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Help4Families

Help4Families is a pseudo organization, a front for Denise Shick who sums up Help4Families this way.

Help 4 Families works towards bringing an understanding about these issues to the church and interested parties.  Denise has spoken at ministerial meetings . . . (Ministry Info)

Like other anti-trans organizations, she has no education in transgenderism, Her only knowledge comes from talking with Jerry Leach. Her claim to relevance is having a transgender parent, but she only knew them while in the closet. She spent years feeling traumatized

I do not object to counseling family members of trans people in a way that empathizes with them, listens, and respects their ideas and feelings. In fact, I encourage it! But I do object that Denise makes the huge assumption that all transitioning is the work of Satan. And I object to her passing out false information, especially relying on the lies and junk science of Exodus, Jerry Leach, and others.  She gives the impression she is an authority on the topic, while undermining the authority of researchers and clinical psychologists that actually seek the truth. And I certainly object to her doing all this in the Name of God.

Relationship with Jerry

Denise began her work with other people who had encountered transgenderism by speaking with Jerry Leach and working closely with him since 2004.  Help4Families has incorporated the literature from Reality Resources, including Flight toward Woman. I wrote to Denise explaining the deceptions in Jerry's writings. She is choosing to spread Jerry's errors and lies.   They also copy articles from Danny Blackwell and other ex-trans testimonies. There's very little Denise has done herself so there's little to respond to her personally. When Help4Families distributes the work of others verbatim, I hold Denise responsible for the errors and lies they contain. I have called and emailed Denise several times concerning this but she has not returned my messages. After that, I left a polite comment on her website which she removed.

Jerry is given multiple names on Help4Families. Sometimes his regular name is used, sometimes "Jay," and sometimes, "Tim."  This is bizarre because Jerry is too public to be written of anonymously. Since they are so few ex-trans people,  "Jay" and "Tim" may be an attempt to make them look more common. More likely, Denise is afraid of people googling Jerry and reading the harsh criticism of him.  TG Fellowship sometimes called Jerry "Sam."

Father Issues

For a long time when I went to her website, I had to put a hand over Denise's public humiliation of her dad where she found the worst picture she could and points out how ugly it is.  She says she's motivated in her work out of love for her late father. After years of living as a woman, Denise claims that on their deathbed they repented his transition.  I am strongly suspicious. In an article  Denise wrote an entire book about it, My Daddy's Secret. One would think that this repentance would be a major event in the book, even the climax. But reading the book I had to read that chapter twice because on the first reading I didn't even notice the supposed change of heart. 

"In his fleeting lucid moments, he in fact expressed his sorrow over many of his choice, not the least of which was his regret over the hormone treatments and his desire for a full sex-change surgery. He admitted that becoming Becky hadn't given him the satisfaction he'd longed for." (p152)

Given the poor track record of Christians who claim transgender people have healed or changed their mind, but later reveal the so-called repentance was a farce, I am skeptical. It strikes me that if I were on my death bed, drugged with morphine, and surrounded by loved ones who wanted me to admit I had made a bad choice, I surely would bow to the pressure. And it would be easy for Denise to translate "some mistakes" into "my transition was a mistake." Indeed, if Denise reads this page, even considering her parent's regret was not genuine will likely offend her.

Denise describes her dad as being intensely selfish, being so obsessed with transitioning that he divorced and didn't even try to maintain a relationship with his children. Again, far be it for me to pretend I know their personal history. Perhaps Denise is being completely honest and fair. If she is, then I am prone to "take her side." Christians have a strict duty to care for their family and there is no excuse for ignoring that. While I support transitioning as the best choice for some people, for some people it is unwise. Christians must take their individual situations and apply the principles Christ taught us: loving God, neighbor, and ourselves, humility, taking up our cross, radical inclusion, and compassion.

Inconsistencies

Help4Families has a love-hate relationship with science. At times, Denise points to scientific studies when they suite her such as Paul McHugh's Surgical Sex. At other times, she lambastes the scientific community

What do you say to a woman who has the media and science telling her that she needs to accept that her husband is a woman trapped in a man’s body. (For the Wife)

Either scientific consensus agrees with her beliefs or is disagrees; it cannot be both. Hypocritically she uses both sides when it suits her.  Likewise, she has a love-hate relationship with culture. At times, she accuses culture of being an ally of transgender ideas:

Our government goes along with it just like society. (You Are not Alone)

Of course this is a lie. Neither society nor governments just "goes along with it." She's ignoring the many, many people who have a face with one gender and a drivers license or birth certificate with another. Couples have been forced by the government to divorce, Trans people are barred from serving in the US military. And every year, transgender people are murdered in cold blood for their expressions. I know why Denise does this. Christians like to pit the Church and the World as enemies. If the World accepts transgenderism, she thinks it lends credence to her belief that it's wrong. It's ridiculous logic. She also gets to support ridiculous statements like, 

My son has just turned 17. His friends have encouraged him to believe he is a girl. (You Are not Alone)

As if transgenderism is created by peer pressure! No, transgenderism is definitely a strong internal force (which Denise agrees with elsewhere) that would persist regardless of how much the World persecutes it. Were it not so strong, trans people would never have the strength to express ourselves.

While Jerry was at least sympathetic to trans people having been there, Denise is not. She sees nothing good in us, evidenced by Church Responds to Transsexuals.

Bad Science

Denise mistakenly confuses GID with Gender dysphoria.

Gender Identity Disorder or, gender-dysphoria, as it is sometimes called. (The Pain)

Although GID can only be diagnosed by a psychiatrist and the DSM explicitly warns amateurs from diagnosing, Denise diagnoses all trans people with GID without even meeting us. Denise also misrepresents science saying

Basically the studies say NO ONE IS BORN THIS WAY.

No citation, of course. The truth is that the studies thus far have shown mixed results regarding Nature and Nurture. One study linked a particular gene for transmen, another study linked another gene with transwomen, and numerous studies have linked transgender feelings in general with in utero hormonal levels of the mother. On the Nurture side, one study from the 1960s linked transgenderism with parenting style. The fair attitude to take is that science has not come to a consensus; too few studies have been performed and it's possible any of these past results could be invalidated with better research (such as sample size, which is always a weakness in transgender research).

The junk science of Paul McHugh's article Surgical Sex finds repeated usage from Help4Families. McHugh always disdained trans people and when he got a position of influence, shutdown a gender clinic and twisted two scientific studies to justify his actions. His ideology hijacked his objective reasoning. Denise is entirely unfamiliar the context around McHugh's essay - the essay described an event in the 1970s but Denise believes it is "current."

Likewise, all the bad science of Walt Heyer is also embraced by Help4Families. Walt had dissociative identity disorder and was not transgender in any scientific sense. After receiving a misdiagnosis, Walt blamed his bad outcome on transgender treatment instead of blaming his diagnosis. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, he - and Help4Families by extension - wrongly uses his life as proof that transitioning is not helpful.

On the whole, however, Help4Families ignores science altogether like other gender defenders. There is no scientific authority for Denise's beliefs.

Connections

Most of Help4Families is reliance on other sources - testimonies, junk science, and journalism. This includes
  • Jerry Leach - infamous, unlicensed counselor who uses lies to show transgenderism is unhealthy
  • Charlene Leach - who believes everyone must divorce their transgender spouse
  • NARTH and Joseph Nicolosi - Dedicated to promoting science against homosexuality, even if they have to make the science up
  • WorldNetDaily - Radical right wing news site
  • Walt Heyer - A man Denise says is formerly transgender, but who says he was never trans at all.
  • Exodus - A badge wearing member

See Also

Official website

Business listing

Straight Spouse Network - a pro-trans network of husbands and wives whose spouse has come out as transgender who support and validate each other

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