The Gaslighting of Skylar - Part Two
Updated: Jan 27
By Cincy Kem with Robin Singer
Source: Screenshot from the Pride parade scene from “I Am Skylar,” a National Film Board of Canada production
In Part One of this piece, we expressed considerable skepticism with the messaging in I Am Skylar – an award-winning 2019 documentary written and directed by Rachel Bower, produced by Canada’s National Film Board (NFB) and platformed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Filmed in small-town Nova Scotia, this 15-minute film about the gender transition of a 14-year-old boy aims to school parents and communities in the “right” way to listen to, accept, love and advertise a self-declared transgender child.
I Am Skylar can also be described as government-funded propaganda that normalizes a novel and dangerous ideology while promoting a life of experimental medical dependency to gender-questioning children and their parents.
In this follow-up piece, we’re taking a close-up of some of the key messages in the film with files from the post-production director’s blog, and from interviews with Skylar and the director, that best illustrate the misinformation constantly recited and weaponized by gender advocates, educators, politicians, and mainstream and LGBTQIA2+ media in their encouragement of children and their families to join the gender generation.
MESSAGE 1: TRANS IS A REAL THING
Film @ 1:17 – Skylar recounts informing his parents of his trans-identified status at 10 years old:
Skylar: When I came out, I went down the stairs and I just sat down and said, "What do people see when they look at me? 'Cause when I look in the mirror, I don't see the person who I'm meant to be.
Skylar’s mother: The memory of Dylan coming down the stairs with, it was, there was a look on his face that hadn't been there before, and we knew there was something serious that was about to be discussed...
Skylar: And that's when (snaps fingers) I hit them with, "I am a girl."
Source: CTV News Story, “Documentary 'I Am Skylar' screens in subject's hometown of Sydney”, Friday, January 24, 2020
And so began the social and physical gender revision of an expressive little boy, justified with an old family movie clip in which Dylan, at five years old, tells his parents that he’d like a brown-painted room “and a pink dolly.”
Dylan-now-Skylar’s mother states that a weight was lifted off their shoulders with Dylan’s announcement. She says she was relieved that they no longer had to see their son “struggle.” With what Dylan was struggling, we are never told.
What we are told is that three years after coming out as trans to his parents, Skylar’s entire family and community are at entirely at ease with Skylar’s “girl” identity and all are poised to support Skylar in taking the next step in transition.
But something must have ended up on the cutting room floor.
Not once, in the film or the interviews, do the parents or the interviewer raise any questions or engage in any discussion about the feasibility of this novel transgender belief system. No doubts are ever expressed with the idea that their son was somehow inserted into the wrong skin or that he accidentally grew the wrong “shell.” None. Their son is actually just a little girl trapped in a boy’s body and that's why he likes Barbie dolls and acting like a movie starlet.
Another conclusion one might come to is that their boy might just be gay. Somehow, this possibility (many studies say likelihood) is never brought up. In fact, a study published in 2021 reported that, without social transition, nearly two-thirds of pre-teen gender-dysphoric males grow up to be gay or bisexual.
In the CTV interview with Skylar and family at a screening of the film, Skylar’s father’s message to the reporter is cut short: "Whether they're male, female, transgendered – they're still your child, so, the number-one message is love them, listen to them --" …and, apparently, agree to chemically castrate them when they insist on behaving like a little girl instead of the boy Mom and Dad made with their very own, very male and female gametes.
By two minutes into the film, the pictures are coming down around the house because the person previously known as Dylan is made unhappy, and even angry, by them. Those old family photos just don’t properly represent the real Dylan-who-longs-to-be-Skylar. So just take them down, Daddy. Take them down. Family memories be damned. For the people who birthed and raised the child for over a decade – their thoughts and feelings – plainly, they don’t count. For today’s youth, to believe in gender ideology is to reject biological reality and the scientific and sociological explanations for our sex and gender differences that were taught to all Canadians who attended high school until just one generation ago.
At this time, it is probably a good idea to consider the outcomes of a not-so-historic political regime that saw students form paramilitary units through which children and youth turned violently against their parents, grandparents and teachers who were considered insufficiently revolutionary. If one substitutes the old-fashioned term “revolutionary” for the modern term “progressive,” it becomes difficult not to draw parallels with what took place during the cultural revolution in China with what is playing out in Western society today.
A propaganda poster for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, with Red Army and Red Guard members charging forward holding Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book. Photograph: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images
MESSAGE 2: DEADNAMING IS A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE THING
Cartoon by Sophie Labelle, #AssignedMale, popularized on social media.
Film @ 10:15, Skylar: If you use someone’s deadname and use someone's improper pronouns, it brings up the past. And it's showing that you’re very ignorant and not accepting of who they are.
Director’s blog, Skylar: … [deadnaming] shows you don’t accept the person, and it’s mean. Some things in the past are still hard for me to talk about. There are times I still struggle, yes, but I try my best to accept the past, so those times are now few and far between.
But, what struggles, Skylar? What exactly were the struggles? Were they in any way related to your Dad’s apparent sadness with no longer being able to refer to his first-born child by his given name? (Skylar’s father: “It's hard, because they’re dead, but they're still in front of you. It’s such a mixed bag of emotions that you have, because you still want Dylan… and Skylar now. You want both, right? But it’s hard. Because you can’t have both.”)
Perhaps if Dylan had been encouraged to talk about his struggles, with a psychologist or a therapist, he could have been saved from believing that he needed to stop his penis and shoulders and facial hair from growing and that he must avoid those uncomfortable adolescent male feelings at all costs (costs which can be mighty significant, if not to the individual, then to the tax-paid healthcare system that funds transgender hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgeries).
But, no. Given that any efforts “to change a person’s gender identity to cisgender” is now illegal in Canada, mental health professionals are restricted from exploring other possibilities for why their patients may decide they are not the boy or girl they were presumed to be at birth. Some children just are transgender, you see. Because they say they feel that way. Case closed.
Canadian lawmakers agree that there can be no reason other than transgenderism for a person to identify as the opposite sex (male or female), or, for that matter, as any gender selected from a long list of so-called gender identities, which confusingly reference the male and female “gender binary” and in-and-out of which one is at liberty to identify on any given day. While most mature Canadian citizens remain baffled by, or blissfully ignorant of, the meanings and differences between sex and gender, federal policies and practices for defining and gathering sex and gender information on Canadian citizens are being “modernized”.
As for deadnaming, one must tread very carefully in the waters of transgender today, lest improper use of a person’s former name or pronouns places one at odds with the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. These statutory instruments were amended in 2017 to make gender identity and gender expression protected characteristics under the law.
But we remain curious about the whole deadnaming thing, because, @ 30:15 in the Being LGBTQ interview, Skylar says: I don’t get deadnamed at all anymore. There was only that couple of times in high school, ‘cause teachers were reading off a list and they said it, and it slipped out, but it was very hurtful when it happened. It never happened at home, it never happened with friends, it never happened with family, it’s just, those incidents were crazy to me because it just hasn’t happened. Never.”
We fail to understand what the issue is for Skylar with deadnaming, then. Particularly if it hasn’t happened, like, “never.”
We submit: forgetting to use someone’s new name or gender descriptor is neither an indicator of ignorance nor an act of disrespect or violence. Mis-naming is a consequence of habit, or lack of familiarity or comfort, and anyone who is sincerely offended or hurt when they are mistakenly named or improperly pronouned – on only a couple of occasions – likely requires some attention be placed on other areas of their psyche.
MESSAGE 3: GOT QUESTIONS? JUST ASK
Being LGBTQ interview @ 6:06, Rachel Bower: One of the hopes for this documentary is that it is educational for parents, and the community, more than for the LGBTQ community, because it [not only] shows the support that her parents have for her, and her brother, but it also shows how they interact with their community in Nova Scotia. They never get angry at anyone, they just say, listen, if you have any questions that you want to ask our daughter, then just ask her. It’s that kind of bridge and communication that I’d love for people to get. Like, if you’re fearful of someone, or you don’t have understanding of someone, just go up and ask them. It’s a lot better than gossiping or bullying.
Film @ 10:50, Skylar: There’s some people who won’t even take their time to even ask…[they just] treat you like an alien.
Source: Screenshot from the living room scene from “I Am Skylar,” a National Film Board of Canada production
In fact, many Canadians are asking questions. Of our government, our schools, our institutions, our media. The trend however, when asking questions such as we have, is that the questioner is derided in national media and ignored by their elected officials. Not infrequently, the people who ask the questions, or those who dare to challenge and disagree with gender dogma, are ridiculed, attacked, bullied, threatened, investigated, cancelled, fired and jailed.
Nevertheless, while we are admittedly reluctant to approach Skylar, the director, the NFB, the CBC or the Department of Canadian Heritage with our questions directly, we are going to go out on a limb and ask about this particular bit @ 13:38 of the film, when Skylar says: I’ve never dreamed of being a girl as a child, but now that I am, it's the only thing I dream… is to have my life as my authentic self and just living as me every single day.
1) What do you mean that only now you dream of living as a girl – three years after you snapped your fingers and told your parents that you definitely were a girl? Did you have it wrong, then? Or, do you mean you dream of living as a girl now that you have gone so far in your transition journey as to have made your family and community get on board, made a movie about it, and are currently in the process of forcibly and permanently stunting your natural male development?
2) Once again: How does changing your name and medically altering your body help you live your authentic self? Why is your authentic self not the person we saw at five years old who looked as though he’d have great stage presence when he got older?
3) Most people’s feelings about themselves and how they see themselves change over time, depending on their age, their health and their experiences. Furthermore, a person can only go through puberty (the process of becoming sexually mature) once in lifetime. Why are you even having a discussion with a doctor about interfering with your body’s natural sexual development when you have presumably experienced little-to-no real-life sexual or emotional intimacy? How come you aren’t just like every other awkward adolescent on the planet who is asking themselves difficult questions about who they are and what kind of person they are to become?
4) If you were not living as you every single day before starting transition, whose life were you living? What happened to that person?
5) Why is it transphobic and hateful to be suspicious of a new social movement in which teenaged girls are receiving mastectomies while boys are dreaming of getting their very own “big boobs”? Why is it hateful and transphobic to want to know the answer to these questions?
We have a lot of questions, it’s true. We fear that if sincere and logical answers cannot be provided, or if the entities to whom these questions are directed respond instead with ad hominem attacks, then something really, really quite terrible must be going down with young people and their families in Canada today. And by producing and distributing films like this one, it seems our government is hell-bent on helping it happen.
Next up, in The Gaslighting of Skylar - Part Three, we’ll examine the remaining key messages packed into this 15-minute, how-to-properly-trans-your-kid video, including:
● Puberty blockers are a good thing;
● With the proper medical interventions, a boy can become a woman;
● If children are not supported in their quest to transition they might commit suicide; and
● Tranada is a great place to be transgender.