National Geographic Wades Into Activist Reporting


By Denise ShickBarbWire guest contributor

Like so many mainstream publications these days, National Geographic seems to be transitioning from objective reporting to advocacy. But in today’s adrift world, transitioning is all the rage—whether it’s human gender or human purpose.

The esteemed magazine has devoted its entire first issue of 2017 to the topic of transgenderism. The people at National Geographic responsible for the decision to focus on transgenderism could not have made the choice based solely on demographic considerations; their featured article plainly admits, “The vast majority of people —more than 99 percent, it seems safe to say — put themselves at one end of the gender spectrum or the other.”

So, all this fuss is over one percent of the population.

I will concede that when we’re talking about a worldwide population of nearly 7.5 billion people, one percent yields a significant-sounding total of 75 million people. And each of those 75 million souls is precious to the God who made them, and should be to those of us in the 99 percent.

But I must ask, “What was National Geographic’s real purpose in giving such intense coverage to such a tiny minority?” It can’t have been to report on some new breakthrough study. Again, by the magazine’s own admission, “These studies [the few that have been conducted] have several problems. They are often small, involving as few as half a dozen transgender individuals. And they sometimes include people who already have started taking hormones to transition to the opposite gender, meaning that observed brain differences might be the result of, rather than the explanation for, a subject’s transgender identity.”

So, with virtually no reliable, rigorous studies on this miniscule percentage of the population, we can only guess about whether the numbers or percentages of transgenders have increased throughout history. It might be that one percent represents a noticeable growth—we just can’t know.

So again I ask, “What was their purpose?”

Might their purpose have been to give a voice to a growing rebellion against anything considered traditional and decent? The magazine quotes the eminent social commentator Miley Cyrus: “I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate; it’s the box that I get put into.” I can picture this troubled young woman spouting her great wisdom as she swings, naked, tongue rebelliously protruding, on that iconic wrecking ball, smashing into symbolic pink and blue paper-mache walls while singing, “You don’t own me. …”

I think that’s really what this whole transgenderism movement is all about. “You don’t own me; I can and will do whatever I choose.” And I think that’s what the National Geographic focus on the topic is all about. It’s all about rebellion against the One who made us. The magazine issue doesn’t provide any real news; it merely seeks to tug at readers’ heartstrings with sad stories of confused and sometimes abused individuals. In doing so, it provides a platform for rebellion.

I saw that rebellion in my father. He had a painful and tumultuous relationship with his parents, so he rebelled against them in the manner he knew would most grieve them—by becoming a completely different person, Becky. He succeeded in hurting them—and my mother, my siblings, and others. But, most of all, he hurt himself. He died a sad and lonely man, with estrogen-produced breasts, and dressed in women’s clothing. His transition failed to produce the peace he desired.

Likewise, I suspect, National Geographic’s transition from reporting to advocacy will fail to produce the desired effect.

Denise Shick is the author of My Daddy’s Secret and Understanding Gender Confusion: A Faith Based Perspective.


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