In the midst of isolation under COVID-19 quarantines and school lockdowns, a new “social contagion” has quietly crept into homes to infect and transform children, some parents say. It was given a name in a 2018 study: rapid-onset gender dysphoria.
Now, parents are sounding the alarm.
In September 2020, January Littlejohn of Tallahassee, Florida, was shocked when her 13-year-old daughter inadvertently revealed a secret. School officials wanted to know which bathroom she preferred to use “as a result of her requested name change.” More shocking was her discovery of a plan devised during a private meeting between her daughter and school officials without her knowledge or consent.
“She was so flippant about it,” Littlejohn told The Epoch Times, “and what I’ve come to understand is these kids claiming transgender identities out of the blue have no idea of the scope or scale of what they are saying, things they are asking for in terms of hormones and surgery. It’s like they’re asking to get a nose ring or their hair dyed or a piece of clothing they know their parents are going to reject.
“In many ways, this has become a new source of teenage rebellion, but the long-term consequences are much more severe.”
Littlejohn, who is a licensed mental health counselor, says that adopted school policies regarding transgender students “reinforce the confusion they may be experiencing and affirm in their adolescent brain that they were born the wrong gender.”
“The schools have moved past the position of affirming and are now encouraging and celebrating,” she said.
“Schools are also creating a huge wedge between gender-confused children and their parents. Further, by excluding parents, other mental health issues that often times accompany a transgender identity, such as depression and anxiety, may go unchecked and unresolved.”
According to the Leon County School District’s transgender gender nonconforming student support plan—filled out during the private meeting and obtained exclusively by The Epoch Times—a Part A “checklist” was used to record the child’s new non-binary status, “preferred name,” and “preferred pronouns.” The child also indicated that, while her parents were aware of her choice to identify as “non-binary,” they were not supportive and would not use her preferred name or pronouns at home.
Therefore, under the heading of “Parent/Guardian Involvement” on the form, it was made clear that staff wouldn’t notify the parents of anything involved in “implementing this plan” and wouldn’t “include gender-specific pronouns when speaking w/parents.”
Under the heading of “Names, Pronouns, and Student Records,” it was clarified that—while the child’s gender would remain the same—the name given to her by her parents at birth would be replaced by her preferred name in the Student Information System (SIS) database.
When asked about “expectations regarding rooming for any overnight trips” with the school, the minor child was allowed to decide she would “be comfortable rooming w/either sex.” This opened the door to having the Littlejohns’ daughter rooming with teenage boys on overnight school trips without her parents’ knowledge.
“The purpose of this document is to create a shared understanding about the ways in which a student’s authentic gender will be accounted for and supported at school,” Part B of the form states.
“We’re scrambling to keep up with this,” Littlejohn said, “and when you do an internet search, the bulk of what comes up is to affirm your kid or they will commit suicide. That’s their whole argument. Suicide is being weaponized to bully parents into affirming their children even if they know it’s the wrong choice for their child.
“What we are seeing is absolutely a social contagion of vulnerable kids, mostly girls. Many of these adolescents are isolated, socially awkward, and have a difficult time fitting in and making friends. Some are gifted, and many are on the autism spectrum. They latch on to a transgender identity, believing all their angst and insecurities will disappear and they are immediately praised by peers and teachers. Transgender identities have become glorified by the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, and social media.
“It’s a social contagion like anorexia, affecting vulnerable teens. But it’s being celebrated, and it’s spreading like wildfire.”
In a May 24 letter of response to the Littlejohns’ attorney, Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna conceded that “there was no basis to exclude” the parents from the private meeting. He said that “a revised Q&A specific to the Littlejohns concern was provided to the administrators reiterating the directive to promptly contact parents of students who identify as LGBTQ+.”
Leon County Schools Equity Officer Kathleen Rodgers told The Epoch Times that the district is “working to put together a more detailed policy to be more inclusive of the Parent Bill of Rights,” adding that “a committee will meet in the next few weeks to tweak policies and begin the process to present them to the School Board for adoption.”