"The book 'I Am Jazz,' by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, contains a number of factual inaccuracies and very significant omissions. I am very concerned that children or even adults who read these books will be given false ideas about transgenderism. This will lead to the harm of children, as has already happened at Rocklin Academy." -Michael K. Laidlaw
(Rocklin, CA)—[Lifesitenews.com] Recently, a group of parents asked me to review the book "I Am Jazz" to determine whether, from a medical point of view, it is suitable for children to read. They also asked this for the benefit of their school district, given that the topic of childhood gender dysphoria would be discussed at their upcoming school board meeting. (Photo: Jazz Jennings/via LifeSiteNews)
I have read the book "I Am Jazz" and examined the book's relationship to childhood gender dysphoria and its implications for adolescence and adulthood. I am a board-certified physician in Rocklin, California specializing in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. Broadly, endocrinology is the study of hormones and glands and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving these hormones and glands. The following essay is a detailed presentation of my findings regarding this important topic.
Children with gender dysphoria deserve our compassion and deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness, just like all other children. Their unique condition makes integrating in the school a challenge. Particularly when dealing with bathrooms and locker rooms, it would be advantageous for schools to have a comprehensive policy to address children with gender dysphoria.
To some degree, children who share a class with a gender-dysphoric child will need to be educated about what that means and how to address that situation. This should be done by parents and guardians primarily, but ideally in cooperation with teachers and staff.
Unfortunately, "I Am Jazz" actually works against educating children about gender dysphoria. In this essay, I use the book "I Am Jazz" and the TLC show of the same name to help illustrate medical facts about childhood gender dysphoria and adult transgenderism. I believe that if we know the facts about this condition, we will be much more compassionate and understanding toward people with this condition. This will also help in dealing with the parents of children without gender dysphoria who have to explain to their children how to cope with this condition.
The book "I Am Jazz", by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, contains a number of factual inaccuracies and very significant omissions. I am very concerned that children or even adults who read these books will be given false ideas about transgenderism. This will lead to the harm of children, as has already happened at Rocklin Academy.
For context, I would highly recommend watching and listening to the "I Am Jazz" book being read by Jazz Jennings, which is available freely on YouTube. Throughout this essay, for the sake of clarity, I use the pronouns of Jazz's biological sex.
Factual Inaccuracies in "I Am Jazz"
Inaccuracy #1: About a quarter of the way through "I Am Jazz", the author states: "I have a girl brain in a boy body." Jazz later goes to the doctor and relates: "Afterwards, the doctor spoke to my parents and I heard the word 'transgender' for the very first time."
The Facts: The book is written in a way to make you believe that Jazz was diagnosed as transgender. But this is not a diagnosis. The medical diagnosis is gender dysphoria. A biological male feeling and believing himself to be a girl and the distress that accompanies these feelings and beliefs is an example of gender dysphoria (previously known as gender identity disorder). Gender dysphoria is never mentioned in the book.
As a younger child, when Jazz went to see this doctor, he actually had the condition of gender dysphoria. He was not transgender at that point in time. In fact, most children who suffer from gender dysphoria will no longer experience it by the time they become adults. In other words, about 90 percent of biologically male children who believe they are female as young children, when allowed to go through normal puberty and enter adulthood as men, will identify as biological males.
Even the 2017 Endocrine Clinical Practice Guidelines for gender transition state flatly: "With current knowledge, we cannot predict the psychosexual outcome [whether or not a person eventually identifies as transgender] for any specific child."
This is not to say that the dysphoria is not a real condition for Jazz. It certainly has been, and that is very troubling for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the high prevalence of psychiatric conditions that may accompany gender dysphoria, such as depression, which Jazz also suffers from. This is discussed further...
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Michael K. Laidlaw, MD is a board-certified physician in Rocklin, California specializing in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism.