Activists in Maryland Decry Trans Craze Targeting Teens

Activists in Maryland Decry Trans Craze Targeting Teens
Protesters opposing medical transgender procedures for youth gathered at the American Academy of Pediatrics convention in Anaheim, Calif., on Oct. 7, 2022. (Courtesy of TreVoices.Org/Scott Newgent)
Douglas Burton

In a Bel Air middle school near Baltimore, a 14-year-old boy is using the girls locker room to strip down for gym class. At the magnet school in Greenbelt, the transgender club has staged “walkouts” to protest in solidarity the mistreatment of gays and lesbians in other parts of the country. In Damascus, in semi-rural Montgomery County, a devout Roman Catholic mom is coping with the shock of her 18-year-old son’s decision last year to transition to a woman—even though he, like all of her nine children, was schooled at home.

What many consider horror stories are motivating grass-roots activists across Maryland to campaign for reform of state-mandated “gender-affirming” policies and for new school boards that will focus on core subjects such as reading, science, and math. The transgender statistics to them are alarming.

Montgomery County Schools, the largest and wealthiest system in Maryland, reported a near 600 percent increase in self-identified transgender teens over the last three years, according to a Twitter post from Elicia-Eberhart Bliss, an assistant principal at Quince Orchard High School. Bliss posted the charts on Oct. 11, the day designated as “National Coming Out Day" for LGBT persons nationwide. The School System has not published an official survey of trans-identifying students, which may be much higher than the figure in the Tweet. With an estimated 7,000 Maryland teens identifying as gender non-conforming, observers are seeing a rapid rise in the number of students concluding that they are trapped in a body of the opposite sex.
Mixed gender locker rooms at an unnamed middle school caused “mental and emotional anguish” to a student who complained to Republican State Sen. Bob Cassilly, who has challenged the policy in a letter to Harford County School Board leaders.

"I would like to know by what right the school chooses to override students' natural, healthy, and wholesome desire for physical privacy. By what right does the school intrude upon students' mental, emotional, and spiritual development," Cassilly wrote to Harford School Board president Rachel Gauthier in a letter published by local media.

“The mental trauma the school is inflicting" on [redacted] “is outrageous," Cassilly wrote, asking for a meeting with the full Board of Education.

Gauthier pushed back with her own letter stating that Harford County is simply following Maryland State Department of Education guidance, titled “Providing Safe Spaces for Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Youth: Guidelines for Gender Identity Nondiscrimination.”

“There is a slew of written school policies on the HCPS (Harford County Public Schools) website, but there is no written policy regarding gender fluid bathrooms or locker rooms. The BOE cites guidance from MSDE and federal law. Not sure what federal law she is referring to, perhaps Biden’s executive order to change Title IX to include “gender identity,” Susan Scott, Harford County Chapter Chair of Moms for Liberty, wrote to The Epoch Times.

"Harford County Public Schools has clearly signaled that their slavish adherence to gender ideology trumps any concern they have for our girls' safety.

“HCPS has admitted to permitting boys to enter girls' locker rooms or restrooms at will,” she went on to say. “This same extremely dangerous policy led to girls being raped in Loudoun County, Virginia. The Superintendent and Board of Education are far outside of the mainstream of community thought on this issue and will have to answer for this,” Scott said in a text.

The stories piling up amount to what some call a “transgender craze” in American public schools.

Two mothers told cautionary tales at a gathering of reformers on Oct. 19 in Rockville, at a meeting of a club calling itself United Against Racism in Education.

Kent County entrepreneur Lisa Ruth blames TikTok for seducing her daughter during a period of emotional crisis.

“Although my daughter won’t admit it, she started to identify as masculine as a result of a sexual assault when she was 15. The reason: when young girls get sexually assaulted they frequently blame themselves, falling after that into depression." Ruth said. "During the lockdown, my daughter got drawn into a TikTok group that promoted transgenderism. A year later, she told me she likes girls; a few months later, she said she wanted to become a boy.

"My husband and I moved our residence to Kent County so that we could get a better environment. I told the mental health professional at Kent County High School I didn’t want the school staff to counsel my daughter, because I knew she was struggling with gender identity.

"Yet, the first thing the teachers asked my daughter was 'What are your preferred pronouns’ I don’t’ know why we are asking our children these questions,” Ruth said.

She went on to say, “the irony is that since my daughter announced that she is transgender, she has gotten applause from all her friends. For the first time in her life, she’s a popular person.”

Yet some teens fall into the transgender craze despite their parents’ efforts to shield them from public schools.

Nicole Eckenrode and her husband, Eric, devout Catholics, decided to homeschool their nine children in northern Montgomery County.

“My son had a high IQ but was slow to socialize,” Eckenrode told The Epoch Times. “He joined at age 15 a Catholic youth group and got a crush on a girl who turned out to be lesbian. She introduced him to a chat group on Tumblr that became his ‘glitter family’ which means 'the family that really loves you.’ In January 2020 he came out as 'asexual panromantic.'"

“My son discovered the world of transgenderism in an online community where he spent all of his time. By Halloween of that year, he wanted to dress up as a girl.”

“He has moved out of the house and lives now on the West Coast. My son isn't thriving where he is,” Eckenrode said, adding that she will not encourage him to think he is on the right path. “So many Christians go wrong in apologizing for the truth. But I have told all of my kids that 'I will never lie to you.’”

Douglas Burton is a former U.S. State Department official who was stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq. He writes news and commentary from Washington, D.C.