Two California moms whose daughters suffer from gender dysphoria say they’re still shocked and outraged that Los Angeles-area billboard advertising companies took down their sign last year promoting a book that explores why so many teens think they’re transgender.
Both moms, who use pseudonyms to protect the identities of their daughters and themselves, told The Epoch Times that many parents of teens who say they’re transgender feel voiceless in today’s climate of censorship and cancel culture.
The parents have formed a coalition to expose “transgender affirming” indoctrination happening in schools and therapists’ offices in California and across the nation, they said.
One mom, who goes by Gigi LaRue, said the parents pooled funds to pay $11,000 for a billboard in West Hollywood in November 2020 to promote Abigail Shrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage, The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”
The sign read: “Your child is learning about gender identity at school. Puberty is not a medical condition. Get the facts. Read this book,” and displayed an image of the “Irreversible Damage” book cover.
The sign stayed up for the entire month, but when the group booked a second billboard in December, it was taken down within a few days. The second sign read: “Why do so many of our youth think they are transgender? Know the facts before making a life changing choice. Read this book.”
The parents sought donations for the $7,000 billboard online, but Go Fund Me accused them of violating its terms of service agreement and returned the funds to their contributors. So, they turned to another fund-raising platform, Go Get Funding, to raise the funds.
Then, they faced yet another hurdle: The advertising company, OUTFRONT Media Inc., took the sign down only a few days after it went up, claiming it had received too many community complaints, LaRue said.
Because the same billboard was also cancelled in Dallas and Philadelphia before it was displayed, LaRue questions how it could have received many community-based complaints. She suspects the complaints weren’t so much from local residents as they were from transgender activist groups and their supporters in academia and the medical community.
Soon after the sign came down, legal departments of advertising companies blacklisted LaRue’s group because they deemed the ads too “offensive,” she said.
“It became known that nobody would work with us,” LaRue said.
LaRue still wonders how asking questions about trends in transgenderism and promoting a book about gender confused teens could be “offensive” enough to trump the parents’ rights to free speech.
The parents took the same ad to Pop Outdoor Media, which displayed the sign for about two weeks before pulling it down. LaRue said the owner told her that he and the landowner on whose property the sign was located had been swamped with phone calls and emails from people complaining about the sign.
Neither advertising company has responded to Epoch Times inquiries.
Running low on options, the parents rented a Rolling Adz truck display in Los Angeles to display the banner, “Who is Keira Bell?” after a British court ruled Dec. 1, 2020 in favor of Bell, a 24-year-old woman who changed her mind and “detransitioned” after gender reassignment surgery.
Bell sued Britain’s National Health Service’s clinic for transgender youth, which in three appointments led her into a “devastating experiment” using puberty blockers at 16, and later “top” surgery to remove her breasts. Bell argued the clinic “should have challenged me more,” and her legal team questioned why children were allowed to make such decisions.
The court ruled that it’s unlikely that children under 16 can give informed consent for puberty-blocking drugs, with Bell celebrating the ruling. In the U.S., the story barely made headlines. It was overshadowed by the news of the Canadian actor formerly known as Ellen Page coming out as “Elliot” on the same day, LaRue said.
“We’re pretty sure that was orchestrated,” she claimed of the timing.
LaRue said her 16-year-old daughter began questioning her gender identity about three years ago after being indoctrinated in school and currently suffers from Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD).
When teens begin exploring gender online, one of the first suggestions they usually run into is that maybe they were born in the wrong body. “People genuinely believe that that’s possible,” LaRue said.
But, even if being “born in the wrong body” is meant in a metaphorical sense, LaRue believes the goal should be self-acceptance, not encouraging teenage girls to change everything about themselves—including removing their breasts—in order to be authentic.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
In some ways, LaRue said she has it easier than other parents in her support group.
“She’s not running away and trying to kill herself,” LaRue said of her daughter. “It’s really hard on some of these parents. They’ve had to institutionalize their kids. They’ve lost custody. I’ve met some people whose lives have just been completely ruined by this.”
Most parents are unaware children are being indoctrinated in school and on social media platforms, and that record numbers of youth are suffering from gender dysphoria, LaRue said.
The phenomenon is happening in the United States, United Kingdom and other developed countries, she said.
In the past, LaRue has been a supporter of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, but not anymore.
“I’m a liberal Democrat. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool liberal feminist,” LaRue said. “But, in the last few years, that has changed because I don’t understand what happened to my party and to the institutions I used to trust. It’s the most bizarre thing ever. It’s like being on another planet.”
LaRue said she has been “100 percent red-pilled.”
“Once you know, you can’t unknow,” she said. “I’ve met hundreds of other parents—some in person, some online—who are all going through the same thing and once you see the pattern you realize that it’s happening. The medical community at large is ignoring it and the mainstream media is ignoring it.”
Another mom, who goes by Charlotte Jacobs, said her daughter also came out as gender-questioning, then pansexual and now transgender after she was indoctrinated in school.
Jacobs said many parents of gender confused children are afraid to speak out openly for fear of being called transphobic, cancelled, or fired from their jobs.
“I was completely naive about that. Why wouldn’t people want to talk about the 5,000-percent uptick in kids that say they’re transgender? It still blows my mind that I even have to be anonymous,” Jacobs said, citing statistics from TransgenderTrend.com.
Referrals to the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in England have surged in the United Kingdom since 2015.
The website states: “The total number of referrals for 2018/19 in England alone is 624 boys and 1,740 girls. In less than a decade, there has been a 1,460-percent increase in referrals of boys and a staggering 5,337-percent increase in girls.”
“Abigail Shrier’s book was needed for years,” Jacobs said “We parents all breathed a sigh of relief, that we weren’t crazy with what we were seeing with our kids. It’s extremely disturbing that the billboards were taken down.”
Shrier, an independent journalist, supports the right of adults to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Her book explores why there has been such a sudden and dramatic increase of teenage girls identifying as transgender. She is concerned that these teens might regret the irreversible changes to their bodies from gender reassignment surgeries later in life. The book also explores why so many doctors and therapists are helping teens become transgender.
But, in mid-November last years, transgender activists attacked the book, calling it transphobic.
Target immediately pulled the book from its shelves after complaints from trans activists surfaced on Twitter.
Chase Strangio, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) deputy director for transgender justice, tweeted on Nov. 13, 2020: “Abigail Shrier’s book is a dangerous polemic with a goal of making people not trans. I think of all the times & ways I was told my transness wasn’t real & the daily toll that it still takes. We have to fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life again.”
At the time, Shrier called out Target being “spineless” and caving to the demands of woke activists.
Target later walked back its decision after facing a strong backlash from critics over censorship.
Amazon also reversed its decision to ban Shrier’s publisher from advertising “Irreversible Damage,” which went on to become a bestseller.
Recently, LaRue and other parents led a counter-protest against trans activists who sought to cancel standup comedian Dave Chapelle’s “The Closer” on Netflix.
Jacobs said the parents’ network is currently planning more protests and advertising campaigns to raise awareness for their cause.