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January Littlejohn on the Gender Contagion Gripping Our Teens

Culture Smart Moms - Moms for America Blog

January Littlejohn on the Gender Contagion Gripping Our Teens

Jan-Jekielek-Epoch-Times-Video-Graphic - MomWatch



I sit down with January Littlejohn, a parental rights advocate and mental health professional. In 2021, she filed a lawsuit against her daughter’s Florida school district after school officials met with her 13-year-old daughter—without Littlejohn’s consent—to discuss a six-page “gender support” plan.

“It wasn’t just changing names and pronouns. They asked her which restroom she preferred to use. They asked her which sex she preferred to room with on overnight field trips. And then they did something particularly egregious. They said, ‘How should we refer to you when we speak to your parents? Should we use your birth name and pronouns?’ to effectively deceive us that the meeting had ever taken place,” Littlejohn says.

Gender activism has overtaken schools, popular culture, psychological associations, and pediatric medicine, and many vulnerable teenagers—often with complex mental health issues—are being misdiagnosed and given hormones and surgeries that cause permanent, irreversible changes to their bodies, Littlejohn argues.

“They say that these puberty blockers are reversible. That is a lie,” Littlejohn says. “We are seeing the negative side effects…This is not a pause button. This is a fast train toward becoming a medical patient for life.”

In this episode, Littlejohn breaks down the red flags parents should be on the lookout for, how parents can protect their children, and what they can do if their child comes home one day and says they want to change their name and pronouns.

“How are these children going to feel when they reach the age of adulthood, their brains finally mature, and they realize what’s been done to their bodies? And they realize the people that were supposed to protect them and love them the most allowed this to happen?”


Jan Jekielek:

January Littlejohn, it’s such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

January Littlejohn:

Thank you for having me.

Mr. Jekielek:

January, we’re going to talk about this incredible journey you’ve been on. Before we go there, you actually have a background in mental health and I want to get you to tell me about that. How is it that you came to be in this position today?

Ms. Littlejohn:

Sure. I’m actually a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. I’m not currently practicing. But when I was practicing I had started out as a substance abuse counselor working with adolescents. And then I moved to a university position where I created and ran a program for college students with ADHD. So, I’ve always worked with adolescent populations. I’ve been very interested in brain-based behavior, and how the brain impacts learning. All of those types of things really interested me when I was practicing.

Mr. Jekielek:

Why don’t you tell me the story of what happened to your daughter and your interactions with her?

Ms. Littlejohn:

Ironically, I was specialized in ADHD, and my daughter was also diagnosed with ADHD. It was a struggle for her to fit in in school, especially. When she went to middle school, she found this friend group that she matriculated to that accepted her and we were thrilled initially. Then, we started to see some warning signs that maybe this wasn’t a healthy place for her to be.

Fast forward to the spring of 2020, our daughter out of the blue expressed to us that she was confused about her sex. This was after three of her friends in her in-person friend group at school had also started identifying as transgender. When a child makes this pronouncement, especially out of the blue back in 2020, there wasn’t a lot of information. So, we were really struggling, especially since she had never expressed any kind of gender confusion leading up to this announcement.

We were soliciting help from a mental health professional and really just trying to get to the root of her issue, because like so many other of these kids that fall into this ideology, she also had co-occurring mental health issues like anxiety, plus she’s ADHD. She’s also gifted which kind of brings into this situation where her giftedness puts her intelligence really high, but with her ADHD keeps her emotional intelligence and maturity low. For some of these kids, until their brain matures, it almost reads like spectrum behavior, like children with autism. This is not uncommon when you have co-occurring giftedness and ADHD. And with my background, I knew all of this.

And so, we embraced her quirkiness, and we allowed her to dress how she wanted. She’s very artistic as many of these kids are. When this happened, she immediately, like many of these kids, wanted a name change, a change in pronouns. At the time, she was identifying as non-binary. We were still trying to grasp what that even was, because in my clinical training, of course I knew what transgender was. I knew what gender dysphoria was, which is a mental health diagnosis, but it is very rare. And you certainly weren’t hearing about these clusters of friends. For me, when she would come home and say these things, in my mind I was thinking, “Statistically, this is impossible.”

The other thing that I saw as a precursor and a lot of parents that I’ve spoken to see as well is you’ve got 10 and 11-year-olds coming out as bisexual and pansexual when they’ve had zero experience in terms of dating, relationships, never even held someone’s hand, and much less been kissed. But yet, they are identifying in these sexualities that they don’t fully understand. And that really becomes a gateway into these identities.

We told our daughter with the help of the therapist and the suggestion of the therapist that we’re not going to affirm this identity, because this was happening very quickly. It was escalating very quickly and we were concerned, because her mental health was getting worse. We told the school that we were not affirming at home, but we felt like we couldn’t stop her from going by a nickname. Honestly, that’s what I thought it would be treated as—John goes to school and wants to be called Johnny.

Several weeks later my daughter got into the car after school and said, “Mom, I had a meeting today with school officials and they asked me which restroom I wanted to use.” I was immediately taken aback. First of all, I didn’t know why they would be having a meeting with my child without telling me, because my daughter with her ADHD has a 504 plan on file. I had been present and involved at every 504 plan meeting. I knew by law they could not even implement a 504 plan without my signature and being there, because she’s a minor.

Mr. Jekielek:

Very briefly for those that might not know, what is a 504 plan?

Ms. Littlejohn:

A 504 plan is that by law children that have learning disabilities or diagnosis, and they are afforded accommodations under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). That dictated what accommodations she was privy to, to help her be successful in school. I immediately emailed the guidance counselor whom I knew and said, “I have great concerns that my daughter’s telling me she had a meeting that I wasn’t aware of, and you asked her which restroom she wanted to use.” It did not even occur to me why would they be asking her that.

There are no non-binary bathrooms. There are male bathrooms, female bathrooms, and then unisex bathrooms. This didn’t even register in my brain. I was called back by both the guidance counselor and the assistant principal and was told that by law my daughter was now protected from me, her parent, under a non-discrimination law, and they could not give me any information about the meeting that had taken place with my 13-year-old child.

Mr. Jekielek:

How did you respond to that?

Ms. Littlejohn:

I was irate. I was confused because I’m a very involved parent. I was Volunteer of the Year at this middle school. I wasn’t a stranger parent where they weren’t really sure about the dynamic of our family or our relationship. I was up at this school running their coffee room. I ran their Red, White and Blue day. There was no reason for them to have not contacted me and included me in this meeting.

They told me that my only recourse at this point was to go speak with the assistant superintendent at the district, which I did immediately. You have to remember this was fall of 2020. This is at the height of COVID. A lot of schools didn’t even reopen in other states. And so, we were grateful on the one hand that our children were able to go back to school in person, but we were not allowed on campus. All of this communication was done either via email or by phone.

Just to give you an idea of how long this took, the violation occurred when school had started, but we did not get a meeting with the principal until the end of October. We were shown the transgender or gender non-conforming support plan that they had completed with our 13-year-old daughter behind closed doors without our notification or consent.

It was done with a school counselor, the assistant principal, and a social worker I had never met. You have three adults in a room with a 13-year-old child. And then, they put the burden of whether or not my parental rights would be respected and whether or not my husband and I would be invited to attend this meeting on our child. She was the sole determiner.

In this support plan, it wasn’t just changing names and pronouns. They asked her which restroom she preferred to use. They asked her which sex she preferred to room with on overnight field trips. And then, they did something particularly egregious. They said, “How should we refer to you when we speak to your parents? Should we use your birth name and pronouns?” to effectively deceive us that the meeting had ever taken place.

Our situation is by far not an isolated case, where parents may have not even known their child was experiencing confusion. Everybody at the school, staff, teachers, students, counselors, would know this child has assumed a different identity, may be using opposite sex facilities, putting that child’s safety and the safety of others at risk, and the parents would be the only ones not in the know.

Mr. Jekielek:

I also want to clarify, when you say the violation, what do you exactly mean by that?

Ms. Littlejohn:

It was a violation of our parental rights. It is our constitutional right to direct the upbringing of our child, which includes mental health and medical decisions. This process was them sitting down and going through these questions with our child, which is called social transitioning. This is actually a psychosocial medical intervention that schools are grossly unqualified to be doing, especially without parental involvement. Because many of these children have co-occurring issues like previous trauma, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and autism. When they are meeting with these children, a lot of those co-occurring issues are going unexplored and unresolved, because the parents are unaware that their child is struggling.

Mr. Jekielek:

What do you think about the fact that you have this very unique background, compared to the general population, which would allow you to assess this in a way that a lot of parents simply could not?

Ms. Littlejohn:

I don’t really have an answer to that other than I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I have this background, because I know how mental health counseling works. I know what ethical treatment looks like. I know that when you provide counseling to a minor child, the parents are still in charge of that child. They are to direct the upbringing. It is not my job to take that child and keep secrets from their parents. That is not in the best interest of a child or the parent-child relationship.

Activism has infiltrated the schools. When they socially transition these children, they are putting them along a pathway. Social transition is the first step toward medical transition. When parents really discover what gender affirming care is, that we are essentially giving children experimental puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones which will eventually sterilize them, parents are horrified that schools would be taking them along this pathway. And this is not a neutral intervention they’re doing. They are celebrating these kids.

My daughter had a lot of positive reinforcement for this identity. She wasn’t celebrated in this manner when she was identifying as a girl. It was only when she came out with this false identity that she was told she was brave, getting all kinds of attention, getting a private meeting where she gets to decide whether or not mom or dad are included. That’s an incredible amount of power and a burden to be putting on a child.

But what it really is doing is it’s creating a huge wedge between the parent and child relationship. There is no other circumstance in school where they are doing this. There really is not, because research has shown us that parental involvement is one of the best significant factors in successful student outcomes. Why would we suddenly forget this knowledge and assume all parents to be the enemy or a danger to their child, but only in this one area?

Mr. Jekielek:

You just blew my mind earlier, because I didn’t fully grasp that social transitioning or this affirming behavior is actually a medical intervention in itself. I’m even getting shivers just thinking about that, because this is clearly being applied all over the place by people who have no idea what they’re doing.

Ms. Littlejohn:

Right. What it is really doing is concretizing this idea in a child’s mind. “Yes, I was born in the wrong body. This is the right path forward.” What it is really doing, which is very tragic for me as a mental health professional to see, is that many of these kids have a deep self-loathing. And so, when you are affirming this transgender identity, what you’re really affirming and confirming in the child’s mind is this self-hatred. It’s causing a lot of these children to look at their bodies as just parts, and it’s encouraging them to disassociate from their body parts.

For instance, a lot of these teenage girls are at the cusp of puberty and already feeling uncomfortable in their bodies, which we all went through. This is a normal process of going through adolescence. But instead of being told that, they’re being told, “If you’re uncomfortable with your breasts it’s because you’re probably transgender and you can just cut them off.” They use euphemisms like top surgery, which is really a double mastectomy. They’re glossing over what these severe, very serious surgical interventions are, and treating them as if they are just very simple procedures that you can have done if you don’t like a specific body part.

Mr. Jekielek:

I’ve looked at the data and there is an explosion of children going to these pediatric gender clinics. What do you make of that?

Ms. Littlejohn:

It’s really frightening because we have ignored a mental health issue. These children and adults struggling with confusion over their sex, they deserve compassion, but they also deserve ethical evidence-based treatment. What we have seen is activism infiltrate not just our schools but our psychological associations and our medicine. We’re going to see a huge population of people who have been affirmed, medicalized, and then come to the realization when their brains fully develop that this did not fix their pain, and that this was not the root cause of their issue.

This is why you are seeing the UK, Finland, Sweden actually do a proper assessment of the evidence being used to justify these radical interventions. They are reversing course, and they are saying, “The risk outweighs the benefit. We don’t have all the data to be affirming all of these individuals and putting them on a pathway to being a patient for life.” Think about that. A child who is 9 or 10 years old, you are putting on this medical pathway. Because they start the child on puberty blockers around 10 or stage 2 of puberty, when the secondary sex characteristics are just starting. But stopping that process has never been done before on this scale.

What we’re finding in just the preliminary research being done is you’re also stopping bone development. We’re seeing bone density loss in these children and adolescents. We may be stopping brain development, because there’s all kinds of things that happen during adolescence with our brain going through puberty. That process itself is not fully understood. Why would we think that we would understand the process of completely halting it and then automatically putting these children on cross-sex hormones? They call it a pause button. That is a lie. They say that these puberty blockers are reversible. That is a lie.

The reason we know these are lies is because we are now seeing the negative side effects. This is not a pause button; this is a fast train toward become a medical patient for life. How can you claim that children can consent to this? It’s all based on self-ID. We don’t have a test like in diabetes or any other kind of medical diagnosis where we are given medication. There is no blood test to determine which child will desist and which will persist in their gender dysphoria. We’re basing this on a feeling the child has. We’re taking a mental health diagnosis and we are trying to alter their body before their brain is even fully developed to fix what’s in their mind.

Mr. Jekielek:

This is all being done in the context of being in a time where a lot of people are actually confused about identity. I don’t want to call it an epidemic, but there’s a lot of that from what I understand.

Ms. Littlejohn:

Absolutely. And this is nothing new. Adolescents are known for having an identity crisis and not knowing who they are and exploring and trying on different hobbies and clothing styles and personas and rebelling against their parents. They’re trying to find who they are and where they fit into society. That is nothing new. What’s new is we have taken a mental health diagnosis, we’ve normalized it, and we’re medicalizing children. How can you say that a child can consent to their sterilization at age 11? How can you say that a child can consent to the loss of future sexual function?

What’s going to happen? This is what keeps me up at night, how are these children going to feel when they reach the age of adulthood, their brains finally mature and they realize what’s been done to their bodies and they realize that people that were supposed to protect them and loved them the most allowed this to happen? Honestly, I don’t put the blame on the parents.

A lot of these parents are being told that if you don’t affirm your child in this transgender identity, regardless of how long they have felt this way, how old they are, or of other comorbid issues such as trauma, if you don’t affirm your child, they will commit suicide. Not that it’s a risk factor, because it is. That is a concern, but how do we not know that the suicidal ideation comes from the root causes and the co-occurring issues versus not affirming? Parents are not being given all the treatment options available.

How can you really give informed consent to an experimental treatment when you’re not being given the whole picture? They are not told that the majority of these children will desist if you give them a loving, supportive, neutral environment. Without socially or medically transitioning your child, most of them will desist. They will outgrow and resolve their distress with or without psychotherapy. It really depends upon the child.

I’m not oversimplifying this, because a lot of these kids really are in true distress, but they have misdiagnosed their pain. They think gender identity is the answer, and in fact, many times they are being led to believe that gender identity is the solution. What child or teen who’s in real distress wouldn’t grab a hold of that? A solution is being offered to them that says, “That person that you hate, that was bullied, that was sexually assaulted or molested, you can leave that all behind. Now, you’re this new person.”

They’re being given a solution that’s not real. No matter what these children or teens or adults do to their physical bodies, you cannot change your sex. Your DNA will stay the same. Many of these kids are spiraling because it puts these kids at war with their bodies. It’s a war they’re never going to win. You can’t outrun biological truth.

That’s what a lot of people that are detransitioning are saying. They’re saying, “We were pushed along a path, a medical pathway. Our underlying issues were not explored. No one tried to stop me. No one said, ‘Wait a second, let’s explore why you are rejecting your femaleness. Let’s explore why you think becoming a boy is going to solve your distress.’” No one stopped them and they have to come to that realization on their own that it did not fix their internal pain.

Many of them are now detransitioning and left with permanent, irreversible changes to their bodies like hair loss, vaginal atrophy, and permanent voice changes. Many of them through breast binding have deformed breasts or they went through with the double mastectomy, so they no longer have breasts. We’re going to see real people that have gone through these pathways and you’re going to see the scars of it. It’s going to be very evident.

Mr. Jekielek:

And it already is. In Europe this is being addressed. There’s multiple lawsuits against the Tavistock clinic in the UK that was shut down because of doing very similar things to what you’re describing.

Ms. Littlejohn:

That’s exactly right. Keira Bell was an incredibly brave detransitioned woman who took it upon herself to sue Tavistock. What they did that the U.S. had not done, until Florida just started to take these steps, was to do a proper evaluation of the medical evidence and research being used to justify these treatments. People that were raising the alarm bells here in the U.S. like Dr. Michael Laidlaw, Dr. William Malone, even Dr. Paul McHugh who shut down the first transgender clinic at Johns Hopkins, were all silenced, called transphobic, and told to go away.

SEGM tried to have just a table of information. SEGM is the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine who believe that watchful waiting is the path, and a treatment option. They were told by American Academy of Pediatrics that they were not allowed to have a table. When you are not even allowing this conversation and this debate to happen for something as significant as sterilizing children, chemically castrating them and taking away their future sexual function, that is no longer medicine, that is ideology.

Mr. Jekielek:

There is this other element you mentioned earlier in our discussion that it was statistically impossible to have this cluster of gender dysphoric girls in your school, extremely unlikely. There is this element of social contagion that’s been discussed, which I know you’ve been thinking about a lot.

Ms. Littlejohn:

Absolutely. What you have happening is the normalization of transgender identities, and again, I firmly believe that these people struggling deserve compassion. They should never be discriminated against for any reason. Nobody should. But when you normalize a mental health issue, then you introduce ideology into the school system. It’s really been infiltrating our culture now for a very long time. The year 2015 was really a tipping point where the activism that had been focused on getting gay marriage legalized switched to transgender activism.

What you started to see in the school systems are activist groups implementing guides into public schools, and private schools in some circumstances all over our country, under the guise of how to best supporting your LGBTQ youth. They would throw around the suicide statistics, they would talk about the homeless population, and how these children are at risk. They would put these guides into place in the schools. They called them guides in the state of Florida for a very specific reason.

If it’s a policy, it has to go through the school board. When it goes through the school board, it goes through the light of day where parents then are made aware and can comment and give their input into that policy. If it’s a guide, it doesn’t have to go through the school board, but you can still treat it as policy. You can still train all of the teachers, the staff, and everybody from the guidance counselor to the cafeteria worker.

What we saw in Florida was these guides were in place that were directing the schools to cut parents out of these gender support plans being done. In fact, it is so bad that the American School Counselor Association, if you look at any of their conferences, they over and over direct them to cut parents out, that parent permission is not necessary, and that it’s very damaging to a child to not affirm, which I would argue the opposite.

Not only that, these activist organizations were instructing school counselors to not put the gender support plans in the student’s cumulative file. Put them somewhere else so that if a parent asked for the child’s records, like through FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), that gender support plan would not be in that child’s file, so the parent would still be in the dark.

Mr. Jekielek:

As you’re discussing this, it just strikes me that there are situations where children need to be removed from parents or parents might not be notified initially when children are moved away. And that’s in a situation where there is abuse, right?

Ms. Littlejohn:


Mr. Jekielek:

Is this that parents who disagree and have a different perspective or are looking at other information are basically being treated as abusers?

Ms. Littlejohn:

They’re being treated that way, aren’t they? Because if you are stating in these guides or as your policy that outing a child to their parents may lead to abuse, you can’t assume that before you have that evidence.

All teachers and even myself as a counselor in the state of Florida and in most states are mandatory reporters. If you have any suspicion that there is abuse or neglect happening with a child, you are mandated to report that to DCF, Department of Children and Families, or you will lose your license. This is no different. We already had that law in place. Why did they still feel the need to cut parents out?

Going back to the social transition, this is so critically important, because even though we now have further protections in the state of Florida, there are many states that don’t. Look at Virginia. Look at what is happening in Virginia. Thank God we have a surgeon general here in Florida who understands this issue, and has looked at the evidence and looked at the research.

He came out last March or April of 2022 and said to not socially transition these children, and to not medically transition these children, because the majority of them will desist. And when you socially transition a child, you make it then statistically less likely that they will desist. Isn’t that what we would want? It’s what we wanted 20 years ago when I was doing my clinical work. You wanted that child to reintegrate with their body as they are.

Let’s take eating disorders for instance. We don’t affirm an anorexic in her distorted view of her body. Even if she says, “If you don’t let me take diet pills, I’m going to kill myself.” We don’t say, “Okay, you’re right. Anything to prevent suicide, here you go.” That would be completely unethical. It is impossible for a clinician to affirm everything a client says, otherwise why would you even need a therapist at that point? To talk about exploratory therapy as something negative in this one area of gender dysphoria is not only wrong, it’s unethical.

One of the biggest issues is how these policies are developed, and we’re starting to see some dissension within the LGBT community about this. The LGB is vastly different than the T. When you group sexual orientation and gender identity together, it’s not the right thing to do. They’re very different. Sexual orientation does not involve making medical changes to your body, and gender identity does. And so, when you’re combining these issues together under one policy, it doesn’t make sense, because they are nowhere near the same.

Mr. Jekielek:

Another thing that strikes me is this use of guidelines as policy. It’s not just in this area that I’ve seen that play out, but in fact in multiple areas. I’m just curious if you’ve thought about that.

Ms. Littlejohn:

As we continue to go deeper and deeper into this issue, I just became more and more horrified not only with what the schools were doing, but also the normalization through movies, through anime, comics, and children’s programming. You start to see this gender ideology being injected into all aspects of our culture, including our government. What we are doing and seeing is that schools really have become ground zero for this gender ideology.

It’s really important for people to understand that when we think of a transgender identity, people often assume it means someone who is expressing distress over their gender that doesn’t align with their biological sex and they want to present as the opposite sex. That is no longer what this ideology states.

Now, children and teens are being taught that you can be a boy, you can be a girl, you can be neither, or you can be both. They are being taught that gender identity is completely separate from biological sex and that sex is a spectrum. That is a lie. You are born male or female with the rare exception of intersex or disorders of sexual development.

Lie number two; children are being told that you can be born in the wrong body. You can be born a girl, but have a boy brain or vice versa. And this type of education is being interjected into sex-ed curriculum in many states. In some states like New Jersey, it is embedded into every subject from K through 12. Children are very impressionable. Mary Hasson has brilliantly stated that children look to the adults in their life to make sense of their world. It is not hard to get a child to believe a lie, because they trust the adults in their life to tell them the truth. And we are not telling these children the truth.

If you Google gender identities and how many there are, we’re now up to 73. Each one of these identities comes with its own colors, and its own flags. That is very enticing to young children who are looking for an identity, and looking for a place to belong and fit in. Initially, they can find that within these GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliance) clubs in middle school and high school campuses. But the number one rule of this group is that you can’t ask questions and you cannot have a differing opinion about any of it, otherwise you are immediately ostracized and kicked out of the group.

Mr. Jekielek:

You know a lot about this whole realm. I want you to tell me a little bit about your process, because at the beginning you said, “We were very confused. We trusted that the school had my daughter’s best interest in mind.” Please tell me about how that process happened.

Ms. Littlejohn:

It was hard. As a mental health therapist, initially I experienced my own cognitive dissonance because I was trained to affirm, and I didn’t have any clients that were having confusion over their sex. I didn’t have much experience with that. I had clients that identified as gay and bisexual, but that wasn’t the reason why they were in therapy, so it wasn’t relevant. It took me some time to figure out what was happening.

Luckily, Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage, had come out based on Dr. Lisa Littman’s research. These are not Right-wing conservative people that were studying this and writing this, by the way. Dr. Littman describes herself as a very liberal Democrat who happened to be curious about what she was seeing, which was clusters of girls becoming confused over their sex and coming out as transgender in friend groups. She thought, “That’s interesting.”

That’s what really stood out to me the most when I started to really look deeper into this, was the lack of curiosity. Why was no one asking questions? Where was the curiosity from legacy media as to why we were seeing an increase? I don’t even mean a sign and a value as to whether it’s good or bad, but just why is it happening? Is this a good thing that we’re seeing young girls being confused over their sex at a rapid pace and getting medicalized and getting double mastectomies?

Walt Heyer said it best when he said, “When you inject gender ideology into the schools and you destabilize these children’s identity and you confuse them over something as simple as biological sex, we are now manufacturing children who think they are transgender.” They are creating confusion in children where no previous confusion existed. That is wrong and that is evil. And that word, transgender, no longer has a coherent meaning. It means whatever that person wants it to mean. That is not scientific. But yet we are making very serious medical changes to children’s and teen’s bodies based on a non-scientific feeling.

Mr. Jekielek:

You’re in the Leon County School system. When did you first come across this LCS, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender, nonconforming and questioning support guide?

Ms. Littlejohn:

When we continued to ask for legal justification that was allowing Leon County School, the school where she attended to meet not just with my child but any child, finally we were showed this guide. Now this guide has been rescinded, and they have revised and created a new guide. But this was the guide that was in place when they met with my daughter.

It very clearly states in this guide in one of the Q & As, it says, “A student exhibits LGBTQ behavior or identity. Should parents be notified? No. Outing a student, especially to parents can be very dangerous to the student’s health and wellbeing. Outing students to their parents can literally make them homeless.”

Mr. Jekielek:


Ms. Littlejohn:

So, it’s very clear. Even though this guide has been rescinded, this same narrative, these same policies and guides are being used all over our country in schools around this nation.

Mr. Jekielek:

Two things strike me here. The first one is that it’s not just the parents that are being made fearful. “What if I do the wrong thing? What if I cause my child to commit suicide?” It seems like it’s the counselors or even therapists that are being made fearful. It was the most dangerous thing through these guidelines. The second thing is just that perhaps it was rescinded in part due to your work.

Ms. Littlejohn:

I’m grateful that it was rescinded, but I am not confident that children are still not being socially transitioned in the state of Florida, even with these new protections in place. Because there are activists, school counselors and some teachers that firmly believe that not affirming a child is extremely harmful.

In some cases I believe that parents are not being told about watchful waiting, which is the treatment approach that we took with my child, where you give your child the space to dress how he or she wishes, wear their hair how he or she wishes, but anything that’s going to harm them or cause irreversible changes to their bodies, it’s a no.

You set these healthy boundaries. You give the child counseling when appropriate to work on other root causes or comorbid issues. You give that child time to mature and resolve the other issues. One thing that’s really important about that is this Dutch protocol that Dr. Spack brought over to Boston Children’s Hospital to start the use of puberty blockers here in the U.S. The Dutch were very clear and they had very, very specific strict criteria for utilizing the puberty blockers in this manner.

One of the criteria was the child could not have co-occurring mental health issues. That should blow everybody’s mind because the majority of the detransitioners and the kids that are being seen at these clinics and being fast tracked on this path to lifelong medicalization and sterilization have co-occurring mental health issues, some significant. And you’ve got places like Planned Parenthood and apps like Plume where you can go into Planned Parenthood and get testosterone on your first visit. They treat it as if it’s birth control.

They’re saying it’s discriminatory to not give equal easy access to cross-sex hormones the same way you would birth control. Plume is an app where you can log on, pay $100 a month, have a telehealth visit with someone and they ship the hormones directly to your door with the video showing you how to inject the hormones. There is no safeguarding anymore. This is the wild west of gender medicine.

Mr. Jekielek:

Yes, I guess it comes back to ideology trumping reality.

Ms. Littlejohn:

Yes, it does. All parents should be very concerned about this because even if you have your child in what you think is a safe school, like let’s say it’s a private Christian school, or you’re homeschooling, your child will be exposed to this ideology at some point. If parents keep their children in public school, you’ve got to ask questions. You’ve got to know what protocols are in place. Ask and get it in writing.

Ask your school guidance counselor, ask the principal, “What is your policy? What does your guidance tell you as a school? If my child becomes confused about their sex and they want to change their name and pronouns and use the opposite sex facilities, are you going to notify me as a parent and get it in writing?”

If your child becomes confused over their sex, make it crystal clear that you do not want the school affirming your child, that you will handle it as a family, that you think affirming a child and a false identity is harmful and that you only consent to giving that school permission to using your child’s birth name and pronouns.

The third thing that parents absolutely have to be doing, especially parents with young children, you need to be inoculating your children from this. You need to be teaching them the truth that there are two sexes, male and female. And no matter what you do, you can’t change it. That way, when they hear this noise, when they hear the lies, they will recognize them for what they are, lies. This is a mental health issue and it needs to be dealt with psychotherapy first. That is what all the other European countries are doing where this issue is not politicized like it is here.

I can tell you very clearly that the parents I speak with, the families that are falling prey, it is not only tearing them apart, these children are not thriving. Their mental health is spiraling, and many of them are in and out of psychiatric facilities. And this is even when the parents are affirming. Think about that. If affirming is the best treatment, then why are we still seeing these same children in and out of psychiatric facilities?

We still see, and this is a statistic that nobody talks about. Some of the best research that we have tells us that post-transition, people that have already gone through the medical transitions, the suicide rate is 19 times that of the normal population. And this comes out of Sweden where they are very compassionate and accepting of LGBTQ people. If this is the end-all, be-all solution, and this is the only thing that we should be doing, why are we still seeing the suicide rate skyrocket post-transition? Why are we not able to have this debate in the United States?

The medical associations and profession have lost their way on this issue and it is past time for us to be able to have this debate out in the open. And these doctors who are doing these procedures, cutting the breasts off of 13, 14, and 15-year-old girls, they need to justify these radical interventions they are giving these children. WPATH, is the main organization that came out with these “standards of care.” WPATH, for your audience, is World Professional Association of Transgender Health.

This is where this affirmation-only protocol came from. It was derived from these standards of care. But then when you look at what WPATH says, they say, first of all, “There is no medical consensus on the best way to treat children with gender dysphoria.” Then, they also say, “These aren’t really standards of care. These are guidelines.” But then you have all the major medical associations adopting these guidelines as if they are actually standards of care.

Mr. Jekielek:

I understand there’s some people from WPATH that also dissent from these guidelines and have been vocal recently.

Ms. Littlejohn:

Yes, there have been several that have made some statements that really shocked even people within WPATH. Dr. Edwards-Leeper, Dr. Erica Anderson, and even Marci Bowers who was one of Jazz Jenning’s surgeons. They have all expressed concern over the amount of teens that they are seeing with no prior history of confusion coming into the clinic wanting hormones and surgical procedures. Even they are stating, “Maybe we need to pause and see what is going on and take a more comprehensive approach to assessment.”

Mr. Jekielek:

For parents that might be watching this and wondering, “What’s going on in my school,” are there any red flags you can point out?

Ms. Littlejohn:

Yes. Many of these children spend a great deal of time alone on their phones, and on the internet. There are a number of trans-influencers on YouTube and TikTok. Abigail Shrier in her book Irreversible Damage dedicated an entire chapter to the trans-influencers, because they’re so powerful, they’re so intriguing, and they’re very convincing. And so, it’s really important that parents monitor what their kids are seeing and consuming.

I am not a proponent of children under the age of 16 having a smartphone. And even then, parents, your number one job is to protect your child. You need to know what your children are being exposed to. A kid with smartphone is a recipe for disaster. Obviously I’m very passionate about this issue. We’re also seeing other significant mental health epidemics coming from too much phone use, too much time on TikTok, and too much time on other social media platforms where eating disorders are perpetuated on Pinterest boards.

Self harm is big, cutting. There are other mental health issues. There was an epidemic recently of children thinking they have Tourettes after watching hours and hours of YouTubers that also think that they have Tourettes. We’re seeing other types of social contagions occurring aside from this one. Parents absolutely need to know not just what the policies are at school, but what their children are being exposed to. And they need to be present in their children’s lives, their day-to-day lives.

For the parents who have been able to get their children to desist, in some ways, it took very radical steps. This is a radical ideology that grabs hold of these girls and boys. We’re seeing boys as well, I don’t want to just say it’s an issue with vulnerable girls. But the bottom line is these children were already vulnerable in some way. They were already feeling like they didn’t belong, they didn’t fit in, and this is the answer.

If it hadn’t been this that they fell into, it may have been something else that they used as an escape. But many of these girls in particular, they’re uncomfortable with their developing body. They have an intense fear of being sexualized, which we all know is an issue in our society.  Unfortunately, many of them have had negative sexual experiences, whether it’s assault, incest, trauma, or even just unwanted advances that made them feel uncomfortable in their bodies.

Some of the warning signs that you would see would be a drastic change in mood, being withdrawn, and wanting to change and alter their appearance overnight. The red flags, are they coming home with propaganda, the pronoun pens and flags? What clubs are they in at school? Some of these clubs, these GSA clubs that are really indoctrination machines for this kind of ideology are being held at lunchtime. So, for the parents, you don’t need to drop them off early or know that they’re staying after school. It’s being done within the school day, so parents are unaware that their children are even involved in these clubs.

Parents, especially of young children, need to be having these conversations. Even if you have an older teenager, ask them, “What are you learning about gender at school? What are some of your ideas of gender?” And that’s going to tell you a lot as to how exposed they have been to this ideology.

Ask them, “I’ve been hearing the word non-binary, what is that? Let’s explore that together because I want to make sure you’re getting accurate information.” It is getting a sense of what their kids have already been exposed to, what they believe, and then making sure that they have actual accurate information based on science and not ideology.

The other thing that I tell parents, especially parents who find themselves in our position where their child does become confused over their sex, you have to parent this issue like any other issue. When this happens, a lot of parents see such a radical change in their child seemingly overnight. It escalates very quickly from just wanting some different clothes, to “I want to change my name and pronouns” to, “I want a binder” to, I need hormones and puberty blockers,” or “I can’t be my authentic self.”

But again, these children don’t have the cognitive maturity to understand what they are asking for. They just don’t. This is why we have laws in place to protect minors. They can’t drink, they can’t vote, they can’t get tattoos. There’s a whole plethora of things that minors cannot do, because we know that they’re not capable of fully understanding the consequences, especially the long term consequences.

Many of these kids, they don’t have the ability to know how they’re going to feel about not having breasts in 10 years, 20 years. They need their parents to set these healthy boundaries to teach them, “What are the consequences of this? Let’s have a conversation. You’re stating that you want this.”

But you know, a lot of these kids, they’ll ask for puberty blockers like it’s a nose ring. They don’t understand the scope or the scale of what they’re asking, of what that those puberty blocking drugs would do to their body. They’re just in emotional pain and they want that pain to stop and they’re being told, “This is the answer.” So, you must affirm their pain, but not this false identity.

I just tell parents, “Don’t be afraid to parent this. You can’t freeze. They need you. Your child needs you to help them through this confusion.” Because again, to believe that a child can change their sex, it’s a lie. This entire ideology is built on quicksand and it is sinking fast. You cannot claim that gender identity is innate and that you’re born this way, but then also claim that it’s fluid and it changes.

If it is fluid and changes, then why are we making irreversible changes to children’s bodies when we know their brains are not fully developed. We know that feelings are not facts, and we know that adolescents are notorious for rapidly changing moods, feelings, thoughts, wishes, and behaviors. None of this makes sense with any kind of scrutiny.

Mr. Jekielek:

When you launched this lawsuit, what was the reaction of the world?

Ms. Littlejohn:

I really didn’t know what to expect. There’s so much fear around this subject, because it is so controversial, and because it is sensitive. Once we started to really shed a light on what was truly happening, people were grateful. I have received a handful of messages that were negative. But for every one of those messages, I have received 20 messages of thanks and gratitude.

Mr. Jekielek:

It’s amazing to hear that you’ve gotten so much positive feedback, because very often you only hear about these attempts at so-called cancellation or attacks on your person. This seems like one of the ways in which people are prevented or maybe are afraid to speak up, because they’re worried that there will be this kind of reaction.

Ms. Littlejohn:

I had so many people tell me that exact thing. If you’re going to go forward, you need to use a pseudonym. You can’t use your real name, you need a VPN, you need all these things to protect yourself. At the end of the day, I was not going to be intimidated. In the long term, mental and physical health of children is too important. If children are not worth fighting for, what is?

I would not have been able to sleep at night or look myself in the mirror if I did not fight this with my mental health background, knowing how unethical and harmful this truly is. Silence was not an option. What’s happening now is that courage begets courage. Parents are standing up, they’re realizing, “Call me whatever name you want, we’re going to have this debate. It’s time.” How many kids’ lives are going to be ruined because they were not given all of the information?

And that’s my biggest concern, not only the amount of children that are going to come to regret these decisions, but would those parents have made a different choice if they were told “I know this seems scary and I know that suicide is absolutely a risk factor, but if you love and support your child and we try to get to the underlying root of this gender distress and confusion, statistically your child will probably outgrow this. They will probably resolve it and it’s going to be okay.”

Mr. Jekielek:

I’m going to give you a couple of scenarios. In America today there are many parents that are experiencing what you experienced where their kid comes to them and says, “I’m of a different gender than my sex.” So as a parent, what is the reaction? What is your advice about a reaction?

Ms. Littlejohn:

I would say research. Do not freak out on your child. Stay calm. Ask questions. Be curious. Work on your relationship with your child, because one of the biggest indicators of children desisting is having a strong parent-child relationship. The child is being told by friends and influencers that if your parents don’t immediately affirm you, they don’t love you, they don’t accept you and your real family, your glitter family waits.

They’re not only a promised a new identity to fix all of their pain and distress, they’re promised a new family. And there are trans-influencers out there, some that are super explicit in what they say like a Jeffrey Marsh. And then, there are some that are more subdued that kind of look like you and me that aren’t as flamboyant. They tell your children things like, “I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard to know that your parents don’t love and accept you, but I love you. I accept you and your glitter family awaits. You can DM me anytime and I’ll be there for you.”

It’s really nefarious what’s happening in terms of trying to put that wedge further and further between a child and a parent. And these are parents that love their children more than anything. What to me is very scary right now, and what we’re seeing is in some states is to not affirm a child is seen as abuse. Take the state of Virginia for instance. There is a lawmaker there that wanted to put forward a bill that would criminalize parents who did not affirm. She would criminalize parents like me and take my child from me for not affirming to my daughter that she can and should become my son. It’s not possible. It’s all a lie.

That is what all the detransitioners are saying. “I did all these things to my body and I looked in the mirror and I knew it was a lie,” because a lot of their time and anxiety is spent trying to pass. You’ll hear that phrase over and over. “I was afraid I wouldn’t pass.” What they’re referring to is, “I wouldn’t pass as the opposite sex,” because biology doesn’t lie. You can grow facial hair, you can cut your hair, you can change your clothes, but your body type and your biology doesn’t change.

These young individuals become obsessed in trying to pass as this lie. Many times it becomes too much or they start experiencing severe negative consequences of the cross-sex hormones like testosterone. Female bodies are not meant to have testosterone in their systems. And so, they detransition for a number of reasons. It’s different for every individual.

I would say to parents that you have to do research. You have to educate yourself. There are many parent organizations out there now that are willing to help you, to help you truly understand all the treatment options. Genspect is a nonpartisan organization that does just that. But there are lot of really great places that have popped up in the last five to seven years since this has become so prevalent, where parents can get accurate information and understand all of their treatment options.

When a child falls into this confusion and a parent seeks help, that can be very tricky because if the therapist and the doctors who we are looking to for advice are telling the parents sometimes in front of the child, “If you don’t affirm your child and this transgender identity, they are going to commit suicide.” Not, “They may,” not “It’s a risk factor.” They will say this in front of a vulnerable child.

You are introducing this idea that, “Oh my gosh, if my parents don’t affirm me, I’m going to kill myself. This is a guaranteed outcome.” What parent then is going to say to the doctor in front of their child, “I think, we’ll wait”? What message does that send to the child? What options does that really leave them?

I don’t blame the parents. I blame the doctors. I blame the doctors that pretend that this isn’t happening and pretend that they don’t have a duty to stand up. Pediatricians know this is happening, but think, “Well, I’m not referring them or I’m not prescribing puberty blockers, so I’m not complicit in this.” They absolutely are complicit. Any doctor who knows this is happening and is not writing the American Academy Pediatrics or their professional association and governing medical board is complicit in what is happening to these children.

Mr. Jekielek:

The other scenario, and this probably is also quite common. You’re a family member or you’re a close friend of parents that are facing this situation and you’re just watching this a little bit from the outside, but you’re concerned. How can you react in this sort of situation?

Ms. Littlejohn:

I would encourage the person to support their friends and to ask questions. There never should be any harm or threat of asking questions in terms of, “What do you think about this? What kind of research have you done? Have you heard about what the UK, Sweden and Finland are doing or what they’re doing down in Florida? Ask them, “Have you heard of the detransitioners speaking out?”

It is sensitive because clearly I’m a parental rights advocate. Ultimately, it really is up to the parents. But at the same time, I have great concerns that parents are not being given all of the information. As a friend or a bystander, just sharing information in a compassionate, loving way, should never be a threat of harm.

Mr. Jekielek:

I know this is a bit of a sensitive question, but how is your daughter and how’s the family doing now?

Ms. Littlejohn:

Thank you for asking. I am fiercely protective over my daughter’s privacy now. No child should ever be put in the situation that she was put in by the school. And after several years, now she is on a path to self-love. But that is all I will say. This is her story to tell one day if she ever chooses to do so. But it is not an easy road and we are still dealing with the aftermath and the effects of everything that happened with the school.

Mr. Jekielek:

In just a few words, what is the core of your message to parents in America right now?

Ms. Littlejohn:

Parents need to stand up. They need to fight for their parental rights. They need to know what’s happening in their child’s school, and we need to eradicate gender ideology out of the school system. This is a non-scientific idea that has taken root in our society, but especially in our schools, and we need to get it out of there.

Mr. Jekielek:

January Littlejohn, it’s such a pleasure to have you on the show.

Ms. Littlejohn:

Thank you so much for having me.

Mr. Jekielek:

Thank you all for joining January Littlejohn and me on this episode of American Thought Leaders. I’m your host, Jan Jekielek.

Jan Jekielek - Epoch Times

Jan Jekielek with Epoch Times interviews January Littlejohn on the Gender Contagion that is Gripping Our Teans.

Click here to read the entire article at The Epoch Times.

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