Category Archives: parents

9 ways thieves steal your identity – and how you can stop them

Dale Yeager Profiler Blog

Identity theft isn’t just someone stealing your credit card. Criminals are coming up with plenty of innovative ways to rip us off. New account fraud, a tactic in which someone opens an account in your name, is on the rise. So are cases of hackers using clever social engineering tactics to fool victims into giving up sensitive information.

Think it can’t happen to you? 

One recent example is a new type of identity fraud that tricks victims into thinking they’ve received a two-factor authentication text from their bank. This is especially shocking as it looks so real. 

More than 14 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2018, according to a 2019 study by Javelin Strategy & Research. Fraud is still rampant and can cause serious financial damage — not to mention all the time and effort it can take to undo it.

That’s why knowing the tactics thieves to steal your identity is essential. Avoid these pitfalls and stay protected.

1. Think before you share

We live in a generation of oversharing. People have been oversharing the details of their personal lives on reality TV shows for years.

These days, it seems everyone shares everything on social media platforms like Facebook. It’s often innocent oversharing, like your friend who “checks in” to every restaurant so you always know where she is and what she’s eating. Tap or click to secure your Facebook account once and for all.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to overshare with hackers, too. How often do you mindlessly click through buttons that say “Allow Access?” If you’re playing an online game or entering a contest, it’s understandable because you want a chance to win.

RELATED: Not sure who to turn to for tech help? I’ve got your back. 12 questions about social media you’re too embarrassed to ask.

But stop and think about what you’re doing before you give away your information. Take a second to read terms and conditions before you agree online, and be smart about what you post on the web.

You should never post your address, phone number or other personal information on social media sites. Platforms like Facebook are too careless with our privacy as it is, and you don’t want your sensitive information in the wrong hands.

2. Blast from the past

Remember MySpace accounts? From about 2005 to 2008 it was the most popular social media site in the world. Not so much anymore. Most MySpace users have moved on. Unfortunately, many forgot to delete their accounts.

Leaving old accounts active can be a security nightmare. Think about all the personal information you have just sitting there, waiting to be scavenged by cybercriminals. Let’s face it, Tom from MySpace probably isn’t keeping up with security protocols.

It’s critical to be proactive and delete all of your old accounts you no longer use.

Go through your browser, your email and wrack your brain for all the accounts and services you’ve signed up for. If you find some you’re not using, don’t just let them linger. Take the time to shut down your old accounts the right way.

This can be a lot of work, but there’s a site that can help make the process easy. It’s called AccountKiller and will help you wipe the slate clean. Tap or click here to learn more about AccountKiller and easily get rid of those old accounts.

3. Some things are supposed to stay between you and your doctor

According to a survey by security company Carbon Black, a frightening 84% of health care organizations say they have seen an increase in cyberattacks over the past year. Cybercriminals have been targeting hospitals and clinics due to the sheer amount of data these places store.

It’s not all just patient information, either. There’s also data on doctors and insurance companies. Stolen information is sold on the Dark Web and ranges mostly from forgeries to health insurance credentials.

If someone steals your identity, you could be subject to medical identity theft. This act means you might be denied coverage because someone has already used your medical insurance benefits.

How can you protect yourself? Only share your insurance card when it’s absolutely necessary, and report a missing card to your insurance company right away. Avoid posting about health issues online; the less info potential scammers know about you, the better. Check any statements or bills you receive thoroughly, and contact your insurance company or doctor if you see a charge or service you don’t recognize.

PRIVACY PRO TIP: Creepy data broker sites collect a shocking amount of information — but you can remove your data and opt out. Tap or click here to take this important privacy step.

4. Don’t be fooled

When criminals first started sending phishing emails, they were pretty easy to spot. Tons of grammatical and spelling errors tipped us off to the fact that no, our banks couldn’t possibly have sent that message.

However, today’s crooks have learned that lesson and are now sending professional looking messages. They spoof logos that look so real they can be difficult for even experts to spot. The most important rule to outsmarting phishing scams is to avoid clicking malicious links. That means you shouldn’t click on web links or open PDF attachments found in unsolicited email messages — ever.

If you need to conduct business with a company, it’s always best to type its web address directly into your browser. Never trust a link inside a message, and be wary of downloading anything you didn’t specifically ask for.

5. Before you hit ‘buy’

Shopping online is convenient and takes out all the hassles associated with heading to the mall. But have you ever heard of e-skimming? It’s when your credit card information is skimmed by a criminal while you’re buying stuff online. You don’t even know it’s happening until it’s too late.

This epidemic is getting worse as hackers have figured out how to skim credit cards from ordinary online retailers without being detected. They do this by using tricky bits of code while they lie in wait and capture your data as you’re typing it in.

Does that mean you need to stop shopping online all together? No, but you should take steps to shop smarter. For starters, check the connection to the site you’re on. Look for a lock or a URL that begins with HTTPS instead of just HTTP. If it’s not secure, find what you’re shopping for elsewhere.

Be wary of any deals that seem too good to be true. Coupons for crazy discounts or free products could be a trap to get your payment info.

You should also consider ditching your credit card all together when you buy online. Tap or click for 3 safer ways to pay online.

6. Not worth the risk

One of the biggest mistakes people make is connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Sure, everyone wants to save on data, but joining a public Wi-Fi network at the coffee shop or airport is a terrible idea.

Crooks are always trolling these public networks, watching and waiting for new victims to rip off. If you must use a public network, always use a VPN when you connect. The free ones are slow. You’re better off paying a small monthly fee for a robust VPN.

7. Stay up to date

Shelling out over a grand for the latest and greatest smartphone isn’t very economical. But if you are using a super old device that can’t support updates, you could be putting your personal data at risk.

That’s because many operating system updates come with critical security patches that keep crooks from stealing your information. Without these patches, you’re a serious contender for identity theft, which could wind up costing you more than what you’d pay for a new phone.

Keep all your devices updated to the latest software you can, and seriously consider a new smartphone if yours is several versions behind.

Not updating your OS is just one silly thing you may be doing that puts you at risk online. Tap or click for 7 security basics you really need to stop ignoring.

8. Low-tech tricks

Though criminals have sophisticated hacking tools at their disposal, there are old-fashioned spying tricks that still work to this day.

We’re talking about the common thief rummaging through your trash, hoping to find personal information you may have written down and thrown away. Take the time to shred any sensitive documents before carelessly throwing them in the trash. This includes bank statements, financial documents, medical bills and anything else with identifying information.

Also, be careful of what you say out loud. Eavesdroppers might be listening in if you’re in public making a payment over the phone and reading your credit card information out loud.

When in doubt, assume someone is watching or listening and guard your info accordingly.

9. Threats at home, too

It’s sad I have to mention this, but it’s not just hackers who can steal your identity. It could be a family member or friend.

That’s why it’s essential to keep passwords and important documents in a safe place. Don’t just leave things with information like Social Security numbers and banking information sitting around the house.

Keep sensitive documents locked in a drawer, cabinet or safe deposit box. Stop writing down passwords and login info, and store or shred financial statements as soon they arrive in the mail.

There was a time when our house phones would ring off the hook with annoying, unknown and unwanted calls. The immediate reaction would be to use *69 to trace where the call originated from.

Today, these annoying messages are coming in the form of emails. Each of these messages leads down the same road, which ends with a phishing scam or some sketchy request to reveal your personal data.

If you really want to check the credibility or authenticity of an email, you’ll need to dig deeper and establish where the email originated from — a virtual *69 if you will.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Retired Police Officer Dianna Muller creates the ‘The DC Project’ to protect Women

Dianna Muller lost count of how many times she responded to chillingly desperate calls for help during her 22 years as a police officer in Tulsa, Okla. The crime scenes she worked taught her that people need their right to bear arms. “I don’t wish for anyone to be defenseless,” Muller told the A1F. “I would like for everyone to be prepared to be their own first responder.”

This is a message she’s been bringing to the nation’s capital.

Since retirement, Muller has brought to life “The DC Project,” a nonpartisan group that draws women from all states and all walks of life to Washington, D.C., in an endeavor to share with lawmakers why they own and carry firearms. For some, it is because they were the victim of a rape.

For others, it is because they are single mothers with young children they need to protect. Whatever their story, they are all people who refuse to be unarmed victims. By meeting with lawmakers, they are bringing their human stories to this issue—the type of thing the mainstream media just won’t report.

She explains that police officers can’t be everywhere all the time. In the minutes it takes officers to get to a call for help, anything can happen. After two decades of investigating crimes and helping victims of criminals, she argues that gun rights are also women’s rights.

Muller, along with several other women, have recently had high-profile confrontations with politicians.

“I will not comply with the assault-weapons ban,” said Muller, as she testified to members of the House Judiciary Committee in September. She was referring to the desire of some Democrats to ban and confiscate AR-15-type rifles from the public. Her “I will not comply” declaration went viral as a rallying cry for freedom.

“There are a lot of politicians that believe disarming American citizens will make the country safer. They don’t have much experience with firearms, and it’s easier for them to chalk all the violence up to the tool instead of the human,” Muller explained to the A1F. “It seems as though our country is not teaching our children history or what kind of power they have as citizens. They are all too eager to give up their rights, thinking that it will give them safety.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Suzanna Hupp, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives who, after surviving the 1991 “Luby’s shooting” in which a murderer killed both of her parents, has continued to speak out as a passionate advocate for the law-abiding citizen’s right to carry.

“Please consider the high cost of gun control,” she told the Joint Economic Committee hearing in September. “I reached for my gun, but my gun was 100 yards away, dutifully left in my vehicle. I can tell you that the cost of gun control was my parents and 23 innocent lives.”

Lauren Boebert was yet another woman who made her mark in September. She challenged aspiring Democratic presidential nominee Beto O’Rourke’s gun-confiscation scheme at a town hall event. A video of the incident made waves across social media.

“I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not,” she told O’Rourke, countering his “hell yes” that he’d ban and confiscate so-called “assault weapons” from the American citizenry.

These three bold women are just a few examples of millions more who don’t want to lose their right to personal defense.

Muller put it this way: “Women are likely to be smaller and less suited for a physical confrontation than an attacker. A firearm is the great equalizer. It doesn’t guarantee my security, but it does give me a chance. If I’m in that Walmart in El Paso, I want to be armed. If I hear a bump in the night, I want to be armed. Defending yourself is the most basic human right.”

The Growing Epidemic of Suicide Among LGBTQ Teens, Teen & Young Adult Males

The National Center for Health Statistics has released its report on teen deaths by suicide and homicide. The numbers illustrated in the report and by the Center for Disease Control are staggering.

Between 2007 and 2017, the suicide rate among individuals aged 15 to 24 rose by 50 percent. While the causes for this dramatic rise are being widely debated in the media, many media outlets are focusing specifically on the rise in minority and female suicides, as well as the elevated risk that LGBTQ-plus teens face.

The suicide rate for women aged 15 to 24 during this period rose 87 percent, to 5.8 per 100,000 people in 2017 from 3.1 in 2007. The suicide rate for African Americans of the same age group rose by 75 percent, to 10.7 in 2017 from 6.1 in 2007. These numbers demonstrate a crisis among American youth, yet most of the reporting on the issue has glossed over an even larger crisis: the suicide rate for men, primarily non-Hispanic white men, and American Indian and Alaskan Native men.

suicide statistics
Graph showing male and female average rates of suicide per 100,000 people from 2007 to 2017. (Courtesy David Brown)

Nationally, men commit suicide at a rate of almost four times that of women. Across every ethnic and age range, men commit significantly more suicides per 100,000. From 2007 to 2017, the suicide rate for 15- to 24-year-old white men jumped by 46 percent. Though a smaller increase than other groups, the per-100,000 number reached an astonishing 27.2, compared to 5.8 for all women nationally.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for white males between the ages of 5 and 34. The rate at which white men commit suicide continues to increase until briefly leveling off at 39.5 per 100,000 at 45 to 54 years old, before spiking to 58.8 over the age of 85.

In an equally depressing contrast, American Indian and Alaskan Native males have the highest suicide rate at 5 to 44 years old, peaking at 62.9 suicides per 100,000. While the suicide rate for white males remains high and even increases in later years, American Indian and Alaskan Native men see a steep decline as they age.

Even in comparison to groups that have widely been reported on for their disturbingly high rates of suicide, white and Native American men have significantly higher levels.

Active duty military personnel commit suicides at a rate of 24.8 per 100,000, while veterans take their own lives at a rate of 30 per 100,000. Both of these figures receive coverage from media outlets and politicians across the country for having a rate of suicide considerably higher than the national average of 14.5.

In the Annual Suicide Report released by the Department of Defense, the Pentagon states that these figures are misleading. According to the report: “On the surface, suicide in the military appears to be markedly higher than the U.S. population. … Nevertheless, the direct comparison of military suicide rates and the U.S. military population is misleading. It is well established that males have a nearly four times higher risk of suicide death than females.”

What the report fails to expand upon, beyond a brief acknowledgment, is that more than 70 percent of suicides in the military are committed specifically by white males.

Suicide statistics
Graph showing suicides per 100,000 people by race and gender for 2017. Source: CDC. (Courtesy David Brown)

The vast discrepancy between male and female suicides exists across the globe. In almost every country, from Ireland to Japan, from Russia to Bahrain, men kill themselves 3 to 5 times more often than women. The reasons for this are complex, widely debated, and further muddled by what is known as the Gender Paradox of Suicide.

Women across the globe attempt suicide at a rate of three to five times more than men, despite men successfully committing the majority of suicides. Men are less likely to seek mental health treatment than women, less likely to ask friends and family for help, face different societal pressures, and are more likely to use methods of suicide that have a greater chance of success, such as firearms.

Irrespective of the exact causes for the disparity in gender and race, more needs to be done to address this endemic issue. In the current political climate, proposing policies specifically aimed at white and male Americans is a nonstarter. Even acknowledging issues specific to “privileged” groups can lead to a caustic backlash. The rate of suicide is growing at an alarming rate across almost every demographic in the United States, all of whom deserve to be acknowledged and helped.

In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans intentionally took their own lives: 37,000 were men, and 30,000 of them were non-Hispanic white men. The increased rate of suicide among minorities and women is a burgeoning crisis, but the suicide rate among men, particularly white men, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives, is already a crisis, one that has been ignored for decades.

After graduating from the University of Florida in 2014 and from Florida State University in 2017, David Brown spent several years working at the Government Accountability Institute, where he researched corruption in politics. Brown specializes in health care, economics, and foreign policy.

School Passes Out Flyer To 7 Year-Olds Discussing ‘Implants, Pills, Condoms And More’

A children’s elementary school distributed a flyer to children as young as second grade that promoted a clinic hosted by a medical volunteer corps. There was one problem: one side of the flyer advertised “free birth control and pre-pregnancy services” as well as free “implants, pills, condoms and more.”

That provoked the ire of one father of a seven-year-old in the class, Richard Penkoski, who runs an online NGO. Last Thursday, he confronted the school board in Sullivan County about the incident at Mary Hughes School in Piney Flats.

Penkoski told the school board, “What is more, exactly? And why was this given to my seven-year- old? Since when is it the school’s job to give information to my child about birth control? When did the public schools decide they can teach my child issues regarding morality and sex?”

Penkoski explained that his outrage was triggered by the flyer putting him in a position where he would have to explain sex to a child he felt was too young to start dealing with the issue. He continued, “I know liberals on this council, specifically, will say something like, ‘Well, schools teach reproduction.’ You are right. They do teach biological facts in regard to reproduction. This flyer is not talking about reproduction. It teaches birth control. I also can’t help but notice that abstinence is not on this list.”

Penkoski told the board, “The public schools think they have the right to usurp my authority as their father. This school does not have that right.”

The Kingsport Times-News reported that Sullivan County Director of Schools David Cox said the flyers were inadvertently distributed, that all the schools in the district distributed the flyers in order to enlighten disadvantaged families as to the presence of the clinic. Penkoski countered that his nine-year-old daughter did not receive one, adding, “The school can say ‘inadvertent’ all they want, but that is like accidentally giving a child with a peanut allergy a peanut.”

WBIR reported that Cox explained, “What happened on the back of the information, there was another part that was inadvertently sent and it did say free birth control.”

But Penkoski remained unconvinced, “[The school] received two pages and what the principal did was he took the two pages and put them back-to-back to make one copy. Part of it was to save paper but you can’t miss that. It is a whole page and right at the top there are big bold letters that say ‘birth control’ and ‘pre-pregnancy’ and all that stuff.”

Dale Walker, the president of the TPN, also addressed the board. He asked, “Our question tonight is where is the accountability of this school? Where is the accountability of this teacher? Where is the accountability of this principal? Where are the checks and balances? What are your procedures to block inappropriate subject matter to parents? Since when does our education system pick and choose what our students are exposed to without notification to their parents first?”

By  Hank Berrien

SpongeBob’ is a ‘violent,’ ‘racist’ colonizer, says University of Washington professor

SpongeBob the Racist?

“SpongeBob SquarePants,” which celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday, has millions of fans around the world, but one University of Washington professor is clearly not among them.

For a recently published academic journal, the professor, Holly M. Barker, wrote an article “Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom,” in which she offers a different take on the affable sea sponge.

“SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland,” the article reads.

Barker calls SpongeBob’s colonization of Bikini Bottom “violent” and “racist,” and also claims that the cartoon is guilty of the “whitewashing of violent American military activities” against natives of the Pacific.

Barker’s beliefs come from the idea that the show is set in a version of the real-life Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. During the Cold War, natives of the area were relocated and the American military used the zone for nuclear testing.

Fox News caught up with ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ cast members Carolyn Lawrence, Bill Fagerbakke and Clancy Brown, who talked about their favorite moments from the series and how the show made a huge impact on US culture.

The area remains uninhabitable to this day. That history has given rise to fans’ theory that Bikini Bottom is inhabited by creatures who owe their mutation to that testing.

Barker stated that as an “American character” allowed to inhabit an area that natives had no choice but to leave, SpongeBob showed his privilege of “not caring about the detonation of nuclear bombs.”

Barker also points out the cultural appropriation of Pacific culture, with Hawaiian-style shirts, homes in the shapes of pineapples, tikis and Easter Island heads, and the sounds of a steel guitar perpetuating stereotypes of the region.

Even the theme song, according to Barker is problematic, as it denounces the area as one full of “nautical nonsense.”

Barker understands that the writers likely didn’t have colonization in mind when creating the show, but she’s upset by the lack of acknowledgment that “Bikini Bottom and Bikini Atoll were not (the writers’) for the taking.”

Other issues for Barker: a perceived imbalance between male and female characters, and the name “Bob” representing an everyman rather than a culturally appropriate character

In the article, Barker claims that because of these themes, children have “become acculturated to an ideology that includes the U.S. character SpongeBob residing on another people’s homeland.”

The article concludes with this:  We should be uncomfortable with a hamburger-loving American community’s occupation of Bikini’s lagoon and the ways that it erodes every aspect of sovereignty.”

The journal in which the article was published is called “The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs,” and it is designed to publish pieces on “social, economic, political, ecological and cultural topics.”

A rep for Nickelodeon did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Fox News’ attempts to reach Tom Kenny — who voiced SpongeBob Squarepants — were unsuccessful.

By Nate Day

Why we keep falling for hate-crime hoaxes? Children are lying…

Truth Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Last month, 12-year-old Amari Allen appeared on television to share how she had been brutalized by racist white boys at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia. The sixth-grader, who is black, wept as she recalled how she was pinned down during recess, had her arms pulled behind her back and had a hand placed over her mouth so she couldn’t scream.

She said the boys cut off her dreadlocks, calling it “nappy.” By Monday, it was revealed that, following an investigation by Fairfax County Police, the girl admitted she had made it all up.

When the story first broke, left-wing politicians and activists raged. Rep. Rashida Tlaib published a personalized message on Twitter to the girl: “You see, Amari, you may not feel it now but you have a power that threatens their core. I can’t wait to watch you use it and thrive.” On Twitter, some even found a way to blame the Trump administration, noting ominously that Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, teaches art part-time at the school.

As with Jussie Smollett’s original accusations, Allen’s yarn had all the elements of a rage-bait story. Fervid media interest turned a regional non-incident into a national crisis, featured prominently and uncritically on televised reports from NBC, MSNBC, CNN and CBS, in addition to numerous print and online outlets.

Left-wing activists and the mainstream media refuse to learn lessons about hate-crime hoaxes. Sensational claims deserve additional scrutiny. Was Allen or her family asked why no known students had come forward to corroborate her claims? She said it happened during recess — around dozens of other students presumably.

The accused boys were also never sought for comment. On the contrary, the NAACP demanded “immediate disciplinary action” against the minor suspects. 

It’s hard to blame the public and media consumers for their naive credulity. The real problem is that highly publicized fake hate crimes like this one usually receive little public coverage after it is revealed that the original accusation was a hoax.

Then, too, few Americans are aware that in just the past few years, several children have been caught fabricating hate-crime allegations.

In January 2017, police in Gambrills, Maryland, identified a “14-year-old black female” as the suspect responsible for sending out a violent racist threat against her high school using a Twitter account pretending to be part of the Ku Klux Klan.

The following month, students at Plano West Senior High in Texas discovered their school vandalized with racist, anti-black graffiti all over its buildings and school vans. After several months, police arrested and charged Alexandria Monet Butler and Elizabeth Joy Police, two black female minors, for the incident. They were caught on camera vandalizing the school.

Then last year, a 5-year-old black child in Grand Rapids, Michigan, launched a frenzied police search after she told her family that a white man in the neighborhood had urinated on her and called her a racist slur. A 60-year-old man was arrested. The child made up the story with her friends.

Nor are incidents like these confined to the United States. In early 2018, Khawlah Noman, an 11-year-old Muslim girl in Toronto, claimed that a man had attacked her by cutting her hijab. The story reverberated across the country, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately issuing comments condemning Islamophobia in Canada. Local police invested huge resources into catching the at-large suspect. Noman had fabricated the incident. She was never charged.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is as old as time immemorial, to be sure. What’s different today is the mind-boggling credulity of mainstream media and politicians, who jump to ideological conclusions and dial the outrage to 11 before the facts have played out.

It’s no surprise that children lie, but when they are rewarded by an all-too-willing media and audience, we should expect more incidents like what happened in Virginia. The final result: Americans are bound to become ever more cynical and skeptical of hate-crime allegations — even when they’re true.

Andy Ngo is a journalist in Portland, Oregon. Twitter: @MrAndyNgo

WATCH: ‘Hundreds’ Of Young People Regret Gender Transition, Seek Reversal

A female who transitioned to male as a teenager is speaking out about transgender regret. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Charlie Evans told Sky News in a recent interview that she’s spoken to “hundreds” of young people, mostly same-sex attracted women, who regret their gender transition. She also encountered an “online community of 5,000 in a similar position,” according to the network (video report below).  

Evans transitioned and viewed herself as male for almost ten years, before deciding to detransition. 

“I’m in communication with 19 and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn’t, and their dysphoria hasn’t been relieved, they don’t feel better for it,” she told Sky News, adding, ”I think some of the common characteristics are that they tend to be around their mid-20s, they’re mostly female and mostly same-sex attracted, and often autistic as well.”

“They don’t know what their options are now,” Evans explained.

After dealing with her own experiences and connecting with hundreds of others, Evans  has started a charity called “The Detransition Advocacy Network.” 

“The Detransition Advocacy Network was established to support people who have stopped or reversed gender reassignment,” an ad on Eventbrite for an event for the charity explains. 

To celebrate the launch of The Detransition Advocacy Network on November 30, a group called “Make More Noise” will host an event “discussing the ethics of the social and medical transition of gender non-conforming women and girls” and will feature “talks from professionals working in the field followed by a panel discussion of detransitioned women talking about their experiences.”

After speaking publicly about her transition, Evans recalled being confronted by a young woman “with a beard” who also regretted her transition. “She said she felt shunned by the LGBT community for being a traitor. So I felt I had to do something,” Evans said. 

Another woman who reached out to Evans said she began her transition at the tender age of 13. “After taking testosterone her voice got a lot deeper, she grew facial hair and her body changed. She had been planning to have surgery to remove her breasts this summer,” Sky News reported. 

Now, at 21, the young woman, who only wished to be identified as “Ruby,” wishes to try to undo the damage done to her body and live as a female. 

“I didn’t think any change was going to be enough in the end and I thought it was better to work on changing how I felt about myself, than changing my body,” Ruby said. 

Ruby compared gender dysphoria to an eating disorder; she’s personally suffered with both.

“I’ve seen similarities in the way I experience gender dysphoria, in the way I experience other body image issues,” she said. 

“When I was at my gender clinic to get referred for hormones, we had a session where I went over my mental health issues and I told them about my eating disorder and they didn’t suggest that that could maybe connected with my gender dysphoria,” Ruby explained. “For everyone who has gender dysphoria, whether they are trans or not, I want there to be more options for us because I think there is a system of saying, ‘okay here’s your hormones, here’s your surgery, off you go.’ I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone.”

A spokesperson for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which takes on gender-confused “transgender” patients as young as three years old, pushed back on the women’s lived experiences. 

“Decisions about physical interventions made in our care are arrived at after a thorough exploration process. While some of our patients may decide not to pursue physical treatment or drop out of treatment, the experience of regret described here is rarely seen,” the spokesperson said. 

As highlighted by Sky News, questioning gender transition, even within young people, has been largely castigated as “transphobic” rhetoric. Still, folks like Evans and Ruby who regret their transition are resisting pressures to keep quiet. 

And there are more. In 2016, PJ Media ran a piece on two young people, both female, speaking out against transitions of children and young people. One of the women detailed  irrevocable physical harm she had undergone in the process of her own now-regrettable gender transitions.

“I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality,” Cari Stella revealed in a YouTube video. As noted by PJ Media, Stella “objected to transgender journalist Julia Serano’s insistence on calling her ‘transgender.’”

“Gender was done to me,” Stella continued, “gender was traumatizing to me, I don’t want anything to do with it anymore.”

“When I was transitioning, I felt a strong desire — what I would have called a ‘need’ at the time — to transition,” she explained, though the transition would eventually have what she underscored were harmful effects. “It can be damn hard to figure out that the treatment you’re being told is to help you is actually making your mental health worse. Testosterone made me even more dissociated than I already was.” 

Another young woman who has decided to detransition after identifying as male, Carey Callahan, voiced frustration with the transgender journalist for “erasing” her lived experience. 

“If self-definition is a human right, I don’t know how much louder we can shout to the world we’re not trans,” she said. “And for me, if you say that I’m on the transgender spectrum, what you’re doing is you’re erasing everything I’m telling you about my life and my story.”

“I had trauma that led to me disassociating from my female body, and … the longer I chased that disassociation — the more I asked people to call me special pronouns, the more I tried to change my body, the more I ensconced myself in a community that would affirm a trans identity, the worse I felt,” Callahan explained. 

“It’s a central story in my life, and you’re erasing it to make me fit into your ideology,” she added. “Your set of ideas of how the world works is not worth acting like I don’t exist, or acting like you get to define my gender for me. No, that’s not how that works. I’m a real person, and you have to deal with my existence.”

By  Amanda Prestigiacomo

On the 70th Anniversary of China Communism Hong Kong reels from ‘one of its most violent days’

Hong Kong Fight for Freedom

The 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China was “one of Hong Kong’s most violent and chaotic days”, the city’s police chief has said.

An 18-year-old protester was shot in the chest with a live bullet – one of six live rounds fired by police.

Protesters – some armed with poles, petrol bombs and other projectiles – fought pitched battles with police in several parts of Hong Kong.

In all police made 269 arrests, more than on any day since protests began.

Those detained ranged in age from 12 to 71. More than 100 people were taken to hospital and 30 police were injured.

Tuesday’s unrest saw police fire 900 rubber bullets and 1,400 rounds of tear gas. That compares with 1,000 tear gas canisters fired in the first two months of protests.

In the days leading up to the anniversary, tensions were high in Hong Kong, which always sees protests on National Day.

This year, however, Hong Kong has seen four months of protests sparked by proposed changes to an extradition bill. Though the changes have been abandoned, the unrest has continued, expanding into demands for greater democracy.

Students at Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College show solidarity with the shot protester
Students at Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College show solidarity with the protester who was shot

The shooting of Tsang Chi-kin, who was attacking an officer with a pole, was captured on video and shared online.

“My chest is hurting, I need to go to hospital,” said the 18-year-old, who was arrested after being shot. The government said he was now in a stable condition.

Although people have been shot with rubber bullets in previous protests, this was the first injury from a live round.

Police chief Stephen Lo said firing the bullet was “lawful and reasonable” as the officer thought his and colleagues’ lives were under threat.

Asked why the bullet was fired at close range, Mr Lo said: “He [the officer] did not decide the distance between him and the assailant.”

Hundreds of people staged a peaceful sit-in outside the teenager’s school on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, 96 people, mostly students, who had been arrested on Sunday appeared in court charged with rioting.

Repairs to shops, businesses and public facilities – including the mass transit system – are under way following Tuesday’s violence. All metro stations are now open.

What made Tuesday different?

In Beijing, the anniversary of Communist Party rule saw a parade of Chinese military might: 15,000 troops, 580 vehicles and missiles, and 160 aircraft.

In Hong Kong, some 1,200 miles away, protesters marked the day very differently.

Peaceful marches soon exploded into violence. BBC reporter Tessa Wong, who was on the streets, said protesters fought “pitched battles” with officers.

Shortly before Tsang Chi-kin was shot, men wearing helmets and gas masks attacked an officer on the ground with a pole.

An officer responded by firing his gun at close range.

Elsewhere, protesters threw petrol bombs, started fires, and ran at officers. Police responded with water cannon, tear gas, and – in total – six live rounds.

The day saw the highest number of arrests since this year’s protests began, and the highest number of live rounds fired.

A woman at West Kowloon Law Courts on Wednesday, where 96 anti-government protesters were due to appear
A woman at West Kowloon Law Courts on Wednesday, before 96 anti-government protesters arrested on Sunday were due to appear

What explains the anger?

The protests were sparked earlier this year by a proposed law, which would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.

Opponents thought this would put Hong Kongers at risk of unfair trials, and, in July, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the law “was dead”.

But despite the law being withdrawn, the protests have continued every weekend.

Clashes between police and protesters have created their own momentum, and there is wider discontent too.

Recent years have seen growing opposition to the perceived encroachment of Beijing on Hong Kong’s politics and threats to local identity.

Many young people have economic worries, and there are also demands for universal suffrage for elections to Hong Kong’s parliament.

As China showed off its superpower status in Beijing, violence in Hong Kong – a special administrative region of China – was inevitable.

What is the background?

Until 1997, Hong Kong was a British territory. Since then, it has been part of China but with its own system of law and government – known as One Country, Two Systems.

Hong Kong has its own judiciary and a separate legal system. Rights including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are protected.

But those freedoms – the Basic Law – expire in 2047. It is not clear what Hong Kong’s status will be then.