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The Impact of Gender Ideology on Children and Society

Part 1 of a 2-Part conversation with Beth Bourne

Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy the video above. If you’d rather just listen to the podcast, click the button below to Apple Podcasts: The Common Bridge. It is also available on all other podcast platforms. We have included the transcript to this program below. We offer this program in it’s entirety to our paid subscribers, and welcome all to subscribe below.

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Richard Helppie  

Hello, welcome to The Common Bridge. I'm your host Rich Helppie. Today we have a very important and very sensitive topic with a woman that's been on the front lines; you might want to caption it as transgender rights, you might want to caption it as transgender ideology and there are other descriptions of course. So we welcome today, from Northern California, Beth Bourne. Beth, welcome to The Common Bridge and thank you so much for taking time to tell us your story and your experience.

Beth Bourne  

Thank you for having me.

Richard Helppie  

Beth, our audience on The Common Bridge - our listeners, our readers, and our viewers - like to know a little bit about our guests so if you don't mind, maybe a little biography; where did you spend your early days and maybe what your career and personal arc has been like and what's brought you to this day today.

Beth Bourne  

Sure. Well, I am in my early 50s, I have two kids. I grew up overseas, my father was with a US Embassy so we did live internationally. I had conservative parents who are down in San Diego, I myself, in college, became a liberal and have been a registered Democrat for 30 years. That's what makes this is an interesting story, I have always been on the progressive left. But when my daughter, back in 2018, began to identify as transgender, it really made me question where are we going with some of these views that are coming - I believe more from the left side - around gender ideology. I work for the university here in my town and I'm surrounded by other liberal parents because I'm in a blue city in a blue state here in Davis, California. That's sort of where I'm at.

Richard Helppie  

When did your daughter first come to you with the notion that she was indeed a boy and not a girl? How old was she?

Beth Bourne  

She would have been 13. Two years earlier she declared that she was bisexual. At the time, I didn't realize that all of these terms in the LGBTQIA plus, these definitions, were being introduced here in the public schools. I think that's maybe an important part of the story; that as young as fifth, sixth grade, kids are being asked in schools to label their sexual preferences and then also their gender identity. So when she made the announcement to me, it was 2018, almost six years ago, and she was 13.

Richard Helppie  

So Beth, if I understand what you're saying, when your daughter was 11 years old, in the public school as part of her curriculum - unbeknownst to you as a parent - she was being asked whether she was a heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or perhaps something else, at 11 years old?

Beth Bourne  

That's correct. I don't think people are aware - and I wasn't, of course, until just the last couple of years - but we have a whole new kind of curriculum that's coming in through the science class starting in fifth and sixth grade as well as the library books - picture books in elementary school - that really give a message to kids that there are so many options that they can choose from. I think they're trying to be open minded and let kids know, maybe, that there are these other identities or other sexualities, but I personally believe it's too young for children to get introduced to these ideas. That leads to some confusion around their teen years, their puberty, adolescent years where they should really be exploring who they are, not setting these labels at this really young age. I think that's where some of the confusion comes, that we're asking children to give labels to themselves at a young age.

Richard Helppie  

I recall at that time of life we had classes on reproduction. The young women went into one room and young guys went into another one and we learned about reproductive health and how babies were made. And, gosh, at that time, we didn't even talk about how to prevent what was then called venereal disease. I've heard lots of support coming out, including President Biden, saying he supports gender affirming care and you though, as a parent, saying, gosh, how do they even know? Yet we've got this medical complex coming at them gangbusters. I need some help bridging that gap. How do you get from an 11 year old being asked a question that they don't understand, to the weight of the presidency of the United States? With our current president and the whole medical industrial complex coming at them; doesn't seem like a very fair fight to me. [Inaudible.]

Beth Bourne  

That's so true. And honestly, I'm a liberal. I've always supported our public schools and our unions and our Democratic local officials and up through our president, but I didn't realize that - I want to call it radical gender ideology; the idea that human sex is no longer binary and immutable and that human beings can now change their sex using experimental drugs and surgery - it was being introduced, not only at the higher level - world organizations like the HRC and the ACLU - but then also within our school system. It came down to the California Teachers Association, the teachers union at the state level, and then came through at the local level through our teachers union, as far as doing the training. Then the materials just all came in through our Department of Education here in California. We have a very super-majority at the state level with the Democrats, so it's very easy for them to bring in new curriculum and new policies. But I had no idea it was sort of like this assault on children. The reality was at all levels of government and throughout the school system, so there was really no way to opt out. I didn't know at the time in 2018 but even now, it's almost impossible to opt out your child, pull them out of the curriculum that has to do with gender and sexuality, because it's pervasive in all areas of the school.

Richard Helppie  

Look, we want to be a free and open and supportive society, that's part of our Constitution, to strive for a more perfect union. Indeed, we've been imperfect; we all know the history of slaves, we all know about women's suffrage, marginalized groups looking to get a voice. Clearly when we go to the Civil Rights Act, we can say there's a wrong we were trying to right. We look at the Voting Rights Act, there were wrongs we were trying to right. In that context, what goals were being pursued? What wrongs were attempted to be [made] right? How was this explained to you as a citizen, a parent and a taxpayer?

Beth Bourne  

I think what they've done is they've jumped on the bandwagon with some of these other civil rights issues. When the  same sex marriage was passed so easily, we had all these organizations that had been formed around fighting for that so you had all this strength within these organizations that needed to keep fundraising and keep having a purpose. So they picked the idea of let's fight for transgender rights. That means for men who identify as women to be in our spaces, prisons, bathrooms, shelters, and then also this medical side of let's make sure that we can give kids and adults these gender affirming...the whole idea of giving experimental drugs and surgeries to minors as well as adults, that just became part of their rights, like a civil rights movement. Within the schools here in California, a big issue is that teachers and school counselors are allowed to socially transition a child at school. If a child comes up to their teacher and says can you please start using this new name and I want to go by these new pronouns, I want to use he/him or he/they and can you also please make sure you don't tell my parents because I'm not ready to come out to them or they might not be supportive. In California - I don't think many parents realize this - the schools will secretly transition the child at school. They're saying it's because it's a privacy right that students have. But I would argue that parents should have the right to raise their child and keep them safe. So there's a lot happening within specific school districts here in California to fight that. I think they really did try to say this is a civil rights issue but it's actually taking away the rights of women I believe. That's why I did this expose with Kaiser, that the medical side of it is harming vulnerable people and young kids bodies and it's making a profit for the gender industry.

Richard Helppie  

Indeed, the excellent investigative journalism you did about your own experience with Kaiser - and I do recommend everybody read that. Where can people find the article you wrote about your experience with Kaiser?

Beth Bourne  

It was published by Colin Wright. He's a PhD evolutionary biologist. He actually got a degree from UC Davis and the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was canceled from academia for speaking out on this while he was a postdoc, I believe, at Penn State. He has a Substack, a publication called “Reality's Last Stand.” His name is Colin Wright. It's published under my name there, Beth Bourne. If you just go to Kaiser, non-binary mother or something like that, you would find it.

Richard Helppie  

Colin Wright, “Reality's Last Stand” on Substack and other sites where he's been writing about this. It sounds like he's very well qualified. Speaking of that, as a scientist, what does the science say? I've done a lot of reading on this. I'm not a scientist but I have to tell you, I have not been able to find a single citation of any study that says injecting kids with what is effectively chemical castration and foreign hormones and then medicalizing further with permanently altering surgeries does anything. In fact, the opposite. If you look at England, their health service said that it doesn't do any so-called good, like stopping suicidal ideation. But I'm not up to speed on all the science; what does the science say that you might be exposed to?

Beth Bourne  

Well, that was an excellent summary. I didn't realize that the science books here, in my children's schools in California, they adopted a new science book, biology and a new AP biology - advanced placement biology - and within these biology books, they actually put language that says that scientists are just discovering this new idea that we have transgender people. Then they give a definition that being transgender means the doctor, when they assigned your birth, made a mistake and that you are actually a girl born in a boy body, or a girl body who is actually a boy. They put this definition in the science textbooks, and - I have a very intelligent child - so for them to read something that's in the science book, it's in black and white, they're being tested on it, it'd be hard for for a young person not to think that there's some truth behind it. But I like that you're saying there is no science that shows that mammals or humans can change their their biological sex. It wouldn't make any sense. We've had evolution for four billion years, why would we all of a sudden have this huge number of kids identifying as being transgender?

Richard Helppie  

Well, hermaphroditism is indeed a scientific based condition, people that have both male and female genitalia that even at a chromosomal level it's hard to discern - very rare. There are people that get into adulthood and decide that they want to live as the opposite gender. Personally, as far as I'm concerned, a mentally competent adult can do whatever they want to do. That's where I come back to the question what's the distress that these changes in educational programs are trying to solve? Did we have an epidemic of children saying that they were going to harm themselves or other people if they didn't go through this treatment, or they were being maltreated in some way? What was the societal objective for bringing these programs to children, 11 year old children? What have you been told in your investigation of this?

Beth Bourne  

Well, I'll go back to that but real quickly on the idea of intersex being evidence that we have transgender people - that's what they they have they presented in my daughter's science textbook - they say that we've had intersex DSM, a variation in your sexual development - but even somebody who is intersex, you only can produce - gametes are small - you only can produce egg or sperm. There is no sense of being intersex because your body only can produce one or the other. But they do give that as an example of how there's this spectrum of gender, because we have intersex, which has really nothing to do with your sexuality in the sense of do you produce eggs or sperm. Going back to the idea of why do we have kids being told they might be transgender, I've just been thinking about it myself and I do think for the adults who want to live their lives in the opposite sex...so for men who would like to be - what we used to call in the past cross dressers or transsexual or maybe, not as common, but you might have women that like to dress in male attire or call themselves men - I think it's to give validity to what they're doing. If we just say this happens when you're an adult because you enjoy wearing this other clothing or having this other appearance or having these surgeries, if you could instead say, well, it happens to children as young as...we learned in Davis that as young as two years old kids know that they are already in the wrong body. So that's where I think it's coming from; it's to give the adults some kind of validity to say it happens to children. But if you're introducing a very, very...you're almost leading kids to believe they could be in the wrong body because you're presenting all these ideas to them. When you're in a classroom, you might have the flags, the Progress Pride flag, you might have pronoun pins being worn by the teachers, and the para-educators that have their pronouns announced, you might have all this material and when a child comes out as being transgender at school, they get celebrated. Not only are you giving all these ideas and having the flags and the rainbows and the pronouns but then when a child comes out - this could be a child that's lonely or maybe just a quirky kid - they get all this attention that they might not have gotten otherwise. That's why it, to me, it doesn't seem like a safe situation for young people.

Richard Helppie  

It hurts my heart to hear that they might be influenced like that. Before we get into talking about your experience with Kaiser, in one of the pieces I read about you it talked about a standard letter for your daughter, and I perked up at that phrase; what exactly is a standard letter?

Beth Bourne  

Was that like the coming out letter that she gave me? Is that what you're thinking of? (Rich Helppie: Yeah, yeah.) Right. When she was 13, she gave me a sealed envelope and she said, this letter's for you. In the letter - and it was handwritten - it said, Dear Mom, I want you to know that I'm sharing this news with you, this is my new name, these are my new pronouns. I've spoken with my teachers and counselors, this is how I would like for you to treat me and please let me share it with other people. That was the first letter and then a week later, the letter said, now that I've thought about this, I would also like to consider using a breast binder and then getting on puberty blockers and testosterone because I know that WPATH and Planned Parenthood, they've said it's safe. So these two different kind of [letters] - I call them scripts almost - are templates that kids can find online. It's just like a standard letter that they can use to write to their parents or to other people, share it with your grandparents. But the language is there for them; how do you make this big announcement, how do you let your parents know, or other people in your life know - from the counselors to the teachers and your pediatrician - what you want. A couple of years later I realized how much this is just laid out for kids, what you need to do to transition. If you have a child like mine, who's very hardworking, the straight A student who likes to check things off the box, likes to be praised for doing good work and meeting her goals...and if you're in a really hard time in your life and you're looking for some direction, to have this checklist of how do I become transgender or a person of the opposite sex, I thought it was very seductive or alluring to her to have have it laid out there for her like that.

Richard Helppie  

It sounds almost legalistic. And just a couple of things...I have been out trying to get like trans law centers and people like that to come on the show and talk about their work and what they're up to; I have not been successful at getting anyone to accept an invitation yet. For anybody that happens to be listening, or reading or watching this, we'd love to have you on the show, you can reach the same audience and give us a counterbalance. In recent days WPATH, which has been setting a worldwide standard, has now backed off of the use puberty blockers and synthetic hormones for underage use. Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom are closing their transgender operations for kids and yet it seems to be on the upswing in the United States. Beth, let's shift a little bit to your experience. You had a notion:  how hard would it be to get gender affirming care? You thought maybe you'd just be a great investigative journalist, go undercover and see how hard or how easy it was. I see you sitting here, must have been really hard because I can't tell from this view whether you've had any work done. Why don't you take me from the beginning of that. What did you decide to do and what was the first step you took?

Beth Bourne  

Okay, this is going back to 2022 and my daughter had just turned 17. She'd actually, a few weeks earlier, asked for no contact with me. That's very common when these kids are in this kind of cult, where if you have a parent who doesn't affirm your transgender identity that you should cut them off. I'm just bringing that up because it gave me a lot of freedom to go this route with this investigative journalism that I was doing. I also realized she had just turned 17 that means a year from then, on her 18th birthday, she would be able to walk into the Kaiser gender clinic and have her top surgery or start testosterone or whatever procedure she wanted without any parents there because at 18...

Richard Helppie  

Let's not mince words here. Top surgery...(Beth Bourne:  Sorry, I should use the right word.) Her healthy breasts would be removed as if she were stricken with a horrible breast cancer.

Beth Bourne  

Right. It's cosmetic bilateral mastectomy and is the term we should be using. So that's another good question. Why are children learning in school about top surgery rather than learning the correct scientific or medical term for what you're really doing to a young person, but that's not what they learn. They learn that there are top surgeries and bottom surgeries. But going back to 2022, when I first came up with this idea, I was worried about my daughter turning 18. I got a letter from Kaiser that they were having a cervical cancer screening - recommending that I have one done - for individuals over 21 to 65 years old. When I saw the language in there - this is a letter from my ob-gyn - it kind of struck me they're not even using the word “woman” to tell me that I need to come in for this cervical cancer screening, it's just saying an “individual” and the cervix. So I kind of pushed back on on this idea with my doctor, and I said, why are you using this term? She said Kaiser wants to be inclusive of their trans patients and their gender fluid patients. I pushed back further and I said, can you please change the language to at least mention women? When she said that they weren't going to make any changes, but that she had shared this information with their administrator, I just decided at that moment - it was just like, spur of the moment - I just said, well, then in that case, please change my records to show that I'm non-binary and I use they/them pronouns and I would like to start looking into testosterone and top surgery - I actually used that term. I got an email back within 45 minutes saying that my records had been changed, and that they were there to help me meet my goals, and that I'd be contacted soon by my primary care physician. That's all it took to have my records changed. I had had the same experience with my daughter when she was 14 at a wellness visit with her; it was a visiting pediatrician, my daughter was sick with dizziness and when they overheard my ex-husband use these he/him pronouns to address my daughter, her pediatrician said to us, the parents - in this very excited way - I hear her using different pronouns. Then she looked at my daughter and said, does this mean you would like to have your records changed? We can change your name. So I'd seen it done with my daughter. That same visit, they said you can go to a gender clinic here in Oakland called the Pride Clinic, it's a one stop shop to meet with gender specialists, a social worker, an ob-gyn and an endocrinologist. I had called back and spoken in private to this pediatrician; I said, how dare you ever suggest to my daughter medicalization without first discussing with us. I had seen that happen with my daughter. But I was surprised - I'm a 53 year old woman - that they would so quickly just change my records and then put me on this path of medicalizing my body. That's sort of where it started. It just was one step after the other where there was no concern about why I would be asking for these procedures to change my body, even though I kept bringing up these red flags of mental distress.

Richard Helppie  

One thing that I was curious about, when someone goes in for cosmetic surgery, whatever it might be - it could be breast augmentation, could be eyelid lift, what do they call it when they pull your face back...face lift - I know that the first question the plastic surgeon will ask is, what do you expect from this procedure? They want to know if you have reasonable emotional and psychiatric expectations for this. Were you ever asked those questions?

Beth Bourne  

The question that they would ask me is, what are your goals? The goal is actually, for all these these procedures, it's really just about your appearance. That's what they're asking, is if your goal...I don't know if you can see this...(Rich Helppie:  What did you tell him your goal was?) Oh, okay, so this is like an example for top surgery. It's like identifying your goals. Are your goals to have flatness in your breasts, to have nipple sensation because you're worried about scarring...they're all appearance based - except for the nipple sensation. 

Richard Helppie  

But that presumes you're going to have the procedure not whether you're going to have it. When they asked you what your goals were, wasn't there a question about why would you want to have your healthy breasts removed, like they did they ask you about that?

Beth Bourne  

I guess, when they ask you for your goals, it's all about how do you want to look with this gender affirming care. When I met the first mental health assessment...there are only two, the first one is an hour and a half, the second one is much shorter. That's all they do for a major surgery, a mastectomy that's only cosmetic. And then same for the phalloplasti, which is having a fake phallus or penis. I did that treatment too or I got the referral for it. But in this mental health assessment, she just asked me...when I told her that I was non-binary - which, non-binary, I don't really know how that's possible; you could not be a man or a woman - I told them I was non-binary. I think that gave me a lot of latitude really to make up whatever I wanted because in this case I said my goal as a non-binary person is to look more masculine. I said I have always been a really sporty young person when I was a kid. I had three older brothers, I liked to ride motocross bikes, I helped my dad with mowing the lawn and working in the woodshop. So I just said I always felt more like I was kind of male. What I was asking from Kaiser was to make me look more male so I asked for testosterone so I could have some facial hair. Then I asked if I could have a flatter appearance and look more masculine. But when I first started the call, she said, I want you to know that Kaiser has other gender affirming care that we could offer you and she brought up body contouring, you can also have your face masculinized, they can do these facial surgeries. Then she brought up what they call lower surgery.

Richard Helppie  

Instead of saying, are you sure you want to do this, they were kind of up-selling you. (Beth Bourne: Yes, that's exactly it.) If there's a short answer, what is body contouring? I don't even understand what that is.


Editor’s Note- This is the end of Part 1 of this two-part conversation with Beth Bourne. Part 2 will be released on April 16.

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