In 2018, Raheem Williams couldn’t have known that his professional and educational backgrounds in economics and social policy — combined with a personal history of digging for medical answers — would lead him to be an advocate for the safety of children.
But today, Williams is just that: A researcher who demands data-driven information about all things, especially when it involves children and irreversible medical procedures.
A practiced researcher and policy analyst by trade, Williams began noticing something while digging through medical jargon and empirical research on Google Scholar: Medical news reports were ablaze with mentions of youth “gender affirming care,” “life-saving care,” and “gender ideology.” Williams’ propensity for research told him to dig deeper past the buzzwords. He didn’t like the narrative that he saw.
“For roughly four years, I was a silent observer, just reading and watching the narrative unfold. But I noticed that the language used by medical professionals and the media was trying to equate transgender youth to gay rights—but fundamentally, it’s not. Challenging the notion of putting kids through medical procedures that are lifelong and completely elective isn’t about gay rights. It’s about one question: Can kids consent?” Williams said.
“When you see bad things happening and no one speaks up, it gets worse. I was—and am—fundamentally bothered by the lack of conversation around this issue and the way the media purposefully uses language that misleads people, like ‘life-saving care.’ Most Americans don’t understand that this is a dog whistle for radical policies. I felt compelled by the basic issue of human decency to speak up.”
Williams’ background in policy and his expertise in research has allowed him to speak on the issue of transgender youth in a way that few can command. Williams finds it particularly disturbing that what medical practitioners and scientists are saying to each other behind closed doors is miles apart from what they’re telling the public. His paper, The Trans Youth Phenomenon: Critiques and Hard Questions, forces readers to confront the medical evidence that points out that there is no biological basis for transgender ideology, and what little evidence that does exist raises new ethical dilemmas, particularly among children and the use of puberty suppressors.
But that research is ignored by the media, activist clinicians, and advocates so-called “gender affirming care” who instead promote weak research to justify their worldview.
“There’s a universality in public policy where Americans tend to be indifferent to problems that they don’t see as their own. With lawmakers, we need to zoom out,” Williams said.
“It’s a fundamental question: What exactly is a minor? Why do we have legal protections for minors? That’s what we need to think about right now. I live in a country where you must be 21 to buy cigarettes but I’m being told that even a 12-year-old can understand the ramifications of a sex change.”
That question is one Williams is determined to have every adult answer as he advocates for the victims — kids and their parents alike.
“As a society, we must get back to protecting the innocence of children. Where we, as adults, understand the extreme difficulty of making serious decisions and do not put that burden on kids,” Williams said.
He is quick to empathize with parents who truly believe they are protecting their children by advocating for them — parents who have been told over and over by medical professionals that their child needs to transition, lest they kill themselves. According to Williams, these parents are victims too — victims who deserve honest practitioners.
Williams believes the more our society lifts the voices of these victims, the more the public will understand this issue — and combat it. His experience testifying in the states has shown him that people on both sides of the political aisle, across every religion, creed, and skin color are opening their eyes to the gravity of this issue, and the lasting ramifications it has on our children. New groups of people are coming together and discovering they have one thing in common: Common sense — and the desire to protect kids.
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