by Deborah Giffin, VATP Chair of Direct Legislative Action (DLA)

Have you ever gone back and looked at high school and/or college pictures of yourself?
Do you notice how you look just like all your friends? Were you a hippie? Were you “goth?” Were you straight edge? Were you a skater?
Identity while young is very tribal; you seek to find others who affirm you and with whom you find common ground. Chances are you are not the same person you were in high school or college. You have matured, determined who you are as an individual, and you make up your own mind about things that matter to you. You may still dress in ways that the general public sees as fashionable and appropriate to your profession, age, and status in life, but you cease to be a human billboard for causes. You become an adult.

For those not yet mature enough, tribalism and fashion take the place that parental influence had on their life. They try on causes and personae, trying to find what fits and is validating to their sense of self as it is being molded. In many cases this is just a rite of passage, but for others it comes with unwelcomed trappings that will continue to affect them well after the causes are no longer trendy. Arrest records and tattoos are one thing, but the gender identity/rainbow cult is the most harmful, as it can lead to irrevocable consequences. It should become law in Virginia as in other states that “gender affirming care” be delayed until after the age of majority at the earliest. Too many children are affected by social contagion and “love-bombing” support from others when what the child really needs is just positive attention for who they are and loving guidance in their route to adulthood.