Recently I stumbled across a National Geographic magazine cover and article that focused on young kids who are questioning their gender. The cover focuses on nine year old Avery Jackson, an openly transgender girl. When I first saw this, my immediate reaction was one of disgust. Not only is National Geographic allowing mental illness to permeate and rise to the top of popular culture and news, they’re also playing the part of mental illness promoters.

What National Geographic and so many other major news and opinion outlets are doing is mainstreaming delusion, plain and simple. And in the process, they’re exploiting the people they focus on to prove that they’re progressive and in line with so called “enlightened thinking.” By peddling transgenderism as a brave and courageous act, mainstream media outlets detract from the mental illness aspect of transgenderism while simultaneously competing against political allies and rivals in a “Who can be more progressive” contest. It’s disgusting and needs to stop.

Before I delve deeper into this issue, let me clarify that transgenderism is, in fact, a mental disorder. It absolutely is not normal and should not be treated as such. The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases lists transsexualism as a gender-identity disorder in the mental and behavioral disorder section. Interestingly, the WHO also lists Gender identity disorder of childhood as a mental disorder. The WHO describes this as,

“A disorder, usually first manifest during early childhood (and always well before puberty), characterized by a persistent and intense distress about assigned sex, together with a desire to be (or insistence that one is) of the other sex. There is a persistent preoccupation with the dress and activities of the opposite sex and repudiation of the individual’s own sex. The diagnosis requires a profound disturbance of the normal gender identity.”

This quite literally describes what National Geographic lauds proudly in their front page article. Persistent gender identity problems through puberty can evolve into problems like Egodystonic Sexual Orientation or Sexual Maturation Disorder. Finding these classifications took minimal effort and reading. The only excuse to not knowing about the link between transgenderism and mental illness is willful ignorance, something that the media and a large portion of the world display too frequently.

The media often has a voracious appetite for stories or people that they see as a progressive beacon and that they can use to prove their forward thinking tendencies. The perfect example of this is Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner. When news first surfaced of his desire to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, the media and left couldn’t contain their excitement and adoration. Such pieces as “Why Caitlyn Jenner represents a new type of American Hero” to Vanity Fair’s “Call Me Caitlyn” cover garnered major attention. Jenner’s transition was an act of bravery, a heroic feat to some. ESPN even awarded the reality star the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Past winners of the award include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93. Throngs of tweets and Facebook posts expressed their adoration and idolization of Jenner.

This reaction, like the National Geographic article, is harmful to the subject of said coverage. About a year after mutilating his genitals, Jenner says he made a mistake in doing so and wishes to re-transition back to a man. According to Ian Halperin, an author who has written a book chronicling the Kardashians, “another reason Jenner may reconsider her transition is that the reality star still has an attraction to women ‘and wants to meet the right one.'” Science doesn’t lie, and even though Jenner tried to transition to a woman, his attraction to women proves that no amount of denial or hormone therapy can evade the fact that scientifically he is a man. To prove that the media only cared about Jenner’s transgenderism, when he announced he was a Republican, the media wanted nothing to do with him anymore. Websites like Gawker vilified Jenner and castigated him for his political affiliation. For the left, nothing transcends politics, and once Jenner ceased to become a useful tool for advancing their agenda, they rid of him.

Why do I mention the Caitlyn Jenner debacle? Because it serves to prove a point. As said before, transgenderism is a mental disorder and should be treated as such. Media stories like National Geographic celebrate transgenderism instead of treating it as an illness. Kids like Avery Jackson are experiencing a documented illness and should not be paraded around as an example of what a progressive society should accept as normal. Transgenderism is really the only mental disorder that we treat as normal. Why do we treat schizophrenia with medication and therapy, but we plaster transgender children on the cover of National Geographic? As a society, giving transgenderism praise is doing more harm than good.

A bevy of blame can be placed on the media and popular talking heads, however, as much, if not more, should be placed on the parents of kids like Avery Jackson. Yes, being a supportive and accepting parent is important, but another facet of parenting is realizing when to draw the line. When your child isn’t even old enough to understand what sex is, don’t take their announcement that their gender is wrong as a sign of enlightenment. Enabling this gender madness exacerbates the problem. These past few years have seen some stupid parenting decisions and trends, but none more disgusting than a parents decision to parade their nine year old child around as a publicity stunt.

Stop mainstreaming delusion.