of academic circles, I’m not sure that anyone believes that anything other than every cell of our bodies is sexed in some way. So either contained XY chromosomes, XX chromosomes, or of course the [inaudible 00:28:13]. So the idea that anyone, that in the animal kingdom sex is anything other than binary is ridiculous. But there’s two things that sort of happen. When we are quiet about the truth or when we feel shame, so we don’t speak up, a lot of nonsense can march in the door.

And unfortunately, this is a particular, gender ideology is a particularly vicious sort of nonsense, not only because it’s so highly coercive and insists that you speak, you have to recite my pronouns, you must recite after me, or you can lose your livelihood or you can go to jail as some of these laws have proposed. But it separates children from their families. It tells young women they can’t trust their parents. It tells them they need to do these irreversible damages to their bodies. And we are now seeing the testimonies of thousands of de-transitioners.

These are young women who regret having made these hasty alterations, hasty alterations that were really pushed and facilitated by medical providers who had no business doing that, and therapists who really had no business greasing the wheels and pushing a troubled adolescent toward medical transition as if it were the only way to cure their unhappiness. Now, in fact, there’s no proof that gender affirmation improves mental health at all. So whatever was troubling, these girls, we have very good indication that the vast majority of them were troubled by something other than gender dysphoria.

Abigail Shrier – The Recent Social Contagion of Gender Dysphoria

Abigail Shrier:

So for over a hundred years, we have a hundred year diagnostic history of gender dysphoria, and we know what this condition is. It’s the severe discomfort in one’s biological sex, and it always overwhelmingly afflicted males. And it began in early childhood, ages two to four. But in the last decade for the first time, we were seeing large numbers of young women with no childhood history of gender dysphoria, deciding they had discomfort in their bodies and wanting to change their physical appearance through hormones and surgeries.

This didn’t look like gender dysphoria at all. It didn’t begin in early childhood and was predominating among young women. And the strangest thing of all, it was exploding in friend groups. Lisa Littman, the public health researcher who did the original scientific research on this, found that there was a 70 times greater prevalence rate among friend groups, meaning you were 70 times more likely to announce a transgender identity if you were a part of a friend group in which other kids had done that as well.

So these were numbers that all pointed to the idea of social contagion. These were indicators that all pointed to the idea that this wasn’t so much organic gender dysphoria as we had always known it, but a kind of social contagion, which means young people encouraging each other in an idea that there was something wrong with them. And this particular idea wasn’t that they were so fat because we know that anorexia spreads this way as well, or bulimia, which also does, but in fact, this idea was, “I’m in the wrong body and I need to change.”

Doug Monroe:

Isn’t it true that if women who have this dysphoria just don’t do anything, that some large percentage of them become comfortable being female eventually?

Abigail Shrier:

Yes. So there’ve been several studies on this, many studies on this now, and they range, the number of those who have gender dysphoria in their youth who then outgrow it if left alone range somewhere between 68% and much, much higher. 85%, 90% outgrow it on their own. Now that’s when we were leaving these kids alone. We’re not doing that today.

Today, the second a girl feels that she’s not feminine or she’s not perfectly female, whatever that means, she is she to have a teacher, a counselor, somebody tell her, a therapist tell her, “Maybe your problem is gender, maybe you’re really supposed to be a boy.” Now with girls who identify as transgender, we’re seeing very high rates of going on to hormones and surgeries and whatnot. But if left alone, most of these kids were out just outgrowing it.

Abigail Shrier – One Cause of Gender Dysphoria Increase: Social Media 

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, I think all young women, it’s very natural to feel uncomfortable in your body as it’s changing. I mean, I hardly know a woman alive who didn’t. The difference is that girls don’t spend as much time with each other anymore. They spend a lot more time online. So the moment it occurs to them to dislike their body, they go to the internet to find out what it means or what they should do about it.

And there they find a lot of influencers and at this point, a great deal of media encouraging them the idea that actually they’re likely transgender. Now, the idea that a girl actually what she has is gender dysphoria and that she’s supposed to be on this transgender path was always historically profoundly unlikely. You’re talking about one in 30,000 women, so very, very small numbers. But today, we’re seeing 20% of seventh graders, girls in the seventh grade class deciding they’re really transgender. So these numbers don’t make any sense outside of social contagion.

Abigail Shrier – Trans Community as a Social Identity 

Abigail Shrier:

Oh, well, trans is really a social identity. If we’re talking about gender dysphoria, if we’re really talking about very small numbers. For men, it was one in 10,000. So basically no one you went to high school with. So think back a generation, so today we’re seeing something like 20% of youth or very, very high numbers, they vary, but identify as LGBTQ. We’ve never seen this and we have a long history of homosexuality.

I mean, that’s never been a secret in any society, even where it was actively suppressed and even in places where even in repressive regimes, we’ve known about homosexuality. That’s always existed and gendered dysphoria has existed, and we’ve always had what we used to call transsexuals. But today, it seems to have captivated such a large percentages of our youth. At some college campuses, you have 40% of the kids identifying as LGBTQ. This is so highly improbable that we know something else is going on and that this has become a social identity that young people take on for various reasons.

Abigail Shrier – The Real Concern: Transitioning Adolescents vs. Adults 

Abigail Shrier:

So one of the things I was tried to be really clear about in the book was that my only interest when it came to the book was in adolescent girls. And because they were making these changes at a time in their life, that was so confusing. And because they seem to have a lot of other mental health issues and because teenagers don’t know themselves all that well, and that’s the reason we don’t let them get tattoos and do all kinds of other things that might permanently alter them.

But when it came to adults, I felt very differently. I felt that any free society had to allow adults to make decisions about themselves that other people might agree with, not, might disagree with. We certainly allow men to and women to take on ultra-hazardous professions. We let them become loggers and roofers, even though to some of us, that seems like a highly risky thing to do. And by the same token, I thought whether someone wanted to medically transition that was generally up to them if they were an adult.

Now I have come to know a lot of people in the course of writing a book who are transgender or adults, and I interviewed them for the book. And I personally became convinced that many of them were leading good lives and they were very comfortable with presenting to the world in this way. So I didn’t do a study on it.

But having interviewed and gotten to know many transgender adults, many of them decided to do this transition after a period of a lot of reflection, a good amount of life under their belts, and very often with a mental health professional to having talked it through, they really came to the idea that this was right for them. So they underwent these profound surgeries that are extremely risky. But I think many of them came out the other end with a level of comfort that they said that they didn’t experience before.

Now of course, I’ve also talked to people who, for whom the surgeries didn’t go that well. These are very risky surgeries. So there are surgeons who do, from what I understand, an superb job with them. But there are others who are willing to take on these highly lucrative surgeries and are not as skilled as they should be. So I knew that it was a very risky thing to especially put a teenager through or a child, especially because they were so highly likely to regret.

Abigail Shrier – What does transitioning look like for adolescent females? 

Abigail Shrier:

So they’re puberty blockers that girls start with sometimes and boys at very young ages. They can start as young as eight. Usually eight to 11 is where they start on these. And although sometimes they do it a little bit later and they’re just beginning to understand the risks, but they are significant and they’re already coming out.

So we know now that certainly there’s a huge problem with bone density. There’s a very high risk of everything that goes along with bone density from splitting teeth to insufficient bone development. And there’s a concern also about not reaching peak IQ because hormones shower the brain. They don’t just operate on those areas of the body that will sexually mature.

So there’s a concern that the mental development won’t be the same with these kids. But again, we don’t entirely know all the risks. If they go onto puberty blockers, not only is there a risk of infertility with puberty blockers, but if they go onto cross-sex hormones rather, infertility is all but guaranteed. So with testosterone, which is across sex hormone, the-

Doug Monroe:

That’s stage two, right?

Abigail Shrier:

Yeah.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

That’s typically stage two. These women are getting shots 10 to 40 times what their bodies would normally handle. Again, we don’t exactly know what will happen to them long-term because we haven’t, I hate to use this phrase, but it’s accurate, we haven’t been experimenting on them for long enough. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re experimenting on these kids.

So but right away we see within the first three months, their voices tend to deepen, they tend to get more masculine feature, facial features, their shoulders broaden, they tend to redistribute fat. They’re at much higher risk of cardiac event. And they tend to, oh, and they get facial hair. And there’s also alterations to their private anatomy, female anatomy. A lot of those don’t seem to go away. The facial hair doesn’t seem to go away, the changes to private anatomy don’t seem to go away. But then-

Doug Monroe:

The voice doesn’t change either, right?

Abigail Shrier:

The voice changes, and that often doesn’t go away. They’re stuck with a masculine voice forever, or at least it seems like forever. Again, we haven’t been doing this long enough to really know. But then there are the other things, the psychic benefits, and that’s part of why so many girls were attracted to this.

They get a certain euphoria from going on testosterone, and it suppresses anxiety, which is these girls’ chief problem, so in many instances. So they tend to feel really good when they go on testosterone. Now, there are other ways to suppress anxiety, but they feel good and the first thing they want to do is tell their friends.

Doug Monroe:

Men are good at being angry at everything, and it works. You forget about the other person and you’re happy with yourself. But anyway, go ahead.

Abigail Shrier:

Yeah, so they do. They feel good about themselves when they start testosterone. And it feels tough, and it feels good not to feel weak and vulnerable. And one of the things that you go through as a young woman when your body changes is the first thing you feel is a new vulnerability that you’re not used to.

And it’s scary. It’s absolutely frightening when your body changes as a woman and a little alarming. And those are the kinds of things that your girlfriends and your mom sometimes, depending on how well you got along with her, but definitely your girlfriends helped you feel better about. And today, we’re not seeing that as much.

Abigail Shrier – Affirmative Care Is Not Medical Care 

Abigail Shrier:

Affirmative care isn’t medical care. It really isn’t. It’s saying that the patient’s self-diagnosis will prevail in a medical setting because the doctor will not exercise his or her own professional judgment. It’s an abdication of medical responsibility. And it’s saying that whatever the patient self-diagnosis with, specifically with regard to the transgender or gender dysphoria self-diagnosis, we’re going to just rubber stamp.

So there’s no other area of medicine where you take a patient’s self-diagnosis at face value. So I think it’s obviously inconsistent with all other medical protocols, but it’s also just sort of offensive to the idea of a professionalism. Doctors get medical degrees for a reason. We expect them to exercise their judgment. And here’s a place where they’ve abdicated all responsibility and just say, “Just sign on the dotted line with whatever the patient comes up with. Yes, you’re gender dysphoric. Sure. When do you want your breasts removed?”

And that sounds like a caricature, but it’s not much of one. And this is of course, something that’s happened all across the West. And there was a young woman, Jay Langadinos, I hope I’m pronouncing her name correctly, who in Australia, who on her first visit with a psychiatrist. And I know this because she sued her psychiatrist afterwards. But her first visit, he okayed cross-sex hormones, testosterone.

On I think a second visit, he okayed her double mastectomy, and by the third, he was taking out, writing a script to a surgeon, a recommendation to eliminate her uterus, so for a hysterectomy. So you see how quickly these things are moving. And in her own complaint, she said, “I came to this psychiatrist for his medical judgment, not for him to use mine,” but that’s what he had done.

He had substituted her judgment for his, at least in the complaint. And I agree with that. When you go to a doctor in every other area, a doctor will say, “I know you think you’re having a heart attack. Trust me, you’re not. It’s a panic attack” or whatever else it is. “So I’m not going to prescribe the cardiac medication you’d like” or whatever it is. And here, they aren’t doing that.

Abigail Shrier – Gender Dysphoria Treatment: Watchful Waiting and Underlying Diagnoses 

Abigail Shrier:

For gender dysphoria? So yes, Ken Zucker sort of pioneered this in Canada, watchful waiting, although it had been used for years. And this was a treatment for kids who are profoundly uncomfortable in their biological sex. Again, it was overwhelmingly boys. And what they would do was in therapy settings, those trained in gender dysphoria who would probe to see what else might be going on in a child’s life, why they were so uncomfortable in their biological sex.

And sometimes there would be a story, sometimes it was, “My mom travels a lot for work, she only pays attention to me when I dress up in fancy dresses,” or things of that nature. And the idea was to really see what was going on, but not go in with any predisposition about what the solution must be. Now, I interviewed Ken Zucker extensively.

He does and has prescribed puberty blockers when he deemed them appropriate, or he recommended, I should say, because he’s not a physician, but he recommended puberty blockers when he felt it was appropriate. But certainly in a minority of cases. In many cases, what these kids needed was general therapy for all the things they were unhappy about and the solution was not altering their bodies.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah, that’s what I was kind of trying to get at early on, that a lot of times they’re underlying issues that if you get more granular in your diagnosis, you can pull these ideas out and help people along rather than focus on the fad that it may be or turn it into a psychosis.

Abigail Shrier:

I mean, if-

Doug Monroe:

Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

I would just say that the mind is incredibly complex. I mean, the brain is an overwhelmingly complex organism, right? And when a kid presents for therapy or an adolescent presents for therapy, there are truly, and I don’t want to say limitless, but a uncountable number of things that might be going on and might be impacting the child.

And when a therapist quickly pushes one option, which therapists have been doing this country, which is, “You’re trans,” the mind also has the ability to grasp for a solution and not want to let go. We all sort of have that bias. We want a quick solution. And it’s very easy to persuade an adolescent that this is the cure to all their problems.

Abigail Shrier – Social Media and Smartphones: Gateway to Children and Profoundly Harmful 

Abigail Shrier:

I don’t think any young teen should be on social media. I don’t even think they should have a smartphone. They don’t need them, and it’s a terrible, terrible distraction. And most disturbingly, it lets all kinds of influences in saturate your child or young teen that are profoundly unhealthy and manipulative.

So I wrote a piece for the City Journal about human trafficking, all the human trafficking that was going on in California, that is going on in California. And one of the things I learned as I interviewed four different women who run human trafficking organizations across the state was that very often human trafficking actually begins on the internet. An adult posing as a child will reach out to another teen and he’ll be posing as a girl who’s interested in him or her, or a boy who’s interested in her and persuade her by degrees to do something embarrassing online. So maybe take a picture of herself or himself and then that quickly becomes grounds for blackmail if they don’t go along with other things that adult wants. So I think that the internet allows kids access with adults we would never let into our homes. Now you can’t block off all internet, but the amount that’s pouring in the deluge is too much. It’s obviously too much. Talk to any parent. Do you know how much happier their kids are when you take away their phones for a period of time? They detox. You can observe this. So just any parent will tell you that their kids get a little crazy around these devices and when they’ve been off them for any period of time, they go back to a normal healthy self. We know these things are unhealthy.

Doug Monroe:

It’s amazing if you put a phone, and this is not news to anyone, in front of a two-year-old child or a one-year-old baby, it draws them in like magic. And it’s really not a good power at all.

Abigail Shrier:

And our schools haven’t done any help because they’ve convinced, all sorts of people have convinced us that no, this is an educational program and it never is, or very rarely has any value other than pushing the kid into the passive observer.

Abigail Shrier – States & schools implementing “affirmative care” over most parents’ will? 

Abigail Shrier:

So California certainly has some of the most radical laws. We just have a new bill, I think it’s AB 665 that allows a school counselor and a 12-year-old to decide that the 12-year-old should be taken from the parent’s home even where no abuse has been alleged and placed in a residential care facility, including one of these LGBTQ youth centers, even if a parent doesn’t affirm, that can be the basis for the, if it’s good for the child’s mental health. So basically if the parents don’t want to affirm the child’s gender identity, that can be enough. The thing that I learned after the book came out was just how pervasive all of this was. I expected to see some differences across states, but the more I wrote about Child Protective Services, the more I realized that in every state Child Protective Services, at least every state I had talked to, and this includes some of the redder states in the country, Child Protective Services was staffed by many people who were eager to take children away from loving parents if they did not want to affirm a child’s purported gender identity.

Doug Monroe:

So they get between the parents and the child, both the influencers and the schools?

Abigail Shrier:

The influencers do it, the schools do it. The school counselors do it. When I talk to parents, this is what they’ll tell me. “Everything changed When she went to the school counselor, everything changed when I signed her up for therapy, everything changed when…” And, of course, these were girls with problems in some sense. They had anxiety, they had depression. It wasn’t that all of life was perfect for them before, but suddenly things were getting much, much worse. And the young woman had fixated on gender identity as the cure and gender ideology as the only thing she wanted to do. The only thing she wanted to get involved in was transition and the only way that she would ever feel better.

Abigail Shrier – Protecting Our Children & the Value Vacuum

Abigail Shrier:

So I talk about obviously smartphones and look, I don’t like smartphones just to be honest. Not for teenagers. I really don’t, but especially for young teens, for all kinds of reasons. The porn and also these kids are much more sophisticated at using them than we are. The idea that you’ve blocked your phone, I don’t know. I have kids and their level of sophistication with these devices and getting around and there isn’t a device they haven’t hacked, including the school devices that are supposedly come with all these blockers and whatnot. So kids are very sophisticated getting around those things. But also look, violent porn is not something you want your eight-year-old seeing, your 11-year-old seeing. You don’t really want your young daughter seeing a woman choked within an inch of her life and thinking that’s what sex involves.

That’s not a healthy thing to grow up with. But more than that, and I think that in some sense the root of this problem is that American parents allowed a vacuum to occur. We allowed a vacuum because we didn’t exercise our own authority with our kids. We didn’t make sure that they knew our values. And in that space, we let other adults come in and basically said, well, if you’re not going to pass on your values, I’m going to pass on mine. And they did it successfully. We had so many adults come in and indoctrinate our children. And American parents who are affable, amiable, they want to get along, they tend to be moderate in all kinds of ways. They weren’t prepared for this assault on their families, but in it came through every avenue from public school to social media and the internet, through even television programs or movies made for kids.

And these activists were ready to supply their values and they did successfully. They taught kids that they might be boys trapped in girls’ bodies or girls trapped in boys’ bodies. And I think what surprised parents was the degree they were willing to go and the lengths they were willing to go to indoctrinate other people’s children. If you’re a good person, it’s very hard to envision that someone would actually do that with your children. There are so few things that I feel comfortable preaching about to another person’s child. I wouldn’t imagine doing that. Even when it comes to what’s appropriate clothing, I wouldn’t do it because it’s someone else’s child and it’s not my business. But that wasn’t the feeling of a whole generation of teachers, unfortunately, counselors in schools, therapists, they thought just the opposite. And we’re seeing the results of that.

Abigail Shrier –The Value Vacuum Explained 

Abigail Shrier:

So I said that parents left a vacuum when we didn’t supply our own values. Here’s what I mean. It’s really important that your kids know in this house, we believe the following. Whatever you’re going to hear at school, you’re a girl, you’re my daughter. And believe it or not, that was enough to arrest this in most young girls. That’s why it hit liberal families so hard because they tended to approach this with greater open-mindedness when their kids came home. That’s one of the things I learned. People who said to their… And by the way, why it hit the affluent, the upper middle class so hard, the hyper educated, they tended to be much more ambivalent about what they thought about those things and nuanced as they thought of it. But actually very often the kid was just testing. And if the parent just said, no, honey, I’m not going to call you that. You’re my daughter, you’re always going to be my daughter. Every cell of your body is marked with XX chromosomes and whatnot. That was often enough to convince a 12-year-old.

Now in cases where a young teen had already proceeded down this route for some time, I have seen success stories in which parents completely removed that child from her social world. But it’s hard to do in today when the internet follows you, you have to get involved and shut down those identities online. You have to shut down the social media accounts in which the kid is saturating in this new name and new identity and hearing it over and over, they’re reifying it. And the parents who go along with it, they often think, Oh well, but she promised me no medicalization. I hear that a lot, but don’t worry. She promised me. The girl always does it, almost always, is the moment they get a chance. And I’ve seen parents who had their daughter sign contracts and promise they wouldn’t do it when they went off to university. And of course they did it within the first year.

And look, I don’t want to sound all knowing, I didn’t know this either until I interviewed them. It’s not like it was obvious to me from the get-go. It wasn’t. But this is what I learned from parents who’ve had their lives ripped apart by this.

Abigail Shrier – The Gender Agenda and Educational Institutions 

Doug Monroe:

When I was in college and you went off to college, parents would say, “well, they’re having a good time in learning something”, now they’re saying, “they’re changing.” After my freshman year in college, my young adult is somehow changed. And it’s never a good statement. I’ve never heard of once say, “Oh, well I’ve loved how they’ve changed.” It’s just not, they don’t say that. And this is me commenting a little bit, but I think a lot of this alumni Free Speech Alliance stuff is people that are my age, were middle Boomers, not Clintonian age or the decade, 10 years where we trusted them. We supported them and trusted the educators for 30 years, 40 years. And we shouldn’t have.

Abigail Shrier:

That’s right.

Doug Monroe:

We made a big mistake and now we’re trying to fix it. It’s too late maybe, but.

Abigail Shrier:

It’s hard. But step one is not trusting these institutions. These institutions, I have talked to parents who have had security called on them because they wanted to see what on earth was going on with their daughter who seemed to have mentally deteriorated in her first year of college and was now insisting she was a boy and wanted to start hormones. And they just showed up on campus to find out what was going on. Her texts seemed erratic, her phone calls stopped, they were worried. And what does the dean do? They called campus security on the parents. These are institutions-

Doug Monroe:

In our day, the campus security would put you in your bed and make sure you would wake up the next morning. That’s crazy.

Abigail Shrier:

These institutions will lie to you. They will, just because the board of directors says to you, don’t worry, we don’t push that gender ideology here. I would say in most cases, don’t trust it. It’s not true. I’ve had people call me up and say, “I am thinking of giving to this or that school, don’t worry I’ve made sure they’ve assured me they’re not woke.” And I said, “Well, give me a moment to look into this.” And then I call them back and I say, “Well, if it’s a parochial school or a elementary school,” I say, “well, they’ve got their librarians online promoting, reading the newest transgender book to middle schoolers. So this is the same school. So somebody’s not telling you the truth.” And I think that’s right. Our institutions, we say capture, but sometimes capture really isn’t enough. It’s corruption, it’s rot. You don’t go around introducing gender confusion in a young middle school population. It’s an unforgivably cruel thing to do.

Abigail Shrier – The Youth Transgender Movement: How Does it End? 

Abigail Shrier:

Sure. How’s this going to end? So first of all, I’ll say some good things. Okay. Number one, parents know the truth for the first time in a decade. My book came out in 2020, a number of other books have come out since. That is a big victory that parents now know that puberty blockers come with serious risk. Affirmation comes with serious risk. If they want to read about further, they can. If they want a support group, they can find one. This is all good news. In Europe, we see even better news, Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, the UK are all either curtailing these puberty blockers for adolescents, they’re ending them entirely or they’re warning about the risks. So they are far ahead of the United States in that. They have actually done, many of these countries have now done extensive follow-up reviews and found that there was no mental health benefit and they’ve stopped them or severely curtailed them to research settings, the availability of protocols like puberty blockers. So those are good things.

I used to think, the one thing that I think I may have gotten wrong in the book is I thought that the medical malpractice lawsuits would end this. I’m less sure today, and here’s why. When we look at prior medical scandals, and I do believe this is maybe the biggest medical scandal in the last decade, when we look at prior medical scandals like multiple personality disorder and repressed memory. They ended in the courts because we had a good number of doctors willing to stand up and say in court and testify. And they went all over the country testifying. People like Paul McCue went all over the country testifying and saying, this is quackery and we are hurting people. This is psychiatrists introducing harm into these troubled, often young women. But these troubled patients, okay. Today, we live in unfortunately, a much more repressive America or a much more fearful America, and we have too few doctors speaking up.

When I speak, people invariably come up to me, doctors invariably come up to me and they ask me if medical malpractice lawsuits are taking care of this. And what they’re saying is, is somebody else taking care of this? Because I don’t want to have to say anything. These are people who come to my talks because they don’t agree with what’s going on in their own profession, but they’re afraid to say so. That’s different. And there are lawsuits that are fortunately coming in the United States, but we need people to speak up. We need professionals. We need medical experts because there are truly legions of experts of so-called experts, really activist doctors on the other side with newly-

Doug Monroe:

But they’re also victims that have been harmed that want to sue, I would think. But they need the experts to speak up for them. You need both.

Abigail Shrier:

They need both.

Doug Monroe:

But you’re saying you’re more pessimistic that that’s going to happen.

Abigail Shrier:

We have so many wonderful G-transitioners who are so brave and willing to speak up, and I think they’re having a big impact. But we need doctors in the courtroom. We need doctors to say what’s true because courts rely on them. And right now, courts are inundated with activist experts. That’s who’s signing up to testify in trials. We need more doctors speaking out.

Abigail Shrier – What do boy and girl relationships between adolescents look like today? 

Abigail Shrier:

They’ve changed a lot.

Doug Monroe:

… and don’t think for the positive. That’s my opinion.

Abigail Shrier:

That’s right. They’ve changed a lot. First of all, there’s so much more fear today. Young adults, adolescents are much more fearful of each other. They have much less camaraderie. Remember that they walk around with a device that allows them to take each other’s picture, humiliate each other potentially. What they’re most afraid of is social humiliation. And they walk around with a device that in some sense might as well be a gun for all the damage they can do to each other. And they’re much more wary of each other.

When I meet young women, I interviewed, I have a new book coming out in February called Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up. And one of the things I learned from the many young men and women in college I interviewed is if they find a boyfriend, they don’t let go, or a girlfriend, they don’t let go for four years. They’re afraid of what’s out there. The ones who are dating tend to find one person and stick with them, because they really are much more fearful of things like dating around. They have a lot less comfort with each other. Remember, they also spent a lot less time together than the previous generations did.

Doug Monroe:

Do they have more trouble interacting and talking to each other-

Abigail Shrier:

Yes.

Doug Monroe:

… and socializing, things like that?

Abigail Shrier:

They’re far more socially awkward. Jean Twenge has written about this, the psychologist, has written about this. She’s an expert on this generation, and she has said that they spend up to an hour less per day in person than prior generations. So they are much more awkward with each other. They’re much more on their devices, which of course encourages awkwardness. Being outside, getting to know each other, being left alone, it makes you more comfortable. But they’ve also had hovering parents who’ve arranged every social interaction they’ve ever had. Well, that doesn’t help them build real friendships. It helps them build staged friendships that mom approves of. For the first time, you had parents choosing their kids’ friends, whereas our parents never chose our friends and probably weren’t crazy about some of our friends, but they didn’t get to choose. But now parents are completely directing it. And what they’re raising is a generation with friendships that are far, far more shallow.

Abigail Shrier – Parents: It’s Time to Look Out for Your Kids

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I think that parents were too trusting, and I don’t fault them. I didn’t know either. But I guess one of the things that I’ve tried to do in my work is make sure parents are aware of exactly what’s going on. And I’ve been really stunned by the number of people who are determined to undermine a child’s relationship with her parents in this society. Leonard Sacks, who’s a physician and has written on wonderful parenting books, he has said, and I absolutely have seen this, that immigrants who don’t share our culture, their kids do much better in terms of anxiety, depression, but also in terms of a sense of wellbeing. And they tend to do better because our American culture has become toxic for families.

And I don’t say that with any joy or pleasure, obviously it’s heartbreaking to say, but I do think it’s true that the prevailing culture is constantly undermining of the American family, constantly paints the parents as complete buffoons, constantly encourages disrespect towards the parent, and ultimately, parents are the best guardrail a child has. So if you undermine them, it’s open season on the kids. And that’s what we’re seeing.

Doug Monroe:

That’s true. I think what I would, along that particular theme, what is totally reversed is when I was a kid between 1960 and 65 or 70, the parents and the teachers were totally in sync. What the teacher said goes, the parents supported that a hundred percent and vice versa. The thought of a teacher being against a parent was, that was so bizarre. No one could have thought of it. It didn’t mean you always got along with them. It didn’t mean that they always agreed on the judgment that was made about your child in school or whatever. But the thought that teachers as a group would turn against the parents was not contemplated in any way, shape, or form.

Abigail Shrier:

Well, it’s worth pointing out that teachers unions, psychological associations, were comfortable with this. They shut down schools for what, two years in some places?

Doug Monroe:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No.

Abigail Shrier:

It is absolutely unconscionable.

Doug Monroe:

Oh, you’re talking about the pandemic and that. Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

I’m talking about the pandemic. So that ought to give everyone an indication of who’s actually looking out for the kids. There is not a parent, I don’t know a parent who wasn’t desperate to get their kids back to learning, back to routine, knowing that they were at least risk from the virus. They were at lowest risk. And our society really turned its back on our kids and parents were outraged, but parents were howling into the wind. And I hope, and I think it was a wake-up call for parents that nobody really had their back.

Abigail Shrier – What has censorship looked like for you after publishing your book? 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, this is everyone’s favorite question, is what have they done to you? We want to hear all the, I think it’s rubbernecking on the highway. We want to see the mangled body.

Doug Monroe:

You look good to me.

Abigail Shrier:

Thank you.

Doug Monroe:

Okay. You survived it well. Yeah. Yeah.

Abigail Shrier:

Thank you. I have to say it’s an important question. It’s also my least favorite, and I’ll tell you why. I don’t want to ever give the impression that they can stop me. I don’t want anyone to get the incorrect idea that they can shut me out. So I don’t like to dwell. I don’t even really like to think about…

I don’t like to dwell. I don’t even really like to think about the things that they have tried. But I think it’s an important subject and it’s important to note because when Target took my book off, it removed it, then it put it back on and response to outcry, then it quietly deleted it again. It was completely deleted from target.com, never available again. It’s important because people need to know that the activists are willing to stop what adults are able to read. They want to censor what adults are able to read. This is target.com. Unfortunately, we’re sort of living in a fairly obtuse time and sometimes they lump that together with parents objecting to various pornography in schools. Those are entirely different. They’re obviously different.

There’s a well-known book that was in all kinds of libraries. It’s still in all kinds of libraries in America and school libraries, and that’s the book Gender Queer, which is a graphic novel that shows young boys felating each other. When they talk about conservatives censoring books, they’re talking about not conservatives, talking about parents objecting to that. Parents. Not conservatives.

See, one of the things that the gender ideologues have been really successful in is they’ve convinced America or maybe the world, that anyone who objects to these things is a right-winger and that their actual target is right-wingers. Their target was never right-wingers. It was always the family. It was always children, it was always women. If you look at what they’ve done, all the measures to secretly change a child’s name and gender behind their parents’ back, the efforts to take a parent’s custody away if she doesn’t affirm. The efforts to put biological men in women’s sports. The efforts to put biological men in women’s prisons. Those aren’t right-wingers who object to that. Martina Navratilova is not a right-winger. JK Rowling is not a right-winger. It’s women and children and families they’re after, the activists. And the target-

Doug Monroe:

You’re not technically a right-winger, right? Am I right about that? Jim Bacon said you’re a classic liberal in a sense, or I don’t know what… I don’t mean to get off on that, but my point is you’re not a right-winger. Anyway. So am I wrong or?

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I would say that-

Doug Monroe:

Is that a loaded question?

Abigail Shrier:

Well, when I do these investigations, I do try to keep politics out of them.

Doug Monroe:

You go on truth and not truth.

Abigail Shrier:

I do. I do. I try to keep politics out of them because it’s unhelpful.

Doug Monroe:

Okay, so you can continue. Continue.

Abigail Shrier:

Sure. But they tried to-

Doug Monroe:

I admire that totally, by the way. We can talk about that also. But go ahead.

Abigail Shrier:

The target was never right-wingers. It was always women and families. That’s why they actually were never, none of their measures have attacked right-wingers, a fairly marginalized group and not particularly effective in the culture wars. But they then smear anyone who challenges them as a right-winger. Unfortunately, this cowed a lot of good people for a long time and it needs to stop so that we stop losing really, really important things in this country.

Abigail Shrier – Challenging Gender Ideology: It’s Not About Politics 

Abigail Shrier:

It’s not about politics. Conservatives walked into defending, I think they walked into this particular issue fairly early. And I think partly because they had less to lose than liberals did because they were already low status, so they kind of were more comfortable fighting for what they believed. Liberals had a lot more to lose and they genuinely did. Look at any liberal station or mainstream media, their advertisements versus the advertisements on Fox. We know that they had more to lose. Martina Navratilova lost an endorsement deal for standing up for women on these issues. So I think it became, in America, thought of as a conservative issue. In England it’s not, which is why my book was widely reviewed across the press in England. Because it’s not a conservative issue, it’s not a political issue. And honestly, what’s happening to young girls and their bodies and whether these medical protocols are safe should never really have been a political issue.

Abigail Shrier – Gender Ideology and Critical Race Theory 

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I think that gender ideology is the perfect analog to critical race theory. Both have the idea that there’s this person who was marginalized and there is a person that is on top, either the white person or the cisgender heterosexual, and now we want them to feel what it’s like to be on the bottom. They’re hierarchical. They believe in gender essentialism or racial essentialism, and for that reason they’re fairly hateful, but they have captivated obviously our universities. And it’s led to an incredible intolerance.

The fact that I’m so heavily guarded when I go to universities, that I need to be, is preposterous. It’s absolutely preposterous. There are people who are actually fighting wars and in danger right now, and the idea that I need to be protected from university students who might throw things at me because I say something that upsets them. I mean, imagine the level of insecurity and fearfulness in American young people if they become that enraged by someone who says something that upsets them. It really dishonors the men and women of this country who fought for America, who created America, who showed tremendous bravery, that today’s young Americans are so terrified of someone saying something that upsets them that they need safe spaces.

Doug Monroe:

Yeah, it’s hard to believe. It’s a psychosis and I think that’s a word you use some, but it’s a much broader psychosis than just trans issues and sexual issues.

Abigail Shrier:

But catering to it doesn’t help.

Doug Monroe:

No.

Abigail Shrier:

For sure, that I can tell you. And I would just say for parents, the best place to start telling truth is with your own kids.

Abigail Shrier – Gender and Sexuality: Nature vs. Nurture 

Abigail Shrier:

I think it surprised all of us, the extent to which things we thought were absolutely baked in and things we could take for granted when it came to sexuality, gender. Turned out to be a lot more malleable than we realized. It certainly surprised me. When you have social groups pushing various gender identities and sexualities and suddenly so many young people signing up for them, you realize that there’s a social element that many of us weren’t even aware of. We took these things as fixed and I think that they’re much more in play than we realize.

Doug Monroe:

So you would weight it fairly strongly on nurture, right? As what determines how Abigail behaves or… You see where I’m going with that?

Abigail Shrier:

I think nurture plays a bigger role than we realize. Male and female sexuality is a little different here, from what I understand, having interviewed sexologists and other people who are expert in these matters. There’s no question that homosexuality has always existed in the population going back as far as you’d like to. So it’s not something that is in any sense, just a fad or anything like that. I would never suggest that. But I do think that the proliferation of neo sexualities and gender identities has no doubt has a social component and a nurture component that I don’t think was fully appreciated.

Abigail Shrier –  Gender Ideology Religion: Using Contradictions to Enhance Power 

Doug Monroe:

What about the problem you allude to a little bit, and I don’t think you necessarily have a section on it. You do talk about language where there’s the argument that you hear this a lot from LGBTQ, it’s, “You’re born the way you are. You’re a hundred percent born the way you are, I can’t help it.” And yet when it shifts on them, they then say, “No, it’s a hundred percent the opposite. That it’s all Marxist social construction. We’re all human beings and we can construct whatever kind of person we want.” What’s a guy to do with that argument where it’s basically the exact opposite argument and none of them, they can’t coexist at once?

Abigail Shrier:

So what the activists do is they sow a certain amount of chaos. And so I really focused in my work on what all this was doing to young women and families because if you get into the ideology, all they do is shift on you. So I’ll give you an example.

The classic one is gender fluidity. They say that some kids, every kid knows who they are and they’re born that way, except some are gender-fluid and they change their mind. Well, what does that mean? Why would we put a child who might turn out to be gender-fluid on hormones and surgeries? Because you always have to do what they say, right? Well, what about a parent who says they don’t want to go along with it? No, the parent’s always wrong. The child knows best.

The way to understand all this is it is a form of religion. It really is. It starts with an initial baptism, a new name they give themselves. It is policed by blasphemy laws they introduce to try to force other people to use their pronouns. It has apostates whom it treats fairly cruelly. Detransitioners, people who thought they were trans and changed their mind are treated horribly. And it’s full of holidays. So this really is, it’s treated with the sort of severity and religious fervor of a religion, and I think that is the way to understand it. It’s a kind of religion.

Abigail Shrier – What’s the ultimate aim of gender ideology activists?  

Abigail Shrier:

It’s a good question. People always ask me, “What are they after?” I think that there is a real asymmetry here. People who want to build families, build things, they can answer that question clearly. But there are also vandals in the world. People who just want to create chaos and tear things down. And I think that there are people who have given sophisticated answers to this question and study the ideological roots.

But for my own purposes, I tend to think that for most of us, unless that’s a particular interest of yours, I think for most of us it is not, I don’t want to say a waste of time, but not a good use of our energies to sit and try to unpack all of their views because they’re always changing and what they’re after, because that’s always changing too. But it’s a profoundly destructive impulse. We could sit around trying to figure out why someone would possibly spray paint the front of a store, a beautiful new store that’s owned by, a shop that’s owned by a couple. Why would you do that? And we can spend a whole lot of time worrying about why you would ever do something that cruel. Or we can just guard against it and push back on it and make sure that stops happening and doesn’t happen to our stores and our families. And I prefer to focus on that, but it’s-

Doug Monroe:

I hundred percent agree. I call it reasoning with the crazy man. If they’re nuts or they’re nihilists, then there’s no point in reasoning with them. You just have to control it.

Abigail Shrier:

It is. Remember that the gender ideologues always had a lousy hand to begin with. It made no sense. Their hand made no sense. A boy trapped in a girl’s body makes no sense. There is no empirical proof of it. And all it is some sort of metaphor except that it has to be taken deadly seriously. And of course the protocols aren’t metaphoric. They’re real surgeries and hormones. So they’d never had a good hand, but what they had was coercion. When good people fell silent and felt some shame in opposing them, they felt embarrassed for various reasons. They felt like anything cloaked in civil rights, they couldn’t impose if they wanted to be good people. Into that open field marched an army and they advanced and unfortunately they pushed this really half-baked ideology all the way through our institutions. It’s in courts, it’s in schools, it’s in universities, it’s in medical accrediting organizations. So we certainly have our work cut out for us in bringing truth to light and really clearing out the lies.

Abigail Shrier – How We’ve Failed the Rising Generation 

Abigail Shrier:

I think we have a problem with the rising generation, poses a problem. And I say that as someone who’s met, not only am I raising members of the rising generation, but I have met through my interviewing for my new book, Bad Therapy. I’ve interviewed a number of dozens of young people, some of whom are incredibly impressive. Many of whom are incredibly impressive.

Doug Monroe:

They’re incredibly articulate.

Abigail Shrier:

They’re incredibly articulate. But I think as a generation, the problem with how they’ve been brought up is they’ve been given too little freedom and too little responsibility around physical dangers and things that involve their own judgment. And too much freedom around things like, “What should my name be? What should my gender be? What should my religion be?” Sort of foundational things for a kid. And parents sort of left that up to them. And the problem is they left a space for activists to come in and supply a religion called Gender Ideology or supply a view of things like the First Amendment, which is that it was suspicious or a suspect.

So I think we really failed to teach the rising generation, the American religion. We failed to teach them why the First Amendment is an absolutely miraculous part of law, why equal protection is so important, why due process is essential. And unfortunately, we let those erode and people were only too happy to warp the next generations’ understanding of those things. So I think the one thing that young parents can do right away is teach their own kids what they believe.

Abigail Shrier – Parents Over “Experts” 

Abigail Shrier:

I think one thing I always try to do is to give encouragement to parents to trust themselves and not these so-called experts. I go into this more in my new book, but I think that very often experts are doing more harm than good and parents know what’s right for their own kids more than they realize. So encouraging parents to trust the thousands of hours, tens of thousands of hours they have spent with their children, that they know what’s best for their children. Trust that more than the teacher, the psychologist, the counselor who’s filling them with advice. I would start there, and I think if you start with your own kids, we can take a lot of these things back and restore a certain amount of sanity to the culture.

Abigail Shrier – Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America? 

Doug Monroe:

To me, people my age are saying, “This feels kind of like the sixties, except we haven’t had assassinations yet and we don’t have people… People are so angry and protesting, but nobody’s dying in a war over in the jungle. So it’s just different. I don’t know whether to be optimistic or pessimistic.” What do you think? Where are we? What’s going to happen here?

Abigail Shrier:

Well, I think there are a lot of wonderful people speaking out, and they are mostly outside of our institutions at this point. But I think there are a number of people speaking out. A lot of great journalists out there, a lot of great thinkers out there who are speaking out. And I think that bringing the truth of what’s actually going on in this country to the public is the best shot at pushing back against some of the progressive maximalism that we’re seeing, the most extreme leftist ideology.

Abigail Shrier – Sneak Peek at New Book: Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up

Abigail Shrier:

My publisher, I am not allowed to talk too much about my next book because it’s a little too early. But I’ll tell you, I’ll give you this. So it’s called Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up. And it’s a hard look at the mental health industry that is through the schools, through therapists, through the parenting experts have flooded us with all kinds of really bad mental health advice that has actually made the mental health of kids, adolescents and young adults much worse.

Doug Monroe:

That’ll be a great read. I look forward to that.

Abigail Shrier:

Thank you.

Doug Monroe:

Thank you so much for doing this interview.

Abigail Shrier:

Thanks for having me.

 

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