Entertainment, social media normalize transgender content for children

Our society loves to consume entertainment in all its forms. Whether it’s streaming movies and TV shows through apps like Netflix and Hulu, or scrolling through TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter, media is ubiquitous today.

Thanks to smartphones and iPads, it is now easily accessible for children too. There is an increasing presence in the entertainment industry of people and characters referred to as “transgender” in pop culture to appeal to younger audiences and to normalize gender confusion and gender interventional treatments.

One of my favorite singer-songwriters, Taylor Swift, released an incredible album, “Midnights” on October 21st. The music is catchy; the lyrics are amazing. She is known for her glamorous, dramatic music videos. Swift, who has supported Democratic politicians and is a pro-LGBT rights activist, features a transgender model in one of her upcoming music videos, who was spotted by activists when she released it video mashup.

The full video itself hasn’t been released yet, but in the scene, Swift gently rubs Laith Ashley’s bare back in bed. LGBT activists have already praised Swift for featuring a transgender model, particularly as an object of desire. That clip alone has inspired commercials about Ashley’s life and transition. This is a subtle example that most people would not have noticed if Ashley had not already been a well-known model, at least among activists.

The normalization of transgender people in conversation is sometimes not so subtle. One of the most popular apps for teenagers is TikTok. A simple search will reveal hundreds of trans users discussing their lifestyle, gender confusion, treatment, transitions and more. They don’t shy away from it, and articles like this one on Today rave about them under the guise that they inform, teach, and educate.

“Being myself, showing up, taking up space and letting people know we exist will slowly change culture,” a transgender TikTok user was quoted as saying in the article.

YouTube is another popular destination among teens and middle school students. Transgender activists are widespread on YouTube with millions of followers. With almost 20 million subscribers, Shane Dawson is one of the most popular transgender YouTubers. Dawson’s cohort Jeffree Star has nearly 16 million subscribers. Both focus on entertainment, media and makeup. James Charles has a makeup line and is popular with teenage girls who may be just getting into makeup and fashion.

All of these YouTubers are charming and funny, and their videos are exciting and even informative, which is possibly why young girls are drawn into the videos and eventually into the LGBT lifestyle and especially the normalization of the transgender lifestyle.

Online they don’t look frustrated, sad or even gender confused. They look happy, alert and often wealthy. (James Charles is worth $22 million.) But plenty of data and anecdote suggests that many transgender people regret the transition after gender-based intervention and wish they could go back and feel trapped in a body that isn’t their own.

It doesn’t start or end with teenagers. In fact, the quest to normalize the transgender lifestyle begins very early in the entertainment industry. The new series “Muppet Babies” contained an episode, “Gonzo-rella”, in which the male Muppet character goes to a princess ball in a dress because the child didn’t want to go in “boy’s clothes”. When the character’s friends realize who it is, they all discuss how nice it is to let people wear what they want and to be themselves.

The problem with shows like this with such overtly LGBT-friendly characters that are aimed at children is that they normalize the transgender lifestyle for children, and that’s often not age appropriate, especially when the show emphasizes overtly sexual content, which it often does with it goes hand in hand with the lifestyle.

The transgender movement has reached an all-time high in the entertainment industry, an industry that has considerable power to influence children and teenagers.

Fashion trends, movie lines, music, and character impersonations often develop after a successful show, movie, or music video has captured a section of society. This is especially true for young people, who are particularly malleable and prone to entertainment and peer pressure.

Parents and concerned friends and family should keep an eye on what children and young people are consuming in terms of media content, from news to apps to internet usage.

Apps can open a positive window into another world, but they can also show things that are unhealthy for children, and that doesn’t just apply to transgender content but other things as well.

The appeal of transgender content online is that it often features a person who appears to have achieved a happy, cool, and desirable outcome.

Like many other things on the Internet, this is a trick. Every story has (at least) two sides. For every attractive filtered face, there is a normal face with normal flaws.

The same goes for transgender people, who often try to fill their own void by receiving attention, praise, and flattery online. In doing so, they draw young people into a lifestyle that could ultimately be harmful.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here should be construed as representing the views of the Heritage Foundation.


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