People have always embraced wild, wacky fads. While most are harmless, some delve into darkness and morbidity. Today, one of the most destructive fads is transgenderism – and make no mistake, it’s a fad.

From Australia: “Psychiatrist Stephen Stathis, who runs the gender clinic at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and is responsible for diagnosing gender dysphoria, reports that ‘many’ youth are ‘trying out being transgender’ in order to stand out. Apparently, declaring oneself ‘transgender’ is trendy. ‘One said to me, “Doctor Steve … I want to be transgender, it’s the new black,”‘ Stathis related.”

The silliness includes “fluid” options. (“At the moment I feel like a girl. Now I feel like a boy. Now I feel like, um, a cat. Now I’m a mushroom. Now I’m a vacuum cleaner.”). Social media offers dozens of gender options created out of thin air to cater to this madness.

The more serious gender dysphoria is a mental illness that has resulted in so many mutilated bodies and horrific regrets that until recently Johns Hopkins Hospital refused to conduct surgeries, preferring counseling to help patients address their issues.

It’s worse when an activist parent takes a child’s transitory make-believe and makes it a permanent, life-altering reality. (“Mommy, I feel like a girl today.” “OK, Johnnie, I’ll schedule an appointment with the doctor to have your parts cut off and give you hormones the rest of your life to force your body to conform with your momentary fantasy. Meanwhile, let’s go shopping for Barbies and makeup.”)

So transgenders are at best faddish and at worst mentally ill. No one is born into the “wrong” body, no matter how much someone might feeeeel like the opposite sex.

But once in a while, biology goofs. To illustrate, I’d like you to meet “Jane.”

Jane is the daughter of one of my best friends, Linda. We first met in a homeschooling group when my daughters were 3 and 5, and Jane was 6.

Jane was like any other rough-and-tumble little girl. She earned her first-degree black belt in taekwondo by age 10. She was best friends with our daughters, and they often played together. The friendship continued on a long-distance basis after we moved to another state when Jane was 8. We stay with Jane’s family whenever we visit our old hometown.

Puberty hit when Jane turned 13, but not quite in a normal fashion. She began menstruating, but her cycles were sporadic and odd. She grew a bust, but a small one (both sides of her family are flat-chested). The most noticeable thing about Jane’s adolescence is how tall she grew. But since her father is 6 and a half feet in height, no one gave much thought when she hit 6 feet by age 16 except to ask, you know, what the weather was like up there.

Jane’s abnormal menstrual cycles ceased altogether in her mid-teens, so her doctor prescribed estrogen to encourage proper development. The estrogen sent her into wild mood swings, which her mother assumed was just part of adolescence. The hormones did stabilize Jane’s inherited migraines, so “we all felt it was worth it for Jane not to be stuck in a dark room, vomiting, for hours or days on end,” according to Linda.

Jane graduated from her homeschool and started college, but was plagued by lingering nerve pain in her elbow from a taekwondo injury. Last year, when Jane was 21, she and her mother visited a specialist at Stanford Medical Center to have her elbow examined.

The doctor began by taking blood tests. Whatever he saw in the results startled him, and he immediately ordered X-rays – but of Jane’s midsection, not her elbow. When the X-rays came back, he looked at them and said “Whoa” – which, trust me, is NOT the sort of thing you want to hear a doctor say when looking at X-rays.

What the doctor was seeing was a complete set of male genitalia, tucked neatly into Jane’s abdomen. Whoa indeed.

It turns out Jane has a condition called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. The scientific explanation is lengthy, but essentially Jane was born with external female genitalia but has the Y chromosome of a male. She has a uterus, but her fallopian tubes end in testicles, not ovaries. The odd “menstrual” cycles Jane experienced were due to something called anovulatory bleeding. In effect, she is a biological hermaphrodite. As the doctor put it, “You could go either way.”

To say this news astounded Jane and her family – devout Christians – is an understatement. After staggering around in shock for a few days, they realized the condition explained a lot of what Jane was going through – not just the menstrual difficulties from the supposed lack of estrogen, but also her appearance: her height, her broadening shoulders, her deepening voice. It also explained why, as Jane told her mother later, “I feel like a boy, and I always have. I always felt it in my heart.”

Unlike mentally ill “transgenders” like Bruce Jenner who prance around in bathing suits while tucking their packages away (and are lauded for their groundbreaking “bravery” in doing so), Jane had some very serious anatomical realities to face. Having been raised as a girl, she now had to admit her body looked very much like a young man’s despite the estrogen: broad shoulders, deep voice, male height, strong features. Yet she still had external female genitalia and – not incidentally – strong conservative Christian beliefs.

God works in strange and mysterious ways, but He “don’t make no junk,” as the saying goes. Faced with a true transgender situation, Jane and her family put the matter into God’s hands.

Jane started counseling with a psychiatrist who, believe it or not, also has Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. The result of this counseling was to stop all hormone treatments. As Linda wrote me, “Perhaps the best answer was just to see what direction God’s creation (meaning, my child’s body) takes. … For the past seven months, Jane stopped fighting her body with estrogen. Her period stopped and she started looking like a young man. She even grew a fine beard and some chest hair.”

After a year of counseling, and letting nature take its course, Jane took her medical records to a judge and legally changed the name and gender on her birth certificate. My friend now has a son named James.

To answer the inevitable question – to which sex is James attracted? – the answer is “neither.” At this point, he told his mother, he feels “asexual” – no sexual attraction to either gender. Nor, sadly, does he have the anatomical ability to engage in true sexual intercourse. He is also sterile.

When the trendy transgenders are tired of being the opposite sex, they can take off their funny clothes and call it a day. James doesn’t have that option. His condition is the same no matter what clothes he wears. In public, James will use male bathroom facilities, though he must use a stall since he has no external genitalia. This is his reality, no matter how he “feels.”

James recently accepted a job 1,700 miles away from his parents. It’s always hard to see one’s child fly the coop, but in this case it’s a chance for James to make a fresh start with a new name, gender and identity among people unfamiliar with his biological history.

We’re all dealt a different hand in life. It’s what we do with the cards we’re given that is a person’s true measure.

“It has been a beautiful growing process this past year,” wrote Linda. “I watched my child struggle with issues most of us will never face. I’ve seen him grow comfortable in his own skin and his confidence level rise with every situation he either overcame or accepted. The Serenity Prayer has become our family’s mantra. If something comes up, we ask one another, ‘Can I change it?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ then the only other option is to accept it as part of God’s plan. We know there were lessons for us to learn and we’ve done our best to handle a rare medical ‘monkey wrench.'”

During this transition, Jane and Linda attended a parent-child transgender support group. Interestingly, Linda said the parents were often the militant in-your-face ones, not the kids themselves. “If someone is identifying as male or female, they don’t make a big deal about it. There’s no drama,” said Linda. “They just want to quietly live their lives. Those who make the drama are the activists, and they’re not the true transgenders. Unfortunately they’re the ones making the news. The real pity is with the current trendy mass hysteria, the true transgenders get buried and misunderstood.”

In this time of absolute liberal lunacy around transgenderism – when research fellows call for giving puberty blockers to little children who are temporarily confused – it’s almost a relief when a “normal” transgender appears on the scene, deals with his/her issues, makes a decision and gets on with life without feeling the need to get into everyone’s faces about it.

“Don’t judge my son,” says his mother softly, “until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”

Something to keep in mind as we congratulate James into his new life.

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